Western Civilization


Western civilization is a term that is often used to describe cultures belonging to Europe and the Mediterranean however this is only a broad outlook and describes the people and the cultures of so many different countries that it is hard to define exactly what Western Civilization is. The best place to begin looking is to go back into history and to the routes of Western Civilization.


Traditionally the Greek and the Roman empires are noted as the founders of Western Civilization. Both the Greeks and the Romans began their empires in Mediterranean countries and spread across the Mediterranean and European countries.

As the empire spread across the globe, other countries adopted their culture and their laws and gave birth to the idea of Western Civilization. Ideas of Roman and Greek culture include:

  • Democracy

  • Bathing

  • Literature

  • Science

  • Architecture

  • Philosophy

After the empires fell, and the countries included in these empires went back to a feudal way of living, the legacy of empire never faded away completely. Texts and pictures left behind show much of the way of life under Greek and Roman rule and this is what has been reconstructed into what is now known as Western Civilization.


Some Italian countries wanted to distance themselves from Northern countries. One way to do this was to create a history that was separate from the countries to the North and created a history that became known as the Renaissance. This created history borrowed ideals from the Greeks and the Romans and included:

  • Art
  • Mathematics
  • Inventions and Technology

The Renaissance created a sense of Western Civilization that was born out of the ideals of the Greeks and the Romans but also incorporated the ideas of the Catholic Faith that was governed by the Pope in Rome. These ideals they adopted, were meant to separate the civilized from the ideals of what was known as the savage East who worshiped different gods than Catholic faith.


Western Civilization is a term that has been invented and re-invented ever since the time of the Renaissance in order to create a history that suits the ideals of the people at the time. Italy saw the need for an invented history to create an identity that was separate from what they saw as barbarians. Today we still use the same term of Western Civilization to separate us from what we see as primitive races.

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