Instructor: Katherine Smith

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History 101A: Roots of the Western Experience

Fall 2012: MWF 11:00-11:50am (Wyatt 101)

Instructor: Katherine Smith


Office phone: (253) 879-3906 (ext. 3906)

Office hours: Wyatt 142 / Tues. 11:00-1:00 and Fri. 12:00-1:00

(and other times by appointment)

Course Description: Regardless of whether we as individuals identify ourselves as “Westerners,” we live in a cultural environment informed by the historical development of Western civilizations in premodern Europe and neighboring areas. By studying the origins of human civilization and tracing the historical trajectory of the West up to modern times, we can gain a better understanding of the political, social, and legal world in which we live, and hopefully gain the wisdom that comes from historical perspective.

This course will introduce you to the Western historical traditions that trace their roots back to the earliest human settlements in the Near East approximately six thousand years ago. We will take a chronological and thematic approach to the history of Europe and its neighbors from the ancient world through the medieval and early modern periods, ending in the mid-sixteenth century. The class will focus on identifying key social, political, economic, and religious attributes of each culture we encounter, so that we will able to make meaningful comparisons. To this end, we will consider a number of themes throughout the semester, including models of political organization and rulership, perceptions of individual rights and responsibilities, the definition of oneself or one’s own community in relation to outsiders or ‘others,’ and conceptions of deities and divine power.
Course Objectives: All students will have the opportunity to

  • improve their analytical skills by engaging with a variety of historical sources in class discussions and through written assignments;

  • become familiar with the chronological development of the West from the beginnings of recorded history through the mid-sixteenth century, and be able to identify and compare key elements of past cultures;

  • and gain a better understanding of the historical origins of the institutions, ideologies, and conflicts that shape the world of the present.

Requirements and Evaluation:

Participation (including attendance): Class discussion is not a spectator sport! In order to do well – and, just as importantly, get something out of the course – it is crucial to keep up with the readings, and to come to class with the assigned texts in hand, ready to discuss them. For each day’s readings, I have included questions that will help you prepare for our discussions. As you read, jot down possible responses, note relevant passages in the assigned sources, formulate new questions of your own, and you will be well prepared for class.

Quizzes: We will have one regularly scheduled quiz, a map quiz during the second week of class which constitutes 5% of your course grade, plus five pop quizzes on assigned reading, to be given over the course of the semester at my discretion. Assuming you take all five pop quizzes, I will discount your lowest quiz grade and average your best four quizzes for 10% of your final grade. There will be no make-up pop quizzes. If you miss one pop quizz, your quiz grade will be the average of the five quizzes you took.

Two Formal Essays: Each of the two essay assignments (of 4-5 double-spaced pages each) will ask you to do a sustained close reading of at least two primary sources we have read and discussed as a group, and to use your knowledge of the historical contexts in which the sources were produced to present and support a thesis. Please note that the schedule of classes lists three essay assignments, each with a firm due date. Choose two of the three questions to write on. I will provide you with more detailed guidelines on the essay assignments before the first question is due.

Two Exams: The midterm and final exam will ask you to synthesize a great deal of material, reflecting on the various civilizations we’ve studied and considering the relationship between different time periods and cultures. Both exams will contain short essays, as well as identifications of primary source quotations and key terms. The short essay questions will be taken directly from the prep questions listed in the schedule of readings, and the term IDs will likewise come from the terms listed below each class. I will also expect you to know the dates listed in the syllabus, as well as the approximate dates (e.g., late 14th century) of select primary sources. Make-up exams will not be given. If you require additional time, you must provide me with documentation early in the semester so we can make arrangements for you to take the exams at the Center for Writing, Learning, & Teaching.

Grading Breakdown: Participation 12%

Reading Quizzes 10%

Map Quiz 5%

Analytical Essays 28%

Midterm Exam 20%

Final Exam 25%



Texts: The texts listed below are required for the class and may be purchased at the bookstore. With the exception of the first two titles, copies of these texts are available on two-hour Library Reserve, though note that some of the reserve editions are different.

