Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

HIST 101-A02 The Evolution of Western Ideas and Institutions to the 17th Century

Fall 2016

Loyola University Chicago              John Felice Rome Center


Hist 101: The Evolution of Western Ideas and Institutions to the 17th century


Tuesdays/Thursdays 5:00-6:15 PM

Make-up class Friday 10/21 5:00-6:15 PM

Classroom 121


Instructor: Albert Prieto, M.Litt, PhD (Classics, History, Archaeology)


Office hours: Tuesdays/Thursdays 6:15-6:30 and by appointment


Introduction and Course Description

            This course is designed to give the student a general understanding of the persons, events, and cultural-intellectual trends which have influenced the origin and development of Western civilization in continental Europe, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, and the Age of Enlightenment. The focus is primarily on Europe, but many areas all around the Mediterranean that contributed to Western civilization will be considered as well, including the Ancient Near East (Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia) and north Africa.

            A general theme that will run throughout this course is the "world view," that is, the collection of mental constructs which gave the world meaning for individuals in a given period. Another general theme is technology and culture as defining aspects of what it means to be “Western,” in terms of the major innovations that have shaped life in Europe over the centuries. The object of this course is to uncover and investigate world views and technological and cultural shifts as they have appeared throughout the 6000 years in consideration. In the end, the student will have an excellent grasp of what is meant by the "Western tradition.”


Required Textbooks and Materials

L. Hunt, T. R. Martin, B. H. Rosenwein, and B. G. Smith, The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures. Volume I: to 1750. 4th edition. Bedford-St. Martin’s, 2012.

Additional readings for assignments (PDFs and WWW links posted on Sakai).


Examinations and Major Assignments

The mid-term examination, which will be administered in Week 6 (Tuesday, October 25), will test the student’s understanding of the major historical events, figures, and trends covered up to that moment. The final examination, which will be administered in the final week of the semester (Thursday, December 15, time TBD), is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate his/her cumulative and synthesized knowledge of the history of Western civilization, based comprehensively on notes taken during class lectures and discussions, assignments, and the course readings.

A. The mid-term exam will consist of

  1. a series of terms (historical persons, places, concepts) to be identified briefly (2-4 sentences) in relation to their significance for the history of Western civilization;
  2. a map to be labeled (for example, with the names of the major cultures); and
  3. one short (3+ pages) essay addressing a theme in the history of Western civilization.


B. The final exam will consist of

  1. a series of terms (historical persons, places, concepts) to be identified briefly (2-4 sentences) in relation to their significance for the history of Western civilization;
  2. a timeline of events to arrange in chronological order; and
  3. two short (3+ page) essays addressing themes in the history of Western civilization.


C. The major assignments will consist of two brief research projects relating the most important facts/details about, and the overall significance of,

  1. a category and significant work of Greek or Roman literature (author, date and location of composition, stylistic features, etc.) and
  2. a specific place or monument in Rome (location, date of creation, creator, materials, notable associated events and personalities, etc.)

within the context of the history of Western civilization.


For  both assignments the student will

  1. compose a brief written summary (minimum 3 double-spaced typed pages of text) to be submitted to the instructor via Sakai, and
  2. make a brief (8-minute) presentation before the class with a succinct presentation (including images and bulleted lists of the most important points).


The topics will be assigned at least two weeks in advance. The first assignment is due in Week 5, the second in Week 12. The instructor will provide guidance on research sources.


The papers and presentations will be evaluated on

  1. the quality and depth of the research and
  2. the clarity of the delivery, both written and oral.


How to do well in this course

  • Take good notes in class. Detailed questions that require more time than can be addressed in class should be posed to the instructor at the beginning or end of class.
  • Do the readings BEFORE the class in which they will be discussed and bring the text to class. Some reading assignments are longer than others, since it is impossible to divide them up equally in a course of this nature. The student should look over the week’s assignments well in advance to budget study time appropriately.
  • Jot down notes, observations, and comments about each chapter and bring them to class.
  • Complete the “Review Questions” and “Making Connections” sections at the end of each chapter, submitting your answers to the instructor via Sakai by midnight of the same day.
  • Take all assignments seriously.
  • See the instructor with any concerns about content, expectations, or performance.
  • Come to class with specific questions and comments in mind.
  • Participate. Contribute to the class and discussion in an informed way.


            The importance of the reading assignments and class attendance cannot be over-emphasized. In-class lectures explore specific themes, events, institutions and individuals; the readings provide a broader context for them within the general narrative of Western history. The instructor reserves the right to require written summaries of the readings, to be evaluated as part of the course grade, should it become apparent that a significant number of the students are not keeping up with them.




