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Table of Contents

ANNUAL EDITIONS: Western Civilization, Volume 1, Fifteenth Edition

AE: Western Civilization


Correlation Guide

Topic Guide

Internet References

UNIT 1: The Earliest Civilizations

Unit Overview

These articles discuss some of the attributes of early civilizations. The topics discuss the modern methods of archaeology, an Egyptian pharaoh, the Seven Wonders, and several ancient empires.

1. Modern Archaeology, Brian M. Fagan, History Today, November 2007

Brian Fagan surveys the history of archaeology and says that a century ago, archaeologists were casually trained and worked in remote places. In the future, it will be a team effort using modern scientific methods such as DNA, tree-ring sequences, and climatic records and will come from the laboratory.

2. The Queen Who Would Be King, Elizabeth B. Wilson, Smithsonian, September 2006

Elizabeth B. Wilson recounts the history of Haptshepsut, royal wife, regent and finally a pharaoh. Was she a scheming stepmother to Pharaoh Thutmose III or a very effective ruler who held Egypt until her step-son came of age?

3. Journey to the Seven Wonders, Tony Perrottet, Smithsonian, June 2004

Though only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still stands, they still intrigue our imagination. Author Tony Perrottet details the Pyramids, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia. Why do these monuments still capture our thoughts after 2,000 years?

4. The Coming of the Sea Peoples, Neil Asher Silberman, Military History, Winter 1998

About 1200 B.C. a new military force swept southward across the Aegean Sea and into Asia Minor, Cyprus and Canaan and even reached the borders of Egypt. Where were the “sea peoples,” and how did their weapons and tactics launch a military revolution in the ancient world?

5. Before Tea Leaves Divination in Ancient Babylonia, William W. Hallo, Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2005

William Halo discusses the use of hepatoscopy (a form of divination involving the inspection of animal livers) by the Assyrian kings. He sees parallels between ancient liver inspections and modern intelligence.

6. Millennia of Murex, Philippa Scott, Saudi Aramco World, July/August 2006

Although we do not know exactly where the first use of Murex (a red-purple dye) began, it is evident, according to Philipa Scott, that the finds tell us the Myceneans had frescos decorations on it. Yet it was the city of Tyre in Phoenicia (Lebanon), which made this dye so famous that its use became associated with royal power.

UNIT 2: Greece and Rome: The Classical Tradition

Unit Overview

These articles focus on Greek and Roman society. Sports, crime, politics, military conquests, women in Etruscan society, and childhood in Rome are discussed.

7. Troy’s Night of the Horse, Barry Strauss, Military History, March 2007

There have been many theories as to the reality of the Trojan War, but, most historians are convinced that the Trojan Horse was a fiction. However, Barry Strauss suggests that we think of the fall of Troy as an example of unconventional warfare—Bronze Age style, and that the Greeks must have used some kind of deceit to take the city.

8. The First Olympics, Betsy Carpenter, U.S. News and World Report, August 9, 2004

Long held beliefs about the nature of the ancient Olympics are changing, according to Betsy Carpenter. Our notions that only amateurs competed, and the reason for naked contestants is because of a love for the human form is being challenged.

9. Can We Trust the Ancient Texts?, Richard A. Gabriel, Military History, March/April 2008

Richard A. Gabriel says that the greatest obstacles to understanding ancient military history were the scarcity of reliable evidence. Names, dates, and details were invented or omitted, as ancient historians were more interested in writing moral lessons than facts.

10. Unlocking Mysteries of the Parthenon, Evan Hadingham, Smithsonian, February 2008

The Parthenon is regarded as the greatest artistic achievement of the Greek civilization, yet it has endured earthquakes, fires, looting and misguided preservation efforts. At present, a restoration effort is discovering new insights into the architectural plan of the original builders.

11. Outfoxed and Outfought, Jason K. Foster, Military History, January/February 2007

Jason K. Foster recounts how the superior-trained Athenian Hoplites (heavy armed soldiers) and new battle tactics overwhelmed the ancient world’s greatest empire: Persia. Had Athens been defeated, democracy, art, culture and philosophy might have been lost forever.

12. Mighty Macedonian, Richard Covington, Smithsonian, November 2004

His victories on the battle field earned him the title Alexander the Great, but what were his motives? Was it his motivation to surpass his father, Philip II, or to win his mother Olympias’ love, which enabled him to conquer the Persian Empire?

