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Unit 3: Post Classical Era
Terms in this set (65)
Justinian was an important early Byzantine emperor who lived from 527b.c.-565b.c. in the capital of the empire, Constantinople. Known as "the sleepless emperor", Justinian worked hard to develop a great kingdom for his people. Because of Justinian's high taxes, in 532c.e. riots destroyed the city of Constantinople. With the help of his wife Theodora, they started a construction project that included the Hagia Sophia and the Hippodrome, both incredibly advanced and elaborate for their day and age. Justinian also established a grand imperial capital and court. Justinian's Code was basically an amendment of Roman law. Justinian ordered a review of the Roman laws from the republic and early empire and added fundamental ones such as Corpus iuris civilis (Body of the Civil Law). Many other civil laws were added that greatly benefitted his people. Justinian is known as the most important and affective Byzantine emperor. His Code influenced others throughout Western Europe for a great amount of time, and his architectural projects are still marveled at to this day
During the Byzantine Empire, society was reorganized into a theme system. Military leaders such as generals were appointed by the government and recruited peasants to join, which made the free peasant class a lot stronger. The theme system helped the empire keep the Muslims from taking them on, it strengthened the entire Byzantine empire as a whole, and enabled it to expand its authority and influence in the 9th and 11th century. But the theme system wasn't successful in every way; it created social problems between the lower class and aristocratic class, who had become very powerful because of intermarriage. The aristocrats had huge estates that put the peasants under a lot of pressure. The aristocrats tried riots against the central government that were unsuccessful, but did dishevel the economy. The theme system caused a decline in free peasants, which meant less recruits for the army to take, and also with lessening taxes given from the peasants, it created even more problems for the government. Overall, the theme system had a largely favorable impact on the Byzantine Empire, but did affect them in negative ways as well.
The Hagia Sophia, meaning "Holy Wisdom", was a church built in 532c.e. during Justinian's famous rule of the Byzantine Empire. When Constantinople's people were rioting against the high taxes Justinian imposed, they destroyed most of the city. Justinian decided to start a construction project on the entire city of Constantinople in order to rebuild it. One of the many buildings built was the ambitious Hagia Sophia. The domed church was very large in size with gold and silver, and many gems and expensive stones used. People claimed that the doors and columns of the church had healing powers that could get rid of an illness one had when they stood next to or rubbed them. It was later turned into a mosque when the city was converted to Islam in 1453, and later a museum in 1943. The Hagia Sophia was, and still is influential because it was the most eminent and important structure built during Justinian's rule. It is still standing today as a museum, teaching people about its past.
Caesaropapism was used by Constantine, the first Christian emperor of the west Roman Empire from 306 to 337c.e. Like the ancient Egyptian pharaohs, Constantine wanted to be associated with his religion as emperor. He claimed that he had divine favor as emperor and used Christianity every time he wanted to support one of his views. After the 6th century, the emperors of the Byzantine Empire would have power over everything pertaining to their kingdom, including military, political, judicial, financial and religious authority. Caesaropapism was the start of Christianity's influence on the later Roman Empire and how serious it got when it began to spread.
Iconoclasm, meaning "the breaking of icons" was started by Emperor Leo III, who ruled the Byzantine Empire from 717 to 741c.e. The Byzantine Empire was famous for its paintings of religious figures like Jesus and the saints. Leo III decided that painting these figures was a sin, and meant that the people were worshipping physical people instead of God himself. He destroyed the works of art and didn't allow them to be put up in churches. People did not like this idea, and many rioted until 843 when all iconoclasm efforts were abandoned. The importance of iconoclasm was that it showed how emperors of the Empire were getting more and more involved with religion.
1054 Church Schism/Orthodox Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism
As Islam began to take over most of southwest Asia in the 7th century, Constantinople and Rome were the only centers of Christianity left. The two cities had both theological and religious disputes, including the iconoclasm movement in Byzantium and Rome's disagreement with it. Next came arguments about minor issues like the leavened bread the western church used in mass, or the way the western priest's beards were shaved and large issues like God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit's relationships with each other. In 1054c.e. the two sides found so many differences in their ways that the pope and patriarch of each region excommunicated each other, and refused to look at each other as Christians. The eastern church became Eastern Orthodox and the western church became Roman Catholic. The schism made a huge impact on every Christian back then and today because it virtually split Christianity into two different sects with different ideals and ways.
