Assignments for Humanities 202, The Western Tradition II, Spring 2015

Welcome to the course!

What this course is about: "modern" Europe, as distinguished from the ancient and medieval ages when "Europe" arguably did not really exist, has gone through a number of stages or periods. The culture of these times—the ideas, art, and institutions—have been variations on a central theme: all are distinctly European and different from those of the other contemporaneous world civilizations, but all are noticeably different from the ones preceding and the ones to come. This course rushes through those stages and considers artifacts of the different cultural phases from the late medieval-early modern to the Cold War of the last century. In particular, we shall pay attention to the development of the modern state in the early modern period and its flourishing career up to the present, which may be the beginning of its demise.

Two history texts shall be our general guides: R.R. Palmer and Joel Colton's History of the Modern World and Philip Bobbitt's Shield of Achilles. It would be a good idea to get yourself a used copy of these texts, especially the Palmer and Colton History of the Modern World. A third text that is very helpful is Christopher Dawson's The Dividing of Christendom.

For the Final:

The final exam will consist of three essay questions, one or two of which will begin with quotes that you must identify by author, title, and a third factor to be named on the exam (for example, whether the quote reflects nationalist or remantic or realist characteristics, and so on). One of the questions will focus exclusively on the material since the last mid-term. If you have not done so, please read the excerpts listed below, even if they were reported on during the last class by someone other than you:

The second question will tie the readings listed above to the main themes of the Renaissance and Scientific Age that we studied for the second mid-term. The third question will take you through the course and ask you to tie the different eras to one another. There will be more emphasis on the last month's material than on the prior material, but you should review the course readings for the final.

We began the course with readings from the High Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. Most of the writings for the second mid-term fit into the four periods from the Renaissance to the Elizabethans. Most of the writings that we read since the second midterm fit into the last four periods. We have discussed the general chracteristics and themes of each of these periods. We have discussed how the primary readings (excerpts) reflect those themes. And we have discussed how each period owes its own character to ideas and events from the previous period(s). I will ask you questions that are similar to the ones on the previous exams. Remember, in history, intellectual or political, one tries to see how events or eras are caused by earlier ideas, events, or eras, and how the events influence later ideas, events, and eras. Cause and effect. Review the material with this in mind.

Assignments for the Last Week of Class:

The one-to-two-page paper for Friday. Choose one of the following readings from the handouts and explain how it reflects (or does not reflect) the era in which it was written. For example, explain how Diderot's Supplement reflects Enlightenment thought, or how Dickens's Hard Times reflects the Industrial Age, or how Mazzini's Young Italy reflects nationalism, and so on. Use the Palmer text and the comments of Marvin Perry (he wrote the introductions and headings of the excerpts in the handouts) for the concepts of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Age, Romanticism, and Nationalism. You may certainly use an aiitional source if you wish. Each paper should have a paragraph or so explaining the main characteristics of the era or ism applicable to the excerpt, and a couple of paragraphs illustrating how the excerpt reflects that era or ism. Point to details from the text to make your case. Be prepared to read it or part of it in class on Friday.

  1. Beccaria On Crimes and Punishments (Richy)
  2. Diderot Supplement to the Voyage of Bouganville (Riham)
  3. Dickens Hard Times (Isabella and Colin: this option is closed)
  4. Arnim Beethoven (Ashley)
  5. Mazzini Young Italy

First, take this opportunity to catch up on the readings, particularly the previously assigned readings on the Industrial Revolution. The readings for this last week amount to a total of about twenty pages. I list all of the readings assigned during this last part of the course below.

Second, on Tuesday, we will continue with the Industrial Revolution readings from Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus that we were discussing in class. In the handout of excerpts that I gave you on Friday, (1) please read the excerpt from the Sadler Commission and (2) the Palmer and Colton chapter on "The Advent of the 'Isms,'" paying close attention to the introduction and the section on Romanticism. The assignment totals about ten pages.

Only two students may write on the same excerpt. Email me your choices ASAP, and I will let you know if your selection is vailable or has already been taken. Have a back-up or two in mind. The are all very short, so don't be foolish and try to pick the shortest one!

For the Week of April 20th:

For Friday, please read (1) the chapter of Palmer and Colton on "The Industrial Revolution" (or "The Industrial Revolution in Britain") and (2) the excerpts from Baines, Smith (Division of Labor), Malthus, and Smith again (Wealth of Nations).

We will close out the semester next week with the Palmer and Colton chapter of the "advent of 'isms'" and a selection of excerpts representing romanticism, nationalism, and Darwinism.

In the handout of excerpts from the "Sources of the Western Tradition," please read the excerpts from Voltaire, Paine, Diderot, and Beccaria, (pp. 246-56) and Voltaire's Candide (pp. 257-60). I'll have your exams. We have one more short paper before the end of the semester.

For the Week of April 13th:

For Friday, in the handout that I gave you entitled "Sources of the Western Tradition," please read the introductory material (pp. 228-230) and the selections from Descartes, Newton, Locke, and Jefferson (pp. 236-246).

We will begin a brief study of the Enlightenment, or the Eighteenth Century in Europe, with the Palmer and Colton chapter, "The Philosophes—and Others." If you have an earlier edition of Palmer's History of the Modern World, the chapter might simply be called "The Philosophes."

For the Week of April 6th:

On Tuesday, we will wrap up the study of the Renaissance and Elizabethan world views that we have been engaged upon since the last mid-term. In the R.R. Palmer/Joel Colton History of the Modern World, please read (1) the sections entitled "The Crusade of Catholic Spain" and "The Disintegration and Reconstruction of France." These sections may have different numbers, depending on the edition of the text that you are using. Also, please read (2) the excerpt from Book VIII of Paradise Lost by John Milton, a seventeenth century poet (A.D. 1608-1674), Puritan, and republican who was much influenced by the esoteric thought that we have been looking at over the past few classes. The entire poem is here: Paradise Lost

The mid-term exam will be on Friday and will cover all of the material that has been assigned since the first exam. This list provides links to the original sources quoted or cited in Tillyard's Elizabethan World Picture, also. (The last excerpts from Palmer and Colton will not be on the exam.) The main focus has been on the common understanding of the cosmos or universe during the late medieval, Renaisance, and Elizabethan times. We have learned that these worldviews or "cosmologies" were products of Classical (Greek and Roman) and esoteric traditions of thought. We examined the influence of magic and of the scientific revolution on Renaissance and Elizabethan English thought.

The exam will consist of two essay questions, one or both of which will have passages from the original or primary readings—not from the secondary historical works—for you to identify by author and title. Some of the primary materials were separately assigned; some were included in the excerpt from Tillyard. You should be able to identify the longer poetic passages (and yes, Shakespeare's work is considered poetry). One question will focus on one or more of the readings; one question will be very general and ask you to supply appropriate details from the readings to support your answer. You did this well last time; keep it up.

