But is it? How did it evolve and what aspects of should we embrace and be proud of?
These history sessions will look at the current situation, then briefly explore those past cultures that have created our complex Western world.
Ancient Greece: it all started with the Greeks and their vast cultural agenda. Art, sculpture, philosophy, science and much more was developed by this squabbling, argumentative but lively group of city states and colonies, known as the Greek World.
The Romans: masters of war, engineering and administration. Their Pax Romana (The Roman Peace) was spread across Europe in the largest ancient empire prior to the British Empire. The Romans would colonize and civilize other cultures but would brutally suppress any rebellion.
The Italian Renaissance: The rich Italian city states of the thirteenth century rediscovered the Ancient World of the Greeks and Romans through their discoveries of surviving sculptures and ancient manuscripts. The result was a reintroduction of many of the achievements of these cultures that had been lost in the previous 1000 years. The Italians built on this foundation advancing both the practice of the arts and that of diplomacy in an era that was fractured by minor wars between the city states and the Papacy.
The Reformation: In the early sixteenth century Martin Luther started a vast religious movement protesting against some of the corruption and excesses that had developed in the Catholic Church. The succeeding growth of Protestantism turned many parts of Europe into mercantile hubs where vast wealth started to be made by a merchant class, while more austere religious and communal practices were adopted by whole populations in Northern Europe.
The Enlightenment: The age of science burst into being in the eighteenth century in England and France. Gentlemen ‘scientists’ started to look at the way the physical aspects of our world worked. In France the French Revolution in 1787 followed naturally from this development as the middle classes refused to accept the older corrupt rule of King, Church and nobles. This was the start of our era in which science and government would dominate our thinking and lead to Western democracy as we know it and the vast scientific knowledge that has changed our world and lives.
Discussion and suitable video and other images will be used to convey some of the key attributes of these major historical influences that have formed the Western world.