Unit 9.4 Global Warring States
The geography of Greece, which is made up of a mountainous mainland and many islands, influenced its early settlements. The Mycenaean civilization developed on the Greek mainland. The Mycenaeans were great warriors, but they were eventually defeated, giving rise to the Dark Age, during which Homer wrote his epic poems of early Greece. Eventually, Greek communities organized themselves into city-states, each developing its own form of government. These city-states, the most powerful of which were Athens and Sparta, made war with each other and with other empires. Athens rose to the height of its power and cultural accomplishments during the Classical Age in Greece. Likewise, under Pericles, Athens saw the development of direct democracy, which formed the foundation of modern democratic government. Alexander the Great of Macedonia conquered the Greek city-states and combined their forces to move against Persia and expand the Greek empire. After his death, the Hellenistic cities that remained became centers of learning and art across Europe, North Africa, and Asia.
Chapter 4 – The Ancient Greeks, c. 1600-133 B.C.E.
- How can geography influence political organization?
• How can cultural and political differences lead to conflict and change?
Poets and Heroes
- Greece’s mountains contributed to independent communities, but its seas linked ancient Greeks to the rest of the world.
- The Mycenaean civilization was at its height from 1400 to 1200 BCE
- During the Dark Age, Greeks colonized various islands and parts of Asia Minor.
- The works of the poet Homer told epic tales of early Greece.
The Greek City-States
- Greek colonization, due to overpopulation and the search for farmland, led to increased trade and industry and to the spread of ideas.
- Greek civilization organized around the polis, or city-state.
- The rule of tyrants in Greece was supported monetarily by the newly rich and militarily by hired soldiers.
- The Greek military city-state of Sparta was an oligarchy, but Athens eventually became a democracy.
- Sparta, Athens, and other city-states fought Persia in a series of wars.
- Pericles created a direct democracy for the governance of Athens, which became the center of Greek culture.
- Disputes between Athens and Sparta led to the Peloponnesian War, thus ending the Classical Age.
Classical Greek Culture
- Greek religion focused on the will of gods and goddesses.
- Classical Greek architecture embodied ideals of reason, moderation, balance, and harmony; classical Greek sculpture focused on a standard of ideal beauty.
Unit 9.5 Rise and Fall of Empires
In ancient India, ideas about society and religion had their origins in Aryan ideas. Aryan society was divided into groups, called varnas. Over time, a rigid social structure, known as the caste system, emerged. Hinduism, with its origins in Aryan thinking, is a belief system that includes a belief in reincarnation, or rebirth. Buddhism, started by Siddhārtha Gautama, began to rival Hinduism in India after the sixth century BCE. Buddhism is focused on achieving enlightenment through good deeds and meditation. Three main empires flourished in India during the time period: the Mauryan, the Kushān, and the Gupta. Increased trade and strong leadership led to prosperity and territorial expansion as well as cultural and scientific advances.
Chapter 5 – India’s First Empires, c. 1000-500 B.C.E.
- How was early Indian culture influenced by religion and social structure?
• How did ideas and events during the Mauryan and Gupta Empires affect India’s development?
Origins of Hindu India
- Ancient Aryan society was divided into four varnas: the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras.
- The caste system, which had evolved over the years from the four varnas, determined what roles people played in society.
- Early Hindus sought union with an ultimate reality, a single universal force.
- Hindu gods and goddesses were human-like and were a way through which Indians could express religious feeling.
- The principles of Hinduism include reincarnation and karma.
- The founder of Buddhism was Siddhārtha Gautama, who, it is believed, reached enlightenment and then spent the rest of his life teaching.
- Buddhism and Hinduism share some common beliefs but differ in some interpretations.
- The principles of Buddhism are based on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.
The Mauryans and the Guptas
- Aśoka, a ruler of the Mauryan Empire, is considered to be the greatest ruler in India’s history.
- The Kushān Empire was shaped by different cultures because of its location, but it also maintained its own distinct culture.
- During the Gupta Empire trade and culture flourished.
- India produced great works in almost all cultural fields, including literature, architecture, and science.
Chapter 6 – The First Chinese Empires, c. 221 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.
Three major schools of thought emerged in ancient China: Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism. In general, all three philosophies focused on worldly matters, such as the nature of human beings and how to create a stable society. These various philosophies were employed during the Qin and Han dynasties. Qin Shihuangdi, the founder and sole emperor of the Qin dynasty, united China under a single monetary system, new infrastructure, and a centralized bureaucracy. After the fall of the Qin, the Han dynasty continued some of the Qin’s ideas about bureaucracy but expanded and refined them. Under the Han, Chinese culture flourished, marking it as a classical civilization—one of China’s greatest.
- How can differing philosophies influence a culture?
• What factors can help a dynasty stay in power?
Schools of Thought in Ancient China
- In general, Chinese philosophers focused on worldly matters and society.
- The teachings of Confucius were focused on duty and humanity.
- The philosophy of Daoism presents proper forms of human behavior.