For the Class of March 31st:

Please read Shakespeare's The Tempest. You may use any edition, such as this one or this one; the Folger Library paperback editions are excellent and contain very useful notes and annotations. Pay particular attention to the speeches of Prospero, Ariel, Caliban, and Sycorax. We are looking at this play in the context of Elizabethan ideas of the cosmos and magic. Allow yourself enough time to read the entire play; this is longer than the usual assignment.

We must have a mid-term shortly after Easter Break. The longer we wait, the more material that you will be responsible for. We will discuss this in class.

For the Week of March 23d:

We are going to look at another legacy of the Renaissance this week: the esoteric or Hermetic or Cabalistic influence on later European intellectual history. My principal sources for this material are Dame Frances Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (New York: Routledge, 1979), and Stephen A. McKnight's Sacralizing the Secular: The Renaissance Origins of Modernity (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1989). Friday's assignment will consist of a handout from Yates's book.

The Elizabethan "World Picture" or cosmic "Model" that Tillyard and C.S. Lewis described had complex origins. Lewis, in The Discarded Image, describes the classical (Roman and Greek) roots of the ordered world that we saw in the readings last week. The "Dream of Scipio" in Cicero's Republic (c. 50 B.C.) reflects Stoic cosmological thinking (speculation about the nature of the cosmos, the universe in which we live) that was compatible with the Neo-Platonic philosophy that developed a couple of centuries later. Thus, it is not surprising that this Classical cosmology was of interest to the thinkers of the Renaissance, who were attracted to all things Greek and Roman.

The Model of the Universe described by Tillyard and Lewis also had other sources in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim thought. Jewish and Muslim mysticism (the attempt to place oneself in the immediate presence of God through meditation and introspection) flourished in Spain during the Middle Ages. With the unification of Spain by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella and the expulsion of the Muslims (Moors) in 1492, the Jews were also expelled. Many went to Italy, where a number of Italian thinkers, both lay and clerical, became fascinated with these mystical speculations and attempted to fit them into Christian theology. Some of the results of these efforts are evident in the Model of the Universe that we saw in the poetry of Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare and the writings of other Elizabethans.

I have found it difficult to locate translations of the esoteric (secret writings; writings or knowledge meant only for an "inner circle" of followers) writings of the Renaissance. The assignment for Tuesday is made up of a couple of these writings:

This weird stuff, and some additional material available on the links below, should capture your interest for awhile. Read as much of it as you can. We'll apply it to some of the Elizabethan readings over the next few classes.

A summary of Johannes Reuchlin's De Verbo Mirifico

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

Marsilio Ficino

Marsolio Ficino's Book Three (excerpts) from the Three Books on Life

Outline of Marsilio Ficino's Natural Magic

Henry Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy or Of Magick

Writings of Henry Agrippa

Twilit Grotto:Archives of Western Esoterica

The Zohar

For the Week of March 16th:

For Friday, please read the handout with excerpts from Tillyard's The Elizabethan World Picture. Some of the Poems and Sources cited in Tillyard's text are provided below. Read over a couple of them. The link to the Ulysses speech is particularly helpful. This table places the astronomers and poets in chronological order.

Ulysses's speech from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida with annotations.

Sir Walter Raleigh's Preface to the History of the World

Sir Thomas Elyot's The Governor

Church Homily on Obedience

Edmund Spenser's Hymn of Love

Book One of Richard Hooker's Laws of the Ecclesiastical Polity

William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 3

Edmund Spenser's Hymn of Heavenly Beauty

We'll take a look at the scientific revolution, and the paradigm shift in astronomy in particular, this week. Should be fun, but maybe it is old news to you.

The stargazers in question are Ptolemy, Johann Müller (Regiomontanus), Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton. For Tuesday, (1) read the chapter in Palmer and Colton called "The Road to Newton: The Law of Universal Gravitation," and (2) review this material on the the development of modern astronomy from the Ptolemaic cosmological model to Newton's. There is a page on each of the astronomers (except Regiomontanus), so just click on one after the other and also click on the neato little animations on each webpage. Actually, they are probably not "animations": the planets are probably not alive (C.S. Lewis to the contrary notwithstanding), but clicking on the little arrow makes the diagrams move around. You get my drift. Each of you by this time should have a copy of Palmer and Colton's History of the Modern World. The number of the assigned chapter changes from edition to edition, but the title remains the same. (Ptolemy's work on astronomy was published in the Almagest, translated in part by Regiomontanus in the fifteenth century.)

Galileo Galilei's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632) and the Discourses and Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences (1638), also available here.

For the Week of March 2d:

The readings for Friday are the excerpts from Palmer and Bobbitt in the handout. (extra copies are in the rack on my office door) Bobbitt continues his argument that changes in military weapons, tactics, and strategy affected the changes in the constitutional forms of government. His "kingly state" is legitimized by the theory of divine right, outlined by James I in his 1610 speech. R.R. Palmer's New Monarchies narrates the same history from a different perspective.

The readings for Tuesday are both political:

  1. Martin Luther on secular authority, just Part II "How Far Secular Authority Extends" (page 17 of the linked manuscript to the very top of page 27), written 1523. I have rendered the PDF into HTML here if you prefer an easier download.
  2. King James I of England on the divine right of kings (watch out for the interchangeable "u"s and "v"s throughout this olde texte), speech given 1610. This article on divine right is also helpful. Friday will be excerpts from Bobbitt and, perhaps, Palmer.

As you read these two documents, ask yourself how the ideas expressed by the two writers contributed to or detracted from the power of the still developing nation-states of the early modern historical period. You may want to do a little background reading on the two authors: Martin Luther and King James I (and VI) of Great Britain (and Scotland).

For the Week of February 23d:

For the Mid-Term:

The content of the first third of this course has been focused on the Renaissance and the Renaissance attitudes toward education, religion, art, Classical culture, politics, and the things of this world. There is a lot of material to compare and contrast.

I have listed all of the assigned readings here. You should be very familiar with the primary sources that were assigned to the whole class and simply acquainted with the readings for the papers. Organize these readings and their authors by era—which ones represent the High Middle Ages and which ones represent the Renaissnce—and by location—which ones were written by Italians and which ones by Northern Europeans. Try to get a good historical sense of the centuries in which they were written so that you understand the movement of the Renaissance from Italy in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth (the Quattrocento) centuries northward in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth centuries. Try to get an understanding of the slippery concept of "humanism," which was discussed by Palmer-Colton and by Nauert. In what ways do the assigned readings—if they do at all—reflect Renaissance humanism? What are the general characteristics of Renaissance humanism?

Each of the historical readings has a different purpose and different focus, but reading the excerpts together give you a pretty good historical context in which to put and evaluate all of the primary readings that we have read, including the pre-Renaissance readings. In addition, the two Michael Wood videos reinforce many of the same themes that the historical readings discuss and that I have emphasized in class. All together, not an overwhelming amount of readings and materials to review for the test.