Cyril & Methodius/Cyrillic Alphabet
Saints Cyril and Methodius of Thessaloniki, Greece were two brothers who helped convert the Slavs to Orthodox Christianity. In the mid 19th century, Cyril and Methodius went on missions to Bulgaria and Moravia to convert the people, and developed an alphabet known as the Cyrillic alphabet for the Slavic people who were not literate. It was adapted from the Greek alphabet and sounded more similar to the Slavic languages then Greek did. The Cyrillic alphabet was used in parts of eastern Europe until the Roman alphabet was introduced in the 20th century. The alphabet is still used in this day in parts of modern Russia which shows how influential Cyril & Methodius were.
In the 5th century a few people would show their ascetic enthusiasm to Christianity by sitting on top of poles for years at a time. The most famous pillar saint was St. Simeon Stylite, who was initially the first saint to try this custom. He attracted attention from places as far away as Gaul. Pillar saints were the perfect example of how far some Christians took their religion.
Dar al'Islam, meaning "house of Islam" refers to all the land that was under Islamic rule. Muslim conquerors were very powerful, and by the eighth century the Muslims were just as powerful as the Byzantine Empire. The dar al'Islam stretched from West Africa to the islands of Southeast Asia. Because of the extensive land they had under their power, there were many different cultures and backgrounds. Regardless of the background, all people under Islam rule were part of the dar al'Islam. The dar al'Islam's enormous empire shows how powerful the Muslim's had gotten by the eighth century.
Muhammad ibn Abdullah was born in 570c.e. in Mecca to merchant parents who both died by the time he was 6 years old. He was then placed in the care of his uncle and grandfather who also paid for his education. When he grew up he worked for a widowed woman named Khadija, whom he eventually married in 595c.e. When he was 30 years old he had become a merchant who had developed a good reputation with people, but wasn't up to an elite level in the social class. In about 610c.e. Muhammad experienced what he described as a message from the angel Gabriel, telling how there was one deity called Allah, and how he ruled the entire universe. Muhammad was instructed to spread his epiphany with others, so he told his family and friends. People increasingly started to become interested, and by 620c.e. many people from Mecca had joined Muhammad. In the 650's followers of Muhammad put together the orally recited revelations that he received via his visions, and called it the Quran, meaning recitation. Muhammad was the creator of the Islamic religion, which now has 1.2 billion followers, is the second largest religion, and is one of the fastest growing religions in the world which makes him one of the most influential people ever to have existed.
The Ka'ba was a cube shaped shrine in Mecca, the capital city of Islam. Inside of the Ka'ba was a large black rock that was supposed to be the home of a god. The shrine brought many Muslims from all around Arabia to Mecca, which led to a lot of income for the city. But the problem was that Muhammad was feverishly condemning idolatry left and right. This led the elites of Mecca to badger at Muhammad and the Muslim's who agreed with him. Some followers had to flee to Abyssinia to escape the pressure, and eventually Muhammad had to flee to Yathrib in 622c.e. The Ka'ba was important because it brought a lot of travelers and revenue to Mecca and was part of the Mecca experience when one made a pilgrimage to the city.
The Five Pillars of Islam
The Five Pillars of Islam were the rules and obligations one must follow to be Muslim.
1. They must acknowledge that Allah is the only God, and Muhammad is the prophet.
2. They must pray daily to Allah in the direction that Mecca is.
3. They must fast during Ramadan when it is light out.
4. They must give money to the poor.
5. They must make the pilgrimage to Mecca if they are able once during their lifetime.
By doing these tasks, they would be guaranteed a place in heaven. The Five Pillars were important because they were the rules of Islam, and one couldn't really be a Muslim if they didn't follow the Pillars correctly.
