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Sources of World Societies, Volume 1: To 1600


Sources of World Societies, Volume 1: To 1600 Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Designed to accompany McKay et al.s A History of World Societies, each chapter of Sources of World Societies contains approximately six sources that present history from the perspectives of well-known figures and ordinary individuals alike. Now with visual sources and two more documents per chapter, this edition offers breadth and depth. Headnotes and questions supplement each document, while a new “Viewpoints” feature highlights two or three sources per chapter that address a single topic from different perspectives. Comparative questions ask students to make connections between sources and across time.
Sources of World Societies is FREE when packaged with A History of World Societies. For more information on the reader or on package ISBNs, please contact your local sales representative or click here.

About the Author

Walter D. Ward (Ph.D., UCLA) is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has published several scholarly articles on the Roman Near East, early Christianity, and trade in the Red Sea, and he is putting the finishing touches on his first book manuscript, Inventing the pre-Islamic Saracen "Other": Monastic and Saracen Identity Formation in the Sinai Peninsula from Constantine to Mohammad.

Denis Gainty (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is a professor of history at Georgia State University. He is the author of several pieces on Tokugawa and Meiji social history, including a book chapter on the inclusion of martial arts in the modern Japanese public school curriculum. He is currently writing his first book, Martialing the National Body.

Table of Contents



I Introduction: Analyzing Primary Sources

History and Prehistory

Primary and Secondary Sources

Doing History: Context and Interpretation

I-1 Cah of Tahnab, Petition to the Viceroy of Mexico, 1605

I-2 The Peoples of the Islands Recently Discovered, 1505

1 The Earliest Human Societies to 2500 B.C.E. 

     Viewpoints: Origins of the World

     1-1 Aborigines of Australia, Yhi Brings Life to the World, ca. 1965

     1-2 Kono of Western Africa, On the Origin of Death, ca. 2001

     1-3 Yuchi Tribe of North America, On the Origin of Death, ca. 1929

     1-4 Hesiod, From Theogony, ca. 700 B.C.E. 

1-5 Double Burial from Mantua, Italy, ca. B.C.E.

1-6 Algerian Cave Painting, Date Unknown

Comparative Questions

2 The Rise of the State in Southwest Asia and the Nile Valley, 3200-500 B.C.E. 

2-1 From The Epic of Gilgamesh, ca. 2700-2500 B.C.E.

2-2 Hammurabi, Hammurabi's Code: Selections on Law, Sex, and Society, ca. 1800 B.C.E.

2-3 Nebmare-nakht, Advice to Ambitious Young Egyptians from a Royal Scribe, ca. 1350-1200 B.C.E. 

2-4 Hymn to the Nile, ca. 1350-1100 B.C.E. 

2-5 Book of Exodus: Moses Leads the Hebrews from Egypt, ca. 950-450 B.C.E.

     Viewpoints: Propaganda in the Ancient Near East

     2-6 Ashur-Nasir-Pal II, An Assyrian Emperor's Resumé, ca. 875 B.C.E. 

     2-7 An Audience with the “King of Kings,” 515-485 B.C.E.

Comparative Questions


3 The Foundation of Indian Society to 300 C.E. 

3-1 From Rigveda, ca. 600 B.C.E.  

Viewpoints: What is Ultimate Reality?

     3-2 The Buddha, The Buddha Obtains Enlightenment, ca. 530-29 B.C.E.  

     3-3 From the Upanishads: On the Nature of the Soul, ca. 450 B.C.E. 

     3-4 From the Mahabharata: Selections from the Bhagavad Gita, 500 B.C.E.- 500 C.E.

3-5 From The Laws of Manu, ca. 100 B.C.E. -200 C.E.  

3-6 Ashoka, From Thirteenth Rock Edict, 256 B.C.E.

3-7 Naga Relief from the Ajanta Caves, ca. 200 B.C.E. - 400 C.E.

Comparative Questions 

4 China's Classical Age to 221 B.C.E.

4-1 Shang Oracle Bones, ca. 1200-1050 B.C.E.

4-2 From Book of Documents, ca. 900-100 B.C.E. 

     Viewpoints: How Society Should Function

     4-3 Confucius, From Analects, ca. 500 B.C.E.-50 C.E.

     4-4 Laozi, From Dao De Jing: Administering the Empire, ca. 500-400 B.C.E.

