The Western Civilization

History of Western Civilization

History has witnessed many different civilizations, some of which have thrived and others of which have failed. Of course, in their pursuit of civilization, both effective and unsuccessful civilizations had to overcome a number of obstacles. For the purposes of this study paper, it is important to note that, thus far, Western civilization has been the most distinctive and productive civilization the world has ever known. It has flourished into a global industrial civilization that upholds democracy and the rule of law. The "West" is the civilization that rose up in the European continent after the Middle Ages and later spread to New Zealand, Australia, Americas, and the larger part of the world (Maxfield 641). Its roots were established in the medieval Europe, where the Christian feudal society was brought up upon the decline of the Roman Empire.<\/p>

The Success of Western Europe in the Middle Ages

Many questions have been asked regarding the success that the Western Europe had in their civilization during the middle ages. It is still a surprise to many, what the westerners did right to make their movement a success and the secrets behind their success. Perhaps, and most likely, the answer is hard work and determination. The excellent job that the western European society did during this time remains unquestionable. They provided physical security, gave emotional fulfillment, and offered moral guidance to its members. Western Europe did not perform so well during the early phase of the middle ages. It did not meet the expectation of its members since it could not provide the physical security. Invasions came from all corners, though the one that was felt profoundly was the Barbarian. The westerners sustained attack from the Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoth’s, and later by the Saxons, Magyars, Saracens, and the Vikings (Landes 13).<\/p>

Challenges and Resilience of Western Europe

The attacks weakened the Rome Empire in the west, destabilized the Western Europe economy, and disrupted trade. The literacy of the westerners declined since the books became extraordinarily expensive and were rare to get. Almost nothing was produced concerning literature and great art. The cities in the west of Europe dwindled in size, with some even disappearing. There was a sharp fall in population, and yet, the West Europe still held on. Ostensibly, other societies who moved through similar episodes of war and constant sufferings surrendered, but the westerners in Europe kept stronger (Landes 17). This in itself shows the level of commitment that they had and their ambition towards civilization. Remaining active in the fight was not only an inspiration to the European nations but also to the whole world.<\/p>

Pope Gregory the Great and the Roman Catholic Church

Upon the fall of the Roman emperors’ authority, the Roman Catholic Church started taking over the bulk of government functions. Pope Gregory the Great utilized the church resources to offer relief to the refugees, feeding the widows and the poor, and for ransoming the captives. He also commanded the missionaries to reach out to the barbarians and convert them. Many Barbarians, who attacked the west of Europe, were converted eventually. This meant that the former enemies of the Western Europe would now fight to protect the empire instead of fighting against them. The Benedictine movement, which was spread by Gregory, was a great achievement towards attaining civilization in the Western Europe. The movement started a monastery where monks would be trained to safeguard the region from any further attack. Again, the establishment of the monastery at St. Benedicts was not only an achievement in the Roman Empire but to the whole world since several men from across the world go there to train today (Maxfield 723).<\/p>

Charlemagne and the Rise of Future Civilizations

The tactics and wisdom of Frankish king Charlemagne could also influence future civilizations. The rise of this leader contributed to the defeat of the enemies of the Western Europe such as the Slavs, Avars, Moors, and the Saxons. Charlemagne created a strong emperor, which had a large army. At least with the strong army, the West of Europe was assured of protection against any invasion.<\/p>

The Rise of Islamic Extremism

Forget about all the attacks during the middle ages. The most frightening now were the rise of the radical Islamic movement known as al-Shabaab, which emerged during the modern civilization. Several Muslims viewed the global dominance, what they perceived as an existential threat to their religion by the western civilization and some thought that violence is the only best way to counter this attack. The Islamic hostility towards the westerners was spurred by the support of Israel from its struggles to defeat the Arabs. The American government also declared war on terror upon the involvement of the western forces in the massive war in Iraq and Afghanistan (Dunn 132). Further terror attacks continued to take place on a regular basis in London, Kenya, Madrid among other nations in the west of Europe.<\/p>

The Dominance of Western Civilization

Concisely, regardless of all the challenges that West has gone through, as at 2005, it was still by far, the most dominant civilization in the world. The West has set the terms of international trade. Additionally, it was the mother of technological innovations, cultural trends and scientific advance. Thus, the influence it has regarding civilization has not only been felt in the past and modern civilization but also future civilizations.<\/p>

Works Cited

Dunn, Ross E. “Rethinking World History: Essays on Europe, Islam, and World History (Review).” Journal of World History 7.1 (1996): 131–133. Web.

Landes, David S. “Why Europe and the West? Why Not China?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20.2 (2006): 3–22. Web.

Maxfield, Jack E. “A Comprehensive Outline of World History”, (2009) Print.

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