Ancient Civilization

HI 311

                       Winter 2010                      


Dr. Erika Lindgren                                                                                                      314 Luther Hall                                                                                        352-8201                                    

Office Hours: MWF 9:05-10:05 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 BCE Greece, particularly Athens, and on imperial Rome.  This course is writing intensive.



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!



Required Texts


Apuleius, The Golden Ass, Farrar, Struass and Giroux, 2009.


Aristophanes, Lysistrata, Focus, 1988.


Cicero, The Republic and The Laws, Oxford, 1998.


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


Joyce Salisbury, Perpetua’s Passion, Routledge, 1997.


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.


Leading Discussion- Each student (with a partner) will lead discussion once 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.


Historiography Paper- This 4 page paper asks you to write a historiographical essay about the topic you have decided to research.  See separate assignment sheet.


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.  Please note that this is different from your participation.


Grading and Attendance Policy- out of 1000 points

Participation                                        300

Leading discussion                               50   

Historian Portrait                                100

Historiography paper                          100

Research Project                                 450

            Proposal                                           25

            Annotated Bibliography                     50

            Outline with first paragraph                25       

            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: Please come to class having read and thought about the material assigned for that day. [R] = on reserve.


M 1/11  Introduction


W 1/13  Some thoughts on ancient/classical scholarship. . . what’s hot!

Read:  Introduction, Chapter 1 or Chapter 2 from Page DuBois, Slaves and Other Objects [Xerox outside my office]


F 1/15 Mesopotamia

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


M 1/18 Egypt   MLK JR Day Short class

Read: Winks, 26-52


W 1/20 Survey of the ancient Mediterranean: class discussion

Read: Pairs to be assigned sections of The Cambridge Ancient History


F 1/22 Class meets in Library

Read: Winks, 54-74


M 1/25 Studies of ancient empires*

Read: Robert Morkot “Egypt and Nubia” in Empire: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, 227-251 and Mario Liverani, “The fall of the Assyrian Empire” in Empire: Perspectives from Archaeology and History 374-391. [R]


W 1/27   Persia*  Project Proposal due

Read: Amélie Kuhrt, “The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550-c. 330 BCE)” in Empire: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, 93-123. [R]


F 1/29 Persia*

Read: Herodotus, Introduction, chapters 1-3 


M 2/1 Persia*  

Read: Herodotus chapter 4-6




F 2/5 Persia and Greece*

Read: Herodotus chapters 7


M 2/8 Persia and Greece*

Read: Herodotus chapters 8 and 9


W 2/10  Historian discussion     Historian portrait due

No reading


F 2/12  Classical Athens

Read: Winks, 74-117


M 2/15 Background on Greek Theater

Read: Introduction to Lysistrata


W 2/17 Class reading of Lysistrata

Read: Lysistrata


F 2/19 Discussion of Lysistrata    Annotated Bibliography due


M 2/22 Sparta 

Read: Xenophon and Aristotle


W 2/24 Alexander and the Hellenistic World    Historiography paper due

Read: TBD


F 2/26 Roman Republic

Read: Winks, 118-177


M 3/1 Cicero         Outline with draft of first paragraph due

Read: Divided readings on The Republic


W 3/3 Cicero and the end of the Republic

Read: Divided Readings on The Laws


F 3/5  No class




M 3/15 The Roman Empire

Read: The Deeds of the Divine Augustus


W 3/17 The Roman Empire

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


F 3/19  Religion in the Roman Empire Drafts due

Read: Winks 184-187


Conferences this week

M 3/22 There’s a story about a donkey. . .    

Read: The Golden Ass


W 3/24 Isis and other cultic worship

Read: The Golden Ass


F 3/26 Late Empire

Read: Winks, 177-183, 195-208


M 3/29 Late Antiquity

Read: Winks, 208-215


W 3/31 More on Roman religion*

Read: Winks 187-195; Salisbury, Introduction, Chapter 1 and 2




W 4/7 Early Christianity*

Read: Salisbury, Chapter 3


F 4/9 Making a Martyr*

Read: Salisbury, Chapter 4 and 5


M 4/12 Late Antique Christianity*

Read: Salisbury, Chapter 6


W 4/14   Final Presentations 


F 4/16   Final Presentations


Final paper with all supporting material (previously graded) including draft is due at my office at noon on Monday April 19.


Final Period: Wednesday April 21, 3:00-5:00 pm.     Final Presentations


The professor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus and will inform 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.