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Aspects of Western Civilization Problems and Sources in History, Volume 1



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This reader is appropriate as a main text or a supplementary text for introductory-level survey courses in Western Civilization and European History and Civilization. Aspects of Western Civilization:Problems and Sources in History, Volume 1, 7/e, challenges students with basic questions regarding historical development, human nature, moral action, and practical necessity. This collection of diverse primary sources explores a wide variety of issues and is organized around seven major themes: the Power Structure, Social and Spiritual Values, the Institution and the Individual, Imperialism, Revolution and Historical Transition, the Varieties of Truth, and Women in History.

Author Biography

Perry M. Rogers received his B.A. from San Jose State University, his M.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington where he specialized in ancient history with fields in medieval history, and Early Modern Europe.  He has been a professor of Roman history at the Ohio State University and has held an adjunct position in the Liberal Arts at the Pontifical College Josephinum for several years.  He remains Chair of the History Department at Columbus School for Girls, an independent, college preparatory school in Columbus, Ohio.  Rogers’s two-volume publications for Pearson/Prentice Hall include Aspects of Western Civilization (7th edition), Aspects of World History, and The Human Spirit:  Sources in the Western Humanities.

Table of Contents





Chapter 1: Civilization in the Ancient Near East:  Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Israel


Mesopotamian Civilization


The Reign of Sargon

The Code of Hammurabi

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Biblical Flood


Egyptian Civilization


The Authority of the Pharaohs


Building the Pyramids            Herodotus

Mummification                       Herodotus

Ramses the Great


The Artistic Vision: The Great Pyramids


Egyptian Religion and Values


Instructions of Kagemni

The Pyramid Texts

The Book of the Dead: Negative Confession


Against the Grain: The Amarna Revolution

          The Hymn to Aten     Akhenaten


Hebrew Civilization


Origins, Oppression, and the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt


The Creation of the World

Paradise and the Fall from Grace

The Hebrew Bondage

The Burning Bush

The Mission of Moses

The Departure of the Israelites


Covenant and Commandments


The Ten Commandments

The Covenant Code


Wisdom and Psalms


Job: “Clothed In Fearful Splendor”

Psalm 104: “All Creatures Depend On You”


Prophets: Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah


Amos: “Let Justice Flow Like Water”

Yahweh: “There Is No God Except Me”

Isaiah’s Vision of Everlasting Peace


The Reflection in the Mirror: The New Covenant of Jeremiah

            “Deep Within Them, I Shall Plant My Law”       





Chapter 2: Legend and History:  The World of Early Greece


The Trojan War: Homer’s Iliad


The Wrath of Achilles            Homer

The Death of Hector              Homer


Homecoming: The Odyssey of Homer


The Adventure of the Cyclops          Homer

Odysseus in the Underworld            Homer

The Return of Odysseus                   Homer


Early Greek Literature (700-500 B.C.E.)


Pandora’s Box of Evil                                    Hesiod

Works and Days: Advice for the Wise         Hesiod

Greek Love Poetry                                         Sappho

The Celebration of Athletic Glory               Pindar



Chapter 3: Democracy and Empire: The Golden Age of Athens


The Greek Polis: Two Ways of Life


“Man Is a Political Animal”              Aristotle

The City-State of Sparta: Reforms of Lycurgus      Plutarch

Spartan Discipline      Plutarch

“Happiness Depends on Being Free, and Freedom Depends on Courage”:

            The Funeral Oration of Pericles (430 B.C.E.)          Thucydides


The Historian at Work Herodotus

        “As Rich as Croesus”:  The Happiest of Men?


The Persian Wars and the Defense of Greece (490–480 B.C.E.)


“The Spartans Will Fight”                                             Herodotus

The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae (480 B.C.E.)      Herodotus


Greek Tragedy (480-430 B.C.E.)


Oedipus the King (430 B.C.E.)          Sophocles

Antigone (441 B.C.E.)                        Sophocles


The Athenian Empire, War, and Decline (480–404 B.C.E.)