The exam will consist of two general questions that call for you to supply a lot of details from the readings. I am looking for evidence that you read the assigned materials and that you have an understanding of the cultural changes "in thought and feeling" that the Renaissance represents—attitudes toward education, religion, art, Classical culture, politics, and the things of this world. This subject matter will be the focus of the questions. For the identifications, you should be able to identify the author and the title of the quotes (spelling should be recognizable) and one additional characteristic of the quoted passage. The essay associated with the quotes must not simply restate what is in the quote but address the larger issue in the essay question.

Good class discussion on Friday! Thank you. The assignment for Tuesday is to read the handout from R.R. Palmer's History of the Modern World and to view the rest of the Michael Wood Art of the Western World video #3, which can be found at the very bottom of this webpage. Scroll all the way down.

The mid-term is on Friday, February 27th. You might start preparing for it with a brief review of the readings by Erasmus (2) The Exorcism and The Assembly of Grammarians, Rabelais, Castiglione, and John of Salisbury that were the subjects of the papers. At least skim the readings to get an idea of their content, tone, and so on. They are short and the generally exemplify Renaissance literature. An hour well spent!

Assignments for the Weeks of February 16th and 23d:

We will have the mid-term next Friday, February 27th.

For this Friday, February 20th, the papers are due, and we will briefly discuss them. Please read this short paper On the Renaissance by Skip Knox. We will also watch a video on Renaissance art from Michael Wood's Art of the Western World.

For Tuesday, February 24th, there will be an assignment from the R.R. Palmer text, A History of the Modern World. Please email me before this Friday (the 20th) to let me know if you bought a copy of the Palmer text so that I know how many handouts to give you on Friday. (For future assignments from Palmer, you will need to get a copy of the book if you have not done so.)

The short one to two page paper is due on Friday. Also be prepared to discuss the reading that you focused on in your paper. Here are some tips or guidelines for the paper. Immediately below these are some writing rules.

First, do a little background reading on the author that you are studying. When and where did he live? What was noteworthy about his life? Wikipedia or the sites that I included on some of the links are fine for this. This biographical material should not be part of the paper—do not devote a paragraph to the life of Rabelais, Erasums, and so on—but a relevant fact or phrase from the biography might be useful in the paper.

Second, using all of the readings assigned in the course so far, explain in the paper how your topic (1) reflects the culture of the Renaissance or (2) contrasts or compares to other readings that we have looked at or (3) both. The Palmer, Dawson, Nauert, and Bobbitt historical commentaries are good sources for the first point; the other readings—Boccaccio, Bruni, More, and the other readings—are good for the second. The Salisbury-Machiavelli topic is the only one that is limited to just two authors, and even here you should use Bobbitt to guide your contrast.

Use your imagination: based on what we have read about the Italian and European Renaissance, what aspects of your chosen reading are characteristic (or not!) of Renaissance thought? I will be looking for evidence of thoughtfulness in your analysis. If you give it your best effort, it can be a good review of a lot of the material that will be on the first mid-term next week (February 20th).

Some rules for the paper:

  1. The paper must, of course, be typed and submitted as a hard copy. Nothing handwritten or emailed will be accepted.
  2. The principal sources to be used are the assigned readings—I want strong evidence that you have read and thought about your chosen reading.
  3. The paper should not be longer than two pages. Twelve point font, preferably Times New Roman, Univers, Garamond, or CG Times, black ink, double-spaced, and the default page margins: typically one inch all around.
  4. Add a title page with a short title and your name.
  5. Use the footnote format that I explain below.
  6. Do not begin the paper with a fluffy, airy introductory paragraph of high-fallutin' rhetoric: get right to the point. You do not have enough space for wasted words. Get right into a thesis statement: something like, "Francois Rabelais's book Gargantua and Pantagruel reflects the Renaissance ideas of x and y and also several similarities with Boccaccio's (or Erasmus's or More's) stories." Then explain why your thesis statement is true. The paper should be divided into several paragraphs.
  7. The deadline is due in class on Friday, February 20th. No late papers will be accepted. This means you must come to class: do not put it in the rack on my office door. Do not try to give it to me after class. If you cannot make it to class because of an excused absence, you must email a copy of the paper to me by 12:00pm Tuesday and get me a hard copy by Wednesday at the latest. I will not read the emailed copy, but will check it against the hard copy after I correct the hard copy. The absence will be excused or unexcused, as appropriate. If I do not get a paper from you by class-time on Tuesday, you will receive a zero for the assignment.

The purpose of the references is to enable me to find the exact passage you are quoting or paraphrasing or otherwise referring to. Titles of works are italicized; titles of articles, essays, and chapters are placed in quotes. For this paper there are several possible sources that you may cite:

  1. Passages from Machiavelli are cited by chapter number; passages from Salisbury are cited by book and paragraph numbers: book numbers in Roman numerals, followed by a period and the chapter number in Arabic numerals followed by a period (see below).
  2. Passages from Erasmus's colloquies are cited by the bracketed page numbers throughout the texts.
  3. Passages from Rabelais are cited by book and page numbers.
  4. Passages from Castiglione are cited by book and chapter numbers.
  5. Passages from Palmer, Dawson, Nauert, and Bobbitt are cited by page number.

Footnote examples:

1John of Salisbury, Policraticus, I.4.

2Baldesar Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, I.2.

3Desiderius Erasmus, Exorcism, 393.

4Machiavelli, The Prince, ch. 25.

5Ibid. [This signifies a reference to exactly the same source as the one cited in the immediately preceding footnote.]

6Ibid., ch. 1. [This is a reference to the last cited work, but a different chapter.]

7Francois Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, I.14.

8Erasmus, 394. [This is a reference to a previously cited work by Erasmus. You cannot use "Ibid." because the work was not cited in the immediately preceding note.]

10Philip Bobbitt, Shield of Achilles, 83.

11R.R. Palmer and Joel Colton, History of the Modern World, 38.

12Christopher Dawson, Dividing of Christendom, 53.

13Charles Nauert, Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe, 21.

I think I covered all of the sources that you might be using.

At least five references are required. You must use a footnote for every quote you use and for every paraphrase you make of original material from the sources.

Using Footnotes: Remember the footnote is placed AFTER the last mark of punctuation in the sentence, and the second quotation mark goes AFTER the final period of the sentence. For example: Bobbitt said, "Symbols are treated the same way."1 Or, if you paraphrased instead of quoted, like this: According to Philip Bobbitt, symbols are treated similarly.1 PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GET THIS SEQUENCE CORRECT: the FINAL MARK OF PUNCTUATION, then the END QUOTATION MARK, and then the FOOTNOTE. Each footnote itself is punctuated with a final period. Use Ibid. as appropriate. Refer back to the Lippmann essay. The method of notation in that essay is very similar to the Chicago Style method that I am asking you to use. It isn't difficult.

