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Must Knows 8000 BCE - 600 BCE
The first set of must knows for AP World History
Terms in this set (75)
Iron Age - 1,300 BCE
(1,300-550 BCE) Historians' term for the period during which iron was the primary metal for tools and weapons. The advent of iron technology began at different times in different parts of the world. Advantages of using iron included that many iron ore sources existed and iron tools had harder,sharper edges than Bronze Age tools. This era was also marked by the development of written language.
Beginnings of Bronze Age and early civilizations - 3,000 BCE
The Bronze Age is the era in which bronze was the primary metal for tools and weapons. The dates varied around the world. The demand for bronze helped create long-distance networks for trade. This time period was characterized by a shift from stone tools, as well as the development of trade routes and ideographic and syllabic writing.
Beginnings of agriculture - 8,000 BCE
The change from food gathering to food production. Agriculture arose independently in many places. In some places, it included the domestication of animals for food as well as crops. Maybe have been caused by global climate changes. A turning point in history because it allowed for a rapid increase in population and altered humans' relationship with nature. Agriculture arose in combination with new kinds of stone tools.
The attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena. Found in many religions before the advent of world religions like Christianity and Buddhism. There are many religions like this in East Asia, especially in undeveloped areas in the form of folk religion. Usually grew out of primal religions mixed with a world religion. Often involve a strong element of fear.
An Indian treatise on government written by Kautilya, a Brahmin that guided Chandragupta in his conquests and consolidation of power. It is a product of the third century CE in its present form but probably goes back to Kautilya. It is a pragmatic guide to political success and advocates the mandala theory of foreign policy. Also presents schemes for increasing tax revenues and prescribes the use of spies to watch the kingdom. Includes the topics of statecraft, economic policy, and military strategy.
Immigrants who arrived at the Ganges River Valley by the year 1000 BCE from Persia or central Asia. Settled with the Harrappans in India. Vedas (collection of hymns, songs, prayers, and rituals honoring the gods of the Aryans) suggested the beginning of the caste system. Spoke Indo-Aryan languages.
One of the last kings of the Neo-Assyrian empire. His palace was located in Nineveh, where archaeologists have discovered more than 25,000 tablets or fragments that make up the famous Library of Ashurbanipal. It contained official documents and literary and scientific texts. Much of our knowledge of Mesopotamian culture comes from this discovery. Was a popular king but known for his cruel actions toward his enemies. Ruled from 668-627 BCE.
People that came from northern Mesopotamia and created the Neo-Assyrian empire from 900-600 BCE. The empire extended from western Iran to Syria-Palestine. They used force and terror and exploited the wealth and labor of their subjects. They also preserved and continued the scientific and cultural developments of Mesopotamian culture. Important areas of control were the Tigris River and Fertile Crescent. Created a new kind of empire dedicated to the enrichment of the imperial center. Controlled international commerce throughout the empire.
A Christian state in Africa that developed Coptic Christianity because of the strong Muslim influence and isolation from other branches of Christianity. Also identified as Ethiopia in medieval writings. Was a naval and trading power that ruled northwest Africa for 1,000 years. Had a long relationship with Islam.
The people of the city of Babylon, the most important city in Mesopotamia. Was particularly important under Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar. Became a major political and cultural center that participated in the destruction of the Assyrians. Was the capital of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom, during which it underwent a cultural renaissance.
A group of people with a common interest or purpose. They tended to be nomadic or hunter gathers who followed their game or food sources. They were partly responsible for the beginnings of agriculture.
Collective name of a large group of sub-Saharan African languages and of the peoples speaking these languages. Moved south through Africa spreading language and culture. Comes from word meaning "people". The migration of Bantu-speakers (who originated near modern boundary of Nigeria and Cameroon) likely spread iron technology. Established an economic basis for new societies. Traditions mixed with preexisting societies to become Pan-African practices.
The most important work of Indian sacred literature, a dialogue between the great warrior Arjuna and the god Krishna on duty and the fate of the spirit. Attempts to depict the nature of deity by emphasizing the diversity and multiplicity of the god when, in reality, a higher unity lies behind these things. This is a metaphor for Indian civilization and how its diversity is united by shared views and values. Offers an attractive resolution to the tension in Indian civilization. Popular in Hinduism.