The final grade will be calculated as follows:


Attendance and participation


“Review Questions” and “Making Connections” (weekly, x 18)


Two short papers and in-class presentations


Mid-term exam


Final exam





The course grade scale is 95-100 = A, 92-94 = A-, 88-91 = B+, 84-87 = B, 80-83 = B-, 77-79 = C+, 73-76 = C, 70-72 = C-, 65-69 = D+, 60-64 = D, 59 and below = F.


Letter grades and plus/minus indicators (suffixes) are used by instructors to indicate a student's quality of achievement in a given academic course.  The letter grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, F, WF are assigned the following credit points for purposes of grade point average (GPA) calculations: A = 4.0, A- = 3.67, B+ = 3.33, B = 3.00, B- = 2.67, C+ = 2.33, C = 2.00, C- = 1.67, D+ = 1.33, D = 1.00, F = 0, WF = 0.


            The attendance policy for this class follows the official Rome Center rules: “In order for a student to be excused from class, he/she must present to the professor of each of his/her classes a written note of excuse.  The only authorized notes are those from a doctor, the Director, the Vice Director, the Assistant Director, or the Associate Dean of Students.” Personal travel is NEVER a valid excuse for missing classes or late submission of assignments.


Attendance is MANDATORY. A student is allowed to miss two classes without penalty. Any additional absence from class for reasons other than compelling and documented ones (for example, medical or family emergency—see immediately above) will earn a 2-point (20%) deduction from the attendance/participation component of the final grade. It is the student’s own responsibility to seek information on class discussions, lectures, and announcements made during his/her absence.


There is no possibility for make-up or substitution of any assigned work. Submission of any assignment after the due-date will earn a 1-point (5%) deduction from the assignment’s portion of the final grade for every day of tardiness.


         Students who miss the mid-term or final examination at the assigned time will NOT be permitted to sit for a make-up examination without approval of the Director/Dean, Vice Director/Associate Dean, or Assistant Director/Registrar. Permission is given rarely and only for grave reasons; personal travel is NEVER a grave reason. Make-up exams will only be given for documented absences. Absence due to a serious illness must be reported to the Assistant Director/Registrar prior to the examination and later substantiated by a written statement from the physician in attendance. In cases where proper permission has not been granted, a grade of "WF" will be assigned. In instances where proper authorization has been granted, the student may take a make-up exam by following the make-up procedure outlined above.



Course Goals and Primary Learning Objectives

This course is designed to allow the student to understand the major persons, events, ideas, and basic evolutionary structure of Western civilization from prehistoric times to 1700, as well as the development of the main political, social, economic, cultural, and intellectual aspects of the individual cultures contributing to Western civilization. In addition, the student will gain an understanding of history as a discipline and develop critical thinking and communications skills.


As a result of this course, the student will be able to:

• identify the key characteristics of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age societies;

• describe the emergence of the Greek polis, the conflicts between Greece and its neighbors, and the transition from the Classical to the Hellenistic period;

• describe the rise, fall, and impact of Roman civilization;

   • describe the rise of Christianity and its political, religious, social, and cultural impact;

   • describe the rise of Islam and its political, religious, social, and cultural impact;

• identify and describe the fundamental concepts of Medieval society;

• identify and describe the issues which resulted in the conflicts between European monarchs and the Papacy between 1000 and 1600;

   • describe the Renaissance and its impact;

   • describe the Reformation and its impact;

   • describe the conflicts which arose between religion and the state in the post-Reformation period;

   • define absolutism and illustrate how it impacted state building and the struggle for order;

   • describe the Age of Enlightenment and its impact.


Assignment and Examination Schedule



Evaluation points / Points contributed to final grade

10/4, 10/6

1st paper and in-class presentation (literature)

10 / 10


Mid-term examination

100 / 25


2nd paper and in-class presentation (Rome)

10 / 10


Final examination

100 / 35



Subject to Change Statement

This syllabus and schedule are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances. It is the student’s responsibility to check for announcements made during his/her absence.


Course Policies & Safety Issues

  • As the material presented in the course is cumulative in nature, attendance in class is mandatory. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class.
  • Students will be given reading assignments for each class meeting. Students are expected to be able to discuss the contents of the readings in class.
  • Constructive participation in class discussions is essential. Students should make observations and ask questions.
  • All work in class will be based on lectures, readings, assignments, and discussions. As history is by nature largely subjective and often touches sensitive subjects (race, gender, politics, religion, class, sexuality), there is a lot of room for debate, disagreement, and definition. Be curious and forthright, and always respectful.
  • Stay alert for occasional deviations from the schedule.

·         During class cell phones should be switched off or set to silent mode.

·         Lectures may be recorded for study purposes, but only with the instructor’s prior and express permission.

·         Students are expected to work independently on all of their assignments.


