A History of Western Society, Volume 1: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

A History of Western Society, Volume 1: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

by John P. McKay
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Bedford/St. Martin's

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A History of Western Society, Volume 1: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

Long praised by instructors and students alike for its readability and attention to everyday life, the eleventh edition of A History of Western Society includes even more built-in tools to engage today's students and save instructors time. This edition features a brand-new, comprehensive primary source program in-text and online, expanded chapters devoted to the lives of ordinary people that make the past real and relevant, and the best and latest scholarship throughout. Enhanced with a wealth of digital content—including carefully developed online document assignments for each chapter with auto-graded exercises—the eleventh edition provides easily assignable options for instructors and novel ways for students to master the content. Now integrated with LearningCurve, an adaptive online resource that helps students retain the material and come to class prepared.

To see an example of the new Online Document Assignment from Chapter 14, click here.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312653606
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Publication date: 10/28/2010
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

John P. McKay (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. He has written or edited numerous works, including the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize-winning book Pioneers for Profit: Foreign Entrepreneurship and Russian Industrialization, 1885-1913.
Clare Haru Crowston (Ph.D., Cornell University) teaches at the University of Illinois, where she is currently associate professor of history. She is the author of Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675-1791, which won the Berkshire and Hagley Prizes. She edited two special issues of the Journal of Women's History, has published numerous journal articles and reviews, and is a past president of the Society for French Historical Studies.


Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) taught first at Augustana College in Illinois, and since 1985 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is currently UWM Distinguished Professor in the department of history. She is the coeditor of the Sixteenth Century Journal and the author or editor of more than twenty books, most recently The Marvelous Hairy Girls: The Gonzales Sisters and Their Worlds and Gender in History. She is the former Chief Reader for Advanced Placement World History.Joe Perry (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Associate Professor of modern German and European history at Georgia State University. He has published numerous articles and is author of Christmas in Germany: A Cultural History (2010). His current research interests focus on issues of consumption, gender, and popular culture in West Germany and Western Europe after World War II.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Origins, to 1200 b.c.e.

Understanding Western History

     Describing the West

     What Is Civilization?

The Earliest Human Societies

     From the First Hominids to the Paleolithic Era

     Planting Crops

     Implications of Agriculture

     Trade and Cross-Cultural Connections

     Primary Source 1.1: Paleolithic Venus Figures

Civilization in Mesopotamia

     Environment and Mesopotamian Development

     The Invention of Writing and the First Schools

     Religion in Mesopotamia

     Sumerian Politics and Society

     Primary Source 1.2: Gilgamesh’s Quest for Immortality

Empires in Mesopotamia

     The Akkadians and the Babylonians

     Life Under Hammurabi

     Cultural Exchange in the Fertile Crescent

     Primary Source 1.3: Enheduana’s "Exaltation of Inanna"

The Egyptians

     The Nile and the God-King

     Egyptian Religion

     Egyptian Society and Work

     Egyptian Family Life

     The Hyksos and New Kingdom Revival

     Conflict and Cooperation with the Hittites

     Primary Source 1.4: Morality in the Egyptian Book of the Dead

     Primary Source 1.5: Egyptian Home Life

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

ONLINE DOCUMENT ASSIGNMENT Individuals in Society: Hatshepsut and Nefertiti

Living in the Past: The Iceman

Mapping the Past: Empires and Migrations in the Eastern Mediterranean

Chapter 2: Small Kingdoms and Mighty Empires in the Near East, 1200–510 b.c.e.

