The Humanistic Tradition I

From the Ancient World to The Reformation

The Humanistic Tradition:  Study Questions.
Introduction: Prehistory and the Birth of Civilization.

Class discussion will focus on the answers to these questions. Students will be assigned responsibility for answering specific questions.  Present your answer using notes; do not read from the textbook except to refer to a specific passage or picture.

1 Describe the basic characteristics of Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures.  How are their similar?  How are they different?

2. Describe the difficulties modern scholars have in reconstructing Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures.  What strategies do they use?

3. What do the achievements of the Paleolithic and Neolithic peoples in art and architecture reveal about the nature of man and the relationship between man and the arts?  How does art and architecture change once the transition to urban life and taken place?

4. What are the characteristics of civilization?  Where did it first appear and why?

5. What is “myth”, what are its characteristics, and why is it important for human beings?  What are rituals, what is their function, and how are they related to myths as well as human culture overall?

6. Artistic conventions may be defined as the “inherited, invented, and prescribed formulas that the people who formed its culture generally understood” and which artists employed to indicate reality.  Illustrate the presence of such conventions in the art of any one of the peoples discussed in this chapter.  What does this art tell us about this civilization?  What is the relationship between conventions and innovations?

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Last Update:  16.VIII.2006

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