HIS 111
Unit 4:  Classical Mediterranean

Starting Line

If you wondered why I have a photo of a bunch of people standing around on a field of dirt, I would note that this is not just any field of dirt.  This is the site of the ancient olympics (Olympia, GreeCE), and the line of stones across the dirt was the official starting line for the running events.  You can just barely make out the outlines of the seating on the hill in the background.  See some additional photos.

Blue Separator Bar
What you must do in this unit
  • Read chapter 7 in the textbook.
  • Read Pericles' Funeral Oration.
  • Read my notes on Ancient Greece and Rome and watch the short, not great but ok, video. Watch my short video on Rome.
  • Study the Questions to Consider and the Key Terms for the unit.
  • Think about your Digital Project assignment (150 points). Please check your course schedule for the exact due date and for the deadline for instructor approval of your project, and please read the details about the assignment now so that you are prepared as the due date approaches. When your instructor has approved your digital project, please post your project type and topic to the discussion board.
  • Post (or respond) with your thoughts/ideas/comments in the discussion forum: what were some of the main features of Athenian democracy (5 points).
What you can do in this unit
  • Listen to some further information for this unit as a mp3 file.  You can also read the information as a txt file.
  • You may listen to some further information about Classical Greece and Classical Rome from my HIS 101 course.
  • Two online videos by Professor Sheda Vasseghi, NVCC, on Cyrus and the Achaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE)
  • Read the remarks by Professor Blois about the fires that swept through Greece and threatened Athens in the summer of 2009.
  • Jonathan Hagos, a student in HIS 111, created this digital project story map illustrating the military campaigns of Alexander the Great.
  • Check out the online exhibit on Roman Gladiators, created by Aaron Goodman, a former student in HIS 111.
  • Elizabeth Corder, former student HIS 111, created this nice narrated Prezi on Marriage Practices in Ancient Societies.
Some videos that you can watch for this unit
  • See the videos dealing with the Classical Greece and Classical Rome in the HIS 101 Course.
  • For extra credit please suggest to your instructor a relevant video for this unit of the course. Send the title of the video, the URL and a brief explanation of why you find the video interesting and applicable to the material that is being studied in this unit.
Extra Credit Options
  • For up to 25 points of extra credit, read Cicero's essay "On Duties" (De officiis), sometimes called "On Moral Duties" (www.constitution.org/rom/de_officiis.htm) and write a one-page paper: What would you conclude was Cicero's world view or philosophy of life?
  • For up to 20 points of extra credit, submit the Ancient paragraph.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read Plato's Allegory of the Cave and write a one-page paper. In your own words explain the allegory and indicate why it is important.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read the documents associated with the Trial of Socrates, including Plato's Apology.  In a one-page paper (maybe two pages), note and explain the main points of Socrates' defense.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, you may choose to do an extra credit assignment on the Melian Dialogue (also at www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Melian.html.  In the "Dialogue," the Ancient Greek historian Thucydides reconstructed the negotiations that took place between the Athenians, who wanted to annex the island city-state of Melos, and the Melians, who wished to remain neutral and not get involved in the war between Athens and Sparta.  In 416 BCE, after discussions failed to reach an agreement, the Athenians invaded Melos and enslaved the inhabitants of the island.  The representatives of Melos argued for neutrality; Athens asserted that neutrality was just not good enough and that Athens had a right, and duty, to assert its power.  Sound familiar?  The "Melian Dialogue" remains a stunning example of how stronger nations/countries/societies manipulate ideas of justice and natural rights to achieve their own political ends.  In a one-page paper, assess the relevance of some of the issues touched on in the "Dialogue" to recent (last 25 years) international politics.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, you may also choose to do an extra credit assignment on Thucydides.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read some of Aristotle's comments on democracy (from his Politics), and summarize his views on democracy and the polis in a long paragraph.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read excerpts from the Meditations of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and write a paragraph: What were some of the principles of the Roman philosophy of stoicism reflected in these Meditations?
  • For extra credit, please suggest a relevant website for this unit of the course.  Send your instructor the title of the site, the URL and a brief explanation why you find the information interesting and applicable to the material being studied this unit.
Unit Learning Objectives
  • Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to (1) explain the development of Athenian democracy, (2) summarize the key features of democratic practice in Ancient Athens and (3) analyze a historical primary source.

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