HIS300 Roots of Western Civilization

Lead Faculty: Dr. Daniel R. Thorburn

Course Description

Explores social, material, cultural, and intellectual bases of European civilization and relates them to major Afro-Eurasian civilizations. Examines hunting-gathering and early agricultural societies; ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Judea; classical Greece and Rome; rise of Christianity; nomadic invasions of Europe; Byzantine and Islamic influences; and Europeandapos;s medieval synthesis.

Learning Outcomes

  • Illustrate the variety of hunter-gatherer societies.
  • Identify the locations of human communities that populated the major regions of the world and describe how humans adapted to a variety of environments.
  • Outline the development of agricultural techniques that permitted the production of economic surplus and the emergence of cities as centers of culture and power.
  • Understand the relationship between religion and the social and political order in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
  • Depict the origins and significance of Judaism as the first monotheistic religion.
  • Trace changes in ancient Greek society and polity, including the significance of the invention of the idea of citizenship.
  • Evaluate the similarities and differences between the Hellenic and Hellenistic worlds.
  • Identify the location and describe the rise of the Roman Republic, it government and its significance, and its transformation into an empire.
  • Explain the circumstances that led to the spread of Christianity in Europe and other Roman territories.
  • Illustrate the legacies of Roman art and architecture, technology and science, literature, language, and law.
  • Clarify the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire and its heritage in government, law, commerce, and religion.
  • Trace the origins of Islam and the life and teachings of Muhammad and explain the significance of the Qurandapos;an and the Sunnah as the primary sources of Islamic beliefs, practice, and law.
  • Explain the transformation of Europe with Germanic invasions and settlement.
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Carolingian period of European history.
  • Clarify feudalism in the early and high Middle Ages.
  • Illustrate the revival of cities, long-distance commerce, and state structures in Europe.
  • Evaluate the late Middle Ages as an era of social, political, and economic crisis and transformation.