The Complete Old Western Culture Series

All four years of Old Western Culture

Complete Old Western Culture Curriculum Package


This Complete Set package includes all four years of Old Western Culture. Old Western Culture is a narrative guide through the great books covering over 130 works and built around the famous video lectures from Wes Callihan (and four guest authors).

The course has three primary components: The central video course, workbooks, and readers. Below you can choose which format you prefer. Physical products always include the digital version as well.

SKU: w-001 Category:

What's Included?

The entire Old Western Culture curriculum, which includes 192 lectures (approx 128 hr runtime) covering over 130 of the great books of Old Western Culture, starting with Homer’s Iliad, through the Early Moderns, ending with a hat-tip to the 20th Century authors C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and J. R. R. Tolkien in the unit The Novels (unit 16).

In addition to the video lectures, each includes a Student Workbook, a Reader containing all assigned readings, Exams (two Student Exams and Teacher’s Edition with grading guide), and a Guide to the Art (for The Greeks and The Romans).

Explore each year and unit of Old Western Culture individually below!

“Old Western Culture” is a literature curriculum named after a term coined by C.S. Lewis to describe the fabric of ideas that shaped Western Civilization. For centuries, a “Great Books” education lay at the heart of what it meant to be educated. It was the education of the Church Fathers, of the Medieval Church, of the Reformers, and of all the Founding Fathers of the Unites States.
– It is a CLASSICAL EDUCATION, based on the great books of western civilization.
– It is a CHRISTIAN EDUCATION, which sees the history and literature of the West through the eyes of the Bible and historic Christianity.
– It is an INTEGRATED HUMANITIES CURRICULUM, bringing together literature, history, philosophy, doctrine, geography, and art.
– It is a HOMESCHOOL oriented curriculum, made by homeschoolers with the needs of homeschooled in mind, including flexibility, affordability, and ease-of-use for home and co-ops.
We bring a master-teacher into your home or co-op, and encourage parents to gain an overview of Western Civilization themselves by watching the video lessons with their children.

Old Western Culture is a video course. It is built around a master teacher, Wes Callihan. With decades of teaching experience, he guides students through the story of Western civilization. Each unit contains 12 video lessons (48 lectures in year 1, approx 30-40 min each).
Each lesson begins with a brief review before jumping into summary, commentary, analysis, and inter-disciplinary connections of the works covered. After each lesson, students complete the assigned readings, and answer comprehension questions in the Student Workbook or online workbook.

Wes Callihan is a master storyteller! With a remarkable ability to communicate a passion for history and literature, he makes profound ideas accessible, relevant, and interesting. Also known for his distinctive “rabbit trailers,” forays into funny and obscure historical anecdotes, which have a way of showing up at the dinner table. (After all, rabbit trails are “hooks for the imagination and memory.”) Wes Callihan is a true classical scholar, fluent in both Latin and Greek. He lectures only from the notes in the margins of his worn copies of the Great Books. “Meet him” through THIS VIDEO TOUR of his personal library, which doubled as a mini-lecture!

Old Western Culture is intended for mature and discerning students. We recommend this course for ages 14 and up. The course will deal with mature themes such as paganism, sexual immorality, battle scenes (mostly in actual reading), and classical paintings. Old Western Culture is meant to equip your child with a Biblical lens from which to process these themes. We assume your child has a working knowledge of the Bible and basic Christian doctrine.

Each year of Old Western Culture is a double-credit Humanities course which is most commonly broken down into 1 Literature credit and 1 History credit. The double-credit assumes that the student will watch all the videos, read the required reading, answer the daily worksheets, and take 4 exams (one for each unit). This a robust course academically, and requires a fair bit of reading. Wesley Callihan will coach your student on how to approach the reading in the video. Average daily reading load is 30-40 pages.
As an “integrated humanities” course, Old Western Culture will constantly be incorporating history, literature, theology, philosophy, art, and art history, all through the eyes of the Great Books.

See the Old Western Culture Great Books List.

Also, see the Essentials Schedule.


Lecture 1 – Introduction to Old Western Culture
Lecture 2 – The Backdrop to the Iliad.
Lecture 3 – The Anger of Achilleus. (Iliad I-IV)
Lecture 4 – The First Critical Turning Point. (Iliad V-IX)
Lecture 5 – The Deception of Zeus. (Iliad X-XV)
Lecture 6 – The Second Critical Turning Point. (Iliad XVI-XXI)
Lecture 7 – The Death of Hektor. (Iliad XXII-XXIV)
Lecture 8 – The Telemachy. (Odyssey I-IV)
Lecture 9 – The Court of Alkinoös. (Odyssey V-VIII)
Lecture 10 – Odysseus Tells of his Wanderings. (Odyssey IX-XII)
Lecture 11 – The Homescoming of Odysseus & The Judgement of the Suitors. (Odyssey XIII-XXIV)
Lecture 12 – he Legacy of Homer in Western Civilization.

