This comprehensive course explores the people, places, ideas, and events that shaped the Western world from 3000 B.C. to A.D. 1600. You’ll learn about political structures, institutions, and the Western tradition of political discourse.
History of Western Civilization is a comprehensive course that takes you on a journey through time, exploring the people, places, ideas, and events that have shaped Western civilization as we know it. This course covers roughly 3000 B.C. to A.D. 1600, from the late stages of the Agricultural Revolution to the doorstep of the Scientific Revolution. By the end of the course, you’ll have gained an understanding of the essential nature, evolution, and perceptions of Western civilization, from its humble beginnings in the great river valleys of Iraq and Egypt to the dawn of the modern world.
Through this course, you will explore myriad forms of political and institutional structures by means of which Western peoples have organized themselves and their societies. You will learn about monarchies of several distinct types, as well as participatory republics. By examining institutions, you will be able to inquire about the Western tradition of political discourse.
Your learning will follow a timeline and order to cover vast amounts of territory and thousands of years. The course begins in the ancient Near East and moves to Greece, then to Rome, exploring the shape and impact of large ancient empires, including those of Persia, Alexander the Great, and Rome. You will also consider Western Europe to watch Europe gradually expand physically and culturally. Finally, you will examine the globalization of Western civilization with the Portuguese and Spanish voyages of exploration and discovery.
Western civilization is much more than human and political geography. You will also learn about the culture, religion, and philosophy that have shaped Western civilization, and how it distinguishes itself from other world civilizations. No other civilization has achieved the global reach of the West. By surveying Mesopotamia to modernity and everything in between, you will pursue answers to the questions of what “the West” most essentially is or has been thought to be, and what distinguishes it from other world civilizations—not necessarily better in all ways but surely unique.
This course is designed for anyone interested in understanding the essential nature, evolution, and perceptions of Western civilization. It is ideal for those who seek to gain a deeper understanding of the major themes and developments in Western civilization, and how they have shaped our world today.