(Brahmin) The highest social class in Indian society compromised of priests and scholars. Class system was justified by the creation story about Purusha. The Brahmins were the embodiment of intellect and knowledge. They taught about reincarnation and how it was connected to the class system. The underlying message of their teachings was that the only way to improve your situation is to perform your duties and then be born into a higher class. Their duties included performing prayers, rituals, and sacrifices.
An early Neolithic town located in central Turkey. Its ruins cover 32 acres and include elaborately decorated mud-brick houses. The walls of the houses form a continuous wall around the town. Prospered from long distance trade in obsidian that craftspeople used to make tools, weapons, etc. There is no evidence of a dominant class or centralized political structure. Surrounded by agricultural fields. Hunting still important and prominently featured in wall paintings. Numerous diverse religious shrines full of female goddesses. Metallurgy was an important economic activity and technology.
The first major urban civilization in South America. Its capital, Chavin de Huantar, was located high in the Andes mountains of Peru. Chavin became politically and economically dominant in a densely populated region that included two distinct ecological zones, the Peruvian coastal plain and the Andean foothills. Its location at the intersection of trade routes allowed rulers to prosper and gain advantages over nearby rivals. Llamas were crucial to this trade. Projects like roads and bridges could happen in Chavin during this prosperity.
Chinese River Valley civilization
A Neolithic Chinese civilization located on the Yellow River. They used it for irrigation to improve their agriculture. Existed from 8000 - 2000 BCE. Raised pigs and chickens and used stone tools. Pioneered the technology of silk production. Built walls of earth inside wooden frames that were removed when the earth hardened. Developed bronze metallurgy. Gave rise to the Shang Dynasty.
A small independent state consisting of an urban center and the surrounding agricultural territory. A characteristic political form in early Mesopotamia, Archaic and Classical Greece, Phoenicia, and early Italy. Hundreds of city-states in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions were settled by Greeks. Some were oligarchic and others democratic, depending on the powers delegated to the Council and the Assembly. Associated with the term polis.
A system of writing in which wedge-shaped symbols represented words or syllables. It originated in Mesopotamia and was used initially for Sumerian and Akkadian but later was adapted to represent other languages of western Asia. Because so many symbols had to be learned, literary was confined to a prestigious, small group of administrators and scribes. Several hundred signs were used. Texts were written about political, scientific, literary, and religious topics. Not a language, but a system of writing.
A concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. Has many different meanings. Used in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Refers to the teachings and doctrines of the founders of Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, it is the religious and moral law governing the conduct of the individual and the group. In traditional Hindu society, it included the Vedic ritual, ethical conduct, duties and behaviors of one's cast, and civil and criminal law. That social life should be structured in castes and that life in that caste should be defined are two common meanings of dharma as well.
The act of adapting something to be more useful to humans. Early people first domesticated crops during the Agricultural Revolutions. They also domesticated animals to help improve the quality and efficiency of their lives. People could only domesticate species of plants and animals that possessed many crucial characteristics. Revolutionized peoples' lifestyles and led to the possibility of large civilizations being built.
Ancient civilization located alongside the Nile River or in the delta. Had access to many natural resources and was largely self-sufficient. The king (pharaoh) was the link between the people and the gods. Hieroglyphics were used by administrators. Population was diverse and there was no real class system. Women were superior to their Mesopotamian counterparts in status. Obsessed with the afterlife and practice mummification. Acquired knowledge about medicine, math, astronomy, and engineering.
Area east of the Mediterranean, site of the modern-day Middle East. One of the first known areas of human settlement. The presence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers gave rise to early agricultural villages and eventually, prosperous cities. Had an extremely large number of plants and animals suitable for domestication, which is what gave it an advantage over other areas. Extended to the Mediterranean Sea and had some connection to the Nile River civilizations.
Great Ice Age
Geological era that occurred between 2 million and 11,000 years ago. As a result of climate shifts, large numbers of new species evolved during this period, also called the Pleistocene epoch. The geological era since the end of it is the Holocene epoch. Induced some societies to enhance their food supplies with domesticated plants and animals. Widespread glacier collations that resulted in a land bridge.
A religious teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism. A Sanskrit term for "teacher" or "master". In the Bhagavad Gita, the god Krishna acts as a guru for Arjuna. They are often a respected person with saintly qualities who enlightens the mind of his or her disciple. Instructs in rituals and religious ceremonies. Gurus continue to exist in or influence modern Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.
