History 12 – The Ancient World

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History 12 is a survey of ancient world history to 800 CE. In order to provide an understandable study of the ancient past, the class will look at major world empires that have gone beyond a single locality or region and interacted with other civilizations. Specifically, the course focuses on the Afro-Eurasiatic Empires which have been able to traverse and maintain areas beyond the immediate area of their existence. Furthermore, the course aims at studying antiquity, not only from a single center, but to provide a polycentric view of the world from the Yellow Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. We shall also concentrate on the importance of geography and the map in understanding the ancient world. The use of primary texts and material culture will be the other important exercise.

Grades: There will be two maps quizzes and a midterm and a final. The final exam is not cumulative. Your TA will assign the grade based on your exams and participation. Plus and minus grades are given for this class. Exams %40 each (2) / Map quizzes %5 each (2)/ Section Attendance & Participation %10.

  1. S. Wallech, World History: A Concise Thematic Analysis, Vol. I, Wile-Blackwell, 2013.
  2. J. Haywood, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Civilizations, Penguin Group, 2005.
  3. T. Daryaee, World History: A Journey through Ancient and Medieval Texts, Cognella, 2014.
  4. Article: Each week one article will be given about the topic at hand.

Week 1: How the World and World History Began (Jan. 7 & 9)

  • Tools for Studying Ancient History: Coins, Writing & Material Culture
  • Studying Disease, Technology and the Environment vs. Humans & Animals
  • Weekly Readings: Haywood: pp. 8-17 / Wallech: pp. 5-30 / Daryaee: pp. 3-14

Week 2: The Indo-Europeans & other Nomads: The Horse & the Chariot (Jan. 14 & 16)

  • The End of the Bronze Age: From the Sea People to Warrior Horsemen
  • Weekly Readings: Haywood: pp. 36-41 / Wallech: pp. 118-123 / Daryaee: pp. 37-64 ; 97-98; 155-158

Week 3: From Cities to Empire in the Near East: From Sumer to Assyria (Jan. 21 & 23)

  • Civilization and Economic Necessities; from city-states to large scale political powers
  • Weekly Readings: Haywood: pp. 18-35 & 42-49 / Wallech: pp. 33-51 / Daryaee: pp. 19-30

Week 4: Afro-Asiatic Hydraulic Systems: From Nile to Indus (Jan. 28 & 30)

  • Egyptian & Dravidian World; Deciphered & Undeciphered Worlds
  • Weekly Readings: Haywood: pp. 54-71; 72-79 / Wallech: pp. 52-69 ; 76-80 / Daryaee: pp. 31-36 & 37-38

Week 5: The Persian Empire: First Unification of the Afro-Eurasiatic World (Feb 4 & 6)

  • From Indus to the Mediterranean; Kingship that Binds the Empire Together
  • Weekly Readings: Haywood: pp. 50-51 ; 52-53 / Wallech: pp. 123-126 ; 136-138 / Daryaee: 65-81 & 105-109 ; 117-122

Week 6: Review Exam (Feb 11)

Midterm (February 13th)

Week 7: Hellenism on the Move: From Antioch to Ai Khanum to Pataliputra (Feb 18&20)

  • The Seleucids, Greco-Bactrians and Mauryans; Many Kingdoms and Many Cities
  • Weekly Readings: Haywood: pp. 80-81 / Wallech: pp. 136-146 ; 147-160 / Daryaee: pp. 83-96; 99-104

Week 8: On the Silk Road? From Chang’an to Rome (Feb 25 & 27)

  • Silk & Spice is Nice; Making Money & Doing Business; Religions on the Silk Road
  • Weekly Readings: Haywood: pp. 88-89 ; 108-109 / Wallech: pp. 102-110 ; 160-164 ; 183-188 ; 203-228; 263-270 / Daryaee: pp. 123-132 ; 133-140; 169-173 ; 175-183

Week 9: Empires in Collision: Byzantine-Sasanian-Sui/Tang (Mar 4 & 6)

  • How to be a World Empire; Competing with your Neighbors
  • Weekly Readings: Wallech: pp. 164-169 ; 246-254 ; 300-301

Week 10: Islam: From Mecca to Medina to Baghdad: The End of the Ancient World? (Mar 11 & 13)

  • The Unification of the Afro-Eurasian World; The Consequence of Monotheism
  • Weekly Readings: Wallech: pp. 233-245 / Daryaee: pp. 141-150

Final Exam: Tuesday, March 18th, 4:00-6:00pm