The Historian at Work: Thucydides

                   Bloodbath at Corcyra


The Mytilenian Debate (427 B.C.E.)            Thucydides

The Melian Dialogue (416 B.C.E.)   Thucydides


The Reflection in the Mirror  Hubris: The Conceit of Power

            The Trojan Women (415 B.C.E.)      Euripides


The Sicilian Disaster (413 B.C.E.)                Thucydides

Women and War: Lysistrata (411 B.C.E.)    Aristophanes


Against the Grain         The Trial of Socrates

            “You Will Not Easily Find Another Like Me”         Plato



Chapter 4: The Age of Alexander the Great


The Rise of Macedon and the Fall of Greece


The First Philippic (351 B.C.E.)                                            Demosthenes

“They Speak of Nothing But Your Power” (346 B.C.E.)     Isocrates

On the Crown (330 B.C.E.)                                                   Demosthenes


Alexander the Great?


“Carve Out a Kingdom Worthy of Yourself!”          Plutarch

The Destruction of Persepolis                                  Diodorus Siculus

The Character and Leadership of Alexander         Arrian

“Making Humankind a Single People”                       Plutarch


The Thought of the Age


The Philosophy of Plato


The Unenlightened Majority                Plato

Allegory of the Cave                             Plato

The Equality of Women in the State    Plato


The Thought of Aristotle


Virtue and Moderation: The Doctrine of the Mean            Aristotle

The Status of Women                                                             Aristotle





Chapter 5: The Roman Republic: Origins, Breakdown, and Rebirth


 Roman Virtues in the Early and Middle Republic (753-150 B.C.E.)


            The Historian at Work: Titus Livy

                   The Power of the Past


The Oath of the Horatii: “One of the Great Stories of Ancient Times”     Livy

The Rape of Lucretia                                        Livy

The Courage of Mucius Scaevola     Livy

“Hannibal at the Gates!”                      Livy


“Cracks in the Wall”: The Breakdown Begins (150-100 B.C. E.)


The Destruction of Carthage (146 B.C.E.)                           Appian

The Growth of the Latifundia                                                Appian 

The Murder of Tiberius Gracchus (133 B.C.E.)                  Plutarch

“Vengeance with Excessive Cruelty”                                    Sallust                     


 The Fall of the Roman Republic (100–31 B.C.E.)


            The Historian at Work: Appian

                   The Revolt of Spartacus


The Civil War (49–45 B.C.E.)


“The Die Is Cast”: Caesar Crosses the Rubicon    Suetonius

“We Must Trust to the Mercy of the Storm”                      Cicero


Julius Caesar: The Colossus That Bestrode the World?


Caesar’s Reforms      Suetonius

Abuse of Power          Suetonius

The Assassination of Julius Caesar (44 B.C.E.)      Plutarch


The Power Vacuum (44-31 B.C.E.)


“A Public Prostitute”:  The Philippic Against Mark Antony                       Cicero

The Murder of Cicero:  “Antony’s Greatest and Bitterest Enemy”          Appian


Against the Grain         Cleopatra:   Queen of the Nile

          “The Attraction Was Something Bewitching”        Plutarch

            “She Was No Weak-Kneed Woman”                      Horace


The Establishment of the Augustan Principate (31-27 B.C.E.)


The Powers and Authority of the Emperor                                       Dio Cassius

The Transition from Republic to Principate                                      Tacitus

Res Gestae: The Accomplishments of Augustus                             Augustus

The Mission:  “To Spare the Conquered and Crush the Proud”      Virgil



Chapter 6: Caesar and Christ


Roman State Religion and the Mystery Cults


The Imperial Cult: The Deification of Augustus      Dio Cassius

Invasion of the Eastern Cults                                      Minucius Felix

Orgiastic Frenzy                                                            Apuleius


The Message of Jesus


The Baptism of Jesus

The Sermon on the Mount

The Good Samaritan


The Mission of Jesus


Instructions to the Twelve Disciples

Peter: The Rock

Suffering, Persecution, and the Son of Man

The Final Judgment


The Work of Paul


Paul’s Answer to the Intellectuals

“Neither Jew Nor Greek, Male Nor Female”

The Resurrection of Christ


Conflict and the Development of the Christian Church


Roman Imperial Policy Regarding Jews and Christians


            The Historian at Work: Flavius Josephus

                   Mass Suicide at Masada


The Persecution of Christians Under Nero (64 C.E.)          Tacitus

“The Infection of This Superstition Has Spread”                  Pliny the Younger

“A Religion of Lust”:  Anti-Christian Propaganda                Minucius Felix


The Reflection in the Mirror  “Christians to the Lions!”

