HH215P (Western Civilization in a Global Context, to 1750: Ethics, Society & Culture)

Spring 2007


Prof. Richard Abels



Citing Internet Sources
 Citations in Chicago Manual Style (Turabian)




Altar of Peace, 13 BCE: Augustus's family in a religious procession




King Darius the Great receives an official (from Persepolis)



(Last revised April 22, 2007)



HH 205 analyzes the historical evolution of ethical thought and its impact upon European society and culture from antiquity to the enlightenment. The evolution of Western values is set in a larger, comparative context of classical world religions and values.  By studying the cultural expressions of Western ethical concerns, ideals and aspirations in light of other civilizations, this course broadens knowledge of the West's global context and cultivates the development of critical thinking about human beings and their societies.  HH 205 examines the critical moral and political choices made by societies and individuals though the ages in order to illuminate and deepen the student's understanding of the values, institutions, and challenges of the modern West.

The mission of the Naval Academy is: “To develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically, and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to provide graduates who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character and to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government.” The italicized phrases of the Mission Statement constitute an organizing principle for this course. Employing a historical perspective, we will examine how ideas about morality, duty, honor, loyalty, command, government, and citizenship have evolved in the Western World and in other cultures since antiquity. In doing so, we will address a number of critical questions for understanding the historical evolution of the Western value system. What have the terms "citizenship," "human excellence," "duty," "honor," and "loyalty" meant in the history of the West? What role has religion played in defining the values and culture of each of these societies? How did past societies define the responsibilities of command and of citizenship? What was the relationship between the citizenry and the military? How did each of these societies balance the tension between civic duty, the freedom of the individual, and obligations to God or gods? What characteristics distinguish the culture and civilization that developed in the West from other highly developed pre-modern cultures and civilizations? In short, what is the ethical and political legacy of the past?

As a history course, HH205 examines the values, institutions, and moral and political thought of each era, within a historical context. History is concerned not only with what happened, but, more importantly, with why it happened. History explains events; it does not merely describe them. You will be expected to learn factual information about the individuals, societies, and events that have helped shape the Western and non-Western Worlds, and you will use this information to explore and explain why political, social, and economic structures, as well as belief systems and cultures, changed as they did over time. Since the ideas and actions of an individual cannot be fully understood apart from that person's historical circumstances, you will be expected to place each primary source author whom we read this semester in his proper historical context.


1. To provide the student with an overview of the development of Western Civilization within a global context from the ancient world through the Age of the Enlightenment.

2. To foster critical and analytical skills through the close reading of classics of moral and political thought, to enhance lateral thinking by comparing Western to contemporary non-Western societies and cultures, and to sharpen communication skills through class discussions and written assignments.

3. To examine the ethical legacy of the past by studying the thought and behavior of individuals and societies of the pre-modern world.


1. The MID-TERM EXAM (15%) AND COMPREHENSIVE FINAL EXAM (30%) will consist of essays supplemented by short answer questions. You will be graded on how well you develop an historical argument, grasp the issues involved in the readings and class discussions, integrate information, and support your analysis with historical evidence (i.e. relevant names, dates, and facts). The exam essays will require you to analyze the ideas of the authors you have read and to place those authors in historical context.

The mid-term will have two parts: a short answer section that will be done in class and a take-home essay. You may discuss topics together, but once you have begun writing, you may not ask anyone else's help in clarifying or expressing your ideas. The essay must represent your own knowledge and understanding. You may use your assigned readings and notes, however, in writing the essay. (In other words, regard the essay portion as an open book exam.)

2. SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENTS/HOMEWORK (30%). Most weeks you will be required to write a short essay, no more than three pages in length, responding to questions posed in the lesson plan. Short essays are to be based solely on the relevant assigned readings and are due at the beginning of class on the day the question appears in the lesson plan. (See late policy below.) You are to reference all quotations, paraphrases, or allusions to specific passages so that a reader will be able most easily to locate the passages in question within the text. Essays lacking citations (either parenthetical or in note format) will earn at best a D.  If you use parenthetical citations, you must include a full bibliography of works cited.

You are excused from the short writing assignment for the day that you write your analytical essay. (See the following.)

3. ANALYTICAL ESSAYS (15%). You are required to write ONE analytical essay on an assigned topic given in the lesson plan. You will have three opportunities to write this essay during the course of the semester.  The essay is to be a MINIMUM of FIVE full double-spaced pages (excluding notes).  Essays ordinarily should be no longer than seven pages in length. For guidance on how to write this essay consult Link to HH205 Paper Guide.

Again, you are excused from the short writing assignment for the day that you write your analytical essay.

3a.DOCUMENTATION FORMAT AND PENALTY.  Analytical essays lacking full documentation--endnotes or footnotes or parenthetical references with proper bibliography--will receive, at best, a D. For the short writing assignments you may use parenthetical citations. For the longer analytical essay use the CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE  format for your notes. Whatever format you use make sure that you provide sufficient information for the reader to locate easily the passage cited or quoted.




1Plato, The Republic, trans. G.M.A. Grube, revised by C.D. Reeve, book VI, section 490d, in Classics of Moral and Political Theory, ed. Michael L. Morgan, 2nd edn (Indianapolis: Hackett Publ. Co., 1996), p. 151.
[Note that I have provided both a section number and a page number. The section number allows the reader to find the passage in any edition of Plato's Republic. It also is a more precise reference, which allows the reader more easily to locate the cited text. The page number locates the text in the assigned book. If you must choose between the two--and you ought to have both--the section number is more useful since it is a more precise reference.]

