World Civilization Assignment

World Civilization Assignment


 Answer THREE of the following FOUR:

  1.      Choose one of the regions covered in the last 3 lectures of the course (Mediaeval Europe, Byzantium, Mongol/Turkic Eurasian Silk Road) and write an essay on changing political systems.  Identify 4 ways in which the populations in these areas would have been most affected by the changes in regimes.  How would they have been affected in each case?    Identify two social or geographical or economic areas where the change would have been felt the least.  Be sure to point to specific places in the course materials where you can see most directly the impact and non-impact of the new regimes.

    2.      In discussing Islamic religious beliefs, scholars frequently speak of the power of Islam “to unify.” Looking at the early history of Islam and at its later manifestations in the worlds of the Mongol Khanates, write an essay in which you define at least 4 different ways in which Muhammad as a prophet and Islam as a faith were able to work as a unifying force.  Compare at least 3 of your 4 points about Islam to what you have learned about one of the other 2 “Abrahamic” faiths (Christianity and Judaism).   Of course you need to back your observations up with clear and precise references to textbook, texts, and lectures.

    3.      We have been grappling with things related to the Roman Empire ever since the 3rd week of our course.  Drawing from  Chinese and Indian and American (Maya or Inca or Aztec) materials, write an essay in which you identify 4 precise and important ways in which these civilizations reveal behaviors and developments parallel to, but different from, what we see in Rome AND where the differences teach us about the uniqueness of these other histories.  You must include 1 argument from each of the three different regions.  You can point to political issues, or philosophical issues, or economic issues or artistic/architectural issues, or geographical issues, or social issues, or military issues (etc), but you should say something concrete about what you think are the essential differences and how they teach you something positive about these different cultures from Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

    4.      In his work, Jared Diamond draws very careful links between cultural development and big geographical factors (specifically the key geographical differences between the Americas and Eurasia).  Identify 4 places in the material of the past 3 weeks, excluding material from the Americas, where von Sivers and/or McGuire build precise arguments about development and civilizations out of geographical considerations.  How exactly do we understand these factors to affect the civilization involved?  Do you see any instances in which the emphasis on geography obscures other important factors?


T 27-V:  Paleo/Neolithic: VON SIVERS Skim 4-33; read carefully: 10-13, 21-28, 37-40, 62-64.

visit Lascaux Cave:

Read Smithsonian article on Gobekli Tepe


W 28-V: Mesopotamia, VON SIVERS 40-47 plus box on 48-49

Read Epic of Gilgamesh, Prologue + Tablets I – III at

Read Prologue, Laws 1-50, Epilogue of Code of Hammurabi in “Text” section at


R 29-V:  Egypt, VON SIVERS, 47-52, 56-57

View & read about Narmer Palette, both reverse and obverse sides at

Look at Magical Bricks and Coffin of Meresamun at

Read full article on Tut & DNA at



Week Two


M 2-VI: Near East—Assyria, Israel and Phoenicia VON SIVERS 57-60

Read Exodus c. 1-22 at

Look at Phoenician alphabet at

Skim article, especially 293-296, about the Uluburun shipwreck at


T  3-VI:  Bronze Age Greece and the eastern Mediterranean VON SIVERS, 52-58, 60-62

Read Iliad Book 24 available at:

Read Odyssey Book 9 available at

View ALL images of Palace at Knossos, including plans, panoramio, etc:


W  4-VI: Classical Greece and Persia  VON SIVERS, 65-66, 199-205

Read Herodotus 1.1-15 and 107-130 at



R 5-VI: Greece VON SIVERS, 205-207, 228-229

Look at Overview of Athenian Agora at Agora website:

Read Antigone lines 1-541 at


Week Three



M 9-VI:   Rome VON SIVERS , 208-210

Read Livy Histories 1.1 to 1.13 at

Read selections from Twelve Tables at


T 10-VI   Rome: VON SIVERS, 210-211

Read Achievements of Augustus at

Read Pliny’s letters about eruption of Vesuvius at

Visit Pompeii’s House of the Vetii at

View “General Introduction” and “Additional Comments”


W 11-VI:    Rome

VON SIVERS, 223-225, 229-232

Read Pliny letter about handling of Christians at


Thursday:  No class.  Midterm exam work!

Week Four



M 16-VI:   China,  VON SIVERS, 98-125; 268-284

Read selections from Confucius Analects on “Superior Man” and “Government”


Selections from the Tao Te Ching #s 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 17, 22, 28, 31, 53, 57, 60  at


T 17-VI    India VON SIVERS 72-95, 236-255

Read Kenoyer’s essay on Mohenjo-Daro at



W 18-VI          Islam   VON SIVERS  300-311, 327-334

Koran, Suras 54 and 55 at

Brief outline of life of Muhammad at



R 19-VI:   Islam +  Sub-Saharan Africa VON SIVERS, 160-177, 462-477

Look at websites regarding Great Zimbabwe:



Week Five



M 23-VI     Americas, The Maya VON SIVERS, 177-188

Read first 10 printed pages of Popol Vuh, available at


T 24-VI    Americas , Inca and Aztecs  VON SIVERS 188-193, 496-515


W 25-VI          Christianization & Byzantium VON SIVERS, 212-218 ,311-314




R 26-VI Mediaeval Europe  VON SIVERS 338-371

Einhard Life of Charlemagne at        

Pope Gregory VII Dictatus Papae





Week Six



M 25-VI Silk Roads & Mongol/Turkish States VON SIVERS, 258-259, 286-288, 529-534

View slideshow at

Fall of Constantinople 1453 at


World Civilization Assignment