CHAPTER STUDY GUIDES INTRODUCTION AND HUMANITIES PRIMER
Which two authors do Matthews and Platt quote at the beginning of the introduction and what do you understand these statements to say about the study of the past?
What kind of world do Matthews and Platt suggest we will live in if we do not study the past; what problems might develop?
How do Matthews and Platt define a historical period?
How do Matthews and Platt define a cultural style?
What three broad historical periods do Matthews and Platt discuss in the introduction?
At the conclusion of the introduction, what do Matthews and Platt say is “the purpose of all education”?
In “A Humanities Primer”, what do Matthews and Platt say will happen if we never go beyond the “first careless rapture” we experience with a work of art?
What do Matthews and Platt say must happen for us to understand a work of art?
What is formalism?
What is contextualism?
What three different forms of art do Matthews and Platt briefly analyze in the “Humanities Primer”? Give the title and artist of a work of each artform included in the discussion.
What are some suggestions that Matthews and Platt make for what makes a work “great”?
CHAPTER 1: PREHISTORY, ANCEINT MESOPOTAMIA AND ANCIENT EGYPT Prehistory and Early Cultures
How is the terms “culture” defined in the textbook? How is the term “civilization” defined in the textbook?
By what means do the authors suggest that culture is primarily passed on? By what means do the authors suggest that civilization is primarily passed on?
What two accounts of the creation of the earth do Matthews and Platt combine in a metaphor to help us better understand the evolution of our planet and humanity’s place on it?
What term is used to designate humans’ earliest cultural period and what does this term mean?
What are the three cultural periods that the prehistoric era is typically divided into?
Briefly describe how our Stone Age ancestors lived.
What types of evidence have been discovered to give us insight into prehistoric human life?
What artifacts mark human beings’ breakthrough to symbolic thought?
What theory regarding the purpose of prehistoric paintings is briefly discussed in this chapter?
Briefly describe the physical form and the possible meaning and purpose of the Figurine from Willendorf (The “Venus” of Willendorf)..
Which revolution that permanently altered the course of the human experience took place at the dawn of the Neolithic period?
Prehistoric periods – and some historic periods – are often defined by technologies used during them. What two different materials that were used to create tools define the cultural periods that are discussed in chapter one?
What great rivers did Ancient Mesopotamia develop around?
What contemporary country encompasses much of the terrain of ancient Mesopotamia?
Which three major civilizations successively developed in ancient Mesopotamia?
Who was Sumer’s most successful and inspirational king and in what text are this king’s heroic adventures immortalized?
Who was the first and greatest of the Akkadian kings?
Who was the most successful leader of the Babylonians?
How did the geography of Mesopotamia affect the development of these cultures?
Of all the technologies that were developed by and influenced Mesopotamian culture, one of the most significant was writing. Why is writing an incredibly important part of human civilization?
Name and briefly describe the three stages Sumerian writing evolved through.
Briefly describe and define three important characteristics of Mesopotamian religion.
Of the influential themes expressed in The Epic of Gilgamesh, which do you think is most important today? Briefly explain the reasoning for your choice.
What is the most important set of ancient Mesopotamian laws? What significant concepts and attitudes do we inherit from ancient Mesopotamian law?
What is depicted in the relief sculpture at the top of the stele of The Code of Hammurabi?
What purposes did art serve in ancient Mesopotamia?
What is a ziggurat?
What great river was central to ancient Egyptian civilization and how did it influence Egyptian cultural attitudes?
Which great Egyptian king unified upper and lower Egypt?
What did the pharaoh represent in ancient Egypt?
Which female pharaoh is briefly discussed in this chapter and what great architectural work symbolizes her reign?
What religious/political system did ancient Egyptians follow?
Briefly describe the revolutionary changes that occurred under the reign of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) during the Amarna period.
What are hieroglyphics?
Under whose reign was the Great Pyramid at Giza built and what purpose did it serve?
What primary purpose did art, particularly sculpture, serve in Ancient Egypt?