2David Underdown, Revel, Riot and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England 1603-1660 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 121-7.
[The first reference to a work must provide all the publication information. The basic format for a first reference to a book is as follows:
First and last name of author, Title of Book [in italics, not underlined] (Place of Publication: Publisher [optional], date of publication), p. number.]

3Raoul of Cambrai, trans. Jessie Crosland, rev. Richard Abels (New York: American Heritage Custom Publishing Group, 1994), p. 3 (stanza 10).
[Here the author is anonymous, so the title appears first, followed by the translators.]

4Ernst Badian, 'Rome and Antiochus the Great: a study in cold war," Classical Philology 54 (1959), 85.

The basic format for a first reference to an article is:
    First and last name of author, "Title of the article," Name of the Journal volume number of the periodical (year of publication),  page number.
    Note the punctuation. You separate author and title with a comma. There is no comma, however, before a parenthesis. The note ends with a period. The title of the article is set off with quotation marks. The title of the journal is placed in italics.

Shorten second and subsequent references:
5Plato, Republic, section 561d, in Morgan, ed., Classics, p. 201.
6Underdown, Revel, p. 56.

INTERNET CITATIONS: To cite sources on the internet, follow the format provided by the following link Citing Internet Sources

The basic rule is to provide a full note reference, including a chapter, section, or paragraph number to locate the cited passage in the internet text, followed by the URL and the date accessed. The format is basically the same as a non-internet citation, except for the additions of paragraph numbers, the URL address in square brackets, and the date accessed:

7Peter Abelard, The Story of My Misfortunes,  ch. 16, translated by Henry Adams Bellows (1922; reissued N.Y: Macmillan, 1972), in Paul Halsall, ed., Internet Medieval Sourcebook, revised by Richard Abels [http://www.usna.edu/Users/history/abels/hh205/abelardhel.html], 23 Oct. 2003.

8Paul Rahe, "The Martial Republics of Ancient Greece", Wilson Quarterly (1993), paragraph 15 [http://www.usna.edu/Users/history/abels/hh205/rahe.htm], 23 Sept. 2003.


Underdown, David. Revel, Riot and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England 1603-1660. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
A bibliographical entry must provide all the publication information. The Chicago Manual of Style Format is:
Last name, first name of author. Title of Book [in italics, not underlined]. Place of Publication: Publisher [optional], date of publication.

     Note the difference between this and the note format. The author’s last name comes first in a bibliography since it is arranged alphabetically. Periods replace commas. Page numbers are omitted.


Rahe, Paul. "The Martial Republics of Ancient Greece." Wilson Quarterly (1993). http://www.usna.edu/Users/history/abels/hh205/rahe.htm, 23 Sept. 2003.

4. EXTRA-CREDIT option for writing assignments.  I will allow you to a replacement paper for extra-credit.  If you are dissatisfied with the grade you have earned on the analytical essay, you may write an additional paper on one of the other assigned topics. 


5. PLAGIARISM (READ CAREFULLY AND NOTE): All direct quotations, paraphrases, allusions to specific passages in a text, and use of another's interpretations and research must be documented with a note that includes a specific page/section reference to the work used.  You need not document "common knowledge," which includes the factual information in your textbook. To 'paraphrase' means to put another's ideas into your OWN words. If you take another's words and fail to indicate that fact with quotations marks, that is PLAGIARISM. See the History Department's plagiarism statement linked to this syllabus. If you commit "unintentional" plagiarism, that is plagiarism not intended to deceive, through carelessness or laziness, the paper will receive a ZERO.  If I believe that you intended to pass off another's work as your own, I will regard it additionally as an HONORS OFFENSE. If you have any questions about what needs to be cited, ask me.

6. LATE POLICY. Papers are due at the beginning of class on the day indicated in the syllabus. A late paper will receive an F.How high of an F will depend on the quality of the paper. Papers more than three classes late will receive a grade of zero. In accordance with departmental regulations, all papers must be handed in by the beginning of the final exam in order to receive a passing grade in the course.
      Because papers can be lost, mutilated, or swallowed up by angry computers, you should always make a copy before handing one in and a hard copy before turning off your computer. I will not accept as an excuse, "The computer ate my paper." It is your responsibility to make sure that it doesn't. (At the very least, I will want to see your notes for the paper or a rough draft.)

7. QUIZZES AND CLASS PARTICIPATION (10%): the best way to learn is to ask questions and exchange opinions on issues. I will expect each one of you to come to class and be ready to discuss the reading assigned for that day. Class participation  and quizzes will account for 10% of your final grade.

8. INSTRUCTOR'S DISCRETION. A semester's grade does not represent simply the total points received on assignments during the course of the semester. It is the instructor's professional evaluation of how well the student performed and how much he or she learned in the course. In assigning the final grades, I will take into account upward and downward trends, whether the student took advantage of extra-credit opportunities, and how well the student mastered the course material for the final exam. A student going into the final with a B- who writes an exceptional examination may well receive an A for the semester, even though his or her final 'average' might be 87. Conversely, a student who has a strong C going into the final and writes a failing exam, demonstrating an unsatisfactory understanding and mastery of the course material, might well forfeit that C.


