Thursday, December 3, 2009

52 lectures..."The Western Tradition"


A video instructional series on Western civilization for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 52 half-hour video programs and coordinated books 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.

Produced by WGBH Boston.

Program list:

The Dawn of History

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

The Ancient Egyptians


Egyptian irrigation created one of the first great civilizations.

Mesopotamia

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

From Bronze to Iron

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

The Rise of Greek Civilization

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

Greek Thought


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

Alexander the Great

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

The Hellenistic Age


Hellenistic kingdoms extended Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean.

The Rise of Rome


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

The Roman Empire


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

Early Christianity


Christianity spread despite contempt and persecution from Rome.

The Rise of the Church

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

The Decline of Rome

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

The Fall of Rome

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

The Byzantine Empire


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

The Fall of Byzantium


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

The Dark Ages

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

The Age of Charlemagne


Charlemagne revived hopes for a new empire in Western Europe.

The Middle Ages

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

The Feudal Order


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

Common Life in the Middle Ages

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

Cities and Cathedrals of the Middle Ages


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

The Late Middle Ages


Two hundred years of war and plague debilitated Europe.

The National Monarchies


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

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.

The Renaissance and the New World

The discovery of America challenged Europe.

The Reformation

Voiced by Martin Luther, Protestantism shattered the unity of the Catholic Church.

The Rise of the Middle Class

As the cities grew, new middle-class mores had an impact on religious life.

The Wars of Religion

For more than a century, the quarrels of Protestants and Catholics tore Europe apart.

The Rise of the Trading Cities

Amid religious wars, a few cities learned that tolerance increased their prosperity.

The Age of Absolutism

Exhausted by war and civil strife, many Europeans exchanged earlier liberties and anarchies for greater peace.

Absolutism and the Social Contract

Arguments about the legitimate source of political power centered on divine right versus natural law.

The Enlightened Despots

Monarchs considered reforms in order to create more efficient societies, but not at the expense of their own power.

The Enlightenment


Intellectual theories about the nature of man and his potential came to the fore.

The Enlightenment and Society

Scientists and social reformers battled for universal human rights during a peaceful and prosperous period.

The Modern Philosophers


Freedom of thought and expression opened new vistas explored by French, English, and American thinkers.

The American Revolution

The British colonists created a society that tested Enlightenment ideas and resisted restrictions imposed by England.

The American Republic

A new republic, the compromise of radicals and conservatives, was founded on universal freedoms.

The Death of the Old Regime


In France the old order collapsed under revolutionaries' attacks and the monarchy's own weakness.

The French Revolution

Liberty, equality, and fraternity skidded into a reign of Terror.

The Industrial Revolution


Technology and mass production reduced famine and ushered in higher standards of living.

The Industrial World

A consumer revolution was fueled by coal, public transportation, and new city services.

Revolution and Romantics

Leaders in the arts, literature, and political theory argued for social justice and national liberation.

The Age of the Nation-States

The great powers cooperated to quell internal revolts, yet competed to acquire colonies.

A New Public


Public education and mass communications created a new political life and leisure time.

Fin de Si├Ęcle


Everyday life of the working class was transformed by leisure, prompting the birth of an elite avant-garde movement.

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.

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 of people.

The Cold War

The U.S. and Soviet Union dominated Europe and confronted each other in Korea.

Europe and the Third World

Burdened with the legacy of colonial imperialism, the Third World rushed development to catch up with its Western counterparts.

The Technological Revolution

Keeping up with the ever-increasing pace of change became the standard of the day.

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 century.

"The Western Tradition"


Thanks to POSP stringer Tim.

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