What Two Ancient Civilizations Are the Foundation of Western Civilization?

Western civilization is the foundation of modern society in many ways, and it is heavily influenced by two ancient civilizations – Greece and Rome. These two civilizations played a significant role in shaping Western culture, politics, philosophy, and art. Let us explore their contributions in detail.

Greece: The Birthplace of Democracy and Philosophy

Greece is known as the birthplace of democracy and philosophy. The Greeks are credited with developing the first democratic government system in the world.

The concept of democracy was introduced in Athens by Cleisthenes in 508 BCE. It was a revolutionary idea that allowed all male citizens to participate in political decision-making regardless of their social status.

Greek philosophy also had a profound impact on Western civilization. Some of the most famous Greek philosophers include Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

They explored concepts such as ethics, politics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Their ideas continue to influence modern thought.

The Impact on Art

Greek art has also had a significant impact on Western art history. The Greeks were known for their classical style that focused on balance, proportion, and harmony. They created some of the most iconic sculptures such as the Venus de Milo and the Discus Thrower.

Rome: The Builders of an Empire

Rome is known for its military conquests and impressive architecture. It was one of the largest empires in history that spanned three continents – Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The Romans contributed to Western civilization by developing systems of law that are still used today. They also introduced new engineering techniques such as arches and aqueducts that revolutionized construction methods.

The Impact on Language

Latin was the official language of Rome, which became the basis for many modern languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and English. Latin phrases such as “carpe diem” and “veni, vidi, vici” are still used today.

Roman art was heavily influenced by Greek art but had its unique style. The Romans were known for their realistic portraits and impressive public monuments such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon.

The Legacy of Greece and Rome

The legacy of Greece and Rome continues to influence Western civilization today. Their ideas about democracy, philosophy, law, language, and art have stood the test of time. We can see their impact in many aspects of modern society, from political systems to architecture to language.


In conclusion, Greece and Rome were two ancient civilizations that laid the foundation for Western civilization. Their contributions to philosophy, democracy, engineering, law, language, and art have had a profound impact that is still evident today. Understanding their legacies helps us appreciate the rich history of our world and how it has shaped our present-day society.