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
2.
History, shared past

Western history, Arab history, Russian etc.
3.
Language, the language families
 e.g. Indo-European, Turkic, Semitic, etc.
4.
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
http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/Religion.swf
Three Era’s: Ancient, Medieval, Modern
1.
Ancient
0-500 AD
Greco-Roman world
Birth of Christianity
2.
Medieval
500-1500
Holy Roman Empire & Islamic empires
Spread of Christianity & Islam
3.
Modern
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
500-1500
• 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
1.
Eastern Christians convert en masse to Islam
700-1100
Christian minorities: Copts, Maronites, Church of the East (now in trouble
within Syria and Egypt)
2.
The Great Schism: Rome versus Orthodoxy
Greco-Catholics unite with Rome
3.
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)
Individualism
Voluntary Covenant
Liberalism
The split into Protestant sects
Religious Toleration
No celibacy, married priesthood
Women's Liberation
"Protestant ethic"
Election
Predestination
Capitalism
Congregation as ultimate authority
Democracy
Translation of Scripture into the vernacular
Nationalism
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’
CONCLUSION
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
(3.)
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
(3.)
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)
Western
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
“Orthodox”
“The West”
Japan
China
“Islam”
“Hindu”
“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
`South-East
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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