HIST 203 Lecture Outline (Fall 2016 – Week 15)


Week 15: Tuesday


The Hobbit: Riddles in the Dark (3:00 min.):

“The Thief of Baghdad” (silent film, 1924, starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.):

Trailer (2:27 min.):
Mortimer Wilson, original score (21:08 min.):


Alcuin of York, “The Debate Between Pippin and Alcuin”

Very revealing about scientific knowledge and understanding in the Carolingian world, and the fondness for riddles and word-games

Anglo-Saxon poetry and riddles from the Exeter Book: Excerpts from The Ruin and The Wanderer, and three riddles

Provide glimpses of the physical and psychological landscape of the Anglo-Saxons:

who viewed ruined Roman cities with awe
for whom to be a kinless wanderer was to be a lonely and vulnerable outcast
and for whom riddles and word-games were a favorite form of entertainment (at least for the literate)

Two tales from The 1001 Nights (translated by Sir Richard Burton):

“The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through a Dream”

“The Sweep and the Noble Lady”

The “Thousand and One Nights” (often known in English as the Arabian Nights) is a collection of  Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic beginning in the 9th century.  (The earliest manuscript in Arabic dates from the fourteenth century.)  The collection survives in various versions, but all employ the initial frame story of the Persian king Shahryar and his wife Scheherazade.

Note the features of life in Baghdad, Cairo, and Mecca that appear in these two tales.

How would you compare the Muslim world with that of Western Europe, as seen in these primary sources?

This is the last class meeting.  We’ll finish up the lecture material and do course evaluations.


Remember, the FINAL EXAM (covering the material from Weeks 7-15, inclusive) will be held in our usual classroom on TUESDAY, 20 DECEMBER 2016, from 7:30 to 9:30 AM.  Please allow yourself plenty of time to get to the exam safely, especially if the weather is bad and the roads are snowy!  If you have an emergency on exam day, it is your responsibility to get in touch with me ASAP.  Be sure to include your telephone number in any message.

If there is any likelihood of a blizzard on the morning of the exam, please phone the UWM S.A.F.E. line (414-229-4444), or check the weather alerts on the UWM homepage (http://www4.uwm.edu/) and/or on on local TV and radio stations to see if UWM is declaring a snow emergency.

If UWM declares a snow emergency on the exam day, I will send out an email announcement on the class reflector as soon as I can with news of a re-schedule date  and time for the final exam, so please check your UWM email account as well as the UWM homepage.