This course entails a systematic study of a variety of human experiences from ancient times to the European expansion into the rest of the world. It examines social, political, economic, and cultural institutions of the various periods of early European history. It describes the characteristics of the institutions, the particular types of experiences they provided during a given period, how those characteristics were derived from earlier times and how they influenced subsequent eras. In addition, the course investigates the people of Europe, both the elite members of society and their struggles for power and the ordinary people and their efforts to survive in a society where they had little or no power and their voices were seldom heard.
Early European Civilization explores the blending of cultures in the formation of Europe, what common characteristics emerged to mark early Europeans as members of the same civilization and what differences remained to make early Europe a series of cultures and sub-cultures. It also shows how early European Civilization was distinct from the cultures that preceded it and how it interacted with civilizations that preceded it, as well as contemporary non-European civilizations.