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Western Civilization to 1650  (42.125)

M. Hickey  Old Science Hall Office 130  389-4161 mhickey@bloomu.edu

Office Hours:  M-W, 4:00-5:00; T, Th, 2-3:30 


Navigation links for this syllabus

Brief Course Description                    MID-TERM EXAM QUESTIONS AND DIRECTIONS

Grade Scale                                           FINAL EXAM QUESTION AND DIRECTIONS

Required Texts 

Mid-Term Exam       

Term Paper       

Final Exam         

Warning re. plagiarism!!!!    

On using endnote citation form

Weekly Schedule         

Link to Hickey's European and Jewish History Resources Page


Brief Description:   This course is a survey of "Western Civilization" to the mid-1600s.  We will begin with societies in the ancient Near East, then focus on societies that arose around the Mediterranean, and finally focus almost exclusively on regions of Europe.  In addition to the specifics of particular societies at particular times, we also will examine "themes" that cut across the chronology of events.  

Here is a short list of some of the themes we will follow:   

Most of our class sessions will be in lecture format, but I will be asking you questions during the lectures (about the readings, about your interpretation of ideas and events, etc.), and I hope that your answers will lead us into class discussions.  


Grade Scale:

Your Grade in this course is based upon: 

Your attendance grade will fall in direct ratio to unexcused absences. 

In grading all of your written work, my primary concern will be your accuracy, clarity, and logic (although I also will take into consideration "technical" matters, such as grammar and proper citation form).

Regarding Cheating and Plagiarism:  I will enforce university policy on cheating and plagiarism.  Please read the linked warning re. plagiarism.

Regarding disruptive behavior:  I will enforce university policy regarding disruptive behavior.  Please read the linked statement regarding disruptive behavior in the classroom.

Absence Policy:  I will consider as "excused" absences only those medical, family, or activity related events (etc.) that the student has discussed with me in advance and/or that are documented by the university administration.  I will give no "make up" assignments unless the student has an excused absence. 


Required Texts

The following books are required.

You are strongly encouraged to purchase:



Mid-Term Exam:  (35 percent of final grade.)  You will have a take-home mid-term exam that will be in an essay format.  The exam will be due in the 8th week of class, and the questions will require that you weave together information from the assigned readings (in Coffin, Wessley, and Brophy) and in the lectures from the previous seven weeks.  I will not accept late exams.

The question will be posted as a link to this on-line syllabus.  You must cite the source of all quotations and well as all specific paraphrased or summarized information from the readings using endnotes (see linked directions).

My primary concern is the accuracy, clarity, and logic of your answer, which will account for 90 percent of your grade.  I also will base 10 percent of your grade on use of proper grammar, punctuation, and endnote form.



Term Paper:  (20 percent of final grade.)  You will write a short paper (4-5 pages typed, double-spaced, 12 point font, with 1-inch margins) using as your main source Machiavelli's The Prince.. 

In The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli offered "humble advice" to Lorenzo (Giuliano) de Medici, the ruler of Florence. According to Machiavelli, a successful Prince must rule as an autocrat and sometimes must behave ruthlessly for the best interests of the State, but he must never act as a tyrant.  To defend his arguments, Machiavelli made many references to the history of the ancient world as well to recent events of the late 1400s and early 1500s.  As you know from your readings, Machiavelli was writing at a time of foreign (French and Spanish) dominance over the Italian city-states.  He himself had been as supporter of a republican form of government (and not of the rule of a prince), and he had served as a government official in the Florentine Republic.  He wrote The Prince after the Medici family had overthrown the Florentine Republic and restored themselves to princely power.

Your paper must be based upon detailed analysis of the evidence in The Prince.  That means that you must refer to specific evidence in The Prince that supports your answer.  You must cite the source of all quotations and well as all specific paraphrased or summarized information from the readings using endnotes.

To write a good paper, you must consider how evidence in The Prince is related to information in Coffin, the lectures, and any related documents from the Brophy reader.  But you do not have to read any additional essays or books; if you do read any additional sources, you must list these in a bibliography at the end of the paper (this includes any internet sites).

My primary concern is the accuracy, clarity, and logic of your answer, which will account for 90 percent of your grade.  I also will base 10 percent of your grade on use of proper grammar, punctuation, and endnote form.

Link to Term Paper questions.

The term paper is due by Tuesday of Week 15.



