Honors Western Humanities

Essay 1

Greek Philosophy and Culture



The argument can be made that the ancient Greeks created western culture.  The Classical Period of ancient Greece (c. 500-300 BCE) was when Greek culture reached its peak and was pre-eminent in the Mediterranean world. The ancient Greeks established political systems, literature and mythology, philosophies, arts and architecture, scientific treatises, etcetera that continue to be researched and revered.   Ancient Greece is still studied in the 21st century as the beginning model for western civilization. 

For this paper you are looking at the philosophies of ancient times.  You are searching for the connection between the words and the culture of Ancient Greece.  Which philosopher’s words most directly impacted his culture? Was it Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle who had the greatest impression on the ancient people of this land?

You will write a paper searching for the direct correlation between the philosophers and the culture, so your response will cover two (2) issues: You will show the reader that you fully understand the philosophers and the essence of their arguments/teaching, and secondly, you will defend one philosopher as being the most influential over Ancient Greece.   Note: This is plural because you have to choose 1 of 3  while also demonstrating understanding of significant contributions of the 2 you did not choose in your oppositional


Use the following categories to define their influence over the culture:

¶ s: Combine political organization and reasoning and education/women for a basic 5 structure


Guiding Question:

Whose thought most clearly influenced the culture of Ancient Greece?



Your Tasks

ü  Answer the guiding question in a well-developed paper

ü  Create a clear thesis statement: The thesis statement unifies and focuses an argument.  The thesis statement is not a topic sentence, but rather an assertion about a topic.

ü  Provide ample and specific evidence from documents and notes

ü  Paper’s body paragraphs are organized around the evidence supporting your thesis


Sample Outline


Introduction:  Set the stage for the reader.  You will want to remind the reader of the time period, significant events, accomplishments, and people of the Ancient Greek culture, etc.  Your thesis will come at the end of the introductory paragraph.


Body Paragraphs:  Arrange the evidence you have found to support your response to the question. You must develop at least two reasons for your philosopher of choice (1: words i.e. teachings/ideology; 2: where this is evidenced in Greek culture). 


      Body ¶ 1: This is where you show that you understand the message and meaning behind the works you have read from the three (3) great Ancient Greek philosophers. You must talk about all three (3)—remember the categories. This is your oppositional paragraph that will address the although portion of your thesis: Although Aristotle and Plato had....it was Socrates who... = 1st  paragraph addressing the contribution of Aristotle and Plato that the transitions with Socrates as the most enduring/influential


      Body ¶ 2: This is where you address the person you believe is the most influential by providing evidence of his words that you will argue have been put to use in Ancient Greece’s culture. This is where you talk about the words that are reflected in the culture—remember the categories. (i.e. Political: specific teaching/beliefs (words) and evidence of this found in Greek culture)


      Body ¶ 3: This is where you will provide evidence from the culture that you find to be directly related to your chosen philosopher’s words.  This is where you talk about the cultural evidence related to those words—remember the categories (same format as ¶ 2 with different category i.e. Education/Women)


Conclusion:   In the conclusion you will summarize your evidence being sure that the reader can only agree with your analysis.  You may wish to wrap up your paper about the by making a philosophical statement about the importance of Ancient Greece.









A – A+



ü  Thesis is clearly stated and strongly worded

ü  Evidence is substantial: at least one quote from a primary doc per

ü  Information is clearly stated

ü  Paper is carefully structured and written




B – A-




ü  Thesis is clearly stated

ü  Information is clearly stated

ü  Evidence is not as powerfully used as it could be (could have used better or further examples)

ü  Writing could be strengthened

ü  Structure was effective



C – B-




ü  Thesis is clearly stated

ü  Information is clearly stated

ü  Evidence is adequate but could use development

ü  Effort is apparent in planning and writing

 Paper must be revised to above standard


D – C-


ü  Thesis is apparent

ü  Paper was completed and turned in

ü  Minimal evidence of planning and effort

ü  Paper must be revised to reach passing standards



ü  Paper must be revised to reach passing standards


Due Date: 10-27-09