I do not think one can speak of "the" roots: there are many. Eliot traced it to Greek and Latin, but of course using the Bible one goes back to ancient Hebrew and Egyptian and Babylonian sources. Your Irish friend may not choose to acknowledge her Celtic ancestors, but she is just wrong, or in any case--if she is not herself a Celt--, it is not true for her culture. In fact a fascinating genetic study a couple of years ago found that the largest gene pool in the UK is, in fact, Celtic. And Gaelic sources go back a couple thousand years also. Moreover, both the Anglo-Saxon and the Gaelic literatures and cultures have had profound influence on literature in English regardless of whether it is recognized. Auden, for example, went back to Anglo-Saxon poetic forms and used them; many living poets do also. Gaelic words and ideas have entered into both Ireland and Scotland directly and through there to England and America. Brittany and parts of Spain are Gaelic in origin--hence the pipes and music. It is a very complicated picture probably much obscured by Eliot's own pronouncements about the "mind of Europe"--an imagined construction of his own.
The Greek influence you are asking about is, among other things, the influence of Plato, Aristotle, and Homer on all of subsequent Western thought. I'm just pointing out that there are other influences.
And before anyone bothers to pounce, yes I know about the Renaissance and its taking in of Latin and Greek literature and about earlier Medieval uses of those sources. But it is all a great hybrid.
>>> [log in to unmask] 11/13/04 11:55 AM >>>
I am sorry if I have been making too many 'OT'
postings, but this will be my last. I am very much
curious to know the origins attributed to Western
Civilization. I am told that the school books would
ascribe it as back as the Sumerian, Akkadian and the
Egyptian, but what I have read points only as far as
the Greek, if not the later Christian origins. An
Irish friend, for that matter, would never imagine
herself to think of the Celts as her ancestors. (That
the Greek would have influences of the earlier
civilizations is possible, but I haven*€™t observed it
conspicuous in what I have read). Would someone throw
light on it, Please?
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