Western Civilization I

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read and analyze historical documents to demonstrate your understanding of their content in the context of western history.

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Essay Assignment #2 Instructions This summer you will read and analyze historical documents to demonstrate your understanding of their content in the context of western history. You will have 3 essay assignments due after each week of classes (except for the first and last weeks). For your essay you will have the option to choose from one of the questions below to answer about the primary sources we have discussed in class. Answer the question thoroughly in a well-developed essay that includes: (1) an introduction with a thesis, (2) at least 3 paragraphs of body discussing the evidence for your thesis, (3) an interesting conclusion. • • • • • • Due Date: Thursday, June 7 before midnight. Essays must 3-5 pages long, 11 – 12 font size, 1 inch margins, double-spaced, numbered pages. Use academic language (no first person “I” or “me”) Use quotations from the primary sources to argue your points strongly Use footnotes to cite the primary sources DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. I WILL KNOW. PLAGIARISM WILL RESULT IN A FAILING LETTER GRADE. Choose from ONE of the following options: 1) Writing History Thucydides was one of the first writers of history and we have learned about his techniques in “Methods of Historical Inquiry”. Write a well-developed essay explaining 2 problems Thucydides finds in historical writing before his time. Why are these problematic? Then, explain 2 methods Thucydides says he will use to write better historical accounts. Why are these more reliable ways to do history? (Your thesis statement should briefly point out the 2 problems and the 2 new methods by Thucydides). 2) Greek Theatre According to ancient Greek culture the life of every person had a determined “fate”. This meant that everyone’s life was controlled by the Gods and there was no way of changing it. In the play Oedipus the King many characters reject their fate without success. Write a well-developed essay discussing 2-3 examples of characters in the play who reject the will of the Gods. Do these characters succeed in changing their fate? If not, what does this tells us about Greek beliefs about life and the divine forces of the universe? (Your thesis should identify the 2-3 characters and explain why their attempts fail). 3) Epicurean Philosophy The Greek Philosopher Epicurus explained in his writings on “Self-Sufficiency” how to live a better life. Write a well-developed essay that discusses 2 major fears humans have in living their lives according to Epicurus. Why do people have these fears? And discuss 2 different ways Epicurus presents to help people live better and without fear. How do these 2 ways help people lead better lives? (Your thesis should be a sentence that briefly points out the 2 fears and the 2 ways Epicurus presents to fix these). Essay Format Name Class Date Page 1 Title of Essay Paragraph 1 Introduction that tells us about the primary source, where it comes from, who wrote it, etc…The last sentence of this section should be the thesis statement. This sentence should tell us what your argument is, and the briefly list the evidence you will use to argue your claim. Page 3 Each body paragraph should only focus on one idea. If you focus on too many things at once, the arguments become difficult to sustain and defend. Use as many body paragraphs as you need to discuss and analyze your evidence. Page 2 Paragraphs 2, 3, 4...etc.. Body/Argument paragraphs after the introduction should show the evidence (“quotes”) from the primary sources, and your analysis of them to make your arguments. The first sentence of your body paragraphs should always be a topic sentence. This means a sentence that tells us what the paragraph will discuss. For example this could be the start of a paragraph: “In ancient Egypt, it seems that people considered kings to be very strong individuals”. You must follow this topic sentences with evidence from the texts that supports that idea. Page 4 Last Paragraph The Conclusion should briefly tell the reader what your argument was and how your evidence showed this. You should also make an interesting commentary on the sources overall, and leave the reader thinking about the possibilities of studying the source. Leave the reader wanting to know more about the topic you just discussed.
The Idea of Self-Sufficiency by Epicurus (selections) Selections prepared by Prof. Faundez for HI 103 A1 Professor Faundez’s Notes: During the Hellenic Age of ancient Greece, philosophers were interested in understanding the role of the individual in the wider community. Philosophers from this period attempted to help people become more “self-sufficient” so they could find some peace of mind in their lives. Epicurus was one of the philosopher to write on how to find this peace of mind. His philosophy became known as Epicureanism and was one of the major philosophies of the Hellenic period. Fear of the Gods …in general we must grasp this point, that the principal disturbance in the minds of men arises because they think that these celestial bodies are blessed and immortal, and yet have wills and actions and motives inconsistent with these attributes ; and because they are always expecting or imagining some everlasting misery (influenced on them by the Gods), such as is depicted in legends, or even fear the loss of feeling in death … and, again, because they are brought to this of eternal pass not by reasoned opinion, but rather by some irrational presentiment… …if we pay attention to these, we shall rightly trace the causes from where arose our mental feelings and disturbance and fear, and, by learning the true causes of celestial phenomena and all other occurrences that come to pass from time to time, we shall free ourselves from all of which produces the utmost fear in other men… Fear of Death So death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us ; but when death comes, then we do not exist. It does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more. But the many at one moment shun death as the greatest of evils, at another (yearn for it) as a respite from the evils in life. (But the wise man neither seeks to escape life nor fears the cessation of life, for neither does life offend him nor does the absence of life seem to be evil. And just as with food he does not seek simply the larger share and nothing else, but rather the most pleasant, so he seeks to enjoy not the longest