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Why We are All Greeks: Three Times the World Adopted Greek Principles

the Acropolis' Parthenon made by Greeks , in  Athens Greece
The Third Hellenization Period began with Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 CE) whose work marks the end of the long sleep of reason from the time of Theodosius I through the Medieval centuries.Credit: Barcex/Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0

“We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religions, our arts have their root in Greece,” Percy Bysshe Shelley.

By Demetri Kantarelis, Ph.D. Professor, Assumption University

“Hey, we are all Greek!” I mean that, figuratively, we, all inhabitants of Earth, carry the Greek gene.

To a small or large extent, we are all connected by an inheritance thread bestowed on us by Ancient Greeks through Philosophy, Democracy, Athletics, Theater, Mythology, Science (natural, social, and organizational), Art, Architecture, and Literature among many more. In general, that would include all those universal fundamental ingredients needed to create an evolving and prosperous civilization.

Of course, the Ancient Greek thread is not the only thread that connects us. We are also connected through the inheritance we have received from existing civilizations (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Islamic, Jewish, Western), as well as non-existing civilizations (all listed in Ferguson 2011, 3).

Today, the world is experiencing the Third Hellenization Period which began in Europe in the 13th Century during the end of the medieval period.

This holds that Hellenization is the way of life based on general principles established or improved by Ancient Greeks.

This period, like previous such periods, is characterized by universal principles which guide us towards a common denominator in terms of a world structure for the benefit of all.

The differences between this Hellenization period and the previous two are numerous. First of all, the current one is global in its scope while its underlying principles are also adopted at increasing rates (oftentimes through violent means). Thirdly, the current Hellenization period is facilitated a great deal by (and evolves with) improvements in communication technologies (e.g., internet and social media) while improvements in transportation in conjunction with the spread of commerce, tourism, and sport and entertainment are also common features.

My second objective is to make an attempt at offering an explanation as to why Ancient Greek contributions are everlasting and growing in relevance. I believe that the Ancient Greeks detonated a freedom explosive, an outburst of ideas and principles which, as we speak, is still in progress, engulfing in its inferno, like an expending fireball, the modern open-minded, freedom-valuing world.

It is indeed remarkable that today’s free people base their evolving way of life on the increasingly important, practical, and rewarding formulae invented by the Ancient Greeks.

The First Hellenization Period

Greece Epidaurus theater
The Theater at Epidaurus. Credit: Hansueli Krapf/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The First Hellenization Period of the Western World ended with the unification of Greece
under Macedonian rule when Philip II defeated Thebes and Athens (and their allies) in the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BCE).

During the First Hellenization Period, Greece experienced four civilizations: the Minoan Civilization (with its center in Crete), the Mycenaean Civilization (mainland Greece, primarily Peloponnese), the Dorian Civilization (middle and southern Greece) and the Classical Greek Civilization (with Athens serving as both its center and main contributor.)

The First Hellenization Period was characterized by city states and, according to Smith (1960, p.87), by “the dissemination of Greek artifacts and customs through trade and colonization.” It was a period during which the Western World experienced the birth of sophisticated architecture and art as well as the first work of its literary canon, Homer’s epics. It was also a period interrupted by the so called Ancient Dark Ages (1200–750 BCE, triggered by the invasion of the Dorians who swept down from the North) to be followed by Classical Greece that gave us, among other things, philosophy, science, democracy, theater, and sport.

statue of Mathura Hercules in India
The Mathura Herakles. A statue inspired by the myth of Hercules and the Nemean lion made by local sculptors in 2nd century India. Credit: British Library Online/Public Domain

The Second Hellenization Period of the Western World started in 336 BCE with Alexander the Great and continued until 391 CE when Theodosius I the Great decided to suppress non-Christian traditions. The period was characterized by empire-building (Macedonian, Roman, Western Roman, Eastern Roman) and founded on, mainly, classical Greek thought.

