"Western Civilization"
Fall 2003


Ives 305
TR 11:40 – 12:55

Sections      Thur 1:25, 2:30 (both in MG 365)
                    Fri 10:10, 11:15  (both in GS 144)

Office Hours

Prof Graubart: MG 322 (4-5334; Net-ID kbg6@cornell.edu)              Mon 12-2 pm
Prof. Hyams: MG 307 (257-3168; Net-ID prh3@cornell.edu)             Wed 11-12 noon, Thurs 3:30-4:15 pm
TA: Mike De Give: Office and phone no. TBA (med35@cornell.edu)     Fri 2-3 pm
This is the definitive version of these course particulars. 
The hard copy distributed at the start of the classes was preliminary and subject to possible error. 
So please consult these Web pages regularly; for  resources which we shall add from time to time . 

Required Readings:

        HUNT et al., The Making of the West, vol. I (to 1740)
        TACITUS, Agricola, Germany
        SELLS, Approaching the Qur'an
        SAINT BENEDICT, Rule
        HOMER, Iliad

All these Readings should be available on 2-Hour Reserve at Uris Library, along with

        Editions of the Bayeux Tapestry, to supplement the CD-Rom (ETC)
        Historical Atlases


1. Sections and Office Hours. Both of these are full parts of the course. We, therefore expect you to attend Sections. You are, however, entitled to 2 unexcused absences over the semester; beyond this defaults may adversely affect your grade. (We shall take account of active participation in section as a plus factor in the final grade, as below.) We also expect to see you in Office Hours, well before the main assignments become due. That way, we shall get to know each other and be able to assist you to make best use of classes and other resources, also to guide you to good papers etc.

2. Prelim Exam. The main purpose of this exam is to encourage you to read the textbook (Hunt et al.) carefully and critically. We shall not cover all its issues in our lectures. We shall try and share with you our takes on the major issues in the development of the West, even where these differ from those taken by the textbook authors. You therefore need to study the book with care ahead of each week’s classes, and to construct from it the connecting threads you will need to make your own sense of two thousand years of history over a wide array of territory and peoples. The exam will be largely factual, and we shall give you a detailed indication of its character in advance. It will take place in Week XII and the results will constitute 25% of the Final Grade.

3. Papers. You will write 2 papers (5-7 pages in length) on questions concerning the primary readings for the course. These are intended to offer the opportunity to make close readings of one (or more) of the primary source texts assigned for each week. Sample questions will be distributed in class a few weeks before each due date. You should either choose one of these or submit your own title or question to one of us for approval. Paper I is due Oct 7, Paper II Dec 5. Each paper will be worth 30% of the Final Grade.

Sample Questions and Instructions for Paper I:  

You are not expected to research outside the assigned readings and lectures for these papers. You should seek to demonstrate the attention with which you have read the texts and thought about their value to the historian. Your title should direct the reader to the question or questions that interest you; it might itself even be in the form of a question. Your papers should, therefore, make clear and specific reference to the primary texts, and you may use the lectures and Hunt et al. to provide the necessary context for your discussion.

1.  Many of the primary source texts we look at this semester deal with the qualities and demands of leadership within particular political systems.  By the end of Week V, you will have read quite a variety of these texts (Homer, Bagnall, Tacitus, and the Lives of Saints Perpetua and Mary the Harlot, Augustine's Letter). Drawing upon texts from at least two of the  readings for these first 5 weeks, analyze the way that leadership is theorized and/or actually carried out within the societies we have examined. 

2.  All communities refer to their "others" in order to describe and maintain their own social boundaries.  Analyze the descriptions of "self" and "others" in at least two of the texts we have examined thus far to compare the values each society defines as central to its own "civilization" and those constituting "barbarism" elsewhere.  (Be sure and be specific about who is being included and excluded, do not assume that "others" are homogeneous).

3.  Compare the way that any two of your texts describe and deal with the exercize of power.

4. You may also find for yourself a theme common to at least two of the readings, set yourself a question and write a coherent, integrated essay that makes an analytic comparison between these texts and the different societies that produced them.  That is, you should use your essay to analyze the texts themselves, using your secondary reading in Hunt and our lectures to provide context.  If you choose this option, we expect you to run your topic by one of us prior to writing the paper, and by Friday, October 3 at the latest.

Paper II, due December 5 in class

In a 5-7 page essay (no larger than 12pt font, double spaced), answer one of the following questions.  Alternatively, you may propose and answer your own question; you should run it by one of us beforehand, however.  For your answers, draw upon the primary texts from your readings since week VII; there is no need to use secondary or outside readings, but if you do, be sure to list them as references.  As always, cite all thoughts not your own as well as the source of all quotations, in any consistent style.

