We know that the civilizations of most of the world's people today are the outgrowths of previous civilizations which for some reason or another came to an end, though not without leaving a deposit of ideas and techniques for their successors to appropriate. At the moment, we are interested in examining the more immediate background from which Western Civilization grew. Many writers have summarized the cultural heritage bequeathed to the West in terms of the tale of three cities: Athens, representing the contributions of the Classical Greeks; Rome, representing those of the Romans; and Jerusalem, representing the contributions both of Judaism and of Christianity. To each of these cities in succession and to the cultural legacy which each represents we now turn. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "1. Athens: Historical Background. Pt. I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 1-3.