Paper Example: Some Questions on the History of Western Civilization

2021-07-09 15:40:45
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Wesleyan University
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1. a) Explain The Meaning of The Above Statement.

Western civilization is a general term used to describe anything associated with the West, anything connected to Europe. The European cultures, ethical values, social norms, political systems, beliefs systems, traditional heritage, literary artifacts as well as the technological exploits that are associated, originated or influenced by Europe are all part of western civilization. Any country colonized by Europe, or had European immigrants, got influenced in one way or another, got assimilated or inherited the culture of the west, spoke European languages or have European demographic majority are all characterized by western civilization (Spielvogel, 2012).

B). In What Ways Are The Romans Quite Close To Us (The Inheritors Of Western Civilization)?

There are a whole lot of characteristics of western civilization which got transmitted to the nations which inherited this culture. The Romans, Greeks and the Jewish religions including Christianity greatly shaped the civilization of the west. The Roman Catholic Church was a major cornerstone in the development of the western culture since it instilled values, ideologies, science, and laws within its institution. That brings one of the important ways in which the Romans are similar to the inheritors of western idealism, religion. The religious belief especially Christianity was a crucial tool through which the Europeans spread their culture to other regions. The classical culture of Rome and Greece is another set of norms which the American elites also adopted before later redefining it in various ways to fit the American contexts. In the American perspective, the core principles of western civilization included the ideas of liberty, liberal democracy, individualism and the rule of law. Later, the literary culture and scholarly works which are still used up to date originated from the Roman intellectual traditions. Those are some of the areas in which inheritors of western civilization share commonalities with the Romans (Kurth, 2004).


What Did They Have In Common? What Made Them Very Different?

The three films: The Pillars of the Earth, Alexander Nevsky and The Return Of Martin Guerre, all carry some historical similarities differences. Ken Folletts The Pillars of the Earth is set in Kingsbridge, a fictional city in England in the medieval times. The 12th century in which the movie is set is associated with wars, strife, and a battle over the throne after the rightful heir dies in a sunken ship. One of the major components of this movie is the medieval architecture in building the cathedrals. It comes out that the idea of religion and worship of God attract great attention. Directed by Sergei Eisenstein, the movie Alexander Nevsky is a depiction of the life of Prince Alexander and his victories against the Holy Roman empires and the Teutonic Knights when they attempted to invade Novgorod. Eisenstein depicts how the 13th century was bedeviled by wars and allegorizes the strife relationship between the Soviet Union and Germany.

One of the points of convergence between Alexander Nevsky and The Pillars of the Earth is that both showcase the medieval times where wars and battles were the order of the day. The notion of religion appears in both movies but in different perspectives. While in The Pillars of the Earth tries to embrace a religious culture, Eisenstein relays very anti-clerical and anti-Catholic messages in Alexander Nevsky.' The swastika symbol on the miter of the Knights bishops was a sign of hate and racism in the west. The enlightenment period was the source of conflict which rivaled the religious beliefs. Similarly, Daniel Vignes The Return of Martin Guerre central theme is identity theft that follows a young man who left his village, traveled far to fight in a war. Martin who had been imposed had refused to return to his village before Arnaud, a man from the neighboring village took his place. Just like the other two movies, Vigne brings about the issue of religion. It becomes apparent that Arnaud was a Protestant believer and is executed as the movie ends for violating the norms of his beliefs. Therefore, religion and wars were common themes in all the three movies but explored in varied versions.

3. The Middle Ages Can Be Divided Into Three Parts - What Were They? (Hint - The First Part Was Called The Dark Ages - Why?)

The middle ages, also known as the medieval period was between the 5th and the 15th centuries when the Western Roman Empire fell giving birth to the Renaissance and the age of discovery. The three subdivisions of the medieval period were: the early middle age or the dark ages, the high Middle Ages, and the late middle ages. The early middle ages was characterized by large-scale migration of people, invasion, a struggle for survival, population decline, and the deterioration of the western civilization. The main reason why the early middle ages was referred to as the Dark Ages was as a result of the decline of the influence carried by the notion of western civilization. The competitors included enlightenment period, religion and intellectual development which radicalized peoples thinking and reasoning. The Dark Ages also saw the religion of Islam gaining prominence following the associations between the Middle East and North Africa which all united under Umayyad Caliphates rule (McKitterick, 2014).

The high Middle Ages was a period that was livened up by technological advancement as well as agricultural discoveries since so many European people had settled in various corners of the world through exploration. The economic growth and means of production improved in this period following various discoveries and innovations. The military and legal customs formed feudalism construct which enhances the social, economic as well as the political arena of the medieval Europe.