            A Christian Defense              Tertullian


The Early Church Fathers


First Principles of the Early Church (225 C.E.)        Origen

The City of God                                                            Saint Augustine


Against the Grain           Augustine:  From Sinner to Saint

            The Confessions        Saint Augustine


The Triumph of Christianity


The Petrine Theory           Pope Leo I

Loyalty to the Pope: Oath to Gregory II (723 C.E.)            Bishop Boniface



Chapter 7:The Pax Romana and the Decline of Rome


Strength and Success (14–180 C.E.)


Political and Military Control


The Imperial Army                            Favius Josephus

A Roman Triumph                             Zonaras

Imperial Patronage                            Pliny the Younger

Techniques of Roman Control        Tacitus


The Historian at Work: Tacitus

            The Murder of Agrippina


“All Roads Lead to Rome”


The Glory of the City             Strabo


The Artistic Vision: The Roman Aqueduct:  Pont du Gard

            The Magnificence of the Baths        Lucian

            The Bath House                                 Seneca


The Dark Side of Rome        Juvenal

“Bread and Circuses”                    Fronto

“The Give and Take of Death”:  Gladiatorial Combat       Seneca

“Charming Privacy”: The Rural Aristocrat      Pliny the Younger


Social and Intellectual Aspects of the Pax Romana   


The Roman Woman


“Subordinate Beauty”                                                   Valerius Maximus

The Funeral Eulogy of Turia                                       Quintus Lucretius Vespillo


Slavery in the Roman Empire


A Slave Rebellion                                                                  Pliny the Younger

The Proper Treatment of Slaves                                        Seneca

Social Mobility:  “Once a Mere Worm, Now a King”         Petronius


 The Stoic Philosophy


“What Is the Principal Thing in Life?”                          Seneca

Meditations                                                                    Marcus Aurelius


Failure and Decline (180–500 C.E.)


“Empire for Sale” (193 C.E.)                        Dio Cassius

News of the Attacks                                     Jerome


The Reflection in the Mirror:  The Decline of the West

            Decline and Christianity                                        Edward Gibbon




Chapter 8: Icon, Scimitar, and Cross: E arly Medieval Civilization (500-1100)          


Byzantine Civilization


The Emperor Justinian (527–565)


The Secret History of Justinian and Theodora        Procopius

The Nika Riot (532)                                                      Procopius

The Wonders of Saint Sophia                                     Paul the Silentiary


Byzantine Spiritual Foundations


Heresy: The Threat of Arianism      Eusebius

The Nicene Creed (325)                    Eusebius

Iconoclasm and Orthodoxy: The Second Council of Nicaea (787)

A Western Attitude Toward the Byzantine Greeks (1147)      Odo of Deuil


Islamic Civilization


The Religious Tenets of the Qur’an


The Heritage of Islam

The Qur’an on Women


The Reflection in the Mirror:  The Love of Allah

            “The Love of Allah Should Conquer a Man’s Heart”         al-ghazzali  


Islamic Science and Mathematics


On the Separation of Mathematics and Religion     al-Ghazzali

On the Causes of Small-Pox                                       al-Razi


The Dawn of the European Middle Ages


Beowulf: The Germanic Hero

Charlemagne:  The Moderate and Progressive King                      Einhard

The Missi Dominici (802)


Against the Grain: The Carolingian Renaissance

            Education and the Scriptures            Charlemagne


1066: The Norman Conquest of England     William of Malmesbury


The Artistic Vision: The Bayeux Tapestry

            The Norman Conquest and the Sisters of Bayeux




The Viking Onslaught (850–1050)


The Annals of Xanten (845–854)

The Siege of Paris (806)                         Abbo


The Feudal Relationship


Legal Rules for Military Service      King Louis IX

Liege Homage

Restraint of Feudal Violence: The Truce of God (1063)

Ordeal of Hot Iron



Chapter 9: The Sword of Faith: The High Middle Ages (1100-1300)


