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The Western Tradition, Term Paper Example

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Term Paper

The Dawn of History

Old and New Stone Ages

Weber identifies the Old Stone Age as a period of time in which man evolved from monkeys to have opposable thumbs, learned to create flint tools out of rocks, and from these tools was able to physically adapt in a way where the skull did not require constraints on the mind like heavy jaws lines, and large teeth. These old Stone Age members transitioned from the fear of thinking to realize that thinking did not result in death. He identifies 10,000 B.C. as the Neolithic Stone Age, or New Stone Age. This is the moment when man developed a way from fertilizing and growing fruit, and society developed in response to bartering and commerce. The difference between these two eras is that the Neolithic Stone Age relies more on security and fertility. The people developed a complex set of rituals and traditions that they relied on whereas the Old Stone Age did not have a sense of security or community, but relied the necessity of survival to propel their actions and development.

Because the oxdrawn plow required strength it was genuinely used by men. Agriculture became a core part of human experience. Societies became patriarchal due to the fact that the ox-drawn plow could only be run by men and agriculture was the tool to spark social patterns, political institutions and commerce. Women were left to do most of the other work. Economic surplus, religious figures, and a working class are the three main factors that allow a society to develop. Lords created a culture of politics and competed with one another for power. They enlisted by divine right and order the working agriculture class to support them based on perceived power. With this support they imposed their will on society for more power and status.

Art joined commerce as a defining element of early human society. As noted in the book, “beginning in about 15,000 b.c.e., people in southern France and northern Spain painted extraordinary pictures on walls deep inside caves. (Sherman & Salisbury, 45)” This period was still considered the Paleolithic age. The Neolithic age started about 5,000 year later. Most of the cave paintings were discovered to have been created about 10,000 years ago. As the authors note, “Some caves show evidence of repeated painting over an astonishing span of 10,000 years, revealing the preservation of traditions over lengths of time that are almost unimaginable today (Sherman & Salisbury, 45).” Artistically the Neolithic age brought about and evolution of artistry from cave paintings to the construction of what was identified as megaliths. The authors identify early Europeans who constructed Stonehenge as an example of the artistry of the new Stone Age.

As early as 8000 b.c.e., there is record of Jericho elaborating about “2,000 people who lived in round huts scattered over about 12 acres” (Sherman & Salisbury, 46). Human social interaction broadened from small groups based on blood relation to include relative strangers. Evidence from the late Paleolithic Age shows that most people traveled short distances from home. Most people met up with members of other tribes, or clans and traded things like shells and flint tools, as well as stories. As noted in the text, “archaeological evidence indicates that shells and especially stone tools were often traded in places far from their original sites. (Sherman & Salisbury, 45)” Ultimately a system of commerce developed from this enterprise.

Slavery in the Ancient Middle East

As the authors note, slavery in the Middle East during this time was note recognized as a racial form of stratification but a system based on class that was seen as a part of the natural order (Sherman & Salisbury, 48). The authors state that, “Although slavery was part of ancient societies, it was a slavery that could be fairly fluid—unlike the slavery of the early modern world, it was not a racial issue (Sherman & Salisbury, 48).” Slavery was not a lifetime classification. They could work for their freedom and save money to purchase their freedom, and any child or woman born of a free man or child was considered free. The text notes that population increase empowered the slave trade. Population increase is identified as the driving force that fueled conflict and empowered those who were victorious in these conflicts. As the authors note, “there were more people to engage in battle and more rewards for the winners, who could gain more goods and enslave the losers” (Sherman & Salisbury, 48).

Domestic Animals & Middle Eastern Plants

Dogs became domesticated hunting partners in the Paleolithic age. In 8500 b.c.e., people first domesticated sheep as a source of food (Sherman & Salisbury, 46).” Domesticated animals provided so many benefits to human, like food and labor, the distribution of animals breed for domestication dictate which societies survived and which crumbled (Sherman & Salisbury, 46). About Middle Eastern plants, the text notes that, “The Middle East was home to the highest number of the world’s prized grains, such as wheat and barley, which are easy to grow and contain the highest levels of protein (Sherman & Salisbury, 46).” These plants largely attribute to why agriculture was such a thriving source of e-commerce.

