– Europe thrived between roughly 1500 and 1900.
– The European ascendancy appeared around 300 years ago.
– Europe reached its zenith at the beginning of 20th century.
A rough chart of flow of history:
Until 2000 B.C.E., Europe was in the Neolithic or New Stone Age.
Note: these two ages are symbolized by producation and usage of sharp tools, weave cloth, build living quarters, domesticate animals, etc.
Then, Bronze Age starts in about 2000 B.C.E. and Iron Age in about 1000 B.C.E.
At that time, the infusion of people who speak languages belonged to India and Iran came in, bringing in cultural infusion. All European languages today are Indo-European with few exceptions.
The first Indo-Europeans coming in were Greeks. They accomplished a lot. The followings are a brief list.
- Formation of tiny city-states.
- The first to write history as a subject distinct from myth and legend.
- Unique Values: order, balance, symmetry, clarity, and control.
- Looking for rational or natural explanations.
- Sickness are diseases rather than demonic possessions.
- Things are made up by atoms or elements.
- Development of the science of logic.
- Spread of its beliefs and cultures.
In 146 B.C.E., the Romans conquered many places including Egypt, Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, which became its provinces. It reaches internal peace and unity. It also at first possessed self-governing and republican institutions, and then it turned into a rather authoritarian government.
Roman judges regard laws as formed by “enlightened intelligence” that are “consistent with reason and the nature of things”. The laws also “favored the state or the public interest” rather than “the interests or liberties of indivdual persons”.
In 4 B.C.E. Palestine, Jesus was born and became a religious teacher. His main focus was to assist the poor, alleviate suffering, and help all those in need. He was ordered to be crucified, but one saw him revived after death.
Chrstianity first targeted the poor. Women also would like to join because it offered them more “autonomy and more opportunities“. Then it gradually reached upper classes. By the fifth century, the entire Roman was formally Christian.
Christianity played an important role.
- It taught that every human life was equal, sacrosanct and inviolate.
- It considered everything, even bad, as a spiritual beautiful.
- Christians protested against massacre.
- Only one God.
These doctrines influnced the Roman government because it leaves power only in a few people, and they would like to be considered as superior beings. St. Augustine, in 420 B.C.E., wrote City of God. He considered the existence of two worlds, “the earthly and the heavenly, the temporal and the eternal“.
This dualism leads to the escape from Caesaropapism, “a political system in which one person holds the power of ruler and of pontiff”. The escape leads to the seperation of political government and spiritual governements that lasted for a long time.