HS 121 The Western Tradition

HS 121 The Western Tradition

HS 121 The Western Tradition




1) As we know, Alexander the Great’s reign was largely military in nature.  Give examples of Alexander’s military exploits.  What were Alexander’s personal strengths?  What were his weaknesses?  Despite his empire falling apart at his death, what legacy did he leave behind?  
2) Discuss Socrates’ methods and his teachings on the psyche.  How did Plato’s own philosophy elaborate on Socrates’ ideas?
3) Why, despite a growing and prospering land empire, was the Roman Republic so unstable in the last century of its existence?  Explain with regard to the Land Crisis, the Social War, the revolt of Spartacus, and the timocratic nature of the Republic’s elected officials at this time.
4) What long-term and short-term problems did Julius Caesar face as the last dictator of the Roman Republic?  What solutions did he use to attempt to solve these problems? 
5) Discuss some of the problems the Papacy faced in the ninth and tenth centuries after the fall of the Carolingians.  How was the Papacy able to make itself more powerful after this period of crisis, and how did these efforts to strengthen itself bring it into conflict with secular monarchs?
6) Discuss how the English Kings from William the Conqueror to Henry II were able to centralize the rule of their realm.  What were some of the larger successes of their reigns?  How, despite their efforts, were these efforts to strengthen centralized rule cancelled out by King John?
7) Discuss how events in Western Europe after the death of Charlemagne led to the institution of Western Feudalism.  How did Feudalism work? Did Feudalism contribute to the recovery of Europe?
8) Describe Polybius’ theory of anacyclosis.  How did the three types of positive government, as well as their negative counterparts, operate in this paradigm?  Why did Polybius think that the Roman constitution was the best form of government (i.e. how did it depart from anacyclosis?).

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