Home > 2011 Posts > Bearing Gifts

Bearing Gifts

To me, Greece is different from any other place on the planet. And while it’s true that the country’s unique geography and countless classical archaeological sites can’t be found anywhere else, far more unique is the scope and depth of its impact on modern humanity.

A temple in ancient Corinth

As my favorite historian, Will Durant, put it in his unrivaled work, The Life of Greece:

“Excepting machinery, there is hardly anything secular in our culture that does not come from Greece. Schools, gymnasiums, arithmetic, geometry, history, rhetoric, physics, biology, anatomy, hygiene, therapy, cosmetics, poetry, music, tragedy, comedy, philosophy, theology, agnosticism, skepticism, stoicism, epicureanism, ethics, politics, idealism, philanthropy, cynicism, tyranny, plutocracy, democracy: these are all Greek words for cultural forms seldom originated, but in many cases first matured for good or evil by the abounding energy of the Greeks.”

Fallen columns in Olympia

I see the paragraph above as hard fact. From everything I know, it is true in Bhutan and Chad and Paraguay and Somalia and Yemen and across any part of the globe touched by the modern world. Further, it seems to me a safe assertion that one cannot write a similar paragraph about any other culture that has had even half, and probably not a 10th, the civilizing impact on humanity as a whole.

If you know of one, I’d appreciate the chance to read it.

  1. March 28, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Greece is my favourite destination and this year I will be back packing in the Cyclades. Have you been to Delos?

    • March 28, 2011 at 9:29 am

      Yes. We spent a day in Delos awhile back and plan two more as soon as we can, hiking the island. For us, Delos is very close to Archaeology Geek Heaven! And staying the nights and other days on Mykonos seems to be just about the best of the Aegean as well. Have a wonderful trip. Will you be posting tidbits about your adventures?

  1. February 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm

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