Essay on Significance of ancient Athens

Submitted By RobBasil2
Words: 425
Pages: 2

To the Greeks, we owe almost all our ideas as to the fundamentals of art, literature, and philosophy, in fact, of almost all the parts of our intellectual life. These Greeks however did not form a single unified nation. They lived in many "city-states" of fluctuating importance, and some of the largest of these contributed very little directly to our civilization. Sparta, for example, has left us some rich lessons in simple living and devoted patriotism, but hardly a single great poet, and barely a philosopher or sculptor. When we look closely, we see that the civilized life of Greece, during the centuries when it was accomplishing the most, was all centered at Athens. Without Athens, Greek history would lose three quarters of its significance, and modern life and thought would become definitely much more bland and poorer. We would not even be able to begin to imagine the difference in our everyday existence if it weren’t for the Athenians. The contributions of Athens to our own life are so important, because they touch upon almost every side of what was thought to be, and still is, all that is beautiful and true about ourselves. It is even truer that the results the Athenian genius’ developed deserve our full attention as any group of people. It is obvious such large figures like Sophocles, Plato, and Socrates were not isolated people; they developed their genius in the society around them. To understand the Athenian civilization and genius it is not enough to know what we know today, the wars, the…