1.  What story does the Bayeux Tapestry tell, and how effectively?

2.   Discuss the development of government and the emergence of state organization in at
least two of your texts.

3.  Explain how Bernard Gui defined and identified heresy, and how he might have justified the working of the Inquisition.

4.  Compare and contrast the attitudes displayed by two or more of your texts about warfare [and chivalry].

5.  Was chivalry something very different from the art of the courtier in the Renaissance?

NB Plagiarism Policy. Please familiarize yourself with Cornell’s academic integrity code (see pamphlet “A Writer’s Responsibilities.”) Unintentional plagiarism results in an “F” for the paper. Intentional plagiarism results in an “F” for the course, or worse. For further help on how to avoid any appearance of plagiarism, click this link or talk to us.

4. Supplementary Credit. We have reserved up to 15% of the Final Grade to be gained by good attendance and active participation in the class. You can gain credit in this way in the Sections and through the class Discussion Board, for which see again the Web prospectus.

NB The Schedule below includes various web links, provided for your further improvement and enjoyment. Unless we tell you otherwise, these are of course not required readings. They will be separated from the assigned readings and in smaller fonts.


I.  Introduction (Thurs, 8/28)

II. Early Greece (Tue 9/2, Thur 9/4)

 Hunt, Chapter 2
 Homer, “Iliad,” Bks. 1-3, 9, 22-24

Prepare for 2004 with facts about the Ancient Olympic Games

III.  Classical Greece (Tue 9/9, Thur 9/11)
 Hunt, Chapters 3 and 4
 Documents (Bagnall) (ER = electronic reserve)

Browse the Parthenon or the Agora in Athens
U. Penn's Museum of the Ancient Greek World illustrates Daily Life and much more

IV.  Roman Republic and Early Empire (Tue 9/16, Thur 9/18)
Hunt, Chapter 5
Tacitus, Agricola and Germany
Read the “Agricola” and Hunt, pp. 186-7 (Proscription Edict) for section.

Visit Ephesus, a typical (?) Roman city, or Rome and a variety of other cities
Tour Hadrian's Wall
Daily Life and more

Maps    Date Aid     Word Aid

Ptolemy (fl. Alexandria 127-148 AD) was an interesting man, especially perhaps to mathematicians
Visit Alexandria itself, named for its founder, Alexander the Great, whose life is almost dwarfed by the later stories.

V.  Roman Empire and Late Antiquity (Tue 9/23, Thur 9/25)
 Hunt, Chap 6
 St. Perpetua, “Passion of St. Perpetua” (ER or http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/perpetua.html)
 “Life of St. Mary the Harlot” (ER)
 St. Augustine on Barbarians (ER)

Compare Ammianus Marcellinus on the Huns with Tacitus on the Britons
Visit Horace's Villa, and perhaps read one of his tales for kids!

From this point on in the course it will often be useful to consult the online Periodical Historical Atlas

VI. Medieval Christianity (Tue 9/30, Thur 10/2)
 Hunt, Chap 7, but more esp. pp. 241-51, 297-300, 327-9, 354-64
 St. Benedict, “Rule of St. Benedict” (esp. Prologue, chaps. 1-3, 5-6, 16-17, 19-20, 22-23, 26-28, 30, 33-34, 36-38, 44, 48, 53-55, 58-59, 64, 68-71, 73)   Also Letter of Bishop Daniel of Winchester to St. Boniface


Example of square Roman script
     Example of Carolingian Miniscule script     + a glimpse at the way scholars study handwriting
God's Grant of the World and its contents to human beings

Tour Glendalough, an Irish site that is like the Desert Fathers in drizzle!
VII.  Margins of the West: Byzantium and Islam (Tue 10/7, Thur 10?9)    Paper I Due Tuesday!
 Hunt, 260-287, 307-320
 Michael Sells, Interpreting the Q’uran, pp. 42-141 with pp. 1-40 useful but optional

 Optional: Hagia Sophia CD-Rom (Olin, Electronic Texts Center, Disk NA5870.A9 H33x 2001). Anyone interested in the engineering of this 6th-century building should certainly read the engineering classic by Mario Salvadori, Why Buildings Stand Up (1980), chap. 14.

Take a Visual Tour through Late Antiquity, including Ravenna (with the mosaics of Justinian & Theodora)
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Hadith (Sayings on the Jihad attributed to the prophet Muhammed)

Maps of Arabia in Muhammed's time and of the Arab Conquests

Sat 10-11 to Wed 10-15

VIII. Early Middle Ages (Thur 10/16)

 Hunt, 287-304, 321-344
 Documents on Charlemagne for Section: Extract from Einhard's Life of Charlemagne ; 817 Ordinance to divide the empire; and 802 "General Capitulary" of Charlemagne

Art objects of the Franks and Goths: Is Barbarian worse than Roman or just different?
For  Carolingian artefacts follow the links to"Feudal Mode/Carolingian Era" 4. a-e.

