A Video Timeline of Western Civilization (History 112)

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A Brief History

This article presents a video timeline for students of Western Civilization (History 112) at Ashland University.

For each date below, please click on the date to be taken to a video covering that date’s event.  After watching that video, please post a one or two sentence comment in the comments section for the video that demonstrates that you watched the video.

These comments or “thesis statements” are 1-2 sentence summaries of the video. They should include the most important aspects of each video. In other words, the thesis statement should include the individuals involved, the time period, and significance of the event.

For example, if you watched a video on the Declaration of Independence, your comment could be something like the following: “The Declaration of Independence of 1776, originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson, formally declared the American colonies independent from Great Britain.  The Declaration also argued that all men are created equal with natural-born rights and that the government exists to secure said rights.”

Although I would prefer that you post your comments directly on the videos (every time anyone comments on one of my videos, I receive an email notification), if you are uncomfortable posting public comments on YouTube, you may instead email to me a list of your comments sent as a Word attachment.  If you email me your comments, for each comment, please be sure to include a footnote indicating what video your comment corresponds with.  To cite a YouTube video in a footnote, you should follow the following format:

AuthorFirstName AuthorLastName, “Title of Video,” YouTube video, running time, publication date, URL.

Here is an example:

Matthew Zarzeczny, “July 3, 1863: 5 Valiant but Failed Attacks (Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg),” YouTube Video, 8:22, July 6, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-x3gb11YlE.

Your comments on each unit’s videos should be completed by the date on the syllabus for when we finish that unit.

Digging Deeper

1.  Introduction

  1. In the mid-2010s, Dr. Zar and his students gave a public presentation on the history of various sites in Ohio.
  2. On March 29, 2019, Dr. Zar and a group of his students visited the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio.
  3. On November 10, 2017, the audio-book version of Simply Napoleon was published.
  4. On December 24, 2018, a cute dachshund got, played with, and defended her 2018 Christmas present!

2.  The First Civilizations

  1. On November 4, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
  2. On February 16, 1923, King Tut’s burial chamber was entered for the first time in over 3,000 years!
  3. In the 17th Century BC, Israelites settled in what is now modern Israel.

3.  Ancient Slaves and Women

4.  Early Greece

  1. On an unknown date, about the mid 2nd Millennium BC, the ancient world was rocked by one of the largest volcanic eruptions and explosions in Human history.

5.  Classical and Hellenistic Greece

6.  The Fall of Macedon and the Rise of Rome

7.  The Pax Romana

  1. On July 18, 64 AD, the center of Western Civilization, city of Rome, capital of the Roman Empire, suffered an enormous fire that devastated the city and burned for 6 days.

8.  The Transformation of the Roman Empire

  1. It is January 6th, Merry Christmas! Or wait, is it just Christmas Eve?
  2. On January 14, medieval Christians celebrated Feast of the Ass Day, although perhaps not the type of “ass” you may be thinking of!
  3. On Good Friday, somewhere around 33 AD, Jesus of Nazareth, prophet to Islam and Judaism, the Christ and Savior to Christians, was crucified by the Romans in Jerusalem.
  4. On August 24, 410, the city of Rome fell to foreign invaders for the first time in 800 years.
  5. On May 31, 455, Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus was stoned to death by an angry mob, an ignoble end to a world leader.

9.  Unity and Diversity in Three Heirs of the Roman Empire

  1. On April 25, 799, Pope Leo III was leading a procession honoring St. Mark in Rome, chanting prayers and responses with the crowd, a practice called the Greater Litanies.
  2. On December 23, 962, Christian forces under Byzantine commander Nikephoros II Phokas stormed into the city of Aleppo in the Levant, earning the future Byzantine Emperor the title “Pale Death of the Saracens.”

10.  Renewal and Reform

  1. On January 23, 971, with deadly fire from their crossbows, troops of the Chinese Song Dynasty managed to defeat the War Elephant Corps of the Southern Han Kingdom.
  2. On June 10, 1190, during the Third Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (r. 1155-1190) drowned in the river Saleph while leading an army to Jerusalem.

11.  An Age of Confidence

  1. On October 14, 1066, the Normans under William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings.
  2. St. Albertus Magnus died on November 15, 1280, after having reportedly built an android and discovered the philosopher’s stone, but according to the faithful his body did not deteriorate and according to Mary Shelley, his writings influenced mad scientist Victor Frankenstein!

12.  Crisis

  1. On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) was put to death by being burned alive at the stake for the alleged crime of heresy.
  2. On April 10, 2018, adherents of the Anglican Church celebrate the Feast Day of St. William of Ockham, the Franciscan theologian and philosopher that gave us the logical tool known as Occam’s Razor, an idea oversimplified as ‘the briefest, most likely explanation is the best.’

13.  Renaissance

  1. On February 7, 1497, the followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola of Florence, Italy, gathered and burned a large quantity of objects they referred to as “vanities,” objects such as cosmetics, books, artwork, mirrors, fancy clothes, playing cards, and musical instruments, any objects these religious zealots thought could lead people to sin.

14.  Conclusion

  1. On April 11, 2019, Dr. Zar took a group of students taking his course on the Supernatural in Western History to The Cleveland Museum of Art to examine some examples of the supernatural in art.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Zarzeczny, Matthew D.  Meteors That Enlighten the Earth: Napoleon and the Cult of Great Men.  Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

Markham, J. David and Matthew Zarzeczny.  Simply Napoleon.  Simply Charly, 2017.

The featured image in this article, a detail of Late Gothic carving on the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, has been released into the public domain by its author, AYArktos.  This release applies worldwide.


About Author

Dr. Zar

Dr. Zar graduated with a B.A. in French and history, a Master’s in History, and a Ph.D. in History. He currently teaches history in Ohio.