- Mon 25: finish reading the Enuma Elis, this time thinking about the deeper meaning of the text. (You may wish to revisit tablet 4.) AND…
- write 3 passages from the text in your notes that you think can shed light on the deeper meaning of the EE. Be prepared to present one in class on Monday.
- Tues 26: read
- Wed 27: read
- Thurs 28: TEST! You may wish to look at my review information.
- Fri 29:
- If you can’t get signed on to post a comment, simply write your response in your notes and show me in class tomorrow.
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INTRODUCTION AND COMPLETE YOUR ASSIGNMENT BY ADDING A COMMENT FOR THIS POST. Include in the comment: 1) your first name and last initial and 2) the name of what you consider to be a ‘great city’ (other than DC) and 3) ONE thing that makes this city ‘great’ in your opinion. Please be respectful with your language and interactions on my site. (Remember that anyone may read your posts.) NOTE: you may be asked to open an account with WordPress in order to post a comment. This is just a basic sign-on requirement – it will NOT cost you anything or steal your soul.
Two thousand years ago, a traveler on his way to Rome — one of the greatest cities of all time and the administrative center of one of the most significant civilizations — was greeted by its citizens long before entering one of its fames gates. All along the highways leading into the capital, columned tombs, shrunken sarcophagai, and walled masoleums lined the streets. Tombs of the dead addressed themselves to the passersby, like billboards from the beyond:
You are human, stop and contemplate my tomb, young man, in order to know what you will be. I did no wrong. I performed many duties. Live well, for soon this will come to you. Goodbye hope and fortune. There will be no more prayers from me, so have your sport with others.
These tombs greeted everyone seeking entrance to the great city and were so situated because Roman law prohibited burials within the walls (only Caesar won a dispensation to be buried within the walls). Cities are for the living, and space always at a premium; but the tombs outside Rome served as poignant reminders that the living participate in a much grander chain of existence, that the lives of individual men, however short, nasty, and brutish, exist within a much larger and more significant context.
This course will investigate the connections between the city and that ‘more significant something’ that we term a civilization. We will discover that ancient civilizations, more often than not, organized themselves around specific cities rather than any modern notion of national identity. It was the City that reshaped nature itself, the City that provided a radically new way to live, the City that cultivated the genius of man and gave vibrancy to the commonalities of life. Throughout this semester, therefore, we will be looking at ancient history through the lens of the urban environment, i.e. the city.
At certain times throughout history, individual cities have been so instrumental in fostering major developments in religion, politics, art and science, that they achieved a status of greatness. What makes a particular city, at a particular time, suddenly become immensely creative, exceptionally innovative, and universally important to humanity? This is the overriding question we will address over the course of the semester as we study the civilizations of ancient Sumer, Greece, and Persia and the cities that defined them.
For class you will always need to bring a single notebook and a pen with you – and your Cities book. Almost all of the material for this course is also right here on this site, so please take some time to familiarize yourself with the blog format. If you forget your book at school, for instance, you can always find the readings on this site too. I will usually post your homework for an entire week so you can judge how to manage your time. I try to post the upcoming week’s work before Saturday afternoon.