Midterm Exam – Instructions

The exam should be two structured essays that possess the usual apparatus of an academic paper: an introduction with a thesis; supporting paragraphs that draw from the texts, whether primary or secondary, to support and develop the thesis; and a conclusion.


You are to write two essays of at least 600words each (1200 words in total). At the end of each essay you should write down the word count. You are welcome to go over the minimum word count if you think that your answers will be improved by more material. I do not grade you based on the word count, but keep in mind that if your essay is shorter than 600 words, you most likely will not have enough material or detail to answer the questions sufficiently, and by that resulting in a lower grade.

You should use short quotations and references from the texts and readings to illustrate specific points or arguments you are making.

Keep in mind that the strongest essays will include material from multiple sessions. The topics/questions are designed to be expansive and they require you to address events over a wide time frame.

Each essay MUST be properly documented with parenthetical citations, which include the name of the author and the page number – there is no need for a works cited page, as the texts are all common. For the Textbook, (Hunt, page number) is sufficient. For the Sources book (Lualdi, page number).  If you want to cite the lectures, simply reference the name of the lecture (first slide of each lecture).

Only in the case you use outside sources do you need to have a works cited page but I strongly discourage you from using general webpages like Wikipedia. If you do use online sources you need to offer a link to them in your works cited page. As this is an exam, any instance of plagiarism or use of outside sources that are not cited will be reported to an Academic Integrity Officer. Any exam that has no citations will receive 0 points.

I am testing you on having watched/listened to the lectures and read the assigned readings from both the textbook and the Sources book.

If you use materials, books, and other items that are not easily accessible to the instructor, please keep a copy of them as I might ask you to provide them to me to verify the accuracy of your citations. If you can not provide them to me within a week of it being requested, you will receive 0 points for the exam.

Please keep in mind that the strongest historical essays pay close attention to the chronology of events. An essay that moves back and forth in time period is generally a disorganized essay, so I would suggest you try your best to keep your events and examples in chronological order.

Questions: Choose ONE from each part.

You must pick one topic from each part, so your first answer must be either Option 1 or 2, and the second answer must be either Option 3 or 4


Option 1

To what extent is it important to understand and know the history of the Near East and its numerous empires in order to understand the history of the ancient Greeks, the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire? What specific influences from the near east can we see on those civilizations, on their culture and perhaps even their governmental structure? A complete answer, will cover the entire time frame in question, while offering at least one example for each of the three periods.

Please keep in mind the exact time periods of your examples and try to keep the comparison for each close in time period. It is unlikely and far-fetched to imagine something that happened in the year 1000 B.C.E. to have a direct influence on something that happened a thousand years later. By the Near-East, I mean the areas in the eastern Mediterranean, including Asia Minor and the modern Middle East, along with the northeast of Africa.

Option 2

The final hundred years of both Classical Athens and the Roman Republic, saw both new heights of power, while also highlighting the inherent problems that would eventually lead to the downfall of both Athens as the leader of the Greek city states at the end of the fifth century BCE, and the end of the Roman Republic in 27.BCE. Contrasting the two, what led to the demise of each system of government? What were the major problems, societal and otherwise, that they faced that led to the eventual collapse of democratic and Republican styles of government in both Greece and Rome?

For this question I want you to be clear as to what specific time periods you are discussing. The periods of monarchy for both Greece and Rome are irrelevant to this question, as is the period of the Roman Empire.


Option 3

With the start of a new millenium, the Roman Empire saw the birth of a new religion that would spread widely across the Mediterranean and far north into the continent of Europe. What were some of the reasons for why Christianity spread so widely in the region during the first five to six hundred years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth? For this question, keep in mind the political, cultural, and societal events that shaped the region where Christianity spread.

For this question, you don’t have to offer an exhaustive answer, but do try to offer examples or “snap shots” from different periods within the time frame offered, from the early Roman empire, a divided Roman empire, and the interaction with the Germanic tribes in the North.

Option 4

Compare and contrast the roles of religion in the Islamic, Byzantine, and western European worlds in the period from around 500-850. How central was religion to governmental and/or societal structure in these areas during those 350 years?

A complete answer will attempt to cover the entire period in question and try to keep your examples in chronological order. Finally, remember that it is generally more fruitful to search for differences rather than similarities when you compare and contrast different ideas and events.

Please submit your take home exam as a .docx or pdf to the Assignment here on Canvas. The system doesn’t accept every file type, Pages files from Mac computers don’t go through for example. If you are using Google Docs to write your exam, please save it as a as a pdf document (Print to PDF).

Best of luck

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