The Ancient Egyptians

Egyptian Society

As Weber notes, because the climate was so arid in Egyptian society, isolating someone and depriving them of water could be their death sentence which because established as a form of commerce and punishment. Also because the region is isolated geographically by the Nile, Egypt is easily defendable against attack. Obalisques, temples, shrines and many architectural constructions common during Egyptian time can be seen in the modern world in the forms of monuments and statues, both in the modern society and ancient Greek society as adoption from Egyptian culture. The concept of Ma’at and its importance in Egyptian society was a significant part of the justice system. Ma’at was the justice and truth administered by the pharaoh. In the Old Egyptian era Ma’at could only be administered by the pharaoh, but as the new Egypt developed, nobles were allowed to interpret law on their own. At one point near the end of the Egyptian empire Ma’At was written down and this resulted in incidence where the Pharaoh’s word was no longer viewed as law and could be counter interpreted against documented law.

The song of the harpist reflects attitudes in New Kingdom Egypt in one specific way. “ Spend a happy day rejoiced n the sweetest perfumes…spare thought for nothing but pleasure, for soon your turn will come to journey to the land of silence.” This attitude reflected a decadent laid back lifestyle that resulted in the weak minded perspective shared by many Egyptians who did not want to contribute to military service, and ultimately resulted in their military losing numerous battles until conquered.

Egyptian Old and New Kingdoms

The textbook notes that the Old Egyptian Kingdom relied entirely on Pharaoh where as the new Egyptian Kingdom was much more independent.  The Pharaoh had absolute power in early Egyptian society, his word was law and he owned the land and the people. In the New Egyptian Kingdoms much of the Pharaoh’s land had been sold off, and his word was challenged by documented written law, and nobles were able to live high class lifestyles without ever engaging with the Pharaoh and their power was passed on to their children. The Egyptian Middle Kingdom ruled by Hyksos brought about different innovations, as the text notes, “The Hyksos brought with them a new technology of warfare (Sherman & Salisbury, 60).” The Hyksos people setup a kingdom in the Delta. The time noted as the Second Intermediate Period, extended from about 1785 to 1575 b.c.e (Sherman & Salisbury, 60).

Egyptian Trade

Nubia became the only reliable route around the Sahara desert. This was important because the route led deep into the African continent interior which had numerous riches (Sherman & Salisbury, 57). The ability to trade deep within the continent of Africa through Nubia can be attributed to much of Egypt’s wealth and power. The shift between being isolated solely, to expanding beyond limitations and opening up for trade was a process that the text identifies as the development of the Nubia path “Early rulers of Egypt marked the First Cataract as a natural southern border of their kingdom. However, later Egyptians pushed south beyond the First Cataract into Nubia (Sherman & Salisbury, 57).” It was through Nubia that a link between Africa and the Mediterranean was established.

The main thing Herkhuf’s journey proved was that Nubia served as a valuable trading hub beyond the Nile. After traveling far beyond the second and third Cataract, he returned with “300 don- keys laden with incense, ebony, oil, leopard skins, elephant tusks, boomerangs, and other goods. His bounty revealed that Nubia served as a trading hub for luxuries and staples far beyond the Nile” (Sherman & Salisbury, 57). Unlike the Mesopotamian valley, Egypt had access to mineral resources, like copper. These minerals were in high demand and could be used for tools (Sherman & Salisbury, 55).  Egypt was also situated to capitalize on trade with Nubia. Their access to Nubia gave them further access to trade with sub-Saharan Africa (Sherman & Salisbury, 55). “The artwork of the time suggests that many Egyptians took Ptah-hotep’s advice and established loving families during this prosperous era (Sherman & Salisbury, 55).” The authors also note that documentation for the purposes of organizing business and carrying out daily routines was established in the form of writing. This was also a great tool for communicating magic, “While Egyptian administrators surely had as much need for clear records as the Sumerians, they primarily used writing to forward religious and magical power (Sherman & Salisbury, 56).”Ultimately these practices are what allowed Egyptians to document a historical tradition of which they kept track.

