Western Civilization – Discussion Forum – Mesopotamia, Egypt and Ancient Greece
Please choose one of the following questions to answer for the Forum Discussion this week in 250+ words.
After you post your own answer, you will need to respond to at least three of your fellow classmates’ initial posts, with 125+ words each.
1. Consider the definition of civilization provided by our textbook. Which aspect do you consider the most important? Why? In your opinion, which of the ancient civilizations discussed in the Introduction and Chapter One was the “most civilized?” Why? (Please remember that Mesopotamia was not a single civilization. If you choose to discuss this region, you need to choose a specific society.)
2. A popular theme in writings from ancient Greece was punishment for hubris, or overbearing pride and excessive self-confidence. Choose one of the historical figures from this week’s textbook readings and explain how they qualify as hubristic. Be sure to explain both their arrogance and how it caused their “downfall.” Likewise, be sure that the person you address is historical and not literary/mythological.
3. What do you think was the single greatest accomplishment of Alexander and why? Does he deserve the appellation of “Great?” Why or why not?
Student Response #1:
Question 2. A popular theme in writings from ancient Greece was punishment for hubris, or overbearing pride and excessive self-confidence. Chose on of the historical figures from this week’s readings and explain how they qualify as hubristic. Be sure to explain both they’re arrogance and how it caused their “downfall”.
Our text book defines hubris as the Greek term for violent arrogance (Hunt, G-4). I feel Alexander the Great was hubris and this led to his downfall. In his early career Alexander was described to show a reckless disregard for his own safety in battle. Some people may view this as noble or heroic, and it can be if done for the right reasons. I believe in Alexander’s case it was a result of exaggerated self-confidence. He believed he was the son of Zeus and wanted to be as famous as Achilles. In his minded Alexander thought he was as important as these mythological figures, and wanted to be referred to as a god. He was a great military leader conquering many areas but these accomplishments went to his head. He believed these conquests were superhuman and proved his god like powers. He was a proclaimed “king” of the lands he had invaded but did nothing to help the people, just collected tax. He was proud that he named the city of Alexandria after himself.
While marching seventy days through monsoons to India his troops organized a mutiny against him. I think his overconfidence led to him pushing them to hard causing the mutiny. “He aimed to out do the hero’s of legend my marching to the end of the world” (Hunt, p119). This defeat led to him ruling in a harsher manner and eventually in my opinion his downfall. His narcissism continued to grow and he said he “wished to receive the honors due to a god” (Hunt, p119). Most of the Greek cities obeyed and sent him religious delegations. A Spartan was quoted as saying, “If Alexander wishes to be a god, then we’ll agree he’ll be called a god” (Hunt, p119). All of Alexander’s accomplishments went to his head and in his later days he had lost the respect of his people. His exaggerated self-worth was tolerated because of his conquests. His heavy drinking pair with illness eventually did him in. The belief that he was a god may have led to his excessive drinking and eventually his death. I feel a lot of ancient leaders could be labeled as hubris. I wonder if this is the cause of its popularity in writings?
Hunt, Lynn, Thomas Martin, Barbara Rosenwein, Bonnie Smith. Making of the West, Volume I: To 1750, 4th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 01/2012. VitalBook file.
Student Response #2:
Question 3: Alexander, during his short lifespan, was able to accomplish many things which many would consider to be impossible. Although he was born into nobility, his life was not an easy one and it was filled with challenges both domestic and foreign. He became the king of Macedonia at the young age of 20 after the assassination of his father Phillip II and he had to immediately remove any opposition within Macedonia and quell rebellions in Greece. Afterwards Alexander decided to expand his territory by venturing to the east where he liberated Egypt, conquered the Persian Empire and parts of India as well.
The single greatest accomplishment of Alexander the Great was conquering the Persian Empire. During the entire campaign, Alexander was far from his own territory and reinforcements, in unknown enemy territory against a larger Persian army. Despite the odds being stacked against him, Alexander managed to emerge victorious in every battle and forced the Persian king Darius III to offer a peace treaty. Alexander refused the peace treaty, defeated Darius and his massive army, and conquered the Persian Empire.
I believe that Alexander is deserving of the title of “Great” not only because of his military achievements but also because of his unsullied record. He managed to conquer most of the known world without being defeated in battle a single time. Alexander would not be stopped until he reached India, became sick and died of malaria.
Alexander was an inspiring and courageous individual that managed to achieve the impossible and conquer most of the known world. His men loved him and they followed him to the farthest corner of the known world in Alexander’s quest to unite the world under his banner. Alexander’s “greatness” has motivated other historical figures in their quests for glory, such as Napoleon, and still inspires people today.
Student Response #3:
Question 1. I chose to answer question one. The definition of civilization according to our text books is a way of life based in cities with dense populations organized as political states, large buildings constructed for communial activities, the production of food, diverse economies, a sense of local identity, and some knowledge of writing.
The aspect that i consider to be most important would be the production of food. I think thats the most important aspect because a community can come together and be able have some form of stability if the production of food is established. With the production of food, the economy can be established and a cilivlization can begin.
I beleive the Minoan civilization was the most civilized ancient civilization because they were a more humble civlilaztion, they had numerous ports that supported international trade, they also avoided war and had no single authorirty. The pretty much lived very peacefully, they also has a very extensive agricultural system which helped to increase the health and wealth of their communuity. To be its seems as if they were the most civlized and the most organized. I think they really had built their community on peacefully terms and managed to stay that way, they lived in humble housing with out having to be in large fortresses and built their economy from the ground up. Thier economy was also extremely organzied and put together, meaning they had things set up to where they could not onlu produece product but made a profit and made it a way of life in their civlization. Not only did they produce olive oils and olives and grapes among many other things, they found way to manufacture storage which gave jobs to craft workers. So in my opinion the Minoans had the most civilized civilization.