This primary source reader covers the entire span of ancient history, providing helpful editorial material and carefully selected sources to promote student learning. The selections in this text encourage critical thinking through an examination of parallel developments across ancient civilizations during the same historical periods.
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Meet the Author
Nels Bailkey is a retired professor from Tulane University.
Richard Lim, Professor of History at Smith College, teaches the history of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. His research focuses on the cultural and religious history of late antiquity, and he is currently finishing a book project on the reception of public spectacles during the Later Roman Empire.
I. Near Eastern Civilizations 1. The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Sumerian Heroic Age 2. The Epic of the Flood: The Babylonian Noah 3. The Reforms of Urukagina: "He established freedom" 4. The Shamash Hymn: Moral Religion and Social Justice 5. The Laws of Hammurabi: "To further the welfare of the people" 6. The Instruction of Ptah-hotep: Early Material Values in Egypt 7. Unas Pyramid Incantations: The afterlife of a Pharaoh 8. Hymn to the Aton: Religious Reform and Monotheism 9. An Egyptian-Hittite Treaty: Imperialism and International Diplomacy 10. Sea Peoples' Inscriptions: Egypt and Its Neighbors Under Ramses III A. Ramses III Issuing Equipment to His Troops for the Campaign Against the Sea Peoples B. Ramses III on the March to Zahi Against the Sea Peoples C. Ramses III in Battle with the Land Forces of the Sea Peoples 11. Work Songs from Ancient Egypt: Voices of Ordinary Men and Women 12. Prism of Sennacherib: An Assyrian King's Wars 13. The Old Testament: Hebrew Views on God and on History A. Earliest Relations Between Humans and God B. Hebrew Origins: The Patriarchs C. Bondage and Deliverance D. The Sinai Covenant E. The Song of Deborah: "So perish all thine enemies, O Lord!" F. The People Demand a King: "To govern us like all the nations" G. The United Kingdom of Israel: "A great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth" H. Jeremiah: Prophet of the New Covenant 14. A Conquering Messiah: Cyrus the Great and the Persian Empire A. Cyrus' Cylinder: The Chosen of Marduk B. Cyrus as the Messiah: Return of the Jews and the Rebuilding of Jerusalem Selected Background Reading II. Greek Civilization: Ancient Greece 15. Homer: The Greek Heroic Age 16. Hesiod: Changing Times Bring on a Moral Order 17. Early Greek Lyric Poetry: Individualism Emergent A. Sappho B. Theognis 18. Pindar's Odes to Athletic Victors: The Heroic Ideal 19. Solon: Economic and Political Reforms at Athens 20. Pisistratus: The Rise of Tyranny at Athens 21. Lycurgus: The Spartan Military Machine 22. Herodotus: Greece Saved from Persian Conquest 23. Pericles' Funeral Oration: An Idealized View of Athenian Democracy and Its Empire 24. The Old Oligarch: A Realistic View of Athenian Democracy and Its Empire 25. Thucydides, History: The Statesman's Handbook A. The Revolt of Mitylene: "Democracy is incapable of empire." B. The Corcyrean Revolution: The Psychology of Civil War C. The Melian Dialogue: "The strong do what they can and the weak submit." D. The Sicilian Expedition: "Most glorious to the victors, most calamitous to the conquered." 26. Xenophon: The Athenians Overthrow Dictatorship 27 Socrates: Philosophy Shifts from Nature to Man A. The Socratic Method: "The unexamined life is not worth living." B. Aristophanes, Clouds: Socrates as Troublemaker: "You will now believe in no god but those we believe in..." C. The Apology of Socrates: "I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state." 28. Lysias, The Murder of Erathosthenes: An Athenian Woman's Life: "...I began to trust her...." 29. Plato: "Turning the eye of the soul toward the light" A. The Theory of Ideas: The Allegory of the Cave B. The Spiritual Life: Dualism of Body and Soul 30. Aristotle: "The philosophy of human affairs" A. The Nicomachaean Ethics: "The good for man" B. The Politics: "A state exists for the sake of the good life." 31. Demosthenes Versus Isocrates: "Nationalism" Versus "Internationalism" A. Demosthenes: First Philippic: " Athenians when will you act as becomes you!" B. Isocrates, Address to Philip: "A champion powerful in action" Selected Background Reading III. Hellenistic Civilization 32. Arrian, History of Alexander the Great: Conqueror and Reformer 33. Demetrius: A God Among Men A. Plutarch, Life of Demetrius B. Athenaeus, The Learned Banquet: Ithyphallic Hymn in