A History of Western Society: From Antiquity to Enlightenment


A History of Western Society examines Western civilization through the lives of ordinary people as well as historical figures, using an engaging, lively writing style to capture student interest. The authors pay careful attention to political and cultural phenomena and provide a balanced account of Western history. Merry Wiesner and Clare Crowston are new authors to this edition--both scholars of women and gender--who do an excellent job of revising and improving the treatment of gender throughout the text.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312594244
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan Higher Education
  • Format: eTextbook
  • Pages: 640
  • File size: 57 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
ca. 400,000-1100 B.C.E.


Understanding Western History
Describing the West What Is Western Civilization, and Why?


From Caves to Towns
Paleolithic Life Neolithic Life


Mesopotamian Civilization
Environment and Mesopotamian Development The Invention of Writing and the First Schools Mesopotamian Thought and Religion Sumerian Social and Gender Divisions


The Spread of Mesopotamian Culture
The Triumph of Babylon Life Under Hammurabi


Egypt, the Land of the Pharaohs, 3100-1200 B.C.E.
The God-King of Egypt The Life of the Pharaoh's People The Hyksos in Egypt The New Kingdom: Revival and Empire


The Hittites and the End of an Era, ca. 1640-1100 B.C.E.
The Rise of the Hittites The Fall of Empires and the Survival of Cultures


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: The Iceman Listening to the Past: Gilgamesh's Quest for Immortality Individuals in Society: Nefertiti, the “Great Wife”


Chapter 2
Small Kingdoms and Mighty Empires in the Near East ca. 1100-513 B.C.E.


Disruption and Diffusion
The End of Egyptian Power The Rise of Phoenicia


The Children of Israel
The Hebrew State The Evolution of Jewish Religion The Lives of the Hebrews


Assyria, the Military Monarchy
The Power of Assyria Assyrian Rule and Culture The Neo-Babylonian Empire


The Empire of the Persian Kings
The Land of the Medes and Persians The Rise of the Persian Empire Persian Religion Persian Art and Culture


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: Assyrian Palace Life and Power Listening to the Past: The Covenant Between Yahweh and the Hebrews Individuals in Society: Cyrus the Great


Chapter 3
The Development of Classical Greece ca. 2000-338 B.C.E.


Hellas: The Land
The Minoans and Mycenaeans Homer, Hesiod, and the Epic


The Polis
Origins of the Polis Governing Structures


The Archaic Age, 800-500 B.C.E.
Overseas Expansion The Growth of Sparta The Evolution of Athens


The Classical Period, 500-338 B.C.E.
The Persian Wars Growth of the Athenian Empire The Peloponnesian War Athenian Arts in the Age of Pericles Daily Life in Periclean Athens Gender and Sexuality Greek Religion The Flowering of Philosophy


The Final Act
The Struggle for Hegemony Philip II and Macedonian Supremacy


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: Triremes and Their Crews Listening to the Past: Thucydides on the Great Plague at Athens, 430 B.C.E.
Individuals in Society: Aspasia


Chapter 4
The Hellenistic World
336-30 B.C.E.


Alexander and the Great Crusade


Alexander's Legacy
From Hellenic to Hellenistic The Political Legacy The Cultural Legacy


The Spread of Hellenism
Cities and Kingdoms The Lives of the Greeks in the East Greeks and Easterners


The Economic Scope of the Hellenistic World
Agriculture and Industry Commerce


Religion and Hellenistic Intellectual Advances
Religion in the Hellenistic World Hellenism and the Jews Philosophy and the People Hellenistic Science Hellenistic Medicine


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Listening to the Past: Alexander's Prayer to Establish a Brotherhood of Man Living in the Past: Farming in the Hellenistic World Individuals in Society: Archimedes, Scientist and Inventor


Chapter 5
The Rise of Rome ca. 750-31 B.C.E.


The Land and Its Early Settlers
The Geography of Italy The Etruscans and the Roman Settlement of Italy The Roman Conquest of Italy


The Roman Republic
The Roman State The Struggle of the Orders


Roman Expansion
Italy Becomes Roman The Age of Conquest The Punic Wars Rome Turns East


Traditional Life and Greek Influences
Marcus Cato: The Traditional Ideal Scipio Aemilianus: Greek Culture and Urban Life


The Late Republic
Unrest in Rome and Italy Civil War


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: Roman Table Manners Listening to the Past: Cicero and the Plot to Kill Caesar Individuals in Society: Queen Cleopatra


Chapter 6
The Pax Romana
31 B.C.E.-284 C.E.

Augustus's Settlement, 31 B.C.E.-14 C.E.

