Summer Reading

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51 terms · Western Civilization prior to 1300 B.C.E.

Western Civilization

European way of life (culture) that embraced the concepts of ancient Greeks and Romans. It was heavily influenced by Christianity and the beliefs of The Church. Very broadly it refers to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies that spread through Europe and later North America.

Culture

The enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.

Paleolithic Age

(1,000,000 B.C.E. - 10,000 B.C.E.) Old Stone Age. A period of time in human history characterized by the use of stone tools and the use of hunting and gathering as a food source.

Neolithic Age

(10,000 B.C.E. - 3,000 B.C.E.) New Stone Age. A period of time in human history characterized by the ability to polish stone tools, make pottery, grow crops, and raise animals. The major distinction from the Old Stone age was the development of farming techniques moving people away from the dependence on hunting and gathering.

Bronze Age

(3,000 B.C.E. - 1,000 B.C.E.) A period in human history when people began using bronze, rather than copper or stone, to fashion tools and weapons. Ended with the Iron Age.

Mesopotamia

First civilization located between the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers in present day Iraq; term means "land between the rivers;" Sumerian culture. This civilization included the Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Neo-Babylonians. It saw the invention of the wheel.

Empire

Group of territories or nations under a single ruler or government. Independent states are brought together under the rule of one ruling government usually through wars of conquest.

Monotheism

Belief in a single divine entity. The Israelite worship of Yahweh developed into an exclusive belief in one god, and this concept passed into Christianity and Islam.

Polytheism

Belief in many divine entities. Often found in ancient religions such as Roman and Greek mythology, Hinduism, and the ancient Egyptian religion.

Abraham

The first patriarch in the Bible. Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and was rewarded for being prepared to do so. He is considered by Jewish people as the father of the Israelites through his son Isaac, and by Muslims as the father of Arab peoples through his son Ishmael.

David

(Old Testament) the 2nd and greatest king of the Israelites; he united the tribes into a single nation.

Solomon

David's son who was a great king. He built massive project in Israel including the Great Temple. His project cost the people a lot of money in taxes causing a division in Israel.

Moses

The Hebrew prophet who led the Israelites from Egypt across the Red sea on a journey known as the Exodus. The law-giver of Judaism; God gave the Ten Commandments and other laws to the Jews through him.

Polis

A self-governing city-state; the basic political unit of the Greek world. The polis comprised a city, with its acropolis and agora and the surrounding farm village territory.

Solon

Athenian reformer of the 6th century; established laws that eased the burden of debt on farmers, forbade enslavement for debt; citizens gained more power

Socrates

Philosopher who believed in an absolute right or wrong; asked students pointed questions to make them use their reason

Plato

Greek philosopher; a student of Socrates, he started a school in Athens called the Academy. In the Republic he describes an ideal society run by philosopher-kings.

Aristotle

Greek philosopher that believed, unlike his teacher Plato, that philosophers could rely on their senses to provide accurate information about the world.

Philosophy

Study of the nature and meaning of life; comes from the Greek word for "love of wisdom"

Alexander the Great

(356-323 B.C.E.) Son of Philip II; received military training in Macedonian army and was a student of Aristotle; great leader; goal was to conquer the known world, King of Macedonia 336-323: conqueror of Greek city-states and of the Persian empire from Asia Minor and Egypt to India.

Julius Caesar

(100-44 B.C.E.)Roman general and dictator. He was murdered by a group of senators and his former friend Brutus who hoped to restore the normal running of the republic. Conqueror of Gaul and master of Italy.

Augustus Caesar

(63 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.) Grandnephew of Caesar (later his adopted son) who restored order to Rome after a century of political chaos; he assumed the title Augustus and instituted a monarchial government in which the emperor was dictator, chief military general, and chief priest; first emperor of Rome. He helped Rome come into Pax Romana, or the Age of Roman Peace,

Catholic Church

The original Christian church and the largest denomination in Christianity today. A gathering of those who profess belief in Jesus Christ and are baptized into that faith. The main branch of Christianity from which other denominations branched off. It traces its history back to the church of the Apostles through an unbroken line of bishops. Means "Universal Church."

Diocletian

(284-305 C.E.)Emperor of Rome who divided the empire into east and west (286 C.E.) in an attempt to rule the territory more effectively. His desire to revive the old religion of Rome led to the last major persecution of the Christians (303 C.E.).

Constantine

(280-337 C.E.) Emperor of Rome who adopted the Christian faith and stopped the persecution of Christians

Theodosius

(346? C.E. - 395 C.E.) Emperor of the Roman Empire who is responsible for making the Christian religion the official religion of the empire.

Byzantine Empire

Historians' name for the eastern portion of the Roman Empire from the fourth century onward, taken from 'Byzantion,' an early name for Constantinople, the Byzantine capital city. The empire fell to the Ottomans in 1453.

Justinian Code

Collection of Roman laws organized by the Byzantine emperor Justinian and later serving as a model for the Catholic Church and medieval monarchs. Organized into four parts: the Code (Roman Laws before 534 C.E.), the Digest (Legal opinions), the Institutes (Law text for legal students), and the Novellae (new laws after 534 C.E).