The Medieval Church in Ascendency


The Crusading Movement


Launching the Crusades: “It Is the Will of God!” (1095)    Robert the Monk

Out of Control:  The Fall of Jerusalem (1099)

The Protection of Allah                                                          Usamah ibn-Munqidh


          The Historian at Work: Usamah ibn-Munqidh

                   The Infidel: “Superior in Courage, But Nothing Else”        


The Investiture Controversy (1075-1122)


The Excommunication of Emperor Henry IV (February 1076)       Pope Gregory VII

“Go To Canossa!”: Henry’s Penance (January 28, 1077)                   Pope Gregory VII

Oath at Canossa (January 1077)      Emperor Henry IV


The Artistic Vision: The Art of Stained Glass

            A Martyrdom in Glass:  The Murder of Saint Thomas Becket


Medieval Monasticism


The Rule of Saint Benedict

The Vow of a Monk

Visions of Ecstasy                                            Hildegard of Bingen

The Canticle of Brother Sun (1225)              Saint Francis of Assisi


Against the Grain         Papal Supremacy and Magna Carta

            “The Rights of Englishmen”:  Magna Carta (1215)

            Innocent Protects His Investment (1216)     Pope Innocent iii


Mind and Society in the High Middle Ages


The World of Thought


Political Theory: The Responsibilities of Kingship (1159)         John of Salisbury

The Existence of God                                                                      Saint Thomas Aquinas

The Love of God                                                                               Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

The Dialectical Method: Sic et Non                                                Peter Abelard


The Reflection in the Mirror:  The Tragedy of Abelard and Heloise

            A Story of Calamities                        Peter Abelard


The Medieval Woman


Whether Woman Was Fittingly Made from the Rib of Man?        Saint Thomas Aquinas

Whether a Woman Can Baptize?                                 Saint Thomas Aquinas

Chivalric Ideals: The Function of Knighthood         John of Salisbury

The Minds of Women: “Freer and Sharper”                           Christine de Pizan



Chapter 10: The Waning of the Middle Ages (1300-1450)


The Crisis of the Medieval Church


The Papacy Under Siege


Clericis Laicos (1298)             Pope Boniface VIII

Unam Sanctam (1302)            Pope Boniface VIII

The Argument Against Papal Supremacy:  Defensor Pacis (1324)        Marsilius of Padua


The Artistic Vision: Giotto at the Creative Edge

            “The Student of Nature Herself”        Vasari

            Lamentation for the Dead Christ      Giotto


The Babylonian Captivity and the Conciliar Movement


On the Abuses of Avignon     Petrarch

“The Wolf Is Carrying Away Your Sheep”              Saint Catherine of Siena

The Great Schism: The Cardinals Revolt (1378)

The Council of Pisa (1409)

The Council of Constance (1417)


The Reflection in the Mirror: The Vices of the Church

            “Luxury Demands Gratifications”    Nicholas Clamanges

            The Wealth of the Church (1480)


Disease and History:  The Black Death (1347-1351)


“A Most Terrible Plague”     Giovanni Boccaccio

“God’s Hand Was Unstrung”           Matteo Villani





Chapter 11: The Age of the Renaissance


The Humanist Movement


A Humanist Education                                   Leonardo Bruni

Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486)         Pico della Mirandola

The Soul of Man (1474)                                 Marsilio Ficino


Against the Grain: I, Leonardo

            The Notebooks of a Universal Man             Leonardo da Vinci


The Life of Florence


The Rule of Cosimo de’ Medici                                Vespasiano

“This Will Be Your Final Destruction” (1494)         Girolamo Savonarola

The Prince: “Everyone Sees What You Appear to Be, Few Perceive What You Are”

            Niccolò Machiavelli


The Artistic Vision        The Dome of Brunelleschi

The Artistic Competition (1420)        Giorgio Vasari


Mind and Society in the Renaissance


Renaissance Manners


Book of the Courtier (1518)                                       Baldassare Castiglione

On the Nature and Purpose of Women and Men     Baldassare Castiglione


The Reflection in the Mirror: The Hammer of Witches

             “All Wickedness Is But Little to the Wickedness of a Woman”



Chapter 12: The Reformation Era


The Lutheran Reformation (1517-1546)


The Indulgence Controversy (1517)