The other punctuation to be mastered the introduction of quotes. Critiques of writing require a lot of quotes (and even more paraphrases). If you introduce quotes using the word "that" (what Turabian calls run-in quotes), then you do not put any punctuation before or after the word "that." Thus, you might write the following: Marx said that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." Note: no comma after "that" and the word "the" in the quote is not capitalized because it is in the middle of a larger sentence. On the other hand, you may introduce the quote this way: Marx said, "The history of all hitherto existing society is a history of class struggles." Here, a comma follows the verb "said," and the first word of the sentence is capitalized. Go, my dear students, and write likewise!

Assignments for the Class of February 13th:

We will resume where we left off last week: Machiavelli's Prince and the completion of the chapter by Bobbitt for Friday. The excerpts from Erasmus (2) The Exorcism and The Assembly of Grammarians, Rabelais, Castiglione, John of Salisbury are your choices for the one-page analysis, now due on Tuesday, February 17th!

The one-page paper (plus a title page) must be on one of these four topics:
  1. A comparison of the idea of the prince in John of Salisbury and Machiavelli
  2. An explanation of the humanism reflected in either the "Exorcism" or the "Assembly of Grammarians" colloquy of Erasmus (what's a "colloquy," anyway?)
  3. An explanation of the humanism reflected in chapters 14, 15, 21, and 23 of Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais
  4. An explanation of the Renaissance culture reflected in chapters 1 to 4 and 25-26 of Castigleone's Book of the Courtier

Since I have been called out of town for the next couple of days, we may have to cancel the Tuesday class. In order for you to have my feedback and enough time to write the papers, let's move the deadline to next Tuesday instead of this Friday.

The readings are roughly equal in length, though there is more explanatory material and unassigned additional text for several of the selections. Skim all of them or several of them and pick a first and second choice for your paper. Email me with your first and second choice, or you can wait until Tuesday (but you may be shut out from your first two choices). The Machiavelli assignment is short, and there is no additional reading assignment for Friday—just the paper. Give this you best attention. I will respond to your email(s) with more information about what you should do with your particular choice, if you wish.

Assignments for the Week of February 2d, Groundhog Week:

Readings by Erasmus and St. Thomas More, the excerpt by Philip Bobbitt, and your selection of a paper topic. As we read each author this semester, you should find out a bit about their biography—Wikipedia is as good a source s any—and have a clear idea of the dates of their lives and their works.

For Friday, February 6th, please read (1) the excerpt from Thomas More's Utopia on the education of the Utopian children and (2) the excerpt from Philip Bobbitt's Shield of Achilles. We will look at Utopia first, but I would like to spend the most time on the Bobbitt excerpt, so please read it closely.

That play about Thomas More that I spoke about in class is A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt. Great movie, too. Worth your time.

For Tuesday, please these excerpts from Erasmus's The Praise of Folly (about fifteen pages long) and, for Friday, these excerpts from More's Utopia. The excerpt from Bobbitt's Shield of Achilles is also due on Friday. The readings from Ereasmus and More reflect the extension of humanism and perhaps the Italian Renaissance into northern Europe in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, about 100+ years after Boccaccio and Petrarch and around the same time as Niccolo Machiavelli was writing The Prince (which we will look at on Tuesday the 10th). The reading from Bobbitt argues that advances in warfare affected the changes in political institutions in Europe during this period of time. Have a dictionary (or your Google/Yahoo/Bing search engine) handy!

Assignments for the Week of January 27th:

For Friday, please read the following examples of fourteenth and fifteenth century literature: the period bridging the High Middle Ages and the Renaissance:

It looks like a long assignment, but the sonnets and the tale from the Decameron should be fun to read.

For Tuesday, (1) please watch the end of the film on Romanesque and Gothic art and architecture that we viewed in class. There are about 10-15 minutes of the program left. You can find the Art of the Western World series by scrolling to the very bottom of this page; click on it; then click on video (VOD) #2, "A White Garment of Churches." Make sure your computer will accept the pop-up. (2) Please read the excerpt from Nauert's Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe. Extra copies are available in the rack on my office door. Be ready for a quiz.

For the video, some names and dates to take you through the whole program (with approximate corresponding minutes of the video in parentheses):

Another source that you ought to become familiar with is the video series that is linked at the very bottom of this page, below the Art of the Western World: Eugen Weber's The Western Tradition. These are 52 twenty-seven or twenty-eight minute programs taking us from ancient to contemporary times. You might want to take a look at program 20 (The Feudal Order), 21 (Common Life in the Middle Ages), or 22 (Cities and Cathedrals of the Middle Ages). We will view a couple of the programs in class later this semester.

Friday: Petrarch and the gang.

Assignments for the Week of January 20th:

For Friday, a few short readings reflecting the worldview of the High Middle Ages and a film in class on Romanesque and Gothic art and architecture (Video Two of Art of the Western World).

Please read the following:
  1. Pope Innocent III on the Misery of the Human Condition and an anonymous thirteenth century poem on life here on earth, 1190-98.
  2. Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Clericis Laicos, 1296.
  3. Pope Boniface VIII, The Bull Unam Sanctum, 1302.

Both handouts from R.R. Palmer's History of the Modern World are in the rack on my office door: G107 Ireton. On Tuesday we will review the second introductory handout. There will be more question and answer, so review it carefully.

The course work will fill in the stages of the Modern period more fully.

The other basic thesis that you should know is the argument that "Europe" or the "West" is a culture, not a geological continent or geographical direction. Europe or the West only came into existence in the late Middle Ages. It is a result of the fusion or interpenetration of (1) the Hellenistic (Classical Greco-Roman) culture, (2) the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, and (3) the pagan or barbarian cultures of the European continent.


Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Concerning Two New Sciences, also translated as Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences (1638)

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany (1615)

Sir/Saint Thomas More (1478-1535), Utopia (1516).

Erasmus (Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, 1466(?)-1536), "Father of Christian Humanism."

Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444), "Letter Addressed to an Illustrious Lady." (1405?)

Boccaccio's Decameron (Giovanni Boccaccio, 1313-1375)

Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca, 1304-1374), "Father of the Renaissance."

Council of Constance, Decrees Sacrosancta, 1415, and Frequens, 1417.

Pope Boniface VIII, The Bull Unam Sanctum, 1302.

Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Clericis Laicos, 1296.

Pope Innocent III, On the Misery of the Human Condition (Gilman), On the Misery of the Human Condition (UBalt).

John of Salisbury, Politicraticus: Book IV excerpts, c. 1170.

Reformation Documents

If you don't know much about the Reformation at all, this very brief summary, called Reformation 101, which I took from, provides a basic outline. Take a look at it.

Luther's Ninety-Five Theses

Calvin's "Letter to the King"

Thomas Muntzer's "Sermon to the Princes"

Late Middle Ages and Renaissance Documents

John of Salisbury, Machiavelli, Dante, Petrarch.

Machiavelli, The Prince, chapters XV, XVII, and XXV

Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man

Leonardo Bruni, Letter Addressed to [an] Illustrious Lady, pp. 119-124, 127-128.