  • Joshua Cole, Carole Symes, Judith Coffin and Robert Stacey, Western Civilizations: Their History and Culture, Vol. 1, 3rd brief edn. (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011)

  • Marvin Perry, ed., Sources of the Western Tradition, Vol. 1: From Ancient Times to the Enlightenment, Brief Edition (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

  • Gilgamesh: A New English Version, trans. Stephen Mitchell (Free Press, 2006)

  • Plato and Aristophanes, Four Texts on Socrates, rev. ed., trans. Thomas G. West and Grace Starry West (Cornell University Press, 1998)

  • Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania, rev. ed., trans. H. Mattingly (Penguin, 1970)

  • Beowulf, trans. Seamus Heaney (Norton, 2000)

  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. Bernard O’Donoghue (Penguin, 2007)

  • Petrarch, Selections from the Canzoniere and Other Works, trans. Mark Musa (Oxford, 1985)

Doing the Reading: The Western Civilizations textbook is intended to give you a basic understanding of the different cultures and periods the course covers. Daily assigned readings are not usually long, but they are dense and difficult to skim, since even short sections cover a lot of ground. Textbook readings are not a substitute for attending class; lectures and discussions may use material covered in the textbook as a point of departure, but will typically introduce a substantial amount of new information.

The Sources of the Western Tradition is a collection of primary sources (sources written in the periods under study in the course) that will introduce you to the wide range of materials employed by historians of early European history. We will read at least one – often more than one – primary source per class, and these texts will serve as the basis for class discussion and written assignments. In addition to the Sources of the WT, we will read several primary sources in their entirety. Primary sources are historians’ bread and butter, and we will spend a great deal of time learning how to read primary sources with a critical and historically informed eye.

Other Policies:

Attendance: Regular attendance is essential to your success in this course, and you will find that I take attendance every day. I understand that illness and emergencies do occur in the course of a fourteen-week semester, and will not penalize you for missing three (or fewer) classes. If, however, you miss more than this generous allotment, be advised that I will deduct ½ letter grade from your participation grade for each additional absence. If you become gravely ill or have a family emergency that takes you out of class for several days, please provide me with documentation (or have the Office of Advising contact all your professors) so I can excuse these absences. Be advised that I reserve the right to withdraw any student from the class for excessive unexcused absences, normally defined as more than 6 absences over the course of the semester. The last day to withdraw from class with an automatic ‘W’ is Monday, Oct. 8th; students who withdraw after this date will normally receive a ‘WF.’
Academic Honesty: All students are expected to abide by the guidelines concerning academic honesty outlined in the Logger (at Violations of honesty in research (i.e., inventing or falsifying sources or data) or writing (i.e., borrowing the arguments or words of others without attribution), or the defacing or destruction of library materials will result in a grade of ‘0’ for the assignment in question and, at the instructor’s discretion, dismissal from the course.
Emergency Information: Please review university emergency preparedness and response procedures posted at There is a link on the university home page. Familiarize yourself with hall exit doors and the designated gathering area for your class and laboratory buildings. If building evacuation becomes necessary (e.g., earthquake), meet your instructor at the designated gathering area so she/he can account for your presence. Then wait for further instructions. Do not return to the building or classroom until advised by a university emergency response representative. If confronted by an act of violence, be prepared to make quick decisions to protect your safety. Flee the area by running away from the source of danger if you can safely do so. If this is not possible, shelter in place by securing classroom or lab doors and windows, closing blinds, and turning off room lights. Stay low, away from doors and windows, and as close to the interior hallway walls as possible. Wait for further instructions.

Schedule of Classes_(NB: readings are listed below the dates on which they are due)___
(Mon) Aug. 27thIntroduction: What is Civilization? What is ‘the West’?

- There’s no assigned reading for today, but for additional background on material covered in class you may wish to consult Western Civilizations, 3-7.

Q: What factors may have influenced the creation of the first permanent human settlements? Can

we see this shift from an unsettled to a settled way of life as progress? Why or why not?