Amorite ruler of Babylon from 1792-1750 BCE. He conquered many city-states in southern and northern Mesopotamia and is best known for a code of laws, inscribed on a black stone pillar, illustrating the principles to be used in legal cases. Launched a series of aggressive military campaigns and Babylon became the capital of the "Old Babylonian" state. In his law code, many offenses were met with severe physical punishment and, not infrequently, the death penalty.
Site of one of the great cities of the Indus Valley civilization of the third millennium BCE. It was located on the northwest frontier of the zone of cultivation (in modern Pakistan), and may have been a center for the acquisition of raw materials, such as metals and precious stones, from Afghanistan and Iran. May have had a population of 35,000 people. Widespread standardization of styles and shapes has been attributed to extensive exchange of goods within the zone of the civilization.
A system of writing in which pictorial symbols represented sounds, syllables, or concepts. It was used for official and monumental inscriptions in ancient Egypt. Because of the long period of study required to master this system, literary in hieroglyphics was confined to a relatively small group of scribes and administrators. Cursive symbol-forms were developed for rapid composition on other media, such as papyrus. Also used for written literature.
A general term for a wide variety of beliefs and ritual practices that have developed in the Indian subcontinent since antiquity. Hinduism has roots in ancient Vedic, Buddhist, and south Indian religious concepts and practices. It spread along the trade routes to Southeast Asia. Foundation is in the Vedic religion of the Aryas peoples of northern India. Incorporated elements from the Dravidian cultures of the south as well. Sacrifice became less central to the religion. The gods' identities were altered.
A people from central Anatolia who established an empire in Anatolia and Syria in the Late Bronze Age (1700-1200 BCE). With wealth from the trade in metals and military power based on chariot forces, the Hittites vied with New Kingdom Egypt for control of Syria-Palestine before falling to unidentified attackers in 1200 BCE. Developed a technique for making iron weapons and tools, which provided military and economic advantages. Capital was at Hattusha.
Hunting and gathering
Also known as foraging. People who supported themselves by hunting wild animals and gathering wild edible plants and insects. Tools have been found that people used to butcher animals, collect fruit, and dig up edible roots. Women would have done most of the gathering while men hunted. Lived in small bands that had to have enough members to defend themselves and divide up responsibilities. Had to move at regular intervals to follow migrating animals.
A type of writing system in which a character or symbol represents an idea or thing without expressing the pronunciation of a word or words. Used in writing systems like those of China or Japan, where it directly represents a concept, idea, or thing.
Indian caste system
A system of social stratification and social restriction in India. Traditionally, the political power usually lay with the Kshatriays, the economic power with the Vaishyas and Shudras, while the Brahmins, as custodians and interpreters of dharma, enjoyed much prestige and were given many advantages by society, even though they were economically poor. People were expected to perform the duties of their caste and could only marry and socialize with members of their own caste.
Indian river valley civilization
2600-1900 BCE. Occupied a large territory including the fertile Indus floodplain and adjacent regions. The major urban centers (Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro) and smaller settlements exhibit a uniformity of techniques that indicates a possibility of strong central control. Technologically advanced in irrigation, ceramics, construction, and metallurgy. Writing has not been deciphered. Had widespread trading contacts as far as Mesopotamia. Declined as a result of natural disasters or environmental changes.
A Greek word meaning "dispersal", used to describe the communities of a given ethnic group living outside their homeland. Jews, for example, spread from Israel to western Asia and Mediterranean lands in antiquity and today can be found throughout the world. Nebuchadnezzar exiled them and the Persian king Cyrus invited them back. The Diaspora communities developed synagogues to serve religious, educational, and social functions. It helped to sharpen and shape Jewish identity.
The people who occupied the land between the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and the Jordan River since the early second millennium BCE. Came from nomadic groups who became a sedentary agricultural people and developed complex political institutions. Transformed the cult of a desert god into the concept of a single, all-powerful deity that became the basis for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Hebrew Bible is a collection of their history, stories, and traditions.
A mountain pass that connects Pakistan and Afghanistan. Goes between the Black and Caspian Seas and the plateau of Iran. Used for traveling, transporting goods and people, and trade. Often the only route that invaders and other groups of people could use to gain access to the Indian subcontinent. The only way through the Hindu Kush mountains on the northwestern border of India.
An Egyptian ruler from the south who conquered the numerous small political units and unified Egypt for the first time. Worse two crowns to symbolize Upper and Lower Egypt. Founded the first dynasty of Egypt. Seen as a founding figure of the history of ancient Egypt. May have introduced the worship of the gods and the practice of sacrifice. Founded the city of Memphis on the banks of the Nile.
