HOME - Janux - D2L - Email Wikipedia course web page Vimeo course videos Course materials at iTunes U (optional) Twitter: #ouhoscurator
History of Science Alexandria Library

History of Science Online

- Course Info - Time tips - Semester at a glance - Weekly assignments at a glance - Timeline -

LibraryThing: Science in Ancient Mesopotamia Week 5: Hellenistic Science

Starting Assumptions

# Due Date Pts Activity Time
1 Tuesday
11:59 p.m.
10 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. What most interests you about the historical context of the Hellenistic empire?
  2. Socrates was the teacher of Plato. Plato was the teacher of Aristotle. Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great changed the world. Do teachers really touch the future? What was distinctive about this sequence of four generations of teacher-pupil relationships? What aspects of a teacher do you admire most? Do you think Socrates, Plato and Aristotle displayed these qualities? If so, how?
  3. Why are so many people interested in Greek culture today? Does Greek culture have any special meaning for you? Do you like Greek food? Have you traveled to Greece? Do you read or speak Greek? What is your favorite Greek story? Or your favorite movie about Greeks or Greece?
  4. Alexandria, a city in the Nile delta of Egypt, displaced Athens as the preeminent center of learning and scholarship in the Hellenistic period. Cleopatra (69-30 BC) was the last of the Hellenistic dynasty who ruled from Alexandria (cf. "Cleopatra: The Last Pharoah," Digging for the Truth, Digging for the Truth - Digging for the Truth, Season 2 - Cleopatra: The Last Pharaoh). What do you find interesting about Alexandria or Cleopatra?
  5. Have you visited Egypt? Cairo? Alexandria? Did you appreciate any sites dating from the Hellenistic era, between Alexander the Great and Cleopatra?
  6. Have you seen any interesting movies or documentaries about science in the Hellenistic era? For example, here are three relevant documentaries from the History Channel...
    1. "Greece: Age of Alexander" Engineering an Empire - Engineering an Empire - Greece:  Age of Alexander, Engineering an Empire
    2. "Carthage" Engineering an Empire - Engineering an Empire - Carthage, Engineering an Empire
    3. "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" Lost Worlds - Lost Worlds, Season 2 - Seven Wonders of the World , Lost Worlds
  7. Who is your favorite Hellenistic scientist?
  8. **What are some similarities between Hellenistic culture and culture today? How might these similarities help us to understand Hellenistic culture? What are some differences between Hellenistic culture and culture today? How might these differences pose an obstacle to our understanding of Hellenistic culture? What do you think is the chief barrier that obstructs modern appreciation of Hellenistic science?**


Instructions for Starting Assumptions assignment:

  1. Look over the questions and links below; then watch the Starting Assumptions video prompt for this unit at Janux.
  2. PART ONE:
    1. Write a paragraph, 150 words minimum, in response to any questions that interest you.
    2. Post your completed paragraph in the Starting Assumptions discussion stream for this week at Janux.
  3. PART TWO:
    • Read the Starting Assumptions posts of at least two other students at Janux. Make another post in the discussion stream at Janux replying to their posts. (If you are the first or second person to post, you will have to check back later to complete this part of the assignment.)
    • IMPORTANT: When you respond, please begin by greeting the persons by name you are replying to, so that they will be more likely to notice that you are replying to them. And over the next several hours, check back and see if anyone comments on your post as well. If you provide interesting comments in response to others, they will be more likely to look for your posts both now and in the future.
  4. As you post your paragraph and respond to two other students, complete the Gradebook Declaration in Desire2Learn. Your Gradebook Declaration is subject to the Honor Code. Check all that apply: if you have completed the assignment, you will check all five statements. If you work on the assignment at different times, you may make the Gradebook Declaration incrementally as you complete each part. You may redo the Gradebook Declaration as often as you like up until the due date, if any part is incomplete the first time.

Here is the text of the Desire2Learn Gradebook Declaration:

(2 points) I have posted my Starting Assumptions (at least 50 words) at Confluence, including a response to the required question(s).
(2 points) I have posted my Starting Assumptions (at least 100 words) at Confluence, including a response to the required question(s).
(2 points) I have posted my Starting Assumptions (at least 150 words) at Confluence, including a response to the required question(s).
(2 points) I have replied to the post of at least one other student.
(2 points) I have replied to the post of at least two other students.


Do you have a great quote for this page? Let me know! (If used, a new quote is worth 1 point extra credit)

University of Oklahoma logo

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

Report typos or broken links

Go to this course at

spellcheck.net | wordcounter.net

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.

Academic Calendar

College of Arts and Sciences Online



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