History 121: Western Civilization I
Study Questions

Mr Lehmann

Study Questions for Part 2: The Ancient Near East

l. What are the major chronological divisions of prehistory and history, their sequence and approximate dates? What are the distinctive cultural traits of each period?

2. Explain the Neolithic revolution and its consequences.

3. Where and why did civilization first appear? Define civilization with reference to social and political development and urbanization.

4. How and to what extent does geography illuminate or effect the history of the Near East, particularly with respect to the emergence of civilization? What impact did geography have on intellectual and political development in Mesopotamia and Egypt?

5. How and why did writing develop? Why is writing so important to historical studies? What was it used for in the ancient Near East?

6. What ancient sources does the historian have to reconstruct the history of the ancient world?

7. Why did ancient peoples make pottery? Why is it so important for archaeological investigations?

8. Describe the general historical development of the Mesopotamian peoples, the Egyptians, and the Hebrews. Summarize their cultural achievements in art, literature, and science.

9. What were the causes of war and imperialism in the Ancient Near East?

10. Who were the Sumerians? What aspects of civilization and culture did they pass on to other people? Why did their culture outlive the Sumerians?

11. Describe the evolution of Hebrew religion, relating its evolution to the Hebrew's historical experience. Explain the teachings of Moses and the prophets and their roles in the Hebrew's religious development. How was it possible for the Hebrews to survive as a people without state or territory or physical unity?

12. How did ancient Mesopotamian religion satisfy or respond to human needs? Explain the principle do ut des. How did ancient people worship their gods? How did they discover their will? How did they "control" them? Distinguish private from public religion.

13. What is the Enuma Elish? By what principles and processes does it explain the creation of the world and the origins of kingly power? How does this mythical speculation relate to human experience?

14. Why did kings and leaders make law codes? Describe their form and content. What light do they cast on ancient legal, political, and social institutions? Contrast the codes of Hammurabi and Moses; how and why are they different?

15. Why did Herodotus, Thucydides, and Livy write history? How do their purposes differ?

Study Question for Part 3: Ancient Greece

l. What are the main chronological divisions of Greek history and the general characteristics of each period?

2. Explain how oral poetry is composed. What types of human activity are oral poets and their audiences interested in? When were the Iliad and Odyssey written down? What does the Odyssey tell us about early Greek morality, religion, and social organization. Compare the Greek gods of Homeric epic with the gods of the ancient Near East.

3. Explain early Greek morality by reference to such value terms as arete, time, and agathos. Define oikos with reference to Homeric epic.

4. What is the polis? Describe thoroughly its political, social, religious, and economic characteristics.

5. What aspects of early Greek civilization and culture were panhellenic; what aspects were particularist?

6. Explain the period of colonization and tyranny by describing thoroughly the economic and social crises that caused these phenomena. What was a tyrant? How did he come to and sustain his power? How did he fall?

7. Describe the armor of a hoplite soldier. What are hoplite tactics? What are the social and intellectual implications of the adoption of hoplite tactics?

8. Who were the helots? Explain their role in Spartan society. How was the Spartan polis organized, and how were the Spartan young trained? What was the price of eternal vigilance?

9. Describe Athens' constitutional development in the sixth century and the social, economic, and political factors that influenced it. What were the respective reforms of Solon, Peisistratus, and Cleisthenes, and what motivated them?

10. Compare the political institutions of the Homeric world, Sparta, and Athens. How are they similar, how different? Compare the development of political institutions in Athens and Sparta in the Archaic Period

11. Show how Athens rose to power in the fifth century, and how the Delian League became the Athenian Empire.

12. Explain the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, using Thucydides' analysis of underlying and immediate causes. Show how and why the Spartans and Athenians had very different characters, and recount the events that led to war's outbreak.

Study Questions for Part 4: Ancient Rome

l. Know the main periods of Roman history and the distinctive political, social, and economic characterisitcs of each period.

2. Relate the myths of Rome's founding. How do they help explain the generosity of the Romans toward those they conquered?

3. Be able to describe the Roman constitution during the Republic. Go behind the constitution and locate the real center of political power by analyzing Roman society and its values (the mos maiorum).

4. Show how clientela was important both in social relations among Romans and also in political relations between Rome and her allies or subjects.

5. What explanations have scholars offered for Roman Imperialism? What is Imperialism of Pride, and is it a satisfying explanation?

6. Describe the breakdown of the Republic in the first century BC. What was the role of the proconsuls in the Roman Revolution?

7. What happened to the Republic under Augustus? What were the sources of his power? How could he say that he had more auctoritas but no more power than anyone else?

8. Know the story of Vergil's Aeneid. Explain Aeneus's motivation as he leads his people to the new Troy. What is Vergil's view of Roman Imperialism?

Study Questions for Part 5: The Middle Ages

l. Know the main periods of the Middle Ages and the distinctive political, social, and economic characteristics of each period.

2. How was it possible for a small Jewish sect, pacifist and world-renouncing, to become the state religion of the Roman Empire?

3. Describe the origins and main tenets of Islam.

4. Explain how the transformation of the Roman into the Byzantine Empire and the location of the latter's capital at Constantinople affected the political and intellectual development of medieval Europe.

5. Describe medieval feudalism and account for its decline.

6. Show how the modern university has its roots in the revival of learning and the recovery of the Greek and Roman classics during the High Middle Ages.

7. What does the building of a cathedral like Chartres Cathedral tell us about medieval society, economy, and religion. What are the distinctive features of Gothic architecture?

Adam lay ybounden, Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter Thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple, An apple that he took,
As clerkes finden written In their book.

Ne had the apple taken been, The apple taken been,
Ne had never our lady Abeen heavene queen.

Bless be the time That apple taken was.
Therefore we moun singen Deo Gratias!

--Sloane MS 2593 (fifteenth century); cf The Oxford Book of Carols, 180

Study Questions for Part 6: Renaissance and Reformation

1. Know the distinctive intellectual, artistic, and religious characteristics of the Renaissance and Reformation.

2. Describe in general outline the political configuration of Europe during this period. Show that the political preoccupations and rivalries of the rulers and popes contributed to the success of the reformers.

3. What is the significance of the Peace of Augsburg? the Edict of Nantes? the Peace of Westphalia?

4. What is humanism? Why did it emerge first in Italy? How did it influence the Reformation?

5. Identify and contrast the main strands of political thought during the Renaissance and Reformation. What are Machiavelli's positions in his Prince and in his Discourses?

6. Identify the most important explorers. What were the causes of exploration by sea? What were some of its consequences?

7. What abuses within the Church did the reformers object to? What, in particular, was Martin Luther's problem with the Church? What were his solutions for ecclesiastical shortcomings and his own spiritual struggles? What is solfidianism?

8. Know the important artists of the Renaissance and some of their works. Explain their attitude toward classical antiquity.

Precatio quidem potior. . .at scientia non minus necessaria tamen.

--Erasmus, Enchiridion

Nov 07