The Sufis were a group of Muslim's who didn't take the rules as seriously as the other Muslims. Instead of focusing on mastering the doctrine, they focused on devoting and uniting themselves to Allah. The Sufis lived very ascetic lives, and were very caring to the less fortunate. Sometimes they would give up all their possessions to live as beggars. After the 19th century the Sufi population greatly increased. One of the most important Sufis was al Ghazali, a Persian theologian who lived from 1058 to 1111c.e. He was most well known for his idea that humans couldn't comprehend Allah's ways, and that the only way to fully understand Allah was to devote themselves to Him. Becoming a Sufi seemed positive to others because of their easygoing rules, kindness and tolerance to the people's original views. Sufis were a significant group of people that exhibits the way that there wasn't only one way someone could view Islam.
After Ali was assassinated in 661c.e. the Umayyad dynasty was established to take over and rule the dar al-Islam. The Umayyads were the most distinguished merchant class and they helped stabilize the dar al-Islam. The capital was placed at Damascus, a city in Syria. Because of the centralized location of Damascus, the Umayyads were able to communicate with the rest of the dynasty better than if it was in Mecca. The Umayyads put Arab military aristocrats as governors and administrators in places they had conquered and evenly distributed the wealth they gained amongst the aristocratic class. The Umayyads were generally tolerant towards the people they conquered with their religion. They allowed them to practice whatever they wanted, but if they were not Muslims they had to pay a special tax called the jizya. Because of the large difference in the upper and lower classes, the lower class was not happy with how the upper class was treated much better than them. In the beginning of the 8th century the caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty became estranged from the rest of the Arabs. The Shia's began to resist because they wanted the caliph to be a descendant of Ali, and the people they conquered had become very unhappy. The dynasty eventually ended in 750c.e. The Umayyad dynasty was a very prestigious dynasty that generated a lot of wealth, and was famous for their tolerance, which was not usually the case when a dynasty conquers land.
After many rebellions, the Umayyad Dynasty finally collapsed. Replacing them was the chief leader of the rebellions Abu al-Abbas in 1258c.e, founding the Abbasid Dynasty. The Abbasid Dynasty was much different than the Umayyad Dynasty. For one, they were much more cultivated, and they didn't show favor to the elite military class like the Umayyad's did. Also, the Abbasid's were not conquering people, instead they focused on keeping control of the land they had. Occasionally they were known to have small brawls with neighboring nomads from central Asia. The capital of the Abbasid Empire was Baghdad; a city surrounded by walls and had an immense palace in the middle. The Empire had provinces where governors administered, showing that their government system was a bureaucracy. Some important people in the Abbasid land were the uluma, scholars who had religious knowledge, and the qadis, who were judges. These people solved local disputes and observed Islamic values. Harun al-Rashid was the most influential Abbasid caliph. Ruling from 786-809c.e, he brought in a lot of tax revenue, and Baghdad became the center for banking, commerce and crafts. He supported artists and writers and gave money to the poor. When Harun al-Rashid died, the caliphate was left to his sons. There were many disputes over who got what land and governors were using this chaos to do whatever they wanted. Also, peasants started rebelling, and eventually the dynasty ended in 1258. The Abbasid Caliphate was one of the most famous dynasties of the dar al-Islam because of the flourishing economy it had. It also put Baghdad on the map, which is probably the most well known city in the Middle East.
Al-Andalus was a city in Islamic Spain that thrived in trade during the Abbasid era. Al-Andalus was an ally of the Umayyads, so when the Abbasid's took over, al-Andalus refused to accept the fact they were leaders. They made themselves their own caliph instead of having a governor administer them like the rest of the dynasty. Despite this fact, al-Andalus still had a large part in the trading in the dar al-Islam. With crops imported from other parts of the empire, there was a large and healthy food supply for the people. The most famous city was Cordoba, which in the 10th century had publicly lighted roads, free schools, and a magnificent library with thousands of books. Al-Andalus shows just how thriving the Islamic world was under Abbasid rule, especially the trading aspect.