“The Cheat of Pardons and Indulgences”:  The Praise of Folly (1509)      Desiderius Erasmus

Instructions for the Sale of Indulgences (1517)                                           Archbishop Albert of Mainz

“How Many Sins Are Committed in a Single Day?” (1517)                           Johann Tetzel


The Artistic Vision: Saint Peter’s Basilica


The Colonnade of St. Peter’s Basilica          Gian Lorrenzo Bernini

 Salvation Through Faith Alone                   Martin Luther

The Ninety-five Theses (1517)                    Martin Luther


Breaking with Rome (1517-1525)


Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (1520)     Martin Luther

On Christian Liberty (1520)                                                                  Martin Luther

“Here I Stand”:  Address at the Diet of Worms (1521)                       Martin Luther

The Edict of Worms (1521)                                                                    Emperor Charles V


Social and Political Aspects of the Reformation


On Celibacy and Marriage                                             Martin Luther

Condemnation of the Peasant Revolt (1524)             Martin Luther


In the Wake of Luther


John Calvin and the Genevan Reformation (1536-1564)


On the Necessity of Reforming the Church (1544)                          John Calvin

Predestination: Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536)             John Calvin

Genevan Catechism: Concerning the Lord’s Supper (1541)           John Calvin

Ordinances for the Regulation of Churches (1547)                         John Calvin

The Spread of Calvinism (1561)                                                          Giovanni Michiel

The Reflection in the Mirror:  “Beware of Infection”:  The Abdication of Charles V

“The Wretched Condition of the Christian State” (1556)   Emperor Charles V


The Anabaptist Radical Reformation (1525-1535)


On the Mystery of Baptism (1526)                                       Hans Hut

“They Should Be Drowned Without Mercy”: Measures Against Anabaptists


The English Reformation (1534-1603)


The Supremacy Act (1534): “The Only Supreme Head of the Church of England”

The Act of Succession (1534)

Good Queen Mary (1553): “Loving Subjects and Christian Charity”

Bloody Mary: “To Be Burned According to the Wholesome Laws of Our Realm”

The Enforcement of the Elizabethan Settlement (1593): “Divine Service According to Her Majesty’s Laws”


The Catholic Reformation (1540-1565)


The Society of Jesus


Constitution of the Society of Jesus (1540)

Spiritual Exercises (1548)                                    Ignatius Loyola

The Way of Perfection:  “Prayer Is the Mortar Which Keeps Our House Together”            Saint Teresa of Avila


The Council of Trent (1545–1563)


The Profession of Faith

The Closing Oration at Trent (1563)            Bishop Jerome Ragozonus

The Tridentine Index of Books (1564)


The Bloody Wars of Religion (1562-1648)


The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (1572):  “A Thousand Times More Terrible Than Death Itself”     The Duke of Sully

The Edict of Nantes (1598)


Chapter 13: “An Embarrassment of Riches”:  The Interaction of New Worlds


Domination and Destruction


The Ottoman Empire of Turkey


Süleyman “The Lawgiver” and the Advantages of Islam    Ogier de Busbecq

Women In Ottoman Society                                                    Ogier de Busbecq


The Spanish Conquest of Mexico


The Aztec Encounter: “This Was Quetzalcoatl Who Had Come to Land”            Bernardino de Sahagún

Montezuma: “We Shall Obey You and Hold You As Our God”       Hernando Cortés

Human Sacrifice: “A Most Horrid and Abominable Custom”        Hernando Cortés

The Destruction of Tenochtitlán: “And Their Mothers Raised a Cry of Weeping”            Bernardino de Sahagún

“We Could No Longer Endure the Stench of Dead Bodies”                      Hernando Cortés

The Devastation of Smallpox                        Bernardino de Sahagún


 The Advantages of Empire


The Spanish Empire in America


The Extraction of Mercury               Antonio Vasquez de Espinosa

The Silver Mines of Potosí                Antonio Vasquez de Espinosa

The Barbarians of the New World: “They Are Slaves by Nature”            Juan Gines de Sepulveda


The Reflection in the Mirror: The “Black Legend” of Spain

            “They Slaughtered Anyone and Everyone”             Bartholomé de Las Casas


Visions of the New World

            Utopia                                       Thomas More

            On Cannibals                           Michel de Montaigne

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