period of time, but the most pleasant. The Study of Philosophy Let no one when young delay to study philosophy, nor when he is old grow weary of his study. For no one come too early or too late to secure the health of his soul. And the man who says that the age for philosophy has either not yet come or has gone by is like the man who says that the age for happiness is not yet come to him, or has passed away. Wherefore both when young and old a man must study philosophy, that as he grows old he may be young in blessings through the grateful recollection of what has been, and that in youth he may be old as well, since he will know no fear of what is to come. We must then meditate on the things that make our happiness, seeing that when that is with us we have all, but when it is absent we do all to win it. Living Well and Pleasure When, therefore, we maintain that pleasure is the end, we do not mean the pleasures of profligates and those that consist in sensuality, as is supposed by some who are either ignorant or disagree with us or do not understand, but freedom from pain in the body and from trouble in the mind. For it is not continuous drinking and revelings, nor the satisfaction of lusts, nor the enjoyment of fish and exercise of other luxuries of the wealthy table, which produce a pleasant life, but sober reasoning, searching out the motives for all choice and avoidance, and banishing mere opinions, to which are due the greatest disturbance of the spirit. Of all this the beginning and the greatest good: prudence. Wherefore prudence is a more precious thing even than philosophy: for from prudence are sprung all the other virtues, and it teaches us that it is not possible which teaches to live pleasantly without living prudently and honorably and justly, (nor, again, to live a life of prudence, honor, and justice) without living pleasantly. For the virtues are and they by nature bound up with the pleasant life, and the pleasant life is inseparable from them. For indeed the prudent man is a better man than he who holds reverent opinions concerning the gods, and is at all times free from fear of death, and has reasoned out the end ordained by nature. … he laughs at (destiny), and….He thinks that with us lies the chief power in determining events, some of which happen by necessity and some by chance, and some are within our control; for while necessity cannot be called to account, he sees that chance is inconstant, but that which is in our control is subject to no master…
“Method of Historical Inquiry” By Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian war Selections prepared by Prof. Faundez for HI 103 A1 HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR I began my history at the very outbreak of the war, in the belief that it was going to be a great war and more worth writing about than any of those which had taken place in the past. My belief was based on the fact that the two sides were at the very height of their power and preparedness, and I saw, too, that the rest of the Hellenic [Greek] world was committed to one side or the other; even those who were not immediately engaged were deliberating on the courses which they were to take later. This was the greatest disturbance in the history of the Hellenes, affecting also a large part of the non-Hellenic world, and indeed, I might almost say, the whole of mankind. For though I have found it impossible, because of its remoteness in time, to acquire a really precise knowledge of the distant past or even of the history preceding our own period, yet, after looking back into it as far as I can, all the evidence leads me to conclude that these periods were not great periods either in warfare or in anything else.. . . In investigating past history, and in forming the conclusions which I have formed, it must be admitted that one cannot rely on every detail which has come down to us by way of tradition. People are inclined to accept all stories of ancient times in so uncritical way—even when these stories concern their own native countries…. Most people, in face, will not take trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear. However, I do not think that one will be far wrong in accepting the conclusions I have reached from the evidence which I have put forward. It is better evidence than that of the poets, who exaggerate the importance of their themes, or of the prose chroniclers, who are less interested in telling the truth than in catching the attention of their public, whose authorities cannot be checked, and whose subjectmatter, owing to the passage of time, is mostly lost in the unreliable streams of mythology. We may claim instead to have used only the plainest evidence and to have reached conclusions which are reasonably accurate, considering that we have been dealing with ancient history. As for this present war, even though people are apt to think that the war in which they are fighting is the greatest of all wars and, when it is over, to relapse again into their admiration of the past, nevertheless, if one looks at the facts themselves, one will see that this was the greatest war of all. In this history I have made use of speeches some of which were delivered just before and others during the war, I have found it difficult to remember the precise words used in the speeches which I listened to myself and my various informants have experienced the same difficulty; so my method has been, while keeping as closely as possible to the general sense of the words that were actually used, to make the speakers say what, in my opinion, was called for by each situation. And with regard to my factual reporting of the events of the war I have made it a principle not to write down the first story that came my way, and nor even to be guided by my own general impressions; either I was present myself at the events which I have described or else I heard of them from eye- witnesses whose reports I have checked with as much thoroughness as possible. Not that even so the truth was easy to discover: different eye-witnesses give different accounts of the same events, speaking one of partiality for one side or the other or else from imperfect memories. And it may well be that my history will seem less easy to read because of the absence in it of a romantic element. It will be enough for me, however, if these words of mine are judged useful by those who want to understand clearly the events which happened in the past and which (human nature being what it is) will, at some time or other and in much the same ways, be repeated in the future. My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last forever…

