Outline for Textbook Project for Introductory Survey Course in World History to 1500. The Innovative Mind in History, to 1500

Project Report 2016 12 Pages

History - World History - Basics



Chapter 1 - The Neolithic Revolution
1. General history and overview; definition, the transition of human society from that of hunters and gatherers to settled societies based on agriculture and pastoral, herding. Geography of Neolithic settlements in Turkey, North Africa, Europe. Neolithic revolution the single most significant advance in human history?
2. Innovative ideas
a. The empiric spirit
b. Domestication of plants, grains
c. Domestication of animals, livestock
d. Construction of permanent settlements, towns with walls, rise of the city
e. Development of complex society, hierarchy, civilization
f. The need to defend land and property. The correlation of war and patriarchy
g. The concept of the inferior position of women in society
h. The quest for free labor, exploitation of slaves
i. Bread-making
j. Textiles
k. Metallurgy
l. New outlook on life, defining meaning of existence on earth, religion
3. Learning activities

Chapter 2 - Early Civilizations in the Middle East and North Africa
1. General overview: geography of river valley civilizations in Mesopotamia and Nile region; definition. History of Sumerians, Akkadians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians,
2. Innovative ideas
a. Sumerians: the great inventors. Writing, irrigation, hydraulic engineering, beer brewing, astronomy
b. Babylonians: architecture, monumental building, literature (Epic of Gilgamesh), law (Code of Hammurabi)
c. Egyptians: monumental building, stable society, surgery, mummification, furniture making, papyrus and writing
d. Religious ideas of last judgment and resurrection, black ink and colored dyes
e. Assyrians: architecture, development of military machine, terror and the imperial system
3. Learning Activities

Chapter 3 - Early Civilizations in India
1. General overview: geography of Indus Rive and Indian subcontinent. History of Harappan society, Aryan invaders, Mauryan Empire
2. Innovative ideas:
a. Harappans: river valley trade network, advanced architecture, public baths, plumbing and sewage, cotton cloth production
b. Aryans: kingship, horse-drawn chariot
c. Writing system (Sanskrit), religion and caste system
d. Religious epics,
e. Mathematics (Concept of zero)
f. Buddhism: an innovative solution to overcome all suffering in this world. The Four Noble Truth and the Eightfold Path.
g. Mauryans: unification of Indian subcontinent, emperor, armies with elephants, Asoka: the principles of a compassionate ruler and law-giver, Buddhism as state religion, compassion for animals
3. Learning activities

Chapter 4 - Ancient China
1. General Overview: geography of China; history of ancient Chinese societies” Yellow River civilizations origins, earliest dynasties, Shang Dynasty, Zhou Dynasty, Qin Dynasty, Han Dynasty. Geography of Yellow River and Yangtse River Valley and China
2. Innovative ideas
a. Writing system: Chinese characters, enduring and unifying system
b. Medicine: acupuncture, herbs, Qi Gong
c. Shang Dynasty: bronze metallurgy
d. Zhou Dynasty: the principle of the Mandate of Heaven; the justification of removing a destructive leader
e. Qin Dynasty: empire building, the beginning of the Great Wall
f. Porcelain production
g. Han Dynasty: system of laws, road-building, silk production, coinage, Grand canal system and engineering
3. Learning Activities

Chapter 5 - The Greeks and the Hellenistic Empire
1. General Overview: geography of Greece and Aegean region; history of early societies: Minoans, Mycenaeans, classical Greeks, Alexander, and Hellenistic empire. Geography of Greece, Hellenistic Empire of Alexander.
2. Innovative ideas:
a. Minoans: overseas trade, architecture, art, the position of the Minoan woman
b. Mycenaeans: bronze weaponry, epic poetry, architecture, acropolis citadel
c. Greek language and alphabet
d. Classical Greeks: concept of scientific inquiry and rationality, philosophy, architecture,
e. The concept of individual worth and freedom, city-state form of government,
f. Athens and the first democracy in history. The Athenian system of checks and balances. Limitations of the first democratic system in history
g. Alexander the Great: War of conquest and the idea of one unified world
h. The expansion of geographical knowledge and cartography
i. Hellenistic empire: Diffusion of ideas and culture, East and West united by government and trade, administration, Greek knowledge, experimental science, astronomy, geometry
j. Medicine: the Hippocratic Oath
k. The very innovative minds of Greek philosophers and their attempts to explain the workings of the universe and the human existence
3. Learning activities
Interlude: the Axial Age, c500 B.C.E. to 100 C.E.
1. General Overview: what is meant by the term “Axial Age.” Geography of the area encompassed by the Axial Age. The phenomenon of fundamental ideas originating in the same time period in different cultures, in different areas, independently of each other. Diffusion of the ideas of the Axial Age. Significance of the ideas of the Axial Age
2. Innovative Ideas of the Axial Age and their Diffusion
3. Learning Activities

Chapter 5 - The Romans and the Roman Empire
1. General overview: geography of Italy; history of earliest societies in Italy: Latins, Etruscans, founding of Rome, unification of Italian tribes, emergence of empire, decline of Empire, West Rome and East Rome.
2. Innovative Ideas:
a. Latin language, Latin alphabet, Roman numerals
b. Roman law and government, concept of citizenship, Roman imperial administration
c. Engineering, the secret of the enduring Roman concrete, aqueducts, dome, road building, plumbing
d. Administering a global empire
e. The Roman: a modern pragmatic mind in ancient times
f. Medicine and military
g. Christianity: The innovative ideas of the New Testament: equality and kindness
3. Learning activities