Midterm examination 15%
Short writing assignments 30%
Longer analytical essay 15%
Class participation 10%
Final Examination 30%


ASSIGNED READINGS (and standard abbreviations used in Lesson Plan)

Craig, Albert M., et al, The Heritage of World Civilizations. TLC edn. Combined Volume. Prentice-Hall, 2006. [Craig]
Classics of Moral and Political Theory. Ed Michael Morgan. 4th edn. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishers, 2005. [CM]

Tacitus.Agricola, Germany, and Dialogue on Orators. Hackett Publishing, 2006.  [Tacitus]

There are readings on the internet, linked to the syllabus. Click on the hypertext for them.

(Note that reading assignments for each class are in brackets. All assignments, whether reading or writing, are due on the day they appear in the syllabus.)


Week of 8 Jan
T. Introduction to course: culture and civilization
Reading: Herodotus on culture (c. 440 BC)ancient Greek maps of the worldcivilization and culture ;  What is Culture? - An Anthropological Perspective- John Bodley; Craig 7.

Th. Worlds in Contact: Persians and Greeks
Reading: Craig 86-90, 56-69; Jona Lendering, "Ahuramazda and Zoroastrianism"; Overview of the Persian Wars;

Primary source readings: Darius's Behistun Decree (read parts 1 and 4)Herodotus on Darius; Herodotus on Thermopylae; Tyrtaeus praises hoplite arete

Image: Chigi vase (earliest picture of hoplite soldiers); Images from Persepolis

Maps: Persian Empire c. 500 BC ; Greek Colonies in the 6th - 9th Century BC; geography of Greece: ancient Greek maps of the world

HOMEWORK: answer one (1-3 pages):

1) Compare and contrast Darius’s own justification of his authority and power in the Behistun Decree with Herodotus’s representation of him.

2) What is the status of the Greeks in the Behistun Decree and how does this accord with the Greeks’ self image?

3) In what ways is the Behistun Decree Zoroastrian?

4) Based on the Trytaeus poem and Herodotus’s narrative of Thermopylae, why did the Spartans prefer death before dishonor, and what did the Spartans deem to be “dishonorable”?

5) What do the ancient Greek maps tells us about the Greek conception of their place in the cosmos? What would an ancient Persian map representing the worldview of Darius have looked like? (Draw it.)




Week of 15 Jan

T. Classical Greece: Athenian Democracy, Imperialism, and Culture
Reading: Craig 69-78

Primary source readings: Aristotle on Democracy ; Pericles's Funeral Oration from Selections from Thucydides's The Peloponnesian War (read my intro and Pericles’ Funeral Oration); The 'Old Oligarch' critiques Athenian democracy

 Images: Elgin marblesGreek male idealimages: Classical Greek SculptureAthenian architecture (look at Parthenon)

Mapalliances of Athens and Sparta (map)
HOMEWORK, option A (You have the choice of doing either the homework assignment for Tuesday or Thursday). Write on ONE of the following questions:
1) According to Pericles, what is the relationship between the empire that Athens acquired and the virtues of the Athenian citizenry?
2) What failings did the Old Oligarch find in Athenian democracy? What failings do you see in Athenian democracy?

3) According to Aristotle, what is a “democracy” and what are the responsibilities of a citizen of a democratic polis?

4) According to Aristotle, what must be done to preserve a democracy? What are the main causes for the disintegration of democracies?


Th.  Plato's Republic: justice and the ideal polis
Reading: Craig 42-7; Plato on the definition of justice (read first);

Primary source readings: “The Melian Dialogue” from Selections from Thucydides's The Peloponnesian War; CM 31-3, 93-108, 119-171 (Plato, Republic 357a-380c, 400d-487d)

HOMEWORK, option B (write on one):

1. Explain Plato’s definition of justice. How does it relate to the traditional Greek definitions of justice offered by Polemarchus (Plato on the definition of justice)?

2. Compare the Athenian explanation given in Thucydides’ “Melian Dialogue” of the meaning of “justice” and how justice originated with Glaucon’s explanation of the same things in Plato’s Republic.

3. Why does Plato prescribe education in music and poetry and physical training for those chosen to be guardians?

4. In section 414c-415e (pp. 78-9) of the Republic Plato tells a “noble falsehood.” What purpose does this myth play in establishing the ideal polis and how does it relate to Plato’s definition of justice (433a-444d, with particular emphasis on 433a-434d and 443d-444d)?



Week of 22 January
T. Plato's Philosopher-kings and the Hellenistic World
Reading: Craig 77-83; CM 171-202 (=Plato's Republic 487e-541b);

HOMEWORK, option A. Write on one of the following:
1) Explain Plato's 'cave metaphor' in terms of his theory of knowledge
2) Why does Plato prescribe mathematics as the essential subject for study for his guardians? Why must it be followed by the “dialectic”?


Th. Cultures in Contact: The Hellenistic World and Classical India

Reading: Craig 33-8, 77-83, 91-8

Primary source readings: Buddha's Dhammapada “The Path of the Right Way” (read “The Pairs,” “The Perfected One, ”The Self,” “The World,” “The Buddha,” “Happiness,” “Affection,” “The Path,” “Craving”); Asoka: Rock and Pillar Edicts; Milinda panha (c. 100 B.C.); Bhagavad Gita (excerpts)

Maps:  Hellenistic World in 310 B.C.; Indus River Civilizations; Ancient India, c. 500 B.C.; Asoka's Empire, c. 250 B.C.;  Gupta's Empire, 4th Century A.D.

