Le terme de monde occidental peut prêter à confusion car il recouvre des réalités différentes selon les époques et selon des considérations politiques, culturelles, idéologiques, religieuses ou philosophiques. Il est donc intéressant de l’étudier dans une perspective historique.

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  • Le terme de monde occidental peut prêter à confusion car il recouvre des réalités différentes selon les époques et selon des considérations politiques, culturelles, idéologiques, religieuses ou philosophiques. Il est donc intéressant de l’étudier dans une perspective historique. Le monde occidental ou plus simplement l'occident désigne, dans une vision classique, une aire culturelle héritière de la Grèce antique (pensée, science) et de la Rome antique (droit) et imprégnée plus tard de culture judéo-chrétienne catholique et protestante. Dans cette acception les racines de l'occident remontent à l'Antiquité. Elle trouve son origine dans l'établissement de colonies par les cités de la Grèce Antique qui diffusèrent peu à peu leur civilisation sur tout le pourtour méditerranéen. C'est sous cette influence que se développa progressivement la ville de Rome, jusqu'à former un vaste empire. En 296, Dioclétien divisa administrativement l'Empire romain en deux parties : l'Orient et l'Occident, instituant une première frontière, entre ce qui sera longtemps le monde oriental et le monde occidental.Après une période de relatif déclin durant le Moyen Âge, l'occident s'est plus fortement développé que le reste du monde avec la Renaissance puis avec les Lumières du XVIIIe siècle en se libérant de l'influence de l'Église, avant d’atteindre son apogée avec la Révolution industrielle du XIXe siècle, la colonisation européenne du monde et enfin avec les révolutions politiques du XXe siècle, qui ont instauré la laïcité et la démocratie parlementaire.
  • Western civilization traces its roots back to European and Mediterranean classical antiquity. It is associated with nations linked to the former Western Roman Empire and with Medieval Western Christendom who emerged from feudalism to experience such transformative historical episodes as the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the development of liberal democracy. Western civilization has spread to produce the dominant cultures of modern North America, South America, and Oceania, and has had immense global influence in recent centuries.The civilizations of Classical Greece and Rome as well as Ancient Israel and early Christendom are considered seminal periods in Western history; cultural contributions also emerged from the pagan peoples of pre-Christian Europe. Following the 5th century Fall of Rome, Europe entered the Middle Ages, during which period the Catholic Church filled the power vacuum left in the West by the fallen Roman Empire, while the Byzantine Empire endured for centuries, becoming a Hellenic Eastern contrast to the Latin West.Feudalism developed as the system of government and society, with serfdom providing a manual workforce and medieval knights evolving as the elite military units, bound by a code of chivalry, and from whom were drawn the soldiers of the Crusades. In northern and central Europe, cultures which had existed beyond the bounds of the Hellenic and Latin worlds joined Western Christendom, while in the East, Russia joined Eastern Orthodox. In North Africa and the Middle East, lands such as Egypt and Judea were subsumed within the new Arabic and Turkic Empires of Islam, creating a new East-West political contrast.By the 12th century, Europe was experiencing a flowering of art and learning, propelled by the construction of cathedrals and the establishment of medieval universities. Christian unity was shattered by the Reformation from the 14th century. A merchant class grew out of city states, initially in the Italian peninsula (see Italian city-states), and Europe experienced the Renaissance from the 14th to the 17th century, heralding an age of technological and artistic advance and ushering in the Age of Discovery which saw the rise of such global European Empires as those of Spain, Portugal and Britain.The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the 18th century. Under the influence of the Enlightenment, the Age of Revolution emerged from the United States and France as part of the transformation of the West into its industrialised, democratised modern form. The lands of North and South America and Australia became first part of European Empires and then home to new Western nations, while Africa and Asia were largely carved up between Western powers. Laboratories of Western democracy were founded in Britain's colonies in Australasia from the mid-19th centuries, while South America largely created new autocracies.In the 20th century, absolute monarchy disappeared from Europe, and despite episodes of Fascism and Communism, by the close of the century, virtually all of Europe was electing its leaders democratically. Most Western nations were heavily involved in the First and Second World Wars and protracted Cold War. World War II saw Fascism defeated in Europe, and the emergence of the United States and Soviet Union as rival global powers and a new "East-West" political contrast. Other than in Russia, the European Empires disintegrated after World War II and civil rights movements and widescale multi-ethnic, multi-faith migrations to Europe, the Americas and Oceania altered the earlier predominance of ethnic Europeans in Western culture. European nations moved towards greater economic and political co-operation through the European Union. The Cold War ended around 1990 with the collapse of Soviet imposed Communism in Central and Eastern Europe. In the 21st century, the Western World retains significant global economic power and influence.The West has contributed a great many technological, political, philosophical, artistic and religious aspects to modern international culture: having been a crucible of Christianity, democracy, feminism and industrialisation; the first major civilisation to seek to abolish slavery during the 19th century, the first to enfranchise women (beginning in Australasia at the end of the 19th century) and the first to put to use such technologies as steam, electric and nuclear power. The West invented cinema, television, the personal computer and the Internet; produced artists such as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Mozart and The Beatles; developed sports such as soccer, cricket, golf, tennis and basketball; and transported humans to an astronomical object for the first time with the 1969 Apollo 11 Lunar Landing.
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  • Le terme de monde occidental peut prêter à confusion car il recouvre des réalités différentes selon les époques et selon des considérations politiques, culturelles, idéologiques, religieuses ou philosophiques. Il est donc intéressant de l’étudier dans une perspective historique.
  • Western civilization traces its roots back to European and Mediterranean classical antiquity. It is associated with nations linked to the former Western Roman Empire and with Medieval Western Christendom who emerged from feudalism to experience such transformative historical episodes as the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the development of liberal democracy.
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  • Histoire du monde occidental
  • History of Western civilization
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