History of Western Civilization to 1600 - 1st year

A survey of Western Civilization. Emphasis will be placed on the major political, economic, social, and intellectual movements that have molded the Western way of life.


By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Identify major accomplishments and leading personalities, religious beliefs, geographical factors, arts, and important turning points in Western history;

2. Analyze the impact of geography and physical resources on the development of civilization;

3. Compare and contrast political, artistic, geographic, religious, social, and gender developments in various civilizations;

4. Correlate the values and ideologies, governmental structures, and cultural developments in different civilizations, and compare them to modern assumptions;

5. Evaluate the contributions of ancient civilizations and compare them to modern values, institutions, religious beliefs, and gender role assumptions;

6. Recognize the technological, legal, and governmental developments that occur through time, and build on previous accomplishments.


Course topics will include the following:

1. The First Civilizations: The Idea of Civilization; Ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Hebrew Civilizations

2. Early Greece: Greece in the Bronze Age; Archaic Greece

3. Classical Greece: War and Politics in the Fifth Century; Athenian Culture; The Macedonian Empire; The Hellenistic World

4. Early Rome and the Republic: From City to Empire; The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

5. Imperial Rome and the Changing Classical World: The Age of Augustus; The Pax Romana; The Empire Restored

6. Byzantium and Islam: The Byzantine Empire; The Rise of Islam

7. Europe in the Early Middle Ages: The Rise of the Barbarian Kingdoms;
Charlemagne and the Carolingians; The Dawn of the High Middle Ages

8. Politics and Culture in the Later Middle Ages: The Rise of the Nation-State; War and Politics; The Spirit of the Later Middle Ages

9. The Italian Revival: Renaissance Society, Art, Politics and Ideals

10. The European Empires: The Age of Discovery; The Formation of States and Dynastic Struggles

11. The Reform of Religion: The Protestant Reformation; The Catholic Counter Reformation

Method of Instruction:

1. Lectures

2. Use of audio-visual media resources (films, slides, videos, transparencies)

3. Class Discussions

4. Small-Group Work

5. Student Presentations

6. Use of Library for Research Projects

Types of Assignments:

1. Students will read chapter-length assignments in required textbooks and selected supplemental readers. A study guide will be provided.

2. Additional appropriate assignments may include library research in preparation for short papers, book reports, term papers or individual reports.

3. Students must be able to take notes from reading and lecture materials.

4. Students must be able to write well-organized essays and/or reports reasonably free of major errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Sample Text:

1. The Western Heritage, Vol. A (Donald Kagan, Steven Ozment, Frank Turner; Prentice-Hall, 2001)