Europe and Western Civilization


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Europe and Western Civilization traces its roots back to Classical Greece which was the first and most prominent ancient European civilization that valued liberty.
In this democratic system, the glory of Classical Greece reached its greatest peak with a Golden Age of artistic, literary, architectural, scientific and philosophical achievements.
The world's foremost sporting competition, the Olympic Games originated at Olympia, Greece in 776 BC and today are held in various cities of the world every four years.
Six of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world were inspired by Greek culture and four of them were Greek creations.
The Greek language is used as a basis for many other languages and much of the lexicon of any scientific repetoire.
Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance because of its wealth, power and intellect in the Church.
The major effect of the Renaissance is the cultural and artistic "rebirth" of Greek and Roman Antiquity following the Middle Ages that promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature and art and challenged established ways of thinking.
The cultural wealth of Europe and Western Civilization is just one of the continent's greatest global assets.


Foundation of Western Civilization

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Europe and Western Civilization
Three ancient civilizations which had the greatest influence on Europe and Western Civilization are:
1. Ancient Greece
Europe's ascendancy to greatness began with the Golden Age of Greece in the 5th century BC where Classical Civilization's intellectual, architectural and artistic ideas originated and became foundations of western thought.
Given the influence of Western civilization on world history as well as the achievements of Western culture itself, failure by the Greeks to win first at Marathon and then at Salamis during the Greco-Persian Wars (492–449 BC) would almost certainly have had serious effects on the course of human history.
The Persians would have then continued on through the European continent and thus, may have prevented Western Civilization's growth.
Foundation of Western Civilization:
1. Logic and Reason - Athens
Ancient Athens represented logic and reason as expressed by the great ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
Logic influences a person's choices that ultimately affect their lifestyle.
Reason is associated with applying logic based on new or existing information.
*Thales Of Miletus
First Greek philosopher of the Milesian School that focused on natural science.
Socrates
Father of western thought of the ethical tradition.
Plato
Founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Academy - the first center of higher learning in the Western world.
Aristotle
Greek philosopher who tutored Alexander the Great and founder of the Lyceum Peripatetic school of Philosophy in the Aristotelian tradition.
2. Democracy
Greek civilization was the first European civilization to create a culture that valued liberty..
Athenian leader, Cleisthenes (570 - 508 BC), is the "father of Athenian democracy."
He introduced political reforms that he called "demokratia", or “rule by the people” in 507 BC.
Athenian statesman, Pericles (495 – 429 BC), sponsored social programs, the arts and education.
He re-built Athens into the most beautiful city in the then known world.
In this democratic system, literature, art, architecture, sculpture, philosophy, medicine, law and mathematics flourished, and as such, has had a profound effect on the shaping of the modern world.
The Greek language became the international language of the Hellenistic Period beginning 323-BC up to the Byzantine Period which ended in 1453-AD.
2. Israel
Judeo-Christian Tradition - Jerusalem
Judeo/Christianity gave people:
Faith upon One All-Embracing and Merciful God and Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd Who leads His Flock to greener pastures.
Moral Code to guide our actions in an ethical direction.
Eternal Destiny - the Spiritual Soul is the link between the physical body and the spiritual self that will continue to exist beyond physical life in God's Heavenly Kingdom.
Judeo-Christian values has its roots in the Holy Bible.
Christianity has been the dominant religion shaping European culture from the 1st century AD.
Christianity gives humanity their greatest asset - Faith in God and Jesus Christ!
3. Italy
The Renaissance
Three outstanding figures that had a huge impact on the Renaissance were Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo (1475-1564), and Raphael (1483-1520).
The Renaissance was a period of great social change in European history from the 14th to the 17th century marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modern times.
The word "Renaissance" is a French word meaning "rebirth" symbolizing the re-birthing of classical antiquity.
The Renaissance embraced Ancient Greek and Roman thinking, styles and themes while turning to greater learning using modern techniques.
With the advent of the printing press, knowledge was now available to people outside of the clergy, the aristocrats, and royals.
The Renaissance first appeared in Italy in the late-13th century with the writings of Dante and the paintings of Giotto.
Increased interaction between different cultures, the rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman texts, the emergence of humanism and different artistic and technological innovations all contributed to the emergence of the Renaissance.
Dante (1265-1321)
Dante's use of Italian rather than Latin in The Divine Comedy are considered to signal the rise of Renaissance humanism.
Giotto (1267 – January 8, 1337)
"Father of the Renaissance" and one of the most important masters of 14th century Italian painting who introduced the technique of realism which became the new art style of the High Renaissance.
Petrarch (Petrarch 1304 - 1374)
"Father of Humanism" and has been called the first modern man whose writings were also used to shape the modern Italian language.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)
A worldwide, cultural icon and is considered one of the most talented individuals ever.
Michelangelo (1475 - 1564)
Michelangelo's works of painting, sculpture and architecture rank among the most famous in existence.
Raphael (1483 - 1520)
Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the trinity of great masters of the High Renaissance.

