Western Civilization I
Western Civilization is a challenging course. Solid reading and writing skills along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study are necessary to succeed. Emphasis is placed on critical and evaluative thinking skills, essay writing, interpretation of historical and literary documents, and historiography.
Course Objectives Students will:
demonstrate an understanding of the history, art, and literature of the era
demonstrate an understanding of historical chronology
understand the geographic features of the regions and understand their impact on the history of the region
use data to support and argument or position
work effectively with others to produce projects and solve problems
Chrétien de Troyes
Western Civilization: Volume A
The Three Theban Plays
Song of Roland
Additional readings include the Bible and the Qur’an.
The grading scale is as follows: A=90%; B=80%; C=70%; D=60%.
Grades are based on the following:
30% will be unit examination grades (You will be tested on chapter information, lecture notes and literature.) o Unit exams will contain 20 multiple choice questions from each chapter. They will also have additional questions over covered literature and art. You will be given a list of essays for which to prepare but I will choose the essays on the exam.
40% will be writing assignments (These include in class essays, literary essays, etc.) o You will be writing a critical essay on either Gilgamesh, Antigone or Oedipus Rex. Further directions for the essay will be provided after we have completed the literature. You will also have in class writing assignments about the other readings for the course. Additionally, you will be work with group sites to develop a group presentation that will be included in your writing grade.
20% will be based on participation and attendance o During each class session, you will be asked to keep a response journal. During the course of the session, you will be asked various questions that will illicit your opinion on various topics. This will provide you will a focus for the three hour session and will give me a check on comprehension of critical material. These will be sent to me after class in a group envelope. Excessive absences will have an adverse effect on your final grade.
10% will be the final essay exam o During the final exam period, you will complete the last unit exam. You will also complete an essay final in which you analyze the literary and art movements of the period studied.
Attendance Attendance in this class is very important. Much of the material for success is provided through lecture/discussion.
Missing class can create problems. If you miss an exam, an alternate exam may be provided. We will have group assignments. Please make sure that you fulfill your obligations to the class and your group.
Students are expected to be on time, be prepared, treat everyone with respect, and participate in this class. anytime. I check that email more than anything. If you would like to meet with me individually, please contact me and I will gladly do so.
This is a tentative overview of the course. As the semester progresses, changes may be necessary for the benefit of students and teacher.
I am a full time employee of the Waterloo Community School District and will be unavailable without an appointment.
Please contact me through the ANGEL system. I will be using the system to communicate announcements. Please check your ANGEL site for this course on a regular basis. You may also email me at email@example.com at
Material covered (please have chapter read as soon as possible)
Spielvogel – Chapter 1
Introduction to instructor and class
Paleolithic vs. Neolithic Age
Characteristics of Civilizations
Impact of Geography on Civilizations (Summer and Egypt)
Spielvogel – Chapter 1
Introduction to Gilgamesh
Sumerian and Egyptian Art
Law codes and concept of justice
Megaliths and Stonehenge
Spielvogel – Chapter 2
Judaism and the Old Testament
Discussion of Gilgamesh
Overview of critical essay (Group essay over Gilgamesh)
Chapter 1 and 2 Exam
Spielvogel – Chapter 3
Homer as educational tool
Sparta vs. Athens
Development of Greek Philosophy
Spielvogel – Chapters 3 and 4
Philip of Macedonia and Alexander the Great
Introduction to Greek drama and Sophocles’ Theban Plays
Spielvogel – Chapter 4
Discuss Sophocles/review of critical essay assignment
Greek and Hellenistic Art
Chapter 3 and 4 Exam
Spielvogel – Chapter 5
Roman Geography and Influences
Cincinnatus and the Roman Ideal
Structure of the Roman Republic
Literary Critique due to me by email by 3:00 p.m. on October 12
Spielvogel – Chapter 5 and 6
Decline of Republic and Birth of Empire
Roman Art and Engineering
“Bread and Circuses”
Introduction to Marcus Aurelius and Meditations
Spielvogel – Chapter 6
Christianity: Jesus and Paul
Golden and Silver Age of Roman Literature
Spielvogel – Chapter 6 and 7
Discussion of Meditations
Meditation assignment due October 26 by 3:00
Chapter 5 and 6 Exam
Propping up the Empire
Spielvogel – Chapter 7
Development of Church Structure
What Didn’t Make it into the New Testament
Byzantine and Islamic Art
Spielvogel – Chapter 7 and 8
Rise and Spread of Islam
Introduction to Song of Roland
Charlemagne and the Carolingians
Vikings, Magyars and Muslims, Oh My!!!
Feudalism and Manorialism
Chapter 7 and 8 Exam
Spielvogel – Chapter 9
Second Agricultural Revolution
Trade and Cities
Romanesque and Gothic Architecture
Spielvogel – Chapter 10
Discussion of the Song of Roland
Castles and Defense
Tournaments and Chivalry
Who’s Who of the Nobility of the Middle Ages
Who’s Who of the Church of the Middle Ages
Spielvogel – Chapter 10 and 11
See the Middle East – Crusades – Background
Crusades – Success and Failure
Comical or Tragic Crusades
Little Ice Age
Spielvogel – Chapter 11
Joan Goes to the Hundred Years’ War
Multiple Popes and Antichrists
Dancing Skeletons in Art
Work time to prepare for presentations
Unit Exam – Chapters 9 – 11 and Final Essay Exam