ISBN-10:
0130450081
ISBN-13:
9780130450081
Pub. Date:
07/30/2002
Publisher:
Pearson Education
Western Civilization: A Social and Cultural History, Since 1300 / Edition 2

Western Civilization: A Social and Cultural History, Since 1300 / Edition 2

by Margaret King

Hardcover

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Overview

These Western Civilization, Second Edition books explain why western civilization is worth knowing about. Taking a topical approach, they stress social and cultural themes, they ask, "What is the West?", and incorporate significant discussion of peoples and civilizations outside the boundaries of the West. Provides a more coherent introduction to global issues than a world history presentation. Western Civilization, 2/e is accompanied by rich visual images, numerous textual excerpts, provocative special features, and timelines, charts and maps that make the narrative even more accessible. Each chapter now includes internet resources for research. Examines the French Revolution and 19th-century social and political movements in depth. Discussion of religion now occurs at key junctures in each chapter. Updated first chapter reflects the latest findings in paleoanthropology. Epilogue includes recent events such as global terrorism. Covers Social/economic history—e.g., gender roles, family and children, elite groups, urban/rural contrasts, cities and associations, commerce and manufacturing, and technological innovation. Non-Western (including North and South American) issues are discussed. Historians or anyone interested in a social, topical approach to Western Civilization with a global perspective.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780130450081
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 07/30/2002
Edition description: REV
Pages: 656
Product dimensions: 8.96(w) x 11.24(h) x 1.46(d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

PREFACE

When I teach the introductory history course at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, I start each semester by asking my students, "Where is the West?" I send an unfortunate individual to the global map mounted on the back wall of the room. A finger roams around the continents of the globe. The class suggests many possibilities: Western Europe? the Western Hemisphere? the Wild West? The search goes on all semester—a search of special complexity for the many students who, together speaking tens of languages, professing all the world's major religions, and hailing from all its inhabited continents, have no association by birth with Western civilization.

This book must begin with the same question. To embark upon the study of "Western Civilization," we must first ask where, or what, is the West.

WHERE OR WHAT IS THE WEST?

The West should not be understood to be the Western Hemisphere, the North American West, or Western Europe. It is not, in fact, a place. Nor is it a specific people, race, or set of nations. It is, rather, a body of ideas, values, customs, and beliefs forged over centuries on the continent of Europe, which lay to the west of the then more advanced civilizations of the East. In the centuries of European expansion—from approximately 1000 to 1900 of the Common Era (C.E.)—these Western values flourished, following Western merchants, travellers, armies, and governors into every corner of the inhabited globe. They are what the West means, and they are the meaning of the West.

Here are a few of the many concepts that have made the West what it is today and thatconstitute its soul and core meaning:

  • human dignity: the principle that all human beings are equal in worth (if not in talents, beauty, shape, or size); that they possess fundamental rights which cannot be taken away; and that to the greatest possible degree they are free
  • justice: the idea that no person should be unfairly privileged above another
  • democracy: the belief that the power to shape the future of a community belongs to its people as a whole and not to arbitrarily selected leaders
  • rationalism: the assumption that all phenomena (even those pertaining to God, essence, or spirit) may be subject to the critical scrutiny of the human mind
  • progress: the inclination to work toward goals to be achieved in the future
  • self-examination: the encouragement of human beings to examine themselves seriously and often in order to test whether they have fulfilled their promise and their responsibilities.

THE WEST AND THE REST
OF THE WORLD

We learn more about the Western world when we also examine the rest of the world. Some features of Western civilization are not unique to the West. They appear also in the cultural systems of other people around the globe, although not all of them appear in the same way in any other civilization. In many cases, particularly in the era of its origins, the West borrowed customs and ideas from the civilizations of Asia and Africa. More recently, a fully developed Western culture has lent, shared, or imposed its values on those civilizations and the newer ones of the Western Hemisphere.

This book frequently pauses in its narration of Western development to consider key aspects of nonwestern civilizations, both past and present. It makes no sense to isolate the West from other regions that have helped shape it, and upon which it has impacted, especially in an age that is now no longer dominated by the West but is truly global.

A global perspective transcends any claims for the superiority of one civilization to another. The civilization of the West is the focus of this book not because it is better (which is arguable) or because it is ours ( it is not "ours" to many Americans by virtue of birth), but because it embodies principles of permanent value that will survive as long as there are those who learn them, reflect on them, and teach them to future generations, both in the West and elsewhere in the world.