HOMEWORK, option B. Write on one of the following

1. According to Nagasena in the Milinda panha, what is Nirvana and how does one obtain it?

2. In ways does Asoka’s “Rock and Pillar Edicts” embrace the principles of Buddhism as taught by the Buddha (Craig, chapter 2)? In what ways does Asoka seem to depart from them?

3. How does Krishna persuade Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita that it is his duty to fight against his kinsmen?



Week of 29 January

T. Classical India: Caste, Hindu dharma, and Buddhism

Reading: Craig 33-8, 77-83, 91-8

Primary source readings: Buddha's Dhammapada “The Path of the Right Way” (read “The Pairs,” “The Perfected One, ”The Self,” “The World,” “The Buddha,””Happiness,” “Affection,” “The Path,” “Craving”); Asoka: Rock and Pillar Edicts; Milinda panha (c. 100 B.C.); Bhagavad Gita (excerpts)

Maps:  Hellenistic World in 310 B.C.; Indus River Civilizations; Ancient India, c. 500 B.C.; Asoka's Empire, c. 250 B.C.;  Gupta's Empire, 4th Century A.D.


Write on ONE of the following:

1. How would Plato have responded to the conceptions of the nature of reality, moral duty, and the proper ordering of society that underlie the Hindu Bhagavad Gita? In what ways are Platonic and Hindu conceptions of cosmology and society rooted in the social and political realities of Classical Greece and ancient India?


2. Compare and contrast Plato’s true philosopher with the Buddhist monk Nagasena from the Milinda panha in terms of their conceptions of reality and human happiness. In what ways do the ideas of Plato and Nagasena reflect their respective societies (early fourth-century B.C. Athens and post-Asoka India)?


3. Based on his theory of the Forms and virtue in The Republic, would Plato have considered Asoka to be a true “philosopher ruler”? (Note: this question requires you to consider the relationship between Platonic and Buddhist conceptions of morality, knowledge, and reality.)



Th. The Roman Republican Ideal

Reading: Craig 122-36; Abels on the Fall of the Roman RepublicRoman virtues based on Sallust;

Primary source readings: Cicero, On Duties; Cicero, On the Repubic & On the Laws;

ImagesBarbara McMannus, Cursus Honorum (diagram of hierarchy of Roman offices)Roman buildingsimages for Roman history and culture; images of roman roads on the web

Maps: ancient Italy ; maps of the Roman republic

HOMEWORK (answer one unless you wrote the analytical essay due on 30 Jan), Write on one of the following:
1) According to Cicero, what is the relationship between reason and law?
2) According to Cicero, what are the qualities and duties of an elected magistrate in a republic?
3) Explain Cicero's theory of just war
4) Why did Cicero believe that in a free republic it is better to be loved than feared?



   Arch of Titus celebrating defeat of the Jewish Revolt of A.D. 66-9



Week of 5 Feb

T. The “cosmopolitan imperial ideal”: the Pax Romana
Reading: Craig 137-40, 143-6

Primary source readings: Res Gestae: 'The Accomplishments of the Deified Augustus'Aelius Aristides, ca. 150 C.E.: The Universal Empire

Maps: maps of the Roman EmpireStrabo's map of the world, A.D. 18; Roman empire ca A.D. 120trade routes of first century

images: Art and architecture from the time of Augustusimages of Augustusidealized bust of Augustus
Replacement HOMEWORK (replaces lowest homework grade), Write on one of the following:
1. What did Augustus brag about in Res Gestae: 'The Accomplishments of the Deified Augustus'? What accomplishments that you read about in Craig and in my online article did Augustus ignore?

2. What is the source of Augustus’s authority according to the Res Gestae: 'The Accomplishments of the Deified Augustus', and how does it compare to Darius’s authority in his Behistun Decree ?

3. Which Roman Republican virtues (Roman virtues based on Sallust) does Augustus claim to have in his Res Gestae: 'The Accompishments of the Deified Augustus'?



Th. Tacitus's Agricola: Critique of empire and cultural imperialism  /  Roman Stoicism       
Primary source readings: Tacitus, Agricola; CM 425-39 (Epictetus’s “Enchiridion” [all])

Replacement HOMEWORK (replaces lowest homework grade). Write on one of the following.

1) How does Calgacus' assessment of the Roman Empire differ from Aelius Aristides, ca. 150 C.E.: The Universal Empire?
2) What lessons does Tacitus’ Agricola teach about how one can serve an unworthy head of state (Domitian) and still maintain one’s honor—and life?

3) Was Tacitus’s Agricola a “stoic”?



Week of 12 Feb
T. Jews and Christians in the Roman East
[Reading: Craig 141-51; Excerpts from the Pirke Abot (the Ethics of the Fathers); Gospel According to Matthew chapters 1-7, 10, 12-3, 15-6, 19, 22, 26-8; St. Paul to the Romans  chapters 1-9, 13-14:10; Pliny's Letter to Trajan on Persecution of Christians, 112 A.D.Abels: Chronology for Christianity within the Roman Empire (to ca. A.D. 312); 

HOMEWORK, option A (answer one unless you are writing one of the analytical essays due either this week or for next Tuesday’s class), Write on one of the following:
1) What was Paul's political philosophy (Romans 13:1-10=chapter 13, verses 1-10) and is it consistent with Jesus’s in Matthew (22:17-22)?

2) Is Paul’s understanding of the purposes of the Hebrew Law in Romans (chapters 2-7, especially 2:11-3:28; 5:12-21; 7:7-25) consistent with Jesus’ comments about the Hebrew Law in Matthew (5:17-48 and 15)?

