Dr. Martin Secker Office hours: TTh 1:30-2:30
Class hours: TR Phone:
Course website: http://mdsec.tripod.com The weekly reading schedule, links to online readings and websites, and handouts will all be posted on the website. You will need to check it continually.
Course weblog: http://mdsec.tripod.com/four Announcements, changes, writing prompts, discussion questions, and other course materials will be posted here. A link to the log will be on the online syllabus, or you can type the address directly.
Course Forum- This venue is provided as a place for you to pose questions, discuss course materials, and assignments with other students, as well as with me. If you are having problems with a text or a topic, or have questions about something, this is the place the throw out the issue for discussion. The use is the forum is purely optional for this class. It is simply there to facilitate the exchange of information and a limited kind of cooperative effort or study.
We will also read extensively from primary sources in handouts and on the internet.
This course is designed to provide
an overview of the roots and early development of what later will become
western civilization. Along the way, the student will have the opportunity to
acquire a superficial familiarity with civilization in the early
Upon completion of the course students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of:
Ø The origins and roots of western civilization.
Ø The contributions of different peoples and cultures to the mix that eventually becomes a whole new civilization in western Europe.
Ø The chief characteristics of the institutions and value systems of the societies studied here.
Ø The processes of change and development within societies and civilizations.
Ø The complex interplay of value systems, social structure, geography and ecology, technology, economics, and political institutions in human societies.
Ø How societies and civilizations have confronted issues of diversity and cultural differences within their populations.
Students will also be able to demonstrate:
Ø University-level methods of historical inquiry, text interpretation, analytical writing, and critical thinking.
Ø The ability to reflect upon their own lives in the light of world history.
Attendance is required. You are allowed four absences without penalty. Each absence beyond that will result in a one grade reduction in your course grade. With eight absences you automatically fail this course.
Class preparation and participation. I expect students to come to class each day having read thoroughly all materials assigned for that day and ready to discuss the topics covered that day. Consistent thorough preparation will greatly help your grasp of the sometimes complex subject of this class, and will improve the chemistry within the classroom making the class itself a better learning experience. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be mentally “into” this course.
Text glosses- (5%) Each student must submit brief glosses of required source readings four times during the semester. These glosses will be the basis for class discussions of the texts. Assignment specifics to follow.
Internet/website sources and commentaries. (15% = 2 x 7.5%): 1) Art or music sample. Each student must submit at least one example of art from one of the cultures under study in this class in the time periods covered by this class. You must also provide a brief commentary on the example, and identify the website (URL) from which it comes. 2) Description of and commentary on a website dealing with some aspect of western civilization prior to 1600 C.E. The website must be fully identified. This website must not be used for either the Art/Music. Assignment specifics to follow.
Responses to prompts (5%): Writing prompts will be posted for each week’s readings. You must respond in writing to a prompt from five weeks throughout the semester.
Extended analyses of writers and documents (20%- 2 x 10%). You are allowed to use one the writers and documents assigned for our readings. You may use other writers or documents, but these choices must be approved by the instructor in advance.
Exams (55%) There will be two exams- a midterm (20%) and a final exam (35%). Please note: You must average a passing grade on the exams to pass the course!!! There are no make-up exams without an acceptable, verifiable, written excuse, or unless arranged in advance.
Assignment sheet: History 4 assignments
All your work should be kept in a portfolio throughout the semester and resubmitted at the end of the semester.
Written work is due at the beginning of class on the due date. Late work is accepted, but a one grade penalty is applied for each day (not each class period) it is late, beginning at the end of class.
Course grades are determined on a 1000 point scale. Weight is given to assignments according to the above percentages. For instance, the journal is worth 300 points.
900-1000=A 600-699 =D
800-899 =B Less than 600=F
Resources on the Web
History texts: Internet History Sourcebook Project; world civilizations; Internet Sacred Text Archive; Perseus Project; Internet Classics Library; The Latin Library; Forum Romanum; From Primitives to Zen (Eliade site); Exploring Ancient World Cultures; The Labyrinth; ORB: the Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies; NetSERF; WWW Virtual Library for Medieval Studies
Online textbook: http://fsmitha.com/index.html
9/2 Introduction. Early human history and the first civilizations
9/9 Hittites, Hebrews, Assyrians and Persians- the Evolution of Near Eastern Civilization.
Handouts: Ancient Mesopotamia
Snake Goddesses and Homeric Heroes: Civilization Reaches
Primary sources: Iliad, excerpts
9/16 Man is a Political Animal- rise of the polis
9/18 Greek religion and values
9/23 Women, Slaves, Mules and Sophists- The Fifth Century
Perry, 48-52, 56-59; 65-69
9/25 Useless Questions, Self-knowledge, and the Cave
9/30 “Revolution Thus Ran Its Course From City to City, . . . “- the Breakdown of the Polis
10/2 Alexander Cuts the Gordian Knot
Perry, 53-54, 70-81
10/7 Elephants over the
Primary sources: Livy, excerpts
10/9 Lucretia and the XII Tables: Virtue and Law in Early
Handouts: Roman Terms
10/16 The Last of the Old Romans?
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” –
10/23 A New Religion, a New Capital, a New Society?
10/30 The Prophet, Veils, Peoples of the Book, and the Survival of Empire
Handout: Early Islam
11/4 Wergeld, the Consolation of Philosophy, and the Roman Shepard
Perry, 143-148Gregory of Tours; Salic Law; Life of St. Benedict; Life of St. Boniface
Charlemagne and the Making of
11/11 Lords, Vassals: Freedom, Service and Obligation
Handout: Terms- Middle Ages
11/13 Manors, Fairs, Merchants, and the Rise of Towns
11/18 Monks, Saints, Popes, and St. Peter’s Keys
11/20 “How to live in this world, but for the next?” Patron saints, Crusades, investiture, and marriage.
11/25 Heloise and the Doctors
11/27 The Tomb, the Light, and the Troubadours
12/2 Rats, Plague, and Dislocation: Social and Economic Reorganization
Perry, 189-191, 260-266, 195-200
12/4 New Worlds and New Monarchies: Reexamining Authority
Perry, 236-239, 254-260
12/9 Schisms, Mystics and Reformers
Perry, 191-194, 218-234
12/11 Beatrice, Lucretia, and Mona Lisa
Perry, 194-195, 204-218