These studies are the food of youth, and consolation of age; they adorn prosperity, and are the comfort and refuge of adversity; they are pleasant at home and are no encumbrance abroad; they accompany us at night, in our travels

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Prof. John D. Roth

Spring, 2011

MWF 12:00-12:50 – NC17
These studies are the food of youth, and consolation of age; they adorn prosperity, and are the comfort and refuge of adversity; they are pleasant at home and are no encumbrance abroad; they accompany us at night, in our travels, and in our rural retreats.”

– Cicero
Between the Fall of Rome in the 5th century and the French Revolution late in the 18th century, European civilization assumed its distinctive character. This survey course, focused primarily on political and religious themes, offers an overview of the emergence and formation of European culture.
European civilization did not emerge in a vacuum. The classical legacy of Greece and Rome joined with Christianity and indigenous tribal cultures to shape Europe’s deepest foundations. But along the way, encounters with the civilizations of the Ottoman Turks, the Spanish Moors, the Amerindians, China and Judaism also left their distinctive imprints. European civilization is therefore best understood as a creative and dynamic fusion of cultures rather than an isolated and independent phenomenon.
In addition to gaining some basic understanding of the epoch, we will also engage in spirited discussion with each other on broader questions of continuity and change, similarity and difference, the essential and the ephemeral as together we search for Truth from our own historical vantage point in the first decade of the twenty-first century.


1. To gain a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, a civilization that has deeply shaped our own habits and convictions.
2. To recognize the variety of cultural traditions that have shaped and enriched European history.
3. To develop the art of reading critically, articulating ideas in a group setting, and expressing thesis arguments clearly in writing.
4. To become more informed, responsible and engaged participants in the civic life of our various communities and countries.
5. To capture a sense of the intellectual excitement inherent in a liberal arts education.

Since nature allows us to enter into fellowships with every age, why should we not turn from this paltry and fleeting span of time and surrender ourselves with all our soul to the past, which is boundless, which is eternal, which we share with our betters?”

– Seneca


1. Regular class attendance and active participation in the discussions. Class lectures are like episodes in a continuing story. When you miss one, you lose some of the threads. If you cannot attend class, I assume you will inform me with a phone call or e-mail note.
2. Map exercise. A basic understanding of geography is essential to your success in the course. Each test will have a geography component.
3. Read the texts as assigned. We will have several short quizzes on material presented in the classroom and a longer assignment (quiz, essay, study questions) for the books that will be the focus of our discussion sessions.
4. There will be 2 tests and a final exam.

IV. GRADING on the various assignments will be as follows:

Map Exercise 30 pts.

Disc. Assignments (6) 480

Quizzes (7 of 8) 70

Tests (2) 200

Final Exam 100

TOTAL 880 pts.

Please Note:
* Assignments turned in late will be penalized 10%

* I will accept no work that is more than a week late unless arrangements have been made before the original due date

* I will drop the lowest score of one quiz

* In virtually no circumstances can class quizzes or discussion quizzes be made-up

* Regular class attendance and active participation in the discussions are assumed prerequisites for an “A”

* I reduce the final grade by one percentage point for every unexcused absence beyond two.

* Grades, assignments and links to relevant web sites will be posted on-line via Blackboard (accessible from the GC home page)
* The Rule of St. Benedict

* Louise Collis, Memoirs of a Medieval Woman: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe

* Ross King, Brunelleschi’s Dome

* Steven Ozment, Magdalena & Balthasar

* Morton and Dähms, The Trial of Tempel Anneke

* Voltaire. Candide

Occasionally questions or frustrations arise which cannot easily be dealt with in the classroom setting. If something is troubling you or you need clarification on a specific point, please don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail note ( or call (ext. 7433). You may also call my home at reasonable hours (533-8955); if I am busy, I will say so and we can set a time agreeable to us both.
Goshen College wants to help all students be as academically successful as possible.  If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the instructor or the director of the Academic Support Center, Lois Martin (; x7576), early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met.  In order to receive accommodations, documentation concerning your disability must be on file with the Academic Support Center.  All information will be held in the strictest confidence.  The Academic Support Center offers tutoring and writing assistance for all students. More specifically, an upper-level History major will be available in the Writing Center on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00 to help students with writing assignments.  For further information please see
VII. SCHEDULE (Tentative)

