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Greek Influence In Western Culture

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I am not sure whether we do or do not all come from the Greeks; however if the question is referring to the way in which art/visual art, philosophy, history, music, economics, sports, theatrical events, science/math, democracy, and architecture of Greeks have had and still do have significant influence in Western culture, then perhaps the answer is yes.

The Greeks believed that music could have a deep affect on human behavior. They believed music to be important to people in their public life as well as their private life, but that music was even more important in the context of religion (p 50). Dancing, music and theatrical performances were important for telling stories. The Greeks saw the study of music as an important part of education and lifestyle. Plato believed that the molding of people’s character is directly associated with participating in musical activities. Aristotle, a mathematician, “believed that the numerical relationships, which linked the various pitches, could be used by a musician to compose works that imitated the highest state of reason, and thus virtue” (p 81).

Art/visual art is yet another important contribution of the Greeks to Western culture. Myron, a Greek artist, applied principles of proportion, symmetry, and balance to control the human form for creating a new standard of human beauty (p81). Greek artists work progressed to depicting the emotional responses of people in both life and death situations. Greek architecture eventually combined classical preoccupation with proportion and balance with realism; the result is sculptures that represent ideal beauty realistically.

Probably the most important contribution from Greeks to Western culture is in the field of philosophy. Greeks believed that creating a balanced society was possible but that it was dependant upon individual human beings ability to stay within what seem to be reasonable limits.



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