History 4210: Ancient History


Syllabus:  Spring 2015

Instructor Class information Assignments/schedule Grading  

Instructor: Kathy Payne
  145 Stewart Library

Class meets:  Monday/Wednesday/Friday  12:30am - 1:20pm,  Library 138 (middle level north)

Office hours: Iím usually around the Reference area or in my office, but if you want a guaranteed time, catch me after class, call or email to set up an appointment.

Students with Disabilities: Any student requiring accommodations or services due to a disability must contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) in room 181 of the Student Service Center. SSD can also arrange to provide course materials (including this syllabus) in alternative formats if necessary.


Class Information

Description: This course will survey the cultures of ancient North Africa, the Middle East and Europe with occasional forays into other areas.

Learning outcomes:

Class etiquette:   I am intolerant of students who act in a manner that disturbs me or other students.

You may eat and drink in class IF:  you don't bother anyone AND you don't make a mess.

Cell phones are a pet peeve of mine. Consider yourself warned.

Class participation is expected. Students will receive points based on regular class participation. Unexcused absences will have a negative effect on your grade.

I give extensions only for medical and similarly urgent problems.   I define what's "urgent". 

You may need to provide documentation such as a letter from your health care provider or deployment orders.

Group work: Group work is acceptable when I give specific permission. Otherwise, group work is considered cheating and dealt with accordingly.

Academic Integrity: It is assumed that students will act in an ethical manner. Students engaging in unethical conduct will be subject to academic discipline, including the imposition of University sanctions, as described in the WSU Student Code of Conduct. Examples of unethical conduct include, but are not limited to: willful damage of materials, theft, hiding of library materials, plagiarism, cheating, unauthorized use of computers and computer accounts, and intentionally spreading viruses.



Mathisen, Ralph W.  Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations.  2nd ed.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2014.  About $55.

NOTE:  you may use the first edition - they should be available for about $25.  


Motel of the Mysteries:  10 pts

In-class assignments:

Blogging (185 pts.) 

Blogging Instructions  NOTE:  the instructions are for my LIBS classes.  They will work correctly for you as long as you remember to go to: whatsongthesirenssang.com/wp-admin    Do not try to post on Remember where we parked - you won't get anywhere.


The class is divided into 6 segments: 

You need to do a total of 4 blog posts.

Posts 1- 3 must be at least 300 words each,  not counting notes and reference list/bibliography/works cited.   (300 words is about equal to one page of doublespaced typing)

Blog post 4:  must be at least 900 words (about 3 pages of doublespaced typing).

Posts 1-3 are worth 30 points each.  Post 4 is worth 95 points.


Grading the blogging assignment:  I will post  a copy of your blog with a number grade and the reasons I gave that grade  on the Canvas assignment dropbox. 

Class Participation - 50 points

Total points:  

All readings and assignments are due at the beginning of the class period listed, unless specifically stated otherwise.   Assignments submitted electronically are due by midnight MST (or MDT) time the same day.

Late assignments will be penalized one full letter grade per day after the original due date and time unless  arrangements have been made with instructor.



Date Time Period Topic Readings & Assignments
January 12 - 18

Prelude to Civilization
to c. 3000 BCE

Mon. 1/12  Welcome to History 4210
Wed.  1/14  Genetics & History
Fri.  1/16  Historical Linguistics

  Begin reading Mathisen:   Ch. 1:  Civilization before Civilization
January 19 - 25

Mon. 1/19  MLKJr Day

Mon. 1/19  Holiday

Wed. 1/21  Prelude to Civilization

Fri1/23  Egypt - the beginning
   Mathisen  Ch. 3:  Egypt & the Bronze Age   
January 26 - February 1
The First Civilizatons
c.  3000 - 1200 BCE

Mon. 1/26 - Fri.  1/30
Daily Life in Egypt
 Finish Mathisen, Ch. 3, begin reading Ch. 2:  Mesopotamia & the Bronze Age

   In class:  Doing History:
  Daily Life in ancient Egypt
   How to read texts:  Reading Ancient Texts

Herodotus:  Mummification

(From Internet Ancient History Sourcebook.)

February 2 - 8
Mon. 2/2  Sumer,  Akkad & Babylon
Wed. 2/4  Sumer,  Akkad & Babylon

Fri.  2/6   Flood stories

   Finish Mathisen Ch. 2, begin reading Mathisen, Ch. 4:  Coastal Civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean 
   Sumer, Akkad & Babylon

   Read: 5 -The Story of the Flood from the Epic of Gilgamesh

   Link is from the Assyrian International News Agency, but itis the  translation is by N.K. Sandars.

