World Civilization 1

HIST 1113 / Spring 2017
MWF 9:40-10:30 / HOEC 102

Course Website

Ortelius World Map of 1570


Dr. Charles E. Muntz
Dr. Muntz's Office: 407 Old Main
Office Hours: Tues 10-11, Wed 1:30-2:30
Phone: (479) 575-5891

Graduate Assistants: 

Stuart Bailey
Office: 15 Duncan
Office Hours: WF 11:00-12:00

Mehreen Jamal
Office: Stone House G16
Office Hours: W 11:00-12:00, Th 10:30-11:30

Ashley Whiting
Office: Campus Starbucks
Office Hours: M 11:40-12:40


This class provides an introduction to some of the major civilizations of the pre-modern world through their own works. We will explore some aspect of a different civilization and text each week, by critically evaluating different types of sources, learning how ancient peoples themselves tried to reconstruct their past, and how every source can be used to better understand the society that created it.


Quizzes: There will be an unannounced quiz every week based on the daily readings. The purpose of the quizzes is to test reading comprehension, so if you read the assignments carefully you should pass with flying colors! If you are absent on the date of a quiz, you will not be allowed to make it up, but I will drop the three lowest quiz grades at the end of the semester.

Exams: There will be a final exam on Wednesday, May 10, from 10:15 am to 12:15 pm. It will consist of a selection of essay questions. Bring a blue book.

Primary Source Papers: Three papers, each comparing and analyzing a theme or issue from two of the sources we read for class. For each of these papers you are only allowed to use the sources we read for class and the information presented in the lectures. DO NOT look at other sources or texts - I want to read what you have to say, not what someone else has to say! Looking at or employing outside sources will result in an automatic 50 point penalty and may violate the university's academic integrity policy. If you have any questions or are at all uncertain, don't hesitate to ask!

Paper 1: A comparison of the Flood Narratives in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis. 600-800 words. See detailed assignment on Blackboard.

Paper 2: A comparison of the First Emperor of China and Emperor Augustus of Rome. 800-1000 words. See detailed assignment on Blackboard.

Paper 3: An analysis of how the Crusaders depicted in Anna Comnena compare with the figures in the Song of Roland. 1500-1800 words. See detailed assignment on Blackboard.

Attendance and Participation: Regular attendance and participation is important, even more so in a class of this size. To encourage this, starting in the second week at the end of each class every student will write their name and a question about the day's lecture or reading assignment on a piece of paper, and deposit it at the front of the room on the way out. You will not get credit if you do not ask a question. Selected questions will be answered at the start of the next class. Regular attendance will be rewarded with bonus points on your final grade. If you attend at least 39 classes you will get an extra 3 points added to your final grade. At least 37 classes, you will get an extra 2 points. At least 35 classes you will get an extra 1 point.

Grading Breakdown:
Quizzes: 20%
Final Exam: 25%
Paper 1: 10%
Paper 2: 15%
Paper 3: 30%

Reading Materials 

Required Texts (Available in the bookstore, or online): 
Conrad, David, trans.. Sunjata: A West African Epic of the Mande Peoples. ISBN 9780872206977.
Dawson, Raymond, trans. Sima Qian: The First Emperor. ISBN 0199574391 
Ferry, David, trans. Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse. ISBN 9780374523831.
Johnson, W. J., trans. The Bhagavad Gita. ISBN 9780199538126.
DuVal, John, trans.. The Song of Roland. ISBN 9781603848503.

Other texts will be made available via the course website & Blackboard.


Cell Phones, Laptops, and other technology: This will be a technology free class. Please silence and put away your cell phones, tablets, computers, etc. This is to remove distractions from the classroom, but also because people retain information better and more accurately when they write by hand than when they type on a computer.

Academic Integrity: As a core part of its mission, the University of Arkansas provides students with the opportunity to further their educational goals through programs of study and research in an environment that promotes freedom of inquiry and academic responsibility. Accomplishing this mission is only possible when intellectual honesty and individual integrity prevail.

Each University of Arkansas student is required to be familiar with and abide by the University’s ‘Academic Integrity Policy’ which may be found at Students with questions about how these policies apply to a particular course or assignment should immediately contact their instructor.

Equal Access: University of Arkansas Academic Policy Series 1520.10 requires that students with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact me privately at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through the Center for Educational Access (contact 479-575-3104 or visit for more information on registration procedures). 

Inclement Weather: Class is on unless the University closes.

Miscellaneous: Bumpers College does not allow food or drink in its classrooms, so please finish anything you might have before coming into class. Please remain seated during class - if you need to use the lavatory, do so before or after class. 