Lecture 1 – Background of Greek Drama: Development of Theater
Lecture 2 – Background of Greek Drama: The Period, the Poets, and the Presentation
Lecture 3 – Aeschylus’ Oresteia: The Agamemnon
Lecture 4 – Aeschylus’ Oresteia: The Libation-bearers and The Eumenides
Lecture 5 – Sophocles’ Oedipus the King
Lecture 6 – Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus
Lecture 7 – Euripides’ Medea and Trojan Women
Lecture 8 – Aristophanes’ The Frogs and The Clouds
Lecture 9 – Lyric Poetry: Sappho and Pindar, and Theocritus
Lecture 10 – Lyric Poetry: Hesiod
Lecture 11 – Lesser Epics: Quintus of Smyrna, The Fall of Troy
Lecture 12 – Lesser Epics: Apollonius of Rhodes, The Argonautica

Lecture 1 – Overview of Greek History
Lecture 2 – Herodotus 1: Introduction and Croesus
Lecture 3 – Herodotus 2: Stories of Egypt and the other nations
Lecture 4 – Herodotus 3: The Beginning of the Persian Wars and the Battle of Marathon
Lecture 5 – Herodotus 4: The Battle of Thermopylae
Lecture 6 – Herodotus 5: The Battle of Salamis, and the End of the Persian Wars
Lecture 7 – Thucydides 1: Introduction, Thucydides’ Philosophy of History, and the Beginning of the Peloponnesian War
Lecture 8 – Thucydides 2: The Early Years, Pericles, and the Great Plague
Lecture 9 – Thucydides 3: Mytiline, Exile, Revolution, and Melos
Lecture 10 – Thucydides 4: The Sicilian Campaign, and the Downfall of Athens
Lecture 11 – Xenophon: The March of the Ten Thousand
Lecture 12 – The Lessons of Greek History

Lecture 1 – Overview of Greek philosophy, introduction to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
Lecture 2 – Plato: The Apology: Socrates, St. Paul, and The Doctrine of Wisdom
Lecture 3 – Plato: The Crito and Phaedo: Socrates, Christianity, and the doctrine of body and soul
Lecture 4 – Plato: The Phaedrus: Socrates, Augustine, Dante, C. S. Lewis, and the Dialectic of Desire; True teaching
Lecture 5 – Plato: The Republic: understanding morality
Lecture 6 – Plato: The Republic: The Forms and the influence on Medieval Christendom
Lecture 7 – Aristotle: The Metaphysics: Aristotle, Aquinas, and the Doctrine of Wisdom
Lecture 8 – Aristotle: The Metaphysics: the Cosmos in Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Lecture 9 – Aristotle: The Ethics: Happiness the Chief End of Man
Lecture 10 – Aristotle: The Ethics: Friendship
Lecture 11 – Aristotle: The Poetics: Stories, Oedipus, and Jane Austen
Lecture 12 – The Lessons of Greek Philosophy


1. Introduction to The Romans: Overview of Roman History, its importance to Old Western Culture, and a Survey of the books Covered in this series
2. Introduction to the Aeneid: Vergil, Secondary Epic, and the Writing, Worldview, and Influence of the Aeneid
3. Rome is an Idea (Aeneid Book I)
4. The Fall of Troy and The Wanderings of Aeneas (Aeneid Book II & III)
5. The Tragedy of Dido (Aeneid Book IV)
6. The Underworld (Aeneid Book V & VI)
7. The Broken Truce and the Shield of Aeneas (Aeneid Book VII & VIII)
8. The Tragedy of Nisus and Euryalos (Aeneid Book IX & X)
9. Camilla, Juno’s Surrender, and the Death of Turnus (Aeneid Book XI & XII)
10. Metamorphoses I
11. Metamorphoses II
12. The Epics of Lucretius, Lucan, and Statius

1. Livy I: Philosophy of history and the monarchy
2. Livy II: Beginning and Heroes of the Republic
3. Livy III: Threats to the Republic
4. Tacitus I: Philosophy of history and Tiberius
5. Tacitus II:Claudius
6. Tacitus III:Nero
7. Sallust: The Jugurthine War and the The Conspiracy of Catiline: The Republic in Decay
8. Julius Caesar: The Gallic wars
9. Plutarch’s Lives I: Demosthenes and Cicero
10. Plutarch’s Lives II: Alexander and Caesar
11. Cicero: Against Verres and Against Antony
12. Overview of The Historians

1. The Roman Background of Christianity
2. The Jewish Background of Christianity
3. The Didache
4. The First Letter of Clement
5. The Roman World in the Second and Third Centuries
6. Ignatius and Polycarp
7. The Apologists
8. Justin Martyr
9. Irenaeus
10. Clement of Alexandria and Origen
11. Eusebius I
12. Eusebius II

