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A History of Western Society, Volume 1

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  • Edition: 14th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2022-11-15
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

Table of Contents

The Combined Volume includes all chapters.

Volume 1 includes Chapters 1-16.

Volume 2 includes Chapters 14-30.

Since 1300 includes Chapters 11-30.


Maps, Figures, and Tables

Special Features

Chapter 1: Origins, to 1200 B.C.E.

What do we mean by "the West" and "Western civilization"?

Describing the West

What Is Civilization?

How did early human societies create new technologies and cultural forms?

From the First Hominids to the Paleolithic Era


Implications of Agriculture

Trade and Cross-Cultural Connections

What kind of civilization did the Sumerians build in Mesopotamia?

Environment and Mesopotamian Development

The Invention of Writing and the First Schools

Religion in Mesopotamia

Sumerian Politics and Society

How did the Akkadian and Old Babylonian empires develop in Mesopotamia?

The Akkadians and the Babylonians

Life Under Hammurabi

Cultural Exchange in the Fertile Crescent

How did the Egyptians establish a prosperous and long-lasting society?

The Nile and the God-King

Egyptian Religion

Egyptian Society and Work

Egyptian Family Life

The Hyksos and New Kingdom Revival

Conflict and Cooperation with the Hittites



Thinking Like a Historian: Addressing the Gods

Evaluating Written Evidence: Hammurabi’s Code on Marriage and Divorce

Viewpoints: Faulty Merchandise in Babylon and Egypt

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Egyptian Family Life

Individuals in Society: Hatshepsut

Chapter 2: Small Kingdoms and Mighty Empires in the Near East, 1200–510 B.C.E.

How did iron technology shape new states after 1200 B.C.E.?

Iron Technology

The Decline of Egypt and the Emergence of Kush

The Rise of Phoenicia

How did the Hebrews create an enduring religious tradition?

The Hebrew State

The Jewish Religion

Hebrew Family and Society

How did the Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians gain and lose power?

Assyria’s Long Road to Power

Assyrian Rule and Culture

The Neo-Babylonian Empire

How did the Persians conquer and rule their extensive empire?

Consolidation of the Persian Empire

Persian Religion

Persian Art and Culture



Individuals in Society: King Taharqa of Kush and Egypt

Thinking Like a Historian: The Moral Life

Viewpoints Rulers and Divine Favor: Views of Cyrus the Great

Evaluating Written Evidence: Manumission of an Enslaved Woman and Her Daughter

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Assyrians Besiege a City

Chapter 3: The Development of Greek Society and Culture, ca. 3000–338 B.C.E.

How did the geography of Greece shape its earliest kingdoms?

Geography and Settlement

The Minoans

The Mycenaeans

Homer, Hesiod, and the Epic

What was the role of the polis in Greek society?

Organization of the Polis

Governing Structures

Overseas Expansion

The Growth of Sparta

The Evolution of Athens

How did the wars of the classical period shape Greek history?

The Persian Wars

Growth of the Athenian Empire

The Peloponnesian War

The Struggle for Dominance

Philip II and Macedonian Supremacy

What ancient Greek ideas and ideals have had a lasting influence?

Athenian Arts in the Age of Pericles

Households and Work

Gender and Sexuality

Public and Personal Religion

The Flowering of Philosophy



Evaluating Written Evidence: Thucydides on the Great Plague at Athens

Evaluating Visual Evidence: The Acropolis of Athens

Viewpoints: Greek Playwrights on Families, Fate, and Choice

Individuals in Society: Aristophanes

Thinking Like a Historian: Gender Roles in Classical Athens

Chapter 4: Life in the Hellenistic World, 338–30 B.C.E.

How and why did Alexander the Great create an empire, and how did it evolve?

Military Campaigns

The Political Legacy

How did Greek ideas and traditions spread to create a Hellenized society?

Urban Life

Greeks in Hellenistic Cities

Greeks and Non-Greeks

What characterized the Hellenistic economy?

Rural Life

Production of Goods


How did religion, philosophy, and the arts reflect and shape Hellenistic life?

Religion and Magic

Hellenism and the Jews

Philosophy and the People

Art and Drama

How did science and medicine serve the needs of Hellenistic society?





Viewpoints: Greek Historians on Alexander the Great

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Bactrian Disk with Religious Figures

Evaluating Written Evidence: A Hellenistic Spell of Attraction

Individuals in Society: Epicurus

Thinking Like a Historian: Hellenistic Medicine

Chapter 5: The Rise of Rome, ca. 1000–27 B.C.E.

How did the Romans become the dominant power in Italy?

The Geography of Italy

The Etruscans

The Founding of Rome

The Roman Conquest of Italy

What were the key institutions of the Roman Republic?

