RUBRIC ONE: The First Civilizations and the Classical Legacy

Chapters 1-4 and 6-7 of Gloria Fiero's The Humanistic Tradition, volume 1

Introductory chapter

Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Chapter 1


Questions for the Book of the Dead, Ma'at, and the Negative Confessions  

1. Who was Ma'at? What concept did she represent?

2. What was the main purpose of a Book of the Dead?

3. What was the weighing of the heart ceremony? What is its significance?

4. According to the Negative Confessions, what kinds of actions did the Egyptians consider inappropriate?

5. Which point(s) of the Negative Confessions do you find most important to maintaining harmony 

    within community?

6. How does the code outlined in the Negative Confessions compare to contemporary codes of morality 

    with which you are familiar? 

7. Choose 2 of the confessions and re-write them as positives instead of negatives.

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Chapter 6

Questions on Seneca, Stoicism, and "On Tranquility of Mind"

1. Who was Seneca?

2. The Stoics maintained that excellence of character (virtue) was the only thing in life of real value. Explain. 

3. Stoics maintained that one's disciplined use of a very specific human capacity was vital to one's peace of mind. What was that capacity?

4. What was the primary criticism Stoics made about emotions?

5. What did the Stoics say about "externals" such as power, monetary wealth, success, etc.?

6. Is Stoic philosophy anchored in the past, the present, or the future? Explain.

7. According to Seneca, why is it important to know one's strengths and weaknesses?

8. What advice does Seneca give about the people with whom we chose to associate?

9. What qualities does Seneca suggest we seek in our friends?

10. What specifically does Seneca name as the "greatest source of affliction to humanity"? Why?

Chapter 7

Follow this link.  

Medieval Europe and the World Beyond

Chapters 8-11 and Chapters 13-14 of Gloria Fiero's The Humanistic Tradition, volume 1

To explore further (not required): The Buddha, 2010 film written and directed by David Grubin

Chapter 8 

Group Exercise

Define, identify, or explain the following:

  • the Diaspora 
  • Rabbi
  • asceticism
  • the Christian Gospels
  • the Gnostic Gospels
  • Messiah
  • factors contributing to the spread of Christianity
  • Edict of Milan (313 CE)
  • Siddharta Gautama
  • Buddha
  • the Enlightened One
  • Four Noble Truths

In-class viewing: Buddhism, from the series Heaven on Earth: Monuments to Belief 

(WCC Library website: "Films on Demand" / 26:14 minutes)


Chapter 9 

Group Exercise

Define, identify, or explain the following:

  • Saint Augustine of Hippo
  • icon
  • iconography
  • Byzantine Empire
  • Constantine
  • Constantinople
  • Istanbul
  • Justinian
  • Hagia Sophia
  • mosaic
  • tessera

In-class viewing: Hagia Sophia: Istanbul's Ancient Mystery 

(WCC Library website: "Films on Demand" / 53:20 minutes)

Post-viewing questions for Hagia Sophia: Istanbul's Ancient Mystery

1. What is Hagia Sophia?

2. Where is Hagia Sophia?

3. When was Hagia Sophia built?

4. Who built Hagia Sophia? (name both the architect and the ruler)

5. What is the origin of some of the stones used in Hagia Sophia? (name several places)

6. What is the greatest geological threat to Hagia Sophia?

7. What cultural threats have impacted Hagia Sophia?

8. What is the purpose of the windows in the second dome designed and constructed for Hagia Sophia?

9. What religious groups have worshipped in Hagia Sophia?

10. What is Hagia Sophia's function today?

11. What is the purpose of the thin gold leafing in the mosaics? 

12. What is the purpose of building a model of Hagia Sophia?


Chapter 10

Religious architecture

Essential forms: the sacred mountain, post-and-lintel, the tower, the arch (and its combinations, called 

"vaults"), the dome of heaven

Essential terms: arch, vault, buttress

Sacred buildings: temple, shrine, stupa, church, mosque, pagoda

Mosque Architecture 




Ablution fountain


The hypostyle mosque

Mosque of Uqba (Kairouan, Tunisia)

Córdoba (Spain)

The four-iwan mosque

The centrally-planned mosque

Example of contemporary mosque architecture, with a blending of styles: King Faisel Mosque (Islamabad, 



Chapter 11

Code of chivalry

To fear God and maintain His Church

To serve the liege lord in courage and faith

To protect the weak and defenseless

To aid widows and orphans

To refrain from the wanton giving of offense

To live by honor and for glory

To despise pecuniary (monetary) reward

To fight for the welfare of all

To obey those placed in authority

To guard the honor of fellow knights

To eschew (avoid/refrain from) unfairness, meanness and deceit

To keep faith

To speak the truth at all times

To persevere to the end in any task undertaken

To respect the honor of women

Never to refuse a challenge from an equal

Never to turn the back upon a foe

Code of Courtly Love

12th century author Andreas Capellanus (Andrew the Chaplain) wrote a treatise on love entitled De 

amore (About Love or The Art of Courtly Love) while serving as chaplain for the court of Marie, Countess of 

Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is essentially a medieval amalgam of Platonism and 

sensuality that laid the foundation for modern notions of romantic love. 

