Civilizations of the Ancient World


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

Online Discussion10%
Interpretive Essays (3) 30%
Final Exam30%

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 the assigned readings, you should be prepared for the quiz.

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.

Online Discussion

Each week during our online meeting time students gather in the online discussion area for that week and post reactions to the issues and ideas brought up in the week's readings and videos. Your posts should include a question and should respond to other students in the discussion as well.

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.


The exams will be “take-home” essay exams, posted on a certain date and due a week later. The midterm exam 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 final exam 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 before each exam, and a review sheet will be provided.

Note that the policy on plagiarism will be strictly observed for the essays and for the exams.