As stated by Morey (1901, Chapter XVIII), “we might say that when Greece was conquered by Rome, Rome was civilized by Greece.” The Second Hellenization Period ended when, in 391 CE, Theodosius I the Great (347- 395 CE) instituted a series of decrees called the Theodosian Decrees suppressing non-Christian traditions.

Theodosius I the Great ordered the demolition of all ancient temples, sanctuaries, the banning of the Ancient Olympic Games in 393 or 394 CE, and most sadly, the raising to the ground of the Serapeum of Alexandria (inclusive of its rich library).

Theodosius I was called “The Great” because he managed to unite the Western and Eastern Roman Empires (the last Roman Emperor to successfully do so), and he temporarily secured the future of the Eastern Roman Empire through diplomacy while championing Christianity with the issuance of his “Decrees” against non-Christian traditions.

Theodosius I emperor of the Roman Empire
Theodosius I emperor of the Roman Empire from 379 AD to 395 AD). Credit: / wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Unfortunately, the foundations he built for the unity between Western and Eastern Roman Empire were not very strong; after his death the two Empires broke apart and never reunited.

“The Great” one, prior to his death, unwisely enthroned his two sons, Arcadius (twelve years old) to rule the East, and Honorius (eight years old) to rule the West. His diplomacy amounted to giving autonomy to non-Roman people, such as the Goths, in exchange for military assistance inclusive of troops and horses to fight for the Empire.

The unintended result was the creation of a separate nation within the Empire which remained a persistent danger to its internal stability. Some modern historians have intimated that this threat was a factor in the eventual decline of the Empire.

For example, in 390 CE the population of Thessaloniki rioted in complaint against the presence of the local Gothic garrison. The garrison commander was killed in the violence; in revenge, Theodosius ordered the Goths to kill all the spectators (about seven thousand) gathered in the local arena for a circus.

For this brutal massacre against humanity, “The Great” one was excommunicated by the bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose. Undoubtedly, the “Decrees” of Theodosius I against non-Christian traditions mark, as asserted here, the beginning of the medieval period which held back Western Civilization for about a thousand years. Likely, the Decrees were motivated by the inferiority of the non-Christian, Syrian, Neo-Platonism philosophy school in fashion when Theodosius I acquired power, led by the post-Plotinian philosopher Iamblichus (250-325 CE).

According to Cooper (pp. 384-385), “the post Plotinian so-called Syrian Neo-Platonism, […] diverged in momentous ways from the purely rationalist, traditionally Greek-philosophical spirit of Plotinus’s [and Porphyry’s] work. […] In short, for Iamblichus, salvation depended on pagan religious magic” which Cooper (p. 385, footnote 123) sees as rationalism’s “degradation and loss of intellectual nerve.”

The ideas of Iamblichus contradicted the prevailing way of thinking by Greek, Roman, and Hellenistic philosophers up to that time. He challenged the predominant philosophy paradigm according to which truth was a function of natural revelation or inference based on human observation. As Cooper (p. 387) eloquently puts it, Iamblichus challenged “philosophy, in the old sense, going back to Socrates and continuing through Plotinus, of a life led on the basis of, and exclusively from, a rationally worked out, independent and authoritative, account of reality (including an account of the nature and characteristics of divinity)”.

The ideas of Iamblichus could not compete against Christianity, as conceived by Theodosius I. Truth as a function of magic could not hold water—especially the kind of magic that is different from religion. Merrifield (1987) defines the difference between religion and magic as follows: “’Religion’ is used to indicate the belief in supernatural or spiritual beings; ‘magic’, the use of practices intended to bring occult forces under control and so to influence events; ‘ritual’, prescribed or customary behavior that may be religious, if it is intended to placate or win favor of supernatural beings, magical if it is intended to operate through impersonal forces of sympathy or by controlling supernatural beings, or social if its purpose is to reinforce a social organization or facilitate social intercourse.”