Unit 1: The Ancient Near East

(Wed) Aug. 29thMesopotamia: The Cradle of the Bronze Age

History 101 syllabus!

Western Civilizations, 7-16

Sources of the WT, xv-xvi

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 1, no. 2: Code of Hammurabi

Gilgamesh, trans. Mitchell, 1-7 (intro) and 69-90 (text)

terms: lugal, ziggurat, cuneiform

dates: c.2000, c.1750 B.C.E.
Q: Are the social and political structures and values described by the Code of Hammurabi reflected

in the epic of Gilgamesh, and vice versa?

(Fri) Aug. 31stClose Reading: The Epic of Gilgamesh, cont.

Source: Gilgamesh, trans. Mitchell, 91-199

Q: What is the meaning of life, as expressed in the second half of Gilgamesh? Do you see this as an

optimistic or a pessimistic view? Why?

(Mon) Sept. 3rd – Labor Day (no class)
(Wed) Sept. 5thAncient Egypt *MAP QUIZ TODAY*

Western Civilizations, 17-33

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 1, nos. 3-4: hymns to the Pharaohs & Akhenaten

terms: pharaoh, ma’at, Hyksos

dates: c.1550 B.C.E.

Q: How did the pharaonic model of rulership develop and change over the course of the Bronze

Age? Was Egyptian civilization fundamentally inward- or outward-looking?

(Fri) Sept. 7thThe Ancient Hebrews and their Neighbors

Western Civilizations, 42-55

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 1, nos. 6-8: excerpts from the Hebrew Bible

Assyrian inscriptions (Western Civilizations, 48-49)

terms: Neo-Assyrian Empire, Zoroaster, Babylonian Captivity

dates: c.1000, 586 B.C.E.
Q: Was the Neo-Assyrian Empire inherently strong or weak? To what extent did the Hebrews’

sustained contacts with other Iron Age cultures shape their religion and related social values?


Unit 2: The Ancient Greeks

(Mon) Sept. 10thThe Rise of the Polis

Western Civilizations, 56-68

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 2, no. 1: excerpts from the Iliad

Poetry by Tyrtaeus and Sappho (Western Civilizations, 65 and 67)

terms: polis (pl. poleis), Panhellenism, hoplites

date: 776 B.C.E.
Q: Describe the relationship between inter-polis warfare, military service, and citizenship in Archaic

Greece. Might the concept of citizenship would have developed differently (or at all) in a peaceful land with unlimited natural resources?

(Wed) Sept. 12thGreece in the Fifth Century B.C.E.: Crisis and Innovation

Western Civilizations, 68-81

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 2, nos. 2: Critias (p.33 only), 4 and 6: Thucydides

terms: Persian Wars, Peloponnesian War, Sophists

dates: 490, 480, 411 B.C.E.

**Emergency Evacuation Drill Today from 11:40-11:55am**
Q: How did the Persian invasions set the stage for the Peloponnesian War? What can Thucydides’

work tell us about the relationship between rhetoric and politics in Golden Age Athens?

(Fri) Sept. 14thClose Reading: Plato, The Apology of Socrates

Source: Plato, Apology of Socrates, in Four Texts on Socrates, 16-24 (intro) and 63-97 (text)

date: 399 B.C.E.
Q: How does Plato shape our perception of Socrates’ character and mission in his Apology? If you

were a citizen of Athens in 399, do you think you would have seen Socrates as Plato did?

(Mon) Sept. 17thClose Reading: Aristophanes, The Clouds

Source: Aristophanes, The Clouds, in Four Texts on Socrates, 29-37 (intro) and 115-76 (text)

Q: In what ways does the Socrates of The Clouds resemble the Socrates of Plato’s Apology? Can you

discern any serious messages behind Aristophanes’ bawdy humor?