Canto One of the Inferno.

Moses Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed, which shows the Jewish philosopher attempting to reconcile scripture with Aristotle.

Paul Halsall, "Islamic Political Philosophy: Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes."

excerpts from medieval Muslim thinkers. The excerpts from Avicenna and Averroes reflect the influence of Greek or Classical philosophy on Muslim thinkers during this period of time.

Pope Urban II's 1095 Speech at Clermont

St. Thomas, Q91 Art. 1.

The excerpt from St. Thomas's Summa Theologica illustrates the scholastic method of philosophic exposition or demonstration.

The scholastic format of the Summa or Summary of Theology (or, from St. Thomas's view, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Theology but were Afraid to Ask") of St. Thomas takes some getting used to. He divides the treatise up into numbered Questions. Each numbered question is then divided up into Articles. Each Article is divided into a series of Objections, which turn out to be criticisms of the point that Aquinas ultimately wishes to make, followed by a section headed "On the contrary," which marks the beginning of the argument for St. Thomas's position. Then follows the "I answer that" section, which is the key to St. Thomas's argument, and a series of replies to the initial objections. Focus first on the "I answer that" paragraphs and then look at the Objections and Thomas's Replies.

Walter Farrell, O.P., A Companion to the Summa, Volume III, Chapter XV--Greatness of Soul (Magnanimity) (QQ. 128-149).

Alfarabi (c.878-950)

Alfarabi, Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle (trans. Muhsin Mahdi).

Avicenna (c. 980-1037)

Avicenna, Excerpt from On Medicine

Averroes (1126-1198)

Averroes, On the Harmony of Religions and Philosophy

King Alfred's "Preface" to St. Gregory's Pastoral Care, (English translation from Bucknell University). See also the originals at Bucknell.

Charlemagne's Capitulary for Saxony

Carolingian Capitularies on Serfs & Coloni, 803-821

Description of medieval penitentials (know what a "penitential" is—read this website)

The Anglo-Saxon poem ""The Battle of Maldon." The web page on which the poem appears has a lot of background material. When was it written? When did the battle take place? Who fought whom?

The Heimskringla, or Saga of the Great Norse Kings: Saga of Olaf Trygvason; Saga of Olaf Haraldson; Saga of Harald Hardrade, who might actually be familiar to you students of English history.

Bede's History (Preface and Chapter One) and Beowulf (Episodes One and Two)


General Resources

Post-Reformation Religious Division of Europe

Empire of Otto the Great, A.D. 936-973

Division of Carolingian Empire after death of Charlemagne

Carolingian Empire

Map of Merovingian-Frankish expansion (Wikipedia)

Conquests of Clovis, 481-511

Cluniac and Cistercian Monasteries

Early Celtic Monasteries in Europe

Early monasteries

Europe, A.D. 500

East and West Roman Empire

Judeo-Christian Sources

Excerpts from works by St. Augustine, John of Salisbury, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Excerpts from early Christian writers

St. Benedict and St. Columba.

"Four Bs and a C." There are excerpts from Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, St. Benedict's and St. Columba's monastic rules, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England, and Beowulf. All are excerpts; none is complete, but they give us some idea of the nature of the literature and the intellectual activity of the period from A.D. 500 to 1000.

Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks (Fordham, Halsall)

Four Christian Creeds

Justinian, Institutes, Book I, parts 1 & 2.

St. Augustine, City of God, Book I, chapters 1-5; Book XIV, chapter 28.

The views of Tertullian and of Clement of Alexandria on classical learning.

Tertullian, Prescription against Heresies, chapters 1, 6 to 11

Clement, The Paedegogus or Christ the Instructor, Book I, chapter 13

St. Augustine, City of God, Book VIII chapter 10, Book XXII chapters 27 and 28, and Book XIX, chapters 20 and 25. Book XIX chapter 4 is also important here: read it if you can.

A few chapters from the New Testament: There are any number of websites with copies of all of the books of the Bible. The "New Advent" and the "Christian Classics Ethereal Library" that are linked on my main webpage are two good ones. Please read the following: the gospel of Matthew, chapters 1, 5, 7, and 24; the gospel of John chapter 1; the epistle of Paul to the Romans, chapter 13; and the Book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse), chapter 20. These chapters will provide a number of basic Christian ideas that carry forward into the development of the Western tradition.

Readings from the New Testament: On Christ as fulfillment of Jewish prophesy: Matthew 5:17-19 (see also Mark (Mk) 1:1-11, and Luke (Lk) 4:14-21; 18:31-34; 24:25-27, 44).

Matthew and Luke also provided genealogies (family histories) of Jesus to show his Jewish and ultimately divine, ancestry: Mt. 1:1-11 (Jesus back to David). See also Lk. 3:21-37 (Jesus back to Adam and to God).

The New Covenant or New Testament is described in accounts of the Last Supper: Mk. 14:12-31 (see also Mt. 26:26-29; Lk. 22:17-23).

Jesus's description of the end of the world ("eschatology") can be found in parallel passages from the first three gospels: Mk. 13:1-31 (see also Matthew 24 and Luke 21: 5-33). The book of Revelation or the Book of the Apocalypse contains this famous eschatalogical passage: Rev. 20: 1-10.

The community of Christ's apostles and disciples after his resurrection is recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. One influential passage describes the "apostolic communism: Acts chapters 3 & 4.

The gospel of John reflects the early influence of Greek or Hellenic thought on the understanding of Christ: John 1

Bible passages from the Prophets selected to exemplify some of the points made by William Irwin and Christopher Dawson.

Old Testament passages.

Classic Roman Sources

You should be familiar with the main differences between Stoic, Epicurean, and Gnostic thought in Roman times—their different understandings of the supreme good, of the nature of man, and the of the nature of the universe.

Regarding the Roman material (some of which was originally in Latin and some in Greek), you should understand the differences between Stoicism (as reflected in the writings of Cicero and Seneca), Epicureanism (as reflected in Epicurus's "Principal Doctrines"), and Gnosticism (as reflected in the Bema hymn and the Apocalypse of James). These three philosophies-religions had (1) different views of the nature of the world, (2) different views of the divine (God and the gods), and (3) different views of ethics and morality, the ultimate standards of right and wrong): know them. You should be able to identify by author and title Cicero's "Dream of Scipio," Epicurus's "Principal Doctrines, and the Apocalypse of James (author: "Anonymous") and the Bema Hymn (author: "Anonymous"). Seneca's writings are hard to distinguish from Cicero's On Duties, so I will not make either one of these works the subject of identification, but these same works are your principal source of information about Stoic principles, so don't ignore them.

The second great philosophy of the Hellenistic world and Rome: Epicureanism (named for Epicurus, a Greek philosopher of the 4th century (341-270 B.C.). He was a teenager when Aristotle died (322 B.C.).) the first 61 lines of Book II of Lucretius's poem, On the Nature of the Universe, and paragraphs (¶¶) 13 to 19 of Seneca's Letter to Gallio, "On the Happy Life," which we discussed a bit on Friday. (Actually, ¶8 to ¶19 of the letter make up one long criticism of Epicureanism.) Pay particular attention to what Epicurus says about pleasure and pain in many of the sections.