Middle Ages

The period between the fall of the Roman Empire in the west (470 C.E.) and the beginning of the European Renaissance in the 1400s. This period is also known as "Medieval." Petrarch would later call this period the Dark Ages due to the lack of intellectual and scientific growth.

Guilds

Associations of workers in the same occupation in a single city; stressed security and mutual control; limited membership, regulated apprenticeship, guaranteed good workmanship, discouraged innovations, limited production in order to keep prices high; often established franchise within cities.

Serfdom

Early medieval Europe's predominant labor system that tied peasants to their lords and the land. They were not slaves because they could not be sold from the land.

Feudalism

A political system in which nobles are granted the use of lands that legally belong to their king, in exchange for their loyalty, military service, and protection of the people who live on the land

Seigniorial System

System in the country-side in France resented by the peasants because it required them to pay dues (for using the lord's ovens, mills, and wine presses), taxes, & tithes (percent of income given to the church).

Islam

A religion based on the teachings of the prophet Mohammed which stresses belief in one god (Allah), Paradise and Hell, and a body of law written in the Quran. Followers are called Muslims.

Muhammad

(570-632 C.E.) The Arab prophet who founded Islam, considered the greatest prophet in Islam,

Charlemagne

(747-814 C.E.) King of the Franks (reign 768-814 C.E.); emperor (r. 800-814 C.E.). Charles the Great, or Charles I. Through a series of military conquests he established the Carolingian Empire, which encompassed all of Gaul and parts of Germany and Italy. Illiterate, though started an intellectual revival. Crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo II in 800. Regarded as founding father of French and German monarchies, and as Father of Europe.

Divine Right of Kings

Political theory that royal lines are established by God and that rulers lead by heavenly decree.

Magna Carta

Great Charter forced upon King John of England by his barons in 1215; established that the power of the monarchy was not absolute and guaranteed trial by jury and due process of law to the nobility (but not to all English people). The first attempt to limit the power of a king.

Aristocracy

A class of hereditary nobility in medieval Europe; a warrior class who shared a distinctive lifestyle based on the institution of knighthood, although there were social divisions within the group based on extremes of wealth. Membership in this class was passed from parent to child and came with land rights and certain privileges.

Bourgeois

A term for the middle class. A social class characterized by their ownership of capital (money) and their related culture. They derive social and economic power from employment, education, and wealth, as opposed to the inherited power of aristocratic family of titled land owners granted feudal privileges.

The Crusades

A series of military expeditions in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries by Western European Christians to reclaim control of the Holy Lands from the Muslims (specifically the holy city of Jerusalem).

Richard the Lionheart

(1189-1199) English King went on Third Crusade, made truce with Saladin to allow Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem

Louis IX

(1226-1270) Became king of France in 1226, persecuted heretics and Jews, lead french knights into crusades against Muslims, outlawed private wars, expanded royal courts over feudal courts, ended serfdom in his personal domain, created a national feeling amongst his people.

William of Normandy

Defeated King Harold to become king of England in 1066. The Normans spoke French, but gradually the Anglo-Saxons and French created a new English culture, Claimed he was to heir to the English throne. He battled the King Harold Goodwine for the throne, and was crowned in 1066. He built royal castles throughout the kingdom and had a census and inventory of his kingdom, giving us much knowledge about the time. This census scared people and was labeled the Domesday Book. His rule brought England security and order.

Battle of Hastings

The decisive battle in which William the Conqueror (duke of Normandy) defeated the Saxons under Harold II (1066) and thus left England open for the Norman Conquest.

Holy Roman Empire

A Germanic empire located chiefly in central Europe that began with the coronation of Charlemagne as Roman emperor in 800C.E. (or, according to some historians, with the coronation of Otto the Great, king of Germany, in 962 C.E.) and ended with the renunciation of the Roman imperial title by Francis II in 1806, and was regarded theoretically as the continuation of the Western Roman Empire and as the temporal (secular/non-church related) form of a universal dominion whose spiritual head was the pope

Scholasticism

Dominant Medieval philosophical approach; so-called because of its base in the schools or universities; based on use of logic to resolve theological problems. It tried to reconcile faith and belief with logic and reason. Often associated with St. Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas Aquinas

Creator of one of the great syntheses of medieval learning; taught that through reason it was possible to know much about natural order, moral law, and the nature of God. Dominican priest; Doctor of Church; wrote Summa Theologica

Geoffrey Chaucer

English author who wrote The Canterbury Tales, a literary masterpiece written in the vernacular in which pilgrims were going to worship at the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury.

Vernacular

The language of everyday speech in a particular region (not the language used by the church - Latin).

Medieval Art

A kind of art in which subjects are religious, figures look flat and stiff, important figures are large, subjects are clothed with little emotion, and it is flat and two dimensional with a single color background. Often used to teach illiterate Europeans about the Bible and its teachings.

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