Iron and the Emergence of New States

     Iron Technology

     The Decline of Egypt and the Emergence of Kush

     The Rise of Phoenicia

     Primary Source 2.1: The Report of Wenamun

The Hebrews

     The Hebrew State

     The Jewish Religion

     Hebrew Family and Society

     Primary Source 2.2: The Covenant Between Yahweh and the Hebrews

     Primary Source 2.3: A Jewish Family Contract

Assyria, the Military Monarchy

     Assyria’s Long Road to Power

     Assyrian Rule and Culture

     The Neo-Babylonian Empire

     Primary Source 2.4: Assyrians Besiege a City

The Empire of the Persian Kings

     Consolidation of the Persian Empire

     Persian Religion

     Persian Art and Culture

     Primary Source 2.5: Zoroaster’s Teachings in the Avesta

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Cyrus the Great

Mapping the Past: The Assyrian and Persian Empires, ca. 1000–500 b.c.e.

Living in the Past: Assyrian Palace Life and Power

Chapter 3: The Development of Greek Society and Culture, ca. 3000–338 b.c.e.

Greece in the Bronze Age

     Geography and Settlement

     The Minoans

     The Mycenaeans

     Homer, Hesiod, and the Epic

     Primary Source 3.1: Hesiod, Works and Days

The Development of the Polis in the Archaic Age

     Organization of the Polis

     Governing Structures

     Overseas Expansion

     The Growth of Sparta

     The Evolution of Athens

War and Turmoil in the Classical Period

     The Persian Wars

     Growth of the Athenian Empire

     The Peloponnesian War

     The Struggle for Dominance

     Philip II and Macedonian Supremacy

     Primary Source 3.2: Thucydides on the Great Plague at Athens

Classical Greek Life and Culture

     Athenian Arts in the Age of Pericles

     Households and Work

     Gender and Sexuality

     Public and Personal Religion

     The Flowering of Philosophy

     Primary Source 3.3: The Acropolis of Athens

     Primary Source 3.4: Sophocles, Antigone

     Primary Source 3.5: Aristotle on Slavery

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

ONLINE DOCUMENT ASSIGNMENT Individuals in Society: Aspasia

Living in the Past: Triremes and Their Crews

Mapping the Past: The Peloponnesian War, 431–404 b.c.e.

Chapter 4: Life in the Hellenistic World, 336–30 b.c.e.

Alexander’s Conquests and Their Political Legacy

     Military Campaigns

     The Political Legacy

     Primary Source 4.1: Arrian on Alexander the Great

Building a Hellenized Society

     Urban Life

     Greeks in Hellenistic Cities

     Greeks and Non-Greeks

     Primary Source 4.2: Theocritus, Idyll 15, "The Women at the Adonis Festival"

The Economy of the Hellenistic World

     Agriculture and Industry


Religion and Philosophy in the Hellenistic World

     Religion and Magic

     Hellenism and the Jews

     Philosophy and the People

     Primary Source 4.3: A Hellenistic Spell of Attraction

Hellenistic Science and Medicine



     Primary Source 4.4: The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea

     Primary Source 4.5: Physician with Young Patient

Review and Explore — LearningCurve


Mapping the Past: The Hellenistic World, ca. 263 b.c.e.

Living in the Past: Farming in the Hellenistic World

The Past Living Now: Container Shipping

Individuals in Society: Archimedes, Scientist and Inventor

Chapter 5: The Rise of Rome, ca. 1000–27 b.c.e.

Rome’s Rise to Power

     The Geography of Italy

     The Etruscans

     The Founding of Rome

     The Roman Conquest of Italy

     Primary Source 5.1: The Temple of Hercules Victor

The Roman Republic

     The Roman State

     Social Conflict in Rome

Roman Expansion

     The Punic Wars

     Rome Turns East

     Primary Source 5.2: Polybius on the Roman Division of Spoils in the Punic Wars

Roman Society

     Roman Families

     Greek Influence on Roman Culture

     Opposing Views: Cato the Elder and Scipio Aemilianus

     Primary Source 5.3: A Woman’s Actions in the Turia Inscription

The Late Republic

     Reforms for Poor and Landless Citizens

     Political Violence

     Civil War

     Primary Source 5.4: Plutarch on the Reforms of Gaius Gracchus

     Primary Source 5.5: Cicero and the Plot to Kill Caesar

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Queen Cleopatra

Mapping the Past: Roman Expansion During the Republic, ca. 282–44 b.c.e.