     4-5 Han Fei, The Five Vermin, ca. 250-25 B.C.E.

4-6 Anecdotes from the Warring States Period, ca. 206-1 B.C.E.

Comparative Questions 

5 The Greek Experience, 3500-100 B.C.E. 

5-1 Homer, From Iliad: Achilles's Anger and Its Consequences, ca. 750 b.c.e. 

5-2  Lysias, On the Murder of Eratosthenes, ca. 403-380 B.C.E.

5-3 Plato, From Apologia, ca. 399 B.C.E.

5-4 Aristotle, From Politics, ca. 340 B.C.E.

5-5 Herodotus, From Histories: On Sparta, ca. 450-420 B.C.E.

     Viewpoints: Depicting the Human Form

     5-6 Zeus from Artemisium, ca. 460 B.C.E.

     5-7 The Dying Gaul, ca. 230-220 B.C.E.

Comparative Questions 

6 The World of Rome, 750 B.C.E.-400 C.E. 

6-1 The Twelve Tables, ca. 450 B.C.E. 

6-2 Cicero, The Defense of Marcus Caelius Rufus: Description of Clodia, 56 B.C.E.

6-3 Plutarch, On Julius Caesar, A Man of Unlimited Ambition, ca. 44 C.E. 

6-4 Tacitus, From The Annals: On the Legacy of Augustus, 98 C.E. 

6-5 Jesus of Nazareth, Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapter 5), ca. 30 C.E. 

     Viewpoints: Christianity and the Roman State

     6-6 Pliny the Younger, Trajan, Letters to and from the Emperor Trajan on Christians, 111-113   C.E.

     6-7 Tertullian, From Apologia, ca. 197 C.E.

Comparative Questions 

7 East Asia and the Spread of Buddhism, ca. 221 B.C.E.-800 C.E. 

7-1 Sima Qian, From the Records of the Historian: On the Ziongnu, ca. 109-86 B.C.E.

7-2 Ban Zhao, From Admonitions for Women, ca. 80 C.E. 

7-3 Fa-Hsiean, From A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, ca. 399-414

7-4 Prince Toneri, From Chronicles of Japan: Emperor Jinmu, ca. 720

     Viewpoints: Buddhism in China

     7-5 Buddha Preaching, ca. 501-580 C.E.

     7-6 From Lives of the Eminent Monks: Zhu Seng Du, ca. 550 C.E.

     7-7 Emperor Wuzong, Edict on the Suppression of Buddhism, 845 C.E.

Comparative Questions

8 Continuity and Change in Europe and Western Asia, 200-850 

8-1 Egeria, Good Friday in Jerusalem, ca. 381-384

8-2 Saint Augustine, From City of God: A Denunciation of Paganism, ca. 413-426 

8-3 Saint Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict: Work and Pray, 529 

8-4 Zachariah of Mitylene, From Syriac Chronicle, ca. 569

     Viewpoints: Justinian's Deeds and His Critics

     8-5 Procopius, From The Secret History, ca. 550-562

     8-6 Hagia Sophia, 537

8-7 Einhard, From The Life of Charlemagne, 829-836

Comparative Questions

9 The Islamic World, 600-1400

     Viewpoints: Islam and the People of the Book

     9-1 Muhammad, Qur'an: Muslim Devotion to God, ca. 650

     9-2 Muhammad, The Constitution of Medina: Muslims and Jews at the Dawn of Islam, ca. 625

9-3 Abraham ben Yiju, From Cairo Geniza: Letter to Joseph, 1153

9-4 Benjamin Ben Jonah of Tudela, From Book of Travels, ca. 1159-1172

9-5 Courtyard of the Virgins, the Alcazar of Seville, ca. 1200-1364

9-6 Ibn Khaldûn, From Prolegomenon to History: On Shi'ite Succession, 1377

Comparative Questions

10 African Societies and Kingdoms, 1000 B.C.E.-1500 C.E.

10-1 Ezana, King of Aksum, Stele of Ezana, ca. 325

     Viewpoints: Outsiders' Views of Sub-Saharan Africa

     10-2 Abu Ubaydallah al-Bakri, From The Book of Routes and Realms, ca. 1067-1068

     10-3 Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Andulusi al-Gharnati, From Gift of the Spirit, ca. 1120-1170

