Ancient Civilizations of the World
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In this course, we will study the emergence of the major civilizations of the ancient world, beginning with the Paleolithic Era (about 2.5 million years ago) and finishing with the end of the Middle Ages in fifteenth century C.E. We will pay special attention to how societies evolved across this expanse of time—from fragmented and primitive agricultural communities to more advanced and consolidated civilizations. To do this, we will rely upon textbook readings to provide historical overviews of particular civilizations and then utilize primary-source documents to illuminate the unique features of these individual societies. By the end of the course, you will possess a thorough understanding of important overarching social, political, religious, and economic themes in the ancient world, ranging from the emergence of Confucian philosophy in Asia to the fall of imperial Rome. You will also understand how many aspects of these ancient civilizations continue to remain relevant in today’s world.
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