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Ancient Greece

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Europe and Western Civilization
Theater
The first recorded theater began in Ancient Greece around 600 BC with a religious festival to honor Dionysus the god of wine and fertility.
At its centre was the city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political, and religious place during this period.
Athens exported the festival to its numerous colonies as performances spread around the Mediterranean to influence Hellenistic and Roman theater.
During the Golden Age of the 5th century BC, Greek Theater produced some of its greatest playwrights, great tragedies and comedies as well as music and poetry festivals were being produced in the Theater of Dionysus below the Acropolis.
First Literary Masterpieces
The Golden Age of Greece was during the 5th century BC however its seeds were sown from the 8th century BC with the works of the Greek poet, Homer.
Homer was the world's first great writer who composed the the first two greatest epics in world literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Greek Architecture
Just about every city in the world today has examples of Greek architecture on important public buildings and even homes.
The most common features of Greek architecture are the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns which hold up roofs and adorn facades in theaters, courthouses and government buildings across the globe.
Examples of ancient Greek architecture today, include the United States Capitol, the Supreme Court Building and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, the “Monticello” at Charlottesville, Virginia, the Ionic columns that flank the Chamber of Commerce in Dougherty County, Georgia and the columned porches of plantations in the Southern states of America.
Other examples include the Oslo Trading Building in Norway, the Trevi Fountain in Rome which is adorned with Corinthian columns.
The Colosseum in Rome has Roman, Tuscan columns on the ground floor, the second floor features Ionic columns and the third floor has the Corinthian style.
Medicine
Hippocrates of Kos (460 - 370 BC)
Father of Medicine who wrote the historic, Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians to uphold specific ethical standards.
Greek Mathematics
The word "mathematics" is derived from the ancient Greek word "mathema" which means "knowledge or learning" and is the study of numbers, shapes and patterns.
The ancient Greeks excelled in original contributions to mathematics and astronomy from the Archaic through to the Hellenistic periods (6th century-BC to 323 BC).
Greek mathematicians provided the mathematical foundation that all future mathematicians and scientists would continue to develop up to the present day.
Famous Greek Mathematicians Include:
*Pythagoras of Samos (570 BC - 495 BC)
Father of the famous "Pythagoras theorem."
*Euclid of Alexandria (around 300 - 270-BC)
Father of geometry (Euclidean geometry).
*Archimedes of Syracuse (287 - 212-BC)
Father of mathematics and is considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity.
*Diophantus of Alexandria (around 200 - 214-AD - 284 and 298-AD)
Father of algebra and the compilation of a series of books called Arithmetica dealing with solving algebraic equations.
The first Greek mathematician to recognize fractions as numbers.
Greek Astronomers
*Aristarchus of Samos (310 BC - 230 BC)
The first Greek astronomer who calculated the relative sizes of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth.
He maintained that Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the Sun.
*Hipparchus of Nicaea, Asia Minor (190 BC - 120 BC)
Father of trigonometry.
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire (395 to 1453 AD) became the leading civilizations in the world before falling to the Ottoman Turkish onslaught in the 15th century.
During that period it kept Greek and Roman cultural culture alive for nearly a thousand years until it was taken up in the west during the Renaissance.
Ancient Greek Classics such as Homer, Sophocles, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid and Hippocrates were recopied by monks.
Orthodox Christian beliefs with Greek science, philosophy, arts, and literature were preserved.
They also preserved Roman achievements in engineering and the codification of the Corpus Juris Civilis, a collection of Roman law that became the basis of most Western nations' legal systems.
It was from Constantinople that Greek literature and culture reached Western Europe that helped spark and contribute to the advent of the Renaissance in Florence.