Is Seneca's criticism fair? Would the Epicurean way of life, as described by Epicurus, be dramatically different from the Stoic way of life? Are their moralities—standards and rules of right and wrong conduct—much different? Where do they differ? (You know, this would make a good short essay quiz question!)

The political philosopher Leo Strauss distinguished between two types of hedonism (hedonism is the doctrine that the ultimate standards of right and wrong are pleasure and pain—one should (it is right to) pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Strauss described "vulgar hedonism" (look up "vulgar" in a good dictionary) as the doctrine that one should try to maximize the amount and intensity of pleasure in life. To do so is to live life to the fullest: carpe diem! Philosophic hedonism he described as the doctrine that the best life is the life that minimizes pain, and that this can be done best by pursuing the pleasures of the mind, not of the body. What kind of a hedonist does Epicurus appear to be? Why?

Cicero's "The Dream of Scipio" and Parts I to IV (Paragraphs {1} to {14} of his De Officiis (On Duties). What is his view of God or the gods. What determines his standards of ethics—of the ultimate standards of right and wrong? Does he agree with Plato and Aristotle on the best way of life? on man's highest calling?

Both Cicero and Seneca reflected Stoic thought in their religious, political, and moral views. What common ideas about religion, politics, and morals can you find in the assigned writings? Seneca is sometimes thought of as a "closet Christian" (he was not): what familiar religious ideas does he express? Do the writings of these Romans reflect the Greek ideas of the excellence and the freedom of the individual that we viewed in Plato, Aristotle, and Classical Greek art?

Some of you will be pleased to know that Rome is not noted for its metaphysical philosophers. Rather, the tremendous contribution that Rome made to Western civilization is reflected more in civic (political) and ethical standards and virtues. Rome and the empire also served as the arena in which different religions and philosophies competed for the allegiance of thoughtful people when the traditional polytheism of Greece and Rome began to decline. We have already seen some of the philosophic and poetic attacks on the Olympian religion of Greece; there was a similar breakdown of the traditional Roman order several centuries later. The breakdown opened the door to philosophies—we may call them "philosophies of life" or religious philosophies—such as Stoicism, Epicureanism, Gnosticism, mystery cults, and, of course, Christianity to provide people with the ultimate certainties about life and the world that all men seem to need.

We will begin this part of the course with writings from one of the great Romans—Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), commonly known as Cicero or Tully. He was a philosopher and statesman actively involved in the political life of Rome before it became an empire headed by an Emperor, and he lost his life because of his political activities. We will then study Stoicism, the religious philosophy that dominated the politically active Romans from Cicero's time to the third century A.D. Then we will read Epicurean, Gnostic, and mystery cult materials and finally excerpts from the first great historians—the Greeks Herodotus and Thucydides, and the historians of Rome, Polybius and Livy. The order of assignments, subject to change, follows.

Please read Cicero's "The Dream of Scipio" and Parts I to IV (Paragraphs {1} to {14} of his De Officiis (On Duties).the four causes of Aristotle are usually referred to as the material cause, the formal cause, the efficient cause, and the final cause. As you read the material in the Physics, match up his discussions and definitions to these titles: what does he mean by the material cause? the formal cause? and so on. According to Aristotle, do these causes apply to natural as well as to man-made things ("artifacts")? Does every thing that exists have a purpose? Does nothing have a purpose? Do only artifacts have a purpose? Regarding the excerpt from Aristotle's Politics, what is his view of God—is he an atheist, a monotheist, a polytheist? When you read the excerpts from Cicero, consider what his view of God or the gods is. What determines his standards of ethics—of the ultimate standards of right and wrong? Does he agree with Plato on the what is the best way of life? what is man's highest calling?

Throughout this part of the course, we will compare the different principles of the Epicureans with the main ideas that we identified in the Stoic writings of Cicero and Seneca and compare the Valentinian tract to the ideas of the cosmos that we find in Epicurus, Cicero, and Seneca.

Book Two of Stoic Marcus Aurelius's Meditations

Epicureanism--Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, and alternative site De Rerum Natura

Epicurus, "Principal Doctrines"

Epictetus, The Enchiridion

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

Cicero, De Officiis, Parts I to IV (or paragraphs {1} to {14})..

Cicero, "The Dream of Scipio".

Seneca, Letter XLI to Lucilius: "The God within Us"; paragraphs 1 to 12 of the essay, "On the Happy Life."

Cicero's On Duties paragraphs (¶¶) 1-14 (little numbers on the left) only.

Seneca, The God Within Us and ¶¶ 1-8 of To Gallio: On the Happy Life

Dr. Ben Schneider on Stoic Legacy to the Renaissance

Dr. David Naugle on Christianity and Stoicism

Pliny's correspondence with Emperor Trajan on the Christians.

Dr. C. George Boeree's Philosophies and Religions of the Roman Empire.

Gnostic Materials

Two Gnostic documents: The First Apocalypse of James and the Manichaean (Gnostic) poem Bema Psalm 224. How do they picture the creation of the cosmos? How do they explain man's role in the world? What should be our goal? What ethical principles should we follow. You've got to think outside the box to figure this one out.

The Manichaean Fifth Psalm to Jesus.

In Quest of the Priceless Pearl.

The Gnostic Apocalypse of Paul.

The Gnostic tract A Valentinian Exposition (watch out for this one!)

Greek Historians

Excerpts from some of the early Greek and Roman historians—Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, Livy, and Tacitus. This is a pretty lengthy assignment, so leave yourself enough time to complete it.

As you read the excerpts from the historians consider the following questions:

  1. What does each historian say his purpose is in writing his book?
  2. What is the subject matter of his work? What is the scope—geographic, chronological, or some other range—of his work?
  3. What sources does he use to compile his work? What is his apparent attitude toward his sources? How critical is he of the value of his sources?
  4. What is his method of writing? Is his work a collection of stories? a long narrative? a philosophic discourse?
  5. Use these questions to determine whether the five writers should be lumped together or whether some or all of them are distinctively different.

Herodotus's Histories, Book One, sections 1.0 to 1.15.

Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War, Book One, Chapter One, paragraphs 1-6, and Book Five, Chapter Seventeen, the "Melian Dialogue".

Polybius's Histories, Book One, sections 1-5 (the big red numbers).

Livy's History of Rome, Book One, section 1.preface and sections 1.1-1.5.

Each of these excerpts contains a statement by the author of his approach to writing history, usually a few paragraphs at the beginning of the linked excerpt. I want you to read a bit more by Herodotus and Thucydides to get a taste of what kind of historical materials made up their works.

Four Essays on Thucydides

The Plague of Athens

General Account, Indiana University.