Final Exam:  (40 percent of final grade.)  You will take an in-class Final Exam, which will be essay format.  The final exam will cover all of the reading and lecture material since the Mid-Term Exam.  I will not schedule "make-up" exams unless I receive notification from the University administration that your absence is excused for the day of the exam.

My primary concern is the accuracy, clarity, and logic of your answer, which will account for 90 percent of your grade.  I also will base 10 percent of your grade on use of proper grammar, punctuation, and endnote form.



Weekly schedule:


Coffin refers to Western Civilizations.  For each week, I indicate the reading assignments that should be finished by Tuesday (the exception, of course, is our first class session).  Be sure to read the chapter introductions and the "document boxes" as well as the chapter text.  At the end of each chapter, you should be able to answer that chapter's study questions

Wessley refers to Study Guide for Coffin (et al).  For most students, the best way to check to see if you have understood the textbook is to answer the questions in this study guide.  Also, each chapter in Wessley includes a few documents, some of which I might expect you to use in writing your exams.

Brophy refers to Perspectives from the Past.  It is best to do the readings in Coffin each week before you do the readings in Brophy.  When you read Brophy each week, be sure to begin with the chapter introductions.  Before you read each assigned document, be sure that you read that document's introduction.  When you finish reading each assigned document, be sure that you can answer the review questions.  Although all of the documents in each chapter are important, I indicate the documents that I particularly want you to read consider each week as "key" documents. 

This is a provisional schedule--I may find it necessary to change the dates of some assignments during the semester, and I may at times run a bit ahead or behind the syllabus.


Week I (11-13 Jan.):  Near Eastern Origins of "Western" Civilization

Coffin, chapter 1; Wessley, chapter 1

Brophy, chapter 1:  Key documents


Week II (18-20 Jan.):  Near Eastern Empires in the Second Millennium BCE

Coffin, chapter 2; Wessley, chapter 2

Brophy, chapter 1:  Key documents


Week III (25-27 Jan.):  The Hebrews, The Assyrians, and the Persians

Coffin, chapter 3; Wessley, chapter 3

Brophy, chapter 3:  Key documents


Week IV (1-3 Feb.):  Greece to the Peloponnesian War

Coffin, chapter 4; Wessley, chapter 4

Brophy, chapter 4:  Key documents


Week V (8-10 Feb.):  Hellenistic Culture and Society

Coffin, chapter 5; Wessley, chapter 5

Brophy, Chapter 5:  Key documents

Week VI (15-17 Feb.):  When All Roads Led to Rome

Coffin, chapter 6; Wessley, chapter 6

Brophy, Chapter 6:  Key documents

From Brophy, ch. 6, for next week: 


Week VII (22-25 Feb.):   The Roman Empire and Christianity

Coffin, chapter 7; Wessley, chapter 7

Brophy, chapter 7:  Key documents


Week VIII (1-3 March):  In the Wake of Rome:  Byzantium, Islam, and the Carolingians

Coffin, chapter 8; Wessley, chapter 8

Brophy, chapter 8:  Key documents



SPRING BREAK (5-13 March)


Week IX (15-17 March):  State and Society in the High Middle Ages

Coffin, chapter 9; Wessley, chapter 9

Brophy, chapter 9:  Key documents


Week X (22-24 March):  Religious and Intellectual Life in the High Middle Ages

Coffin, chapter 10; Wessley, chapter 10

Brophy, chapter 10:  Key documents


Week XI (29-31 March):  The Waning of the Middle Ages

Coffin, chapter 11; Wessley, chapter 11

Brophy, chapter 11:  Key documents


Week XII (5-7 April):  Europe Confronts the World  (I'm skipping this lecture to catch up, but I do want you to do the assigned readings!)

Coffin, chapter 12; Wessley, chapter 12

Brophy, chapter 12:  Key documents


Week XIII (12-14 April):  The Renaissance  

Coffin, chapter 13; Wessley, chapter 13

Brophy, chapter 13:  Key documents

Be sure that you have started reading Machiavelli, The Prince!


Week XIV (19-21 April):  The Reformation     

Coffin, chapter 14; Wessley, chapter 14

Brophy, chapter 14:  Key documents


Week XV (26 April):  For God and King:  The Wars of Religion and State Building

Coffin, chapter 15; Wessley, chapter 15

Brophy, Chapter 15:  Key documents



Weel XVIFinal Exam

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