The Western world refers to various nations depending on the context, most often including at least part of Europe and the Americas. Also known as the West, there are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident (from the Latin word occidens, "sunset, West"), in contrast to the Orient (from Latin word oriens, "rise, East").
Ancient Greece and ancient Rome are generally considered to be the birthplaces of Western civilization: the former due to its impact on philosophy, democracy, science and art; the latter due to its influence on law, warfare, governance, republicanism and architecture. Western civilization is also founded upon Christianity (particularly Roman Catholicism and various Protestant churches), which is in turn shaped by Hellenistic philosophy, Judaism and Roman culture; the ancient Greeks in turn had been influenced by forms of ancient Near East civilizations. In the modern era, Western culture has been heavily influenced by the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Through expansive imperialism by Western powers in the 15th to 20th centuries, much of the rest of the world has been influenced by Western culture.
The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in the theological, methodological and emphatical division between the Western Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. West was originally literal, opposing Catholic Europe with the cultures and civilizations of the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the remote Far East which early-modern Europeans saw as the East.
In modern usage, Western world sometimes refers to Europe and to areas whose populations largely originate from Europe, through the Age of Discovery.
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