3) Why did Pliny execute the Christians even though he found that they were guilty of no crimes, just "depraved, excessive superstition"?

4) Answer Andrea, p. 223, question 6.

 1.   Compare and contrast early Christian religion and ethics as represented by the Gospel of Matthew (the whole gospel and not just the sermon on the Mount) with the religious and ethical teachings of Rabbinic Judaism as represented by the Pirke Abot. What are the underlying assumptions in each about the relationship between man and God and achievability of human happiness in this life? (This essay is to be based on the entire Gospel of Matthew and not just the sermon on the mount. Similarly, you are to supplement the assigned Excerpts from the Pirke Abot (the Ethics of the Fathers) with the complete texts of Pirke Abot, chapters 2 and 6 (Tractate Avot Chapter 2 and Tractate Avot Chapter 6 ).)


2.  Compare and contrast early Christian religion and ethics represented by the Gospel of Matthew with EITHER Confucian ethics as represented by the readings (Feb. 20) OR Buddhist (Jan 25) ethics OR Hindu ethics (Jan 25). How did each answer the needs of the society that produced them? What do the differences reveal about the world views of early Christianity and of Confucianism (or Buddhism or Hinduism)?



Th. Augustine, the Christian Empire, and the “Fall” of Rome
[Reading: Craig 226-40, 265-70,  CM 440-54 (Augustine, City of God, book 19); Plotinus and Neo-Platonism Abels: Chronology for Christianity within the Roman Empire (from 312 to end); Augustine on the 'Two Cities'Emperor Theodosius bans pagan religions (ca. 392) .

Images: Christian churches built into pagan temples : click on cultural images, scroll to religion.
Map: Maps of the Roman Empire (click on box at left for expanse of empire at A.D. 337, 450, 476,500, 568, 800)

HOMEWORK, option B (answer one unless you are writing one of the analytical essays due either this week or for next Tuesday’s class). Write on one of the following:
1) What is the function of the four classical virtues (wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice) according to Augustine? (Base this on CM 440-54.)
2) What is Augustine's doctrine of just war and how does it differ from Cicero's? (Based on Abels: Chronology for Christianity within the Roman Empire )

3) What is different between Plotinus’s conception of reality and Plato’s?

4) How was Augustine influenced by Neo-Platonism?

     Based on your assigned readings from Augustine and Epictetus in the Morgan reader and on Buddha's Dhammapada “The Path of the Right Way”, compare and contract Augustinian, Roman Stoic, and Classical Buddhist conceptions of human happiness. What do your answers to these questions reveal about the underlying differences between the Augustinian Christian, Stoic, and Classical Buddhist world views. (Note: consider the role played by the divine in each of these philosophies.)


Week of 19 Feb

T. Augustine, the Christian Empire, and the “Fall” of Rome II
[Reading: Craig 226-40, 265-70,  CM 440-54 (Augustine, City of God, book 19); Plotinus and Neo-Platonism Abels: Chronology for Christianity within the Roman Empire (from 312 to end); Augustine on the 'Two Cities'Emperor Theodosius bans pagan religions (ca. 392) .

Images: Christian churches built into pagan temples : click on cultural images, scroll to religion.
Map: Maps of the Roman Empire (click on box at left for expanse of empire at A.D. 337, 450, 476,500, 568, 800)



Th. Imperial China and Rome: Comparison of pre-Modern Empires

Reading: Craig 28-51 (30-3 for China, the rest as review for midterm), 152-76, 174-95, 224-5, 412-13; Buddhist Studies: Mahayana Buddhism: Chinese

Primary sources: Confucius: Analects; The Great Learning by Confucius; Han Fei-tzu: Legalist Views on Good Government; Craig CD 2.5 (Mencius: Counterattack on Legalism); 9.2 (Song China: Imperial Examination System); recommended reading: Mahayanna Buddhism: Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters and the  Bodhisattva’s infinite compassion

Map: Trade between the Empires of Asia and Rome (Metropolitan Museum of Art)


     Based on your readings by Augustine, compare and contrast his conceptions of human happiness and the condition and duties of man in this world with that of Mahayana Buddhism as presented in the Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters and the  Bodhisattva’s infinite compassion. Based on this comparison, identify the fundamental differences between the Christian and Mahayana Buddhist worldviews. What sort of comfort did Christianity and Buddhism during times of political disarray in Rome and China?


     Compare and contrast the views of Confucius and Mencius on good government (Confucius, "The Great Learning" and Craig CD 2.5) with that of Han Fei-tzu: Legalist Views on Good Government. What would Augustine (CM 440-54; Augustine on the 'Two Cities') have said about each, and what does this reveal about the difference between Classical Chinese and Christian worldviews?

