“Numberless are the world’s wonders, but none more wonderful than man.”

This tribute, written nearly 2,500 years ago by a Greek, reflects an attitude that is one of the lasting contributions of the Greeks to Western civilization. Many ancient civilizations did not believe that each individual was unique and important and perhaps capable of attaining great heights. Except for the tribal leader, chief, or king, it was the duty of the individual to serve the tribe. Individual destiny was, they believed, in the hands of animal spirits or god-kings.

The Greeks did not share this belief. They believed that man (that is, humankind) is the measure of all things. In other words, humans were not at the mercy of mysterious forces, but had the power, through their intelligence, to know the universe and thus control their lives. In this Module you will explore the contributions that profoundly influenced the culture of the Western world. Your journey will take you to ancient Greece where the ideas of democracy and western philosophy were born. Next you will travel to Ancient Rome where western ideas of politics and legal codes were developed. Finally, a trip to Ancient Mesopotamia where the foundations of western religion were developed.

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