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World History Terms up to the Renaissance


A.D. = Anno Domini (Latin) or After Death (of Christ) C.E. = Common Era


B.C. = Before Christ (birth) B.C.E. = Before Common Era


Broad comments or depictions about a group of people or things.

Primary sources

Document or physical object which was written or created during the actual time period

Secondary sources

They interpret and analyze and are one or more steps removed from the event.


"Human made object like a tool, a shard of pottery, etc. Bones are examples also."


To give or provide the meaning of something.

Geographic features

"Categories to describe structures and patterns relating to the earth, land, sea and air."

Political boundaries

"A line between counties, states or nations that shows where control ends."


"Extensive territory comprising a number of territories, city-states or nations and ruled by a single supreme authority."


"Territory, state, people, or community ruled or reigned over by a king or queen."

Locations of civilizations

Complex grouping of people and where they are located in the world

Cultural interaction

The relationship and sharing of various learned behaviors within a group of people.

Trends in human migration

"Human movement or pattern throughout territories over a time period; due to many different reasons:

Climate changes

Drought, Natural disasters, Exploration, Lack of food and Population growth."

Government spending

To finance or support programs established by the political authority for the good of the citizens.

Impact of economic forces

"The effects of increase or decrease in production, consumption and distribution of goods and services on the state of the county"

Monetary system

System by which goods and services are paid for through the exchange of a token of agreed value.


A material that is ON or IN the LAND and used for creation of goods and services


A sum of money demanded by a government for its support and the public good. [ideally]


"The ability to buy, sell, or exchange goods and services within a country or between countries or individuals"

Amber from Baltic

Semi-precious gemstone from resin of conifer trees of ancient decayed forests that wash-up along the Baltic Sea.


A major religion that developed out of Hinduism from the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. He taught and understanding of the Four Noble Truths and following the Eightfold Path.

Compass from China

A magnetic device used to help travel and navigation on water by locating the Northern direction

Cultural interactions

The small and great events that occur when one group makes contact with another.

Gold from West Africa

"A precious metal traded in the Ghana, Mali and Songhai Empires."

Goods & services

Any traded item or work done in exchange for money


A major religion in mainly located in India that believes in many forms of one god and the reincarnation of the soul.


"A major monotheistic religion that developed after Judaism and Christianity in the Middle East from the teachings of its founder, Muhammed."

Lateen sail from India

A triangular-shaped cloth material used to catch the wind to push ships on water.


The process of traveling and actions required to move from one place to another usually on water.

Networks of interdependence

Many different levels of ?give and take? between two or more cultures

New crops from India [make sugar]

Sugarcane is brought from New Guinea to the Indian subcontinent where it was cross-breed with wild sugarcane. Arabs traders brought the hybrid from to Egypt and the Middle East.

Paper from China => Muslims => Byzantines => Europe

The process of making paper spreads from China to the Islamic Empire in the 8th Century CE. From there it migrates to the Byzantine Empire and finally to Europe

Paper money from China

Paper is first used as money in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 C.E.)

Porcelain from China & Persia

"Finely crafted ceramic bowls, plates and cups exported from China to the Middle East when gold, silver and copper were forbidden for this use"

Printing from China

The use of a stamping device to place ink on paper started in China

Spices from lands around Indian Ocean

"Aloeswood (aroma therapy), cinnamon, cloves, ginger, Frankincense, cassia (possibly a bean family legume), lemon grass (antiseptic soaps and insect repellant called citronella), nutmeg and mace (both from the same tree) and black pepper."

Spread of religions

These religions stretch out to other areas of the world mainly through trade and missionary efforts.

Technological advances

"An art, skill or craft developed to solve a problem, improve performance or function. It can also mean tools, machines, processes and procedures."

Technological transfers

"The movement of problem-solving tools, machines, ideas, procedures and processes to other parts or the world."

Textiles India then from Europe

A cloth-making process that produces a repetitive pattern (tile). This technology developed in India and was ?transferred? to Europe through trade.

