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.

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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.