The culture of Europe can be described as a series of overlapping cultures; cultural mixes exist across the continent. There are cultural innovations and movements, sometimes at odds with each other. Thus the question of "common culture" or "common values" is complex.
The foundation of European culture was laid by the Greeks, strengthened by the Romans, stabilised by Christianity, reformed by the 15th-century Renaissance and Reformation, modernised by the 18th century Age of Enlightenment and globalised by successive European empires between the 16th and 20th centuries.
According to historian Hilaire Belloc, for several centuries the peoples of Europe based their self-identification on the remaining traces of the Roman culture and on the concept of Christendom, because many European-wide military alliances were of religious nature: the Crusades (1095–1291), the Reconquista (711-1492), the Battle of Lepanto (1571).