Honor of Demetrius 34. King and City: Antigonus the One-Eyed and Scepsis A. Letter of Antigonus to Scepsis B. Scepsis' Response to Antigonus's Letter 35. Euhemerus of Messsene, Sacred History: How Men Became Gods 36. Athenaeus, The Learned Banquet: Hellenistic Pomp and Circumstance 37. Oil Monopoly of Ptolemy II Philadelphus: Toward a Command Economy 38. Plutarch, The Life of Antony: The Portrait of Queen Cleopatra 39. Hellenistic Philosophy: The Cynic Counterculture 40. Hellenistic Science: Archimedes Selected Background Reading IV. The Roman Republic 41. Livy: The Early Romans A. Preface: "The greatest nation in the world" B. The Rape of Lucretia: Monarchy Abolished C. Horatius at the Bridge: "A noble piece of work" 42. Livy: The Foreign Policy of the Roman Republic 43. Polybius: The Constitution of the Roman Republic 44. Cato the Elder: Traditional Standards in a New Age 45. Pseudo-Cicero: How to Get Elected to Public Office in Rome 46. Tiberius Gracchus: The Republic at the Crossroads 47. Gaius Gracchus: The Republic at the Crossroads, Continued 48. The Revolt of Spartacus: The Dangers of a Slave Society 49. The Conspiracy of Catiline: The Roman Republic in Decay 50. Julius Caesar: The Man and the Statesman 51. The Assassination of Julius Caesar: "Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!" 52. Cicero: "An eloquent man who loved his country well" A. Advocate of Property Rights, Greek Philosophy, and the Status Quo B. Champion of Liberty: The Second Philippic 53. Lucretius: Epicurean Philosophy at Rome Selected Background Reading V. The Roman Empire 54. Augustus: The Achievements of the Deified Augustus 55. Augustus' Reconstruction of the Roman World: Contrasting Estimates A. Dio Cassius: The "True Democracy" of the Roman Empire B. Tacitus, Annals: "It was really from a lust for power." 56. The Pax Romana: Divergent Views A. Tacitus, Histories: "By the prosperity and order of eight hundred years has this fabric of empire been consolidated...." B. Tacitus, Agricola: "They create a desert and cll it peace." C. Aelius Aristides, Oration on Rome: "How is this form of government not beyond every democracy?" 57. Rebels Against Rome A. Tacitus, Annals: The Rebellion of Boudicca in Britian B. Josephus, History of the Jewish War: The Futility of Revolt 58. Aspects of Roman Slavery A. Varro, On Agriculture: Setting Up a Slave Plantation B. Columella, On Agriculture: Masters and Slaves C. Seneca, Moral Epistle: "...see in him a freeborn man..." 59. Capitalism in the Early Empire: From Free Enterprise to State Intervention A. Petronius: A Self-Made Millionaire B. Emergency Measures to Deal with Depression 60. The Legal Status of Roman Women 61. Juvenal: The Emancipated Women of the Early Empire 62. Tacitus: The Early Germans 63. Marcus Aurelius: "Either atoms or Providence" 64. Apuleius: The Cult of Isis and Religious Syncretism Selected Background Reading VI. Early Christianity and Late Antiquity 65. The New Testament: The Beginnings of Christianity A. The Teachings of Jesus: "Turn away from your sins! The Kingdom of heaven is near!" B. The Work of Paul: "Jews and Gentiles...are all one in union with Christ Jesus." 66. Christianity and Greco-Roman Thought: "Whatever has been uttered aright by any men in any place belongs to us Christians" A. Justin Martyr, Apology: "Those who lived according to reason are Christians." B. Tertullian, Against Heretics: "What is there in common between Athens and Jerusalem?" C. St. Augustine, Confessions: "How did I burn to fly from earthly things to You." 67. The Persecution of Christians: "Amid the ruins of a falling age, our spirit remains erect." A. Pliny, Letters: Trajan's Enlightened Policy B. Tertullian, Apology: The Christian View of the Persecutions C. The Martyrdom of Polycarp of Smyrna: Early Persecutions Against Christians D. The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Feliticas: North African Christian Martyrs 68. The Reforms of Diocletian: "...by whose virtue and foreseeing care all is being reshaped for the better." A. Administrative Reorganization: "This man...overturned the Roman Empire." B. Edict of Prices: The Controlled Economy of the Late Roman Empire C. Diocletian's Edict of Persecutions Against Christians: "There are profane persons here...." 69. Eusebius of Caesarea: Life of the Emperor Constantine 70. The Theodosian Code: Towards a Christian Roman Empire 71. Augustine, City of God: The Unimportance of the Earthly City 72. Salvian of Marseille, On the Governance of God: "Where or in whom are evils so great, except among the Romans?" Selected Background Reading