Chapter Six - Islam and the Arab Empire
1. General overview: geography of Arabia; Mohammad and the rise of Islam. Establishment of the caliphate. Arab conquests in Arabia, Near East, North Africa, Persia. Umayyad Dynasty in Syria. Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad. Geography of Arabia and the Arab Empire.
2. Innovative ideas.
a. Mathematics: Arabic numeral system, algebra.
b. Medicine. Pharmacology.
c. Navigation: astrolabe
d. International trade network: trans-Sahara and trans-oceanic (Indian Ocean, linking Arabia, Persia, east Africa, India, China and the spice islands)
e. The innovative ideas of Mohammed and Islam: egalitarian society and submission to Allah
3. Learning activities

Chapter Seven - Early African Civilizations
1. General overview: Geographic regions of the African continent. Earliest civilizations in West Africa: Nok, Ghana. Mali. East African civilizations: Axum, Ethiopia. Congo River Basin: Bantu peoples, Luba, Kongo kingdoms. Southern African kingdom of Great Zimbabwe.
2. Innovations
a. Iron smelting
b. Gold trade
c. Salt trade in Sahara
d. Development of Swahili as language of trade
e. The question of geography and climate in regard to innovation
3. Learning activities

Chapter Eight - The Americas
1. General overview: Geography of Mesoamerica. North and South American continents. Human migrations into the Americas, pattern of settlement. Emergence of settlements, towns in North America: Mississippian, Cahokia. Mesoamerica: Olmec civilization. Mayan civilization. Aztec civilizations. South America: Moche, Inca civilizations
2. Innovations:
a. Architecture: stepped pyramids, temples
b. Calendar
c. Food production: lake island agriculture
d. New discovery: the quipu of the Incas: accounting system
e. The isolation factor
3. Learning activities

Chapter Nine - Golden Age of Traditional China
1. Chinese civilization under the Tang, Sui and Song Dynasties. Expansion of Chinese Empire west and south. Growth in population and economic development. Mongol conquest. Decline of Mongol rule, Ming Dynasty. Emergence of China as leading power and most advanced civilization in the world
2. Innovations:
a. Paper
b. Compass
c. Ship design: junk, heavy rudder
d. Gunpowder and firearms
e. Professionally trained civil service
f. Traditionalism and the question of the position of women
3. Learning activities

Chapter Ten - Medieval Europe
1. General Overview: Geography of Europe. Fall of western Roman Empire. Dark Ages. Rise of Byzantium. Rise of Towns in western Europe. Rise of centralized monarchical states: France, Spain, England.
2. Innovations:
a. Monasteries and economic self-sufficiency
b. Windmill
c. Horseshoe and heavy plow
d. Architecture: basilicas, cathedrals
e. Development of Church as universal institution embracing all peoples and daily life.
f. Scholasticism and the university
g. Alchemy, origins of chemistry
h. Commercial trade, rise of trading cities: Venice, Genoa, Hanseatic League
i. Double-entry bookkeeping, origins of banks
j. Medieval medicine: midwifery
k. The development of modern nation states in England and France. The innovative force of the Magna Carta in 1215.
3. Learning activities

Chapter Eleven - Byzantium
1. General Overview: Geography of the Byzantine Empire. Continuation of Rome in the East until 1453. Constantinople: Leading cultural and trade capital in the world.
2. Innovations:
a. Justinian Law code.
b. Greek Fire.
c. Cyrillic Alphabet.
d. Byzantine Architecture, Onion Dome.
e. Byzantine Bureaucracy. Archives.
f. Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul: the diffusion of culture and ideas
3. Learning activities

Chapter Twelve - The Renaissance
1. General Overview: Defining the term Renaissance. Factors in the origins of the Renaissance in the northern Italian states. Key figures and activities of the early Renaissance. Renaissance at its height: Raphael, da Vinci, Michelangelo. Spread of the Renaissance north. The Northern Renaissance.
2. Innovations:
a. Humanism: the study of classical Greek and Latin and the shift of interest from a world centered in medieval Christianity to man at the center of this world
b. Textual criticism
c. Advances in visual arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, the 3-D effect
d. Revival of pure scientific thinking and the origins of the modern world view
e. The Printing Revolution: movable type and printing, mass distribution of ideas and knowledge
f. A new generation of bankers
g. Diplomacy, formalization of relations between sovereign states, the principles of pragmatism, realism and secularism in politics as described by Machiavelli
h. A new rational approach to Christianity in the Northern Renaissance: Erasmus, Montaigne
i. Religious protest movements against the dominance of the pope in Rome
3. Learning activities


The forces of continuity and change in history. Innovation as a big mover of development over the millennia. Common causes for innovative ideas, innovations and inventions from the Neolithic Revolution to the year 1500.

Outlook: From 1500 to the 21. Century. The Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Technological and Digital Revolution. Dependency on fossil fuels, the Nuclear Age, Genetic Engineering, Artificial Intelligence. Environmental, social, political, and economic problems. The new questions of equality and personal freedom.



ISBN (eBook)
File size
480 KB
Catalog Number
Survey Course World History to 1500




Title: Outline for Textbook Project for Introductory Survey Course in World History to 1500. The Innovative Mind in History, to 1500