How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

28 terms

World History Definitions

Various terms you may need to know for your high school world history midterm.
The system of government used originally in ancient Rome where most of the power was in the hands of the 300 Senators
A system of government where the citizens of a society make the decisions by voting
Caste System
A system of fixed classes that you remain in if you are born into one. It was and is used in India. The classes are from highest to lowest: Brahmin (priests), Kshatriyans (soldiers), Vaisyas (farmers/herders), Sudras (laborers/servants), and untouchables. You moved between classes through reincarnation.
A belief that "all men are evil", that was used during the Qin dynasty by the rulers, resulting in a harsh and cruel government
It is a belief that says: if you do good things, good things will happen to you. If you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. This is a major belief in Hinduism.
A Buddhist belief that means kindness to all living things
A seasonal wind pattern in southern Asia that blows warm, moist air from the southwest during the summer, bringing heavy rains, and cold, dry air from the northeast during the winter
A belief in many gods
4 Noble Truths
The four most important truths about the nature of life from Buddhism
1. All life is suffering
2. The cause of suffering is greed and desire
3.The only way to end suffering is to end greed and desire
4. Follow the Eight-Fold Path
Ruler of ancient India who ruled using the teachings of Buddhism after witnessing the deaths of 200,000 people at the battle of Kalinga. He was the grandson of Chandragupta, and was ruler of the Maurya Empire. He converted most of India to Buddhism and ruled by moral example. He built hospitals, schools, libraries, roads, and rest houses. As well as set up a court system and a bureaucracy. He also spread peace, prosperity, and religious tolerance.
Mandate of Heaven
A concept from the ancient dynasties of China that says why dynasties rise and fall. When an emperor is ruling well, they have the favor of heaven and can't be overthrown. If an emperor is ruling badly, they lose the favor of heaven and can be overthrown. This concept was put in place during the Zhou dynasty
Famous Greek blind poet who came up with the Iliad and the Odyssey
The Oracle at Delphi was a woman who was given the gift of sight by the god of prophecy Apollo. The Oracle was never wrong because its answers were cryptic and could be interpreted in many ways
Started the study of philosophy, and taught Plato, another famous philosopher. He only taught by asking questions.
Famous Greek historian, his works are more of the story, gossip, and drama at times.
Famous Spartan king who leg the Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae. He also lead the last stand of the 300 (and 1000 Thespians) to let the rest of the Greeks retreat
Alexander the Great
Macedonian leader who conquered all of the known world except for India. He also created a Hellenistic culture while doing so. He also named a lot of cities Alexandria
One of the Emperors of Persia who commanded the Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae. He also had the water whipped by his executioner for causing a storm when his troops were trying to cross a pontoon bridge.
Peloponnesian War
A war between Athens and its supporters and Sparta and its supporters. The war began when Athens tried to take money from Delphi for the Delian League. Delphi went to Sparta for help. Sparta eventually wins but it was a Pyrrhic victory and both city-states fell from power.
Famous Greek mathematician (Geometry)
The rich upper class of Roman society, above the plebeians, who are above the slaves.
The middle class of Roman society. They were the majority of the population
A brilliant Carthaginian general who went around the Mediterranean, with war elephants to invade Rome during the second Punic War
Punic Wars
A series of three wars between Rome and Carthage
1. Mostly naval battles, Rome Won
2. Hannibal goes around the Mediterranean with war elephants, but then Gen. Scipio of Rome goes to invade Carthage, but instead of attacking, he waits for Hannibal and destroys him. Rome Won
3.Rome utterly destroys Carthage for no reason, Rome Won
Julius Caesar
Great Roman general who became the first dictator for life in Rome. He had gained the support of the Plebeians and the military and took control of Rome and became its leader.
Pax Romana
Literally means "Roman Peace". It was a 200 year time of peace in Rome that started when Augustus came into power.
Julius Caesar's adopted son, he was the first emperor of Rome and his heir was the first hereditary monarch in Rome. His heirs rise to power marked the end of the Republic. His name was originally Octavian, began the Pax Romana. His name means "the exalted one".
First Triumvirate
A group of Roman Generals made up of Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus.