The importance of the Greeks lies in the fact that they sketched out many, although of course not all, of the broad foundations upon which Western Civilization rests. This may seem a bit strange in view of the fact that each city-state was independent and often jealous of the others, but the Greeks were bound together by a common language, by common gods, by belief in their descent from a common ancestor and in their superiority to non-Greeks, and by many common customs. Although the name of Athens has been chosen in the title of this chapter to represent the vigorous cultural life of the Golden Age, it must be remembered that other city-states made important contributions as well. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "3. Athens: Greek Civilization. Pt. I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 10-14.