History 151-06


Fall 2011


The History of Western Civilization to 1650


| Course Overview | Readings | Requirements and Grading | Guidelines | Schedule of Classes |


Click Here to Download the Course Reader




Professor:  Dr. Brandon Hunziker

Email: branhunz@email.unc.edu

Webpage: http://www.unc.edu/~branhunz/hist151/

Classroom/Meeting Time: Murphey 116, Tu/Th 12:30-1:45

Office Hours:  Hamilton 515, MW, 2-3:30; Th, 2-3:30, and by appointment

Telephone: 962-2374 (email is always better)

Teaching Assistants:  Zaheer Abbas (abbasz@email.unc.edu)

                                        Audra Yoder (ajyoder@email.unc.edu)

                                        Sam Finesurrey (srf@email.unc.edu)



Course Overview, Objectives, and Theme


This course will survey of some of the major topics, issues, and problems that have shaped the history of Western Civilization (or really Europe lets be honest!) from the Ancient World to the middle of the seventeenth century. While some have suggested that the Western Civilization course should be abandoned in favor of “World History” – it’s too “eurocentric” and “exclusive,” they argue, and perpetuates a sense of Western superiority – others, including your current instructor (me!), think studying the history, culture, and traditions of this thing we still call “Western Civilization” remains a worthwhile endeavor. Indeed, it’s not hard to argue that Western Civilization – or at least Western culture and Western power – continues to influence the course of world history more than any other civilization, sometimes for better, sometimes worse, and thus remains something we should understand. But these academic debates aside, the history of Western Civilization remains a fascinating laboratory for historical investigation, a place where we can practice thinking historically together.  Thinking historically means many things.  For our purposes, it means recognizing changes and continuities over time; understanding the complex relationship between historical events, historical context, and human culture; interrogating and critically interpreting both primary and secondary sources; constructing interpretations of one’s own based on analysis of historical evidence; and using historical knowledge and insight to gain a better understanding of the present. In this course, we will think historically by entering into a dialogue with the past and some of its more interesting personalities while at the same time reflecting on what the past can teach us about our world today.


Among the topics this course will examine are:


Š      Political systems and conflicts in Ancient Greece and Rome, medieval and renaissance Europe, and early modern Europe.

Š      The role of religion and religious institutions, especially Catholicism, the Catholic Church, and Protestantism, and their relationship to political systems and intellectual trends.

Š      Major intellectual trends including classical Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, medieval theology, renaissance humanism, and early modern scientific thinking.

Š      Changing social and economic contexts, social relations, and their influence on politics, culture, and intellectual life.

Š      How people’s identities were formed by the contexts in which they lived, their own thoughts, beliefs, and actions, and their encounters with and constructions of people who were different from them.


Finally, this course seeks improve your ability to analyze various types of historical sources critically, write clearly and effectively, and articulate yourself intelligently and confidently in front of others. These are skills that will benefit you no matter what your chosen field of study or career may be.


Now, there are countless ways to approach a broad history survey course such as this. Inevitably, lots of things – in fact most things – get left out, while some things receive greater emphasis than others. This Western Civilization course is no different. In order to provide some coherence to this course and help you make some connections as we march through the centuries, I have chosen as a course theme “politics, political theories, and political constitutions”. In other words, we will frequently return – especially in our primary source reading and discussion sections – to the following questions: How did people in different historical contexts think – even philosophize – about politics, political power, including who should posses it and how it should be exercised? How did they organize their political systems? And how did they act politically? While we will address other questions in this course, for example the nature of “truth,” this theme and these questions will hopefully provide a common thread for this course.





Required Book: There is only one required book that you need to purchase for this class, Machiavelli’s The Prince, edited and translated by David Wooten (Hackett Publishing, 1995). It is available at the UNC bookstore for purchase. Make sure you purchase the correct edition by checking the ISBN number (0872203166).


Course Reader: All of the other readings for this course can be found in Course Reader (click here), which is composed of excerpts from numerous primary sources. You must print out the readings and bring them to your discussion section.  I highly recommend that you print out the entire course reader all at once and put it in an easily accessible three-ring binder – that way you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the semester.  If you own your own printer, this will cost you about $3 in paper and $2 in ink, which is a fraction of the cost of a coursepack or a published sourcebook. If you don’t own a printer, you might want to consider buying one.