End to Prosperity and Order in Egypt

As Egypt was an agricultural society and relied heavily on their crops, the end of the empire was brought on by climate changes that resulted in agricultural downturns, as the authors note, “At the end of the Old Kingdom period, the climate turned against the god-kings (Sherman & Salisbury, 58).” The specific cause of this down turn in agriculture was caused by a drought in southern Nubia. The drought actually resulted in a series of low floods in Egypt, that made crops fail, and people pillaged the countryside in a desperate search for food (Sherman & Salisbury, 58).” During these times where the Pharaoh’s authority decline, nobles exerted their own form of power, “and Egypt suffered a period of social and political instability called the First Intermediate Period (2181–2140 b.c.e.) (Sherman & Salisbury, 59).

The Middle Kingdom

The Egyptian Middle Kingdom ruled by Hyksos brought about different innovations, as the text notes, “The Hyksos brought with them a new technology of warfare (Sherman & Salisbury, 60).” It represented a transition from the old age to the new. It also represented a prime for Egypt. The Hyksos people setup a kingdom in the Delta. The time noted as the Second Intermediate Period, extended from about 1785 to 1575 b.c.e (Sherman & Salisbury, 60).

The New Kingdom

The god-kings, or Pharaohs, tended to focus resources on expanding the size of their empire through foreign wars. They built an empire that would erect a territorial barrier between Egypt and those who might pose a threat such as potential invaders (Sherman & Salisbury, 61), but as the texts notes, “such expansion always came with a cost. Rulers had to weigh placing resources into military expansion or into local projects (Sherman & Salisbury, 61).” This balance between devoting resources to local concerns verses the expansion of the empire resulted in a conflict of resources and ultimately would lead to the fall of the empire. As noted by the text Akhenaten initiated religious reforms in Egypt that have never before been attempted. The text states that, “he withdrew his support from the old temples and tried to dissolve the powerful priesthoods. Akhenaten also departed from tradition by introducing a new naturalism in art, in which he allowed himself to be portrayed realistically, protruding belly and all (Sherman & Salisbury, 63). After the death of Akenaten his successor failed to reinforce his religious implementations and when Tutankhamen died at just 18 years of age,  the general who succeeded him, pharaoh Harmhab, abolished all of the regulations Akhenaten had established and he destroyed his temples and restored the worship of the old gods (Sherman & Salisbury, 63).

Mesopotamia

Mesopotamian Society

The Mesopotamian’s created the 24 hour time clock and the seven day calendar, standardized writing, and methods of implementing measurements. They also created money. With the creation of a conventional standard of value, a way to measure that value and money, commerce was created and the Mesopotamian essentially eliminated the need for a barter system. Egyptian writing was the writing of the Pharaoh and monthly in the form of hieroglyphics in the form of images. The writing of Mesopotamia was standardized. Mesopotamian law stemmed from the need for business contracts as the two parties needed to accurately have laws and terms distinguished. The main difference is that Mesopotamian Kings wrote their own laws but the King was still obligated to abide by these laws. According to Weber contact with other civilizations had an impact on population and culture. He means that one could travel to other lands and find the influence of the culture in the forms of churches, minerals, clothing, and other items of trade. Weber’s explanation of the changing concepts of wealth due to the creation of money, wealth could be understood as an abstract concept, that he calls “generalized wealth.” He says money could be treated as capital and it could be sued to gain profit. When people lent money they could charge interest and make a living from lending money now that there was an abstract concept of value and wealth. Women had virtually no rights according to the code of Hammurabi. The text notes that, “women still remained largely the property of their husbands. For example, a woman could be put to death for entering without her husband a facility that served alcoholic beverages (Sherman & Salisbury, 53).” Women could also be sold into slavery if her husband could not fulfill his debts.