The Principate and the Restored Republic Administration of the Provinces Roman Expansion into Northern and Western Europe The Flowering of Latin Literature Social Changes The Legacy of Augustus


Augustus's Successors
The Julio-Claudians and the Flavians The Age of the Five Good Emperors


Life in the Golden Age
Life in Imperial Rome Provincial Life


The Coming of Christianity
Unrest in Judaea The Life and Teachings of Jesus The Spread of Christianity The Appeal of Christianity Christians and Pagans


The Empire in Disarray, 235-284 C.E.
Civil Wars and Foreign Invasions Turmoil in Farm and Village Life The Crisis of the Third Century


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Listening to the Past: Augustus's Res Gestae Living in the Past: Roman Tombstone Epitaphs: Death Remembers Life Individuals in Society: Bithus, a Typical Roman Soldier

Late Antiquity


Reconstruction Under Diocletian and Constantine
Political Measures Economic Issues The Acceptance of Christianity


The Growth of the Christian Church
The Church and Its Leaders The Development of Christian Monasticism Monastery Life Christianity and Classical Culture Christian Notions of Gender and Sexuality Saint Augustine on Human Nature, Will, and Sin


Barbarian Society
Social and Economic Structures Chiefs and Warriors Barbarian Law Barbarian Religion


Barbarian Migrations and Political Change
Celtic and Germanic People in Gaul and Britain Visigoths and Huns Barbarian Kingdoms and the End of the Roman Empire


Christian Missionaries and Conversion
Missionaries' Actions The Process of Conversion


The Byzantine Empire
Sources of Byzantine Strength The Law Code of Justinian Byzantine Intellectual Life The Orthodox Church


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: The Horses of Spain Listening to the Past: Gregory of Tours on theConversion of Clovis Individuals in Society: Theodora of Constantinople


Europe in the Early Middle Ages


The Spread of Islam
The Arabs The Prophet Muhammad The Teachings and Expansion of Islam Life in Muslim Spain Muslim-Christian Relations Science and Medicine


Frankish Rulers and Their Territories
The Merovingians The Rise of the Carolingians The Warrior-Ruler Charlemagne Carolingian Government and Society The Imperial Coronation of Charlemagne


Early Medieval Culture
The Carolingian Renaissance Scholarship and Religious Life in Northumbria


Invasions and Migrations
Vikings in Western Europe Slavs and Vikings in Eastern Europe Magyars and Muslims


Political and Economic Decentralization
Decentralization and the Origins of “Feudalism”
Manorialism, Serfdom, and the Slave Trade


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: Muslim Technology: Advances in Papermaking Individuals in Society: The Venerable Bede Listening to the Past: Eirik's Saga


State and Church in the High Middle Ages


Political Revival and the Origins of the Modern State
England France Central Europe Sicily The Iberian Peninsula


Law and Justice
Local Laws and Royal Courts King Versus Archbishop The Magna Carta Law in Everyday Life


The Papacy
The Gregorian Reforms Emperor Versus Pope The Popes and Church Law


The Crusades
Background and Motives The Course of the Crusades Crusades Within Europe Consequences of the Crusades


The Expansion of Christianity
Northern Europe Eastern Europe Christendom


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: Life in an English Castle 
Listening to the Past: An Arab View of the Crusades Individuals in Society: The Jews of Speyer


The Life of the People in the High Middle Ages


Village Life
Slavery, Serfdom, and Upward Mobility The Manor Work Home Life and Diet Health Care Childbirth and Child Abandonment


Popular Religion
Christian Life in Medieval Villages Saints and Sacraments Muslims and Jews Rituals of Marriage and Birth Death and the Afterlife


Origins and Status of the Nobility Childhood Youth and Marriage Power and Responsibility


Monasteries and Convents
Monastic Revival Life in Convents and Monasteries


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Listening to the Past: The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela Individuals in Society: Hildegard of Bingen Living in the Past: Child's Play


The Creativity and Challenges of Medieval Cities


Towns and Economic Revival
The Rise of Towns Merchant and Craft Guilds The Revival of Long-Distance Trade Business Procedures The Commercial Revolution


Urban Life
City Life Servants and the Poor Popular Entertainment


Medieval Universities
Origins Legal Curriculum Medical Training Theology and Philosophy Abelard and Heloise Thomas Aquinas Life at a University


Literature and Architecture
Vernacular Literature and Drama Churches and Cathedrals


Cities and the Church
Heretical Groups The Friars The Friars and Papal Power


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Individuals in Society: Francesco Datini Listening to the Past: Courtly Love Poetry Living in the Past: Medieval Churches, from Romanesque to Gothic


The Crisis of the Later Middle Ages


Prelude to Disaster
Climate Change and Famine Social Consequences


The Black Death
Pathology Spread of the Disease Care of the Sick Economic, Religious, and Cultural Effects


The Hundred Years' War
Causes English Successes Joan of Arc and France's Victory Aftermath


Challenges to the Church
The Babylonian Captivity and the Great Schism Critiques, Divisions, and Councils Lay Piety and Mysticism