Kingdom of Lydia. Defeated by the Persian king Cyrus II in 545 BCE. Invented coins to use as currency in the early sixth century. Spoke an Indo-Anatolian language as well as a distinct Lydian language. Its coin system stimulated trade and wealth throughout the kingdom. Religion and mythology could have gone back to the Bronze Age. Height of power was in the sixth and seventh centuries BCE.
A vast epic chronicling the events leading up to a cataclysmic battle between related kinship groups in early India. It includes the Bhagavad-Gita, the most important work of Indian sacred literature. One of the two great Indian epics. The political forms, social organization, and other cultural elements in the story are said to reflect the conditions of the early Vedic period. Based on oral predecessors before it achieved its final form.
Capital of a flourishing kingdom in southern Nubia from the fourth century BCE to the fourth century CE. In this period Nubian culture shows more independence from Egypt and instead, the influence of sub-Saharan Africa. Located on the bank of the Nile River near the Sixth Cataract. Well situated for agriculture and trade, the main elements of its economy. Sub-Saharan replaced Egyptian cultural patterns. Meroic art combined many traditions. Women were important in politics. Huge, complex city. Eventually overrun by nomads from the western desert.
Home to a complex civilization by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the fourth millennium BCE. Initially created by the Sumerians, but taken over and adapted by the Semitics. The temples gradually became subordinate to kings. City-states were initially independent but later united under various empires. Society was divided into landowners and professionals, peasants and artisans, and slaves. Feared their violent gods. Cuneiform came to be used in many languages. Metallurgy, ceramics, transportation, engineering, math, and astronomy let the people meet the challenges of their environment.
A mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States. Developed in the Mississippi River Valley. Constructed large earthen platforms to build various structures on. Had a maize-based agriculture, which supported larger populations and specialists. Widespread trade networks through the continent. Developed chiefdoms. Centralized the control of political and religious power. Began a settlement hierarchy system. No writing system or stone architecture. Worked only naturally-occurring metals. Conquered by Europeans.
Largest of the cities of the Indus River Valley civilization. It was centrally located in the extensive floodplain of the Indus River in contemporary Pakistan. Little is known about the political institutions of Indus Valley communities, but the large-scale of construction at Mohenjo-Daro, the orderly grid of streets, and the standardization of building materials are evidence of central planning. Possibly contained a citadel, grain storehouses, and barracks.
Belief in the existence of a single divine entity. Some scholars cite the devotion of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten to Aten and his suppression of traditional gods as the earliest instance. The Israelite worship of Yahweh developed into an exclusive belief in one god, and this concept passed into Christianity and Islam. Also connected to Zoroastrianism, which had an influence on Judaism and thus, indirectly, on Christianity.
A Neo-Babylonian king that conquered the old Assyrian homeland and Anatolia. Ruled from 604-562 BCE. During his reign, Babylonia underwent a cultural renaissance. Pursuits of math, astronomy, and astrology reached new heights. He was also responsible for initiating the Jewish Diaspora. Captured Jerusalem in 587 BCE and destroyed the Jewish Temple. Credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. After his military campaigns, he also constructed canals, aqueducts, temples, and reservoirs in his capital at Babylon.
The period of the Stone Age associated with the ancient Agricultural Revolution. Also known as the "New Stone Age". It follows the Paleolithic Age. During the Neolithic Age, people began to domesticate plants and animals, form permanent settlements, and develop metallurgy. Climate change was probably the major reason people switched to farming. Megaliths and other monumental structures are products of the diverse religious beliefs and practices that existed during this time period.
People who move from one place to another without making permanent settlements. Followed migrating animals, which were their source of food. Also moved with different plant seasons. Pretty much the same thing as hunter-gatherers because they could not develop real agriculture as they were constantly moving. Nomads like the Mongols were very advanced and could cause trouble for huge civilizations and empire like China and Rome.
Known as Kush in Egypt. The region alongside the Nile River south of Egypt, where an indigenous kingdom with its own distinct institutions and cultural traditions arose beginning in the early second millennium BCE. It was deeply influenced by Egyptian culture and at times under the control of Egypt, which coveted its rich deposits of gold and luxury products from sub-Saharan Africa carried up the Nile corridor. Collapsed due to shifting trade routes and attacks by desert nomads.
