Civilization III: The Ancient World (Humanities of the Ancient and Medieval World).

Winter Edition

This course is a condensed version of the Spring and Fall sessions of CIV203

CIV 203 tackles important questions regarding the human condition within the specific historical, cultural and religious context of the Middle Ages (“Medioevo”, in the Italian and Latin tradition). In this class, we will study first a seminal literary work called "the Divine Comedy" (original title: “la Divina Commedia”), written in the period 1302-1320 by a medieval Italian poet, politician, writer, and fierce social critic, Dante Alighieri; given the comparative nature of CIV, we will also look at how the work of Dante was influenced by authors, a few works, and even the scriptures from the the Islamic world. On occasion, we will draw comparisons between the same values elaborated in the Divine Comedy, as they are expressed in the Islamic view of life through the Scriptures, and through the analysis of notable scholars of the Muslim world.

This is a course about the human condition, analyzed against the background of medieval politics, philosophy, religion, and culture. It is a course about the development of what Dante Alighieri saw as guiding values for individuals, for a stable and prosperous polity, for the State and for the Church as separate seats of authority, and as opposed to what those values may have been within non-Christian traditions and in the Muslim world.

In this course students will gain knowledge of relevant theories, concepts and debates about the relationship between medieval thought, religious values, philosophy, morals, and understanding of the world as a precursor to modern civilization.

Skill Level: Beginner