Sumerian Pessimism

Sumerian pessimism was a way of viewing life and death. Its core values can be traced to “An anonymous Sumerian poem of despair expresses the anxiety that came with this view of religious responsibility (Sherman & Salisbury, 50).” This anxiety that the text refers to comes from a very dark view of the afterlife. The Sumerians did not consider the afterlife to be an event to anticipate. The text notes, “Neither the Sumerians nor their eventual conquerors envisioned an attractive afterlife. They believed that the spirits of the dead went to a shadowy, disagreeable place from where they might occasionally affect the living, usually for ill (Sherman & Salisbury, 50).” In many ways the Sumerians were the first culture of exhibitionists, in that they embraced the present and did not dwell on religious concepts like preparing for an afterlife. The authors explain this by stating that, “Sumerians’ only hope for happiness lay in the present life, and that happiness hingedon capricious deities who cared little for humans (Sherman & Salisbury, 50).” This concept can be seen depicted in The Epic poem of Gilgamesh.

In the celebrated poem “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” the poet articulates this search for meaning in death while telling an engaging story of a Sumerian hero and his fortunes (Sherman & Salisbury, 51).” In the epic, Gilgamesh’s best friend Enkidu is killed and the reality of death effects the protagonist. Gilgamesh refuses to bury Enkidu. When the body starts to decompose, the king journeys to discover the secret of immortality. At the bottom of the sea, he discovers a plant that will grant immortality. The herb is ultimately stolen by a snake before he can bring it back to his friend. As the authors note, “Gilgamesh is left facing the reality of death and the equally important reality of the value of finding joy in the present (Sherman & Salisbury, 51).” The conclusion is very telling about the Mesopotamian view of the afterlife. Their pessimistic views depicted in the epic of Gilgamesh suggest that in this life and the next humans are destined to struggle endlessly. The authors note this was very similar to the Sumerian belief that the universe is difficult (Sherman & Salisbury, 51).

Hittite Society & Suppiluliuma I

Near 1650 b.c.e., a group of Indo-Europeans who identified themselves as Hittites established a kingdom in Asia Minor, now Turkey, and established their capital at Hattusas (Sherman & Salisbury, 54).  They would evolve into what would become the Turkish people after long bouts and interactions with other cultures specifically after the influence of Suppililiuma I.  He was a king whose military prowess significantly changed the Hittite fortunes. He came to power near 1380 b.c.e. As the text notes, “Suppiluliuma I (r. ca. 1380– ca. 1345) thought of himself as both avenger and conqueror, and he launched the Hittites into building an empire (Sherman & Salisbury, 54).” He established control of trade along the Euphrates by placing is cons in control of the nearby states.

From the Bronze to the Iron

The Iron Age & the Alphabet

Nebuchadnezzar II is responsible for defeating the Hebrews in Judah and Jerusalem, exiling them and enslaving the Jewish people and taking them to Babylon. Cyrus the Great was responsible for the expansion of the Neo Babylonian Empire. His influences is largely responsible  for adoption of Aramaic as the lingua franca, common language. The Etruscans were from Asia minor, and they were a society of mercenaries. They imposed their culture on barbarian natives by conquering different local tribes. As armies and slaves and skilled workers traveled more frequently and further, they adopted Aramaic. It is recognized a what Jesus and the Apostles actually spoke. It was the standard form of writing and speaking. This evolution of language was started by the Assyrians. Aramaic eventually evolved into what would be classified as the alphabet when the Phoenicians adopted it and then the Etruscans and the Romans utilized this form to learn how to read and right and use literacy as a defining form of classism. When iron becomes increasingly affordable and accessible, it democratizes the economy and becomes a common resource for many commoners, which also democratizes warfare and barbarians are empowered to challenge armies. This is recognized as the collapse of the bronze age.

