The Humanistic Tradition I

From the Ancient World to The Reformation

I. Short Essay (1 Question; 25 Points):  Answer fully one of the following questions. Remember to answer who? what? why? where? and when? for each question.  Illustrate your answers with specific references to artists, writers, or composers or to works of art, literature, or music discussed in class.  Essays should be at least two double-spaced typed pages (500-600 words) in length.

1. Compare and contrast the characteristics of Hellenic and Hellenistic civilizations.  What elements of Hellenic civilization were preserved?  What elements were lost?  Use specific examples.  What explains these changes?  How did the conquests of Alexander the Great influence this transformation? Which aspects of the classical tradition (Hellenic and Hellenistic) continue to influence the western Humanistic Tradition?

2. What were Romeís most significant contributions to the humanistic tradition?  Use specific examples to support your opinion.

3. How did the arts serve as official propaganda in the Roman Empire.  Give specific examples.

4. If you had a choice, would you choose to live in Athens (fifth-century BC) or imperial Rome (first-second centuries AD).  Support your opinion with specific evidence.

5. Describe the development of Christian religion between the Crucifixion and the Edict of Milan (AD 313).  What is the content and the significance of the Nicene Creed?  How did Christianity become the official religion of the Roman Empire?  What was the contribution of the Church Fathers? Identify specific aspects of Roman culture borrowed by Christianity.

6. Christian art and architecture is symbolic.  Why did the Christians develop this complex symbolic language for their art and architecture?  Describe three examples of Christian symbolism.  Which elements of Roman art and architecture were retained and transformed by the Christians?  How was the basilica adapted for Christian purposes?

7. The Judeo-Christian Tradition is the second of the cultural roots that make up the Western cultural and intellectual tradition.  Compare and contrast it with the Classical Tradition (the first cultural root).  How is it similar, how is it different?  Explain why the Christian Church Fathers preserved the Classical Tradition and incorporated it into Christianity.  Why consequences have resulted from this blending of the Classical and Judeo-Christian traditions?

8. Using the Song of Roland and the Bayeux Tapestry (and your text), describe the main features of feudal life in Western Europe.

9. What are the Christian sacraments and what role do they play in an individualís life during the Middle Ages?  How did they influence the relationship between the individual and the Church? How are they related to the medieval concept of salvation?

This Page is Maintained by Robert W. Brown

Last Update:  08 November 2004

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