Unfortunately, the faulty transformation Iamblichus established contaminated the pre-existing philosophical paradigm which, as a result, lost its appeal, opening the road to the Christianity model of the times. According to the Christianity model of those times, truth was a function of supernatural revelation (divine communication of truth in which either the manner of communication or its content is beyond the capacity of human nature to attain).

Undoubtedly, the ideas of Iamblichus could not compete against Christianity’s powerful messages of hope, renewal, selflessness, compassion, justice, and forgiveness as well as unconditional love and therefore, justifiably, Theodosius I made it the mandatory religion for his people, subject to, as mentioned above, unwisely suppressing all non-Christian traditions.

The “Decrees” of Theodosius I the Great against non-Christian traditions, marking the beginning—as asserted here—of the medieval period that held back Western Civilization for about a thousand years, the killing of many people (inclusive of the seven thousand Christians in Thessaloniki), his imprudent treaty (diplomacy) with the Goths and the appointment of two minors as his successors, all serve as data against greatness.

One may wonder, why still affix the words “The Great” next to Theodosius I? Later, in 529 CE, Justinian I closed down the first university ever established in the history of humanity: Plato’s Academy. Although the second university ever established, Aristotle’s Lyceum, was no longer an active school at that time, and by then, Aristotle’s “positive” and Plato’s “normative” philosophies had settled, harmonically, around Neoplatonism.

Hence, when Justinian I closed Plato’s Academy, he closed Aristotle’s Lyceum, as well. In other words, he turned off “reasoning.” Without a doubt, the Theodosian Decrees along with the closing of the two schools in Athens, plunged Europe and the Middle East into literacy stagnation.

Plato's Academy Athens, Greece
Plato’s Academy archaeological site in Athens, Greece. Credit: Tomisti / wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Additionally, the millennium-long medieval period was marked by barbarian invasions (similar in havoc-causing to the invasion of Dorians in Ancient Greece), long wars, epidemics, decline of free trade, and atrocities committed by misguided Christian zealots, such as crusaders and various inquisitors.

The medieval epoch ended with the advent of various rebirth (Renaissance) occurrences which in some areas of Europe started earlier than in others. Regrettably, the contaminating ideas of Iamblichus and the subsequent Theodisian Decrees caused the disappearance of the pre-existing philosophical paradigm of natural revelation from the scene to appear again about a thousand years later through the teachings of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 CE) (1977, 1999). During its absence of reason, humanity experienced the medieval period or, as some prefer to call it, the Dark Ages. The timeline in Table 1 lists major philosophical paradigms and the corresponding Hellenization periods.

Table 1: Philosophy & Hellenization Periods

 Greece third Hellenization chart
Table 1. Credit: Demetri Kantakarelis

After Theodosius I and the fall of the Roman Empire, many Greek texts remained without a Latin translation thus triggering a decline in the West’s knowledge. Although interest and availability of Greek texts was scarce in the Latin West, Ancient Greek ideas, mostly philosophical and scientific, had permeated the Islamic World; Muslim conquests extended to the European continent.

Sicily and Spain were conquered by the Arabs at around 700 CE. Iberia quickly became the most heavily populated and thriving, materially as well as culturally, area in Europe.

One of the rulers of Muslim Spain, Al-Hakam II, gathered books from all over the Arab world, creating a library, containing Ancient and Roman works as well as contributions made by Arabs and many other people from the then known world, which ultimately became a center for translation into Latin.

Later, crusaders during the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204 CE), sacked Constantinople which gave them access to its rich libraries populated by Ancient Greek and Roman texts.

In turn, many of these texts were translated into Latin by William of Moerbeke (1215-1286 CE), a Flemish Dominican scholar and Philhellene, one of the most distinguished men of letters of the thirteenth century.

At the request of Thomas Aquinas, he undertook a complete translation of the works of Aristotle or, for some portions, a revision of existing translations, and it is noteworthy that he was the first translator of the “Politics” (c. 1260 CE) and of the mathematical treatises of Archimedes among many other manuscripts.

