The Purpose of the Course
The purpose of this course is to survey the development of various Western
civilizations and the ways in which culture translates, transforms, and
transcends the world around it. But while we will survey history across
many millennia and several continents, this is not strictly a "survey
class." We are not obliged to cover "Plato to NATO" and,
as such, this course will serve neither time nor topic but spread its
colors where curiosity draws the eye.
• Our primary focus will rest with those civilizations dubbed
"Ancient Western," housed for the most part in Europe prior
to 1500 CE.
• Our efforts will, however, extend beyond the traditional boundaries
of "Western Civilization" into ancient non-European cultures
(e.g. Egypt, Hebrews, Islam).
• Our principal loyalties will be to the personal and intellectual
growth that comes of studying and understanding the past.
• Our main goal is to advance your skills in articulating issues
centering around historical events and figures, matters which relate
to all times and peoples.
• Our central aim is to give dimension to your appreciation
of the common cultural heritage shared by the many heirs of Western