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Terms in this set (492)

• Ashoka, also spelled Aśoka was the last significant emperor in the Mauryan dynasty of the Indian subcontinent
• His vigorous patronage of Buddhism (269 B.C.E. - 232 B.C.E) furthered the expansion of Buddhism
• Following his successful but bloody conquest of the Kalinga, Ashoka renounced armed conquest and adopted a policy that he called "conquest by dharma" (i.e., by principles of right life)
• In order to gain wide publicity for his teachings and his work, Ashoka made them known by means of oral announcements and by engravings on rocks and pillars at suitable sites
• These inscriptions - known as the rock edicts or the Pillars of Ashoka - contain statements regarding his thoughts and actions and provide information on his life and acts
• The sufferings inflicted on the defeated people at the Battle of Kalinga moved Ashoka to such remorse that he renounced armed conquests
• It was at this time that he came in contact with Buddhism and adopted it
• Ashoka repeatedly declared that he understood dharma to be the energetic practice of the sociomoral virtues of honesty, truthfulness, compassion, mercifulness, benevolence, nonviolence, considerate behavior toward all, "little sin and many good deeds," nonextravagance, nonacquisitiveness, and noninjury to animals
• Toward all religious sects he adopted a policy of respect and guaranteed them full freedom to live according to their own principles
• Moreover, he encouraged religious toleration
• Among his works of public utility were the founding of hospitals for men and animals and the supplying of medicines, and the planting of roadside trees and groves, digging of wells, and construction of watering sheds and rest houses
• Orders were also issued for preventing cruelty to animals
• With the death of Ashoka, the Mauryan Empire disintegrated and his work was discontinued
• Most enduring were Ashoka's services to Buddhism
• He built a number of stupas (commemorative Buddhist burial mounds) and monasteries and erected pillars on which he ordered inscribed his understanding of religious doctrines
• The Sinhalese chronicle Mahavamsa says that when the order decided to send preaching missions abroad, Ashoka helped them enthusiastically and sent his own son and daughter as missionaries to Sri Lanka
• It is as a result of Ashoka's patronage that Buddhism, which until then was a small sect confined to particular localities, spread throughout India and subsequently beyond the frontiers of the country
• To give up his worldly routine in order to embrace Christ's example as fully as possible was the life of the monk
• In the Middle Ages in Western Europe, growing numbers of men and women became monks and nuns
• This way of life, called monasticism, imposed rigors and privations but offered spiritual purpose and a better hope of salvation
• Monks and nuns performed many practical services in the Middle Ages, for they housed travelers, nursed the sick, and assisted the poor; abbots and abbesses dispensed advice to secular ruler
• But monasticism also offered society a spiritual outlet and ideal with important consequences for medieval culture as a whole
• Monasteries encouraged literacy, promoted learning, and preserved the classics of ancient literature, including the works of Cicero, Virgil, Ovid, and Aristotle
• The need for books and buildings made religious houses active patrons of the arts, and the monastic obligation to perform manual work allowed many monks and nuns to serve God as creative artists
• Every monastic community consisted of men or women vowed to celibacy and bound by a set of regulations
• In a monastic setting, the very exercise of producing a book became a means of meditation on scripture, and the embellishment of the text often highlights this fact
• Only Oxford and Cambridge Universities could surpass some monasteries as centers of learning
• All monks had to read and write as these were fundamental skills for the role they had within the monastery
• An empire arose in the steppes of Mongolia in the thirteenth century that forever changed the map of the world, opened intercontinental trade, and impacted history
• At its height, the Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous empire in history, stretching from the Pacific coast to the Black Sea
• Chinggis [Genghis] Khan unified the Mongols and then proceeded to conquer a vast empire
• The Mongols were skilled warriors on horseback and engaged in psychological warfare to frighten their enemies to surrender ["Surrender and be spared. Resist and perish."]
• Chinggis Khan and his successors conquered China, Russia, and Persia
• The Mongols, however, never conquered Japan although they twice tried
• The Mongols were primarily interested in the collection of tribute from their conquered subjects
• In China, the Mongols established the Yuan Dynasty under Khubilai [Kublai] Khan
• In China, the Mongols never adopted the examination system although claimed the Mandate of Heaven and moved the capital to Beijing, closer to their homeland in the steppes of Central Asia
• In Russia, the Mongols destroyed the city of Kiev as the princes resisted but elevated the city of Moscow as Moscow became the primary tribute collector for the empire
• In Persia, the Mongols converted to Islam
• The Mongols were religiously tolerant
• The Mongols secured the Silk Roads and therefore reduced risk from bandits and reduced the number of tolls
• Thus, trade flourished on the Silk Roads during the Pax Mongolica
• Gunpowder technology travelled on the Silk Roads as did Chinese goods
• The Mongols strengthened trade routes
• The Mongols increased cultural diffusion between Asia and Europe
• The bubonic plague travelled on the Silk Roads
• The Mongol Empire greatly impacted history
• Located inside the compound of the Grand Mosque at Mecca, the Kaaba or Ka'ba (literally, "cube") is a cube-shaped structure known as the House of God
• It contains the sacred Black Stone, a meteorite that Muslims believe was placed by Abraham and Ismail in a corner of the Kaaba, a symbol of God's covenant with Abraham and Ismail and by extension with the Muslim community itself
• The Kaaba is draped with a woven black cloth embellished with Quranic verses embroidered in gold
• The Kaaba is considered the first house of worship of the one God, originally built by Adam and replicating the heavenly House of God, which contains the divine throne that is circumambulated by the angels
• This heavenly ritual is reenacted during the hajj by pilgrims, who circumambulate the Kaaba seven times
• This symbolizes their entry into the divine presence
• Muslims believe that Adam's Kaaba was destroyed by the neglect of believers and the flood, and according to the Quran (2:127) Abraham and his son Ismail rebuilt the holy house
• However, by the time of Muhammad the Kaaba was under the control of the Quraysh of Mecca, who used it as a shrine for the tribal gods and idols of Arabia
• The Quraysh held an annual pilgrimage to the Kaaba and a fair that attracted pilgrims from all over Arabia
• Muslim tradition tells us that one of the first things Muhammad did when he returned from exile and triumphantly entered Mecca was to cleanse the Kaaba of its 360 idols and restore the "religion of Abraham," the worship of the one true God