Italy

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Europe and Western Civilization
Opera
Jacopo Peri (20 August 1561 – 12 August 1633) an Italian composer, singer and instrumentalist of the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods wrote the first opera, the Dafne (1597) and also the Euridice of 1600.
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (15 May 1567 – 29 November 1643) was the first Italian composer of genius (both secular and sacred music), choirmaster and string player who was a pioneer in the development of opera between the Renaissance and Baroque periods of music history.
Orchestra
The first modern orchestra came in the early 17th century when the Italian opera composer Claudio Monteverdi assigned specific instruments to perform his music -
combined together, they produce beautiful music.
The strings family of instruments is the oldest group in the orchestra -they are the violin, the viola, the cello, the double bass and the harp.
Violin
The two earliest violin makers are both from northern Italy.
Andrea Amati (1505 - 1577) a Cremonese luthier (craftsperson who builds or repairs string instruments that have a neck and a sound box) is credited with crafting the first violin.
He built at least two three-string violins in the 1540's.
The wealthy Medici family commissioned him in the 1550's to build a four-string violin.
Gasparo da Salò (20 May 1542 – 14 April 1609) is the name given to Gasparo Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and an expert double bass player.
Piano
Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731), an Italian maker of musical instruments from Padua in the Republic of Venice, is famous for inventing the piano around 1700.
The piano was initially called the gravicembalo col piano e forte, or “harpsichord that plays soft and loud.”

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Education

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Europe and Western Civilization
The Academy (Greek: Ἀκαδημία) was founded by Plato in 387 BC in Athens and included the study of mathematics, dialectics, natural science, and preparation for statesmanship.
Aristotle studied there for twenty years (367–347 BC) before founding his own school, the Lyceum.
The Lyceum founded in 335 BC by Aristotle was a a philosophical and scientific school in Athens was the first major center to put forward the modern scientific method.
University of Bologna - Italy
Founded: 1088
The University of Bologna (Università di Bologna), Italy, is the first high degree-awarding university using the word "universitas" (coined at its foundation).
Oxford University - England
Founded: 1096
Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
University of Paris - France
Founded: 1200
The second oldest university in Paris.
University of Cambridge - England
Founded: 1209
The world's third-oldest university in continuous operation.
University of Padua - Italy
Founded: 1222
The second-oldest university in Italy, as well as the world's fifth-oldest surviving university and known particularly for its Aristotelean logic and science.
By 1500, over eighty recognized universities were established in Europe.
During the subsequent European colonization of the Americas, the university was introduced to the New World marking the beginning of worldwide, higher learning.


