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Lecture 27: Sub-Saharan Africa

(Duiker 210-222)

Questions about Duiker: *What were the various relationships between Kush and Egypt? *What was the name of an ancient capital of Kush? *Where is Saba, and what relationship did it have with Axum? *What were the main exports and imports of Axum? *To what religion did the Axumite rulers convert in the fourth century CE? *What traditional African religious beliefs conflicted with Islam?

Lecture topics:
Barriers to travel, trade
Neolithic Sudanic Cultures
Changing climate in the Sarhara
The Nok culture
Architectural achievements
Traditional agriculture
Ancient origins
Techniques in dry areas
Early Ethiopian Civilizations
Relations with Egypt
Ethiopian Christianity

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Lecture 29a: Early Japanese History

(Duiker 290-301; Brians 199-203; optional: 189-193)


Questions about Duiker: What country ruled Vietnam for a thousand years? What is the significance of the myth of Iazanagi and Izanami? *Why is Shotoku Taishi important in Japanese history? What aspects of the selections from the “Seventeen-Article-Constitution” stress obedience and hierarchy? *What are the main characteristics of Shinto?

Question about Japanese Creation Myth: How does this story reflect the sense of its creators that Japan is the most important place in the world?

Questions about The Tale of Genji: *How is it possible for Genji to make love with a woman whose identity he does not know? What characteristics do the selection from The Tale of Genji in Duiker on p. 307 and the one in your reader have in common?

Lecture notes:
Geography & Agriculture
The Ainu
Jomon culture
Dates and major accomplishments
Chinese influence
Religion, law, language, arts
Major themes, influence on architecture
Nara Period
Heian Era
Lady Murasaki: The Tale of Genji

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Lecture 32a: Japanese Culture

(Duiker 301-306; Brians 195-198, 204-209)

Questions about Duiker: *What have been the main influences of China upon Japan? *In what ways did ancient Japan differ from China? How did Japanese nature painting differ from Chinese nature painting? What do the seventeen rocks in the Ryoanji Temple garden represent?

Questions about the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon: Which is the only season about which she has something negative to say? *What aspects of life in the women’s apartments does she enjoy? *What qualities make a bad lover?

Questions about Japanese Poetry: *Select two examples of images from nature being used in these poems to convey feelings and explain them. How does Ono no Komachi use the symbol of cherry blossoms? What sorts of feelings seem to be associated with autumn in Japanese poetry? *How do Prince Otsu and Lady Ishikawa use the same imagery to express contrasting ideas? What does the tangled seaweed remind the poet of in Hitomaro’s poems? Why in his last poem does he say “I loved her like the leaves?” In what way was she like the leaves? Why can’t he feed the child? *Why does he go off into the hills? What theme unites all of Lady Kasa’s poems?

Lecture topics:

  • Buddhist art
  • Architecture
  • Art
    • Pottery
    • Sculpture
    • Painting
  • Literature
    • The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
    • Lady Murasaki: The Tale of Genji
    • Japanese poetry

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Lecture 33: Byzantium

(Duiker 201-208)


Questions about Duiker: *What was Justinian’s most important contribution to civilization? *What was the language of the later Byzantine Empire? *What was the relationship between church and state in Byzantium? *What is the importance of the windows in Hagia Sophia? *What sorts of entertainment were presented in the Hippodrome? What wonders did Liudprand of Cremona encounter at the court in Constantinople?

Lecture topics:
Dominance of Christianity
Constantine establishes the church
Splitting the Roman Empire
Persistence of pagan ways
Themes and techniques in Byzantine
art & architecture
The spread of Greek orthodoxy

Supplementary materials:s

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Lecture 34: The Early Middle Ages

(Duiker 314-323; Brians 237-241)

Questions about Duiker: How did a deacon prove that the Arians were wrong in their beliefs, according to the account of Gregory of Tours? *What was the ideal of the early Christian monks? What sort of ideal did Benedict’s rule create for monks? *What were the most important achievements of Charlemagne? *What did a vassal gain from his lord, and a lord from his vassal?

Question about “The Will of Wulfgyth:” *In what ways does this will illustrate the power of women in Anglo-Saxon society?

Question about The Song of Roland: Why does Roland try to destroy his sword? *With what gesture does he symbolize his feudal obedience to God?