As asserted here, the Third Hellenization Period began with Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 CE) whose work marks the end of the long sleep of reason from the time of Theodosius I through the medieval centuries.

Later, especially after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 CE and the influx of refugee Byzantine scholars into Western Europe, the spread of Ancient Greek and Roman knowledge began to accelerate, thus strengthening the foundations of the Third Hellenization Period, as well as ushering in the fabulous Italian Renaissance and causing rebirth in other European countries.

Saint Thomas Aquinas played a major part in reinstating the rationalist tradition by intertwining it with Christian theology. By the time Aquinas began his literary work, a large part of Plato’s and Aristotle’s writings had become available in Western Europe.

Saint Thomas Aquinas
Saint Thomas Aquinas. Credit: Amuley / wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Although his philosophical orientation was dominated by Aristotle, he was aware of the vast scope of thought produced by the Ancients (translations into Latin by William of Moerbeke of Greek and Roman texts collected in Byzantine libraries) and the earlier medieval writers who were also influenced by Ancient Greek thought, namely: Saint Augustine (354–430 CE) and Boethius (480-524 CE); the Islamic philosophers and writers al-Kindi (800-872 CE), al-Farabi (872-950 CE), Ibn Sina or Avicenna (980-1037 CE), Ibn Rushd or Averroes (1126-1198 CE); and the Jewish philosopher and writer Moses Maimonides (1135-1204 CE) whose opposition to the Neoplatonism of al- Farabi and Ibn Sina significantly contributed to Aquinas’s understanding.

Thomas Aquinas was influenced heavily by Saint Augustine, who in turn, was influenced by the works of Aristotle (particularly his Rhetoric and Poetics.) Augustine, in both his philosophical and theological reasoning, had formulated an earlier synthesis of philosophy and theology by combining the Christian faith with elements of Plato’s thought, which he had discovered in the writings of the Neoplatonist Plotinus and his early and influential writing on the human will—a central topic in ethics, which would become a focus for later philosophers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Schopenhauer.

Prior to Saint Thomas Aquinas, thinkers wrestled with the problem of relating philosophy and theology, expressing this problem as the relation between faith and reason. Aquinas exerted a decisive influence by clarifying the precise questions involved, acknowledging alternative solutions offered by different authorities, and answering the major objections to his Aristotelian – Christian solutions. In this way, Aquinas perfected the “scholastic method.”

Thomas Aquinas believed that revelation could guide reason and prevent it from making mistakes while reason could clarify and demystify faith. By combining the philosophical principles of reason with the theological principles of faith, he became the chief founder of Scholasticism, the objective of which was the reconciliation of classical and late antiquity philosophy, especially that of Aristotle and Neoplatonism, with Christian theology.

He argued that Aristotle’s method of using reason and observable facts from nature to arrive at truth led to God. According to Aquinas, humans must use reason to understand “natural law,” which is derived from God. Scholastic philosophy was an attempt to put together a coherent system of traditional thought rather than a pursuit of genuinely novel forms of insight.

Greek philosopher Aristotle
A Roman copy of a Greek bronze sculpture of Aristotle. Tomasi reconstructs the faces of ancient Greeks using such busts as reference. Credit: Public domain

The content of this system was for the most part a fusion of Christian theology and the philosophies of Plato and, especially, Aristotle. Most distinctive in scholasticism was the method, a process relying chiefly upon strict logical deduction, which took on the form of an intricate system and was expressed in a dialectical or disputational form in which theology dominated philosophy.

For example, through Aristotelian thinking, Aquinas developed a proof of God’s existence based on the so called First Mover Argument. Namely, if every outcome has a root cause, how did everything commence? He pointed out that there could not be an endless process of action and reaction without a starting point.