Recommended Textbook:  There is no required textbook for this course. However, for those of you who’d like more background information or want to reinforce material from lectures (especially missed ones), you can read the corresponding chapters in Sherman and Salisbury, The West in the World vol. I:  To 1715 (any edition) or Lynn Hunt, The Making of the West vol. I: to 1740.  In fact, any number of Western Civ textbooks will serve this purpose. A textbook can also be used to review for exams or read more about issues and topics you find particularly interesting. While it may contain information similar to that presented in lectures, you will not be held responsible for its content.  Moreover, you won’t be able to pass this course if you rely solely on the textbook (or Wikipedia, Google, etc.) for your exams and papers. Whatever you do, don’t get bogged down in a textbook.  Instead, concentrate your time and effort on the supplementary readings that will form the basis of your discussions in discussion.


How much reading?  There is a substantial, but manageable amount of reading for this course.  Some weeks are heavier than others, so plan ahead. On average, you can expect to read about 20 pages each week from the course reader, maybe 1-2 hours depending on how fast you read. My hope is that having fewer pages to read will lead you to read more closely and carefully. Still, you will probably not be able to complete some readings for example, Machiavelli’s The Prince, the night before your discussion section meets.  It is absolutely essential, however, that you complete all of the readings on time so that you can write participate actively in discussion, write your papers, and be prepared for exams.



Requirements and Grading


Lectures: All of the factual information that you need for exams and papers will be presented in lectures, so I highly recommend that you attend them all. Lecture outlines will be posted on the online version of this syllabus (see webpage address above) before class.  I recommend that you download and print these outlines out before class so that you can spend more time listening and thinking than copying.  In the past, students have copied them into Word documents and taken their notes between the lines. But remember: you cannot pass this class by relying on your textbook, Google, or Wikipedia. Please do not start packing up your things before I end my lecture, as it is disturbing to me and those who may still be listening.


Discussion and Discussion Assignments: Discussion is an integral component of this course.  It is where you and your classmates will “do” history together by critically discussing primary and secondary sources, freely exchanging your thoughts, ideas, and questions, and, in the process, improving your ability to articulate yourself in front of others.  It is here where you will actively create knowledge, not just absorb it.  You will be assessed according to how well  (qualitatively and quantitatively) you participate in weekly discussions. In general, the more you offer your informed thoughts in discussion about the subject material, the better you will do.  So prepare well for discussion by reading the assigned texts carefully, thinking of questions, ideas, and issues they provoke, and coming ready to share them. Laptop use is not permitted during discussion section.


Each week before your discussion section meets you will submit one (1) question to your Teaching Assistant’s specially designated discussion question email address (Audra Yoder hist151audra@gmail.com; Sam Finesurry hist151sam@gmail.com; Zaheer Abass (hist151zaheer@gmail.com). This might be a question that you would ask if you were leading the discussion or just something you were particularly interested in. In addition, you must choose one passage/quotation from one of the week’s reading that is relevant to your question. Finally, you will write a 50-100 word paragraph (no more, please) about the one thing that you found most interesting, most surprising, most disturbing – anything, really – about the reading for that week. Failure to submit your questions for a given discussion will result in a 2-point deduction from your final participation grade. These discussion assignments should take you all of 5-10 minutes to complete.


Your emailed discussion assignment will look like this:


Subject Heading: Discussion #1: YOUR NAME


Question: Your Question about the Reading     


Passage from Reading: Cut-and-Paste from course reader a passage no longer than 100 words relevant to your question.


Paragraph: 50-100 words


Failure to submit your questions for a given discussion will result in a 2-point deduction from your final participation grade. These discussion assignments should take you all of 5-10 minutes to complete.


The attendance and participation grade (15%) is one of the hardest for teaching assistants to assign and for students understand. Below is the grading system that we will use to determine your grade. As you will see, 70/100 points are basically yours to take. All you need to do is show up on time to all discussions, bring your readings, and sit and listen attentively. This will make for a very dull hour, of course, and your teaching assistants will do everything they can to get you to participate. But it ensures that quiet students are not unduly penalized for not participating actively. The other 30 points (about 5% of your course grade) depend on the quantity and quality of your participation. While there is always an element of subjectivity involved in determining this (especially quality), in general the more relevant, thoughtful, and articulate comments you make and the more you engage your fellow students and you teaching assistant, the better you will do. Simply talking a lot or trying to dominate discussion, however, does not constitute quality participation! It is our belief that every student is capable of making a grade of at least an 80 quite easily, and it should not be too much more difficult to achieve an 85 or 90. In the past, most students who attend all recitations receive grades of 85 or 90. (Grades of 95 and 100, however, will be reserved for outstanding students.