(Wed) Sept. 19thThe Hellenistic World

Western Civilizations, 88-105

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 2, no. 10: Plutarch and Epicurus

Arrian on Alexander (Western Civilizations, 93)

terms: Alexander the Great, Epicureanism, Stoicism

date: 323 B.C.E.
Q: How would you define Alexander’s model of rulership? How might it have evolved had he lived

longer? What roles did Hellenism, syncretism and philosophy play in the creation of new cultures throughout Alexander’s empire after his death?


Unit 3: Rome

(Fri) Sept. 21stThe Rise of the Roman Republic

Western Civilizations, 106-117

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 3, nos.1 and 4: Polybius, Livy, and Quintus Lucretius Vespillo

Polybius on ancestor-worship (Western Civlizations, 113)

terms: Struggle of the Orders, Punic Wars, latifundia

date: 287, 146 B.C.E.
Q: How did republican values shape Romans’ approach to civic duty and family obligations? What

challenges did Rome’s expansion pose to the government and society of the Republic?

Essay Question #1 (due at the start of class on Sept. 21st): Several of the texts we read from the Ancient Greek world address the responsibilities of citizens to their polis, fellow citizens, and the gods. Consider how these responsibilities are defined in two or more of the texts below, paying close attention how the historical contexts in which these authors wrote shaped their understanding of civic life. Possible texts: Tyrtaeus, “The Beautiful and the Good” (Western Civilizations, 65); Plato, Apology of Socrates; Aristophanes, The Clouds; Thucydides, “Funeral Oration of Pericles;” and Thucydides, “Melian Dialogue.”

(Mon) Sept. 24thCivil War and the End of the Republic

Western Civilizations, 117-125

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 3, no. 5: Plutarch, Cicero, and Sallust on Republican crises

Two Views of Augustus (Western Civilizations, 122-23)

terms: Gracchi, triumvirate, principate

dates: 122, 44, 27 B.C.E.
Q: Why did Augustus succeed where Caesar and others had failed? How much was his success due to

his personal approach to one-man rule, and how much to external factors?

(Wed) Sept. 26thClose Reading: Tacitus, Agricola

Western Civilizations, 125-31

Source: Tacitus, The Agricola, 13-24 (intro) and 53-73, 79-99 (excerpts of text)

terms: Pax Romana

date: 84 C.E.
Q: What qualities does Tacitus admire in his father-in-law, Agricola? As a celebration of a Roman

conqueror, can the Agricola give us any insights into how Rome’s conquered peoples

experienced the Pax Romana?
(Fri) Sept. 28thClose Reading: Tacitus, Germania

Source: Tacitus, The Germania, 24-34 (intro) and 101-41 (full text)

Q: How does Tacitus define the Germanic tribes in terms of civilization and barbarism? To what

extent is Tacitus concerned with Roman, as well as Germanic, culture in the Germania?

(Mon) Oct. 1stThe Beginnings of Christianity

Western Civilizations, 132-141

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 4, no. 1: excerpts from the Gospels

Excerpt from Acts of the Apostles (Western Civilizations, 138)

Letters between Pliny the Younger and Trajan (Western Civilizations, 140-41)

terms: Pharisees, martyrdom, ekklesia

dates: c.30, 67 C.E.
Q: In what ways did early Christianity challenge Roman values and the social and political order of the

Roman world? What factors might account for the appeal of Christianity to particular groups?


Unit 4: Late Antiquity

(Wed) Oct. 3rdPagans and Christians in a Changing World

Western Civilizations, 142-150

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 4, nos. 2-3: Tertullian, Clement, and Jerome

Symmachus defends traditional Roman religion (Western Civilizations, 149)

terms: tetrarchy, Edict of Milan, Visigoths

dates: 293, 313, 410 C.E.
Q: To what extent did the Christian Church accommodate itself to Roman values in the third through

fifth centuries? Conversely, how did the triumph of Christianity transform Rome?

(Fri) Oct. 5thThe End of the Western Empire

Western Civilizations, 150-155

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 3, no. 9: Salvian, Jerome, and Gregory I on the fall of Rome

ch. 4, nos. 3: Benedictine Rule & 6: Augustine, The City of God

terms: monasticism, Vulgate, Augustine

date: 476 C.E.
Q: Did the Western Roman Empire fall, or was it pushed? How did the invasions of the fourth and

fifth centuries shape the worldview of learned Christians?