An analysis of Thucydides's account, Tufts University.

Might it have been the ebola virus?

or Typhoid?

6,500 Year Old Pendant

Greek Philosophers

Regarding the Greek material, try to re-read each assigned reading now that you have an idea of how Greek thought developed. Look at the (1) different accounts of the gods' relationship to the world and to man (compare Homer's account to Aristotle's, for example), (2) different explanations of justice (compare Aeschylus's to Plato's, for example), (3) different levels of man's self-awareness (compare Homer's descriptions of human feelings and human thinking to the lyric poets', for example), and (4) different understandings of the nature of the universe (compare Homer's and Aeschylus's to the pre-Socratic philosophers'). Remember the film we viewed and its theme of the development of the Greeks' appreciation of the beauty and powers of the individual human being, an appreciation that existed nowhere else in the world at that time. The Greeks' main achievements are sometimes described as the individual's freedom and power of thought ("philosophy"). You should be able to provide evidence from you reading to support these ideas.

Two short excerpts from Aristotle: his famous account of the four causes in the Physics, Book Two, parts 3, 7, & 8, which discusses the "four causes"—what they are and whether they apply to nature as well as to man-made products and activities; and a short excerpt on God in Aristotle's Politics (trans. H. Rackham), sections [1323a14], [1323b1], [1324a1]. Use the little blue arrows in the upper left (right above each number just listed) to move from section to section.

Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Book One, chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9, which discusses "happiness"--what it is and how it is obtained; and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Book Two, chapters 1, 2, 4, and 6, which discusses the nature of moral virtue—what it is and how it is obtained. You should be able to explain what the four causes are and how they are obtained; what "happiness is and how it is obtained; and what moral virtue is and how it is obtained.

Aristotle's concept of happiness or eudaimonia in the Nicomachean Ethics, Book I, chapters 1, 4, & 7.

Plato's Republic, Books VI-VII, 506b to 518a on the divided line and the Parable of the Cave.

As you read the accounts of the divided line and the Myth or Parable of the Cave, consider the following:

  1. How does Socrates (here speaking for Plato) describe the "Good"?
  2. Does he give a clear definition of the Good?
  3. Describe in order the sections or divisions of the dividedline: what is the lowest type of knowledge?
  4. What is the highest?
  5. What the intermediates?
  6. In the Myth of the Cave, with what part of nature does Socrates identify the Good?
  7. What figure ties the earlier reading on the philosopher king to the Myth of the Cave?
  8. How are they connected?
  9. How does this contribute to the development of philosophy and to the discovery of the dimensions of the human soul and the mind?

Plato's Republic, Book IV, 427e to 445e on the four Classical virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice.

Plato's Crito.

Plato's Republic, Book V, 471c to 480a on the philosopher king.

As you read the passage from Book Five on the philosopher king, ask what Plato/Socrates seems to mean when he talks about "philosophers."

  1. Why are they fit to rule society?
  2. What do they know?
  3. what can philosophers know that is necessary for the proper government of society?
  4. How do Plato's ideas compare to the ideas of the Pre-Socratic philosophers that we discussed last week?
  5. What does Plato's opinion of most people seem to be?

For Plato, use the Stephanus Numbers to mark you place in the text.

Edited article on the Sophists. In Section 2 of the article, you need only read the short bios of Protagoras, Gorgias, and Thrasymachus. We are most interested in the major themes of sophistic thought.

Stephanus Numbers (Plato)

Excerpts from or about the Pre-Socratic philosophers.

As you read the excerpts from the pre-Socratic philosophers, consider the following questions:

  1. What seems to be the main interest of the group as a whole: the nature of the universe (cosmology) or of reality (ontology), or the nature of man (anthropology)? Ask yourself this of each philosopher individually, also.
  2. How do the thoughts of the philosophers contrast to the thoughts of the epic poets (Homer and Hesiod) that we read?
  3. What evidence, if any, does philosophic thought give us of the continuing emergence of individualism—the exploration and deepening understanding of the nature of man? This was one of the main themes in our discussion of the lyric poets.
  4. If both the lyric poems and the sayings of the philosophers reflect a parallel development in the understanding of the world and of man, and also in the appropriate method of understanding the world and man, how do the two types of literature—poetry and philosophy—differ from one another? What are the philosophers doing differently from the poets?
  5. Are the philosophers atheists? Do they reject the real existence of the gods? of the sacred?
These questions will be the basis of our discussion.

Lives of the Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertius (incomplete).

Greek Poetry

You should recognize the difference between epic, lyric, and tragic poetry and the significance of each in the evolution from mythic thought to rational or philosophic thought. The development of philosophic thought parallels the development of the Greeks' understanding of the nature of man and man's relation to the gods and the divine. The different approaches to history taken by the four historians we looked at also reflect the Greeks' advancing understanding of man and of the causes of human events.

The Eumenides by Aeschylus

Sophocles's Oedipus Rex

The Medea.

The link to the Medea review in the Post.

Euripides's Bacchae or Bacchants.

Please read The Eumenides by Aeschylus (trans. Morshead), one of the three great tragic poets of classical Greece. Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.) wrote more than seventy plays for the Dionysia Festival at Athens; seven remain, and among them the three plays of the Oresteia trilogy—Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, Eumenides. Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), his younger contemporary, is known best, perhaps, for the three plays that focus on the tragic life of King Oedipus—Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. Only seven of his more than one hundred twenty plays have survived. The youngest of the three great tragedians, though a contemporary of Sophocles, is Euripides (480-406 B.C.). Eighteen of his more than ninety plays have survived, including Medea, Trojan Women, and The Bacchae or Bacchants.

Consider the following:

  1. Be able to identify all the characters, human and divine, and explain their significance to the plot in The Eumenides.
  2. What is the plot? What is the central issue or question or conflict calling for resolution in the play?
  3. How is that issue or conflict resolved?
  4. Some students have pointed out that The Eumenides, written in the fifth century B.C., describes some institutions and practices familiar to us today. Can you identify any of these "modern" institutions or practices?
  5. Please read the Greek lyric poems. This poetry marks a step away from the Homeric epic to the Pre-Socratic philosophers.

    As you read these poems, answer the following [quiz] questions:

    1. From his poems, what do you think is the occupation of Archilochus of Paros? What is his attitude toward life?
    2. What is the main theme of all the poems by Sappho?
    3. Who or what is Anacreon's "Thracian filly"?
    4. At what milestone event of a man's life would the poem by Theognis of Megara be appropriate?
    5. What does Pindar's poem congratulate Heiron for? What did Heiron do?
    6. Can you point to any evidence in any of the poems that shows that the poet thinks of himself differently from the way Homer or Hesiod thought of themselves?
    7. Can you find passages in the Odyssey that reflect the idea that the gods put thoughts and feelings in the minds and hearts of men?
    8. Can you find passages in the lyric poems that reflect people thinking for themselves or having feelings and emotions that begin within themselves rather than being placed within them by the gods?