70 (C-)

Perfect attendance, no participation: show up on-time with readings, attentive, but silent during most discussion sections

75 (C)

Perfect attendance, some participation: show up on-time with readings, attentive, participate in 4-5 discussion sections

80 (B-)

Perfect attendance, satisfactory participation: show up on-time with readings, attentive, participate at least once during 6-7 discussion sections.

85 (B)

Perfect attendance, good participation:  show up on-time with readings, attentive, participate with good comments at least twice during 7-8 discussion sections

90 (A-)

Perfect attendance, excellent participation:  show up on-time with readings, attentive, participate with especially strong comments at least three times during all 8 discussion sections

95 (A)

Perfect attendance, outstanding participation:  show up on-time with readings, attentive, participate as much as possible and relevant (without dominating and speaking just to speak) during all 9 discussion sections, distinguish yourself by the sophistication and eloquence of your comments.

100 (A+)

This grade will be awarded to the most outstanding student in each discussion section.


Points will be deducted from your final grade for each incident of the following. All of these should be very easy to avoid.


Absence:  10 points

Lateness (more than 2 minutes, not more than 10):  2 points

Unprepared (not bringing readings):  3 points

Rude, disrespectful, or disruptive behavior:  5 points (rare, but possible)


Quizzes: You will take two (2) short, 20-minute quizzes worth 5% of your grade each. These will be based on lectures and readings.


Exams: You will take one 75-minute midterm consisting of IDs and short answer questions based on material from lectures and supplementary readings. The final will consist of IDs and short answer questions, passage identifications from all supplementary readings, as well as several short answer questions that will test your knowledge of major issues from the entire semester.


Papers: You will write two 1200-1500 word (4-5 pages), thesis-driven essays based on supplementary readings discussed in discussion. Specific questions and instructions for writing these essays will be given out well in advance of their due dates.


Make-ups and Extensions:  Make-ups and extensions will only be granted in the event of an officially documented personal emergency (sickness, family tragedies, etc.).  Special events such as interviews or athletic competitions will also be considered reasonable grounds to make-up an exam, but not for an extension on the papers, as you have the opportunity to submit these in advance.  Such events must also be documented.  Ten points will be deducted from your papers for each 24-hour period that they are late, beginning five minutes after the start of the class period in which they are due.  If you know that you will be unable an exam, please inform your teaching assistant and me through email as far in advance as possible. The final exam will be held on Thursday, December 15, from 12:00-3:00 pm in Murphy 116. Please do not plan to travel before then, as it is very difficult to schedule a make-up final.




Grading Scale


Midterm Exam


> 93


Paper 1


> 90


Paper 2


> 87


Quizzes (2)


> 83




> 80


Final Exam


> 77




> 73




> 70




> 67




> 61









Some Basic Guidelines


Attendance and Tardiness:  Attendance at lectures is not mandatory, although it will be hard to pass this class if you do not attend them regularly.  Attendance at discussion section, however, is mandatory.  Unexcused absences from discussion will result in a 10-point deduction from your participation grade. Please make every effort to arrive on time for both discussions and lectures If you are late for lecture (not more than five minutes), please take a seat closest to the door in the back row.  Please try to be as quiet as you can and do not walk in front of me if you arrive late or have to leave the room. In general, you should not come to class late or leave early because of other appointments or obligations. You should consider this class an appointment that you have scheduled three times per week for the rest of the semester.  Either make that appointment or break it, but don’t come to it late or leave early because you’ve scheduled another one for the same time.