(Mon) Oct. 8th Rome’s Survival in the East: Byzantium

Western Civilizations, 156-64

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 5, no. 1: Theophylact Simocattes, Reason and History

Debating the power of icons (Western Civilizations, 162-63)

terms: Justinian, Corpus Iuris Civilis, Iconoclastic Controversy

dates: 527, 717 C.E.
Q: How did the consciousness of being Roman shape Byzantine culture and imperial policy in the

sixth through eighth centuries?

(Wed) Oct. 10thMidterm Review

There’s no assigned reading today, so use this time to begin reviewing for the midterm!

(Fri) Oct. 12thMidterm Exam
(Mon) Oct. 15thFall Break (no class)
(Wed) Oct. 17thThe Rise of Islam

Western Civilizations, 164-69

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 5, nos. 2-3: suras from the Qur’an & Avicenna, On Learning

Sura 81 (Western Civilizations, 165)

terms: Hijrah, umma, Umayyad caliphate

dates: 622, 632 C.E.
Q: What factors enabled Muhammad’s heirs to conquer much of the former Roman Empire in under

a century? In what ways were the early caliphs the heirs of Rome?


Unit 5: Early Medieval Europe

(Fri) Oct. 19th Rome’s Heirs in the West: the Roman Church and Germanic Kingdoms

Western Civilizations, 169-74

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 5, no. 4: Bede and Einhard, Germanic conversions

The Sutton Hoo ship-burial (Western Civilizations, 172-73)

The Anglo-Saxon queen-saint Balthild (Western Civilizations, 175)

terms: Clovis, Merovingians, Gregory I

dates: 511, 597 C.E.
Q: What strategies did missionaries and secular rulers use to promote the spread of Christianity

in early medieval Europe? Judging from the excavations at Sutton Hoo, how thoroughly Christianized was Anglo-Saxon society by the seventh century?

(Mon) Oct. 22ndClose Reading: Beowulf

Source: Beowulf, trans. Heaney, 3-103

Q: What do the rituals of hospitality, storytelling, and gift giving, as described in Beowulf, reveal about

the values of early medieval society? How important were centralized governments and the rule of law in this world?

(Wed) Oct. 24th Close Reading: Beowulf, cont.

Source: Beowulf, trans. Heaney, 103-210

Q: Why were feuding and peacemaking central preoccupations in the early medieval world of Beowulf?

According to the Beowulf poet, what are the qualities of a good (or bad) king, and a good (or bad) retainer?

(Fri) Oct. 26thThe Carolingian Revival of Empire

Western Civilizations, 174-85

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 5, no. 5: Einhard and Charlemagne

terms: Charlemagne, Carolingian Renaissance, Vikings

dates: 751, 800 C.E.
Q: How did Classical, Germanic, and Christian traditions shape Carolingian kingship? What internal

and external factors contributed to the rapid dissolution of Charlemagne’s empire after his death in 814?


Unit 6: The High Middle Ages

(Mon) Oct. 29th The Rise of a New Order

Western Civilizations, 184-96

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 5, no. 6: Galbert of Bruges and Fulbert of Chartres

Sources of the WT, ch. 6, no. 2: Pope Gregory VII

The miraculous reliquary of Sainte Foy (Western Civilizations, 194)

terms: manors, serfdom, Investiture Conflict

dates: 1066, 1073 C.E.
Q: How did lord-vassal relationships reflect the political and social realities of Northern Europe after

c.1000? Why did the ideal world order envisioned by the eleventh-century papacy conflict with the ambitions of secular rulers?