13. Etruscan Women, Ingrid D. Rowland, Archaeology Odyssey, May/June 2004

The author tells us that the Etruscan Women’s freedom of action, appetite for wine, and their loose morals were scandalous to the Greeks and later, to the Romans. They were powerful, dignified, elegant, and aristocratic, and seemed to be equal to men.

14. Rome’s Craftiest General, James Lacey, Military History, July/August 2007

Publius Cornelius Scipio “Africanus” learned the art of war at a very young age against Rome’s greatest enemy, Hannibal Barca. Although Scipio and the Romans were first defeated, he eventually gained a command to take Spain from Carthage and then met Hannibal at Zama in 202 B.C. The latter was the crowning achievement of his career and gave him the title, “Africanus” or “victor of Africa”, but it was to be his last important command.

15. The End of the Roman Empire, Bryan Ward-Perkins, History Today, June 2005

Did the invasions from the fifth century to the seventh century destroy Roman Civilization, or were the barbarians peacefully incorporated? Bryan Ward-Perkins says that his archaeological investigations suggest that sophisticated Roman life disappeared and that war was the reason for this.

UNIT 3: The Judeo-Christian Heritage

Unit Overview

The articles in this section examine the Hebrew religion, Jesus, and Mary Magdalene.

16. The Volcano Explains Everything—Or Does It?, Manfred Bietak, Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2006

According to a TV film, “The Exodus Decoded,” the volcanic explosion on Thera (Santorini) is the basis for the Hebrew Exodus. Manfred Bietak lists a number of problems associated with this explanation.

17. Holy Family Values, Lisa Miller, Newsweek, December 18, 2006

Lisa Miller details how the world into which Jesus was born and reared shaped morals for 2,000 years. She further explains how Jewish traditions became Christianity’s customs.

UNIT 4: Muslims and Byzantines

Unit Overview

Three selections discuss the Late Roman or Byzantine civilization as well as important political and philosophical figures in the Muslim world.

18. Adrianople, Joe Zentner, Military History, October 2005

Joe Zentner describes how Emperor Valens’ bad tactics resulted in his death and the triumph of cavalry over infantry at the Battle of Adrianople in 378 AD. This permitted an influx of Germanic people to the West, while the East survived.

19. The Survival of the Eastern Roman Empire, Stephen Williams and Gerard Friell, History Today, November 1998

The Eastern Roman Empire had long-term advantages over the West: a strategically located capital, shorter frontiers, and a wealthier economic base. The first-century emperors evolved rules of imperial succession, control of top army commands, opposition to federated settlements, and a centralized pool of administrative, fiscal, and diplomatic experience. This enabled the East to avoid the destruction, which happened in the Western Roman Empire.

20. Islam’s First Terrorists, Clive Foss, History Today, December 2007

The Kharijites emerged in the late seventh century and caused chaos during the Arab civil wars. Although they flourished in chaotic times and were able to set up a few states, none of these states lasted. Their insistence on democracy undermined a strong leadership, while their fanaticism led to internal splits.

21. Rediscovering Arabic Science, Richard Covington, Saudi Aramco World, May/June 2007

Richard Covington recounts the fascinating history of Islamic science from the 8th to the 15th centuries and says that Islam produced a tremendous abundance of scientific knowledge. The study of mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, geometry, and cartography were far advanced than in the Western societies. It was not until 1258, with the Mongol destruction of Baghdad, and the later emergence of the Ottoman Empire, that Islamic science fell into decline.

UNIT 5: The Medieval Period

Unit Overview

These selections examine the medieval world. Topics include empire building, military conquests, and culture.

22. A Turbulent Reputation, Michael Staunton, History Today, April 2007

Michael Staunton recounts the various opinions of Thomas Becket through the centuries. Becket, even in his own time, was seen either as a great saint who was murdered in defiance of his king, or as an arrogant troublemaker.

23. What Did Medieval Schools Do For Us?, Nicholas Orme, History Today, June 2006

When the Roman Civilization evaporated in England during the 5th century, learning inclined more into/toward the monasteries, where Latin Grammars were developed to teach those who knew no Latin. By the 12th century, school became what we would call modern: they moved away from the monasteries, had full-time teachers, and they were more in number. Many more children—boys and girls—were literate.

24. Lackland, Nick Barratt, History Today, March 2004

Although King Henry II of England and his son Richard I the Lionhearted are considered good rulers, Henry’s second son, John, truly does merit his bad reputation in history. Nick Baratt says it was John’s loss of Normandy in 1204 and his defeat at the Battle of Bovines in 1214, which brought about the creation of the Magna Carta.

