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Precious heritage

Greece laid the foundation of the European culture. Its own culture is filled with the agonistic spirit. It is this spirit that has led to the most brilliant results in many spheres.

This nation presented the world with the modern alphabet, lyrics, tragedy and comedy, the concepts of democracy and philosophy. The Greek mythology filled many languages with the expressions of wisdom and irony.

The Greeks founded the doctrine of the Four Elements (water, air, fire and soil) and four types of the human temperament. They paid great attention to the man's spiritual and physical fitness and developed their own system of upbringing and education. It were the Greeks who presented the Olympic Games to mankind.

Rome is well known in history for the administration of an empire and its military strategy, for maintaining peace through law and justice. The Romans were also known for painting, building bridges and roads and aqueducts.

They built a culture, Greek in origin, but Roman in application and result, thus transmitting the classical Greek heritage to the west. Were it not for Rome, the Barbarians would have wiped out the Greeks' achievements from the human history.

Byzantine culture is unique. Due to many important historical events, it became a fusion of many cultures (Roman, Chaldean, Persian, Hellenic, etc.) as well as an important link between the East and the West.

During the Middle Ages, there appeared the national identity in Europe. Many nations, such as England, France, Hungary, Norway, Denmark and others, sprung into being.

At this time there appeared new guilds and churches. Liberal arts were studied and universities were established; new styles of art and architecture developed. Vast mass of literature in Latin appeared and great progress was achieved in science.

The Slavic type of culture is the synthesis of almost all the aspects of the cultural activities of mankind. The Slavs presented the world with 2 alphabets: Cyrillic and Glagolitic. Later the Slavic alphabet penetrated into Russia and greatly contributed to the origination of the ancient Russian literature.

It is hard to imagine our life without numerals, both Arabic and Roman. The Arabic numerals are a topic of great interest. They were neither invented nor used by the Arabs. They were invented in India by the Hindus about 600 A.D. and were written "backwards": 123 was written as 321, etc.

Around 750 A.D. this system was brought to Persia. The Arabs improved it and the system began to be widely used. The numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. are called Arabic in the west because they were introduced to Europeans by the Arab scholars.

The Arabs themselves call them "Indian numerals". No other number system, ever invented, has such a simple way of writing complex numbers.

It is also known that the Arabs reached the highest level of civilization in the X century. They showed the brilliant results in trade, industry and agriculture. Rice and sugar cane were grown in the fields irrigated by the Arab engineers. Many Arab cities had public baths, stone paved streets, fountains and marble architecture.

The Arabs also had great experience in inventing various codes and scriptures.

The form of the Roman numeration used today was established during the Middle Ages in Western Europe. It was derived from the systems actually used in Roman times, but with certain improve­ments.

The basic Roman numerals are: I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500, M = 1000. Thus: VIII = 8, CLXXX = 180, MMDCCXXV = 2 725, etc. Later appeared «the subtraction rule» allowing the use of six compound symbols in which a smaller unit precedes the larger one: IV = 4, IX = 9, XL = 40, XC = 90, CD = 400, CM = 900.

The Roman numerals continued to be in use in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, and they remained in general use for centures after our modern number system became available. In fact, their use in certain applications continues even today.


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