The West was the Roman world. It was a Hellenistic society, whereby it took its cultural cues from the Greek universe of Plato (c. 427 BC – c. 347 BC) and Socrates (470 BC – 399 BC). It was a pagan polytheistic society with a large number of gods —which allowed one to explain all manner of natural occurrences or setbacks in one’s life – lightning, thunder, failure of the crop, and death of a family member. People believed in fate.
The Greek philosophers wanted to decipher the mysteries of life through reason. They saw that through inquiry and deduction and analytical thought a person could determine how to live their life. Although they did not abandon their superstitions, for instance, Pythagoras (582 BC – 496 BC) was a proponent of reincarnation–but in its place incorporated these beliefs with near reverence of human reason, which fed into the culture of Rome.
The Romans also respected power and strength – its legions were the finest and most regimented fighting force in the world. Their culture heroes were warriors and overlords who were seen in near-godlike terms —indeed, the Roman emperor was perceived as a deity.
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