ORGANIZATION OF THE TEXT

If the West is not a place but a collection of ideas, values, customs, and beliefs, we still need to understand its development. How did it arise? Who were its main architects? Where did it begin its journey, and where did it travel? When did it begin, when did it crystallize, and when was it most challenged? Why did it emerge as it did, and why is it important for us to know these things? These are the kinds of large questions posed by history that lie behind the smaller ones: Why did this king follow that one? Who opened up this pass or invented that tool? How did that army triumph or that book win notice? Where did those people live? When did disease or starvation claim the most lives?

This book explores these questions, in a way perhaps different from that of history books which students have used before. It looks at the story of nations, rulers, and wars, as histories have always done. But it looks more than most at the story of religion and ideas and the arts, those areas of human thought and imagination in which the ideas and values that distinguish the West have taken form.

It also looks closely at societies and households, the daily lives of parents and children, men and women. In these settings Western values were born and nurtured. Yet in these contexts, the principles defined above as Western—especially those of human dignity and justice—were often violated. Such contradictions are a central part of the story of the West.

Because this book gives special attention to the history of culture and society, its organization is topical. Some chapters focus on politics, others on society, others on religion or ideas. Often two or three chapters in succession will deal with the same historical period, but from different topical vantage points. The chapters on the Middle Ages, for instance, examine the whole of that thousand-year period, stressing first politics and society (Chapter 9), then religion and ideas (Chapter 10), then commerce and urbanization (Chapter 11). A topical division has the virtue that students are introduced systematically to the variety of ways in which historians study the past.

FEATURES OF THE TEXT

Since the focus of this book is on society and culture, it is important to orient the reader to the framework of time and space. Each chapter opens with a timeline charting the major events and processes that are discussed in the pages that follow, and a map defining the borders and principal features of the geographical area under examination. Key Topics are also outlined at the beginning of each chapter as preparation for what lies ahead.

The aim of this book is to tell a story—an engaging and important one—not only from the author's perspective but also through images and voices, witnesses, from the past. Examples from the visual arts—many in color—appear not only because they are beautiful, but because they illumine the past. They are arranged so that they converse with each other: this portrait with that building, this tool with that painting of men and women bringing in the harvest. Selected images in each chapter are gathered together in Windows boxes to highlight and expand on specific issues. The main object is not to follow the history of artistic style (an interesting venture for another textbook) but to illumine this history of Western culture and society.

In the same way, historical voices have their place in this narrative because they can convey more authentically than any modern author the perceptions that people had long ago of the world about them. These Witnesses boxes are arranged to converse with one another throughout the text: poets and scientists, historians and merchants, warriors and saints. Readers are invited to pause a moment—even though it may be late, a paper is due, or an examination looms—and listen to these faithful witnesses to the evolution of the West.

Numbers and statistics are important in contemporary civilization. We use such data to measure health (rates of mortality), education (years of study or test scores), and welfare (standard of living), as well as population and wealth. This book frequently draws attention to such measures of human prosperity in the past, sometimes within the narrative but mostly through the How Many? boxes and charts that present information in a lively, graphic format. Color maps throughout the book supplement this graphical material and provide a geographical context.

The names and contributions of those who lived a century or twenty centuries ago are often difficult to remember when they are mentioned rapidly in a narrative stream. For this reason, especially important figures are identified and listed in Who's Who boxes, with their principal contributions noted. So too are book titles of exceptional importance presented in Must Reads boxes. At the end of each chapter, a Conclusion box condenses the major themes and issues discussed, while Review Questions stimulate critical thought and understanding. For further study, readers are directed to the Suggested Readings section at the end of each chapter.

WITH GRATITUDE

The single name of the author appearing on the title page disguises the reality that I have had many guides and helpers in the creation of this book. I am grateful to the staff at Calmann & King (hell Graville, Lee Ripley Greenfield, Ca11ie Kendall, Peter Kent, Laurence King, Richard Mason, Barbara Muller, Judy Rasmussen, and Melanie White) and former staff member Rosemary Bradley, who have had confidence in the project, assisted it in every way, and alternately soothed and bullied its restive author. My colleagues in the History Department at Brooklyn College—Bonnie S. Anderson, David Berger, Philip Dawson, Paula S. Fichtner, Philip Gallagher, Leonard Gordon, Stuart Schaar—have contributed ideas and criticisms for which I am immensely grateful; as has former colleague Michael Mendle, now in the History Department at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), and former student and associate Michael Sappol, now at the National Library of Medicine (Bethesda, Maryland). Special thanks go to Brian Bonhomme, also on the Brooklyn staff, a young scholar whose insight and imagination have contributed greatly to all the chapters of the second volume.

My severest critics and most valiant sustainers have been my sons and my husband—David, Jeremy, and Robert Kessler—who look forward to the day when the stacks of books on the floor of my study return to their home on library shelves, and normalcy returns to our household.

