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Western Heritage
Course Length: 1 Semester
Has Textbook: Yes
Western Heritage explores the development of Western civilization, beginning in early recorded times. Topics range from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Middle Ages, from 450 to 1500 A.D. Students are invited to participate in a centuries-long journey encompassing one of the most interesting periods in world history.

Course Objectives

Unit 1: Essential Content and Skills

  • Discuss the origins of civilization in the transmission of culture and the creation of cities.
  • Summarize the achievements of the first civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
  • Compare and contrast the outlooks and philosophies of several ancient civilizations, especially the ways different cultures understood the relationship between people and nature and the role of one or more deities.
  • Compare and contrast the social and government structures of the two leading poleis, Sparta and Athens.
  • Identify noteworthy elements of early Greek society, religion, and philosophy.
  • Explore democracy and society in Athens, including the roles of women and slaves.
  • Discuss important elements of classical Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, literature, art, and science.

Unit 2: Essential Content and Skills

  • Summarize the development of the Republic and its conquest of Italy, Carthage, and the Hellenistic world.
  • Discuss Roman culture, including the heavy reliance on slavery.
  • Analyze the rise of Christianity, its persecution, and its growth.
  • Summarize key features of Byzantine society.
  • Summarize the expansion and accomplishments of Islam.
  • Discuss the rise to power of the Catholic Church in the West, including the roles of the pope and the monastic movement.
  • Describe the breakup of Charlemagne’s empire and the rise of feudalism.

Unit 3: Essential Content and Skills

  • Outline the early unification of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire under Otto the Great and analyze its effects on the Church.
  • Analyze the causes of the Crusades.
  • Identify the major groups and classes composing medieval society.
  • Summarize events related to the founding of universities and expansion of the educational curriculum.
  • Outline issues in the lives of women and children in the Middle Ages.
  • Outline the course of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France.
  • Discuss the effects of the bubonic plague on society.

Unit 4: Essential Content and Skills

  • Discuss Renaissance politics, culture, and art in Italy.
  • Outline key features of the northern Renaissance, which followed that of Italy.
  • Analyze the powerful new monarchies of Spain, France, and England.
  • Describe Spanish and Portuguese “discoveries” and conquest.
  • Summarize Martin Luther’s role in the German Reformation.
  • Describe the course of the Reformation in Switzerland, France, and England.
  • Discuss the Catholic Counter-Reformation’s achievements.

Course Materials

  • The Western Heritage (textbook)

*Available as an iText course

**NCAA approved