Astonishing advances in art, science and politics were made in the eastern part of the Mediterranean sea about 2,500 years ago. Greek philosophers were among the first in the West to explore nature in a rational way and to make educated guesses about the creation of the world and the universe. This is why Greece is often referred to as the birthplace of Western culture.
Some of the ancient philosopher's speculations have successfully anticipated findings of 20th century science. The concept of atoms, for example, was first formulated by Leucippus and Democritus around 400 BC. Greek thought and values have been extremely influential throughout centuries and lasted until the present day.
The ancient Greeks viewed the world in a way that one would today perhaps
describe as "holistic". Science, philosophy, art and politics were
interwoven and combined into one worldview. Moreover, those who look carefully
will find subtle, but intelligible parallels between early Greek philosophy
and Eastern thought. The Heraclitean fire resembles Buddhist impermanence,
while the Greek Logos resembles the way of the Tao, just to name two examples.
More detailed portraits of Greek ideas and their contenders can be found on
the following pages; so read on and find out more about them.