European History Thursday 9

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History
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GO EUROPE ! European culture & identity

Cultural history of Europe A ‘Brief’ Introduction Thursday, January 9th 2014

Main elements of culture / civilization: 1.

Religion  e.g. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism


History, shared past  Western history, Arab history, Russian etc.


Language, the language families  e.g. Indo-European, Turkic, Semitic, etc.


Ethnicity  e.g. Bantu, Chinese, Caucasian, etc.


Self-identification  `us'  `them', ingroup  outgroup

Dominant religions in Europe

Civilizations are closely connected to the great religions: `culture is religion’, basically

Three Era’s: Ancient, Medieval, Modern



0-500 AD Greco-Roman world Birth of Christianity



500-1500 Holy Roman Empire & Islamic empires Spread of Christianity & Islam



1500-2000 Age of Empires Reformation & Enlightenment

• • • • • •

3a. Modern/Contemporary 1900-present Nation states Global Christianity & Islam, Western secularism

• •

1. Antiquity 0 - 500 AD • Greco-Roman world • Birth of Christianity

The basics: European civilization = legacy of the Roman Empire (Greco-Roman world)

Roman bridge in Maastricht

The Greco-Roman legacy = modern Europe: 1. Religion: Christianity (= the Greco-Roman religion) 2. Language: Latin alphabet, Latin concepts

3. Public order: rule of law, citizenship, republic/monarchy 4. Science and philosophy (Greek) 5. The Arts: literature, drama, painting, sculpture, architecture, music

The Latin Alphabet

Latin + Romania (19th C.) + Turkey (1928)


Greek, Arabic, a.o. alphabets

`Oriental’ traditions with their own alphabets:

Greek alphabet

Cyrillic alphabet

Georgian alphabet

Armenian alphabet

Hebrew alphabet

Arabic alphabet

Alphabets worldwide: green = Latin, red = Cyrillic, blue = Arabic, black = own types, yellowgreen = Brahman, grey = NO alphabet

The Western Roman Empire collapsed during the `Age of Invasions’ (5th Century), followed by a series of Barbarian successor states (Goths, Franks, Alemans, a.o.)

2. Middle Ages


• Holy Roman Empire & Islamic empires • Spread of Christianity & Islam

Expansion of Christianity + Islam Untill the Great Schism of 1054 Rome + Byzantium + Monophysites + Nestorians

The different European civilizations = are all a consequence of big “schisms” within Christianity


Eastern Christians convert en masse to Islam


Christian minorities: Copts, Maronites, Church of the East (now in trouble within Syria and Egypt)


The Great Schism: Rome versus Orthodoxy Greco-Catholics unite with Rome


The Reformation: Protestants secede from Rome Evangelicals and Pentecostals Secularism: especially within Western Protestantism

1054 (16th+17th C.)

1517-1648 (19th+20th C.) (20th C.)

Civilizations since Middle Ages: Latin West, Byzantine East, Islam

Latin = the West

India, China, Japan

Japanese = Shinto

Chinese = Confucianism Arabic = Islam

Sanskrit = Hinduism

Afther the fall of Rome (476), the [Eastern half of the] Roman Empire continues, becoming ever more `Greek’ in the process = `Byzantium’ (untill 1453)

The `Church of Holy Wisdom’ (hagia sofia), Aya Sofya, built 532-537 and model for all mosques - and many churches - worldwide

The Moscow Kremlin (Uspensky Cathedral) was literally considered the “Third Rome” – and czars yearly conducted the divine emperors’ rituals, representing Christ on Earth

The Orthodox half of Europe: from Athens to Vladivostok

3. Modern 1500-2000

• Age of Empires • Reformation & Enlightenment

Protestant Reformation, 1517-1648

Connections between Protestantism and Enlightenment

PROTESTANTISM Priesthood of believers Right of individual conscience


MODERNITY Egalitarianism

Revolt against Papal authority Scripture as the highest authority

Right to revolution

Christian Liberty (internal)


Voluntary Covenant


The split into Protestant sects

Religious Toleration

No celibacy, married priesthood

Women's Liberation

"Protestant ethic" Election Predestination


Congregation as ultimate authority


Translation of Scripture into the vernacular


Europe’s Latin civilization created `The West’ and Western Civilization

3a. Modern/Contemporary 1900-present

• Nation states • Global Christianity & Islam, Western secularism

Europe AD 1900

Europe AD 2000

`Unification of Europe’, 1939-1945, by the `Third Reich’

Cold War: `the West’ versus `the East’


In summary: European culture is the outcome of:

(1.) Greek-Roman legacy: • Christianity: • `time and eternity’ perspective • the conscience: individual’s freedom/equality • concept of `society’ (congregation) • Public order: rule of law, citizenship, republic/monarchy • Classical arts & literature • Classical philosophy • Latin (Alphabet, Concepts of all Western languages) (2.) European Middle Ages (c.500-1500): • Latin (Catholic) Christianity = ‘Western Church’ • Monasteries, churches • Universities (Theology, Philosophy, Law) • Public order: concept of the `Sacrum Imperium’ • Arts: Romanesque, Gothic • Music: Polyphony


Renaissance, Humanism, Reformation (c.1500-1650): • Revival of Classical culture (arts, knowledge) • Protestantism (Reformation, Radical Reformation) • Politics: absolutism, state religion • Mass media: books, pamphlets, newspapers • Arts: Renaissance, Baroque • Literature: drama, poetry • Music: opera, ballet, instrumental music


Enlightenment & Modernity (c.1700-present): • Enlightenment and Radical Enlightenment • Arts: Classicism, Romanticism, Modernism • Politics: seperation of church and state, nation states • Citizenship and ‘human rights’ • People’s souvereignity,republicanism, democracy

(e.g. liberalism / socialism / conservatism)

BUT ALSO: totalitarian states, totalitarian ideologies (mainly: fascism, Nazism, communism) (m.n. communisme, nazisme, fascisme)


Scheme of the rise and fall of the great civilizations from Arnold J. Toynbee’s A Study of History (12 volumes, 1934-1961) – “Western” civilization follows the decline of the “Islamic” and Byzantine (“Orthodox Christian”) Medieval civilizations

Map of Global civilizations (c.1950) by the British historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975). His analysis of the rise and fall of the great civilizations was very influential in its time.

Civilizations according to Samuel P. Huntington


“The West”


China “Islam”


“Africa” Latin-America

The famous “ fault line “ between the  Western (`Latin’) and  Eastern (`Byzantine’, Orthodox)

European civilizations Suggested by Samuel P. Huntington, Arnold Toynbee, and others

Catholic Protestant Orthodox Muslim GrecoCatholic

`The (Latin) West’


Eastern Europe


What is ‘European culture’ ?

Monotheïsm: European culture is essentially ``Christian’’ Rationality: European culture is basically ``Greek’’ Public Order: European culture is very much ``Roman’’ Typically European values stemming from these great traditions: Egalitarianism, equality (e.g. between man and woman)    

Freedom of conscience, freedom of expression (‘sacred!’) The individual (even religion is considered something ‘’individual’’ !) Separation of powers (church/state, state/law, government/parliament) Self-organisation, civil society

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