Disruptive Classroom Behavior

The classroom is a special environment in which students and faculty come together to promote learning and growth. It is essential to this learning environment that respect for the rights of others seeking to learn, respect for the professionalism of the instructor, and the general goals of academic freedom are maintained. Differences of viewpoint or concerns should be expressed in terms which are supportive of the learning process, creating an environment in which students and faculty may learn to reason with clarity and compassion, to share of themselves without losing their identities, and to develop an understanding of the community in which they live. Student conduct which disrupts the learning process shall not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action and/or removal from class. Disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • cross-talking or talking out of turn
  • reading non-related materials on paper or digital media
  • communicating with external parties in any format (phone, text message, VoIP, e-mail, etc.)
  • working on any other coursework during class
  • habitual late arrival or early departure
  • sleeping
  • eating


Cheating and Plagiarism

Cheating is the actual or attempted practice of fraudulent or deceptive acts for the purpose of improving one's grade or obtaining course credit; such acts also include assisting another student to do so. Typically, such acts occur in relation to examinations, when one student attempts to copy information or content from another. However, it is the intent of this definition that the term “cheating” not be limited to examination situations only, but that it include any and all actions by a student that are intended to gain an unearned academic advantage by fraudulent or deceptive means. These means may include, but are not limited to:

  • Copying any of the individual intellectual content in the written assignment.
  • Sharing the majority of the individual intellectual content in the written assignment, even if using alternate forms of expression.


Plagiarism is a specific form of cheating which consists of the misuse of the published and/or unpublished works of others by misrepresenting the material (i.e., their intellectual property) so used as one’s own work. Plagiarism may involve traditional print media and/or modern digital media (ebooks, websites). Plagiarism of a source is different from citation of it, which is an acceptable form of intellectual reference using quotation marks or paraphrasing supported by footnotes or other explicit forms of proprietary recognition. Students must properly cite/identify all sources of intellectual content that is not their own, whether print or digital, and they are encouraged to contact the instructor for guidance.

Cheating and plagiarism will result in a 0 or F for a particular assignment or, depending on the severity of the offence, an F for the course.



Weekly course schedule


Week 1 (Sept. 5-8)


T 9/6: Introduction


Th 9/8: Before history

Readings: Prologue


Week 2 (Sept. 12-15)


T 9/13: Early Western civilization

Readings: Chapter 1


Th 9/15: Near East empires and the reemergence of civilization in Greece

Readings: Chapter 2


Week 3 (Sept. 19-22)


T 9/20: The Greek golden age

Readings: Chapter 3


Th 9/22: From the Classical to the Hellenistic world

Readings: Chapter 4


Week 4 (Sept. 26-29)


T 9/27: The rise of Rome and its republic

Readings: Chapter 5


Th 9/29: The creation of the Roman empire

Readings: Chapter 6


Week 5 (Oct. 3-6)


Th 10/4: The contributions of Hellenic and Roman culture to Western civilization 1

Assignment 1 due


T 10/6: The contributions of Hellenic and Roman culture to Western civilization 2

review for mid-term exam

Assignment 1 due


Week 6 (Oct. 17-20)


T 10/18: The transformation of the Roman empire

Readings: Chapter 7



T 10/20: The heirs of Rome: Islam, Byzantium, and Europe

Readings: Chapter 8



From centralization to fragmentation

Readings: Chapter 9


Week 7 (Oct. 24-27)


T 10/25: Mid-term exam


Th 10/27: Commercial quickening and religious reform

Readings: Chapter 10


Week 8 (Oct. 31-Nov. 3)


T 11/1: The flowering of the Middle Ages

Readings: Chapter 11


Th 11/3: The Medieval synthesis – and its cracks

Readings: Chapter 12


Week 9 (Nov. 7-10)


T 11/8: Crisis and Renaissance

Readings: Chapter 13


Th 11/10: Global encounters and the shock of reformation

Readings: Chapter 14


Week 10 (Nov. 14-17)


T 11/15: Wars of religion and the clash of worldviews

Readings: Chapter 15


Th 11/17: Absolutism, constitutionalism, and the search for order

Readings: Chapter 16


Week 11 (Nov. 21-24)


T 11/22: The Atlantic System and Its Consequences

Readings: Chapter 17




Week 12 (Nov. 28-Dec. 1)


T 11/29: The enduring role and importance of Rome in Western civilization 1

Assignment 2 due


Th 12/1: The enduring role and importance of Rome in Western civilization 2

Assignment 2 due


Week 13 (Dec. 5-8)


T 12/6: The enduring role and importance of Rome in Western civilization

Readings: TBD


Th 12/8: Review for final exam


FINAL EXAM Thursday 12/15 3:00-5:00