Origins of Western Civilization: The Ancient Mediterranean World

History 4A

Fall 2016
160 Kroeber
Day & Time: 
TuTh 12:30-2P

This course offers an introductory survey of the history of the ancient Mediterranean world, from the rise of city states in Mesopotamia c. 3000 BC to the transformation of the Roman Empirein the 4th century AD. The emphasis will be on the major developments in the political and social history of the ancient Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, with special attention to those institutions, practices, ideas, and objects that have had an enduring influence on the development of western civilization. A key theme for the course as a whole will be the changing configurations of power in the ancient Mediterranean world, not only political (cities, states, empires), but also socio-economic (personal wealth and status) and ideological (religion and belief systems). Lectures and textbook readings will provide an essential historical narrative as well as interpretations of central problems, while readings in primary sources (epic poetry, historiography, public documents, biography, etc.) will give students an opportunity in discussion sections to grapple with some of the evidence on which such narratives and interpretations are based.

Course Books

The Historians of Ancient Rome: An Anthology of the Major Writings by Mellor, Ronald Routledge. ISBN: 978-0415527163 Required
The Epic of Gilgamesh by George, Andrew Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140449198 Required
Egypt, Greece, & Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean by Freeman, Charles Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199651924 Required