Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Western Civilization: Volume A: To 1500, 9th Edition

  • Jackson Spielvogel
  • ISBN-10: 128543658X
  • ISBN-13: 9781285436586
  • 448 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2012, 2009, 2006
  • COPYRIGHT: 2015 Published
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About the Product

Best-selling author Jackson Spielvogel has helped over one million students learn about the present by exploring the past. Spielvogel's engaging narrative weaves the political, economic, social, religious, intellectual, cultural, and military aspects of history into a gripping story that is as memorable as it is instructive. WESTERN CIVILIZATION includes 155 maps and excerpts of more than 250 primary sources that enliven the past while introducing students to the source material of historical scholarship. Additionally, the text is illustrated with 430 photographs that add visual context. A variety of pedagogical tools, including features on relevant films and end-of-chapter study aids, make this edition accessible to any learning style. Available in the following split options: WESTERN CIVILIZATION, Ninth Edition (Chapters 1-30), ISBN: 9781285436401; Volume I: To 1715 (Chapters 1-16), ISBN: 978-1-285-43648-7; Volume II: Since 1500 (Chapters 13-30), ISBN: 978-1-285-43655-5; Volume A: To 1500 (Chapters 1-12), ISBN: 978-1-285-43658-6; Volume B: 1300 to 1815 (Chapters 11-19), ISBN: 978-1-285-43661-6; Volume C: Since 1789 (Chapters 19-30), ISBN: 978-1-285-43662-3; Alternate Volume: Since 1300 (Chapters 11-30), ISBN: 978-1-285-43668-5.


  • “Opposing Viewpoints” features, which present a comparison of two or three primary sources in order to facilitate student analysis of historical documents, appear in every chapter. Topics include “The Great Flood: Two Versions” (Ch. 1, new); “Lords, Vassals, and Samurai in Europe and Japan”(Ch. 8, new).

  • “Images of Everyday Life” features, which combine two or more illustrations with a lengthy caption to provide insight into different aspects of social life, can be found in eighteen chapters. New topics include “Children in the Roman World” (Ch. 6), and “Family and Marriage in Renaissance Italy” (Ch. 12).

  • “Film and History” features, which present a brief analysis of a film's plot as well as the historical significance, value, and accuracy, appear in eighteen chapters. Featured films include “300” (Ch. 3), and “The Lion in Winter” (Ch. 10).

  • End-of-chapter review material includes an illustrated Chapter Summary, a Chapter Timeline, and Chapter Review consisting of “Upon Reflection” essay questions and Key Terms lists from the chapter.

  • The text offers global perspectives and connections. Examples include: the importance of trade in Constantinople, with a quote comparing it to Bagdad as a cosmopolitan center (Ch. 7); an “Opposing Viewpoints” comparing feudalistic societies in Europe and Japan (Ch. 8); and discussion on the spread of the plague through China, the Middle East, and Europe (Ch. 11).

About the Author

Jackson Spielvogel

Jackson J. Spielvogel is Associate Professor Emeritus of History at The Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, where he specialized in Reformation History under Harold J. Grimm. His articles and reviews have appeared in journals such as MOREANA, JOURNAL OF GENERAL EDUCATION, CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW, ARCHIV FÜR REFORMATIONSGESCHICHTE and AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW. He also has contributed chapters or articles to THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF REFORMATION, THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE: A DICTIONARY HANDBOOK, the SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER ANNUAL OF HOLOCAUST STUDIES and UTOPIAN STUDIES. His work has been supported by fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the Foundation for Reformation Research. At Penn State, he helped inaugurate the Western Civilization course, as well as a popular course on Nazi Germany. His book HITLER AND NAZI GERMANY was first published in 1987 (7th Edition, 2014). In addition, he is the author of WESTERN CIVILIZATION, first published in 1991 (10th Edition, 2018), and co-author (with William Duiker) of WORLD HISTORY, first published in 1994 (9th Edition, 2019). Professor Spielvogel has won five major university-wide teaching awards. During the 1988-1989 year, he held the Penn State Teaching Fellowship, the university's most prestigious teaching award. He won the Dean Arthur Ray Warnock Award for Outstanding Faculty member in 1996 and received the Schreyer Honors College Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000.

Table of Contents

1. The Ancient Near East: The First Civilizations.
2. The Ancient Near East: Peoples and Empires.
3. The Civilization of the Greeks.
4. The Hellenistic World.
5. The Roman Republic.
6. The Roman Empire.
7. Late Antiquity and the Emergence of the Medieval World.
8. European Civilization in the Early Middle Ages, 750–1000.
9. The Recovery and Growth of European Society in the High Middle Ages.
10. The Rise of Kingdoms and the Growth of Church Power.
11. The Later Middle Ages: Crisis and Disintegration in the Fourteenth Century.
12. Recovery and Rebirth: The Age of the Renaissance.

New to this edition

  • New “Connections to Today” questions at the beginning of chapters help students appreciate the relevance of history by asking them to draw connections between the past and present.
  • New historiographical subsections briefly examine how and why historians differ in their interpretation of specific topics. Examples include: “Was There a United Kingdom of Israel?” (Ch. 2); and “Was There a Renaissance for Women?” (Ch. 12).
  • New primary source excerpts are included in document boxes and in “Opposing Viewpoints” features. New examples include: “The Great Flood: Two Versions” (Ch. 1); “Goliardic Poetry: The Archpoet” (Ch. 9); and “A Liberated Woman in the Fourteenth Century” (Ch. 11).
  • New and revised coverage of gender history includes new material on women in Sparta (Ch. 3), women in the Hellenistic world (Ch. 4); the labor of women in the Frankish society (Ch. 7); women in Byzantium, the Slavic World, and the world of Islam (Ch. 8); and the roles of peasant women and women in medieval cities (Ch. 9). Also new: a historiographical subsection, and “Was There a Renaissance for Women?” (Ch. 12).
  • New and revised material keeps the text up to date with recent historical scholarship. Examples include new material on: Amenhotep II, Amenhotep III, and health care in ancient Egypt (Ch. 1); helots and women in Sparta, sports and violence in ancient Greece and background of Themistocles (Ch. 3); women in the Hellenistic world (Ch. 4); and the origins of the Etruscans, and Julius Caesar and Cleopatra VII (Ch. 5).