Ancient Civilization

HI 311           Winter 2008                      


Dr. Erika Lindgren                                                                                                        314 Luther Hall                                                                                        352-8201                                         

Office Hours: T 8:30-9:30, W 2:30-3:30, F 9:10-10:10 and by appointment


Course Description

History of the foundational cultures of the Western Tradition: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome.  The course examines basic assumptions of these cultures and their reflections in historical events of the period with primary source reading and research.  Much of the focus will be on 5th century BC Greece, particularly Athens, and on imperial Rome.


Course Goals:  By the end of the term you should be able to:

1.      Show knowledge of the key historical figures, events and institutions of this period.

2.      Read, discuss, and write about the sources of our knowledge of ancient civilization, as well as modern scholarship on the topic.

3.      Understand how historians- past and present- practice their craft.

4.      Undertake and complete a major research project.

5.      Have some fun!


This course is writing intensive.


Required Texts


James Davidson, Courtesans and Fishcakes,  St. Martin’s 1997.

Herodotus, On the War for Greek Freedom, Hackett 2003.

Ronald Mellor, Augustus and the Creation of the Roman Empire, Bedford/St. Martin’s 2006.

Joyce Salisbury, Perpetua’s Passion, Routledge 1997.

Thucydides, On Justice, Power and Human Nature, Hackett 1993.

Robin W. Winks and Susan P. Mattern-Parkes, The Ancient Mediterranean World, Oxford 2004.


Other readings on reserve [R] and online.

Website: contains copies of the syllabus- with links to online materials- and assignments.



Readings- You are responsible for the readings assigned in this syllabus- and there are a lot of them!.  On the day that they are assigned you should complete them before class. Always bring the day’s reading to class. Taking notes on what you read, on your computer, in a notebook, or in the margins of the text, will assist you in summarizing and remembering the major points of the texts.  Despite its ease, highlighting is rarely helpful


Leading Discussion- Each student (with a partner) will lead discussion twice during the term.  Follow the rubric provided.


Historian Portrait- This 4 page paper asks you to create a portrait of an ancient historian from a list provided.  You will use any resources you can find to describe what is known about their life and works.


Research Project- Each student will undertake an individual research project that involves both primary and secondary sources.  Each student will submit a project proposal (graded),  a annotated bibliography of sources (graded), an outline (graded), a draft of at least 10 pages (not graded, but mandatory), and a final paper of roughly 15 pages- not including bibliography, appendices, or images.


Late work will not be accepted unless prior arrangement has been made with the professor


Participation- All students are expected to contribute to the discussion of class readings and lectures.


Attendance: Attendance is required.  You receive 2 points for every class you attend.  No excused absences.  Please note that this is different from your participation.


Grading and Attendance Policy- out of 1000 points

Participation                                         300

Leading discussion                                50    [25 each]

Historian Portrait                                  100

Attendance                                           74

Research Project                                  476

            Proposal                                               50

            Annotated Bibliography                        50

            Outline                                                 26

            Draft                                                    --

            Presentation                                          50

            Final Paper                                           300


Special Needs:

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides protection from illegal discrimination for qualified individuals with disabilities.  Students requesting instructional accommodations due to disabilities must arrange for such accommodations by contacting Pathways Associate for Testing and Advising Carla Coates.  She can be reached at the Pathways Center, 314 Vogel Library, Wartburg College, Waverly, IA 50677, 352-8230, <>.   Presenting documentation of a student’s disability early (before the beginning of classes) is helpful and often necessary to secure needed materials in a timely way.  Accommodations should be requested PRIOR to affected assignment due dates.  For more detailed information, please see


Honor Code/Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the representation of the work or ideas of others as your own.  Plagiarism can result from failing to cite a source, giving sufficient credit to the original authors, closely paraphrasing without attribution, and direct copying.  The Academic Policies Committee of Student Senate and the Honor Council have asked faculty to remind students that they have a “…responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work”.  All forms of plagiarism and cheating will result in severe academic penalties.


By attending Wartburg College, students are demonstrating their dedication to the Honor Code.  The Honor Code reminds students of their responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work.  This is a reminder of your obligation to the Honor Code (from the policy developed by students and overseen by the Student Senate, the Honor Council, and the Academic Ombudsperson).




Classroom policies:

            1.   Arrive promptly

2.      Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, beepers, and noisy watches.

3.      You may only record my classes with my permission.

4.      If you know you must leave early, let me know before class and sit near the door.

5.      Limit exiting and reentering the classroom during the class period.  It is disruptive to your fellow students and distracting to the professor.

6.      Make sure you put your name on everything you turn in!

7.      Follow the directions on all assignments!  It will save headaches and heartaches.

8.      I have nothing against food and drink in the classroom.  Just make sure it is not too messy, smelly, or noisy- NO chips!!  AND PICK UP AFTER YOURSELF!


Schedule of classes: When texts are listed for a class session, students should arrive having already read and reflected on this material.  Assignments are listed on the dates they are due.


