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The Sea of Precious Virtues Primary Source Document with Questions for Analysis

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246 KB|5 pages
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This is a formatted document for the purpose of easy access, printing and distribution to students for the purpose of analyzing documents in AP World History Courses. If you teach AP World History (W.H.A.P.), you are familiar with the use of primary documents for the purpose of document analysis. Many times these documents are in a document source book and have to be copied for distribution to students; or there are electronic versions where students must read the document on-line and submit answers. The service that I have provided for you is to simply format the document with the analysis questions into an easy-to access and printable document that can be readily printed for easy distribution to students. Document analysis questions are also included so that documents can be read and analyzed individually, in a pair-share situation or use in a Group setting.

Source: The Sea of Precious Virtues: A Medieval Mirror for Princes, trans. and ed. Julie Scott Meisami (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1991), pp. 55-56, 100-102, 119, 295-6.

About the Document
In ancient civilizations such as those in Mesopotamia or Egypt, religions often did not include specific codes of moral conduct. The Hebrew religion, Judaism, was a notable exception. Two offshoots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, also included strict codes of proper moral and ethical behavior. The Old Testament and the Qur'an include very specific (and similar) codes of conduct, while the Christian New Testament often illustrates these same concepts in the parables of Jesus.

Medieval Islamic literature is full of writing seeking to clarify these rules of behavior and to provide practical applications thereof. This period of literature also includes numerous examples of what were called "mirrors" for princes. One of these is an anonymous Syrian document called The Sea of Precious Virtues, compiled in the early to mid-twelfth century, which not only discusses the right way to live and the punishments for bad behavior, but also the rights of slaves and how kings should live and rule.
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Answer Key
Teaching Duration
30 minutes
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