25. The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, Jonathan Phillips, History today, May 2004

What caused the knights of the Fourth Crusade to sack Constantinople and establish a Latin Empire, which lasted from 1204 to 1261? Jonathan Phillips says that it was a clash of cultures—the Byzantines saw themselves as superior to the West and the Westerners saw the Byzantines as effeminate and duplicitous.

26. East Meets West in Venice, Richard Covington, Saudi Aramco World, March/April 2008

Richard Covington says that without Muslim trade, Venice would not have existed. It became the trade center of Europe; importing silk, spices, carpets, ceramics, and manuscripts, while carrying on diplomacy from the 8th to the 16th centuries.

27. Genghis Khan, Timothy May, Military History, July/August 2007

Timothy May discusses why the Mongols were so successful in conquering an empire. They had a complex military system, which involved the molding of steppe tactics with the new weapons or strategies they encountered. They ensured the army was properly trained to execute these new tactics. And they were better informed about their opponents than those in other medieval lands, so for 150 years they suffered no serious defeats.

28. How a Mysterious Disease Laid Low Europe’s Masses, Charles L. Mee Jr., Smithsonian, February 1990

The great Bubonic plague of the fourteenth century destroyed a third of Europe’s population and had profound psychological, social, religious, economic, and even artistic consequences. Charles Mee spells out the causes, symptoms, and effects of the epidemic that altered medieval life.

UNIT 6: Renaissance and Reformation

Unit Overview

The following articles discuss Byzantium, the Renaissance, politics, culture, and the importance of religion in Western Europe.

29. The Guns of Constantinople, Roger Crowley, Military History, September 2007

For lack of funds, the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI could not hire a Hungarian cannon-maker, and so it was Sultan Mehmed II who was offered this new weapon. Richard Crowley says that this new military invention meant the end of medieval castle construction and siege warfare.

30. Joan of Arc, Kelly DeVries, Military History, January/February 2008

Kelly DeVries says that Joan of Arc’s fame comes from her skill at leading men into battle against great odds. She inspired later generals to adopt her tactics, such as direct engagements and frontal assaults. These things later made her celebrated and a saint.

31. The Luther Legacy, Derek Wilson, History Today, May 2007

Martin Luther has been seen as an advocate of individual freedom, intellectual repression, nationalism, spirituality and secularism. But as Derek Wilson says this did not make Luther a dry philosopher but a flesh-and-blood fallible human being. He was a theologian who lived his theology.

32. Explaining John Calvin, William J. Bouwsma, The Wilson Quarterly, New Year’s Edition 1989

John Calvin’s image in history is well established. The religious reformer has been credited with—or blamed for—promoting the capitalist work ethic, individualism, and Puritanism. His biographer, William Bouwsma, says our image of Calvin as a cold, inflexible moralist is mistaken. According to the author, Calvin’s life and work were full of “the ambiguities, contradictions, and agonies” of a troubled time.

33. The Third Way, Phillip E. L. Greene, History Magazine, October/November 2004

Phillip Greene recounts the history of the Anabaptist movement in Europe. It began with the ideas of the Swiss theologian, Ulrich Zwingli, who rejected infant baptism in favor of adult baptism. However, Zwingli broke with his own followers and they went on to form the Moravian Brethern, Hutterites, Mennonites, and Amish.

34. Vlad Dracula’s War on the Turks, Will Romano, Military History, October 2003

Will Romano recounts the military exploits of one of the most famous anti-Turkish crusaders in history, Vlad Tsepes. Ruling the area of Wallachia (Romania), Vlad tried to secure his land from the Turks as well as the Holy Roman Empire. In doing so, he gained one of the most famous reputations of vicious cruelty, unparalleled until modern times.

35. Women in War, John A. Lynn, Military History, October 2007

In the armies of 16th century Europe, there was a women for every man. The tasks performed by camp women were prostitution, laundry, meal preparation, commerce, and heavy camp labor. The import of women in the field is recounted by John A. Lynn.

36. Will the Real Henry VIII Please Stand up?, Eric Ives, History Today, February 2006

Henry VIII might be one of the most famous of all English monarchs, but how well do most understand him? Eric Ives says that there were three important ideas guiding Henry—egoism—the conviction that he had superior wisdom; an ability to deny reality or facts when as he wanted to; and insecurity in comprehending sex and the king.

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