You will be required to write four essays based on the readings in this class. These essays are posted here as a courtesy. You will need to submit these in the dropbox in eLearn. Each essay will be 2-3 pages long (440-660 words). These are worth7.5% of you final grade each, for a total of 30% of your final grade. Essays turned in prior to one week before the last day of class may be rewritten for a better grade if the student wishes to (rewrites are not required)
Essay 1: Read the three ancient law codes (Hammurabi, Assure, Nesilim). Compare these codes. Note similarities and differences in their laws and values. Readings: 1. The Code of Hammurabi; 2. The Code of the Assura, c. 1075 BCE; 3. The Code of the Nesilim, c. 1650-1500 BCE;
Essay 2: Compare Legalist and Confucian ideas about how leaders should govern. Readings: 1 Han Fei-tzu (d. 233 BCE): Legalist Views on Good Government; 2. The Analects, excerpts – “Government”;
Essay 3: Read the Twelve Tables. Discuss the values found in these laws, and compare them to the values of our modern civilization. Reading: 1 The Twelve Tables, c. 450 BCE
Essay 4: Read the selection from Aristotle on being a good wife. Compare Aristotle’s attitudes about women to modern beliefs about women. Reading 1. Aristotle: On a Good Wife, from Oikonomikos, c. 330 BCE.
Essay 5: Read the account by the Greek historian Herodotus about the second invasion of Greece by the Persians. What kind of person does Herodotus show Xeres to be? That is – what kind of personality does he seem to have, according to Herodotus? What might this have to do with the eventual defeat of Xeres by the Greeks (which is not discussed in this reading)? Reading: 1 Herodotus – “Xeres Invades Greece”
Essay 6: How important were slaves in the lives of elite Romans? How did these elites view their slaves? Readings 1 The Life of a Refined Roman Gentleman; 2. Slavery in the Roman Republic; 3. The Murder of Pedanius Secundus;
Essay 7: Compare Chinese footbinding to modern beauty practices. Do Americans inflict pain on themselves or do odd or dangerous things to look beautiful? Reading 1 Marie Vento, “One Thousand Years of Chinese Footbinding”;
Essay 8: Read these four documents from ancient Rome. Based on these documents, what can we learn about Roman values, particularly as concerns social hierarchy, the place of elites in society, and their relationship to other classes. 1 The Twelve Tables, c. 450 BCE; 2. Slavery in the Roman Republic; 3. The Murder of Pedanius Secundus; 4. The Life of a Refined Roman Gentleman
Essay 9: Read these three accounts of Christian conversion of Clovis, an early post-Roman king in what is now France. Compare these accounts. What elements are similar, which are different? Are there common themes and language, or are they very different from each other? 1. The Conversion of Clovis: Two Accounts, 496; 2. Gregory of Tours: The Conversion of Clovis
Essay 10: Read the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. Discuss what Buddhism holds to be true about the nature of life and what is most important for people to know and to do. Reading: 1. Buddha: The Four Noble Truths;
Essay 12: Read these excerpts from the memoirs of a Baghdad judge during the period of Abbasid rule. What can you learn about daily life in Baghdad and surrounding towns during Al-Tanukhi’s life from this reading? 1. Al-Tanūkhī: Ruminations and Reminiscences, c. 980 CE
Essay 13: Read these two accounts of peasant revolts in the 14th century. How are the rebels portrayed in these two accounts? Are they generally positive, negative. or something else? And what do the two authors each seem to think about the nobles who were on the receiving end of these rebellions? 1. Jean Froissart: on the Jacquerie, 1358; 2.Anonimalle Chronicle: English Peasants’ Revolt 1381
Essay 14: Read these two accounts written by Islamic travelers to medieval sub-Saharan Africa. What can we say about the values of these two authors? How do they regard the people they visit? What kind of standards do they use to evaluate the cultures they encounter? 1 Leo Africanus: Description of Timbuktu; 2. Ibn Battuta: Travels in Africa 1325-1354
Essay 15: Read the document Sermon on Wives and Widows. Compare it to the reading from earlier in the semester by Aristotle. These document were written over 1800 years apart. What similarities and differences do you find between them in their attitudes about women? 1. Sermons on Wives and Widows; 2. Aristotle: On a Good Wife, from Oikonomikos, c. 330 BC
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