Western Civilization Themes

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This will be the last essay of the "Western Literature to 1492" course, in which I will be covering the attributes of distinct civilizations using five themes: sovereignty, man (authority), law, sanctions (causation), and succession.

Starting off with a pivotal group of people that determined the religious and moral outlooks of Western Civilization as a whole, the Hebrews. The Hebrews were monotheistic, meaning they worshipped one God and believed in his total sovereignty. He set man as his agent, and he only required of them to obey the law in return for positive sanctions, temporarily (Earth) and eternally (Heaven). Conversely, one would receive negative sanctions from God if there was no adherence to his law, both temporarily and eternally.
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They believed that the various elements found in nature had specific Gods that represented them. As examples, Poseidon was God of the Sea, Earthquakes, and horses, while Dyonisius was God of vegetation, pleasure, and festivity. The Greeks held the Olympian Gods supreme, most of which we already know thanks to mainstream entertainment culture. They also had household Gods dedicated to home and hearth, to which they also offered rituals and sacrifices. This was closely intertwined with the honoring of ancestors which were often times buried beneath the households. There was no specific law which one would have to follow for the God's appeasement, sacrifices and rituals were made as offerings to appease the Gods, as well as excellence in battle, arts, and sports. The Gods were portrayed in Greek literature as possessing overtly human characteristics, and this was applied broadly, as they would quarrel with each other and often times contradict one another in what they believed or supported. Yet one rule was clear, revenge was completely unjustified in Greek mythology and literature. This was because of the belief that revenge was inter-generational and that the thirst for revenge would never be…show more content…
They resorted to philosophy for morality, such as the Greeks and Romans for a moral and ethical guide to life. Civilization flourished even after all the human potential taken away by the black plague. After analyzing all of this we can conclude that Boccaccio and Chaucer's works of literature were more in accordance with Greek & Roman Pagan worldviews. Literature is an expression of the reality surrounding us at the time, and we can be assured that after such a devastating tragedy such as the black plague, people would not be so content and their
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