   Story of Noah:  Genesis 6 & 7 (NIV, from the BibleGateway.com)    Discuss flood stories in class, Friday, Feb. 6.

February 9 - 15
Mon. 2/9   Indus Valley

Wed.  2/11  Writing
Fri.  2/13  Writing & Epigraphy
    Mathisen, Ch. 4:  Coastal Civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean 

        Writing & Epigraphy in-class 10 pts.

February 16 - 22
Monday, 1/16
Presidents Day

Mon.  2/16 off

Tue.  2/18  The Minoans

Fri.  2/20  The Mycenaeans & Hittites
  Mathisen, Ch. 4: Coastal Civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean  and review p. 70-72 on the Hittites

   Minoans & Mycenaeans 

   The Minotaur (assorted ancient sources from Theoi Project)

   Homer:  The Iliad, Book I (1) trans:  Ian Johnston  (From Malaspina University-College, now Vancouver Island University)  Read to where it has the number 30 in brackets [30] on the right side.

Listen to Homer being read:  Classical Language Instruction Project from Princeton - click on Homer.  (Turn off popup blockers)

If you haven't already read:

Letter of Suppiluliuma, King of Hatti to Akenaten (from Reshafim.org)  (Hittites)

   Treaty of Kadesh  (from allaboutturkey.com)  (Hittites)


February 23 - March 1

   Decay & Rebirth
  c. 1200 - 600

Mon.  2/23 The Levant

Wed.  2/25   The End of the First Civilizations

Fri.  2/27  The Phoenicians:  from Canaanites to Carthaginians
    WATCH  BBC Ancient Worlds:  Come Together (c. 1 hour)

   Mathisen, Ch. 4: Coastal Civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean

   The Phoenicians


Old Testament:
1 Kings 5
1 Kings 7:13-47
Jeremiah 25, 27
Ezekiel 26

For online access, use the Bible Gateway at: http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi_bin/bible Choose the literal translation (no KJV) you prefer or compare several. No preference? Use the NIV (first choice) or NRSV.  
March 2 - 8

1st blog post is due Sunday, March 8 by midnight MDT

NOTE:  Daylight Savings time begins
Mon.  3/2  Hebrews, Israelites & Judeans

Tues.  3/4  The Assyrians & Mitanni

Fri.  3/6 Archaic Greece

   WATCH  BBC Ancient Worlds:  The Age of Iron (c. 1 hour)

Mathisen, Ch. 4: Coastal Civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean

Hebrews, Israelites, Judeans   

Old Testament:

Joshua  - Joshua 2-11
Queen of Sheba 1 Kings 10
Babylonia Captivity Psalm 137
Prophet  Jeremiah 21

Mathisen, Ch. 5:  Iron Age Empires, p. 136 - 152

Assyrians & Mitanni

Old Testament:
2 Kings 17-19

For online access, use the Bible Gateway at: http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi_bin/bible Choose the literal translation (no KJV) you prefer or compare several. No preference? Use the NIV (first choice) or NRSV or any other literal translation.        


 Mathisen, Ch. 6:  Greece in the Dark & Archaic Ages

Archaic Greece

Archilochus (from wikipedia.org)
Read translated poems


March 9 - 15
March 16 - 22

The Axial Age
c. 600 - 400 BCE

Mon.  3/16  Persia

Wed.  3/18 Classical Greece Europe in the Bronze & Iron Ages

Fri.   3/20  Archaic Rome & the Etruscans

    Mathisen, Ch 5:  Iron Age Empires, p.  152 - 164


  Cyrus the Great:  The Decree for Return of the Jews, 539 BCE
  (Ancient History Sourcebook


  Classical Greece  Europe in the Bronze & Iron Ages

  Mathisen, Ch. 7:  Sparta, Athens and the Classical Age 

  WATCH DVD  -  BBC Ancient Worlds:  The Greek Thing (c. 1 hour)

  Archaic Rome & the Etruscans

  Mathisen, Ch. 10:  The Rise of Rome & the Roman Republic, p. 325-341 (Archaic Rome)

  Mathisen, Ch. 9:  Civilization beyond the Near East, Greece & Rome, p. 310-312 (The Etruscans) 



March 23 - 29

2nd blog post is due Sunday, March 29 by midnight MDT
The Greek World

c. 400 - 146 BCE

Mon.  3/23  Alexander the Great

Wed.  3/25  The Conquests of Alexander the Great

Fri.  3/27  The Hellenistic World
   WATCHDVD  -  BBC Ancient Worlds:  The Greek Thing (c. 1 hour)

    Mathisen, Ch. 8:  Alexander the Great & the Hellenistic Age, Greece & Rome

  In class:  In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great,
March 30 - April 5

The Roman World

c. 146 BCE - 312 CE

Mon.  3/30  Meanwhile, in the Rest of the Old World . . .

