This course is an introduction to the history, society, and culture of the Western world, from the earliest civilizations to 1600. Over the course of the semester we will endeavor to understand the main characteristics, thoughts, and beliefs of different eras of history, considering such questions as: what are the characteristics of Western, as opposed to other civilizations? Who are its heroes and heroines? How have Western values and religious ideals developed over the centuries?
The objectives of this course are that students will:
develop a basic understanding of the trends of ancient, medieval and early modern history.
become familiar with the use of primary sources in studying history.
improve their abilities to develop and defend an argument based on differing types of evidence.
improve their writing abilities.
Requirements: This class will be a combination of lecture, discussion and reading. The only way to successfully complete the course – and get a good grade at the end – is to energetically and thoughtfully do the assignments as they are listed in the syllabus. Simply coming to class and listening is not enough.
Joshua Cole, et. al., Western Civilizations vol. I (Brief edition)
Plato, The Last Days of Socrates
The Song of Roland
Steven Ozment, Magdalena and Balthasar (Handout)
The reading should be done according to the schedule below; the day’s reading should be done before coming to class.
Class participation: There will be a great deal of discussion in this class. I hope that all students will feel comfortable taking part in discussions; the more students who participate, the more interesting and productive the class. As incentive to keep up with the reading and to get involved with the conversations, 10% of your final grade will be based on my assessment of your participation in the life of the class. This includes attendance, alertness, contributions to discussion, demonstrations that the assigned reading has been done, and occasional quizzes and in-class writing assignments. Remember that The Citadel has a mandatory attendance policy. While the Commandant’s Office can at times excuse students from the military consequences of missing class, it cannot excuse them from the academic consequences. Missing more than four classes, for any reason other than illness, will have negative consequences upon your grade. And, in accordance with college policy, missing more than 20% of classes can result in withdrawal from the course.
Tests: There will be three tests in this course; two during the semester and one at the end. These will be essay tests and will evaluate students’ understanding of the concepts and information covered in readings, discussions and lectures. Students are urged to keep up with the material throughout the semester and to talk with the professor about questions or problems. This will make it much easier to study for tests. Each test counts 20% of your final grade. Please note that scheduled tests are considered mandatory formations. If you have to miss a test, you must consult with the professor ahead of time. If you miss a test, you must contact your professor by phone or email within 24 hours of the test, to explain why you missed the test. I will determine at that time if a make-up test is warranted. Guard duty or other military activities are not exceptions from scheduled tests. Please also note the dates for the final exam; according to college policy, final exam dates cannot be changed, so make your travel plans accordingly.
Papers:Three paper topics will be assigned; one on each of the three supplemental readings. Each student is to write papers on two of them. Each paper should be 3-5 pages. You may also choose to write all three papers and only the highest two grades will count. However, papers are due on the days listed below; you can’t decide at the end of the semester that you wanted to write an earlier paper. Students are encouraged to discuss their papers with the professor and even to submit a rough draft for comments. Each paper will count 15% of your final grade. Pay attention to due dates. Late papers will lose half a letter grade for every day they are late.
Please note that tobacco products are not allowed in class, according to college policy. Cell phones must be turned off (or to “silent”) and put away.
Aug. 27 – introduction
Aug. 29-Sep. 1 – Ancient Near East
Reading:Cole, chaps. 1, 2
Sep. 3- 10 – Ancient Greece
Reading: Cole, chap. 3
Sep. 12 - 15 – Reading: Last Days of Socrates, “The Apology”, “The Crito”
General directions: Three paper topics are listed below, one on each of the three supplemental readings. Each student is to write two of the assigned papers. Each paper should be 3-5 pages. You may also choose to write all three papers and only the highest two grades will count. However, papers are due on the days listed below; you can’t decide at the end of the semester that you wanted to write an earlier paper. Students are encouraged to discuss their papers with the professor and even to submit a rough draft for comments. Each paper will count 15% of your final grade. Pay attention to due dates. Late papers will lose half a letter grade for every day they are late. More guidelines for the papers are below.
Paper #1 Last Days of Socrates
Due: Sep. 19.
Question: How did Socrates define an honorable life? In what ways was his definition different from mainstream Athenian life? Base your essay on examples and evidence from “The Apology” and “The Crito”.
Paper #2 Song of Roland
Due: Oct. 29
Choose ONE of the following questions:
1. How does the author of Song of Roland define an honorable life (or death) for knights? Base your answer on examples and evidence from the poem.
OR 2. What is the role of the king, as shown in Song of Roland? Think about such questions as: what is the basis of his authority? What sort of relationship does he expect from his knights? What is his relationship with the church? How powerful is Charlemagne, as seen in his poem? Base your answer on examples and evidence from the poem.
Paper #3 Magdalena and Balthasar
Due: Dec. 8
Choose ONE of the following questions:
1. Who do Magdalena and Balthasar believe determines their fates - themselves or God? Base your answer on specific examples and evidence from Magdalena and Balthasar.
OR 2. How would Balthasar define an honorable life, for a man in his income level and profession? Base your answer on specific examples and evidence from Magdalena and Balthasar.
General Paper Guidelines
Papers should be typed, double-spaced and with proper paragraphs, spelling and grammar. There should be a works cited page, and all sources used should be cited. You are not required to use any sources other than class reading for these papers, but the book which is the subject of the paper should still be cited. All direct quotes, as well as ideas borrowed from another source, should be cited.
Works cited page: Homer, The Iliad E. V. Rieu, trans. (London: Penguin, 2003).
Parenthetical citation: (Homer, p. 23).
Your paper should have a strong thesis statement, which is supported by evidence drawn from the source you are writing about. Your thesis statement should be in the first paragraph. The body of the paper should explain and develop your thesis: present and explain the evidence, show that your thesis is true. Conclude with a paragraph that summarizes your ideas. Please note that a paper can consist of more than three paragraphs - use as many as you need, but each major idea should have its own paragraph.
Below is a general idea of grading standards. Be aware that there are a lot of “gray areas” within these guidelines:
A = Paper is well organized, with a strong, specific thesis statement and supporting evidence. It is free of major spelling or grammatical errors. It shows careful and thoughtful reading of the source being discussed. There is a works cited page, and all quotations and ideas borrowed from other sources are cited.
B = Paper is generally well organized, with a good thesis and supporting material. The thesis may be a little vague, and the evidence is not discussed as well. The paper has a few structural errors. It shows a good understanding of the source, but may misinterpret it in some way. Citations are done correctly.
C = Paper is loosely organized and the thesis is not clear, nor well supported by evidence. It contains a fair number of structural errors. While it may summarize the material fairly accurately, it does not attempt to analyze the author’s point of view.
D = Paper is basically unorganized with glaring grammatical and spelling errors. It shows little understanding of the source or of the historical background.
F = Paper is unorganized with substantial structural and historical errors. The author’s message cannot be understood.