Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
The spread of Greek culture was done by many people including conquering civilizations. A few Greeks spread the culture just by living in colonies of the Greek Empire. Pythagoras left his home of Samos due to the tyrant, Polycrates, and settled in southern Italy. His geometry advances are still studied today. Xenophanes was placed in exile and made a home in Magna Graecia. His ideas in science about how fossils were made were very solid and influenced scientists thousands of years later.
Alexander the Great immersed himself in Greek culture. His early education was entirely Greek. He read Greek literature, and studied under Aristotle, which means that he was exposed to Greek philosophy. As he conquered civilizations, he inevitably took Greek culture with him. His kingdom carried Greek culture far outside Greek trading routes. As the Hellenistic Empire used Greek as the language to tie all colonies and areas together, it is not surprising that it survived into the Roman era. The Romans incorporated the Greek religion and philosophy. This was not hard as southern Italy had once been made up of Greek colonies. The Greek language was used by Roman aristocrats, and drama followed the Greek style. The Romans even absorbed some of the Greek ideas of government. The Romans extended their Empire even further, taking Greek culture with them. The Byzantium was an area once colonized by Greece. Much of the Greek culture influenced the Byzantines which led to influencing many in the Islamic culture.
The Greek culture was spread by conquerors and scholars. As they moved around the world, they took the culture and passed it on. From Greece to Alexander’s Empire, to the Hellenistic Empire, to the Byzantines and Romans, to the rest of the world the Greek culture still lives.
- Sarah B. Pomeroy et al., Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).
- “Greek philosophy : impact on Islamic philosophy,” Majid Fakhry, Routledge, accessed October 238 2010, http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/H011.