World Civilization

Choose any building made before 1500 CE which either remains standing or whose construction and design are well understood––preferably in one of the civilizations we have considered in this course.(Greece, Egypt, Rome, China, India) Write a paper about your building, focusing on a set of important question (please do not try to answer each of the questions I pose below… take them, rather, as a guide for how to think about your paper topic):


Describe how your building was constructed—in terms of materials, engineering considerations, features of design, etc.  What was its primary purpose?  Did it serve other purposes as well? For how long a period was it used?  What happened to it in later eras?  At least half of your paper should focus on the following questions:  How, precisely, does the building you’ve chosen reflect different aspects of the civilization that produced it? What does the building tell us about this earlier world—about the people; the technology; the economy; the ritual activities? What parts of the civilization does it seem to speak to most clearly?


You can choose a building with religious significance; with political significance; with social significance.  Your building might be huge and complex, or it might be simple, but it must consist of built space that either provided living space, or space for the dead, or space for other human activities.  

No Plagiarism and citations are needed. Use sources from the internet not including sites like wikepedia. 6-8 pages long

You must write your paper using one of the following voices:


  1. The building’s architect, explaining the design to the people who have commissioned the building.
  2. A modern tour guide, leading a group around the building.
  3. A preservationist, defending the building against plans to destroy it.
  4. An alien reporting back your mother-ship.

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