Assyrians and Babylonians

The Assyrians were not just brutal in war. They relied on advanced military techniques, new to the ancient world” (Sherman & Salisbury, 71). Then they made legend of their military achievements through text, as the authors note, “The Assyrians portrayed their military achievements in their art as well as in their writings (Sherman & Salisbury,71).” They also were progressive in their use of Aramaic as a common language to facilitate trade. They were also historians in regards to keeping track of documented knowledge in the region that did not necessarily have anything to do with their culture. Babylonian rule did not mean the end to cultural appreciations like art and education, as the authors note, “The Babylonians also continued the Assyrian passion for art and education (Sherman & Salisbury,72).” The Babylonians also became known for their architecture as it was creative and progressive but also demonstrated their fortune. “Kings used their new wealth not only to decorate their cities, but also to foster learning. Within the cosmopolitan city, Babylonian priests excelled in astronomy and mathematics (Sherman & Salisbury, 72).” Despite the cultural expansions and innovations Babylonian rule was not admired by its subjects but resented severely by the people (Sherman & Salisbury, 73).

The Reign of Sargon

As a leader Sargon exemplified power and prestige. He used religion as a tool to unite the people. This can be specifically seen in the act of appointing his daughter, Enheduanna, as high priestess of both the Akkadian and Sumerian goddesses (Sherman & Salisbury, 50). He constructed statues as a form of propaganda for the people to imply more power than he may have possessed, but to build his legend. The text notes, “His bronze head statues depicting Sargon were designed to show the power of this great king. His long beard, carefully curled, was a symbol of masculine strength, and he wears a band around his head showing his royal office (Sherman & Salisbury, 50).” He is most credited as being a ruler who exemplified power.

King Solomon

King Solomon loved many foreign women, which was against his faith. He loved the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammomite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women. In the biblical text spoke against this stating  about women of other nations and faith that, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love (Sherman & Salisbury, 67).” This is largely credited Solomon’s downfall in the future, as noted in the text when the authors say, “For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father (Sherman & Salisbury, 67).” In addition to a positive cultural presence, the Queen brought many resources and gifts to Arabia that would eventually spark a taste and open up a market of trade for these for certain items. The texts notes, “She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind (Sherman & Salisbury, 67).” Here they point out that she also brought information to Solomon in a way this was an example of diplomatic exchange needed for political prosperity. This interaction between the two was an even exchange as the authors continue on to point out, “and Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he could not explain to her (Sherman & Salisbury, 67).” This is another example of the prominent influence women played on Solomon’s success.

Hebrew Covenant

The Hebrew covenant was established when Moses liberated his people from Egyptian rule, as the texts notes, “During that time, Moses bound his people to God in a special covenant, or agreement, through which the Jews would be God’s “chosen people” in return for their undivided worship (Sherman & Salisbury, 67).”It was necessary for the Hebrew God to be a jealous God as the authors point out that, “Hebrews were not strictly monotheistic, for they believed in the existence of the many deities of their neighbors (Sherman & Salisbury, 68).” This means that in order to make the transition for polytheism to monotheism, it was necessary for the Hebrew God to be jealous and spiteful towards that jealousy. The Hebrew religious tenants ultimately shaped the moral compass for the Western World. Despite the fact that there have been numerous monotheistic faiths that have spawned from Hebrew beliefs, they share similar core tenants that can be attributed to a Hebrew contribution to western civilization. The authors say, “In times of social distress, they became the conscience of Israel, and in turn they helped shape the social conscience that was to become part of Western civilization” (Sherman & Salisbury, 68). In a nutshell they are saying that Hebrew’s main contribution to Western Civilization is a shared conscience.