European Domination

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Europe and Western Civilization
Between 1492 and 1914, Europeans conquered 84 percent of the globe.
This is the period when Europe dominated the world.
Historical events set European states on a path of development that accelerated in the 1500s from new discoveries and innovations across across the continent.
Democracy, education, Christianity, military power, powerful ships, exploration, sea-based empires, capitalism, industrialization, the printing press, the railroad and the fundamental laws of physics are just a few of the reasons that catapulted Europe’s historic global supremacy.
Fundamental Law of Physics
Sir Isaac Newton is remembered as the man who saw an apple fall from a tree, and was inspired to invent the theory of gravity.
He invented calculus and the three laws of motion upon which all of mechanics is based.
Newton began developing his theories on light, calculus and celestial mechanics while on break from Cambridge University.
His 1687 publication of “Principia,” was a landmark work that established the universal laws of motion and gravity.
The "Father of Physics" is given to:
*Sir Isaac Newton because of his famous law of motion and gravitation.
*Galileo Galilei for his role in the scientific revolution and his contributions on observational astronomy.
*Albert Einstein for his ground-breaking theory of relativity.
Printing Press
The movable-type printing press was first invented in Mainz, Germany around 1440 by the goldsmith, Johannes Gutenberg started the Printing Revolution and quickened the spread of knowledge, discoveries and literacy in Renaissance Europe.
Mass production of books, standardized language, the spread of ideas, increased literacy and consequently, knowledge was made possible through affordable books for the masses.
Military
European militaries were so powerful for their size because of their superior technology and better at making and using artillery, firearms, fortifications, and armed ships.
Gunpowder and firearms gave European countries greater fighting power and for conquering with a small number of people exercising a lot of military power.
Militarily, the Europeans became the best for their sizes compared to most of the world - that's why they were able to quickly take over much of the rest of the globe.
Ships
Throughout antiquity and until the 15th century, European ships were used as battering rams to sink enemy shipping.
Changes in shipbuilding and the development of navigational aids allowed bigger, heavier and stronger ships that carried canons, to sail with smaller crews over longer distances.
At the beginning of the 15th century large ships were about 300 tons - by 1425, they were approximately 720 tons.
Trading ships and warships armed with canons called the Carrack, had three or four masts.
There were square sails on two masts and a triangular sail on the mast at the back.
As multiple masts were added, the hull was elongated and keels were two and a half times as long as the ship's beam (width).
Henry VIII of England developed a fleet of ships armed with large guns and created a naval administration.
Under Elizabeth I the navy developed into England's major defence and became the means by which the British Empire was able to spread around the globe.
Age of Discovery
Historians generally recognize three motives for European exploration and colonization in the New World:
1. God - European exploration and Christian expansion were synonymous with each other to convert indigenous peoples.
2. Gold - Gold and silver for wealth and to keep the value of a states currency high.
3. Glory - European competition for global dominance.
The Age of Discovery was a period of European exploration where European nations competed to colonize the New World, which was the Americas as well as Africa and India.
Spain and Portugal were the first European countries to begin colonizing the Americas.
Spain colonized Mexico, most of Central and South America, several islands in the Caribbean, Florida, California, and the Southwest region of the United States.
Portugal gained control of Brazil.
Later they were joined by the Dutch, English and French with multiple explorations and colonizing around the world including the majority of Asia, the Oceanea continent of Australia, French Polynesia, Hawaii, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Western New Guinea and the Pacific islands such as Fiji, Palau, and Tonga.
By 1900, most of Africa had been colonized by Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy to build vast overseas empires.


Historic Events in European History

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Europe and Western Civilization
European culture consists of a range of national and regional cultures that is distinguished from all other cultures by the institutions of:
*Democracy - a way of governing which depends on the will of the people.
*Capitalism - an economic system in which private individuals own and control most of the factors of production.
*Christianity - faith in God and Jesus Christ!
Europe achieved world hegemony in the years after 1500 AD primarily due to technological advancements, scientific advancements, political development of its States, its military power, the unparalleled power of its ideas and institutions and a culture based on Judeo-Christian morality.
The other cultures looked to the West as a model for its political, philosophical, scientific and technological assets.
Europe and Western Civilization exported its assets globally that included medicine, communication, transportation, energy, individualism and the rule of law that have benefitted and made significant improvements to people's lives around the world.

