Was Ancient Greece essentially a Middle Eastern civilization?

Dec 2015
154
NYC
#1
This is not a troll question or some anti-Greek thread, but it just got me thinking. Aren't the Ancient Greeks essentially a middle eastern civilization. Much of their history takes place in the middle east, Ancient Greece has a lot of influences from near east civilizations such as Egypt, Phoenicia, Hittites, Assyrians, and they were the main trading partners of Greeks. I don't know much about the Minoans or Mycenaeans, but weren't the Minoans influenced by Mesopotamia and Egypt and Crete is almost close to Egypt and the Levant. So is Ancient Greece technically more Middle Eastern than it is European? And Europeans basically got their culture from Rome, who in turn copied from Greece.
 
May 2009
786
#2
This is not a troll question or some anti-Greek thread, but it just got me thinking. Aren't the Ancient Greeks essentially a middle eastern civilization. Much of their history takes place in the middle east, Ancient Greece has a lot of influences from near east civilizations such as Egypt, Phoenicia, Hittites, Assyrians, and they were the main trading partners of Greeks. I don't know much about the Minoans or Mycenaeans, but weren't the Minoans influenced by Mesopotamia and Egypt and Crete is almost close to Egypt and the Levant. So is Ancient Greece technically more Middle Eastern than it is European? And Europeans basically got their culture from Rome, who in turn copied from Greece.
If you ask the Greeks of our time, no.

If you ask the Greeks of Plato's time, by Hades NO!

There a difference between being a part of and influencing of.

Greek and by extension the whole Peloponnese was a center of influence through out the whole of the Mediterranean. Greek influence was felt from Sicily to Persepolis and Babylon and from Bulgaria to Axom. And since they lie in Europe by definition the answer to the question is no.
 
Jan 2015
2,708
MD, USA
#3
Agreed: NO.

There are fundamental differences between the Greeks and middle eastern cultures, values, outlooks, and more.

Sure, there were Greek colonies and people in Asia Minor and along the eastern end of the Mediterranean, but plenty more in Italy, Sicily, and even Spain. At no point have the Greeks been thought of as middle eastern by the Greeks, the middle easterners, nor anyone else!

Matthew
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,867
Canary Islands-Spain
#4
Basically yes. In fact, the "Western Civilization" is just a variant of the original ME civilization.


The closeness of Ancient Greece to its ME neighbours was larger than ancient Greeks would agree. For instead, among the many examples I could put: they wrote with a ME alphabet, they ate ME food, used coins copied from their ME neighbours, shared their myths and gods (sphinx, Apollo etc etc), built in the same way (temples), and fought with their techniques as well (Phoenician trireme).

This is particularly true when comparing with Anatolian cultures, but crucial relations can be pointed to Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt. There were aspects of divergence among the Greeks and their ME neighbours, but the same could be said of every other ME culture, which diverged in some ways from their neighbours.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,239
USA
#6
Greece differed enough from the ME to be a Mediterranean Civilization, that slowly evolved into a Western Civilization via Rome.
 
Dec 2015
154
NYC
#7
And since they lie in Europe by definition the answer to the question is no.
Europe is just the extreme western end of Asia. It was called Europe because of Europeans rising to power and they introduced modern geography European style. The word "Europe" itself comes from Greek, but was used to refer to a Phoenician princess (Middle Eastern).
 

Tsar

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
2,010
Serbia
#8
There is no such thing as Middle East outside of the minds of the "Westerners" who don't spent too much time on research of that region. It's especially anachronistic to do that for the "ancient Middle East".
 
Dec 2015
154
NYC
#9
Basically yes. In fact, the "Western Civilization" is just a variant of the original ME civilization.


The closeness of Ancient Greece to its ME neighbours was larger than ancient Greeks would agree. For instead, among the many examples I could put: they wrote with a ME alphabet, they ate ME food, used coins copied from their ME neighbours, shared their myths and gods (sphinx, Apollo etc etc), built in the same way (temples), and fought with their techniques as well (Phoenician trireme).

This is particularly true when comparing with Anatolian cultures, but crucial relations can be pointed to Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt. There were aspects of divergence among the Greeks and their ME neighbours, but the same could be said of every other ME culture, which diverged in some ways from their neighbours.
Agreed. I am not trying to make Ancient Greeks into a Middle Eastern ethnicity, but they were still influenced by the near east cultures.
 

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