From Homer to Satoshi: An Introduction to the Western Canon
This course is a curation of the best resources on the web for getting into the great books of Western civilization. I started curating these resources in 2015 to redeem my own education, which included almost no exposure to the classics prior to college and sparse exposure to the classics in college. If this sounds like your education, too, then you are in the right place. The course will provide you with a solid grounding in the classics.
A Curation of Resources About the Western Canon
This course is a curation of the best resources on the web for getting into the great books of Western civilization.
Lecture 1: Introduction
In the first lecture of the "Civilizing the Barbarians" lecture series, Alexander Stepanov introduces the concept of a "great tradition" and applies it to the shaping of Western civilization.
Lecture 2: Homer/Iliad
This lecture discusses the role of "The Iliad" in the emergence and spread of Western civilization.
Lecture 3: Iliad/Hubris
This lecture discusses the theme of hubris in "The Iliad."
Lecture 4: Odyssey - Heart and Home
This lecture discusses the theme of return in "The Odyssey."
Lecture 5: Civilizing the Furies
This lecture covers the history of Greek theater with a focus on the playwright Aeschylus.
Lecture 6: The Myth of Sparta
This lecture is about the ancient Greek historian Plutarch.
Lecture 7: Lessons of History
This lecture is about Plutarch's predecessors by over 500 years: Herodotus and Thucydides.
Lecture 8: Socrates - The Just Man
The lecture covers Plato, Socrates, and what it means to be just.
Lecture 9: Plato - On Love
This lecture covers the theme of love in Plato's Symposium and its influence on great writers and artists.
Lecture 10: Aristotle - The Universal Knowledge
The lecture introduces Aristotle and other great thinkers that came after him.
Lecture 11: Roma Aeterna (Eternal Rome)
This lecture covers the Roman Empire and its civilizing influence.
Lecture 12: Judaism, Christianity, and Religion
This lecture stresses the importance of discussing religion in a course about Western civilization.
Lecture 13: In the Beginning
This lecture introduces the Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Bible.
Lecture 14: The Holy War
This lecture covers Biblical stories and moral positions.
Lecture 15: Jesus of Nazareth
This lecture covers the importance of Jesus Christ in Western civilization.
Lecture 16: Tolerance
This lecture provides a definition of Christianity and stresses the importance of tolerance when engaging in religious discussions.
Lecture 17: Athens and Jerusalem
This lecture discusses the strong influence of Athens and Jerusalem on Western civilization.
Begin Reading and Studying the Short Canon
This lesson encourages you to start reading books in Stepanov's Short Canon of Western literature.
Introduction to Euclid's Elements
This lesson introduces the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid and the study of his treatise called Elements.
Introduction to William Shakespeare
This lesson encourages you to explore the timeless themes, characters, and poetic language in works by William Shakespeare.
What Makes a Classic?
This lesson uses Italo Calvino as an example of someone who has compiled their own list of favorite works from the Western canon.
Introduction to the Bitcoin White Paper
This lesson explains why Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin White Paper belongs in the Western canon.
The Western Canon in Your Life
Congratulations on completing this course! Read on for links to all the books in Stepanov's Short Canon.
About the instructor
Hello! I am the creator of greatbooksreport.com, a website that covers the great ideas of Western civilization. The website features a curated selection of authors, articles, videos, and podcasts on a wide range of topics, from the classics of literature and philosophy, to cutting-edge developments in science and technology, including Bitcoin, space, artificial intelligence and human flourishing. Through greatbooksreport.com and courses here on Emeralize, I aim to inspire others to explore the rich intellectual heritage of Western civilization.