Video Information

The Western Tradition, Part 1

A study of the main cultural, economic and political trends and events from the rise of civilization in the Near East to the eve of the French Revolution.

All videos are closed captioned.

Lessons 1 - 13

Lesson 1 - The Dawn of History

The origins of the human race are traced from anthropoid ancestors to the agricultural revolution.

Lesson 2 - The Ancient Egyptians

Egyptian irrigation created one of the first great civilizations.

Lesson 3 - Mesopotamia

Settlements in the Fertile Crescent gave rise to the great river civilizations of the Middle East.

Lesson 4 - From Bronze to Iron

Metals revolutionized tools, as well as societies, in the empires of Assyria, Persia, and Neo-Babylonia.

Lesson 5 - The Rise of Greek Civilization

Democracy and philosophy arose from Greek cities at the edge of the civilized world.

Lesson 6 - Greek Thought

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle laid the foundation of Western intellectual thought.

Lesson 7 - Alexander the Great

Alexander's conquests quadrupled the size of the world known to the Greeks.

Lesson 8 - The Hellenistic Age

Hellenistic kingdoms extended Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean.

Lesson 9 - The Rise of Rome

Through its army, Rome built an empire that shaped the West.

Lesson 10 - The Roman Empire

Rome's civil engineering contributed as much to the empire as did its weapons.

Lesson 11 - Early Christianity

Christianity spread despite contempt and persecution from Rome.

Lesson 12 - The Rise of the Church

The old heresy became the Roman empire's official religion under the Emperor Constantine.

Lesson 13 - The Decline of Rome

While enemies slashed at Rome's borders, civil war and economic collapse destroyed the empire from within.

Lessons 14 - 26

Lesson 14 - The Fall of Rome

Despite the success of emperors such as Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, Rome fell victim to barbarian invasions.

Lesson 15 - The Byzantine Empire

From Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire carried on the traditions of Greece and Rome.

Lesson 16 - The Fall of Byzantium

Nearly a thousand years after Rome's fall, Constantinople was conquered by the forces of Islam.

Lesson 17 - The Dark Ages

Barbarian kingdoms took possession of the fragments of the Roman Empire.

Lesson 18 - The Age of Charlemagne

Charlemagne revived hopes for a new empire in Western Europe.

Lesson 19 - The Middle Ages

Amid invasion and civil disorder, a military aristocracy dominated the kingdoms of Europe.

Lesson 20 - The Feudal Order

Bishop, knight, and peasant exemplified some of the social divisions of the year 1000 A.D.

Lesson 21 - Common Life in the Middle Ages

Famine, disease, and short life expectancies were the conditions that shaped medieval beliefs.

Lesson 22 - Cities and Cathedrals of the Middle Ages

The great churches embodied the material and spiritual ambitions of the age.

Lesson 23 - The Late Middle Ages

Two hundred years of war and plague debilitated Europe.

Lesson 24 - The National Monarchies

A new urban middle class emerged, while dynastic marriages established centralized monarchies.

Lesson 25 - The Renaissance and the Age of Discovery

Renaissance humanists made man "the measure of all things." Europe was possessed by a new passion for knowledge.

Lesson 26 - The Renaissance and the New World

The discovery of America challenged Europe.