(Wed) Oct. 31st Christendom and the Crusades

Western Civilizations, 197-207

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 6, no. 3: Robert the Monk on the First Crusade

Fulcher of Chartres and Anna Comnena on the crusade (Western Civilizations, 202-03)

Usama ibn Munqidh on the crusaders (Western Civilizations, 204)

terms: Seljuk Turks, First Crusade

dates: 1099, 1187 C.E.
Q: What factors influenced European Christians’ decision to go on crusade? What were the long-term

consequences of the crusading movement for the intellectual life of medieval Europe?

(Fri) Nov. 2ndNew Models of Power: Church and State

Western Civilizations, 208-23

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 6, no. 4: Frederick II on heretics

The conversions of Peter Waldo and Francis of Assisi (Western Civilizations, 222-23)

terms: Magna Carta, Innocent III, friars

dates: 1209, 1215 C.E.
Q: What factors encouraged or discouraged the centralization of royal power in various European

countries after 1100? Why were some of the most enthusiastic reformers of the twelfth and

thirteenth centuries labeled as heretics, while others were celebrated as saints?

Essay Question #2 due at the start of class on Nov. 2nd: The period from c.1050-c.1150 saw sweeping transformations in many areas of European life. Using at least one early medieval primary source (from among those we read between Oct. 19th and 26th) and one primary source from the High Middle Ages (from among those we read on Oct. 29th and 31st), trace the transformation of one of the following: models of kingship; the values of the warrior class; or the role of Christianity and/or the Church in society.

(Mon) Nov. 5thIntellectual and Artistic Achievements

Western Civilizations, 224-35

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 6, no. 5: Thomas Aquinas, and no. 7: troubadour songs

Peter Abelard, Sic et Non (Western Civilizations, 227)

terms: chivalry, scholasticism, Gothic

dates: 1121, 1274 C.E.
Q: What were the intellectual goals of scholasticism, and how did these reflect the interests of the

institutional Church?

(Wed) Nov. 7thClose Reading: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Source: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. O’Donoghue, ix-xix (intro) and 3-36 (text)

Q: What can Sir Gawain tell us about elite social mores, domestic life, and gender roles in fourteenth-

century England? In what ways did Christian piety, chivalry, and courtesy inform the actions of Gawain, his fellow knights, and courtly ladies?

(Fri) Nov. 9th Close Reading: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Source: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. O’Donoghue, 37-78

Q: After finishing the poem, do you see Sir Gawain as a paragon of chivalry and courtliness, or does

he fall short? What moral and social lessons might the poet have intended to convey to his fourteenth-century audience?


Unit 7: The Waning of the Middle Ages

(Mon) Nov. 12thDisasters of the Late Middle Ages: Famine and Plague

Western Civilizations, 236-44

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 6, nos. 9-10: Jean de Venette; The Medieval World-View

Responses to the Black Death (Western Civilizations, 240-41)

terms: Black Death, flagellants, English Peasants’ Revolt

dates: 1347, 1381 C.E.
Q: How did the medieval worldview shape the responses of fourteenth-century Europeans to the

Black Death? What were the main short- and long-term consequences of the plague?

(Wed) Nov. 14thDisasters of the Late Middle Ages: War and Spiritual Crisis

Western Civilizations, pp. 244-48, 249-63

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 6, no. 8: Christine de Pisan, City of Ladies

Christine de Pisan, Book of Deeds on Arms and Chivalry (Western Civilizations, 258)

The conciliarist controversy (Western Civilizations, 252-53)

terms: Hundred Years’ War, Great Schism, Lollards

dates: 1337, 1378 C.E.
Q: In what ways did the large-scale warfare and the spiritual crises of the fourteenth and fifteenth

centuries encourage the development of national identities throughout Europe?

(Fri) Nov. 16th Expanding Horizons

Western Civilizations, 265-72, 275-85

Sources: Marco Polo and Mandeville on the East (Western Civilizations, 268-69)

Bartolomé de las Casas (Western Civilizations, 281)

terms: Mongols, Ottomans, Prester John

dates: 1453, 1492 C.E.
Q: To what extent were late-medieval European voyages of exploration prompted by confrontations

with non-Western powers on Europe’s borders? How would you describe the attitudes of Europeans towards the new (to them) lands and peoples they encountered in the Atlantic?


