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Brian Levack received his Ph.D. from Yale and is the John Green Regents Professor in History at University of Texas at Austin. The winner of several teaching awards, Levack teaches a wide variety of courses on British and European history, legal history, and the history of witchcraft. His books include The Civil Lawyers in England, 1603–1641: A Political Study (1973), The Formation of the British State: England, Scotland and the Union, 1603–1707 (1987), The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (3rd edition, 2006), and Witch-Hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics, and Religion (2008).
Edward Muir received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University, where he specialized in the Italian Renaissance and did archival research in Venice and Florence, Italy. He is now the Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University and former chair of the history department. At Northwestern he has won several teaching awards. His books include Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (1981), Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta in Renaissance Italy (1993 and 1998), Ritual in Early Modern Europe (1997 and 2005), and The Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance: Skeptics, Libertines, and Opera (2007).
Meredith Veldman received a Ph.D. in modern European history, with a concentration in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain, from Northwestern University. As an Associate Professor of history and award-winning instructor at Louisiana State University, she teaches courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British history and twentieth-century Europe, as well as the second half of “Western Civ.” Veldman is also the author of Fantasy, the Bomb, and the Greening of Britain: Romantic Protest, 1945—1980 (1994).
Table of Contents
“What Is the West?”
The Shifting Borders of the West
Changing Identities within the West
Asking the Right Questions
1. The Beginnings of Civilizations, 10,000-1150 B.C.E.
Defining Civilization, Defining Western Civilization
Mesopotamia: Kingdoms, Empires, and Conquests
Egypt: The Empire of the Nile
Conclusion: Civilization and the West
2. The Age of Empires: The International Bronze Age and its Aftermath, ca. 1500-550 B.C.E.
The Dynamism of the International Bronze Age
Recovery and Rebuilding: Empires and Societies in the Aftermath of the International Bronze Age
The Civilization of the Hebrews
Conclusion: International Systems, Ancient Empires, and the Roots of Western Civilization
3. Persians, Hebrews, and Greeks: The Foundations of Western Culture, 1100-336 B.C.E.
Greece Rebuilds, 1100–479 B.C.E.
The Greek Encounter with Persia
The Classical Age of Greece, 479–336 B.C.E.
Conclusion: The Cultural Foundations of the West
4. Hellenistic Civilization
The Impact of Alexander the Great
Hellenism in the East and West
Hellenistic Society and Culture
Hellenistic Philosophy and Science
Conclusion: Defining the West in the Hellenistic Age
5. The Roman Republic
The Nature of the Roman Republic
Roman Territorial Expansion
The Culture of the Roman Republic
Social Life in Republican Rome
The End of the Roman Republic
Conclusion: The Roman Republic and the West
6. Enclosing the West: The Early Roman Empire and Its Neighbors: 31 B.C.E.-235 C.E.
The Imperial Center
Life in the Roman Provinces: Assimilation, Resistance, and Romanization
The Frontier and Beyond
Society and Culture in the Imperial Age
Conclusion: Rome Shapes the West
7. Late Antiquity: The Age of New Boundaries, 250-600.
Crisis and Recovery in the Third Century
Toward a Christian Empire
New Christian Communities and Identities
The Break-Up of the Roman Empire
Conclusion: The Age of New Boundaries
8. Medieval Empires and Borderlands: Byzantium and Islam
Byzantium: The Survival of the Roman Empire
The New World of Islam
Conclusion: Three Cultural Realms
9. Medieval Empires and Borderlands: The Latin West
The Birth of Latin Christendom
Invasions and Recovery in the Latin West
The West in the East: The Crusades
Conclusion: An Emerging Unity in the Latin West
10. Medieval Civilization: The Rise of Western Europe
Two Worlds: Manors and Cities
The Consolidation of Roman Catholicism
Strengthening the Center of the West
Medieval Culture: The Search for Understanding
Conclusion: Asserting Western Culture
11. The Medieval West in Crisis
A Time of Death
A Cold Wind from the East
Economic Depression and Social Turmoil
An Age of Warfare
A Troubled Church and the Demand for Religious Comfort
The Culture of Loss
Conclusion: Looking Inward
12. The Italian Renaissance and Beyond: The Politics of Culture
The Cradle of the Renaissance: The Italian City-States
The Influence of Ancient Culture
The Early Modern European State System
Conclusion: The Politics of Culture
13. The West and the World: The Significance of Global Encounters, 1450-1650
Europeans in Africa
Europeans in the Americas
Europeans in Asia
The Beginnings of the Global System
Conclusion: The Significance of the Global Encounters
14. The Reformation of Religion
Causes of the Reformation
The Lutheran Reformation
The Diversity of Protestantism
The Catholic Reformation
Conclusion: Competing Understandings
15. The Age of Confessional Division
The Peoples of Early Modern Europe
Disciplining the People
The Confessional States
States and Confessions in Eastern Europe
Conclusion: The Divisions of the West
16. Absolutism and State-Building in Europe, 1618-1715
The Nature of Absolutism
The Absolutist State in France and Spain
Absolutism and State-Building in Central and Eastern Europe
Resistance to Absolutism in England and the Dutch Republic
Conclusion: The Western State in the Age of Absolutism
17. The Scientific Revolution
The Discoveries and Achievements of the Scientific Revolution
The Search for Scientific Knowledge
The Causes of the Scientific Revolution
The Intellectual Consequences of the Scientific Revolution
Humans and the Natural World
Conclusion: Science and Western Culture