What characteristics are associated with the Classical style of Egyptian sculpture? Name a work that is used in illustrate these traits.
Briefly describe how human figures were traditionally depicted in ancient Egyptian painting.
Heirs to the Mesopotamian and Egyptian Empires
(some material only in sixth edition)
What made the Hittites such a successful warrior people?
What are “the most lasting works” of the Hittites?
Briefly describe Assyrian culture.
What did the Assyrian Human-Headed Winged Bull symbolize and what purpose did it serve?
What modern nation is situated on what was the heart of the Persian Empire?
Which great Persian leaders are discussed in this section?
What do the authors consider to be “the most original and enduring of Persia’s legacies”?
Which commercial city in southern Arabia was central to the development of Islam?
Who is the founder of Islam?
What challenges did Muhammad and his followers present to the leaders of the city of Mecca?
What is the Hegira and why is it significant to the history of Islam?
What is the Kaaba?
What are the two central beliefs of the Islamic faith?
What is the sacred text of Islam? What other texts are also studied?
What are the Five Pillars of the Islamic faith?
A term that is often misunderstood and misused is jihad. How is this term properly defined?
What contributions did Islamic scholars make in the Muslim “Golden Age”? Identify each of the individual scholars discussed in this chapter and a significant contribution that each made.
Define the terms arabesque, mosque, minaret and minbar.
What is the Dome of the Rock and where is it located?
CHAPTERS 7, 9 AND 10: MEDIEVAL EUROPE Chapter 7
What was the primary source for a sense of safety and security for the majority of people living in Medieval Europe? (Hint: by the High Middle Ages, it became the dominant institution of the medieval world.)
Who was Charlemagne and how did he significantly contribute to the culture of the Early Middle Ages?
Who was Pope Gregory the Great and how did he significantly contribute to the culture of the Early Middle Ages?
Who was St. Benedict and what role did he play in the development of the Medieval Church?
What do Matthews and Platt consider to be one of the most important achievements of Charlemagne's palace school? Briefly explain why this achievement was incredibly important.
How does the story of Beowulf reflect the warrior culture of the Early Middle Ages?
What is feudalism and how did it influence the development of medieval culture?
What is the chivalric code?
What form of rule was the political outgrowth of medieval feudalism?
What seven sacraments were officially proclaimed by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215?
The curriculum at cathedral schools, and later at the medieval university, consisted of which seven subjects?
What is scholasticism?
Who was Averroes?
Who was Thomas Aquinas and what role did he play in the debate between the philosophers and theologians at the University of Paris?
What is a chanson de geste? Name an example discussed in the assigned readings.
What well-known and popular legendary king became the subject of many medieval romances, particular those written by de Troyes?
Who was Dante Alighieri and what epic contribution did he make to medieval culture?
What was the primary purpose of the arts in the High Middle Ages?
Briefly describe the Romanesque style of architecture and identify a building (discussed in the readings) that reflects this style.
What purpose did Romanesque churches serve in the practices of the pilgrimage?
What is a tympanum?
Where did the term “Gothic”, at least as it applies to medieval art, originate?
Where did the Early Gothic style originate?
A well-known statement by the Abbot Suger is included in chapter ten – what does he believe provides a great resource for humans to “come to understand God”?
Briefly describe the Gothic style of architecture.
Identify a building (discussed in the readings) that reflects the Early Gothic style.
Identify a building (discussed in the readings) that reflects the High Gothic style.
A particular type of sculpted figure often adorns the exterior of Gothic cathedrals; what are these figures, and what practical and symbolic functions do they serve?
Which cathedral is home to the finest stained glass from the High Gothic era?
What major disasters did Europe face in the Late Middle Ages? What were these interpreted to mean/symbolize?
Which great Florentine poet is discussed in this chapter?
Which great English author’s work, which focuses on a pilgrimage, is discussed in this chapter?
What was the chief aesthetic goal of Late Gothic architects?