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European History (Hatch)

HIST 103/104

European History (Hatch)

  • Course ID:HIST 103/104
  • Semesters:2
  • Department:History
  • Course Rank:Required
  • Teachers:Austin Hatch

Description and Objectives

This course is a philosophical study of western civilization by way of some of its most foundational literary and historical texts—from the fall of the Roman Empire to the rise of Napoleon.  This course seeks to cultivate praesentia animi, a virtue of classical antiquity prized by medieval and early modern thinkers that translates as “presence of mind.”  Through exposure to these great works, students will strengthen their ability to read closely, write and speak clearly, and think lucidly.

The primary goals of this course:

  1. Acquire comprehensive knowledge of major historical figures and events
  2. Learn to read more carefully and thoughtfully by examining major literary texts
  3. Become more proficient in the art of writing
  4. Develop an understanding of major philosophical positions
  5. Acquire the ability to enter into lucid and mature dialectic with classmates and the teacher
  6. Improve presence of mind and grow in prudence and wisdom



  • Light to the Nations: The History of Christian Civilization by Lasseter et al
  • De Amicitia by Cicero
  • How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend by Plutarch


  • The Aeneid and excerpts from The Georgics by Virgil
  • Beowulf
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Henry V and various sonnets by William Shakespeare
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Course Requirements

Students should expect daily reading assignments, weekly writing assignments and exams, and periodic evaluations of their reading and class notes.  In addition, students will be required to memorize and to recite key passages from the texts.

  • The final grade each quarter will be based on a point system.  The points will consist of the following:
    • Exams (at the end of each literary text, up to 100 points each)
    • Quizzes (of varying point values, between 5-10 points each)
    • Writings (20 points each)
    • Recitations (two per quarter, 20 points each)
    • Seminar Discussions (20 points each)
    • Class and Reading Notes (periodically checked each quarter)
    • Class participation

There will be comprehensive mid-semester and final examinations.

Regarding late papers.  Late papers will be accepted, but with a penalty.

Successful Students

  • The successful student must maintain daily reading and writing schedules and avoid waiting for deadlines to complete work.  Reading and writing, which is spaced out over a proper amount of time, allows for adequate mental digestion, more effective intellectual nourishment, and more advanced writing instruction.
  • Successful students will consult with the instructor frequently to discuss the texts, as well as rough drafts. I am available outside of class and will make myself available for extra help whenever an appointment is needed.  I encourage parents to contact me with any questions or concerns either by email or phone.

At the conclusion of the course, the successful student will have a solid grasp of the literary and historical antecedents for our own modern era.  He will also be able to speak and write his thoughts more clearly.  The successful student will leave the course after making strides in those virtues especially concerned with presence of mind.