Jan 12 W Intro to History; Authority/Order as Guiding Themes

14 F Foundations: The Glory that Was Rome


19 W Foundations: Christianity, Early Church and Constantine’s Conversion

21 F Foundations Collapsed: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

24 M Quest for Religious Order: The Papacy and Monasticism

26 W Discussion #1: Rule of St. Benedict

28 F Quest for Political Order: Charlemagne / Feudalism

31 M Quest for Economic Order: Feudalism/Manoralism

Feb 2 W Quest for Religious Order: Islam and the Crusades

4 F “The Jeweled City: The Cathedral of Chartres”

7 M Crises of the Late Middle Ages: Religious

9 W Discussion #2: Memoirs of a Medieval Woman

11 F Quest for Intellectual Order: Aquinas and Scholasticism

14 M Crises of the Late Middle Ages: Social and Political

16 W TEST #1

18 F Renaissance Humanism

21 M Renaissance Politics: “The State as a Work of Art”

23 W Renaissance Art

25 F Discussion #3: Brunelleschi’s Dome


7 M Religious Discontent on the Eve of the Reformation

9 W Lutheran Reformation

11 F Zwingli -> Anabaptism

14 M Calvinism/Anglicanism

16 W Catholic Reformation

18 F Discussion #4: Magdalena & Balthasar

21 M Religious Wars and Secularization of Politics

23 W Scientific Revolution: Mastering the Natural World

25 F TEST #2
28 M Models of Statecraft: Prussia

30 W Models of Statecraft: England

Apr 1 F Discussion #5: The Trial of Tempel Anneke
4 M Models of Statecraft: France in the Ancien Regime

6 W Enlightenment: Mastering the Social World

8 F Enlightenment and the Dilemmas of Modernity
11 M Discussion #6: Candide

13 W French Revolution

15 F French Revolution

18 M Industrial Revolution

21 W Summary and Review

FINAL EXAM on Thursday, April 28 at 8:00 a.m.

What I’m Looking for in the Discussion Papers

Reflection/Discussion Papers (60 pts)

50-60 pts: an excellent paper in terms of clearly organized thesis/argument in accordance with the assignment; moves beyond summary to analysis; bringing a fresh and personal perspective to this theme; presents evidence (with page numbers) in a clear way; demonstrates a solid understanding of the readings; very few spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors

40-50 pts: a paper that addresses a theme based clearly on the readings; tends to be mostly summary, with only a little analysis; arguments/evidence are evident, but not clearly linked to thesis; stylistic, grammatical or spelling problems

40 pts or less: a paper without a clearly developed thesis; only occasional and superficial reference to the reading; little or no reference to evidence; has the appearance of being hastily written or a first draft; numerous problems with syntax, punctuation and spelling

Study Questions (5 pts)

5 pts: questions that bring the reading material into “conversation” with each other; invite focused discussion and debate; you would need to have read and reflected carefully on the material to answer the question; would make a good essay question on a test;

4 pts: questions that invite reflection on several readings, but in a rather general way; you would need to have read and reflected carefully on the material to answer the question

2-3 pts: questions that could be answered “objectively” with a short word or phrase; questions that highlight a very specific detail but don’t pull the material together very well; (OR questions that look as if they were hand-written as an afterthought on the discussion paper just before turning it in!)


Assignment Sheet

(Spring, 2011)
No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.”

– William Penn

Jan 21 Map Exercise Due

Jan 26 Discussion/Paper #1: Rule of St. Benedict
Feb 9 Discussion/Paper #2: Memoirs of a Medieval Woman
Feb 16 TEST #1
Feb 25 Discussion/Paper #3: Brunelleschi’s Dome

March 18 Discussion/Paper #4: Magdalena & Balthasar

March 25 TEST #2
April 1 Discussion/Paper #5: The Trial of Tempel Anneke
April 11 Discussion/Paper #6: Candide
April 28 (8:00 a.m.) FINAL EXAM


During the course of the Semester we will be meeting in smaller groups on 6 occasions to discuss various assigned texts. The principles of active and reflective reading, focused thought, careful writing, and informed conversation/debate are all key elements in my approach to history – it is my hope that the discussion sessions will be one place where all of these goals can find expression.
In order to make the discussion groups small, I would like to divide the class into 2-3 smaller groups. On the discussion days (noted in the syllabus), one group will meet at the regular class hour of 9:00; the other group(s) will meet at an alternate time (8:00 and/or 11:00)
---------------------------------------------- (tear here) ----------------------------------------------------------

I could meet at the following times on discussion days:
_____ 8:00

_____ 11:00

[I will only assign you to one time slot, but please check all the times which apply]
_____ 9:00 is the only time that suits my schedule


Map Exercise Sheet (30 pts)
Using the atlases in the reference room of the library, identify the following places clearly and precisely on your map. I would suggest that you use a historical atlas showing a map from about 1600 (many of these are labeled “Europe at the time of Charles V” or “Europe in 1559”). The completed map is due on Friday, January 21. Material from the map will be included on each test.

1. Locate with a dot and label these cities:

London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Genoa, Venice, Antwerp, Constantinople (Istanbul), Madrid, Vienna, Milan, Avignon, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Zürich

2. Label the following rivers:

Rhine, Vistula, Danube, Elbe, Seine, Loire, Po, Tiber, Oder

3. Label these bodies of water:

Black Sea, Adriatic Sea, Baltic Sea, North Sea, English Channel, Mediterranean Sea
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sites -> Penn State Harrisburg American Studies/Women Studies 104: Women and the American Experience Spring 2015 Instructor: Kathryn Holmes
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sites -> Lesson Name a political or Social Hero? – A structured Academic Controversy (sac) with Joshua L. Chamberlain Authors
sites -> Period 4: Stimulus-Based Multiple-Choice Questions 1-5 refer to the following quotation

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