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Old August 1st, 2017, 03:15 AM   #11
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Greece since the times of Byzantium, has been the bearer of Christian-Orthodox civilization, which, clearly, has deep cultural, religious and even metaphysical differences with the Western civilization, with which it shares the same legacy, that of Roman Empire and Christianity, but both civilizations have evolved in quite different directions.
"Metaphysical differences" is too much said, maybe you mean some more or less important theological (in the Christian dogmatic sense) differences, due to the fact that their particular understanding was rooted in the works of different Church Fathers. Anyway, generally speaking the "Orthodox civilization" was more conservative in both a positive and a negative way, so it "evolved" less.

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Politically and economically, it's without doubt part of the West. Culturally? That's a matter for discussion.
I tend to agree with you, in the meaning that "culturally western" certainly needs a clarification. But I also tend to think that the average contemporary western and the average contemporary Greek are culturally much closer one to another than to their respective ancestors living let's say a couple of centuries ago.

Last edited by Ficino; August 1st, 2017 at 04:40 AM.
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 12:17 AM   #12
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If Greece is not a part of Western Civilization, nobody is.
Then perhaps nobody is.
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 12:35 AM   #13

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Then perhaps nobody is.
Is that some sort of Cartesian doubt?
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 09:33 AM   #14

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Greek here.

Depends on your perspective. Greece is surely a part of Western political, military and economic institutions. But I would say that, culturally, Greece is a bit different than most Western countries, since they are mostly Catholic or Protestant, while Greece was shaped by Eastern Orthodoxy, which was always deeply anti - western, at least since the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders.

Greece was also not particularly influenced by the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, due to the hostility of the Orthodox Church and the Ottoman occupation.

Greeks, since the creation of the modern Greek state, have constantly been trying to be more Western, but the centuries - old eastern influence is making this difficult. This is also proved by the fact that many Greeks are sympathetic to enemies of the Western powers, particularly Russia.
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 12:40 PM   #15

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It seems religion is much more of a factor in Greece than it is throughout the rest of the "West."

In this regard, I would say Greece has more in common with its Eastern/Islamic neighbors than it does its Western neighbors.
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 02:57 PM   #16
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Greece is a member of NATO and a member of the European Union. Does that make it "Western"? Would Turkey become "Western" if it joined the European Union? The Greek language was the lingua franca of the eastern (and richest) part of the Roman Empire and the dominant language the Byzantine Empire. It's Orthodox Christian faith makes it closer to Russia. Is Russia "Western"? The Cyrillic script used for Russian is based on Greek, not Latin phonetics. The old USSR was written CCCP. (Of course Latin itself used modified Greek letters with different phonetics).

All in all, Greece is unique IMO, not western, not eastern in the modern sense, just Greece.

Last edited by stevev; August 2nd, 2017 at 03:01 PM.
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 03:03 PM   #17

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Modern Greece is a part of the west, like Turkey is. If you think the otherwise, that's your opinion.
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 08:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lycurgus View Post
Greek here.

Depends on your perspective. Greece is surely a part of Western political, military and economic institutions. But I would say that, culturally, Greece is a bit different than most Western countries, since they are mostly Catholic or Protestant, while Greece was shaped by Eastern Orthodoxy, which was always deeply anti - western, at least since the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders.

Greece was also not particularly influenced by the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, due to the hostility of the Orthodox Church and the Ottoman occupation.

Greeks, since the creation of the modern Greek state, have constantly been trying to be more Western, but the centuries - old eastern influence is making this difficult. This is also proved by the fact that many Greeks are sympathetic to enemies of the Western powers, particularly Russia.
+1 Lycurgus. Very good explanation.
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Old August 3rd, 2017, 02:45 AM   #19

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I understand the sense in which the OP said West, and agree that it is part of the West in that sense, and any other.

A confusion, a certain element of counting angels on pin heads, is not so much defining what is meant by West, but by what is meant by East. I think that conflating the geographical division of Europe into West and East, and also central and North and South, distorts the argument. Poland is certainly in Eastern Europe, but is also most certainly by ethnicity, religion and culture part of the wider sense of the West, because that is only shorthand for Europe and Christendom, no matter Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant.

So if it could be argued that the West is simply Europe, from Lisbon to Ekaterinburg, it's religion and it's diaspora, what is the East? In times gone by the term was not much used, instead the term Asiatic was used. Here we come to Greece. The Ottomans, Asiatic, while conquering and colonizing Anatolia, also conquered all of Greece, the Balkans and almost all around the shore of the Black Sea. Russia, due to the Mongol invasion, was termed an Asiatic despotism, not the East. Whether this description of Russia is correct or not is another topic and I'm not going to discuss it here. However, we have the term Asiatic, not East, as a political and cultural description.

Because Greece was occupied by the Asiatic Ottomans for several hundred years, some people, as an insult to Greeks, like to say they are not descendants of Ancient Greeks, but are in fact Turks. This of course is a huge insult, but it has stuck with some people, and so we have an argument about whether Greece is in the West or the East, which is really meaning, are Greeks Western in the wider sense, or an Asiatic despotic country situated in geographic Europe.

Clearly Greeks are Greeks and are 100% in and of the West.
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Old August 3rd, 2017, 03:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by stevev View Post
Greece is a member of NATO and a member of the European Union. Does that make it "Western"? Would Turkey become "Western" if it joined the European Union? The Greek language was the lingua franca of the eastern (and richest) part of the Roman Empire and the dominant language the Byzantine Empire. It's Orthodox Christian faith makes it closer to Russia. Is Russia "Western"? The Cyrillic script used for Russian is based on Greek, not Latin phonetics. The old USSR was written CCCP. (Of course Latin itself used modified Greek letters with different phonetics).

All in all, Greece is unique IMO, not western, not eastern in the modern sense, just Greece.
The clasical latin alphabet, without medieval germanic w letter, evolved from archaic greek alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the etruscan rexes romae. In IX century in a similar way St. Cyril and Methodius derived their glagolitic and its descendant script the cyrillic used today by some eastern heretics from greek alphabet.
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