Ancient Civilizations


Revised September 11, 1998
Instructor: Dr. Steve Muhlberger
Office: P 605
Office Phone: 474-3461 ext 4458
Home Phone: 776-1247
E-mail: stevem@nipissingu.ca

What this course is about:

The subject of ancient history is vast, since most of humanity's existence qualifies as ancient. We will look at only a selection of topics to keep things manageable. Our focus will be on the ancient civilizations of the Middle East and the Mediterranean -- not because they are necessarily the most important, but because they are relatively well known and form the background for later European history. In the course of the year, we will examine social, political and economic topics, emphasizing the institutions and ideas that organized ancient societies.

We will especially be interested in Greek and Roman civilization, because they have consistently provided later generations with food for thought.

Required Books:

Nels Bailkey, Readings in Ancient History: Thought and Experience from Gilgamesh to St. Augustine

 D. Brendan Nagle, The Ancient World: A Social and Cultural History

Recommended Writing Manuals:

Diana Hacker, A Canadian Pocket Style Manual

Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History


1. Journal work -- 50%

 Much of your written work this year will be in the form of journal writing, in reaction to lectures, the reading of the assigned sources, the textbook, and any additional materials you may wish to consult. See Journal Writing Guidelines. Sections will be due for grading on: Nov. 3, Dec. 3, Feb. 11, and Mar. 30.

2. Midterm exam -- (Dec. 8) -- 20%

3. Final examination -- 30%

Both the midterm and final examinations will be based chiefly on your ability to discuss source excerpts from Bailkey, Readings in Ancient History.

Course Outline

Dates are followed by (1) the title of the lecture and (2) the source readings, identified thus: R pp. 000-000, or by title if they are not from the Bailkey book. Again, the source readings are essential. Passing the final exam will depend on your ability to discuss source excerpts intelligently.

Sept. 10 Introduction to the course
Sept. 15 Prehistory to the Agricultural Revolution
Sept. 17 An Early Town -- Catal Huyuk
Sept. 22 General Characteristics of Mesopotamian Civilization

R pp. 13-17
Sept. 24 Sumer and Akkad to the Time of Sargon
R pp. 17-20
Sept. 29 Gilgamesh
R pp. 4-12
Oct. 1  Nomads and Citizens in the Second Millenium B.C.
R pp. 37-38 (Epilogue)
Oct. 6  Men and Women in the Second Millenium B.C.
R pp. 34-36 (c. 104-195)
Oct. 8   Early Egypt
Oct. 13 Pharoahs and Pyramids
Teti Pyramid Texts & Pepi I Pyramid Texts
R pp. 57-58
Oct. 15  Early Developments -- Metalworking
Oct. 20  Early Developments -- Writing
Oct. 22  Civilization Spreads to the West
R pp. 123-129 (top of page)
Oct. 27 & 29 Fall Study Week

Nov. 3  Akhenaten

R pp. 59-62
The Kadesh Battle Inscriptions of Ramses II

 Nov. 5  Ancient Israel

Genesis 17
R   pp. 81-86, 90-91, 95-96 (mid-page)
Nov. 10  The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
Nov. 12  Cities of the Western Mediterranean
Nov. 17  Politics in Archaic Greece
R   pp. 137-141 (top), 160-165
Nov. 19  Sparta and Athens
R  pp. 271-273, 177-185
Nov. 23  The Republics of Ancient India
Nov. 26  The Persian Empire
Nov. 30  The Persian War
R   pp. 120-123, 189 (mid)-194(top)
    (I encourage you to read all of section 6)
Dec. 1  Periclean Athens
R   pp. 203-214
Dec. 3  Peloponnesian War
R  pp. 215-225
  (Those with more time might read 233-242)

Dec. 8  Midterm exam

Jan. 5  The Trial of Socrates
R  pp. 246-252
Jan. 7  Early Rome and Carthage
R  pp. 322-332
Jan. 12 The Macedonian Conquest of Greece
R  pp. 284-293
Jan. 14 Alexander's Conquests
R  pp. 296-302
Jan. 19 The Successor States and Hellenistic Culture
R  pp. 309-316
Jan. 21 The Greek Heritage: Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics
R  pp. 254-257, 303-306
Jan. 26 The Roman Conquest of Italy
Jan. 28 The Punic Wars
Feb. 2   The Conquest of Greece and the Roman Response to the Greeks
R  pp. 339-348
Feb. 4  Roman Imperialism
R  pp. 332-338
Feb. 9  Origins of the Roman Revolution: The Gracchi to Sulla
 R  pp. 348-356
Feb. 11 Roman Warlords -- Marius to Caesar
R  pp. 386-389(top), 371-380

 Feb. 16 & 18 Winter Study Week
Feb. 23  The Victory of Augustus

Record of His Accomplishments
R  pp. 423-426
Feb. 25  The Empire of Augustus
R  pp. 442-451
Mar. 2  The Arena
Mar. 4  The Early Emperors
R  pp.438-442
Mar. 9  The Jewish War and the Birth of Christianity
R  pp. 451-453, 478-486
Mar. 11  The Good Emperors
R  pp. 458-461
Mar. 16  Egypt and Gaul: Two Roman Provinces in the 2nd Century
Mar. 18  The Military Emperors
Mar. 23  The Spread of Christianity
R  pp. 462-465, 488-489, 502-504
Mar. 25  The Age of Diocletian and Constantine
R  pp. 515-517
Mar. 30  The Christian Empire
R pp. 493(Aroused to Seek Wisdom)-495(top),  497(bottom)-501

 Apr. 1  The Fifth Century Collapse