Reading: Craig 28-51, 224-5, 412-13



Week of 26 Feb

T. Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages: Byzantium and the West

Reading: Craig 265-86; Abels, Middle Ages (an overview)

Images: Late Roman Art; Early Byzantine Art; Early Medieval Art; Carolingian Art; Twelfth century art; Gothic Cathedrals in France; Italian Gothic (13th and 14th centuries);


Th.  MIDTERM EXAM (Midterm essays and study guide)

Discussion of your answers to the essay questions (midterm review)





Week of 6 March

M. Extra-Credit Movie: “Cathedral” (1900-2000)


T. Early Islam and the Arab Conquests
Reading: Craig 244-63, 272, 291-3; Articles of Islamic Faith and the Five Pillars (USC)Basic Islam (Prof. Tucker)Early Islam: dates and terms (Prof, Tucker); Jesus in Islam - Islamic NetworkJihad

Primary source readings: The Qu'ran, Surahs 1 and 47; Qu'ran, surah 9 (on jihad and dealings with non-Muslims); Hadiths (short selections); The Muwatta' of Imam Malik (d. 179/795): on Jihad; Al-Farabi on the Perfect State, c. 925 (on CD 8.6); Yakut: Baghdad under the Abbasids, c. 1000 CE

Images: Early Arabic architecture; Islamic Art

Extra-credit replacement HOMEWORK assignment (replaces lowest homework grade). Write on one of the following:
1. What are the main differences between the Muslim and Christian doctrines about who or what Jesus is?

2. What does surah 9 of the Qu’ran teach about the proper relationship between believers and non-believers?


Th. The Spread and Development of Islam

Reading: Craig 244-63, 272, 291-3

Primary Sources: The Muwatta' of Imam Malik (d. 179/795): on Jihad; Al-Farabi on the Perfect State, c. 925 (on CD 8.6); Yakut: Baghdad under the Abbasids, c. 1000 CE

Images: Early Arabic architecture; Islamic Art


Week of 12 March--SPRING BREAK (print out and read Raoul of Cambrai (poem))


Week of 19 March
T. Medieval Society, Economy, Culture, and Religion
Reading: Craig 336-54, 200-01

Primary source readings: Gregory VII's Dictatus Papae (1075) ; Henry IV denounces Gregory VII ; Gregory VII deposes Henry IV; Innocent III: Letters on Papal Policiespopular religion (relic stories);  Thomas of Celano’s Life of Francis of Assisi ; Little Flowers of St. Francis - Part 1 read only chapter VIII: How St. Francis,  walking one day with Brother Leo, explained to him what things are perfect joy

Images: three models of medieval kingship and the papacy; Medieval Church (images); Medieval Church Reform and Conflict

HOMEWORK, option A. Do either this homework assignment or the one for Thursday, unless you are writing the analytical essay due on Thursday.

1. Based on his letters, what authority did Innocent III claim as pope and how did he justify it?

2. According to The Life of St Francis of Assisi why did Francis reject traditional monasticism, and why did he embrace the

ideal of poverty?

3. Is St. Francis’ explanation in The Little Flowers of St Francis of perfect joy consistent with his overall religious practice as described in

Thomas Celano’s Life?
4. What were relics and how were perceived by 'the man in the street' in the thirteenth century?  

5. What was the Investiture Controversy and why should it NOT be thought of as “Church vs. State”?



Th. Chivalry and Medieval Kingship
Reading: Chivalry (Abels)

Primary source readings: Raoul of Cambrai (poem)Magna Carta (1215), introduced and edited by R. Abels

Images: Chivalry (images)

HOMEWORK, option B.

1. Why was Bernier more upset by Raoul striking him than by Raoul having burnt his mother?
2. Why did Bernier stay loyal to Raoul for so long? (Consider how Bernier explains this to his mother Marsent in stanza 67.)

3. What are the limitations upon the power of King Louis in Raoul of Cambrai?

4.  List two abuses committed by King Louis in Raoul of Cambai that are addressed in Magna Carta.
    ANALYTICAL ESSAY OPPORTUNITY (write on either topic):
1. Compare the concepts of ‘honor’ and ‘dishonor/shame’ in Raoul of Cambrai and the contemporary memoirs of the Arab emir Usama ibn Munqidh. Did women possess ‘honor’ according to these two authors? (Begin by defining ‘honor’ and ‘dishonor/shame’ as these terms are used in the poem and Usama ibn Munquidh’s memoirs.)
2. Analyze the conception of women and the relationship between men and women in the poem Raoul of Cambrai and in the contemporary memoirs of the Arab emir Usama ibn Munqidh.. In doing so, distinguish between the attitudes expressed by the characters in Raoul and those of the poet himself.

3. Compare and contrast the qualities praised by the poet of Raoul of Cambrai  with the Christian ideal expressed in Thomas of Celano’s Lives of St. Francis of Assisi. Do the Raoul- poet and Thomas of Celano share the same medieval “Worldview”?



Week of 26 March

T. Islam, the Mongol Conquests, and the First “World System”

Reading: Craig 195-200, 270-2, 288-306, 340-3, 516-30; S.M. Ikram, Muslim Civilization in India: chaps 11 & 12 (on Akbar)

Primary source readings: Ibn al-Athir: On The Mongols, 1220-1221CE; Marco Polo: On the Tartars; Marco Polo: The Glories Of Kinsay [Hangchow] (c. 1300); from the CD: 11.4, 11.5, 11.8 (on Mongols); from the CD: 12.1 (Selim I on Sunni versus Shi’ite, c. 1514); Islam and the Jews: The Status of Jews and Christians in Muslim Lands, 1772 CE

Maps: Mongol Empire (1280); Islamic World, ca. 1500; The Mughal Empire, 16th and 17th Centuries AD

HOMEWORK, option A (do either this homework assignment or the one for Thursday, unless you are writing the analytical essay due on Thursday)

Compare the manner in which the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great treated non-Muslim religions within his realm and the advice of Shaikh Hasan Al Kafrawi (1772) about how Muslim rulers should treat Jews within their territories.