Margaret L. King
Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center
City University of New York
June 1999

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

I. BEFORE THE WEST

1. Stone, Bronze, and Word
2. Armies and Empires
3. The Greek Polis
4. The School of Hellas

II. THE ORIGINS OF THE WEST

5. Our Sea
6. Pax Romana
7. Pagans, Jews, and Christians
8. After Antiquity

III. THE WEST TAKES FORM

9. Workers, Warriors, and Kings
10. The Spiritual Sword
11. In the Name of Profit

IV. THE WEST EXPANDS

12. City Life
13. Rebirth in Italy
14. Of One Church, Many
15. Absolute Power
16. Europe Reaches Out

V. THE WEST EXPANDS

17. The Age of Reason
18. Town, Court, and Country
19. Inalienable Rights
20. Revolution: The End of the Old Regime

VI. THE WEST BECOMES MODERN

21. Machines in the Garden.
22. Lives of the Other Half
23. The Concert of Europe
24. The Western Imperium
25. Storm, Stress, and Doubt

VII. TOWARDS A NEW WEST

26. The Mighty Are Fallen
27. The Triumph of Uncertainty
28. States in Conflict
29. The End of Imperialism
30. Back from Armageddon
31. Epilogue

Preface

PREFACE

When I teach the introductory history course at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, I start each semester by asking my students, "Where is the West?" I send an unfortunate individual to the global map mounted on the back wall of the room. A finger roams around the continents of the globe. The class suggests many possibilities: Western Europe? the Western Hemisphere? the Wild West? The search goes on all semester—a search of special complexity for the many students who, together speaking tens of languages, professing all the world's major religions, and hailing from all its inhabited continents, have no association by birth with Western civilization.

This book must begin with the same question. To embark upon the study of "Western Civilization," we must first ask where, or what, is the West.

WHERE OR WHAT IS THE WEST?

The West should not be understood to be the Western Hemisphere, the North American West, or Western Europe. It is not, in fact, a place. Nor is it a specific people, race, or set of nations. It is, rather, a body of ideas, values, customs, and beliefs forged over centuries on the continent of Europe, which lay to the west of the then more advanced civilizations of the East. In the centuries of European expansion—from approximately 1000 to 1900 of the Common Era (C.E.)—these Western values flourished, following Western merchants, travellers, armies, and governors into every corner of the inhabited globe. They are what the West means, and they are the meaning of the West.

Here are a few of the many concepts that have made the West what it is today and that constituteits soul and core meaning:

  • human dignity: the principle that all human beings are equal in worth (if not in talents, beauty, shape, or size); that they possess fundamental rights which cannot be taken away; and that to the greatest possible degree they are free
  • justice: the idea that no person should be unfairly privileged above another
  • democracy: the belief that the power to shape the future of a community belongs to its people as a whole and not to arbitrarily selected leaders
  • rationalism: the assumption that all phenomena (even those pertaining to God, essence, or spirit) may be subject to the critical scrutiny of the human mind
  • progress: the inclination to work toward goals to be achieved in the future
  • self-examination: the encouragement of human beings to examine themselves seriously and often in order to test whether they have fulfilled their promise and their responsibilities.

THE WEST AND THE REST
OF THE WORLD

We learn more about the Western world when we also examine the rest of the world. Some features of Western civilization are not unique to the West. They appear also in the cultural systems of other people around the globe, although not all of them appear in the same way in any other civilization. In many cases, particularly in the era of its origins, the West borrowed customs and ideas from the civilizations of Asia and Africa. More recently, a fully developed Western culture has lent, shared, or imposed its values on those civilizations and the newer ones of the Western Hemisphere.

This book frequently pauses in its narration of Western development to consider key aspects of nonwestern civilizations, both past and present. It makes no sense to isolate the West from other regions that have helped shape it, and upon which it has impacted, especially in an age that is now no longer dominated by the West but is truly global.

A global perspective transcends any claims for the superiority of one civilization to another. The civilization of the West is the focus of this book not because it is better (which is arguable) or because it is ours ( it is not "ours" to many Americans by virtue of birth), but because it embodies principles of permanent value that will survive as long as there are those who learn them, reflect on them, and teach them to future generations, both in the West and elsewhere in the world.

ORGANIZATION OF THE TEXT

If the West is not a place but a collection of ideas, values, customs, and beliefs, we still need to understand its development. How did it arise? Who were its main architects? Where did it begin its journey, and where did it travel? When did it begin, when did it crystallize, and when was it most challenged? Why did it emerge as it did, and why is it important for us to know these things? These are the kinds of large questions posed by history that lie behind the smaller ones: Why did this king follow that one? Who opened up this pass or invented that tool? How did that army triumph or that book win notice? Where did those people live? When did disease or starvation claim the most lives?