     10-4 Ibn Battuta, From Travels in Asia and Africa, ca. 1325-1354

10-5 From Epic of Sundiata, ca. 1250

10-6 Sankore Mosque, Timbuktu, ca. 1400

Comparative Questions

11 The Americas, 2500 B.C.E. -1500 C.E.

11-1 Stele 4, Ixtutz, Guatemala, 780

11-2 Maize Grinder Effigy Pipe, ca. 1200 

11-3 Pedro de Cieza de Leon, From Chronicles: On the Inca, ca. 1535

11-4 Diego Duran, From Book of the Gods and Rites, ca. 1576-1579

     Viewpoints: The Importance of the Ball Game in Mayan Society

     11-5 Antonio de Herrera y Tordessillas, On the Maya Ball Game Tlachtli, ca. 1598

     11-6 Father Francisco Ximenez, From the Popul Vuh, ca. 1701-1703

Comparative Questions

12 Cultural Exchange in Central and Southern Asia, to 1400

12-1 From The Secret History of the Mongols, ca. 1227-1251

     Viewpoints: The Mongols and Their Conquests

     12-2 Epitaph for the Honorable Menggu, ca. 1272

     12-3 Liu Guandao, Khabilai Khan Hunting, 1280

     12-4 Marco Polo, From Travels: Description of the World, ca. 1298

12-5 Vatsyayana, From the Kamasutra: About a Wife, ca. 150-1200

12-6 Maulana Burhan ud-din Marghinani, From Guidance: Alms, Marriage, and Testimony, ca. 1197

Comparative Questions

13 States and Cultures in East Asia, 800-1400

     Viewpoints: Feudalism and Society in Medieval Japan

     13-1 Murasaki Shikibu, From The Tale of Genji, ca. 1021

     13-2 From The Tale of the Heike, ca. 1250

13-3 Ma Yuan, Song Dynasty Landscape, ca. 1100-1130

13-4 Chau Ju-Kua, On the Arab People of Quanzhou, ca. 1250

13-5 Statistical Tables on Chinese Civil Service Exams, 2000

13-6 Widows Loyal Unto Death, ca. 1754

Comparative Questions

14 Europe in the Middle Ages, 850-1450

     Viewpoints: The Crusades

     14-1 From Domesday Book, 1085-1086

     14-2 Fulcher of Chartes, From A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem: The Call for Crusade, ca. 1100-1127

14-3 Nicetas Choniates, From Annals, 1118-1207

14-4 Zakariya al-Qazwini, From Monuments of the Lands: An Islamic View of the West, 1275-1276

14-5 Chrétien de Troyes, From The Knight of the Cart, 1177-1181

14-6 King John of England, From Magna Carta: The Great Charter of Liberties, 1215

14-7 Thomas Aquinas, From Summa Theological: Can It Be Demonstrated That God Exists?, 1268

Comparative Questions

15 Europe in the Renaissance and Reformation, 1350-1600

     Viewpoints: The Intellectual Origins of the Renaissance

     15-1 Petrarch, Letters, ca. 1354, 1360

     15-2 Pico della Mirandola, From On the Dignity of Man, 1486

15-3 Meo di Betto and Benedetto di Meio, A Tuscan Peasant's Memoir, 1450-1453

15-4 Niccolò Machiavelli, From The Prince: Power Politics During the Italian Renaissance, 1513

15-5 Martin Luther, From Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, 1520

15-6 John Calvin, From Instruction in Faith, 1537

Comparative Questions

16 The Acceleration of Global Contact, 1450-1600 

16-1 Zheng He, Stele Inscription, 1431 

     Viewpoints: Exploration and Its Material Advantages

     16-2 Christopher Columbus, Letter from the Third Voyage, 1493

     16-3 King Dom Manuel of Portugal, Grant of Rights of Trade, 1500

16-4 Bartolomé de Las Casas, From Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies, 1542 

16-5 Bernal Díaz del Castillo, From The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, 1568

16-6 From The Florentine Codex, ca. 1577-1580

16-7 Matteo Ricci, From China in the Sixteenth Century, ca. 1607

Comparative Questions

Product Details

Ward, Walter D.
Bedford Books
McKay, John P.
Gainty, Denis
General History
World History-General
Publication Date:
9.25 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

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