The period of the Stone Age associated with the evolution of humans. Also known as the "Old Stone Age". It predates the Neolithic Age. Lasted until 3,000 years after the end of the last Ice Age. Included the development of the first recognizable cultural activity, toolmaking. People used these tools for many activities including hunting and gathering. They were made of materials such as bone, skin, and wood.
A reed that grows along the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. From it was produced a coarse, paperlike writing medium used by the Egyptians and many other peoples in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East. Used by scribes for administrative recordkeeping, written literature including tales of adventure and magic, love poetry, religious hymns, and instruction manuals on technical subjects. It was exported in large quantities throughout the ancient world.
1200-500 BCE. Semitic-speaking Canaanites living on the coast of modern Lebanon and Syria in the first millennium BCE. From major cities such as Tyre and Sidon, Phoenician merchants and sailors explored the Mediterranean, engaged in widespread commerce, and founded Carthage and other colonies in the western Mediterranean. Adopted a city-state political form. Carthiginian power rested on its navy, which enforced its commercial monopoly. Greeks and Romans had hostile opinions about them but there were many cultural barriers between the groups.
A group of ethnically similar peoples spread across the Pacific on various islands. Speak Polynesian languages. Migrations in large groups probably cause by climate change and large populations. Genetically linked to indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia. Share common traits in their culture and society. Seafaring people with highly developed navigational skills. Each usually developed in isolation once it was settled, which explains the differences between Polynesian people.
The worship of or belief in many deities. Contrasts with monotheism. The typical form of religion during the Bronze and Stone Ages and up to the development of monotheism. Well-documented in the historical religions of the Greeks and Romans. Various polytheistic religions are still practiced today. The deities are often portrayed as complex with individual skills, needs, histories, and stories. Similar to humans in their personality traits (anthropomorphic) but with additional powers.
A large, triangular stone monument, used in Egypt and Nubia as a burial place for the king. The largest pyramids, erected during the Old Kingdom near Memphis with stone tools and compulsory labor, reflect the Egyptian belief that the proper and spectacular burial of the divine ruler would guarantee the continued prosperity of the land. First constructed by Djoser, a Third Dynasty pharaoh, who made it stepped. Fourth Dynasty kings filled out the sides to make each side a smooth surface.
Queen of Egypt from 1473-1458 BCE. She dispatched a naval expedition down the Red Sea to Punt (possibly northeast Sudan or Eretria), the faraway source of myrrh. Celebrated the return of the expedition with a great public display. There is evidence of opposition to a woman as ruler, and after her death her name and image were frequently defaced. Often used the male pronoun for herself. Took the throne after her husband died. Drawings often show her wearing the conical beard of the Egyptian ruler.
One of the two great Indian epics, the other being the Mahabharata. An important part of Hindu literature. Depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal examples of how fathers, brothers, servants, sons, wives, and kings should act. Explores human values and the concept of dharma. An important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and cultura. Presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages in narrative allegory.
An Indian collection of more than a thousand poetic hymns to various deities. Sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. Counted among the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism known as the Vedas. Among the world's oldest religious texts still in use. Contains several mythological and poetical accounts of the origin of the world, humans praising the gods, and ancient prayers for life, prosperity, etc. Composed in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent during the early Vedic period.
The world's hottest and third largest desert. Covers most of North Africa. Stretches from the Red Sea and parts of the Mediterranean coast to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Home to many people throughout history including the Nubians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and others from the Arab expansion. Many Arabic dialects are spoken there today. The culture of the region strongly influenced its numerous inhabitants over time.
A historical Indo-Aryan language. The primary liturgical language of Hinduism and a literary and scholarly language in Buddhism and Jainism. Developed during the Vedic Age of India. Sanskrit literature includes a tradition of poetry, drama, scientific, technical, philosophical, and dharma texts. Continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu and Buddhist religious rituals.
Sargon of Akkad
Reigned in Mesopotamia as the first real king. Founded the city of Akkad. Conquered the Sumerians to create the first great Semitic kingdom, the Akkadian empire. United the many independent city-states of Mesopotamia. Built the city of Babylon and instituted new military practices. Put down many rebellions throughout his long reign. Was considered a popular and successful king. Empire fell apart several generations after his death.
1750-1045 BCE. The dominant people in the earliest Chinese dynasty for which we have written records. Ancestor worship, divination by means of oracle bones, and the use of bronze vessels for ritual purposes were major elements of Shang culture. Writing system had several hundred characters that were simplified over time. The elite of society were a warrior class. Cities were simple centers of political control and religion. Common people lived in agricultural villages. King traveled around to enforce the loyalty of his subjects.
