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Cultural Analysis Paper

Cultural Analysis Essay

            Ancient Greek culture has influenced our modern society by the way we write, they way we talk, our religions, and so many other things based on Greek mythology.  Without the ancient Greeks, today’s world would be entirely different and things would not be the same. The ancient Greeks have had a great impact on our world and how it is today. I have learned that pretty much our basic vocabulary that we use today comes from the ancient Greeks. Most of the words don’t sound the same, and they aren’t even spelled the same but to a great extent, mean the same. We never really look at how much out past can influence our future but when you think about it, everything that we do today has already been done in the past.

            Around 2000, the first Greek speakers arrived on the tip of Balkan Peninsula and founded powerful states centering on citadels at Athens, Pylos, Mycenae (from which the culture gets is name), and other sites (Upshur, 38). The Greeks were Indo-European who played a more influential role in the world history.

The Greek city-states of the fifth century B.C.E. had achieved remarkable triumphs in their economic, cultural, and intellectual life, but they failed to overcome interstate rivalries and to unite their world in a lasting political organization. In the wake of the debilitating Peloponnesian War, no Greek state was powerful enough to control or rally the rest for any length of time. This situation changed forever with the careers of Phillip II (reigned 359-336 B.C.E.) and Alexander the Great (reigned 336-323 B.C.E.). The two Macedonian leaders enlarged the Greek world and dramatically changed it both politically and culturally (Upshur, 158).[i]

            Alexander the Great is known as one of the most successful military commanders in history. Alexander the Great was very educated; his father Phillip II hired the philosopher Aristotle to be Alexander’s tutor. He gained control of Greek army when he was twenty years old, but he suddenly died in his early thirties, which still remains a mystery. Some say that he died from being poisoned, and others say that he died from a mysterious disease. Alexander the Great was known as the first king to be called “Great.” After Alexander the Great father, King Phillip II died he was handed the throne, and he started his new empire, which became known as the Hellenistic Empire. By the time his father Phillip II had been assassinated, he was already a favorite among the troops. Alexander the Great was known for spreading the Greek civilization, culture, and language,

            Hellenistic empire is the influence of the Greek language, philosophy, and culture on Jews and early Christians. The Hellenistic empire was started by Alexander the Great at the end of the fourth century B.C.E. His conquest, which extended from India all the way through Egypt, was divided into three main areas within twenty years after his death. The two major areas that survived down to the first century B.C.E. would have been the Syrian kingdom, the Seleucid kingdom, and the Ptolemaic kingdom which survived in Egypt, which was finally taken over by Rome in 31 B.C.E. (Claus). [ii]

            Although wars occurred, an unprecedented level of cooperation among cities and among Hellenistic kingdoms brought stability and prosperity. Greek educators, artisans, merchants, and soldiers moved into recently conquered regions. Trade relations were more secure and extensive, and Greek language and culture pervaded the newly formed kingdoms, at least among the upper classes (Upshur, 163).

                        Most of the families during the Hellenistic empire were farmers, a remarkable growth in manufacturing and international commerce took place. Each region was different and had something special about them. From what I learned from reading the text Upshur it seems as though that the different things that were special from each region were passed among each other in different regions. Like the grain from Egypt was passed to Attica and the olive oil from Attica might have been passed to Egypt. They were all used for different purposes in different places.

            During the Hellenistic empire the religions were based on spiritual and escapist needs of the individual than to the promotion of civic responsibility (Upshur, 165).

            Being that ancient Greek still has many great impacts on our world today is what makes it so unique. Ancient Greek is also unique because it was made up of hundreds of Greek democracies. The Greeks expressed themselves in so many ways, through art, writing, and working to achieve all of the wonderful things that it is now known for. Ancient Greek has had many successful rulers but Alexander the Great was the best known ruler yet. On his dying bed when Alexander was asked who he wished to leave his empire to, he answered, “To the strongest.” I believe that Alexander the great was well liked and was good at what he did because he was very educated, strong, determined, and had a high thirst for power.


[i] Upshur, World History (Thompson-Wadsworth, 2005), 38, 158, 163, 165

[ii] Claus, Hellenistic Culture (WGBH educational foundation, 1998)

Bibliography

Claus, Lillian. Hellenistic Culture. New Testament of Yale Divinity School: Frontline

      WGBH Educational foundation, 1998. <http://www.pbs org/wgbh/pages/ frontline/

      Shows/religion/portrait/hellenisticcultural.html>.

Upshur. World History. U.S.: Thompson-Wadsworth, 2005

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