1. Constantine and The Council of Nicea
2. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Age
3. Athanasius’s On the Incarnation
4. Athanasius’s Life of Anthony
5. John Chrysostom
6. Augustine’s Confessions I
7. Augustine’s Confessions II
8. Augustine’s City of God I
9. Augustine’s City of God II
10. Augustine’s City of God III
11. Augustine’s City of God IV
12. Boethius and the Consolation of Philosophy


Early Medievals Lesson List:
1. Historical Overview of Christendom
2. Benedict’s Rule and Monasticism
3. Transition to the Middle Ages
4. Procopius and Gregory
5. Maximus the Confessor
6. Celtic Christians
7. Beowulf
8. Bede I: Early History of England
9. Bede II: The Coming of Christianity
10. Bede III: The Confirming of Christianity
11. Lives of Charlemagne and Alfred
12. John of Damascus

Defense of the Faith:
1. Historical Overview of the High Middle Ages
2. Anselm’s Ontological Argument
3. Anselm’s Monologium 1
4. Anselm’s Monologium 2
5. Anselm’s Why God Became Man 1
6. Anselm’s Why God Became Man 2
7. History of the Kings of Britain 1
8. History of the Kings of Britain 2
9. The Golden Legend
10. Historical Overview of the Crusades
11. The Conquest of Constantinople
12. The Life of St. Louis

The Medieval Mind:
1. Introduction to The Medieval Mind
2. Aquinas’ Compendium I
3. Aquinas’ Compendium II
4. Aquinas’ Compendium III
5. Introduction to Dante
6. The Inferno I
7. The Inferno II
8. Purgatorio I
9. Purgatorio II
10. Paradiso I
11. Paradiso II
12 Conclusion

The Reformation:
Lecture 1: Introduction to Renaissance and Reformation (Callihan)
Lecture 2: Canterbury Tales 1 (Callihan)
Lecture 3: Canterbury Tales 2 (Callihan)
Lecture 4: Canterbury Tales 3 (Callihan)
Lecture 5: From Premodern to Modern Times (Schlect)
Lecture 6: Predecessors to the Reformation (Schlect)
Lecture 7: Luther and 16th Century Reform (Schlect)
Lecture 8: International Calvinism (Schlect)
Lecture 9: The Reformation in England (Schlect)
Lecture 10: Spenser 1 (Callihan)
Lecture 11: Spenser 2 (Callihan)
Lecture 12: Spenser 3 (Callihan)


Rise of England:
1. Introduction to Early Moderns (Wesley Callihan)
2. Introduction to Shakespeare (Peter Leithart)
3. Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Peter Leithart)
4. Shakespeare’s King Lear (Peter Leithart)
5. Shakespeare’s Richard III (Peter Leithart)
6. Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (Peter Leithart)
7. Metaphysical Poets: John Donne (Wesley Callihan)
8. Metaphysical Poets: George Herbert and Marvell (Wesley Callihan)
9. Introduction to Milton (Wesley Callihan)
10. Paradise Lost I (Wesley Callihan)
11. Paradise Lost II (Wesley Callihan)
12. Paradise Lost III (Wesley Callihan)

Poetry and Politics:
1. Introduction to Enlightenment
2. Alexander Pope I
3. Alexander Pope II
4. Edmund Burke I
5. Edmund Burke II
6. Romantic Poetry I
7. Romantic Poetry II
8. Victorian Poetry and Democracy in America
9. Edgar Allen Poe
10. Victorian Poetry I
11. Victorian Poetry II
12. Victorian Poetry III

The Enlightenment:
1. Introduction: What Is the Enlightenment?
2. The Scientific Revolution: An Overview
3. Galileo Moves the Earth
4. The Galileo Affair
5. Descartes & Skepticism
6. Descartes’ Search for Certainty
7. Did Descartes Succeed?
8. Descartes & the Scientific Revolution
9. Isaac Newton Takes the Throne
10. Hume: Taking Skepticism Seriously
11. Kant’s Answer to Hume
12. Thomas Reid & Genuine Enlightenment

The Novels:
1. Introduction to The Novels (Callihan)
2. Jane Austen I (Callihan)
3. Jane Austen II (Callihan)
4. Charles Dickens (Callihan)
5. Fyodor Dostoevsky (Callihan)
6. Russian Short Stories (Callihan)
7. J. R. R. Tolkien I: Fairy-Stories and The Lord of the Rings (McIntosh)
8. J. R. R. Tolkien II: Escape, Consolation, and Eucatastrophe (McIntosh)
9. J. R. R. Tolkien III: Themes in The Lord of the Ring (McIntosh)
10. C. S. Lewis I (Callihan)
11. C. S. Lewis II (Callihan)
12. Overview of Old Western Culture and the 20th Century (Callihan)

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