Aquinas postulated that God was the One that started everything, the First Mover who set all creation in motion without any prior cause. Deductively, classic Aristotelian thinking postulated that Aristotle would look at a tree and ask what caused the tree? He would come up with all kinds of causes of the tree (climate, water, temperature, location, and sunshine among others) and conclude that the essence of the tree, the starting point of the tree and the first mover was the seed.

It has been said that Aquinas “Christianized” or “Baptized” the philosophy of Aristotle, but in the centuries that followed the renaissance to this day, there is ample evidence that Christianity was also “Aristotlized” by Saint Thomas Aquinas. According to Pieper (1962, back outside cover) “Aquinas reconciled the pragmatic thought of Aristotle with the Church, proving that realistic knowledge need not preclude belief in the spiritual realities of religion.”

“[T]he marriage of faith and reason proposed by Aquinas in his great synthesis of a ‘theologically founded worldliness’ was not merely one solution among many, but the great principle expressing the essence of the Christian West,” it was said. In other words, Aquinas taught us to seek truth as a function of both natural revelation and supernatural revelation.

The teachings of Aquinas found fertile ground in Europe, as one may infer from claims made by Chaney (2018) about pre-existing freedom-resembling conditions prior to the advent of St. Thomas. Chaney credits Campbell (2016) for tracing “the roots of Europe’s economic rise to the climatic and population shocks of the late medieval period” (Chaney, p. 643); in turn, he claims that there is evidence pointing to “abnormal levels of freedom that many of the Atlantic traders enjoyed prior to the Transition” (Chaney, p. 654); he enlists researchers who have asserted that the Iberian peninsula during this period was “essentially democratic” (De Hinojosa, p. 65) or “the freest society in Europe” (Thompson, p. 142); and that, according to van Bavel and van Zanden (2004), the growth experienced by the Netherlands “in the late medieval period may have been a product of the relative weakness of the mobility in the region” (Chaney, p. 654).

Consider Figure 1 adopted from Chaney (p. 650) and modified to include the Aquinas years. Chaney has plotted books held by Harvard University—the largest collector in the world—written by European, East Asian and Islamic authors against “t” where “t” is measured in centuries.

As Chaney (p. 650) explains, the graph shows “the total number of books held by Harvard University libraries that were written by authors from a given region that died in year t as a proxy for the level of development (italics added) in a region and year t. […] To be precise, East Asian sounding names are all names that are not European or Islamic sounding. The overwhelming majority of these are East Asian sounding.”

Figure 1 (*) : Harvard Libraries Book Holdings Written by European, Islamic, and
East Asian Authors

Books held by Harvard chart
Credit: Demetri Kantakarelis

According to Figure 1, if one accepts the number of books written as an approximate measure of economic development, then Europe wins, hands down.

The Aquinas years mark the beginning of a divergence that propelled Europe to high levels of well-being relative to other regions of the world. Without a doubt, the teachings of St. Thomas that came after the period of rapid economic development, which lasted throughout the 12th up to mid-13th centuries, injected more freedom in the hearts and minds of people, thus strengthening the “freedom” movements that had started earlier in the Iberian peninsula and the Netherlands.

Aquinas’ Truth as a function of Natural Revelation and Supernatural Revelation challenged, awakened, transformed, and empowered thinkers and propelled Europe to higher levels of well-being for centuries to come despite the many calamities that followed inclusive of unfavorable climate changes (little ice age and the famine it caused), the bubonic plague, wars, and totalitarianism.

The re-emergence of reason, after almost one thousand years since Theodosius I the Great unleashed the freedoms to think, write, learn, create, explore, and govern. These freedoms are still at work through the centuries, continually causing significant improvements in the well-being of Europe and beyond, and there is no way back!

Greek-Inspired Freedom and its Impact

For the Ancient Greeks, freedom was the basis of their civilization. They realized that
freedom to pursue their desires in conjunction with constraints (geographical, cultural, and legal), as well as balance of mind and body, would give them the capability to excel in whatever they set their minds to. This freedom sparked an unyielding endeavor for truth, perfection, and excellence and made them achieve phenomenal accomplishments which astound us to this day.