Excerpts from Capellanus' De amore

◇ What is Love?

Love is an inborn suffering proceeding from the sight and immoderate thought upon the beauty of the other 

sex, for which cause above all other things one wishes to embrace the other and, by common assent, in this 

embrace to fulfill the commandments of love. . . .

 From Whence Love is Named

"Love (amor)" is derived from the word "hook (amar)", which signifies "capture" or "be captured." For he who 

loves is caught in the chains of desire and wishes to catch another with his hook. Just as a shrewd fisherman 

tries to attract fish with his bait and to catch them on with his curved hook, so he who is truly captured by 

love tries to attract another with his blandishments and with all his power tries to hold two hearts together 

with one spiritual chain or, if they be already united, to hold them always together. . . .

 What is the Effect of Love

This is the effect of love: that the true lover can not be corrupted by avarice; love makes an ugly and rude 

person shine with all beauty, knows how to endow with nobility even one of humble birth, can even lend 

humility to the proud; he who loves is accustomed humbly to serve others. Oh, what a marvelous thing is love, 

which makes a man shine with so many virtues and which teaches everyone to abound in good customs. . . .

 What Persons are Suited for Love

Blindness impedes love, for a blind man cannot see that on which his mind can reflect immoderately. 

Therefore love cannot arise in him, as is adequately proven above. But I recognize that this is true only of the 

moment in which love is acquired, for I do not deny that love can endure in a man who acquired love before 

he went blind.

Too great an abundance of passion impedes love, for there are those who are so enslaved by desire that they 

cannot be restrained by the bonds of love; those who after deep thoughts of their lady or even having enjoyed 

the fruits of love, when they see another immediately desire her embraces, forgetting the services received 

from their former lover and revealing their ingratitude.

Rules of love according to The Art of Courtly Love:

Marriage is no real excuse for not loving

He who is not jealous, cannot love

No one can be bound by a double love

It is well known that love is always increasing or decreasing

That which a lover takes against the will of his beloved has no relish

Boys do not love until they arrive at the age of maturity

When one lover dies, a widowhood of two years is required of the survivor

No one should be deprived of love without the very best of reasons

No one can love unless he is impelled by the persuasion of love

Love is always a stranger in the home of avarice

It is not proper to love any woman whom one would be ashamed to seek to marry

A true lover does not desire to embrace in love anyone except his beloved

When made public love rarely endures

The easy attainment of love makes it of little value; difficulty of attainment makes it prized

Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of his beloved

When a lover suddenly catches sight of his beloved, his heart palpitates

A new love puts to flight an old one

Good character alone makes any man worthy of love

If love diminishes, it quickly fails and rarely revives

A man in love is always apprehensive

Real jealousy always increases the feeling of love

Jealousy, and therefore love, are increased when one suspects his beloved

He whom the thought of love vexes eats and sleeps very little

Every act of a lover ends in the thought of his beloved

A true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved

Love can deny nothing to love

A lover can never have enough of the solaces of his beloved

A slight presumption causes a lover to suspect his beloved

A man who is vexed by too much passion usually does not love

A true lover is constantly and without intermission possessed by the thought of his beloved

Nothing forbids one woman being loved by two men or one man by two women

The Stages of Courtly Love

Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes (glance)

Worship of the lady from afar

Declaration of passionate devotion

Virtuous rejection by the lady

Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire, and other physical manifestations of lovesickness

Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady’s heart

Consummation of the secret love

Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection 


Chapter 13

Gothic cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Paris 

Gothic architecture on the American college campus  

Chartres Cathedral (UNESCO)  

The Royal Portals of Chartres Cathedral  

The European Renaissance, the Reformation, and Global Encounter

Chapters 15- 19 of Gloria Fiero's The Humanistic Tradition, volume 1

Chapter 16 

→To explore further the topic of violence against women during the European Renaissance, follow these links:

2.  Joan of Arc  

To learn more about Machievelli's The Prince, you may enjoy watching a short video (22:54) available 

   through Films on Demand via the WCC Library website. In the search box, type Machievelli: The Prince.


Chapter 17

To explore more about linear perspective, check out this video: "Understanding Linear Perspective"  


1. Share the image you've chosen for today's assignment with the members of your group: identify the type of 

    art work (painting, sculpture, etc.), the title, artist, and time period; then explain why you chose the work 

    of art. 

2. When your group has completed point 1, turn to page 410 of our textbook and study the painting  
   at the top of the page. Identify the artist, medium, and the time periods represented. 

