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The Western Tradition
A video instructional series on Western civilization for college and
high school classrooms and adult learners; 52 half-hour video programs.
Covering the ancient world through the age of technology, this
illustrated lecture by Eugen Weber presents a tapestry of political and
social events woven with many strands ? religion, industry, agriculture,
demography, government, economics, and art. A visual feast of over 2,700
images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art portrays key events that
shaped the development of Western thought, culture, and tradition. This
series is also valuable for teachers seeking to review the subject matter.
*1. The Dawn of History *
The origins of the human race are traced from anthropoid ancestors to
the agricultural revolution.
*2. The Ancient Egyptians *
Egyptian irrigation created one of the first great civilizations.
*3. Mesopotamia *
Settlements in the Fertile Crescent gave rise to the great river
civilizations of the Middle East.
*4. From Bronze to Iron *
Metals revolutionized tools, as well as societies, in the empires of
Assyria, Persia, and Neo-Babylonia.
*5. The Rise of Greek Civilization *
Democracy and philosophy arose from Greek cities at the edge of the
*6. Greek Thought *
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle laid the foundation of Western
*7. Alexander the Great *
Alexander's conquests quadrupled the size of the world known to the Greeks.
*8. The Hellenistic Age *
Hellenistic kingdoms extended Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean.
*9. The Rise of Rome *
Through its army, Rome built an empire that shaped the West.
*10. The Roman Empire *
Rome's civil engineering contributed as much to the empire as did its
*11. Early Christianity *
Christianity spread despite contempt and persecution from Rome.
*12. The Rise of the Church *
The old heresy became the Roman empire's official religion under the
*13. The Decline of Rome *
While enemies slashed at Rome's borders, civil war and economic collapse
destroyed the empire from within.
*14. The Fall of Rome *
Despite the success of emperors such as Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius,
Rome fell victim to barbarian invasions.
*15. The Byzantine Empire *
From Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire carried on the traditions of
Greece and Rome.
*16. The Fall of Byzantium *
Nearly a thousand years after Rome's fall, Constantinople was conquered
by the forces of Islam.
*17. The Dark Ages *
Barbarian kingdoms took possession of the fragments of the Roman Empire.
*18. The Age of Charlemagne *
Charlemagne revived hopes for a new empire in Western Europe.
*19. The Middle Ages *
Amid invasion and civil disorder, a military aristocracy dominated the
kingdoms of Europe.
*20. The Feudal Order *
Bishop, knight, and peasant exemplified some of the social divisions of
the year 1000 A.D.
*21. Common Life in the Middle Ages *
Famine, disease, and short life expectancies were the conditions that
shaped medieval beliefs.
*22. Cities and Cathedrals of the Middle Ages *
The great churches embodied the material and spiritual ambitions of the
*23. The Late Middle Ages *
Two hundred years of war and plague debilitated Europe.
*24. The National Monarchies *
A new urban middle class emerged, while dynastic marriages established
*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.
*26. The Renaissance and the New World *
The discovery of America challenged Europe.
*27. The Reformation *
Voiced by Martin Luther, Protestantism shattered the unity of the
*28. The Rise of the Middle Class *
As the cities grew, new middle-class mores had an impact on religious life.
*29. The Wars of Religion *
For more than a century, the quarrels of Protestants and Catholics tore
*30. The Rise of the Trading Cities *
Amid religious wars, a few cities learned that tolerance increased their
*31. The Age of Absolutism *
Exhausted by war and civil strife, many Europeans exchanged earlier
liberties and anarchies for greater peace.
*32. Absolutism and the Social Contract *
Arguments about the legitimate source of political power centered on
divine right versus natural law.
*33. The Enlightened Despots *
Monarchs considered reforms in order to create more efficient societies,
but not at the expense of their own power.
*34. The Enlightenment *
Intellectual theories about the nature of man and his potential came to
*35. The Enlightenment and Society *
Scientists and social reformers battled for universal human rights
during a peaceful and prosperous period.
*36. The Modern Philosophers *
Freedom of thought and expression opened new vistas explored by French,
English, and American thinkers.
*37. The American Revolution *
The British colonists created a society that tested Enlightenment ideas
and resisted restrictions imposed by England.
*38. The American Republic *
A new republic, the compromise of radicals and conservatives, was
founded on universal freedoms.
*39. The Death of the Old Regime *
In France the old order collapsed under revolutionaries' attacks and the
monarchy's own weakness.
*40. The French Revolution *
Liberty, equality, and fraternity skidded into a reign of Terror.
*41. The Industrial Revolution *
Technology and mass production reduced famine and ushered in higher
standards of living.
*42. The Industrial World *
A consumer revolution was fueled by coal, public transportation, and new
*43. Revolution and Romantics *
Leaders in the arts, literature, and political theory argued for social
justice and national liberation.
*44. The Age of the Nation-States *
The great powers cooperated to quell internal revolts, yet competed to
*45. A New Public *
Public education and mass communications created a new political life
and leisure time.
*46. Fin de Siècle *
Everyday life of the working class was transformed by leisure, prompting
the birth of an elite avant-garde movement.
*47. The First World War and the Rise of Fascism *
Old empires crumbled during World War I to be replaced by right-wing
dictatorships in Italy, Spain, and Germany.
*48. The Second World War *
World War II was a war of new tactics and strategies. Civilian
populations became targets as the Nazi holocaust exterminated millions
*49. The Cold War *
The U.S. and Soviet Union dominated Europe and confronted each other in
*50. Europe and the Third World *
Burdened with the legacy of colonial imperialism, the Third World rushed
development to catch up with its Western counterparts.
*51. The Technological Revolution *
Keeping up with the ever-increasing pace of change became the standard
of the day.
*52. Toward the Future *
Modern medicine, atomic energy, computers, and new concepts of time,
energy, and matter all have an important effect on life in the 20th
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