Living in the Past: Roman Table Manners

Chapter 6: The Roman Empire, 27 b.c.e.–284 c.e.

Augustus’s Reign

     The Principate

     Roman Expansion

     The Flowering of Latin Literature

     Marriage and Morality

     Primary Source 6.1: Augustus, Res Gestae

     Primary Source 6.2: Ovid, The Art of Love

     Primary Source 6.3: Ara Pacis

Augustus’s Successors

     The Julio-Claudians and the Flavians

     The Age of the "Five Good Emperors"

     Primary Source 6.4: Pliny the Younger, Letter About the Destruction of Pompeii

Rome and the Provinces

     Life in Imperial Rome

     Approaches to Urban Problems

     Popular Entertainment

     Prosperity in the Roman Provinces

     Trade and Commerce

     Primary Source 6.5: Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory

The Coming of Christianity

     Factors Behind the Rise of Christianity

     The Life and Teachings of Jesus

     The Spread of Christianity

     The Growing Acceptance and Evolution of Christianity

The Empire in Disarray

     Civil Wars and Military Commanders

     Turmoil in Economic Life

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Bithus, a Soldier in the Roman Army

Living in the Past: Roman Epitaphs: Death Remembers Life

Mapping the Past: Production and Trade in the Pax Romana, ca. 27 b.c.e.–180 c.e.

Chapter 7: Late Antiquity, 250–600

Reconstruction Under Diocletian and Constantine

     Political Measures

     Economic Issues

     The Acceptance of Christianity

     Primary Source 7.1: Recruiting and Training Soldiers in the Roman Army

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

     Village and Family Life

     Tribes and Hierarchies

     Customary and Written Law

     Celtic and Germanic Religion

     Primary Source 7.2: Tacitus on Germanic Society

Migration, Assimilation, and Conflict

     Celtic and Germanic People in Gaul and Britain

     Visigoths and Huns

     Germanic Kingdoms and the End of the Roman Empire

     Primary Source 7.3: Battle Between Romans and Goths

Christian Missionaries and Conversion

     Missionaries’ Actions

     The Process of Conversion

     Primary Source 7.4: Gregory of Tours on the Veneration of Relics

The Byzantine Empire

     Sources of Byzantine Strength

     The Law Code of Justinian

     Byzantine Intellectual Life

     The Orthodox Church

     Primary Source 7.5: Slavery in Justinian’s Law Code

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Theodora of Constantinople

Mapping the Past: The Barbarian Migrations, ca. 340–500

Living in the Past: The Horses of Spain

Chapter 8: Europe in the Early Middle Ages, 600–1000

The Spread of Islam

     The Arabs

     The Prophet Muhammad

     The Teachings and Expansion of Islam

     Sunni and Shi’a Divisions

     Life in Muslim Spain

     Muslim-Christian Relations

     Cross-Cultural Influences in Science and Medicine

     Primary Source 8.1: The Muslim Conquest of Spain

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

     Primary Source 8.2: The Capitulary de Villis

     Primary Source 8.3: Charlemagne and His Wife

Early Medieval Culture

     The Carolingian Renaissance

     Northumbrian Learning and Writing

     Primary Source 8.4: The Death of Beowulf

Invasions and Migrations

     Vikings in Western Europe

     Slavs and Vikings in Eastern Europe

     Magyars and Muslims

     Primary Source 8.5: Eirik’s Saga

Political and Economic Decentralization

     Decentralization and the Origins of "Feudalism"

     Manorialism, Serfdom, and the Slave Trade

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

The Venerable Bede

Living in the Past: Muslim Technology: Advances in Papermaking

Mapping the Past: Invasions and Migrations of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries

Chapter 9: State and Church in the High Middle Ages, 1000–1300

Political Revival and the Origins of the Modern State



     Central Europe


     The Iberian Peninsula

     Primary Source 9.1: Marriage and Wardship in the Norman Exchequer

Law and Justice

     Local Laws and Royal Courts

     The Magna Carta

     Law in Everyday Life


     Origins and Status of the Nobility

     Training, Marriage, and Inheritance

     Power and Responsibility

The Papacy

     The Gregorian Reforms

     Emperor Versus Pope

     Criticism and Heresy

     The Popes and Church Law

     Primary Source 9.2: Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

Monks, Nuns, and Friars

     Monastic Revival

     Life in Convents and Monasteries

     The Friars

     Primary Source 9.3: Brother Henry as Composer and Singer

The Crusades and the Expansion of Christianity

     Background and Motives of the Crusades

     The Course of the Crusades

     Consequences of the Crusades

     The Expansion of Christianity


     Primary Source 9.4: An Arab View of the Crusades

     Primary Source 9.5: The Capture of Jerusalem in 1099

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Individuals in Society: Hildegard of Bingen

Living in the Past: Life in an English Castle

Mapping the Past: The Crusades

Chapter 10: Life in Villages and Cities of the High Middle Ages, 1000–1300

Village Life

     Slavery, Serfdom, and Upward Mobility

     The Manor


     Home Life

     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

     Primary Source 10.1: The Pilgrim’s Guide to Santiago de Compostela

Towns and Economic Revival

     The Rise of Towns

     Merchant and Craft Guilds

     The Revival of Long-Distance Trade

     Business Procedures

     The Commercial Revolution

     Primary Source 10.2: Contract for a Trading Venture

Urban Life

     City Life

     Servants and the Poor

     Popular Entertainment

Medieval Universities


     Legal and Medical Training

     Theology and Philosophy

     University Students

     Primary Source 10.3: Healthy Living

     Primary Source 10.4: Thomas Aquinas on Reason and Faith

Literature and Architecture

     Vernacular Literature and Drama

     Churches and Cathedrals

     Primary Source 10.5: Courtly Love Poetry

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Life in Medieval Towns

Living in the Past: Child’s Play

Mapping the Past: European Population Density, ca. 1300

Individuals in Society: Francesco Datini

The Past Living Now: University Life

Chapter 11: The Later Middle Ages, 1300–1450

Prelude to Disaster

     Climate Change and Famine

     Social Consequences

The Black Death


     Spread of the Disease

     Care of the Sick

     Economic, Religious, and Cultural Effects

     Primary Source 11.1: Dance of Death

The Hundred Years’ War


     English Successes

     Joan of Arc and France’s Victory


     Primary Source 11.2: The Trial of Joan of Arc

Challenges to the Church

     The Babylonian Captivity and Great Schism

     Critiques, Divisions, and Councils

     Lay Piety and Mysticism

     Primary Source 11.3: Raimon de Cornet on the Avignon Papacy

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

     Primary Source 11.4: The Statute of Laborers

     Primary Source 11.5: Christine de Pizan, Advice to the Wives of Artisans

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Meister Eckhart

Mapping the Past: The Course of the Black Death in Fourteenth-Century Europe

Living in the Past: Treating the Plague

Chapter 12: European Society in the Age of the Renaissance, 1350–1550

Wealth and Power in Renaissance Italy

     Trade and Prosperity

     Communes and Republics of Northern Italy

     City-States and the Balance of Power

     Primary Source 12.1: A Sermon of Savonarola

Intellectual Change



     Political Thought

     Christian Humanism

     The Printed Word

     Primary Source 12.2: Cassandra Fedele on Humanist Learning

     Primary Source 12.3: Pico della Mirandola, "On the Dignity of Man"

     Primary Source 12.4: Thomas More, Utopia

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




     Primary Source 12.5: Tax Collectors

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

ONLINE DOCUMENT ASSIGNMENT Individuals in Society: Leonardo da Vinci

Mapping the Past: The Growth of Printing in Europe, 1448–1552

Living in the Past: Male Clothing and Masculinity

Chapter 13: Reformations and Religious Wars, 1500–1600

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, Sexuality, and the Role of Women