Cell Phones and Laptops: Please turn your cell phones off - not to vibrate, but off – before class begins. Now, the chances are pretty good that cell phones will ring a few times in the course of the semester. If yours does, turn it off quickly. No need to apologize. However, if you are a repeat offender, you may be asked to leave. You may, of course, use your laptop to take notes. Do not, however, use your laptop or cell phone to email, surf the web, watch movies, instant message, or check each other out on Facebook.  There are few things I find more distracting or disrespectful than a student gazing into a laptop screen or cell phone and doing things that have nothing to do with the course. If you want to do these things, please do them someplace where I won’t disturb you with my lecture. In addition, such unauthorized used of electronic devices may also be considered “disruptive behavior,” and thus constitute a violation of the UNC Honor Code. If you’d like to use your laptop to take notes, please print out, sign and return this Laptop Usage Agreement to your teaching assistant or Professor Hunziker by Tuesday, August 30.



Classroom Conduct:  Please do not eat, sleep, read, do work for other classes, or chat with your neighbor during class.  If you cannot control the urge to talk with your neighbor in class, I suggest that you move to another seat.  I will not hesitate to ask you to move or, if need be, leave the classroom if you disrupt class in any way.  You may drink coffee or other beverages during class, especially if they help you stay awake. Please do not start packing up your things until your TA or I end class, as it is very distracting both to us and other students who are still listening.


Honor Code:  The UNC Honor Code applies to all of your work and conduct in this course.  Cheating, plagiarism, or insensitive behavior (i.e. not respecting your classmates or instructors) of any kind will not be tolerated.  If you do not know what constitutes cheating, plagiarism, or insensitivity, please reread the honor code or ask me, as claiming ignorance is not a valid excuse.  Internet plagiarism is a growing problem on college campuses nationwide, and one your teaching assistants and I will do everything we can to combat.  If we have any reason to believe that you may have plagiarized, we will carefully examine your work using all of the tools available to us.  Our advice to you: don’t even try it – it’s so not worth it.


Problems, Concerns, and Difficulties:  We would like to talk to you about any concerns you may have about a grade, your performance in the course, problems with the material, and especially how to improve.  We would ask, however, that you wait at least 24 hours before talking to us about any paper or exam that has just been handed back.  Any issue that involves your teaching assistant (a grade, discussion section, etc.) should be discussed first with him or her.  Remember, email can sometimes lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and confusion.  It’s sometimes best to discuss things in person.  When you do write us emails, please put something in the subject line, begin with a “Dear” or “Hi” and end with a “Sincerely” or “Thanks,” followed by your name.  We’ll extend the same courtesy to you, but won’t respond to emails lacking subjects, greetings and names.



Schedule of Classes and Assignments

(This schedule, the readings, and assignments are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.)


Submit Discussion Assignments Here:

Audra Yoder           Zaheer Abbas        Sam Finesurrey



Part I:  The Ancient World

Week 1



Introduction: “Western Civilization” and the “Western Civ” Course


The Hebrew/Jewish Contribution to the Western Civilization


Discussion 1

Introduction: “Doing History” Together

Read:  1) Gerald Schlabach, “A Sense of History: Some Components” (In Course Reader)

           2) David Koeller, “Using Historical Sources”


Week 2



Ancient Greece: Politics and Society

Read: 1) Thucydides, “Funeral Oration of Pericles” from History of the Peloponnesian War

           2) The Old Oligarch, “The Polity of the Athenians”

           3) Xenophon, “The Polity of the Spartans”

           4) Plato, excerpts from The Republic

           5) Aristotle, excerpts from The Politics


From Unity to Civil War: A 5th-Century Greek Tragedy
Read: 1) Thucydides, “
The Funeral Oration of Pericles” from History of the Peloponnesian War


Discussion 2

Politics and Constitutions in Ancient Greece


Week 3



Greek Philosophy and History
Read: 1) Thucydides, “Introduction” to
History of the Peloponnesian War

           2) Plato,  “The Apology” and The Republic

           3) Aristotle, Ethics


Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Philosophy

Read: 1) Plutarch, “On the Fortune and Virtue of Alexander the Great”

           2) Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus


Discussion 3

Philosophy and the Individual in Greek Culture

NOTE: Click here for Paper #1 – Due at 12:30 in-class on September 27


Week 4



The Roman Republic: Constitution and Expansion
Read: 1) Polybius, Book VI of The Histories

Quiz #1


The Crisis of the Republic and the Imperial Solution

Read: 1) Sallust, The Catiline Conspiracy and The Jurgurthine War


Discussion 4

The Roman Constitution: Strengths and Weaknesses


Week 5



The “Pax Romana” and the “Fall” of the Roman Empire

Read: 1) Aelius Aristes, “The Roman Oration”