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Europe and Western Civilization

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Europe and Western Civilization
17th to 19th Centuries
The Age of Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the European continent culturally, politically and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century.
*The Enlightenment brought secularism that purged religion and the creation of modern, liberal democracies to reshape the ways people understood issues such as liberty, equality and individual rights in Europe.
*The French Revolution impacted the ideals of nationalism among nations and for people to revolt against unjust rule.
*The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century shifted societies from an agrarian economy to a manufacturing economy which increased production and efficiency, created lower prices, more goods and improved wages.
*Technology led to increased industrialization in agriculture, trade, fuel, and resources which further separated East and West.
*The Napoleonic Wars impacted Europe through the formation of the Confederation of the Rhine, the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the rise of the Kingdom of Prussia which ultimately brough about the eventual unification of Germany.


Great Britain

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Europe and Western Civilization
The Railroad
The railroad was first developed in Great Britain by English engineer and principal inventor, George Stephenson (June 9, 1781 — August 12, 1848) who created the world's first successful railroad locomotive.
Examples include:
*British railways allowed people to travel further, more quickly and contributed to the growth of seaside resorts.
*Railroads provided supplies of arms, men, equipment, horses and medical supplies to where armies were camped more quickly.
*The railroad enabled the growth of new industries to revolutionize life throughout Europe.
Industrialization
Industrialization transformed European society.
The Industrial Revolution began Britain and spread to continental Europe through the close economic, political, and social ties between them.
A middle class emerged consisting of businessmen, working professionals, industrialists, labourers and working class people.
The Industrial Revolution increased the production capacity of Western economies astronomically, creating an enormous need for raw materials to satisfy demand.
Industrialized European powers used their strong armies and navies to colonize many parts of the world for raw materials for their factories.
Capitalism
Adam Smith was the 18th century Scottish economist, philosopher and Father of Modern Economics who said: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
Capitalism was born in the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, and was spread throughout Europe and its offshoots.
Adam Smith was the 'forefather' of capitalist thinking - its essential feature is to make a profit.
Smith was a proponent of the free market economy and opposed any government intervention in the market.
British Empire
Great Britain through its technological and maritime supremacy, became the world's largest empire in history which began the Pax Britannica.
The British Empire became the dominant superpower and "global policeman" ruling over a quarter of the Earth's land area and 24% of the world's population.
Soon after World War I, the British Empire had territories in every time zone in the world where the "sun never set”.


Nation-State

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Europe and Western Civilization
Nation-States began to emerge around the 17th century with people within sharing a common history, language, culture, ethnicity and religion.
The nation-state has clearly defined borders and a sovereign ruler or government
Two main factors which led to the rise of nation-states are the decline of:
1. Feudalism - The Hundred Years War, the bubonic plague and the Magna carta were events that led to its decline.
2. Power of the Church - corruption within the Church and political conflict between the Pope and European monarchs.
During the 19th century, nationalism emerged as a force which brought about the emergence of the nation-state in place of the multi-national dynastic empires of Europe that endured until the aftermath of the First World War that included the:
Russian Empire
Habsburg Empire
Ottoman Empire
German Empire


