Office Hour: Wed. 4
Office Phone: 474-3461 ext 4458
Home Phone: 776-1247
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
We will especially be interested in Greek and Roman civilization, because they have consistently provided later generations with food for thought.
Bryan Ward-Perkins, The Fall of
and the End of Civilization Rome
Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. The answer to the question "What kind of footnotes do you want?" is "Look it up in the Rampolla book."
The course grade will be based on 2 papers, a midterm exam, and the final exam.
Each paper will be 8-10 pages. Detailed assignments will be distributed later, and will be linked to the electronic version of this document.
In addition, you will be reading excerpts from primary sources (documents written during ancient times) throughout the year. The excerpts will be distributed to you via the Internet, which is by far the most flexible and cheapest way. All students have Internet access through the university, but if you foresee a problem, please let me know.
1. First Paper -- due Nov. 6 -- 25%
The first paper will be an extended comparison of two books, Ward-Perkins’ The Fall of Rome and Wright’s A Short History of Progress, both of which draw large conclusions from ancient history. More details on the assignment to follow.
2. Midterm exam -- Dec. 4 -- 20%
The second paper will be an analysis of a primary source. The following sources may be used (all available in Penguin Classics translations):
Julius Caesar, The Conquest of Gaul (usually called The Gallic War)
Euripides, Medea and Other Plays
Plautus, The Pot of Gold and Other Plays
Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
4. Final examination -- April TBA -- 30%
The final exam will focus on material from the second term.
Returning papers: When I have finished grading an assignment I will bring all the papers back to class once. If you are absent, you must come to my office after class or during office hours to pick up your paper.
Lecture notes for this course can be found on-line at /muhlberger/2055/anclect.htm.
You will be asked, in connection with most lectures, to read an excerpt from a primary source. Passing the midterm and final exams will depend, in part, on your ability to discuss source excerpts intelligently. Similarly, your second term paper will be an analysis of a primary source and reading and thinking about primary sources throughout the course will be good practice for you.
The source excerpts have brief introductions. I have also provided questions to help you understand what is interesting about them.
Some of the source excerpts are in the Ancient History Sourcebook or elsewhere on the web. For those excerpts, my questions are in the course outline below.
Some of the excerpts are on the
Sept. 6 Introduction to the course
Sept. 11 Prehistory to the Agricultural Revolution
Sept. 13 An Early Town -- Catal Huyuk
Sept. 18 General Characteristics of Mesopotamian Civilization
These documents are good examples of the earliest "historical" writing of
Mesopotamia. In what sense are these documents "history?" What seems to be important to the writers and their audience? What are the limitations of the documents as records?
Sept. 25 Gilgamesh
Sept. 27 Nomads and Citizens in the Second Millenium B.C.
Oct. 2 Men and Women in the Second Millenium B.C.
Oct. 4 Early
What do we learn about the earliest Egyptian monarchy from this artifact?
Oct. 9 & 11 -- Thanksgiving and Fall Study Week
Oct. 16 Pharoahs and Pyramids
Oct. 18 Early Developments -- Metalworking
Oct. 23 Early Developments -- Writing
Oct. 25 Civilization Spreads to the West
These documents date from the 1st/2nd c. A.D. and the 5th century B.C. What problems are there with using them as evidence for Cretan history? How much difference would it make if these documents had been lost?
Oct. 30 Akhenaten
Nov. 1 Ancient
Nov. 6 The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
FIRST PAPER DUE
Nov. 8 Cities of the
Once again, we have a Greek document written much later than the events it describes. What can we learn about the history of the early
Nov. 13 Politics in
There will be no lecture on
"The Republics of Ancient India" but you can read about them at:
Nov. 20 The Persian Empire
Compare the policy of Cyrus to that of Tiglath Pileser (Nov. 1 reading). What are Cyrus' intentions? How did the Jews interpret his policy?
Nov. 22 The Persian War
Nov. 27 Periclean Athens
Nov. 29 Peloponnesian War
Thucydides gives a picture of bloody political conflict in Corcyra and elsewhere in
. What were the issues that produced such conflict? What characteristics of Greek life encouraged or allowed civil wars to spring up? Greece
Dec. 4 Midterm exam
Jan. 8 The Trial of Socrates
Jan. 10 Early
Jan. 15 The Macedonian
Jan. 17 Alexander's Conquests
Jan. 22 The
Jan. 24 The Greek Heritage: Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics
Jan. 29 The Roman Conquest
Jan. 31 The Punic Wars
Feb. 5 The
Feb. 7 Roman Imperialism
SECOND PAPER DUE
Feb. 12 Origins of the Roman Revolution: The Gracchi to Sulla
Feb. 14 Roman Warlords -- Marius to Caesar
On what did Sallust blame the troubles of the Republic in his time? If he had been able to talk to Livy about them, would they have agreed? What made possible the rise of a man like Cataline?
Feb. 19 & 21 Study Week
Feb. 26 The Victory of Augustus
This is Augustus' account of what he did for the Roman people. Who were the Roman people at this time? What did Augustus think had pleased them? How does this list compare to other lists we've read?
Feb. 28 The Empire of Augustus
Mar. 4 Latin Literature
Mar. 6 The Arena
Mar. 11 The Early Emperors
Mar. 13 The Jewish War and the Birth of Christianity
Mar. 18 The Good Emperors
What does the first reading tell us about Roman attitudes to the empire and its peoples? What does the second reading tell us about conditions in
(especially local life and government) under the Romans? Egypt
Mar. 25 The Military Emperors
Mar. 27 The Spread of Christianity
Apr. 1 The Age of Diocletian and Constantine
Apr. 3 The Christian Empire
What is the significance of this incident? Does it mark a turning point in religious or political history?