The Roman State

Social Conflict in Rome

How did the Romans build a Mediterranean empire?

The Punic Wars

Rome Turns East

How did expansion affect Roman society and culture?

Roman Families

New Social Customs and Greek Influence

Opposing Views: Cato the Elder and Scipio Aemilianus

What led to the fall of the Roman Republic?

The Countryside and Land Reforms

Political Violence

Civil War and the Rise of Julius Caesar



Viewpoints: Praise of Good Women in the Eulogy for Murdia and the Turia Inscription

Evaluating Visual Evidence: The Temple of Hercules Victor

Thinking Like a Historian: Land Ownership and Social Conflict in the Late Republic

Evaluating Written Evidence: Julius Caesar on the Gauls

Individuals in Society: Queen Cleopatra

Chapter 6: The Roman Empire, 27 B.C.E.–284 C.E.

How did Augustus and Roman elites create a foundation for the Roman Empire?

Augustus and His Allies

Roman Expansion

Latin Literature

Marriage and Morality

How did the Roman state develop after Augustus?

The Julio-Claudians and the Flavians

The Nerva-Antonine Dynasty

What was life like in the city of Rome and in the provinces?

Life in Imperial Rome

Approaches to Urban Problems

Popular Entertainment

Prosperity in the Roman Provinces

Trade and Commerce

How did Christianity grow into a major religious movement?

Factors Behind the Rise of Christianity

The Life and Teachings of Jesus

The Spread of Christianity

The Growing Acceptance and Evolution of Christianity

What political and economic problems did Rome face in the third century C.E.?

Civil Wars and Military Commanders

Turmoil in Economic Life



Thinking Like a Historian: Army and Empire

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Ara Pacis Augustae

Viewpoints: The Pax Romana

Evaluating Written Evidence: Ovid, The Art of Love

Individuals in Society: Pliny the Elder

Chapter 7: Late Antiquity, 250–600

How did Diocletian and Constantine try to reform the empire?

Political Measures

Economic Issues

The Acceptance of Christianity

How did the Christian Church become a major force in the Mediterranean and Europe?

The Church and Its Leaders

The Development of Christian Monasticism

Monastery Life

Christianity and Classical Culture

Christian Notions of Gender and Sexuality

Saint Augustine on Human Nature, Will, and Sin

What were the key characteristics of barbarian society?

Village and Family Life

Tribes and Hierarchies

Customary and Written Law

Celtic and Germanic Religion

How did the barbarian migrations shape Europe?

Celtic and Germanic People in Gaul and Britain

Visigoths and Huns

Germanic Kingdoms and the End of the Roman Empire

How did the church convert barbarian peoples to Christianity?

Missionaries’ Actions

The Process of Conversion

How did the Byzantine Empire preserve the legacy of Rome?

Sources of Byzantine Strength

The Law Code of Justinian

Byzantine Learning and Science

The Orthodox Church



Individuals in Society: Macrina the Younger

Viewpoints: Roman and Byzantine Views of Barbarians

Thinking Like a Historian: Slavery in Roman and Germanic Society

Evaluating Written Evidence: Gregory of Tours on the Veneration of Relics

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Mosaic of Empress Theodora

Chapter 8: Europe in the Early Middle Ages, 600–1000

What were the origins of Islam, and what impact did it have on Europe as it spread?

The Culture of the Arabian Peninsula

The Prophet Muhammad

The Teachings and Expansion of Islam

Sunni and Shi’a Divisions

Life in Muslim Spain

Muslim-Christian Encounters

Cross-Cultural Influences in Science and Medicine

How did the Franks build and govern a European empire?

The Merovingians

The Rise of the Carolingians

The Warrior-Ruler Charlemagne

Carolingian Government and Society

The Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne

What were the significant intellectual and cultural developments in Charlemagne’s era?

The Carolingian Renaissance

Northumbrian Learning and Writing

How did the ninth-century invasions and migrations shape Europe?

Vikings in Western Europe

Slavs and Vikings in Eastern Europe

Magyars and Muslims

How and why did Europe become politically and economically decentralized in this period?

Decentralization and the Origins of "Feudalism"

Manorialism, Serfdom, and the Slave Trade



Viewpoints: The Muslim Conquest of Spain

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Charlemagne and His Second Wife Hildegard

Individuals in Society: The Venerable Bede

Evaluating Written Evidence: The Death of Beowulf

Thinking Like a Historian: Vikings Tell Their Own Story

Chapter 9: State and Church in the High Middle Ages, 1000–1300

How did monarchs try to centralize political power?



Central Europe


The Iberian Peninsula

How did the administration of law evolve in this period?

Local Laws and Royal Courts

The Magna Carta

Law in Everyday Life

What were the political and social roles of nobles?