3. Next study the iconography (= the imagery within an artwork). Make a detailed list of what you see, noting 

   images, colors, shapes, lines, etc.

4. Examine the clothing of each of the figures in the fresco. Which figures (people) appear more than once

    Consider possible reasons for those repetitions.

Come to a consensus about the primary theme of this art work. Then write a theme statement, using a 

    complete sentence (or sentences). Points to consider: historical context, subject matter and medium, 

    composition and line, shape, color, focal areas, balance and perspective.


Leonardo da Vinci’s Renaissance paintingThe Last Supper is a fresco commissioned by Ludovico 

Sforza, the Duke of Milan. It measures 15' by 29' and depicts a very particular moment in biblical history: 

the moment just seconds after Jesus explained to his disciples that one of them would betray him. 

Choosing this particular moment allowed the artist to explore the emotions and psyches of the figures in 

the painting as they react to the announcement of the central figure, Jesus.

6. Share your group's theme statement with the rest of the class.


1. Turn to page 400 of our textbook and study Donatello's sculpture David. Describe the figure, making a list 

    of what you see. 

2. Now turn to page 423 of our textbook and study Michelangelo's sculpture David. Describe this figure.

3. Compare the two sculptures of David. Which is more realistic? Explain your reasoning.

4. Which sculpture appeals to you more? Why? If neither sculpture appeals to you, explain why.


Chapter 18

Explore more about the Sundiata here and here.

Learn more about the role of the griot here and/or watch Keita: the Heritage of the Griot via the WCC Library's 

Films on Demand.

Film Description: 
In this story-within-a-story, Mabo Keita, a young boy living in contemporary Burkina Faso, receives a message from a traditional storyteller (griot) that he must “learn the meaning of his name.” Mabo is a descendent of Sundiata Keita, legendary founder of the Mali Empire and hero of The Epic of Sundiata. As Sundiata Keita comes to understand his role in Mandé history, so the younger Keita grasps the scope and significance of his heritage—a lesson that was not taught in his school’s Westernized curriculum. French and Jula with English subtitles. (94 minutes)

Listen to Malian musician Salif Keita performing "Folon" here.

Maiden of Deception Pass, Guardian of Her Samish People (DVD viewed in class)

Read and/or listen to the legend here and/or here.

Learn more about the Haudenosaunee Confederacy here (not required).



The Haudenosaunee Confederacy and "Hodadenon: the last one left and the chestnut tree"

1. Who are the Haudenosaunee?

2. What is a confederacy?

3. What is a participatory democracy?

4. What kind of constitution did the Haudenosaunee Confederacy originally have?

5. What are the three principles of the Great Law?

6. What do you think is the meaning of "the power of the good mind"?

7. What is a clan? (give details pertaining to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy)

8. How do you interpret the statement, "peace is a state of mind"?

9. Read together as a group the Haudenosaunee values and ethics. 

10. Find examples of those values in the story, "Hodadenon: the last one left and the chestnut tree."


Post-viewing questions for Maiden of Deception Pass: Guardian of Her Samish People

1. What is the purpose of this documentary?

2. Who was Ko-kwal-alwoot?

3. What is the significance of the Ko-kwal-alwoot story to the Samish people?

4. What is the significance of the family in Samish culture?

5. Why was the story pole created?

6. Who carved the story pole?

7. For a long period of time, the Samish people were not recognized as a tribe by the United States federal
   government. Why?

8. Why did so many Samish people move away from the region where they had lived for so long?

9. What was Tracy Powell’s initial reaction when he saw the log for the story pole?

10. Where is the story pole located?

11. What do the two sides of the story pole represent?

12. What is the significance to the Samish Indian Nation of the Maiden of Deception Pass story pole 


Discussion Question

What do the Native American stories we’ve considered have in common? Identify at least three points and give 

specific references from the stories to support your ideas.

Chapter 19

Discussion Prompts: Reading 19.5 excerpts from Montaigne's On Cannibals (1580)

1. Why does Montaigne trust the knowledge of the man he presents in the first paragraph of the reading?

2. What does Montaigne say about direct experience compared to conjecture?

3. What does Montaigne indicate about the word "barbarian"?

4. How does Montaigne contrast the "natural" world and the "civilized" world?

5. How does Montaigne evaluate the practice of cannibalism in the society he describes? How does he 

compare it to certain European practices?

6. What does Montaigne's declaration that "we may well call these people barbarians, in respect of the rules of 

reason" tell us about whether he believes in moral absolutes?  (i.e. Moral absolutism is an ethical view that 

particular actions are intrinsically right or wrong, irrespective of culture.)

7. "'Each man calls barbarism whatever is not his own practice,' writes Montaigne. What illustrations does he 

offer? Does this claim hold true in our own day and age?" (Fiero, p.496)

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