The Hammer and Chisel

Before Greece became one of the most influential forces in the origin of Western civilization, there were cultures, people, and intellectual institutions of thought that had laid the groundwork for Greek civilization to thrive.  Egypt and Persia gave impetus to Greece; it was the hammer and chisel, shaping and molding the sculpture of principles of thought that champions a forward progression.  The religious practices of the Egyptians and the political expanse of the Persians contribute to the advance and influence to the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece.

In respect to the religious practice of the Egyptians, the belief was strength and divinity of the gods was evident in the physical world (Sherman & Salisbury, p. 15).  Pockets of the population concentrated in and around the richness of the black soil of the Nile solidifying the notion they are in gods favor by the annual bounty received.  Connectedly, Egyptians worshipped the divine by peering towards the heavens, or the exhibition and representation of an endearing quality of an animal or insect.  Moreover, some gods were extolled over others; the esteemed gods were the sun – god Re (Ra or Amon), Isis, Osiris, and Horus (15).   Exemplary of the god worship, displayed an optimism of the Egyptians and the similarities of Greek god worship parallels the Egyptians.

The parallels of the Greek worship were chronicled by the writings of Greek historian Herodotus.  He inferred that poets, Homer and Hesiod constructed Greek religious system (48).  The representation of the gods tends to mirror the god worship from Egypt.  Hera is similar to Isis, Zeus is compared to Osiris, and Apollo is akin to Horus.   Both societies; Egypt with the preservation of order following ma’at (truth, justice, and order), and Greece’s practice in humility in knowing and identifying hubris (excessive pride and arrogance), were principles established to keep order and “were encouraged to understand and master their world” (49).

In the political arena, the Persian Empire emulates the ancient Greeks incorporating independent governing bodies akin to city – states.  The Persian ruler, King Cyrus the Great (r. 559 – 530 B.C.E.), would establish their city – states, called satrapies (conquered provinces) by containing local representatives and in stating governors designated as satraps (33).  Initially both societies ruled with force, but then evolved into attaining favor with locals by emancipating slaves, dissolving debt, and reallocating land (52).

Greece became one of the most influential forces in the origin of Western civilization. The Egyptian and Persian empire,  were the cultures, people, and intellectual institutions of thought  were the forerunners of Greek civilization.   Egypt; was the initiate and one the models used for shaping the religion and the Persians impacted the political culture of the Greeks.  The similarities between the cultures of worshipping gods plus the reflection and interpretation in man and woman contributed to the influence of the Greeks.

Works Cited

Sherman, Dennis.

The West in the world / Dennis Sherman, Joyce Salisbury. – 4th ed.


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