Trade diffusion of goods

"The exchange of spices, metals, cloth, ivory, slaves and ideas."

Waterwheels & Windmills from M.E.

The use of devices to harness wind and water energy cultural diffuses from the Middle East to Europe. [Crusades]

Accounting practices stimulated by Arabic numerals

The use of numerals for bookkeeping helps keep track of business profits.

Church against usury

Catholic Church condemned loaning money to fellow Christians and charging interest.

Economic foundations

"The dominate method for making money in a region that other methods depend on [i.e. farming, mining, etc.]"

Encouraged Credit & Banking

Large purchases of trade goods and the need to protect your money from thieves or robbery.

Expand supply of money

Money placed in banks and loaned allows it to be used more rapidly.

Expedite trade

To help increase commerce

Letters of Credit

A note from a banker in Florence to another banker in Constantinople that would allow the note carrier to buy without paying immediately.

Middle Eastern products

"Peppercorns, nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon all came from lands to the east. Also from the East came precious gems and fine silk, a fabric especially sought after for women's clothing."


Rebirth of Classical culture [Greek and Roman]


"Encouraged trade [I.E. Crusader travels, larger faster ships, compass, better maps?]"

Absolute rule

Autocratic or total control by a monarch or king.

Centers of trade

Commerce Crossroads

"'do good when possible AND evil when necessary"""

The Prince is quoted. [Do whatever is necessary to keep power]


Italian city-states that grew prosperous by trading and banking.


Italian city-states that grew prosperous by trading.

Get and maintain political power

Is the subject of the book [The Prince].

Independent city-states

Italian cities that grow wealthy from trade with the middle east.


Author of The Prince

Middle East

A region between Europe and India

Northern Europe

"Area containing France, Germany, Scandinavia, Belgium and England"

the ends justifies the means

It is acceptable to do anything as long as the result is what you want.

The Prince

A book that discusses ways to ?Get and maintain political power?

Trade route access

Close to major water or land commerce crossroads.


Italian city-states that grew prosperous by trading.

Agricultural surplus

Growing more crops than one needs to survive.

Bronze and iron

Two metals that represent technological advancement for humans and were used for tools and weapons.

Centralized Governments

The concentration of the powers of control in the hands of a smaller group or location.


A mini nation within itself and the surrounding farmlands.

Code of Hammurabi

First written Babylonian law established throughout the empire in ancient Mesopotamian times.

Development of first cities

The most important evidence of civilization.

Dynasties of kings and pharaohs

An unbroken line of related hereditary rulers of a country.

Economic patterns

"The methods which people use to produce, trade, and use goods and services."

Hereditary rulers

A child of a ruler who assumes the role of leader because they were born into nobility

Plows & irrigation

A device used to prepare the soil for planting crops and watering crops in times of insufficient rain.

Political patterns

The ways that people develop social order seems to be similar in different parts of the world and at different times.

Religious Authority

A governing system to ensure conformity for the followers of a belief.

Rigid Class system

A social structure that divides people on the basis of an inherited social status AND social status never changes.

Slavery in most cultures

A system under which people are captured or conquered and are treated as property to be bought and sold to be used in whatever capacity their owner sees fit.

Social patterns

Trends and behaviors of people that develop over time and are learned by succeeding generations.

States or Nation

"A people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory."

Trade on rivers and oceans

The interchange of goods or services among other cultures along coastal ports on the ocean or river banks of a river.

Use of metal

"Elements on the 'Periodic Chart' that possess that make them ideal for tools, building and protection."

Written law codes

Rules that people governed by as the standards of behavior are posted and all are held accountable to it.


A Greek city and the birthplace of democracy.

Citizenship requirements and duties

"Born in city-state, free, male and at least 18 years old and must serve in war, pay taxes and participate in governing."

Democratic principles

A political form of government in which governing power is derived from the people.

Direct Democracy

System of government in which citizens participated in the day-to-day affairs of government rather than through an elected representative.