Th. Crusades in a Global Perspective: Islam and the West

Reading: Craig 340-2, 293-300, 516-20; Jihad (review); History Guide: The Crusades; Carole Hillenbrand on how modern Arabs interpret the Crusades (only pp. 589-602

Primary source readings: Excerpts on Jihad from Al-Mukhtasar by the jurist Abu 'l-Hasan al-Quduri (b. 362 AH=AD 972); Raymond d'Aquiliers on the Sack of Jerusalem (1099); St. Bernard of Clairvaux- Letter Calling for the Second Crusade (1146); Usama ibn Munqidh's View of Crusaders, ca. 1160 ; Ibn Al-Athir: Saladin Takes Jerusalem (1087);  Innocent III: Summons to A Crusade, 1215

Images: Art of Christendom in the Age of the Crusades; Islamic Art, Architecture, and Culture (browse)

Maps: Europe in ca. 1096 (eve of First Crusade); Crusader States and Saladin's Empire, 1120-1193; Muslim East in 13th Century; Islam ca. 1300; Muslim world ca. 1500

HOMEWORK, option B. If you didn’t do Tuesday’s homework, you must write on one of the following (unless you have written the analytical essay due today):

1) According to Hillenbrand, how have modern Arabs interpreted the meaning and significance of the Crusades? Why were the Crusades not a specific topic for study for Muslim historians before the 1890s?
2) Based on Islamic tenets, why was Usama ibn Munqidh so horrified by the icon of the infant Christ? What would the response of the Frank had been to Usama’s religious objection to the icon?
3) Analyze the anecdote about Usama’s encounter while praying with the newly arrived Frank and explain what it reveals about the difference between Franks who settled and lived in Palestine (like Usama’s Templar friends) and those who came to go on crusade and then returned to Europe.

     ANALYTICAL ESSAY OPTION: Based on the Al-Mukhtasar of the Arab jurist al-Quduri and the calls for Crusade by St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Pope Innocent III, compare and contrast the nature and purposes of medieval Jihad and “Crusade.”  Do the doctrines of jihad and “Crusade” as preached by al-Quduri, St. Bernard, and Pope Innocent III satisfactorily explain the brutality of the crusading warfare as revealed by the assigned primary sources, or must one seek a different explanation?





Week of 2 April

T. Machiavelli and the Renaissance Prince
Reading: Craig 355-68

Primary source reading: CM 455-9 (=Aquinas, “On Kingship”); 477-82, 489-99, 502-12, 519-21, 522-6, 538-42 (=Machiavelli, “Letter to Vettori” and The Prince, intro, chaps 5-9, 12-18, 21, 24-6; Discourses, book II, chaps. 2, 20)

HOMEWORK. Write on one of the following) or write the analytical essay:
1. Why did Machiavelli believe that citizen militias are better than professional paid armies (Prince chap 12 and Discourses, book 2, chap 20)?
2. Why did Machiavelli think that Christianity as practiced in his time (Discourses book II, chap. 2) was an unfit religion for a republic?
3. How and why did Cesare Borgia have his henchman Remiro D'Orco killed? (Prince, chap. 7)

4. Contrast St. Thomas Aquinas’s and Machiavelli’s ideas about the duties and virtues of rulers.
Based upon your reading of “The Prince,” how would Machiavelli have explained Akbar’s political and religious policies, in particular his treatment of Hindus.  Which of Akbar’s actions would have garnered Machiavelli approval?  Which would he have censured? How would historian S.M. Ikram respond to such a Machiavellian analysis?  (This question is to be based upon Machiavelli’s “The Prince” in the Morgan reader, Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami's Chronicle of Akbar (1556-72), vol 2, chap. 50-51 (on year 1564), and S.M. Ikram’s Muslim Civilization in India: chaps 11 & 12.)



Th. European Expansion and Protestant Reformation
Reading: Craig 372-94; Mark Greengrass, "Calvin's Geneva"

Extra-credit replacement HOMEWORK assignment (replaces lowest homework grade):

1. How did Reformation change Geneva politically and socially?

2. What was the foundation and extent of Calvin’s authority in Geneva?

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Week of 9 April

T. Religious Wars and the Growth of the European Nation State: French Absolutism and English Constitutionalism

Reading: Craig 394-408


Th. Hobbes: Individualism and the Absolutist State
Reading: Craig 408-10, 486-94; Abels on Hobbes' and Locke's historical context and sources of ideas; The History Guide on the English Civil War 1642-9

Primary source reading: CM 548-9, 553-6, 563-72 (note Hobbes's definitions of: good, evil, pleasure, hope, diffidence, covetousness, religion, superstition, pity, and happiness), 577-82 (note definitions of worth, dignity and honour), 591-612, 621-5, 633-6, 640, 659-64  (Leviathan,  intro, chaps. 1-2, 5-6, 10-11, 13-18, 21, 24, (read only about taxes and property),  26, 29

Image: Title page of Hobbes' Leviathan (1651)

Extra-credit replacement HOMEWORK assignment (replaces lowest homework grade):

1) What is human life like in Hobbes' state of nature (chapter 13) and what makes it that way?
2) What rights does a Hobbesian sovereign have over the property of his subjects, and why?


