Which Classical Greeks Influenced Western Civilization?

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The classical Greeks influenced Western civilization by making numerous contributions in such diverse areas as science, medicine, philosophy, art, literature, architecture, engineering, mathematics, music, drama, language, and politics. For example, the Greek philosophers Socrates (c. 470–399 B.C.), Plato (c. 428–348 or 347 B.C.), and Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) inquired into the nature of the universe. The major Greek poets were Homer (ninth–eighth? century B.C.), who wrote epics (long narrative poems), and Sappho (c. 610–580 B.C.), who was famous for her love poems. Dramatists included Aeschylus (525–456 B.C.), Sophocles (c. 496–406 B.C.), and Euripides (c. 484–406 B.C.); writers of comic plays were Aristophanes (c. 450–388 B.C.) and Menander (342–292 B.C.). The classical Greeks also excelled at speaking. Among the great orators were Antiphon (c. 480–411 B.C. ), Lysias (c. 445–after 380 B.C.), Isocrates (436–338 B.C.), and Demosthenes (d. 413 B.C.). Herodotus (c. 484–between 430 and 420 B.C.), called the "father of modern history," chronicled the Persian Wars (500–449 B.C.) between the city-states of Greece and the Persian Empire. Greek scientists included Thales (625?–?547 B.C.), Pythagoras (c. 580–c. 500 B.C.), Leucippus (fifth century B.C.), and Democritis (c. 460–c. 370 B.C.). The physician Hippocrates (c. 460–c. 377 B.C.) taught that doctors could use reasoning to understand and cure illnesses.

Further Information: Baker, Rosalie F., and Charles F. Baker III. Ancient Greeks: Creating the Classical Tradition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997; Halsall, Paul, ed. Internet Ancient History Source-book. [Online] Available http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/asbook.html, October 20, 2000; Moulton, Carroll. Ancient Greece and Rome: An Encyclopedia for Students. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998; Nardo, Don. The Age of Pericles. San Diego: Lucent, 1996; Reid, T. S. "The Making of an Empire." National Geographic. July, 1997, pp. 12–39; Simpson, Judith. Ancient Greece. Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life, 1997; Weate, Jeremy. A Young Person's Guide to Philosophy. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1998.

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