Civilizations of the Ancient World


Your grade for the course will be determined from the following:

Interpretive Essays (3) 30%
Final Exam35%

We’ll have short, timed online quizzes to help gauge our relationship with the material in the readings most weeks. Quizzes cover the textbook reading, plus Gilgamesh and Clouds when assigned.

If you did your reading for the class, you should be prepared for the quiz. Quizzes are always based on the materials assigned for that class meeting, even if I am slightly behind the syllabus in class. Make sure to always do the assigned readings.

Missed quizzes are not made up. If you miss a quiz, you’ll get a zero for that quiz. Therefore, please make sure you are prepared each week and take the quiz.

Interpretive Essays (3)

You’ll write three interpretive essays. Details are on the Essays page.

  • One on the portrayal of society or religion in The Epic of Gilgamesh;
  • One on Clouds and its relationship with actual events in classical Athens; and
  • A response to your choice of nonwritten artistic depictions of the ancient world, including sculpture, painting, performance, or film, comparing the history that’s come down to us with how it has been represented.

Optional Draft. You can submit a draft of the paper to me up to a week before it’s due; I’ll give you some general feedback (but not a grade). Because I accept drafts, I do not allow students to submit revised versions of their final paper after the due date. To make sure I see it soonest, please email me your optional draft rather than uploading it to BlackBoard.


Midterm exam. The midterm will cover the course up to that point. We’ll discuss the content and structure the previous week, and a review sheet will be provided. The exam take place during our regular class meeting on the day indicated on the schedule.

Final exam. The final will cover from the midterm onward—except for the essay portion, which will cover themes from the entire course. We’ll discuss the content and structure the week before the final, and a review sheet will be provided. The final exam lasts two hours and will take place on the day designated by the registrar’s office.