Lecture topics:
The Fall of Rome & the Rise of
Major figures
The Dark Ages: definition and causes
Monastic system: major influences
Major accomplishments, influence on the arts
The Norman Invasion
Significance for English history
Feudal System
Basic structure and themes
Cult of the Saints
Quasi-polytheistic beliefs
Emphasis on the miraculous
Influence on art
The Romanesque Style
Basic characteristics

Supplementary Materials

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Lecture 35: The Crusades

(Duiker 192-193, 207-208, 336-338; Brians 242-245, 227-230)

Film: Timeline: The Crusades–October 2, 1187

Questions about Duiker: *What was the role of Alexius I in causing the crusades? *Why is Saladin famous? What role did Pope Urban II play in causing the crusades? *How did the Fourth Crusade damage the Byzantine Empire?

Questions about Usamah: What does Usamah think are the main virtues of the Franks? *What does he think are some of their faults? What is his opinion of Western medicine?


Question about Anna Comnena’s The Alexiad: *According to Anna, what were the main faults of the crusaders?

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Lecture 36: High Middle Ages, Part I

(Duiker 327-335; Brians 250-254)


Questions about Duiker: *What were the main obligations of serfs toward their lords? What was the staple of the peasant diet? What was their most common drink? *How were medieval cities governed? What were the functions of the craft guilds? *Give an example of the power of the Pope over secular rulers. *What was the function of the Holy Office? *What were the main characteristics of Romanesque churches?


Questions about The Inferno: *According to Virgil, what sort of sin is being punished in this passage? In what symbolic way are they punished?

Lecture topics:
The Catholic Church asserts its power
Importance of afterlife
Wealth & reaction (St. Francis)
Jeanne d’Arc: her significance
Rise of cities
Role of mercantilism
Italian communes
Dante: The Divine Comedy
The Black Death: immediate &
long-range impacts

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Lecture 37: High Middle Ages, Part II

(Duiker 336, 338-344; Brians 231-232, 258-265)

Questions about Duiker & Brians: *What are the main differences between Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals? *What were the main results of the Black Death? *Why is Joan of Arc famous?

Question about Hildegard of Bingen: *What are the main reasons that Hildegard is famous? *Explain the meaning of one of the images in Hildegard’s “Hymn to the Virgin.”

Question about “The Black Death:” *In what ways does the pious Jean de Venette feel that the plague years were actually better than those which followed?

Lecture topics:
Chivalry (Très riches heures du Duc de Berry)
Major themes
Influence on religion (Cult of Mary)
Hildegard of Bingen
Women at work (variety of occupations)
The Gothic Cathedrals
Major stylistic traits

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Lecture 38: Medieval Lyric Poetry and Music

(Brians 233-236, 246-249)

Questions on the Medieval Lyric Poetry and Music: *In the anonymous 13th Century Franciscan hymn to Mary: Stabat mater dolorosa, what experience does the narrator want to share with Mary? Why? In The Wife’s Lament, why is the woman unhappy? *In Omittamus Studia (p. 246) what is the poet’s reaction to the shortness of life? *What seems to be the attitude of the Comtessa de Dia toward her husband? *What qualities does she say her lover possesses? *What is a “dawn song?” Why was outdoor lovemaking often resorted to in the Middle Ages?

Lecture outline:
Most famous writers: Dante Aligheri
& Geoffrey Chaucer
Main themes in secular poetry
Typical musical instruments
The evolution of music notation
Evolution of Monophonic into
polyphonic music
Major religious and secular themes
in texts


A Medieval music manuscript

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Lecture 39: The Italian Renaissance: Humanism

(Duiker 346-355; Brians: 261-265, 271-272)


Questions about Duiker: *What two regions contributed most to world trade and civilization in the period just before the Renaissance in the late 14th century? *Who were the Medici? What were the major concerns of Machiavelli in The Prince? *What are the main characteristics of Italian Renaissance Humanism? What were the main results of the spread of printing in Europe?

Question about Pico Della Mirandola: *According to Pico, what qualities make man great?

Question about Petrarch: *What qualities does Petrarch ascribe to Laura? Who is more vividly depicted in this poem, the lover or his beloved?

Question about Machiavelli: *What good qualities does Machiavelli say a prince should seem to have?

Lecture topics:
Pico Della Mirandola
Technological innovations

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