- Legalism proposed that society needed a strong ruler to keep people serving his interests.
The Qin Unify China
- Qin Shihuangdi worked to unify China economically and geographically.
- Qin Shihuangdi left behind a wealth of information for historians and archaeologists.
- Qin Shihuangdi initiated a large-scale building project to keep out invaders near China’s northern frontier.
- The Qin dynasty made many administrative and political changes in China.
- The Qin dynasty fell after the death of Qin Shihuangdi.
The Han Dynasty
- The first Han emperor adopted Confucianism as the new state philosophy but kept the Qin system of a merit-based bureaucracy.
- Under the Han emperors the Chinese Empire expanded.
- The new technologies developed during the Han dynasty contributed to its economic success.
- The Han dynasty fell as a result of internal corruption, widespread unrest, and nomadic raids.
Chapter 7 – The Romans, 600 B.C.E.- 500 C.E.
The large fertile plains and low mountains of the Italian Peninsula provided an ideal place for Roman civilization to develop. The Tiber River valley provided the city of Rome with a route to the sea, a strategic advantage for warfare and trade. Rome possessed a strong military and was able to expand throughout the Mediterranean world and into other parts of Europe. It also developed a strong political system based on the ideal of the republic, in which some citizens had the right to elect representatives and leaders. However, the Roman Republic was beset by internal struggles and civil wars. Popular desire for a strong leader and political stability ultimately led to increased power of the military and the rise of powerful generals such as Sulla and Julius Caesar. Ultimately, Caesar was named dictator for life. After his assassination and a subsequent power struggle, the Senate gave Augustus Caesar the title of emperor. The period of the Roman Empire was a golden age of Roman culture.
- How do different types of political organizations emerge?
• How can new ideas lead to social and political change?
The Rise of Rome
- The central location of Rome on a peninsula and its arable land helped its development and expansion.
- The Etruscans influenced the early development of Rome.
- The Roman Republic was highly structured into political groups.
- Rome’s system of law still influences legal systems today.
- After their conquest of Italy, the Romans faced the state of Carthage and eventually came to control the Mediterranean.
From Republic to Empire
- The attempts at reform by the Gracchus brothers brought instability to the Roman Republic.
- A new system of military recruitment, begun by Marius, gave individual generals much power, leading to the seizure of Rome by Sulla.
- Crassus, Pompey, and Julius Caesar formed the First Triumvirate.
- Julius Caesar became dictator of Rome in 45 BCE
- Octavian and Antony fought over control of Rome, culminating in Octavian’s victory and the end of the republic.
- Caesar Augustus, Rome’s popular first emperor, began a new system for governing the provinces.
The Early Roman Empire
- During the Pax Romana emperors carried out building programs throughout the provinces and in Rome.
- The Roman Empire was at its height in the second century, with emperors and the imperial governments providing a sense of unity throughout the empire.
- Rome’s Early Empire was a period of significant trade.
Chapter 8 – The Byzantine Empire and Emerging Europe, 50-800 C.E.
The development of Christianity had lasting effects on the Roman Empire, and subsequently, medieval Europe. This chapter describes the rise of Christianity and its place in the Roman Empire; the decline and fall of the Roman Empire; the organization and influence of the early Christian Church; the transformation of the Roman world by Germanic kingdoms; and the eventual break between the Eastern Orthodox Church of the Byzantine Empire and the Roman Catholic Church.
- How can religion impact a culture?
• What factors lead to the rise and fall of empires?
The First Christians
- Judaism existed in the Roman Empire, and Jews differed among themselves about Roman rule.
- The concepts that Jesus taught—loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself—later shaped the value system of Western civilization.
- Christianity offered salvation and eternal life to believers.
- Simon Peter, a Jewish fisherman, and Paul, a highly educated Jewish Roman citizen, were prominent leaders of early Christianity who helped spread the teachings of Jesus throughout the Roman Empire.
- As the Roman Empire declined, Christianity replaced it as a unifying force in western Europe.
Decline and Fall of Rome
- Social and political upheavals led to the decline of the Roman Empire.
- The reforms of emperors Diocletian and Constantine resulted in new economic and social policies, including the new state religion of Christianity.
- Constantine established a “New Rome,” Constantinople, which became the center of the Eastern Roman Empire.
- Factors, such as invasion and a failed political system, led to the downfall of the Western Roman Empire.
The Early Christian Church
- By the end of the fourth century, the Christian Church had developed a system of organization.
- Western Christians came to accept the bishop of Rome (the pope) as head of the Church.
- Pope Gregory I strengthened the power of the pope and the Church.
- Monastic communities were centers of learning that spread Christianity and set the highest ideal of Christian life.
The Age of Charlemagne
- The merging of Romans and Germans took different forms in the various Germanic kingdoms.
- The kingdom of the Franks was established by Clovis, who was the first Germanic ruler to convert to Christianity.
- The social customs of the Germanic people came to play an important role in the new society.
- Charlemagne expanded the Frankish kingdom and initiated the Carolingian Renaissance.