           2) Tacitus, Annals, speech of Claudius on Admitting Provincials to the Senate

           3) Tacitus, Agricola, speech of Calgacus on Roman Imperialism

           4) Flavius Josphesus, The Wars of the Jews


The Historical Jesus and the Origins of Christianity


Discussion 5

What Have the Romans Done For Us? Apologists and Critics of the Roman Empire



Part II: Christianity and Medieval Europe

Week 6



The Early Church, the Germans, and Charlemagne
Read: 1) St. Augustine, City of God

Paper #1 Due (click here for paper assignment)


Feudalism and Medieval Society

Read:  1) Fulbert of Chartres, “On Mutual Duty”

           2) The Magna Carta

No Discussion

No Discussion Section this Week


Week 7



Popes, Kings, and Crusades: Politics and Religion in the Middle Ages
Read:  1) Pope Gelasius I, Letter to Emperor Anastasius

            2) Dictatus Papae

            3) Henry IV, Letter to Gregory VII

            4) Gregory VII, First Deposition and Banning of Henry IV

            5) Gregory VII, Decrees Forbidding Lay Investiture

            6) Gregory VII to Bishop Hermann of Metz

            7) Concordat of Worms

            8) Marsilius of Padua, Defender of the Peace


Agricultural Revolution, Urban Revival and Intellectual Renewal

Read: 1) Peter Abelard, Sic et Non 

           2) Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter to Innocent III

           3) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica

*NOTE: You will discuss these texts along with the film “The Name of the Rose” on week 10.


Discussion 6

Pope vs. King, Church vs. State: Religion and the State in the Middle Ages


Week 8



Midterm Exam


The Crisis of the Middle Ages


No Discussion

No Discussion Section this Week


Week 9



In-Class Film: The Name of the Rose (75 minute class)

(click here for some questions to think about while you watch the film)


Fall Break


Week 10



In-Class Film: The Name of the Rose (75 minute class)


The Renaissance in Italy
Read: 1) Innocent III, On the Misery of Man

           2) Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man


Discussion 7

History and Film: Critiquing The Name of the Rose

*In addition to the film, you will discuss the texts by Peter Abelard, Sic et Non, Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter to Innocent III; Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica this week.


Part III:  Early Modern Europe

Week 11



Politics and War in Renaissance Italy

Read: 1) Machiavelli, Discourses I, #9 and #55 (Republics and Monarchies)

           2) Machiavelli, The Prince, pp. 1-80 (available for purchase at bookstore or online)


The Northern Renaissance and the Origins of the Protestant Reformation


Discussion 8

The Power of Virtú: Politics and Philosophy in Machiavelli’s The Prince


Week 12



Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation in Germany
Read:  1) Martin Luther, “On the Freedom of a Christian,” 1520

            2) Martin Luther, “Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, 1520

           3) Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies


The Spread of the Reformation: Calvinism and the Henry VIII’s Reformation
Read: 1) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

Quiz #2

No Discussion

No Discussion Section This Week


Week 13



The Catholic Reformation and Religious War, 1530-1648
Read: 1) Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises

           2) The Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus

           3) De Thu on the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre


The Scientific Revolution

Read: 1) Galileo, “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany”

           2) Francis Bacon, Novum Organum

           3) René Descartes, Discourse on Method


Discussion 9

Science and the (Re-)Secularization of the European Mind


Week 14



European Overseas Expansion and the Commercial Revolution

 Read: 1) Bartholemew de Las Casas, Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

           2) Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, Just War Against the Barbarians

Paper #2 Due (click here for paper #2 assignment)


Thanksgiving Break


Week 15



Absolutism in France
Read:  1) Jacques Benigne Bossuet, Politics Drawn from the Very Word of Scripture

           2) Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

           3) Cardinal Richelieu, Political Testament


Constitutionalism in England

Read:  1) The Petition of Right

           2) John Locke, Second Treatise on Government

           3) English Bill of Rights

           4) Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence


Discussion 10

Theories of Sovereignty for the Early Modern State


Week 16



On the Cusp of the Modern Age: The Enlightenment

1) Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment?

Evaluations and Review


Final Exam:

Thursday, December 15 at 12:00 p.m. in

Murphey 116