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History

Greek civilisation

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Rational thinking

The Greeks developed the use of logic in discussion, and Aristotle used these ideas to advance Greek understanding of mathematics. The teacher Socrates developed a new method of education, which involved asking questions.

Most importantly of all, after 600BC, more and more Greeks began to ask questions about the world they lived in. Why did things happen? Increasingly Greek philosophers found rational (logical/ natural) reasons for things. Anaximander (6th century BC) suggested that all matter was made up of 'elements' (earth, water, air and fire). Pretty soon, Greek doctors were suggesting that illness, too, had a natural cause and if a natural cause, therefore a natural cure.

After 300BC Alexander the Great conquered a huge empire, and Greek civilisation and ideas spread all over the Middle East. The city built by Alexander in Egypt, Alexandria, became a centre for study and learning, and was famous for its library.

The Greeks still believed in their gods, but the influence that they ascribed to these gods - ie the area of the unknown - grew smaller as they acquired scientific knowledge.

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