History 001, Section 001

Spring Semester 2001


Western Civilization 1:

From Earliest Times to the Seventeenth Century


Class meets MWF 2.30-3.20 in 101 Chambers                                  Philip Jenkins            


I check my e-mail regularly, and this is an excellent way to get in touch with me if you have a quick question or if you want to make an appointment for a more substantial discussion.     


The Course

This course examines the development of western civilization from ancient times through the early modern period. Major themes will include the formation and development of states, and the ideologies which they employ to achieve legitimacy and acceptance; the role of law and monarchy in this process; and the social foundations of religious thought. The course will also consider the essential role of natural resources and the natural environment in establishing the boundaries within which societies can operate, and the degree to which these limitations can be overcome through technology.



Grading will be based on two midterm examinations and a comprehensive final, all of which will be in essay format. The two midterms will each carry 25 percent of the grade, while the final exam will carry fifty percent. There is no extra credit work.

Regular class attendance is of course expected, especially since lectures may well include a lot that will not be in the readings. I reserve the right to take attendance.



Deadlines matter, and I intend to enforce them strictly. If you miss a deadline without getting an extension in advance, you get a non-negotiable grade of F on that particular exam or project. Do not get in touch with me after the fact to explain why you missed an exam, unless you produce a proper medical note. Excuses must always be supported by documentation. Valid reasons include medical problems and the like. I am aware that ROTC sometimes makes strange demands on its members, and these reasons would be valid: but note that ROTC also provides documentation for these absences, which must be produced if you want to claim this as a reason for an extension.

The following are not valid reasons for an extension, so don't ask:

“I have other exams that day” (so ask the other professors for the extension)

“I'm leaving early for break” (not if you want the grade, you're not)

“My hard drive died on me, so I couldn’t print out the paper,” alternatively, “The computer ate my homework” (so back up all your work regularly).



In paperback and required


Jackson Spielvogel, Western Civilization, volume one, Wadsworth/Thomson, fourth edition, 2000. ISBN: 0-534-56836-X. (Please note: you should ONLY buy the latest (fourth) edition of this book, not one of the earlier ones!)





1. Jan. 8

Which West? What civilization?

Mare Nostrum; Romanitas; Europe; Christendom; The West

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 1


2. Jan. 10

Emergence of civilizations


3. Jan. 12

Ancient Near East


4. Jan. 15

The Hebrew tradition

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 2


5. Jan. 17

First civilizations on the European continent.


6. Jan. 19

The Rise of Greece

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 3


7. Jan. 22

Greeks and Persians


8. Jan. 24

The great age of Greece

            FILM: Art of the Western World 1a. The Greeks


9. Jan. 26

Alexander the Great

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 4


10. Jan. 29

The Hellenistic Age


11. Jan. 31

The Rise of Rome

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 5


12. Feb. 2

Rome and Greece

            FILM: Art of the Western World 1b. Romans


13. Feb. 5

Crisis of the Roman Republic


14. Feb. 7

The Roman Empire

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 6


15. Feb. 9

Roman cultural inheritance


16. Feb. 12

Rise of Christianity


17. Feb. 14

The Christian Empire

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 7


18. Feb. 16

The Fall of Rome


19. Feb. 19.

Barbarian States


20. Feb. 21



21. Feb. 23

Age of Justinian

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 8


22. Feb. 26

Rise of Islam


23. Feb. 28

From Clovis to Charlemagne


24. March 2

The new Dark Age: Slavic and Scandinavian peoples




25. March 12

Rebuilding the West 900-1100. Schism between east and west

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 9


26. March 14

Age of Romanesque

            FILM: Art of the Western World 2a. Romanesque


27. March 16

Feudal Society

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 10


28. March 19

Crusades, I.

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 11



29. March 21

Crusades, II


30. March 23

The intellectual heritage of the middle ages


31. March 26

Medieval culture; the towns

FILM: Art of the Western World 2b. Gothic


32. March 28

The war for orthodoxy and the creation of an intolerant society

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 12


33. March 30

The new nation states 1300-1500.


34. April 2

Economic and demographic crisis


35. April 4

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 13

FILM: Art of the Western World 3a. Early Renaissance


36. April 6

Crime and justice in medieval and early modern Europe


37. April 9

The Renaissance


38. April 11

FILM: Art of the Western World 3b. Flemish Renaissance


39. April 13

Mongols and Turks; the reshaping of Eastern Europe

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 14


40. April 16



41. April 18



42. April 20 



43. April 23

New geographical discoveries in east and west.

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 15


44. April 25

Confessional states and the new power politics. Wars of religion

*Read Spielvogel, Western Civilization, chapter 16


45. April 27

The Thirty Years War and the military revolution
























Academic Integrity Policy


Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution. Academic dishonesty includes (but is not limited to) cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized prior possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, and tampering with the academic work of other students (see Policies and Rules for Students, Section 49-20). Academically dishonest students may be punished with a minor penalty, typically a zero on a quiz or test, or with a major penalty such as a grade of "F" in a course. Please note that a student may not be forced to withdraw from a course for an academic integrity violation by the teacher alone.

Students who are punished with major penalties may appeal the decision. Cases that are sufficiently serious to warrant disciplinary actions beyond academic sanctions may be referred by the faculty member to the Office of Judicial Affairs for further review.


Disability Access Statement


The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in this programs and activities and is committed to the policy that all people shall have equal access to programs, facilities, and admissions without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or

federal authorities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation in this course or have questions about physical access, please tell the instructor as soon as possible.