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History of Science Ancient Mesopotamia

History of Science Online

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LibraryThing: Science in Ancient Mesopotamia Week 2: Science in Ancient Mesopotamia

Science in Ancient Mesopotamia

In our whirlwind tour of the history of science, this week we make our stop in the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia. Our aim will be to get to know the ancient Babylonian astronomers in terms of their own place and time. We'll not be like tourists in Uruk, Ninevah or Babylon who seek fast food at McDonald's.

Most weeks we will explore the science of just one or two centuries. This week is a little different, because we will survey the science of Mesopotamia over three millennia, from the invention of writing up to the first century B.C. Our focus will be on the science of mathematical astronomy. In coming weeks, we'll return to Greek and Roman contemporaries of (and successors to) the Babylonians introduced this week.

Ancient Mesopotamia assignments

#

Due Date*
Pts
Activity Time
1.1 Tuesday 8/26
11:59 p.m.*
10

1. Starting Assumptions
Think about what you know already about the culture and period, share your knowledge and experience with other students in the class

30 min.
1.2 Wednesday 8/27
11:59 p.m.*
25

2. Topic 1 + Quiz
Background: Without a sense of context, history is anachronistic.
Primary sources: Without documentary evidence, history is speculation
The first of two topic assignments per week involving both background and primary sources.

90 min.
1.3 Thursday 8/28
11:59 p.m.*
25

3. Topic 2 + Quiz
Background: Without a sense of context, history is anachronistic.
Primary sources: Without documentary evidence, history is speculation

The second of two topic assignments per week involving both background and primary sources.

90 min.
1.4 Friday 8/29
11:59 p.m.*
20 4. Interpretation
Unless it explains, history is trivial.
Write a short persuasive essay agreeing or disagreeing with a common interpretation about the topic and expressing your own view
.
60 min.
1.5 Monday
11:59 p.m.
10 5. Online Resource Project
Over the course of the semester, we will assemble a catalog of online resources for exploring the history of science.
60 min.
1.6 Monday 8/31
11:59 p.m.*
10

6. Reflection + Peer Responses
Think about all that you did this week, including reading the Interpretation Essays of other students, and share your thoughts and ideas with other students in the class

30 min.
 Total pts
100
Total time
6 hours

 

Each week you will begin with a unit page like this one, with a table like the one below that links to all the assignment pages for that week. Return here from any assignment page by clicking the icon in the upper left or the "Week 2: Science in the Ancient Near East " link in the subtitle area above.

Does the schedule above imply that you must work on this course during Labor Day weekend? By no means! Work ahead! Complete the Wikipedia Editing Project and Internet assignments before Friday night, so that you will have the holiday weekend free. You do not ever need to work on weekends for this course; see the sample schedules outlined in time management tips. Nothing makes your work go more smoothly in this course than to get ahead and stay ahead!

***Don't forget, if you are joining the course late, be sure to go back and finish last week's assignments. Students who do not complete all assignments from last week by Sunday September 7th at 11:59 p.m. may be administratively dropped from the course.***

 

 

"When the [modern] astronomer looks back at his predecessors, he finds Babylonian priests and magicians, Greek philosophers, Mohammedan princes, medieval monks, Renaissance nobles and clerics—until in the scholars of the seventeenth century he meets with modern citizens of his own kind. To all these men astronomy was not a limited branch of specialist science but a world system interwoven with the whole of their concept of life. Not the traditional tasks of a professional guild but the deepest problems of humanity inspired their work.” Anton Pannekoek, A History of Astronomy.

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HSCI 3013. History of Science to 17th centuryCreative Commons license
Kerry Magruder, Instructor, 2004
-14
Brent Purkaple, TA

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Many thanks to the pedagogical model developed in Mythology and Folklore and other online courses by Laura Gibbs, which have been an inspiration for this course.

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This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux