This course is a survey overview of the history of Europe, broadly conceived, from the first cities of the Near East to the period known as the Renaissance. The world we live in today was built upon the ideas, actions, and writings of those who lived then and there. In European Civilization, we give our attention to some of the significant early events that helped to construct the “western” world.
The format of the class is a lecture, but it requires active engagement; questions should be raised and answered by the entire class. But, ultimately, much of the work of the course will be accomplished when you are sitting down alone doing the reading and writing assignments. Reading and writing assignments are designed both to provide basic information about ancient and medieval history and culture and to introduce problems of interpretation and analysis. In addition, special emphasis will be placed on the careful and critical use of historical artifacts (coins, statues, buildings, and images). Ultimately, it will be your job to critically assess the interpretations that contemporary scholars (including the professor) have offered of these sources.