Daily Topics and Reading Assignments 

Week 1: Beginnings 
January 18 - Introduction

January 20 - The Sources for History

Week 2: Gilgamesh and the Land Between the Rivers 
January 23 - The Origins of Writing
    Gilgamesh, Tablets I-V (pp. 3-28)

January 25 - Gilgamesh as a source for history 
    Gilgamesh, Tablets VI-X (pp. 29-64) 

January 27 - The Search for immortality
    Gilgamesh, Tablet XI (pp. 65-82) 

Week 3: The Origins of the Hebrew Bible and the Jews 
January 30 - Understanding the Hebrew Bible 
    Genesis Chapters 1-22

February 1 - The Hebrew Bible and History
    Exodus Chapters 1-14

February 3 - Archaeology and the Origins of the Jews / First Paper Due 

Week 4: The Persians 
February 6 - The Father of History 
    Herodotus Book 1, Chapters 1-56, 75-91

February 8 - The Origins of the Persian Empire
    Herodotus Book 1, Chapters 95-140

February 10 - Persia through Greek Eyes
    Herodotus Book 1, Chapters 177-216

Week 5: The Greeks and Democracy 
February 13 - Greek Comedy and History 
    Aristophanes: Acharnians, Lines 1-410 

February 15 - Comedy, Democracy, and War
    Aristophanes: Acharnians, Lines 410-836

February 17 - Comedy and Athenian Civic Life
    Aristophanes: Acharnians, Lines 836-end

Week 6: Classical India
February 20 - Vedic Values
    Bhagavad Gita, Chapters 1-5 (pp. 3-25)

February 22 - Seeking the Way
    Bhagavad Gita, Chapters 6-10 (pp. 27-48)

February 24 - Finding the Way
    Bhagavad Gita, Chapters 11-18 (pp. 49-81)

Week 7: The First Emperor of China
February 27 - The Beginnings of Chinese Civilization
    Sima Qian: Birth of the First Emperor, An Assassination Attempt (pp. 3-22)

March 1 - Sima Qian and the making of an Emperor (pp. 61-94)
    Sima Qian: The Annals of Qin

March 3 - The First Emperor and his Army 
    Sima Qian: The Story of the Rebel Chen Sheng (pp. 135-142)

Week 8: The Rise of Rome
March 6 - Livy and the Birth of Rome
    Livy, History of Rome Preface & Book 1, Chapters 1-16

March 8 - The Rise of Octavian
    Suetonius, Life of Augustus 1-34 

March 10 - Octavian and the Fall of Rome
    Suetonius, Life of Augustus 35-67

Week 9: The First Emperor of Rome
March 13 - Augustus and the Rebirth of Rome
    Suetonius, Life of Augustus 68-112

March 15 - The Legacy of the First Emperor of Rome
     Res Gestae of Augustus 

March 17 - Rome after Augustus / Second Paper Due
Spring Break!

Week 10: The Birth of Islam
March 27 - Muhammed and the Qur'an as an historical source
     Qur'an: 1. Opening, 51. The Scatterers, 53. The Star, 74. The One Wrapping Himself, 85. The Stars, 100. The Assaulters

March 29 - The development of Islam
     Qur'an: 10. Jonah, 19. Mary, 28. The Narrative, 29. The Spider

March 31 - The Muslim Conquests
     Qur'an: 3. The Family of Amram, 8. Voluntary Gifts, 9. The Immunity, 48. The Victory

Week 11: Chingis Khan and the Mongols
April 3 - The Peoples of the Steppes
    Secret History of the Mongols, Chapter 1

April 5 - The Rise of Temujin
    Secret History of the Mongols, Chapter 2

April 7 - The Empire of Chingis Khan
    Secret History of the Mongols, Chapter 3

Week 12: Europe and the Middle Ages 
April 10 - The Empire of Charlemagne
    The Song of Roland 1-90 (pp. 1-34)

April 12 - Oral Poetry as an Historical Source
     The Song of Roland 91-201 (pp. 34-79)

April 14 - Towards the Crusades
     The Song of Roland 202-291 (pp. 80-112)

Week 13: Byzantium and the Crusades 
April 17 - The Forgotten Empire
   Anna Comnena: The Alexiad, Preface and Book 10 Part 1

April 19 - Alexius Comnenus
   Anna Comnena: The Alexiad, Book 10 Part 2, Book 11 Part 1

April 21 - The First Crusade
   Anna Comnena: The Alexiad, Book 11 Part 2

Week 14: The Golden Empire of Mali 
April 24 - Mande Oral Epic
    Sunjata Episodes 1-9 (pp. 1-73)

April 26 - The Origins of the Kingdom of Mali
    Sunjata Episodes 10-22 (pp. 74-130)

April 28 - Sunjata and Mansa Musa 
    Sunjata Episodes 23-35 (pp. 131-195)

Week 15: Summation and Review 
May 1 - Looking towards the Renaissance / Final Paper Due

May 3 - Epilogue & Review