Week 1      

M 1/7               Introduction


W 1/9              Mesopotamia

Read: Winks, 1-26, and inscriptions at and advice from a father to a son at


F 1/11              Egypt

Read: Winks, 26-52, and Precepts of Ptah-Hotep at


Week 2      

M 1/14             Egypt

Read: Winks, 54-87, and poem about the victory of Ramses II at


W 1/16                        Library Session.  Meet in Library Classroom 2

                        Read: Winks, 87-117


F 1/18              Persia

                        Read: Herodotus, Introduction, chapters 1-3 


Week 3      

M 1/21             Persia   Proposal due

Read: Herodotus chapter 4-6


W 1/23                        Persia and Greece

                        Read: Herodotus chapters 7


F 1/25              Persia and Greece

                        Read: Herodotus chapters 8 and 9


Week 4      

M 1/28             Classical Athens    Historian Portrait due

                        No reading


W 1/30                        Feasts

Read: Davidson, Introduction and Part 1   


F 2/1                Desire

Read: Davidson, Part II


Week 5      

M 2/4               The Citizen

Read: Davidson, Part III


W 2/6              Politics and Society

Read: Davidson, Part IV, chapters 7 and 8


F 2/8                Tyranny and Revolution

Read: Davidson, Part IV, chapter 9 and Conclusion


Week 6      

M 2/11             Beginning of the Peloponnesian War

Read: Thucydides, Introduction, chapters 1-3


W 2/13                        Middle of the War

Read: Thucydides, chapter 4 and 5


F 2/15              The Latter Part of the War

Read Thucydides, chapters 6-8


Week 7      

M 2/18              



W 2/20            Roman Republic  Annotated Bibliography due

Read: Winks, 118-145


F 2/22              Late Republic

Read: Winks 145-177


Week 8      

M 2/25             End of the Republic

Read: Augustus, 1-16, docs. 1-11


W 2/27                        Imperial Government

Read: Augustus, 16-25, docs. 12-20


F 2/29              Augustan Reforms     Outline due

Read: Augustus, 25-28, docs. 21-29


Week 9       Winter Term Break


Week 10    

M 3/10             Army and Empire

Read: Augustus, 29-37. docs. 30-38


W 3/12                        Succession, Rome and Legacy

Read: Augustus 37-49, docs. 39-59 [to be split among the class]


F 3/14              Empire

Read: Greg Woolf, “Inventing Empire in ancient Rome” in Empire: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, 311-322. [R]


Week 11    

M 3/17             Empire

                        Read: TBA


W 3/19                        The 3rd Century        Draft due in my office by 5 pm

Read: Winks, 177-183


F 3/21             Easter Break     


Week 12    

M 3/24             Easter Break             


W 3/26                        No class for conferences


F 3/28              Religion in the Roman Empire

Read: Winks 184-195; Salisbury, Introduction, Chapter 1 and 2


Week 13    

M 3/31             Early Christianity

Read: Salisbury, Chapter 3


W 4/2              Making a Martyr

Read: Salisbury, Chapter 4 and 5


F 4/4                Late Antique Christianity

Read: Salisbury, Chapter 6, Winks 195-208


Week 14    

M 4/7               Late Empire

                        Read: TBA


W 4/9              Late Empire

Read: Winks, 208-215


F 4/11              Presentations


Final paper with all supporting material (previously graded) including draft is due at my office at noon on Monday April 14.


Finals Period: Thursday April 17, 12-2 pm.  Presentations


The professor reserves the right to make changes to syllabus, and will notify students when she does so.






Grading standards for essays and papers          Dr. Lindgren


An “A” essay is excellent in nearly all respects.  An “A” essay:

-is well-argued and well-organized, with a clear thesis.

-is well-developed, with content that is original, specific, interesting, appropriate, and convincing.

-has logical transitions that contribute to a fluent style of writing.

-has varied and sophisticated sentence structure.

-has few, if any, mechanical, grammatical, spelling, or diction errors (less than 3).

-demonstrates command of a mature, unpretentious diction.

-uses the sources extremely well.


A “B” essay shares most characteristics of an “A” essay, but:

-may have some minor lapses in organization and development.

-may contain some sentence structures that are awkward or ineffective.

-may have minor mechanical, grammatical, or diction problems.

-may be less distinguished in its use of language.

-may not use the sources as well.


A “C” essay is competent, but compared to a “B” essay it:

-may have a weaker thesis and less effective development.

-may contain some lapses in organization.

-may have poor or awkward transitions.

-may have less varied sentence structures that tend toward monotony.

-may have more mechanical, grammatical, and diction problems.

-is likely to be less distinguished in its handling of the topic.


A “D” essay is likely to:

-present a thesis too vague or too obvious to be developed.

-display major organization problems.

-lack adequate support for its thesis.

-have confusing or non-existent transitions.

-have ungrammatical or poorly constructed sentences.

-demonstrate problems with spelling, punctuation, diction, or syntax that impede understanding.

-not cite sources.

-be sloppy.


An “F” essay is seriously flawed.  It is likely to:

-have no clear thesis or central topic.

-display random organization.

-lack adequate support or specific development.

-include irrelevant details.

-fail to fulfill the assignment or be unfairly brief.

-contain major or repeated errors in diction, syntax, grammar, punctuation, or spelling.



Adapted from Carol Engelhardt, Ph.D.