Origins and Status of the Nobility

Training, Marriage, and Inheritance

Power and Responsibility

How did the papacy reform the church, and what were the reactions to these efforts?

The Gregorian Reforms

Emperor Versus Pope

Criticism and Heresy

The Popes and Church Law

What roles did monks, nuns, and friars play in medieval society?

Monastic Revival

Life in Convents and Monasteries

The Friars

What were the causes, course, and consequences of the Crusades and the broader expansion of Christianity?

Background and Motives of the Crusades

The Course of the Crusades

Consequences of the Crusades

The Expansion of Christianity




Viewpoints: Oaths of Fealty

Evaluating Written Evidence: Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Illustrations from the Life of St. Edmund

Individuals in Society: Hildegard of Bingen

Thinking Like a Historian: Christian and Muslim Views of the Crusades

Chapter 10: Life in Villages and Cities of the High Middle Ages, 1000–1300

What was village life like in medieval Europe?

Serfdom and Social Mobility

The Manor


Home Life

Childbirth and Childhood

How did religion shape everyday life in the High Middle Ages?

Christian Life in Medieval Villages

Saints and Sacraments

Muslims and Jews

Rituals of Marriage and Birth

Death and the Afterlife

What led to Europe’s economic growth and reurbanization?

The Rise of Towns

Merchant and Craft Guilds

The Revival of Long-Distance Trade

Business Procedures

The Commercial Revolution

What was life like in medieval cities?

City Life

Servants and the Poor

Popular Entertainment

How did universities serve the needs of medieval society?


Legal and Medical Training

Theology and Philosophy

University Students

How did literature and architecture express medieval values?

Vernacular Literature and Drama

Churches and Cathedrals



Thinking Like a Historian: Social and Economic Relations in Medieval English Villages

Individuals in Society: Cecilia Penifader

Evaluating Written Evidence: Apprenticeship Contract for a Money-Changer

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Healthy Living

Viewpoints: Male and Female Troubadours

Chapter 11: The Later Middle Ages, 1300–1450

How did climate change shape the late Middle Ages?

Climate Change and Famine

Social Consequences

How did the plague affect European society?


Spread of the Disease

Care of the Sick

Economic, Religious, and Cultural Effects

What were the causes, course, and consequences of the Hundred Years’ War?


English Successes

Joan of Arc and France’s Victory


Why did the church come under increasing criticism?

The Babylonian Captivity and Great Schism

Critiques, Divisions, and Councils

Lay Piety and Mysticism

What explains the social unrest of the late Middle Ages?

Peasant Revolts

Urban Conflicts

Sex in the City

Fur-Collar Crime

Ethnic Tensions and Restrictions

Literacy and Vernacular Literature



Viewpoints: Italian and English Views of the Plague

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Dance of Death

Evaluating Written Evidence: The Trial of Joan of Arc

Individuals in Society: Meister Eckhart

Thinking Like a Historian: Popular Revolts in the Late Middle Ages

Chapter 12: European Society in the Age of the Renaissance, 1350–1550

How did political and economic developments in Italy shape the Renaissance?

Trade and Prosperity

Communes and Republics of Northern Italy

City-States and the Balance of Power

What new ideas were associated with the Renaissance?



Political Thought

Christian Humanism

The Printed Word

How did art reflect new Renaissance ideals?

Patronage and Power

Changing Artistic Styles

The Renaissance Artist

What were the key social hierarchies in Renaissance Europe?

Race and Slavery

Wealth and the Nobility

Gender Roles

How did nation-states develop in this period?






Viewpoints: Venice Versus Florence

Individuals in Society: Leonardo da Vinci

Thinking Like a Historian: Humanist Learning

Evaluating Written Evidence: Christine de Pizan, The Treasure of the City of Ladies

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Andrea Mantegna, Adoration of the Magi (c. 1495-1505)

Chapter 13: Reformations and Religious Wars, 1500–1600

What were the central ideas of the reformers, and why were they appealing to different social groups?

The Christian Church in the Early Sixteenth Century

Martin Luther

Protestant Thought

The Appeal of Protestant Ideas

The Radical Reformation and the German Peasants’ War

Marriage, Sexuality, and the Role of Women

How did the political situation in Germany shape the course of the Reformation?

The Rise of the Habsburg Dynasty

Religious Wars in Switzerland and Germany

How did Protestant ideas and institutions spread beyond German-speaking lands?


Henry VIII and the Reformation in England

Upholding Protestantism in England


The Reformation in Eastern Europe

What reforms did the Catholic Church make, and how did it respond to Protestant reform movements?

Papal Reform and the Council of Trent

New and Reformed Religious Orders

What were the causes and consequences of religious violence, including riots, wars, and witch-hunts?