Slash and burn agriculture
The process of cutting down the vegetation in a particular plot of land, setting fire to the remaining foliage, and using the ashes to provide nutrients to the soil for use of planting food crops. Also known as swidden. Often used in places of dense vegetation where open land is not readily available for agriculture. For example, the people of Southeast Asia used this method as early as 2,000 BCE. Rice was the staple food and allowed them to support a large population.
The people who dominated southern Mesopotamia through the end of the third millennium BCE. They were responsible for the creation of many fundamental elements of Mesopotamian culture - such as irrigation technology, cuneiform, and religious conceptions - taken over by their Semitic successors. Most likely inhabited southern Mesopotamia by 5,000 BCE and possibly even earlier. Their cultural legacy survived and was adapted.
1,000-3,000 CE. Important culture of what is now the Southwest United States. Centered on Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Mesa Verde in Colorado, the Anasazi culture built multistory residences and worshiped in subterranean buildings called kivas. Had to learn how to grow corn, squash, and beans in the dry land they lived on. Stored water to use during droughts. Had many gods that were often represented by elements of nature.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead
An ancient Egyptian funeral text. Consists of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person's journey through the Underworld and into the afterlife. Part of a tradition of funerary texts. The spells were often inscribed on tomb walls and sarcophagi. The book itself was usually placed in the coffin or burial chamber. There was no single Book of the Dead. People often commissioned their own copies. Most commonly written in hieroglyphics on papyrus.
The Epic of Gilgamesh
An epic poem from Mesopotamia. Among the earliest surviving works of literature. Story centers on a friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The second half is about Gilgamesh's distress over Enkidu's death and his quest for immortality. The epic has been compiled from many different sources, but it is still incomplete. Numerous scholars believe that the epic's themes, episodes, and verses had a strong influence on both of Homer's epic poems.
The first Mesoamerican civilization. The Olmec people of central Mexico created a vibrant civilization that included intensive agriculture, wide-ranging trade, ceremonial centers, and monumental construction. The Olmec had great cultural influence on later Mesoamerican societies, passing on artistic styles, religious imagery, sophisticated astronomical observation for the construction of calendars, and a ritual ball game.
Came from the term dasa which came to mean "slave." They were excluded from the caste system and members of the other groups avoided them because of the polluting work they were forced to do such as leather tanning and sweeping away the ashes of the dead after cremations.
Early Indian sacred "knowledge" - the literal meaning of the term - preserved and communicated orally by Brahmin priests and eventually written down. These religious texts, including the thousand poetic hymns to various deities contained in the Rig Veda, are our main source of information about the Vedic period. The source of the name of the time period itself.
The first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles. Succeeded by the Shang Dynasty. There is not very much reliable information because oracle bones script did not exist yet. Said to be founded by the ancestors of the Han people. Developed out of the frequent battles between early tribes. Overthrown by the first ruler of the Shang Dynasty.
Also known as the Huang He. The second-longest river in Asia. Called the "cradle of Chinese civilization" because its basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. Devastating floods have also caused disaster. Used for agricultural irrigation even very early in Chinese agriculture. Has influenced the names of many places and things in Chinese culture.
The people and dynasty that took over the dominant position in north China from the Shang and created the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to justify their rule. The Zhou era, particularly the vigorous early period, was remembered in Chinese tradition as a time of prosperity and benevolent rule. In the later Zhou period, centralized control broke down, and warfare among many small states became frequent.
Structures built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley in the form of a terraced step pyramid of receding levels. Built by the Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians, and Assyrians for local religions. Part of a temple complex which included other buildings. Sun-baked bricks made up the ziggurats. They had shrines at the top. Not for public worship or ceremonies but dwelling places of the gods. Only priests were permitted on or inside because it was their responsibility to care for the gods.
A religion originating in ancient Iran with the prophet Zoraster. It centered on a single benevolent deity - Ahuramazada - who engaged in a 12,000 year struggle with demonic forces before prevailing and restoring a pristine world. Emphasizing truth-telling, reverence, and purity, the religion demanded that humans choose sides in the struggle between good and evil. Those whose good conduct indicated their support for Ahuramazda would be rewarded. Others would be punished. Spread within its realm and influenced Judaism, Christianity, and other faiths.
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