The Rise of Greek Civilization

Greek Civilization

The Iliad tells how the Greeks besieged and destroyed Troy in the Trojan War. The Odyssey tells what happened after the Iliad and follows the hero Odysseus. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey are credited for showing how brutish the world was at the time. The Greek Dark Ages were violent and bloody, and men didn’t live long. The epics the Iliad and the Odyssey are considered to be credible depictions of this lifestyle. The Greeks defeated the Persians in Marathon and Plataea. This was what the Greeks called polis, the expansion of their community. Polis was considered a common Greek spirit, that whenever one Greek made an accomplishment they all made that accomplishment.

Minoan and Mycenaean Civilizations

Minoan architects constructed palace rooms of different sizes that had random designs (Sherman & Salisbury, 84).The Minoan architects implemented the use of specific god’s and goddesses in their statues to imply certain themes and motifs. As noted in the text, “Many statuettes from Crete showing goddesses holding snakes suggest that the predominant Minoan deity was a fertility goddess (Sherman & Salisbury, 84).” By 1600 b.c.e., the Mycenaean people were increasingly defined by Minoan influences. The Minoans developed a wealthy, hierarchic society grounded in the central region of Mycenae (Sherman & Salisbury, 85). After 1200 b.c.e., the Mycenaean civilization crumbled. As the text notes, the Greeks credited the Trojan War for this downfall. The argument was that the war supposedly kept the Mycenaean leaders and soldiers away from home for so long, but this argument is conflicted by the fact that archaeological findings show that after the Trojan War, the highly structured lifestyle Greece broke down (Sherman & Salisbury, 85).“Whatever the cause, the center of Aegean civilization passed to the earliest Greeks, whom we call the Mycenaeans (Sherman & Salisbury, 85).” After Minoan society was destroyed in about 1450 b.c.e., the Mycenaeans took over as the commercial masters of the Mediterranean. As their wealth increased, so did the complexity of their governing system, which had a hierarchy of kings, nobles, and slaves (Sherman & Salisbury, 85).”“Unlike Minoan palaces, these structures were walled, indicating to archaeologists that there was a great deal of warfare to necessitate defensive fornications (Sherman & Salisbury, 85).”

As the authors note the location of Ionia is much more significant “In this bustling urban center, travelers from the New Babylonian Empire, Egypt, and Greece mingled and shared ideas. By the seventh century b.c.e., these Ionian Greeks had already learned much from their Asian neighbors (Sherman & Salisbury, 90).” Thales’ skill as a teacher was renowned, and made him a much-sought-after teacher who could explain the Babylonians’ arcane mathematical wisdom to ordinary people and extend that learning to a new generation (Sherman & Salisbury, 90).”

As the text notes, the strict segregation of men and women through their lives may have contributed to misunderstandings (Sherman & Salisbury, 94).”Greeks also believed that the male-male relationship offered the highest possibility for love. They saw this tie as bringing out the best in each partner, making both braver and nobler (Sherman & Salisbury, 94).” On the nature of women performing homosexual acts, the text noted, “We have fewer examples of women engaging in homosexual behavior, probably because their lives were conducted in privacy and were not recorded in as many historical documents (Sherman & Salisbury, 94).” It’s noted that women had very few rights in the city, but, “while respectable women stayed carefully indoors, some women—slaves or foreigners—who had no economic resources or family ties became prostitutes and courtesans who shared men’s public lives at dinners and drinking parties (Sherman & Salisbury, 94).” This was a common condition for women to endure within most cultural communities.

