Choose one of the following questions and answer it based on the historical evidence. Make sure that you cite your sources and that you have three other sources in addition to your textbook. You will need to cite your sources in Chicago (Turabian) Style.

Your essay must be at least four double-spaced pages in ten- or twelve-point font. It must be four pages of content, i.e., four pages apart from bibliography and cover page.

Here is your choice of essay topics. Choose one and write about it:

  • Scholars sometimes argue over whether or not there are certain cultural features that are common to most civilizations throughout the world. In this course, you’ve seen several different cultures and civilizations. Based on what you’ve encountered of them in this course, do you think that we can talk about certain values and beliefs that are common to all people, or do you think that cultures are so different that one can’t talk about values and beliefs that are common to all cultures? Discuss.
  • Are there any periods that we’ve covered in this course that seem to mark a sharp, fast, and extreme change, causing a culture or people to change dramatically from what it had been before? If so, discuss one of these sharp breaks and how exactly it left a culture markedly different from its predecessor.
  • The Roman and Han Chinese Empires each experienced centuries of rule by one man, a man whose title we usually translate into emperor. Based on our sources on Rome and China, were ancient Roman and Chinese ideals of an emperor similar to or different from each other? NOTE: This question is NOT “Compare and contrast the Roman Empire and Han China!”
  • Compare and contrast the Muslim states that formed in medieval West Africa and the Christian states that formed in medieval Western Europe. Are there any factors— geographic, political, or cultural—that might account for the similarities? For the differences?
  • Compare and contrast the spread of Islam after the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. What are the differences? The similarities? What are some reasons for those differences and similarities? NOTE: This question is NOT “Compare and contrast Christianity and Islam!”
  • Pick a religious or philosophical text covered in this course and analyze it. What problems faced by people or societies does it offer to solve? How well do its proposed solutions seem to work?

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