Social Unrest in a Changing Society
Peasant Revolts Urban Conflicts Sex in the City Fur-Collar Crime Ethnic Tensions and Restrictions Literacy and Vernacular Literature


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: Treating the Plague Individuals in Society: Meister Eckhart Listening to the Past: Christine de Pizan, Advice to the Wives of Artisans


European Society in the Age of the Renaissance


Wealth and Power in Renaissance Italy
Trade and Prosperity Communes and Republics of Northern Italy City-States and the Balance of Power


Intellectual Change
Humanism Education Political Thought Christian Humanism The Printed Word


Art and the Artist 
Patronage and Power Changing Artistic Styles The Renaissance Artist


Social Hierarchies
Race and Slavery Wealth and the Nobility Gender Roles


Politics and the State in Western Europe, ca. 1450-1521
France England Spain


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Listening to the Past: Perspectives on Humanist Learning and Women Individuals in Society: Leonardo da Vinci Living in the Past: Male Clothing and Masculinity


Reformations and Religious Wars


The Early Reformation
The Christian Church in the Early Sixteenth Century Martin Luther Protestant Thought The Appeal of Protestant Ideas The Radical Reformation and the German Peasants' War Marriage and Sexuality


The Reformation and German Politics
The Rise of the Habsburg Dynasty Religious Wars in Switzerland and Germany


The Spread of Protestant Ideas
Scandinavia Henry VIII and the Reformation in England Upholding Protestantism in England Calvinism The Reformation in Eastern Europe


The Catholic Reformation
Papal Reform and the Council of Trent New Religious Orders


Religious Violence
French Religious Wars The Netherlands Under Charles V The Great European Witch-Hunt


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Listening to the Past: Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty Living in the Past: Uses of Art in the Reformation Individuals in Society: Teresa of Ávila

European Exploration and Conquest


World Contacts Before Columbus
The Trade World of the Indian Ocean The Trading States of Africa The Ottoman and Persian Empires Genoese and Venetian Middlemen


The European Voyages of Discovery
Causes of European Expansion Technology and the Rise of Exploration The Portuguese Overseas Empire The Problem of Christopher Columbus Later Explorers Spanish Conquest in the New World Early French and English Settlement in the New World


The Impact of Conquest
Colonial Administration Impact of European Settlement on the Lives of Indigenous Peoples Life in the Colonies The Columbian Exchange


Europe and the World After Columbus
Sugar and Slavery Spanish Silver and Its Economic Effects The Birth of the Global Economy


Changing Attitudes and Beliefs
New Ideas About Race Michel de Montaigne and Cultural Curiosity William Shakespeare and His Influence


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review

Listening to the Past: Columbus Describes His First Voyage Living in the Past: Foods of the Columbian Exchange Individuals in Society: Juan de Pareja


Absolutism and Constitutionalism ca. 1589-1725


Seventeenth-Century Crisis and Rebuilding

Peasant Life in the Midst of Economic Crisis The Return of Serfdom in the East The Thirty Years' War Achievements in State-Building Warfare and the Growth of Army Size Popular Political Action


Absolutism in France and Spain
The Foundations of Absolutism Louis XIV and Absolutism Life at Versailles


French Financial Management Under Colbert
Louis XIV's Wars The Decline of Absolutist Spain in the Seventeenth Century

Absolutism in Austria and Prussia
The Austrian Habsburgs Prussia in the Seventeenth Century The Consolidation of Prussian Absolutism


The Development of Russia and the Ottoman Empire
The Mongol Yoke and the Rise of Moscow The Tsar and People The Reforms of Peter the Great The Growth of the Ottoman Empire


Alternatives to Absolutism in England and the Dutch Republic
Absolutist Claims in England Religious Divides and the English Civil War Cromwell and Puritanical Absolutism in England The Restoration of the English Monarchy Constitutional Monarchy and Cabinet Government The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century


Baroque Art and Music

Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review

Living in the Past: The Absolutist Palace Listening to the Past: A German Account of Russian Life Individuals in Society: Glückel of Hameln


Toward a New Worldview


The Scientific Revolution
Scientific Thought in 1500
Origins of the Scientific Revolution The Copernican Hypothesis Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo: Proving Copernicus Right Newton's Synthesis Bacon, Descartes, and the Scientific Method Science and Society Medicine, the Body, and Chemistry


The Enlightenment
The Emergence of the Enlightenment The Influence of the Philosophes The Enlightenment Outside of France Urban Culture and Life in the Public Sphere Race and the Enlightenment Late Enlightenment


Enlightened Absolutism
Frederick the Great of Prussia Catherine the Great of Russia The Austrian Habsburgs Jewish Life and the Limits of Enlightened Absolutism


Looking Back, Looking Ahead Chapter Review


Living in the Past: Coffeehouse Culture Listening to the Past: Denis Diderot, “Supplement to Bougainville's Voyage”
Individuals in Society: Moses Mendelssohn and the Jewish Enlightenment





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