Greek Democracy

For Athenians, the reality of a developing democratic form of government was difficult. By 700 b.c.e., Athenian aristocrats setup a form of government that permitted them to run and control the growing city (Sherman & Salisbury, 95).” In regards to Sparta’s politics, the authors note that, “Authority was carefully kept in the hands of the elders. In this oligarchy, citizen representation was guided by age and experience (Sherman & Salisbury, 97).” This was a type of government, and many outsiders admired Sparta’s “mixed constitution” that seemed to balance democracy with oligarchy.” Greeks adopted many Spartan tenants in their form of Democracy. The political practice of the Greeks and their form of Democracy is widely documented. For example, every year, Athenians could vote for the person whom they viewed as the most dangerous to the state. They did this by writing the name on a scrap of pottery called an ostracon. “If a man received 6,000 votes, he was sent into exile for ten years (Sherman & Salisbury, 96).” The authors also note that, “Because men concentrated on their military activities, women handled most of the household arrangements and had wide economic powers. They attended contests to cheer the brave and mock the losers, but they were not simply spectators (Sherman & Salisbury, 97).” Here the authors make a subtle joke pointing out that the Athenians were even democratic about how they decided whether competitors in the coliseums would live or die.

Greek Impiety

The Greeks worshiped humanlike gods and goddesses, who they also revered.  them, and accusations of impiety always hovered on the borders of scientific inquiry (Sherman & Salisbury, 91). In order to be scientific there was an act of impiety towards the deities. The text notes that, “The same culture that produced impressive thinkers like Anax-agoras and Socrates (whom we met at the beginning of this chapter) sometimes recoiled from the results of their studies” (Sherman & Salisbury, 91). These great thinkers, ‘recoiled’ from their thinking for fear that it might upset the Gods or even worse upset society that worships them.

Greek Thought

Progressive Greek Thought

Plato opposed Sophists. He viewed them as deceptive, greedy people who used rhetoric and ambiguity to promote fallacy. Plato believed that sophists were willing to follow arguments wherever they would lead. Socrates’ method for determining truth was to question everything.

Socrates never accepted payment for his teaching to avoid to be titled as a sophists, but his method of finding truth was the sophist practice of questioning everything, and being free thinking. Callicles believes in what he calls “Realpolitik.” His dialogue in Plato’s Gorgias, promotes the concept that the strong should dominate the weak and that it is unjust for the weak to put in place laws to limit the strong, who gained their power not through the assistance of the God’s but through investing energy in their own self interests. Thrasymachus counteracts this view in that he feels justice is to the advantage of the strong, and it’s corrupt, so there is really is no justice. Xenophanes believed that human characteristics could be attributed to the gods, such as adultery, theft and deception. The sacred disease was Hippocrates’ revolt against the idea that disease and sickness was acquired through some divine force handed down by the Gods.

Plato and Aristotle

Plato is most known for his belief that truth and justice existed only as ideal models, or “forms,” and that a person could only manifest those realities to a limited extent (Sherman & Salisbury, 108). In many ways Plato was driven intellectually by a core belief in a divine correctness that could be pursued as the text notes, “For Plato, the goal of philosophical inquiry was to find the abstract and perfect “right” that was so elusive in this world (Sherman & Salisbury, 108).” Aristotle differed in that through his practical observation, he split knowledge up into bodies of study. This format remained the organizing principle of learning for over a thousand years. As noted in the text, “he said there were three categories of knowledge: ethics, or the principles of social life; natural history, the study of nature; and metaphysics, the study of the primary laws of the universe (Sherman & Salisbury, 108).”

Hippocrates’ Contributions to Medicine

Hippocrates (ca. 460–ca. 377 b.c.e.), is considered the father of modern Western medicine. He was once quoted as saying, “every disease has a natural cause, and without natural causes nothing ever happens (Sherman & Salisbury, 111).” This was a major progression for medicine because it was the first time anyone rejected the belief that illness was caused by spirits (Sherman & Salisbury, 111).  His respected philosophies on medicine are what modern medicine can attribute its use of the Hippocratic Oath. He popularized the practice of medicine as a rational science through his publication and distribution of the Hippocratic Collection, which was compiled between the fifth and third centuries.

Peloponnesian War and Their Impact on Greece

At the end of the Peloponnesian War, Athens surrendered. A condition of this surrender was that they had to agree to break down their defensive walls and reduce the size of their fleet to just twelve ships (Sherman & Salisbury, 111).These terms resulted in the end of the Athenian Empire, “but also erased any possibility for a politically united Greece (Sherman & Salisbury, 111).” Some minor results were that more Greeks served as mercenaries and there was heightened completion among them.