According to Gintis (2006), There is a model of human well-being compatible with the notion that we humans are complex adaptive systems, endowed by our genetic constitution with certain capacities, namely cognitive, affective, psychomotor, aesthetic, and spiritual, and an individual well-being depends on the extent to which we have developed these capacities and have the means of exercising them.

Happiness, in this view, is not what you have but what you are. Societies are judged, then, not on what material comforts they generate but on the extent to which they foster the development of human beings fully capable of exercising their personal capacities.

Did the Ancient Greeks attempt to create an environment (a society or civilization) conducive to enabling human beings to use their personal capabilities? Clues for an answer to this question may be found in Thucydides and his classic Funeral Oration speech delivered by the Ancient Athenian statesman Pericles in 431 BCE.

In addition to offering a how-to formula for the ages on what ought to constitute a funeral oration for fallen patriots, Thucydides describes morals, traditions, and customs of the times which are practiced even today in the West.

Most significantly, though, he points out that freedom is the factor that contributed to the achievements of Athens—a factor that is still in force today especially as it applies to the so-called Western nations which are classified as free nations relative to the rest of the world. Undeniably, freedom is one of those founding blocks of Western civilization.

Pericles (through Thucydides) starts by eloquently stating that those who fall defending freedom deserve the paramount honor and that the orator should be careful neither to disregard nor to exaggerate the achievements of the fallen defenders.

In turn, he states that freedom has given birth to a “greater than her reputation” Athens ready to die for resisting rather than to live submitting and that the power of Athens is freedom. He also claimed that happiness is the fruit of freedom, that freedom is the fruit of valor, and that freedom equals fearlessness and military advantage.

Pericles continues by declaring that it is best to remain free instead of imitating others and to govern with freely elected officials through democracy in order to lead free and enjoyable individual lives subject to ethics and the law while allowing for free and open discussion, purposefulness, and good risk taking. Wealth accumulation for use (not for show), anti-poverty efforts, and the practicing of genuine generosity were also highly admired. Pericles concluded by stating that “comfort, therefore, not condolence, is what I have to offer to the parents of the dead.”

The oration is similar in spirit to the Gettysburg Address delivered by Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the American Civil War. Both succeed in eloquently and innovatively honoring those who died and in inspiring those left behind to continue to fight for their causes.

National gallery of art Washington DC USA, influenced by Greek architecture
One of the many buildings in the USA influence by Greek Architecture is the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Credit: Alvesgaspar / wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 4.0

In revisiting the question posed above about whether the Ancient Greeks attempted to create an environment (a society or civilization) conducive to enabling human beings to use their personal capabilities, the answer would, broadly speaking, be a resounding ‘yes.’

Greeks unleashed three fundamental freedoms which enabled people to more effectively utilize their abilities: the freedom to think or reason; in other words, the freedom to critically think about everything from the human body and spirit to the entire universe. Greeks believed that everything is governed by an order accessible to human reason and the freedom to deal with nature, creation, and appreciation of beauty (natural and human- made) through the prism of subjective rationality and societal parameters. That is, the freedom to enjoy creativity and creations in the midst of the splendor of Greek scenery coupled with the freedom to endeavor gratification from nature’s aesthetics is paramount as is the freedom to undertake a spiritual journey towards a less restraining life through empowerment and metamorphosis.

These freedoms propelled Greece (especially Golden Age Greece) to classic. They established vehicles to evolve optimization rooted in morality (truth and justice), genuine happiness (honor, sacrifice, respect, and struggle against evil), as well as unique spirituality (to deal with, primarily, empowerment and the need for security and psychological comfort.)