European Culture

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Europe and Western Civilization
Ballet
Ballet traces its origins to Italy and France following the marriage of the Italian-born aristocrat Catherine de Médicis to Henry II of France who introduced the early dance styles into court life in France.
Mademoiselle De Lafontaine, also known as La Fontaine (1655–1738), is regarded as the first female professional ballet dancer.
Ballet was refined in Russia in the 1700s when Peter the Great promoted it as part of his Westernised cultural revolution.
Ballet boomed in popularity during the reign of Catherine the Great when she built ballet schools and theaters in Moscow and St. Petersburg including championing the arts.
The Waltz
Germany and Austria
The first waltzes were danced in the location of today's Germany and Austria, back in 13th century.
"Waltz" comes from the German ("walzen") meaning to revolve or twirl.
The waltz took the dance floors of Europe by storm yet, many people did not like that each dance partner were embraced so close to one another.
Queen Elizabeth I of England waltzed with the Earl of Leicester.
Young people of the Romantic period made the waltz an international favorite.
The world's most famous waltz — “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” by Austrian composer, Johann Strauss II, "the Waltz King" (25 October 1825 – 3 June 1899) in 1866, celebrates the city of Vienna, the river that runs through it and the cultural elegance of the Austrian, Hapsburg Empire.
Composers
Europe and Western Civilization
The country that has had the most outstanding classical music composers is Germany.
Germany
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
German composer and musician of the late Baroque period.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
German composer and pianist of the classical music repertoire from the Classical period to the Romantic era.
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)
German Benedictine abbess and polymath who is one of the four female Doctors of the Catholic Church.
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
German-British composer who was influenced both by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition and by composers of the Italian Baroque.
Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
German composer, pianist and music critic who is regarded as one of the greatest of the Romantic era.
Richard Wagner (1813–1883)
German composer, theater director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
German composer, pianist, and conductor of the mid-Romantic period.
Austria
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Austrian prolific and influential composer of the Classical period.
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Austrian composer of the Classical period who was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the string quartet and piano trio.
Franz Schubert (1797–1828)
Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras.
Italy
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Italian composer, choirmaster and string player and a pioneer in the development of opera.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Italian composer, virtuoso violinist and impresario of Baroque music.
Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901)
Italian composer best known for his operas.
Russia
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Russian composer of the Romantic period.
Poland
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic period.
Hungary
Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)
Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor and teacher of the Romantic period.
Famous European Artists
Europe and Western Civilization
European paintings have produced some of the most iconic and enduring masterpieces in history.
Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926)
French painter and founder of impressionist painting who painted nature as he perceived it.
Berthe Morisot (January 14, 1841 – March 2, 1895)
French painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists.
Édouard Manet (23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883)
French modernist painter and one of the first 19th-century artists to transition from Realism to Impressionism.
Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851)
English Romantic painter, printmaker and watercolourist who is known for his expressive colouring, imaginative landscapes and turbulent, often violent marine paintings.
Dutch Golden Age Painting (1620 to 1680)
Europe and Western Civilization
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606 - 1669)
Rembrandt is considered one of the greatest artists in the history of Baroque-style painting.
Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675)
Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life and his masterly use of light in his work.
Frans Hals (1582 - 1666)
Baroque painter who is best known for his portraits of wealthy citizens and large group portraits depicting local civic guards.
Jan Steen (1626 - 1679)
Jan Havickszoon Steen (1626 - 3 February 1679)
Works included portraits, historical and Biblical themes, genre painting and paintings referencing old Dutch proverbs or literature.
Rachel Ruysch (1664 - 1750)
Still-life painter from the Northern Netherlands who specialized in flowers.
Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525 - 1569)
Flemish (region of Flanders) artist and printmaker of Dutch Renaissance painting known for his landscapes and peasant scenes.
Hendrick Terbrugghen (1588-1629)
One of the followers of Caravaggio (Italian painter of the late 1500s and early 1600s) - the so-called Utrecht Caravaggisti.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Flemish Baroque tradition painter during the 17th-century.
Vincent van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890)
Post-Impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art.
Famous European Authors
Europe and Western Civilization
Homer 8th/9th Century BC
Greek poet who wrote the first two greatest epics in world literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Sophocles 496 – 406 BC
One of the three great Greek tragedians.
Aristophanes 450 – 388 BC
Greatest representative of ancient Greek comedy.
Virgil 70 – 18 BC
Regarded by Romans as a national treasure.
Geoffrey Chaucer 1342/43 - 1400 AD
English poet, author, and civil servant whose most famous work "The Canterbury Tales".
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616)
Most famous playwright, poet and actor of the Elizabethan Era - England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "the Bard").
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832)
German polymath and writer whose literary works have been translated into countless languages.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm 1785 – 1863 / 1786 - 1859
German folklorists and linguists best known for their Kinder- und Hausmärchen (1812–22; also called Grimm's Fairy Tales).
Charles Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870)
British author and editor whose most famous books including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol.
Jules Verne (8 February 1828 – 24 March 1905)
French novelist, poet and playwright whose Science-fiction novels include Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869–70).
Leo Tolstoy 1828 – 1910
Russian author whose masterpieces are War and Peace (1865–69) and Anna Karenina (1875–77).

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