Sources for Cultures of the West Volume 1: To 1750

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/6/2015
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Designed to accompany Cultures of the West, Second Edition, by Clifford R. Backman (OUP, 2015), the two-volume Sources for Cultures of the West, Second Edition, features approximately six written sources per chapter that highlight key themes in the study of Western civilization. Each of the 175 sources is accompanied by a headnote. Each volume begins with a special unit, "How to Read a Primary Source," that provides students with important advice on how to work with textual documents in studying the past. This second edition features forty-one new sources and offers increased coverage of Islam, Judaism, and women's history.

Author Biography

Clifford R. Backman has been a member of the History Department at Boston University since 1989. He is currently at work on a book that traces the development of toleration and interpersonal forgiveness in medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Table of Contents

How to Read a Primary Source

Chapter 1. Water and Soil, Stone, and Metal: The First Civilizations
1.1 Shamash Hymn, ca. 2000-1600 BCE
1.2 "Poem of the Righteous Sufferer," ca. 2000-1600 BCE
Chapter 2. Law Givers, Emperors, and Gods: The Ancient Near East 2100-486 BCE
2.1 "Tale of Sinuhe," earliest MS ca.1800 BCE
2.2 From Laws of Hammurabi, ca. 1772 BCE
2.3 Great Hymn to the Aton, 14th century BCE
2.4 "Loyalist Teaching," ca. 1550-1000 BCE
2.5 "Epic of Gilgamesh," 18th century-7th century BCE
2.6 Egyptian Book of the Dead: "Negative Confession," in use ca. 1550-50 bce

Chapter 3. The People of the Covenant
3.1 The Biblical Tale of Noah and the Great Flood, Genesis 6.1 - 9.28
3.2 Book of Exodus: Moses and Pharaoh, chapters 7, 11-12, and 14
3.3 Book of Jeremiah, Prophecy to Israel, chapters 7 and 8, written ca. 6th century BCE
3.4. First Book of Kings, King Solomon and the Temple, chapters 6-8 c. 10th Century BCE

Chapter 4. Greeks and Persians
4.1. Hesiod, Works and Days, last third of 8th century BCE
4.2. Homer, The Iliad, 8th century BCE
4.3 Herodotus on the Egyptians, from Histories, ca. 450-420 BCE
4.4 Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, early 5th century BCE

Chapter 5. Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World
5.1 Book of Ezra, Rebuilding the Temple, chapters 1-3, 5-6, written ca. mid-5th century BCE
5.2 Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound (undated; 5th century)
5.3 Plato, Symposium, 385-380 BCE
5.4 Aristotle, "On the Elements of Tragedy" (Poetics, Book VI), ca. 335 BCE
5.5 Diogenes Laërtius, "Life of Zeno of Citium," The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, ca. first half of 3rd century ce

Chapter 6. Empire of the Sea: Rome
6.1 Virgil, Aeneid, between 29 and 19 BCE
6.2 Epictetus, Enchiridion, I, V, XIV, recorded early 2nd century
6.3 Tacitus, Histories, before 117
6.4 From Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Caligula; Claudius, ca. 119 CE
6.5A Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, ca. 170-180 CE
6.5B The Third-Century Imperial-Succession Crisis

Chapter 7. The Rise of Christianity in a Roman World
7.1 Josephus, The Jewish War, ca. 75 CE
7.2 Pliny the Younger, Letters, 97-112 CE
7.3 Celsus/Origen, Contra Celsus, book I, chapters 6, 28; book III, chapter 62; book IV, chapter 73; book VIII, chapters 41, 49, 55; ca. 177 ce
7.4 A The Nicene Creed, Two Versions
7.4 B Minucius Felix, Octavius, chapter 30, "Ritual Cannibalism Charge against Christians," 3rd century CE
7.5 Gospel of Thomas, 4th century?
7.6 Augustine of Hippo, Seventh Discourse on the Gospel of John

Chapter 8. The Early Middle Ages
8.1. Gildas, On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain, ca. 525- ca. 540 CE
8.2. Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks
8.3. Gregory the Great, "Life of St. Benedict," 593 ce
8.4. Bede, Ecclesiastical History of English People, completed ca. 731?CE
8.5. Dhuoda, Handbook for William, 841/843
8.6. From Trotula, 13th century CE

Chapter 9. The Expansive Realm of Islam
9.1 Excerpts from the Qur'an, 7th C. CE
9.2 Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad
9.3 Al-Ghazali, The Deliverer from Error
9.4 One Thousand and One Nights, 12th Century
9.5 Maimonides, Letter to Yemen, 1172 CE
9.6 Usamah ibn Munqidh, Memoirs, 1183
9.7 Ibn Rushd, On the Harmony of Religious Law and Philosophy
9.8 Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, 12th century

Chapter 10. Reform and Renewal in the Greater West
10.1. Einhard, Life of Charlemagne, written ca. 817-833
10.2. Pope Gregory VII, Letters
10.3. Guibert de Nogent, Gesta Dei, 1107-1108
10.4. Peter Abelard, Sic et Non
10.5. Otto of Freising, The Two Cities
10.6. From "Song of Roland," ca. 1140-ca. 1170

Chapter 11. Worlds Brought Down
11.1. Dante Alighieri, Three Speeches from The Divine Comedy
11.2. Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, "Paolo and Francesco in Hell"
11.3. Boccaccio, "The Great Plague"
11.4. Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, after 1373
11.5. From Froissart, "On Flagellants," 1369-1400
11.6. Jakob Twinger, Chronicle, ca. 1382-1420

Chapter 12. Renaissance and Reformations
12.1 Petrarca, "Letter to Posterity"
12.2 From Ariosto, Orlando Furioso (Mad Orlando), published 1516
12.3 Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, ca. 1517
12.4 Erasmus, "Letter to a Friend," "Julius Excluded from Heaven," and
Introduction to the Gospels, first published 1522
12.5 Martin Luther, "Preface to the New Testament," first published 1522
12.6 Francesco Guicciardini, Florence under Lorenzo de' Medici
12.7 Cellini, My Life, 1558-1563
12.8 Vasari, Lives of Artists, first published in 1550, revised and added to until 1568

Chapter 13. Worlds Old and New
13.1 Bartolomé de las Casas, A Short Account, written 1542; published 1552
13.2 Galileo Galilei, Letter to Don Benedetto Castelli, December 21, 1613
13.3 John Donne, Sermon, (December 12, 1626); "To His Mistress Going to Bed" (1633)
13.4 Descartes, A Discourse on the Method, 1637
13.5 The Jesuit Relations, French North America, 1649
13.6 Thomas Hobbes, "On Natural Law," Leviathan, 1651

Chapter 14. The War of All Against All
14.1 John Foxe, Foxe's Book of Martyrs, Trial of Anne Askew
14.2 Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, "The Court of Suleiman the Magnificent", 1581
14.3 From Christopher Marlowe, The Massacre at Paris, ca. 1593
14.4 Johannes Junius, Letter to His Daughter and Trial Transcript, 1628

Chapter 15. From Westphalia to Paris: Regimes Old and New
15.1 Anne of France, Lessons for My Daughter, (end 16th century)
15.2 Molière, The Misanthrope, first performed 1666
15.3 Cardinal Richelieu, "The Role of the King," Political Testament, ca. 1638, first published 1688
15.4 Jean Domat, Civil Laws According to the Natural Order, 1697
15.5 François Fénelon, The Adventures of Telemachus, 1699

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