Wrote the first Greek code of laws that were very harsh.

Foreigner's Rights

Non-citizens had very little legal protection under Greek law.

Militaristic Society

Sparta children (at 7 years old) were taken from their families and trained all their lives in military maneuvers.


Aristocracy, Tyranny, Democracy",The forms of government that Athens had over the centuries.


"The government is ruled by a few, usually wealthy businessmen or nobles."

Political Rights

"The ability to help make policy, vote, hold offices usually based on gender, freedom and birth place."

Public debate

A formal style of arguing.

Rigid Social Structure

A social class system where there is little or NO upward mobility.

Slave Rights

Slaves in Greece had NO political or personal privileges.


Political leader in Athens who ended most of Draco's tyranny including debt slavery.


A Greek militaristic city-state on the Peloponneseus Peninsula.

Stages of government

Athens had many types or forms of political control.

Tyrants working for reform

A political reformer who uses his power to change laws.

Women's Rights

No political privileges in Greece.


The right to have your guilty or innocent verdict examined by a higher authority.


The lower representative body in Rome was the Tribal Assembly. [It represents the Plebeians]


Romans born in territories ruled by Rome were citizens. [They were innocent till proven guilty]


When the Senators went home the government and army was ruled by TWO of these. [They served one term for one year]

innocent till proven guilty

You do NOT have to prove you did NOT commit a crime. Someone else has to prove you did the crime.

military service

All Roman male citizens served in the military at THEIR own expense?.when needed.

Patrician & Plebeian men only

Only Roman men could vote?sorry ladies.


"The upper class of Rome. [rich, large farmer owners]"

pay taxes

Roman citizens pay taxes. [Nothing new here]


The lower class of Rome. [small farmers and merchants]


A representative democracy. [Senate & Tribal Assembly]


Things you have to do?why are you obligated? What makes you do?


The special abilities you have as a citizen.

Roman Democracy

Rome is a republic for its first 500 years.


One-third of Rome was run by conquered people turned into slaves.

social structure of Rome

Patricians followed by Plebeians and the slaves on the bottom of society.

some foreigners

Few non-native born people were granted citizenship at a great monetary cost.

The Senate

Representative body for the Patricians. [It was the more powerful assembly]


The right to testify in your own defense. The right to prove your innocence or tell your side of the story in court.

Twelve Tables

Roman law written down and placed in the Forum.

worship the gods

Romans were polytheistic. [If you did NOT worship the gods you were considered disloyal]

civil service

Working for the people [civil] in government [bureaucrat]

common currency

Shared form of money. [makes trade easier]

emphasis on family

Rome protects the family unit and values it supports.


Rome enlarges the territory that is ruled.

Pax Romana

The 200 year period called the Peace of Rome. [Golden Age of Roman Empire]


Living a long and financially successful life.

safe roads

Rome guarded its roads so trade could flourish.

social stability

"Keeping upper, lower and middle classes satisfied with their income, their happiness, desires and hopes."

trade expanded

Enlarging the area of exchanged goods and services that the Rome Empire controlled.

uniform rule of law

Rules that are the applied same for all people.


Continent between Atlantic Ocean and Asia that is North of Africa.

Feudal society

Relationship between Lord and vassal where the Lord gives land in exchange for service [military].


Land and villages given by Lord to a vassal.


"Western Europe suffers from waves of attacks by Vikings, Muslims and Magyars."

Manor system

The farm house [big house] located on land given to a vassal by the Lord.


Things that one owes to another as part of a contract or relationship. [Feudal dues or duties]

Rigid class structure

Unchanging social organization.

Self-sufficient manors

The Estates of nobles produced all the things they needed to survive.


Farm workers that must work the land in exchange for protection. [part of Feudalism]


Noble that receives land in exchange for military service to his Lord.


"Greek goddess of love, beauty and fertility."


"Greek god of light, music and prophesy."


Greek goddess of hunting/nature.

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