French Religious Wars

The Netherlands Under Charles V

The Great European Witch-Hunt



Evaluating Written Evidence: Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty

Individuals in Society: Anna Jansz of Rotterdam

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Lucas de Heere, Allegory of the Tudor Succession, 1572

Thinking Like a Historian: Social Discipline in the Reformation

Viewpoints: Catholic and Calvinist Churches

Chapter 14: European Exploration and Conquest, 1450–1650

What was the Afro-Eurasian trading world before Columbus?

The Trade World of the Indian Ocean

The Trading States of Africa

The Middle East

Genoese and Venetian Middlemen

How and why did Europeans undertake ambitious voyages of expansion?

Causes of European Expansion

Technology and the Rise of Exploration

The Portuguese Overseas Empire

Spain’s Voyages to the Americas

Spain "Discovers" the Pacific

Early Exploration by Northern European Powers

What was the impact of European conquest on the New World?

Conquest of the Aztec Empire

The Fall of the Incas

Portuguese Brazil

Colonial Empires of England and France

Colonial Administration

How did Europe and the world change after Columbus?

Economic Exploitation of the Indigenous Population

Society in the Colonies

Population Loss and the Ecological Impacts of Contact

Sugar and Slavery

Spanish Silver and Its Economic Effects

The Birth of the Global Economy

How did expansion change European attitudes and beliefs?

Religious Conversion

European Debates About Indigenous Peoples

New Ideas About Race

Michel de Montaigne and Cultural Curiosity

William Shakespeare and His Influence



Evaluating Written Evidence: Columbus Describes His First Voyage

Thinking Like a Historian: Who Was Doña Marina?

Individuals in Society: Catarina de San Juan

Viewpoints: Aztec and Spanish Views on Christian Conversion in New Spain

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Andrés Sánchez Gallque, The Mulatto Gentlemen of Esmeraldas, 1599

Chapter 15: Absolutism and Constitutionalism, ca. 1589–1725

What were the crises and achievements of seventeenth-century European states?

The Social Order and Peasant Life

Environmental, Economic, and Social Crisis

The Thirty Years’ War

State-Building and the Growth of Armies

Baroque Art and Music

What was absolutism, and how did it evolve in western and central Europe?

The Decline of Absolutist Spain in the Seventeenth Century

The Foundations of French Absolutism

Louis XIV and Absolutism

Life at Versailles

Louis XIV’s Wars

The French Economic Policy of Mercantilism

What explains the rise of absolutism in Prussia and Austria?

The Return of Serfdom

The Austrian Habsburgs

Prussia in the Seventeenth Century

The Consolidation of Prussian Absolutism

What were the distinctive features of Russian and Ottoman absolutism?

Mongol Rule in Russia and the Rise of Moscow

Building the Russian Empire

The Reforms of Peter the Great

The Ottoman Empire

What were alternatives to absolutism in early modern Europe?

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

The Failure of Absolutism in England

The Puritan Protectorate

The Restoration of the English Monarchy

Constitutional Monarchy

The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century



Thinking Like a Historian: What Was Absolutism?

Evaluating Written Evidence: Peter the Great and Foreign Experts

Individuals in Society: Hürrem

Viewpoints: Stuart Claims to Absolutism and the Parliamentary Response

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Gonzales Coques, The Young Scholar and His Wife, 1640

Chapter 16: Toward a New Worldview, 1540–1789

What revolutionary discoveries were made in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?

Contributions from the Muslim World

Scientific Thought to 1500

The Copernican Hypothesis

Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo: Proving Copernicus Right

Newton’s Synthesis

Natural History and Empire

Magic and Alchemy

What intellectual and social changes occurred as a result of the Scientific Revolution?

The Methods of Science: Bacon and Descartes

Medicine, the Body, and Chemistry

Science and Religion

Science and Society

How did the Enlightenment emerge, and what were major currents of Enlightenment thought?

The Early Enlightenment

The Influence of the Philosophes

Enlightenment Movements Across Europe

How did the Enlightenment change social ideas and practices?

Global Contacts

Enlightenment Debates About Race

Women and the Enlightenment

Urban Culture and Life in the Public Sphere

What impact did new ways of thinking have on politics?

Frederick the Great of Prussia

Catherine the Great of Russia

The Austrian Habsburgs

Jewish Life and the Limits of Enlightened Absolutism



Evaluating Written Evidence: Galileo Galilei, The Sidereal Messenger

Thinking Like a Historian: The Enlightenment Debate on Religious Tolerance

Viewpoints: Rousseau and Wollstonecraft Debate Women’s Equality

Evaluating Visual Evidence: Léonard Defrance and the Public Sphere

Individuals in Society: Moses Mendelssohn and the Jewish Enlightenment



Timeline: A History of Western Society: A Brief Overview

About the Authors

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