     Primary Source 13.1: Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty

     Primary Source 13.2: Domestic Scene

The Reformation and German Politics

     The Rise of the Habsburg Dynasty

     Religious Wars in Switzerland and Germany

The Spread of Protestant Ideas


     Henry VIII and the Reformation in England

     Upholding Protestantism in England


     The Reformation in Eastern Europe

     Primary Source 13.3: Elizabethan Injunctions About Religion

     Primary Source 13.4: 1547 Ordinances in Calvin’s Geneva

The Catholic Reformation

     Papal Reform and the Council of Trent

     New and Reformed Religious Orders

     Primary Source 13.5: Saint Teresa of Ávila, The Life

Religious Violence

     French Religious Wars

     The Netherlands Under Charles V

     The Great European Witch-Hunt

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Individuals in Society: Anna Jansz of Rotterdam

Living in the Past: Uses of Art in the Reformation

Mapping the Past: Religious Divisions in Europe, ca. 1555

Chapter 14: European Exploration and Conquest, 1450–1650

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

     Primary Source 14.1: A Portuguese Traveler Describes Swahili City-States of East Africa

     Primary Source 14.2: Columbus Describes His First Voyage

     Primary Source 14.3: Doña Marina Translating for Hernando Cortés During His Meeting with Montezuma

     Primary Source 14.4: Interpreting the Spread of Disease Among Natives

The Impact of Conquest

     Colonial Administration

     Impact of European

     Settlement on Indigenous Peoples

     Life in the Colonies

     The Columbian Exchange

     Primary Source 14.5: Tenochtitlán Leaders Respond to Spanish Missionaries

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

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Juan de Pareja

Mapping the Past: Overseas Exploration and Conquest in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

Living in the Past: Foods of the Columbian Exchange

Chapter 15: Absolutism and Constitutionalism, ca. 1589–1725

Seventeenth-Century Crisis and Rebuilding

     The Social Order and Peasant Life

     Famine and Economic Crisis

     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

     Primary Source 15.1: Louis XIV, King of France and Navarre, 1701

     Primary Source 15.2: Letter from Versailles

Absolutism in Austria and Prussia

     The Return of Serfdom in the East

     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 His People

     The Reforms of Peter the Great

     The Growth of the Ottoman Empire

     Primary Source 15.3: A German Account of Russian Life

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

     Primary Source 15.4: Diary of an English Villager

     Primary Source 15.5: John Locke, Two Treatises of Government

Baroque Art and Music

Review and Explore — LearningCurve


Living in the Past: The Absolutist Palace

Mapping the Past: Europe After the Peace of Utrecht, 1715

Chapter 16: Toward a New Worldview, 1540–1789

Major Breakthroughs of 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

     Primary Source 16.1: Galileo Galilei, The Sidereal Messenger

Important Changes in Scientific Thinking

     Bacon, Descartes, and the Scientific Method

     Medicine, the Body, and Chemistry

     Empire and Natural History

     Science and Society

     Primary Source 16.2: "An Account of a Particular Species of Cocoon"

The Enlightenment

     The Emergence of the Enlightenment

     The Influence of the Philosophes

     Jean-Jacques Rousseau

     The International Enlightenment

     Urban Culture and Life in the Public Sphere

     Race and the Enlightenment

     Primary Source 16.3: Du Châtelet, Foundations of Physics

     Primary Source 16.4: Enlightenment Culture

     Primary Source 16.5: Denis Diderot, "Supplement to Bougainville’s Voyage"

Enlightened Absolutism

     Frederick the Great of Prussia

     Catherine the Great of Russia

     The Austrian Habsburgs

     Jewish Life and the Limits of Enlightened Absolutism

Review and Explore — LearningCurve

Moses Mendelssohn and the Jewish Enlightenment

Living in the Past: Coffeehouse Culture

Mapping the Past: The Partition of Poland, 1772–1795

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