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Foundations of Western Civilization
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Description

Foundations of Western Civilization

In this course is the very first of forty-eight lectures, where one explores the essential contours of the human experience in what has come to be called "Western civilization," from its humble beginnings in the ancient Near East to the dawn of the modern world; we will range from about 3000 B.C. to AD. 1600. We will begin by asking just what "Western civilization" actually is, or what it has been thought to be. Throughout the course, we will pause to reflect on where Western civilization finds its primary locus at any given moment. That is, we'll begin in the ancient Near East and move to Greece, then to Rome; we will explore the shape and impact of large ancient empires, including the Persian, Alexander the Great's, and Rome's. When we take our leave of Rome, we'll move to Western Europe. We'll watch Europe gradually expand physically and culturally. Finally, we'll see the globalization of Western civilization with the Portuguese and Spanish voyages of exploration and discovery.


“Western,” “Civilization,” and “Foundations”
2 - History Begins at Sumer
3  - Egypt—The Gift of the Nile
4 - The Hebrews—Small States and Big Ideas
5 -  A Succession of Empires
6 - Wide-Ruling Agamemnon
7  - Dark Age and Archaic Greece
8 - The Greek Polis—Sparta
9 - The Greek Polis—Athens
10 -  Civic Culture—Architecture and Drama
11 -  The Birth of History
12 - From Greek Religion to Socratic Philosophy

13 - Plato and Aristotle
14 -  The Failure of the Polis and the Rise of Alexander
15 -  The Hellenistic World
16 -  The Rise of Rome
17 -  The Roman Republic—Government and Politics
18 -  Roman Imperialism
19 -  The Culture of the Roman Republic
20 -  Rome—From Republic to Empire
21 - The Pax Romana
22 - Rome's Golden and Silver Ages
23 - Jesus and the New Testament
24 - The Emergence of a Christian Church
25 -  Late Antiquity—Crisis and Response
26 - Barbarians and Emperors
27 -  The Emergence of the Catholic Church
28 - Christian Culture in Late Antiquity
29 -  Muhammad and Islam
30 - The Birth of Byzantium
31 -  Barbarian Kingdoms in the West
32 - The World of Charlemagne
33 -  The Carolingian Renaissance
34 - The Expansion of Europe
35 -  The Chivalrous Society
36 -  Medieval Political Traditions, I
37 -  Medieval Political Traditions, II
38 -  Scholastic Culture
39 -  Vernacular Culture
40 -  The Crisis of Renaissance Europe
41 -  The Renaissance Problem
42 -  Renaissance Portraits
43  - The Northern Renaissance
44 - The Protestant Reformation—Martin Luther
45 - The Protestant Reformation—John Calvin
46 - Catholic Reforms and "Confessionalization"
47 -  Exploration and Empire
48 - What Challenges Remain?

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