Alexander the Great

In regards to the assassination of Philip II of Macedonia, it is noted that, “Because of insufficient evidence, historians have never ascertained the full reasons for Philip’s assassination (Sherman & Salisbury, 118).” The event is documented as happening during in 336 b.c.e., during the wedding of Alexander’s sister named Cleopatra. Philip was being escorted by his son, the bridegroom, and his body guard when one of his former companions who had felted slighted by Philip, stabbed him. The companion was Pausanias. Immediately upon stabbing Philip Pausanias tried to escape, but fell and was stabbed by a guard (Sheran & Salisbury, 118). “He himself married the daughter of Darius and Roxane, the daughter of an Asian tribal king who ruled near modern-day Afghanistan (Sherman & Salisbury, 121).” This was proof of Alexander’s progressive thinking.“Alexander’s cultural blending disturbed those upper- crust Greeks and Macedonians who saw themselves as conquerors rather than as equals among the subject peoples (Sherman & Salisbury, 122).” Alexander’s legacy was a cultural one where he improved social relations between Greeks, Macedonians and Asians. His influence is most accurately assessed in the bridge he created between Greek culture and Asia. In the cities he conquered he spread the tenants of Greek culture by setting up city centers. The texts states that, “He intended these urban centers in part to re-create the Greek city life that he and his father had so admired (Sherman & Salisbury, 121).” In Asia, Alexander made very clear he supported the intermarriage of Greeks and Macedonians with Asians (Sherman & Salisbury, 121). His legacy “included more than his political conquests—which in some regions hardly outlasted the young king himself (Sherman & Salisbury, 122).” Alexander the Great’s influence on the expansion of Greek culture as well as the globalization of the Western tradition is unprecedented in history.

The Hellenistic Age

Egypt Under the Rule of the Ptolemies

Ptolemy and his successors ruled as the god-kings of Egypt for three hundred years as they were seen as the only defense from Alexander and other generals attempting to take their land (Sherman & Salisbury, 22).”There were many brother-sister marriages, similar to those of ancient Egypt and women had more power than normal due to this blood affiliation (Sherman & Salisbury, 123). As noted in the text “Under the Ptolemies, the port city of Alexandria became the premier city of the Hellenistic world. For all its commercial value, Alexandria under the Ptolemies also became an intellectual and cultural center (Sherman & Salisbury, 124).” The final act which led to prosperity in the land was that the young ruler reduced taxes on peasants and increased payments to priests (Sherman & Salisbury, 124). After Alexander’s death, Seleucids settled 20,000 Macedonian colonists in Syria and Asia Minor (Sherman & Salisbury, 126). These colonists were granted considerable farmland because they were seen as a military resource in times of war. This resulted in the kings who gave away this land receiving support from the elites of the society (Sherman & Salisbury, 126). After the conquest of Alexander, the poleis relaxed their notions of citizenship. This meant immigrants, freed slaves, and the poorer members of society became citizens. This also meant there was less affiliation with cities as a point of origin (Sherman & Salisbury, 127). Many jobs were given to outsiders, such as Greeks, who did not have a connection with the city and governed positions of power with no thought of the poor. (Sherman & Salisbury, 127).

Use of War Elephants

Macedonian influence extended beyond just religious or cultural adaptations from the east, but in military as well. “The Macedonian armies were also influenced by their contact with the far eastern provinces. For example, in these distant lands they encountered war elephants for the first time (Sherman & Salisbury, 129).” The use of horses in battle was helpful in the mountains but as the authors note here in the field elephants provided an unprecedented advantage. “Just as horses had offered mounted warriors advantages of mobility and reach over foot soldiers, soldiers mounted on elephants had an even greater military advantage (Sherman & Salisbury,129).” The main advantage was that Macedonian warriors could stampede their victims.

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