Unit 8: The Renaissance

(Mon) Nov. 19thClose Reading: Petrarch, Father of Humanism

Sources: Petrarch, Selections, ix-xix (intro), 1-19 (“Letter to Posterity” and “Ascent of Mount Ventoux”), and Canzoniere nos. 1-3, 50, 128, 264, 323, 333, and 346.

Sources of the WT, ch. 1, no. 1: Petrarch on his own age (178-79 only)

date: 1341 C.E.
Q: Why was Petrarch so critical of his own age, and so nostalgic for the Classical past? In what

respects is Petrarch recognizably ‘medieval’ in his outlook, and in what ways does he reject medieval intellectual values?

- Thanksgiving Break: no classes Nov. 21st or 23rd! -
(Mon) Nov. 26thAn Intellectual Revolution

Western Civilizations, 286-96

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 7, nos. 1-2: Leonardi Bruni (179-82 only) & Pico della Mirandola

Vergerius & Alberti on humanist educational program (Western Civilizations, 290 only)

terms: humanism, Medici, Renaissance Neoplatonism

date: 1486 C.E.
Q: What were the components and aims of humanist education, and how did these differ from the

scholastic model? Why might the ideas of a Renaissance Neoplatonist like Pico della Mirandola have seemed radical, even heretical, to church leaders?

(Wed) Nov. 28th Revivals and Transformations in Politics and the Arts

Western Civilizations, 296-307

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 7, no. 3: Machiavelli, The Prince

Another excerpt from The Prince (Western Civilizations, 293)

Leonardo da Vinci applies for a job (Western Civilizations, 302)

terms: Italian Wars, Christian humanism

dates: 1494, 1513 C.E.
Q: In what ways did Machiavelli’s vision of the ideal prince break with traditional medieval notions of

rulership? How might Machiavelli’s manifesto have been influenced by his own experiences

with the violent political world of early sixteenth-century Italy?

Essay Question #3 is due at the start of class on Nov. 28th: How did Renaissance humanists define themselves in relation to the past, both the Classical past and the more recent medieval past? Which aspects of Classical and medieval civilization particularly attracted (and repelled) writers like Petrarch, Leonardo Bruni, and Pico della Mirandola? Do you see these humanists as radically different from medieval writers in terms of their outlook? Why or why not?

Your essay must make use of evidence from Petrarch, Selections, and at least one of the primary sources we read for class on Nov. 19th and 26th.


Unit 9: The Age of Reformation

(Fri) Nov. 30thLuther and his Predecessors

Western Civilizations, 308-20

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 7, no. 5: Martin Luther & Ulrich von Hutten

ch. 7, no. 6: John Calvin, excerpts from The Institutes and other works

Reformation propaganda (Western Civilizations, 314-15)

terms: indulgences, predestination, Anabaptists

dates: 1517, 1525, 1541 C.E.
Q: What were Luther and Calvin’s most radical theological ideas, and what were the political and

social implications of these? What non-religious factors enabled the spread of the Reformation throughout Europe in the sixteenth century?

(Mon) Dec. 3rdReformations of Church, State, and Society

Western Civilizations, 320-329

Sources: Sources of the WT, ch. 7, no. 7: The Council of Trent

Two views of marriage and celibacy (Western Civilizations, 322)

Loyola Rules for Thinking with the Church (Western Civilizations, 327)

terms: ‘school of godliness,’ Council of Trent, Jesuits

dates: 1534, 1545 C.E.
Q: Why did Protestant thinkers see a reform of social and domestic bonds as a necessary

complement to the reformation of religion? Do you think the Catholic Reformation would have occurred along different lines had it not been for the advent of Protestantism?

(Wed) Dec. 5thLast Day of Class: Review Session for Final Exam

Our final exam will be held in our regular classroom on Wednesday, Dec. 12th from 12-2pm. Everyone must take the exam at the place and time scheduled by the University.

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