Culture and Civilization 1
Andrea Martínez
Profesorado Superior de Lenguas Vivas / Salta
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Unit 1: The Birth of Civilization (3500-330 BC)

Mesopotamia: Gods, rulers and the social order in the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hebrew and Persian civilizations.

Africa: Gods, rulers and the social order in Egypt.


Bibliography: Fiero G. The Humanistic Tradition Book 1. Chapters 1 and 2.

Primary sources:

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh, excerpt.
  • Hammurabi’s Code, excerpt.
  • The Hebrew Bible, excerpts.


Unit 2: The Classical World (ca 3000BC-476 CE)

Greece: the Minoan civilization. The Heroic Age. The Greek city states and the Persian Wars. Athens and the Golden Age. Greek drama. Greek philosophy: the Pre Socratics, Pythagoras, Hippocrates, the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. Greek art: painting, sculpture and architecture.

Rome: Early history. The Republic. The Roman Empire. Roman philosophy: Seneca, Cicero, Tacitus, Virgil, Catullus, Horace. Roman architecture and sculpture.


Bibliography: Fiero G. The Humanistic Tradition Book 1. Chapters 4, 5 and 6.

Primary sources:

  • Homer’s The Illiad, excerpt.
  • Thucydides’s Peloponnesian Wars, excerpts.
  • Sophocles’s Antigone, excerpt.
  • Plato’s Crito, excerpt.
  • Plato’s Republic, the “Allegory of the Cave”, excerpt
  • Sappho’s poems.
  • Seneca’s On Tranquillity of Mind, excerpt
  • Cicero, On Duty, excerpt
  • Virgil’s Aeneid, excerpts
  • Horace’s poems
  • Catullus’ poems


Unit 3: A Flowering of Faith: Christianity and Islam 400 BC-300 CE)

The Background to Christianity. The life and message of Jesus. The teachings of Paul. Monasticism. The Latin Church Fathers. Early Christian architecture.

The Islamic World. Life and message of Muhammad. The Qur’an. The spread of Islam. Islamic cultura. Art and architecture.


Bibliography: Fiero G. The Humanistic Tradition Book 2. Chapters 8, 9 and 10.

Primary sources:

  • The Gospel of Mathew, excerpt
  • Paul’s Epistle to the Church in Rome, excerpt
  • Saint Augustine’s Confession, excerpt
  • Saint Augustine’s City of God Against the Pagans, excerpt
  • The Qur’an, excerpts
  • Rumi’s poems.
  • The Thousand and One Nights, excerpt


Unit 4: Medieval Europe (500-1300)

The Germanic tribes. Germanic law and literature. Charlemagne and the Carolingian Renaissance. The Feudal society. The Christian Crusades. The origins of constitutional monarchy. The rise of medieval towns. States in the Making: England and France. Medieval art: Romanesque and Gothic styles.


Bibliography: Fiero G. The Humanistic Tradition Book 2.Chapters 11, 12 and 13.

                         Hollister C. Medieval Europe, a Short History. Chapter 11

Primary sources:

  • The Song of Roland, excerpt
  • Chretien de Troyes’ Lancelot, excerpt 


Unit 5: Renaissance, Recovery and Reform (ca 1300 - 1600)

Europe in transition: the Hundred Years War, the Black Death, the Great Schism. The Renaissance in Italy. Causes. Literature: Bocaccio, Petrarch and Macchiavelli. Painting: Da Vinci, Rafael and Michelangelo.

The Reformation: Luther, Calvin, the Anglican Church. The Counter reformation.

The Spanish in the Americas.

The Commercial Revolution: causes and consequences.  


Bibliography: Fiero G. The Humanistic Tradition Book 3. Chapters 15 and 16.

                         Mc Nall Burns Western Civilizations Volume 1. Chapters 15, 16 and 17

Primary sources:

  • Bocaccio’s Introduction to the Decameron.
  • Bocaccio’s Tale of Filippa.
  • Petrarch’s sonnets
  • Machiavelli’s The Prince
  • Vasari’s Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, excerpt
  • Luther’s Ninety Five Thesis, excerpt
  • Cortes’ Letters from Mexico, excerpt



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Profesorado Superior de Lenguas Vivas (Salta)