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It is so named because it set the standards by which Greek civilization would be judged in later eras.
The Classical period is also described as the "Golden Age" of Greek civilization, and its art, philosophy, architecture and literature would be instrumental in the formation and development of Western culture.
While the Greeks of the classical era understood themselves to belong to a common Hellenic genos, Most of the feuding Greek city-states were, in some scholars' opinions, united under the banner of Philip's and Alexander the Great's Pan-Hellenic ideals, though others might generally opt, rather, for an explanation of "Macedonian conquest for the sake of conquest" or at least conquest for the sake of riches, glory and power and view the "ideal" as useful propaganda directed towards the city-states.
While the Alexandrian empire did not survive its creator's death intact, the cultural implications of the spread of Hellenism across much of the Middle East and Asia were to prove long lived as Greek became the lingua franca, a position it retained even in Roman times.
Most ethnic Greeks live nowadays within the borders of the modern Greek state and Cyprus.
The spiritual revolution that took place, saw a waning of the old Greek religion, whose decline beginning in the 3rd century BC continued with the introduction of new religious movements from the East. However, Greece itself had a tendency to cling to paganism and was not one of the influential centers of early Christianity: in fact, some ancient Greek religious practices remained in vogue until the end of the 4th century, While ethnic distinctions still existed in the Roman Empire, they became secondary to religious considerations and the renewed empire used Christianity as a tool to support its cohesion and promoted a robust Roman national identity.Those whose stated ethnic origins included "Greek" among others.The number of those whose stated ethnic origin is solely "Greek" is 145,250.According to the teachings and the dogmas of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the old idea of nationalism was not acceptable, and though was replaced by the concept of Romiosini (Romanitas, but in a Cristian Orthodox manner), which became synonymous to the "civilized world".
Concurrently, the secular, urban civilization of Late Antiquity survived in the Eastern Mediterranean along with the Greco-Roman educational system; the Greeks' essential values were drawn from both Christianity and the Homeric tradition of their classical ancestors.
Byzantine grammarians were those principally responsible for carrying, in person and in writing, ancient Greek grammatical and literary studies to the West during the 15th century, giving the Italian Renaissance a major boost.