Battle of Tours/Poitiers 732: 3 accounts (2 Christian, one Arab) + another Arab account

More materials on Charlemagne at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook1h.html#Charlemagne, eg the Capitulary "De Villis" on the management of imperial estates
Agobard of Vienne explains "Hail and Thunder", tells the emperor of "The Insolence of the Jews" 826-7, and preaches c. 830 on "the Division of the Empire"

The Strasbourg Oaths are  some of the very earliest texts in French and German (of a kind).

Maps of the Merovingian and Carolingian worlds      Words

IX. Commerce and Church Reform (Tue 10/21, Thur 10/23)
 Hunt, Chapter 10
 Tierney and Scott, Western Societies: A Documentary History (Selections on the Commercial Revolution, ER); Bruno of Segni against Simony  ?1094-5 (read cs. 1-3, 10-11, 14-15); Cistercian "Charter of Charity"

Foundation charter of Cluny 910
"Dictatus Papae" 1090 [Gregory VII's list of titles for projected canon law collection]

The Gero Crucifix (a suffering Jesus from late 10th cent.)
Abbey Church of Hildesheim, Germany, c. 1010/1033 (Be sure to advance through the series of pictures)
Romanesque Church of Church of Ste. Madeleine, Vezelay
, France (12th c.)
Virtual Tours of Cistercian Abbeys at Rievaulx and Fountains in Yorkshire, England

X.  Twelfth-Century Confidence and Assertion: Law, Expansion, and the Crusade (Tue 10/18, Thur 10/30)
 Hunt, Chapter 11 with Pope Urban II's Speech at Clermont in 1095 (Fulcher's version)

Section: Hunt, 366-8 (Crusade texts); Bayeux Tapestry (CD-Rom in Olin ETC, Sibley  NK3049.B3 F68x 2003.
You can reach the Tapestry online, or
get yourself a free screensaver of the whole Tapestry from <http://www.screengold.co.uk/scrbayeaux.htm>!

 Magna Carta: The online text is rather well arranged for ordinary people to read, understand, and profit.
See the thing itself at the British Library

Haskins Society Conference

Sun 11-2 to Tue 11-4

XI.  Scholasticism and Inquisitions (Tue 11/4, Thur 11/6)

 Hunt, Chapter 12
 Inquisitor Bernard Gui on Beguines; Abelard, Intro to Sic et Non on how to make judgments ; A Scholastic Question for Christmas; Student Life in 13th cent. Paris (James of Vitry)

Dare I have Sex Today? (Decision Chart) (Courtesy J.A. Brundage, Law, Sex, and Christrian Society in Medieval Europe (U. Chicago Press: Chicago & London, 1987), p. 162)
Gratian on Marriage c. 1140.
The Education of Guibert of Nogent (from his autobiography)
Student Songs     

Review session for Prelim exam with Mike de Give 
Sunday, November 9, 7 pm in McGraw 365
Bring your questions

XII.  Late Medieval Society (Tue 11/11, Thurs 11/13)
 Hunt, Chapter 13
 Boccaccio, Intro to Decameron
 Froissart, on Hundred Years War,   and on the Jacquerie (there is even more Froissart available online, including a complete English text); and Joan of Arc documents in Hunt, 458-60.

Black Death in Italy and the alleged responsibility of the Jews for it

7.30 pm, Wednesday
MG 165

XIII.  Renaissance Culture and Politics (Tue 11/18, Thur 11/20)

 Hunt, 489-513
 Castiglione, “Book of the Courtier,” summary at the bottom of the page (pp. 12-16 of printout); and Machiavelli's, Discourses on Livy, chaps. 4-6, 58

Virtual Renaissance Visit (Choose Portal 1)

XIV. Why Not Feudalism? (Tue 11/25)

Hunt, 333
See also the online  Documents on Feudalism and check out at least Fulbert's Letter on Fidelity 1020, perhaps also The 1789 French decree that "abolished" Feudalism.


Lynn Nelson on "Feudalism"
The Myth of the Mounted Knight

Wed 11-26 to Mon 12-1

XV.  “Europe” and its New World (Tue 12/2)

 Hunt, 514-522
 Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, “Just War Against Barbarians” (ER)
 Christopher Columbus, “Letter to the Sovereigns” (ER)
 Bartolomé de las Casas, In Defense of the Indians, excerpt (ER)

Thursday, 12/4: Wrap up

prh/kbg/8-03 E&OE