Tutor Answer

Nicholas I
School: University of Maryland


Page 1


Epicurus Philosophy
In this essay, the primary discussion will be on understanding civilization. Different
people understand civilization in different ways, this, in turn, translates to the way their ways of
lifestyles. The primary source of the essay is on the "the idea of self-sufficiency" by Epicurus.
The book discusses how people can be self-sufficient by developing peace of mind to overcome
their greatest fears. According to the source, the major fears of man are the fear of the Gods and
the fear of death. The two play a vital role in judging man's lifestyle and how he lives to avoid
crashing with the greatest fears that he experiences. The above brings in the conclusion and
develops a thesis statement that explains civilization as “the stability of the economy and the
general stability of human life through food security, infrastructural development, political
stability, positive ethnicity, and finally respect to human rights." The essay will focus on the last
part of human rights that states the reason for man living as he lives. When the two greatest fears
are combined, they form the basement to modern society through a guide on the ethical aspects.
Firstly “Death does not concern us because as long as we exist, death is not here. And
when it does come, we no longer exist.” Death is a major fear of man and it is very hard for man
to face the truth that everyone will one day die. The fear of death has been conquered by the
statement above and in turn leads to civilization programs. Through the statement, people
develop courage and has encouraged civilization programs in the western nations. Economic

Page 2

civilization can be traced back to the era of industrial revolution where the world saw the
development of various major industries. The development of industries led to the creation of job
opportunities and creation of fortunes for some of the veteran entrepreneurs although the creation
of wealth cannot be named as a benefit to the globe, the concept can further be backed up by the
economic policies of capitalism. Developed by the US and other primary economically stable
states instilled the virtue of hard work to the citizens of the specific countries. The economic
policy allowed for private citizens to own property (Doefman &Joseph 1947). The only liable
thing that the citizens had to comply with was payment of taxes to the state. When one performs
a task for his financial gain, he /she tends to put in more effort. This policy led to the
development of hardworking strategies by citizens. During this period there was the emergence
of one of worlds veteran entrepreneurs. In another aspect of economic growth was the
introduction of 24-hour economies. This economic policy provides a 24-hour run to the economy
where there are three working shifts a day. The three working shifts are equally divided into 8hour shifts. The changes do ...

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