Ancient Greek Contributions Many of the roots in the Western civilization can be traced back to ancient Greece. They created long lasting contributions in the making of the Western development with their literature, drama, mathematics, philosophy, politics, and science. The ancient Greek contributions started from 1900 B. C. to 300 B. C. , but still have an impact on Western society today. As the Greeks expanded, they spread their ideas to other countries, while also receiving ideas from them.
The important contributions of the Greeks to the Western society were philosophy, politics, medical science, Olympic Games, architecture and mathematics.
One important contribution of the ancient Greeks was philosophy. Socrates was a famous ancient Greek philosopher. He believed that an unexamined life was not worth living (Document 1). This was known as the Socratic Method. Socrates thought that people should question everything in their lives. Because of his believes, he was put on trial for corrupting the cities of its youth and was later sentenced to death.
Another Greek philosopher was Aristotle. He was taught by Plato, one more famous Greek philosopher and former student of Socrates. Aristotle believed that human nature is most superior when guided by reason because reason is what makes human beings so unique (Document 2). He taught Alexander the Great, who later conquered Persia and established the Hellenistic civilization. This civilization created a new philosophy stating people should avoid disappointment and just accept whatever life brings them. Philosophy impacted Western civilizations by setting values and morals for everyday life.
A different contribution was politics.
The Greeks believed in democracy. Pericles’ idea of a democracy stated that people should be able to voice their opinion no matter what their social standings were (Document 3). He thought that every citizen should have an equal opportunity to serve the public and help make their political decisions. Pericles ruled during the Golden Age and founded direct democracy. A direct democracy is when all citizens can vote on any issue without going through representatives or legislatures.
Citizens were given the right to voice in their government. This type of political standing had greatly influenced Western governments. Another impact of the ancient Greeks was medical science. Hippocrates, the creator of the Hippocratic Oath, made a promise pledging that he would treat his patients and abstain from whatever is harmful to them (Document 4). In his oath, Hippocrates refused to give anything to his patients that would hurt them, but instead used all of his ability and judgment to treat his patients well.
All studying doctors in Western civilizations take the Hippocratic Oath vowing to do anything in their power to do what is best for their patient and it is mandatory to take this oath to perform any kinds of medical treatments. One more great contribution made by the ancient Greeks was the Olympics. The marble sculpture of The Discus Thrower (Diskobolus) by Myron shows that the ancient Greeks believed in the beauty of the human body and that they liked to maintain fitness (Document 8). The Olympics allowed people of different cultures to come together and compete in physical events.
Although in ancient Greek, only free white men were allowed to compete, Western civilizations allowed people of any race to enter. The Olympics allowed for cultural diffusion and tolerance. The Olympics are held every 4 years in Western nations. Architecture was another one of the ancient Greek contributions. The Parthenon’s pillars can be found in architectural buildings today (Document 7). The Greeks used limestone, marbles, and columns for their many public buildings that were showcased on top of the Acropolis.
The Parthenon was created by Pericles in honor of Athena, a respected Greek goddess. The use of pillars can still be found in society today, especially in the United States where pillars were used to create the White House, Capital Building, and Jefferson Memorial. Mathematics was another distribution made by the Greeks. Euclid was a famous Greek mathematician who created the Proposition 15, Theorem (Document 5). This stated that if two straight lines intersect each other, the vertical angles will always be equal.
Euclid, the writer of The Elements, opened doors to learning new concepts using geometry to all mathematicians and high school students in Western societies. The Greeks made an abundant amount of contributions to Western societies. They left democracy, philosophy, medical science, the Olympics, architecture, and mathematics for future developing civilizations. Pericles created a direct democracy which is still used today. Aristotle and Socrates gave future societies philosophy and encouraged them to question life and live a life full of reason.
Hippocrates created the Hippocratic Oath, which is followed by doctors today to ensure that they will only do the best for their patients. The Greeks left the Olympics, which created a way of competing with people from different parts of the world on physical activities. Government buildings were the result of the Greeks creating public areas for their gods and goddess such as the Parthenon was created for the famed goddess, Athena. Lastly, Euclid gave future societies mathematics by creating the Proposition 15, Theorem. Because of ancient Greek contributions, today’s society has flourished and reached its peak.