The West, or Western world, is a geopolitical concept that is generally based on the idea of ​​a common civilization, heir to the Greco-Roman civilization from which modern Western society emerged. His current employment also implies a distancing with either the rest of the world or one or more other areas of influence of the world such as the Arab world, the Chinese world or the Russian sphere of influence. Originally this distanciation was expressed against the East and Constantinople. Indeed, the political notion of the West gradually emerged from 285 with the division of the Roman Empire, when the Roman Empire of the West, which uses the Latin alphabet forms around Rome, and that the Empire Eastern Roman who uses the Greek alphabet is constituted around Constantinople. The decline of the Western Roman Empire culminated in the end of Western political unity in 476, without undermining religious unity, leading to the expansion of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church to the Church. Northern Europe and Central Europe. The advance Omeyyade in Spain is stopped by the reestablishment of a western military unit under the command of Charles Martel, victorious in Poitiers in 732. It is in this context that Charlemagne takes the title of emperor of the West in the 800. In 1078, the Seljuk Turks prohibited Christian pilgrims from entering Jerusalem, leading in 1096 to the beginning of the Crusades during which Westerners launched armed expeditions into the “Holy Land”. The schism of 1054 had meanwhile marked a break in principle between Rome and Constantinople, the opposition then became religious. The fourth crusade, diverted by the Republic of Venice, concludes with a sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders. It weakens the Eastern Empire durably, but begins the Renaissance in the West. From there, the world knows two important upheavals: the Protestant Reformation which upsets Western Christianity and the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans. The capture of Granada in 1492 marked at the same time the end of the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula. The European states abandon the Silk Road and begin to look for new routes to the Indies: this period named “Great Discoveries” leads to the gradual conquest of the “New World”. There will be a period of technological progress, the establishment of colonial counters, which will become colonial empires, the “Age of Enlightenment” and finally the industrial revolution. The Russian Empire is westernized from Peter the Great but the advent of the USSR will lead during the second half of the Cold War and a bipolar world dominated:

The term Occident is borrowed from the Latin Occidens, present participle of occidere. This verb is composed of the particle ob meaning “object” and cadere which means “fall, fall”, “fall to the ground”, “succumb, perish”. Speaking of a star (especially the sun), the term means “to lie down” and can literally be translated as “sunset”. This term is opposed to the orient (Latin oriri, to be born, to arise) which designates the place where the sun rises. Romance languages ​​have only one term for the notion of “Occident”. Behind this term are concentrated both geographical and historical features, but also cultural traits. Conversely, there are three terms in German, which according to the meaning, refer to three different roots: Westen, Abendland, Okzident. This allows for more nuances and connotations. In French, the term ponant (opposed to levant) also exists but it remains little used. English offers him three terms: West or Western world as well as Occidental, generally reserved for academic use. In Arabic, the Maghreb, (المغرب al-Maghrib), literally means “the sunset”, “the West”. Historically, the Maghreb was the southern part of the Western Roman Empire. The term Rumi (Arabic rum, literally Roman) commonly refers to the “Western” and has also designated the European settler in Arab countries.


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