At an increasing rate, these vehicles to evolving optimization are still used today, They constitute the well-known concepts of philosophy, democracy, theater, sport, mythology, art, architecture, medicine, and many more. Sir Maurice Bowra (1985), the eminent scholar and author, has called these Ancient Greek achievements “incredible,” as they reveal “Greece in its Golden Age [as] a dynamic, colorful, infinitely creative society based on the belief that action in all its forms was the natural end of men.”

There is an abundance of evidence that since then, these freedoms are enabling humanity to progress in an evolutionary fashion towards a new optimum subject to new knowledge and constantly adapting to timely universal concerns.

Following the initial surge of interest in classical learning and values, which brought us the early Third Hellenization Period, chiefly characterized by the renewed freedom to reason and explore, many discoveries and events followed that fanned the flames of change and progress, turning this latest Hellenization progression into an ever-growing explosion which today has been engulfing in its inferno at increasing speeds the whole world over.

It is also during this period that the Scientific Revolution gained momentum, and observation of the natural world replaced religious doctrine as the source of our understanding of the universe and our place in it. Copernicus (1473-1543 CE) upended the model of the heavens by suggesting that the sun was at the center of the solar system and that the planets orbited around it. At the same time, exploration, colonization, and Christianization of what Europe called the “New World” continued.

Suddenly, the World of the Europeans was a lot bigger, and opinions about it were more varied and more uncertain than they had ever been. Among the many discoveries during or after the early Third Hellenization Period that one may enlist, to mention some, are: clocks, lenses (eyeglasses, microscopes, and telescopes), the printing press, the compass, improved navigation, gunpowder, the submarine, the market system, scientific progress (e.g., chemistry), the industrial revolutions (from the first to the fourth), the airplane, and many more.

And among the many events, one may enlist the exploration of new lands (and outer space today), the end of the Hundred Years’ War between the English and the French, the writings of Shakespeare, and the Protestant Reformation.

Additionally, the West experienced the advent of the Age of Reason, the rebirth of Democracy, as well as the re-birth of the modern Olympic games. Undoubtedly, during the Third Hellenization Period, the World appears more united, increasingly morphing into a global entity, a more progressive, more compassionate, and more peaceful cosmopolis that takes advantage of the net benefits associated with all those valuable concepts contributed to the Ancient Greeks.

It seems that globalization [the rising interdependence of nations in terms of economics (free markets and international trade subject to some regulation), governance (mostly free democratic nations), and culture (continually liberated and amalgamated via social media, international sport, and entertainment)] has been fanning the flames of Hellenization across the known world especially since “economics,” “governance,” and “cultures” are all governed by freedom to reason, the freedom that gave birth to the Ancient Greek achievements and the freedom that still propels us today towards better understanding and higher levels of well-being.

Summary and Conclusion

In outlining the differences between this Hellenization period and the previous two, I concluded that the current period is one which is wider in scope and more of a global nature and which has adopted increasingly aggressive means of spreading its underlying principles through the added means of technological advancements in communication, transportation and the spread of commerce, tourism, sports, and entertainment.

In turn, I made an attempt to offer an explanation as to why Ancient Greek contributions are everlasting and growing in relevance. I stated my belief that the Ancient Greeks detonated a freedom explosive, an outburst of ideas and principles which, as we speak, is still in progress and further expanding.

It is indeed remarkable that today’s free people base their evolving way of life on the increasingly important, practical, and rewarding inventions of Ancient Greeks. In conclusion, I would like to point to the connection of the Third Hellenization to today’s globalized world through the rising interdependence of nations in terms of economics (free markets and international trade subject to some regulation), governance (mostly free democratic nations), and culture (continually liberated and amalgamated via social media, international sport and entertainment).

It seems that globalization has been fanning the flames of the Third Hellenization across the world especially since “economics,” “governance,” and “cultures” are all governed by freedom to reason, the freedom that gave birth to the Ancient Greek achievements and the same freedom that still propels us today towards better understanding and higher levels of well-being.

Demetri Kantarelis is a Professor at Assumption University and the author of the book “Freedom and the Third Hellenization Period.”

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