This book explores these questions, in a way perhaps different from that of history books which students have used before. It looks at the story of nations, rulers, and wars, as histories have always done. But it looks more than most at the story of religion and ideas and the arts, those areas of human thought and imagination in which the ideas and values that distinguish the West have taken form.

It also looks closely at societies and households, the daily lives of parents and children, men and women. In these settings Western values were born and nurtured. Yet in these contexts, the principles defined above as Western—especially those of human dignity and justice—were often violated. Such contradictions are a central part of the story of the West.

Because this book gives special attention to the history of culture and society, its organization is topical. Some chapters focus on politics, others on society, others on religion or ideas. Often two or three chapters in succession will deal with the same historical period, but from different topical vantage points. The chapters on the Middle Ages, for instance, examine the whole of that thousand-year period, stressing first politics and society (Chapter 9), then religion and ideas (Chapter 10), then commerce and urbanization (Chapter 11). A topical division has the virtue that students are introduced systematically to the variety of ways in which historians study the past.

FEATURES OF THE TEXT

Since the focus of this book is on society and culture, it is important to orient the reader to the framework of time and space. Each chapter opens with a timeline charting the major events and processes that are discussed in the pages that follow, and a map defining the borders and principal features of the geographical area under examination. Key Topics are also outlined at the beginning of each chapter as preparation for what lies ahead.

The aim of this book is to tell a story—an engaging and important one—not only from the author's perspective but also through images and voices, witnesses, from the past. Examples from the visual arts—many in color—appear not only because they are beautiful, but because they illumine the past. They are arranged so that they converse with each other: this portrait with that building, this tool with that painting of men and women bringing in the harvest. Selected images in each chapter are gathered together in Windows boxes to highlight and expand on specific issues. The main object is not to follow the history of artistic style (an interesting venture for another textbook) but to illumine this history of Western culture and society.

In the same way, historical voices have their place in this narrative because they can convey more authentically than any modern author the perceptions that people had long ago of the world about them. These Witnesses boxes are arranged to converse with one another throughout the text: poets and scientists, historians and merchants, warriors and saints. Readers are invited to pause a moment—even though it may be late, a paper is due, or an examination looms—and listen to these faithful witnesses to the evolution of the West.

Numbers and statistics are important in contemporary civilization. We use such data to measure health (rates of mortality), education (years of study or test scores), and welfare (standard of living), as well as population and wealth. This book frequently draws attention to such measures of human prosperity in the past, sometimes within the narrative but mostly through the How Many? boxes and charts that present information in a lively, graphic format. Color maps throughout the book supplement this graphical material and provide a geographical context.

The names and contributions of those who lived a century or twenty centuries ago are often difficult to remember when they are mentioned rapidly in a narrative stream. For this reason, especially important figures are identified and listed in Who's Who boxes, with their principal contributions noted. So too are book titles of exceptional importance presented in Must Reads boxes. At the end of each chapter, a Conclusion box condenses the major themes and issues discussed, while Review Questions stimulate critical thought and understanding. For further study, readers are directed to the Suggested Readings section at the end of each chapter.

WITH GRATITUDE

The single name of the author appearing on the title page disguises the reality that I have had many guides and helpers in the creation of this book. I am grateful to the staff at Calmann & King (hell Graville, Lee Ripley Greenfield, Ca11ie Kendall, Peter Kent, Laurence King, Richard Mason, Barbara Muller, Judy Rasmussen, and Melanie White) and former staff member Rosemary Bradley, who have had confidence in the project, assisted it in every way, and alternately soothed and bullied its restive author. My colleagues in the History Department at Brooklyn College—Bonnie S. Anderson, David Berger, Philip Dawson, Paula S. Fichtner, Philip Gallagher, Leonard Gordon, Stuart Schaar—have contributed ideas and criticisms for which I am immensely grateful; as has former colleague Michael Mendle, now in the History Department at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), and former student and associate Michael Sappol, now at the National Library of Medicine (Bethesda, Maryland). Special thanks go to Brian Bonhomme, also on the Brooklyn staff, a young scholar whose insight and imagination have contributed greatly to all the chapters of the second volume.

My severest critics and most valiant sustainers have been my sons and my husband—David, Jeremy, and Robert Kessler—who look forward to the day when the stacks of books on the floor of my study return to their home on library shelves, and normalcy returns to our household.

Margaret L. King
Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center
City University of New York
June 1999

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