    Finally, do the lyric poems of Archilochus and Alcman reflect the same attitude toward the world as Homer's Odyssey, Hesiod's Theogony, or neither of the two? Why? Is there anything different about the lyric poets' attitude toward the gods or themselves when compared to Homer's and Hesiod's? What? If not, how are all three sets of poems the same?

    Hesiod's Theogony. (This translation of the poem is in prose with the line numbers of the original poem version in parentheses at the beginning of each paragraph.) You do not have to read the whole poem, but you should be familiar with the content in lines 1-225, 453-491, and 543-744, and should skim the rest of the poem. It is fun to read.

    In Hesiod's poem, what does "theogony" mean? Where did the Greek gods literally come from? What is Hesiod trying to do here? What existed at the beginning of time? Generally, what happened thereafter, according to Hesiod? What stages in the history of the gods are described in the assigned readings?

    Does Hesiod's poem about the origins of the gods remind you of either the article by the Frankforts or the article by Eliade? What kind of information is Hesiod conveying to his readers? With the Frankforts' article in mind, would you call Hesiod's attitude "scientific" or "mythopoeic" or "mid-way between the two"? Why?

    Book Twenty-Two of the Odyssey.

    Please read Book One of Homer's Odyssey. You may use any translation. I think the ones by Richmond Lattimore and Robert Fagles are the best, but the only two available on the internet are the old translation by Samuel Butler and the A.T. Murray translation available here from the Tufts University Perseus website. (I suggest the Murray translation if you do not have a hard copy of another translation. Move forward and back in the Murray translation by using the little blue arrows in the upper left-hand corner of the text.)

    Butler calls the Greek gods by their Roman/Latin names. Thus, the Greek goddess Athene is called Minerva, Zeus is Jove, Poseidon is Neptune; the human hero of the poem, Odysseus, after whom the poem is named, is Ulysses, and so on (click here for a useful guide to the dual names).

    The Iliad and the Odyssey were two of the poems about the Trojan war that were part of the Epic Cycle. Except for the Iliad and the Odyssey, the other poems of the Epic Cycle have been lost, although (1) fragments of each of them and (2) references to, and quotations from, them in the writings of other authors remain and give us a good iead of the contents of each. (The famous story of the Trojan horse, for instance, is not found in theIliad or the Odyssey: it is found in the so-called Sack of Ilion.)

    Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian Sources

    Please read the short essay by Mircea Eliade that was handed out in class. As you read, ask yourself how Eliade describes primitive man's basic understanding of God or the gods? How, according to Eliade, does primitive man learn of the existence of God or the gods? Why is primitive man initially confused and puzzled by his experiences of the sacred? What specifically distinguishes the "sacred" or the "holy" from the "profane"? What are these concepts? (Be sure to look up all the words in the article that you are not familiar with.)

    The Academy for Ancient Texts Egyptian Book of the Dead

    The Osiris Legend (Deurer)

    Egyptian Love Poems

    (1) the legend of Osiris; (2) the Egyptian poems "Sister without Peer," "My Brother Torments my Heart," "My Heart Flutters Hastily"; (3) the Instructions of Ptahhotep ##1, 2, 4, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25; and (4) the Hymn to Aton. Again, all are linked under "Humanities I Readings" on my main webpage. You might want to compare the version of the Osiris myth at "" with the versions at Aldokkan or at the Academy for Ancient Texts Egyptian Book of the Dead, which is also linked on the main webpage. Some interesting variations.



    An interesting introduction to "Gilgamesh"

    (1) read all of the creation poem "Enuma Elish"; (2) read Tablets VII and VIII of the epic "Gilgamesh"; and (3) read the following rules from Hammurabi's Law Code: 1-30, 125-140, 195-235. All of these are available by links about halfway down my main webpage under the set of links entitled "Humanities I Readings." An interesting introduction to "Gilgamesh" can be found here; you might want to read about what happened on the first six tablets of the poem. When you read the rules from Hammurabi, look for (1) the kinds of offenses that are "capital crimes," that is, crimes punishable by death; (2) the different orders of people under the laws (different people treated differently according to who they are); (3) the different purposes of the laws (not all are criminal laws); and (4) the basic principles of justice that are exemplified in the rules.

    Frankforts and Eliade

    The Frankforts and Eliade describe some of the ways people thought about the world before the advent of the speculative, philosophic thought that we take for granted today. They also describe some of the fundamental ways in which primitive or ancient men understood the world. According to the Frankforts, how did primitive people view and understand the world in which they lived? How did they explain things that happened in nature—natural "phenomena"? According to the Frankforts, were the explanations of primitive people the results of their limited vocabulary and language skills—that is, primitives simply did not have the vocabulary to put into words what they really thought—or did they actually understand the world in terms of their mythological, poetic explanations? According to the Frankforts, what is "myth"? What is "reality"?

    According to Eliade, how did primitives understand the world? What does Eliade mean by the "sacred"? the "profane"? On what do the Frankforts and Eliade agree in describing primitive thinking.

    The two articles are not inconsistent with each other, but they focus on different aspects of the primitive outlook. The terms "primitive" and "ancient" are not intended by the authors as derogatory. The authors had the greatest respect for the people and the thought-processes that they call "primitive." These ways of thinking are still in existence (and, indeed will never be eliminated) in the population at large and, particularly, in the language and mythologies of tribal peoples throughout the world. Tony Hillerman's mystery novels about the Navajos in the Southwest reflect many of the characteristics described by the Frankforts and Eliade and European thinking.

    Book Reviews

    The basic guidelines for book reviews are as follows:

    1. The review should be five to seven pages long (no longer!), double-spaced, plus a title page. Remember it takes more effort to write succinctly than loosely ("I did not have time to write you a short letter, so I am writing you a long one.") I take your writing very seriously: proofreadable errors, poor grammar, and word choice all figure into your grade.
    2. Demonstrate in a page or page-and-a-half that you have indeed read all of what you are reviewing. Offer a summary statement addressing the themes, characters, or other appropriate subjects that ties the reading(s) together.
    3. Cite parenthetically the sources of your quotes and paraphrases. Typically, this means citing line numbers of poems and plays, not page numbers. There is no guarantee that my edition of the material is the same as your edition.
    4. Each review should apply ideas or concepts from a separate scholarly source or from another primary source to the material you are reviewing; the review must not be simply your impressions or personal assessment of the material. Certainly, Snell's book and the Frankforts' article are acceptable sources, and others may be as well, but they must be of a scholarly or academic nature. If you use another primary source, you may compare and contrast the two sources. For instance, if you are viewing the Iliad, you may use the Odyssey as a point of comparison-contrast rather than applying the ideas or concepts of a scholarly source. This is a review, not a research paper.

    Video Series

    Art of the Western World. Narrated by Michael Wood. Annenberg Learner Series.

    The Western Tradition. Narrated by Eugen Weber. Annenberg Learner Series.