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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

III. MINGLING OF EAST AND WEST AFTER 359 B.C.

Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


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Page 24

ORIENTAL INFLUENCE ON THE GREEKS

All this sudden increase of wealth, all the thousand new enjoyments with which life was now adorned and enriched, did not work wholly for good. With luxury there went, as always, laxity in morals. Contact with the vice and effeminacy of the East tended to lessen the manly vigor of the Greeks, both in Asia and in Europe. Hellas became corrupt, and she in turn corrupted Rome.

GREEK INFLUENCE ON THE ORIENT

Yet the most interesting, as well as the most important, feature of the age is the diffusion of Hellenic culture—the "Hellenizing" of the Orient. It was, indeed, a changed world in which men were now living. Greek cities, founded by Alexander and his successors, stretched from the Nile to the Indus, dotted the shores of the Black Sea and Caspian, and arose amid the wilds of central Asia. The Greek language, once the tongue of a petty people, grew to be a universal language of culture, spoken even by "barbarian" lips. And the art, the science, the literature, the principles of politics and philosophy, developed in isolation by the Greek mind, henceforth became the heritage of many nations.

THE NEW COSMOPOLITANISM

Thus, in the period after Alexander the long struggle between East and West reached a peaceful conclusion. The distinction between Greek and Barbarian gradually faded away, and the ancient world became ever more unified in sympathies and aspirations. It was this mingled civilization of Orient and Occident with which the Romans were now to come in contact, as they pushed their conquering arms beyond Italy into the eastern Mediterranean.

 

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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

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Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

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