In the late middle ages, royalty-based nation states developed strongly replacing the declining feudal power. Together with calamities, plague and famine, increased wars reduced the populations during this period. Interstate conflicts, particularly between France and England, peasant revolts and civil strife, were all part of the late middle ages. Christendom faced a lot of divisions too as liberalism and reasoning set it towards the modern period (McKitterick, 2014).

4. A) What Is The Renaissance?

Renaissance also known as rebirth refers to the period between the 14th to 17th centuries when Europe began to see and understand things from new perspectives. It was a period of political, cultural, intellectual and scientific explosions in Europe. Renaissance was probably the most crucial era of human development following the fall of the ancient Rome. The evolution and flow of ideas within this period led to various explorations, diplomatic excursions, increased trade and even wars (Lucey, 2015, p. 94).

B) How Did It Relate To The Voyages Of Discovery, The New World, And Finally The Industrial Revolution?

The voyage or journey of discovery came in as a result of increasing intellectual advancement and ways of thinking. There were lots movements and navigations from one place to another. The discovery of the compass, speed, maps and ship building influenced the new ways of navigating the waterways such as the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. The invention of the printing press came in the 15th century, and, through ancient works such as Ptolemys Geographia, the Europeans learned the ancient geographical insights of Greece and Rome. New trade routes linked up continents making it easier to navigate. The governments funded such explorations for the benefits of the states involved. Explorers such as Chris Columbus and Vasco da Gama are some of those who took up the voyages of discovery (Lucey, 2015, p.116-134).

Having undergone the phase of scientific discoveries and the journeys across new lands, hunger for knowledge and intellectual fulfillments increased tremendously. The Universities came up contributing to radical thinking and humanist movements which greatly challenged Christendom and the subservience to the Catholic Church. The explorers colonized new territories, learned new cultures, discovered other continents and possibilities that challenged their foundations of their intellectual compasses. There was a whole new world out there.

The Renaissance was the foundation of the industrial revolution. The printing press was a product of the Renaissance that played a major role during the industrial period. Books and works of literature could be printed enhancing the spread of knowledge. What followed included the coming up of new thinkers, mathematicians, artists, poets, and scientists. Such people include but not limited to Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, and Johannes Gutenberg, among others. Therefore, it is prudent to say that the modern world was created from the Renaissance.

C) Three Important Revolutions In The History Of Western Civilization - What Were They?

Western civilization goes down the history as a major influence of change. There are various developments which came up with western civilization. However, the three most important revolutions in the western civilization were renaissance and reformation, enlightenment, and the Christian tradition. Renaissance gave humanity the industrial revolution and discoveries. The tradition of enlightenment progressed human intellectual, artistic, scientific and philosophical perspectives. The Christian tradition was the earliest channel of enlightenment. The modern era has borrowed a lot from the architectural designs of the ancient cathedrals.

6. A) Why Was World War I Called THE GREAT WAR, THE WAR TO END ALL WARS?

World War I was described as the war to end all wars. Few years before the First World War began, many writers including the British writer H.G. Wells and pundits marveled about how the war would eradicate all other wars. The main reason behind this opinion was because of the strength of army, weaponry, and influence of the German empire. The German military build-up was inspired by a corrupt industrial and political system, which without immediate eradication would bring more wars to Europe. There was a constant call for political and military collaboration by all nations pushing for a complete disarmament of the German empire to prevent further war in the European territories, and bring peace (Well, 2011).

B. Consider The Film All Quiet On The Western Front - Why Is This Film So Special?

The movie All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), directed by Lewis Milestone- captured the horrors and the harrowing accounts of WWI. It was a special movie especially in the United States because it came out as an anti-war movie. Outside the US, particularly in Nazi Germany, the film was banned as it painted Germany in a negative light which rubbed Hitler the wrong way (Milestone, 1930).

C) And What About The Poem DULCE ET DECORUM EST?

The Poem Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen did its fair share in driving the need to fight for ones country. Dulce Et Decorum Est was one of the poetries of the first world war which inspired soldiers to derive pride and fulfillment from fighting for their countries for peace and freedom.

B) And How Did It Happen That WW2 Followed So Closely After WWI?

It was unexpected that only two decades after WWI, the Second World War began. The aftermath of the first Great War caused a lot of political and economic instability in the whole of Europe. Germanys Adolf Hitler rose to power and signed treaties of collaboration with Japan and Italy to advance his ambitions to dominate Europe. In September 1939, the Nazi Germany attacked Poland after which the...

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