Qing dynasty copy by Chen Zhang of a Ming dynasty silk scroll painting by Shen Dun

Week of 16 April

T. Europe’s Assault on the World

Reading: Craig 374-6, 428-54; 463 (on Ming dynasty maritime expeditions); Frederic Wakeman, "Voyages," American Historical Review 98 (1993): read pp. 9-15 (about Zheng He’s naval expeditions) ; Erik Ringmar – “Audience for a Giraffe: European Expansionism and the Quest for the Exotic” - Journal of World History 17:4 (2006) (see picture in Craig, p. 464); Dr. Sherry Johnson, "Myths and Dreams: Exploring the Cultural Legacies of Florida and the Caribbean"


The Kangnido map (1402) predates Zheng's voyages and suggests that he had quite detailed geographical information on much of the Old World.   Early 17th century Chinese woodblock print, thought to represent Zheng He's ships.

     Kangnido map (1402)                Zheng He’ ships (17th century Chinese woodcut)


HOMEWORK (do either this one or one of Thursday’s or the analytic essay):

1. According to Erik Ringmar, what can we learn about differences between Renaissance, modern imperialist European, and fifteenth-century Chinese worldviews from the manner in which each society responded to the introduction of a giraffe?

2. According to Dr. Sherry Johnson, what were the main consequences for Amerindians and Europeans of the cultural contact between European explorers of the sixteenth-century and the peoples of the New World?

3. What were the main differences between the voyages of exploration undertaken by Europeans and Chinese in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries according to Dr. Frederic Wakeman?


Tokugawa Ieyasu  (1543-1616)                                                                                                                      William Adams (1564-1620)

        From left to right: "Blijde Bootschap", "Trouwe",  "'t Gelooue", "Liefde" and "Hoope". 17th century engraving.                  

Will Adams’ expedition to Japan: 17th-century engraving


Th. Early Modern Encounters: Europeans in China and Japan

Reading: Craig 456-75, 482, review 389-90 (on Jesuits); William Adams (sailor) - Wikipedia; Ronald Frank, "Regulating Buddhism in Sixteenth-Century Japan," Asia Pacific: Perspectives 5 (2004)

Primary source readings: Will Adams: My Coming to Japan, 1611; The Jesuit Chinese Rites Controversy; Tokugawa Iemitsu, "Closed country edict of 1635" and "Exclusion of the Portuguese, 1639"; Hayashi Razan: Japanese neo-Confucianism; recommended: Absolutist mercantile policy (Colbert) vs Japanese Neo-Confucian view of commerce (Seika)

HOMEWORK (last required homework):

1. How did the Wars of Religion in Europe play themselves out in Japan? (Base this on the Will Adams wikipedia article.)

2. Why did Tokugawa Iemitsu expel the Jesuits and the Portuguese from Japan?

3. How did the Jesuits attempt to accommodate Christianity to Confucianism? What was the response of the pope to their attempt?

4. How and why did sixteenth-century Japanese daimyo (the great feudal lords of Japan) regulate Buddhism during the “Warring States” period?

5. What light does the Frank article about regulating Buddhism shed on Iemitsu’s treatment of Christians?

6. Is the belief system of Japanese neo-Confucianism as represented by Hayashi Razan consistent with the Christianity of the seventeenth-century Jesuits in Japan?

     ANALYTICAL ESSAY OPTION (final opportunity!):

Based upon the excerpt from his writings (the handout), how would Hobbes’s contemporary, the Japanese neo-Confucian scholar and statesman Hayashi Razan (1583-1657), have critiqued Hobbes’s analysis of human nature, morality, and the rights and powers of sovereign and subject? How does the thought of each political philosopher reflect the intellectual, socio-economic, and political developments in his society, and what does such a comparison reveal about the differences between the emerging “modern Western” and the traditional Japanese neo-Confucian worldviews? (Note: Hobbes has dramatically different views about morality in the state of nature and morality in the Leviathan State.)


Week of 23 April

T. The Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution

Reading: Craig 498-512, 536-64; Richard Hooker on Japanese neo-Confucianism and the “Japanese Enlightenment”; Derk Bodde, China’s Influence on the Englightenment

Primary source readings: CM 775-6, 818-22 (Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, note 9); Galileo on science and faith;  Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary (read entry on religion) ; Diderot: Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville

    Questions to think about:
    What is a "scientific revolution?
    How did the Scientific Revolution change science and the West's world-view?
    Did the Scientific Revolution create a breach between science and religion?

    What is the 'Enlightenment' and why is it important?
    What was Voltaire's and the Enlightenment critique of religion?
    How did Enlightenment themes influence life around Europe?

    What influence did China have on the imaginations of Enlightenment philosophes?

     What differences do you see between the 18th-century European and Japanese Enlightenments? 
Replacement HOMEWORK (replaces lowest grade on earlier writing assignment)

According to Rousseau, why is natural man happier than man in society?

Th. Rousseau’s Social Contract

Reading: CM 831-46, 857-8, 865-72, 873-4, 885-90 (Rousseau’s The Social Contract, book 1, chaps 1-9; book 2, chaps. 1-6; book 3, chaps. 9-17; book 4, chap. 1, 8)

Questions to think about:
In The Social Contract, book 1, chapter 8, Rousseau says that through the social contract man also acquires "moral liberty, which alone makes man truly the master of himself.' What is moral liberty and what did Rousseau mean by it making man the master of himself?

            What is the “General Will” and why can it never be wrong?

            What does Rousseau state that a man compelled to follow the General Will is nonetheless free?

            What does Rousseau mean by "civil religion" and why does he think it important for a well functioning republic?



FINAL EXAM May 3 at 1930