Wed.  4/1  Republican Rome & the Punic Wars

Fri.  4/3:  The end of the Republic & the beginnings of Empire
  Mathisen, Ch. 9:  Civilization beyond the Near East, Greece & Rome

Mathisen, Ch. 10:  The Rise of Rome & the Roman Republic, p. 341 - 360

  WATCHDVD  -  BBC Ancient Worlds:  The Republic of Virtue (c. 1 hour)
  In class assignment:  How did Hannibal get those Elephants over the Alps & which route did he take?  5 pts. (4/1)

Mathisen, Ch. 11:  Crisis, Recovery & the Creation of the Principate
April 6 - 12

3rd blog post is due Sunday, April 12 by midnight MDT

Mon. 4/6  Life in the Roman Empire:  Pompeii & Herculaneum 

Wed.  4/8  Life in the Roman Empire:  Pompeii & Herculaneum  con't

Fri.  4/10  Life in the Roman Empire:  Vindolanda
   WATCHDVD  -  BBC Ancient Worlds:  City of Man, City of God   (c. 1 hour)
hisen, Ch. 12:  The Roman Peace

In class assignment:  Pompeii & Herculaneum  (20 pts)  4/6- 4/8

  Pliny to Tacitus on the Eruption of Vesuvius (from Eyewitnesstohistory.com) 

In class assignment:  Vindolanda  (5 pts)  4/10

  Ibeji, Mike.  Vindolanda.  Read entire article.
(from the BBC)
April 13 - 19
Mon.  4/13 The Pax Romana:  Early Christianity

Wed.  4/15 The Pax Romana:   Early Christianity

Fri.  4/17  The Pax Romana:  Christians & Pagans
Want more information on the Early Christians?  Check out the PBS Frontline series:  From Jesus to Christ, the First Christians (on Reserve)   Also check out the accompanying PBS website:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/

In class assignment:  Using the New Testament as a historical source  (20 pts) (4/13 - 4/15)


Martyrdom of Sts. Perpetua & Felicitas
(From PBS.org)

The Acts of Paul & Thecla (From PBS.org)

Letters between Pliny & the Emperor Trajan (from the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook)


April 20 - 26
Christianity & Empire

c. 312 - 642 CE










Mon.  4/20  The Roman Empire in Crisis:  Many Christianities

Wed.  4/22 Barbarians

Fri.  4/24 The Fall of the West & the Rise of the East

  Mathisen Ch. 13:  Crisis, Recovery & the Creation of the Late Roman Empire

Irenaeus:  Against Heresies  (from Newadvent.org)
    Simon Magus
    Ophites & Sethites

In class assignment:  Many Christianities  5 pts (4/20)

 Mathisen, Ch. 14: 
The Christian Empire & the Late Roman World 

  Sidonius Apollinaris on Life in Barbarian Gaul  (from Internet Medieval Sourcebook) 

  Pope Leo I and Attila the Hun
(From Internet Medieval History Sourcebook)

  Procopius:  Alaric's Sack of Rome  (from Internet Ancient History Sourcebook)


Mathisen, Ch. 15:  The End of Antiquity

    The iconography of Roman Emperors  

Pact of Umar between Muslims and "People of the Book"
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pact-umar.html  (From Internet Medieval History Sourcebook)

Sources for the Arab Conquest of Egypt (From Internet Medieval History Sourcebook) 

April 27 - last day of class

April 28 - 30 - finals

May 1 Graduation
  Mon.  4/27

Final blog post due by Thursday, April 30 at midnight MDT
   Feast and short presentation of Final Blog  (Share two interesting things you found out that you didn't know.  5 pts.)

Grading Scale:  300 points total

95 - 100% A           
90 - 94% A-
87 - 89% B+
84 - 86% B
80 - 83% B-
77 - 79% C+
74 - 76% C
70 - 73% C-
67 - 69% D+
64 - 66% D
60 - 63% D -
<= 59% E





Please send comments to  Kathy Payne.