The Saljuq Turks were a group of Turkish Muslim invaders coming in from the west who conquered the Abbasid Empire in 1055c.e. For two centuries the Saljuq caliphs stayed as figureheads in the Empire. They also threatened the European expansion of the Byzantine Empire. In the 11th century they sent invaders into Anatolia because of their weak military and suffering of financial problems. In the Battle of Manzikert the Turks beat the Byzantine army by a large margin, causing the Byzantines to start a civil war, and leaving Anatolia free for the Saljuq Turks to rule. In the late 12th century, the Turks had control over almost all of Anatolia, despite a small portion crusaders from western Europe governed. The peasant classes saw the Saljuq's as liberators because of the unfair rules that were put on them before. The Byzantine Church was taxed and restricted, and the Turks gladly welcomed converts to Islam, and gave them much more opportunities. The Saljuq Turks were a very significant clan that had a lot of power in the 10th and 11th centuries. They proved they could be ruthless conquerors and also prestigious Muslims at the same time.
The Sui Dynasty lasted from 589-618c.e, and was founded by Yang Jian after claiming the Mandate of Heaven. He had very intense discipline on the state he originally ruled, and as the land he ruled got bigger he extended this discipline on the entire land of China. He was famous for his military expeditions in central Asia and southern China. The Sui Dynasty had a very strong, centralized government and high taxes. Something the Sui Dynasty was also famous for was their construction projects including palaces, granaries, walls, and the Grand Canal. Unfortunately, because of the high taxes and labor needed to fund and build these extravagant projects, people began to get unhappy and rebel. In 618 the Sui emperor was assassinated, thus ending the Sui reign. Although the Sui Dynasty only lasted less than 30 years, its structures and centralization show its authority it had on China.
The Grand Canal was the Sui Dynasty's most useful structure built. Built during Sui Yangdi's reign of the dynasty (604-618c.e.), it was made to make trade between northern and southern China much easier and frequent. Since it was difficult to bring rice and other foods from the Yangzi River to northern people, the canal would make this easier to do. A series of waterways were built by millions of forced laborers, going from Hangzhou in the south to Chang'an in the west. The Grand Canal brought together the two sides of China, and made trade much easier between them, which made the Canal almost a necessity to the people of China.
The Tang Dynasty was the succeeding dynasty of the Sui Dynasty. When Sui Yangdi was assassinated, a rebel leader took the capital Chang'an and decided he was the emperor of the new Tang Dynasty. The dynasty lasted for almost 300 years (618-907c.e.) and made China a much more authoritarian and affluent. The most important leader of the Tang Dynasty was Tang Taizong, who reigned from 627 to 649c.e. Tang Taizong had to be very callous in order to get the throne by murdering his brothers, and forcibly pushing his father out of the seat. Although this may make him seem completely heartless, he changed once he had the throne to himself. Tang Taizong built a capital at Chang'an, and used Confucian ideals to rule the dynasty. Land was equally distributed, the communication network was very advanced, and the bureaucracy system was based on merit. These three policies contributed to the Tang's successful rule. The Tang dynasty also had a Confucian education system that taught classic Chinese literature and philosophy which lasted for thirteen centuries. Because of its growing power, the dynasty began to reach out and expand via military. Manchuria, the Silla kingdom, northern Vietnam, Tibet, and the Aral Sea soon came under control of the Tang dynasty. These lands would give the middle kingdom of China gifts every once in a while as a token of respect for their overlords. Later on careless leaders would neglect responsibility of a ruler and several rebellions took place that weakened the dynasty, but none that actually overthrew the Tang Dynasty. After the Uighurs helped the Tang control these rebellions, they sacked Chang'an and Luoyang in return for their duties, and from these the imperial house could not regain their composure. Everything quickly got worse and worse until 907c.e. the last Tang emperor gave up his thrown, ending the dynasty. The Tang Dynasty had a time of pleasantness, when banditry ended, rice prices stayed low, and taxes weren't heavy which shows how the Tang knew how to run a dynasty that would make everybody happy, something that you didn't see much of back then.
The Song dynasty lasted for more than three centuries (960-1279c.e.), but never got near the power of the previous Tang dynasty. The first Song emperor was Song Taizu who reigned from 960 to 976c.e. and was proclaimed emperor by his troops. Song Taizu would reward his officials with gifts in exchange for their services and continue the Confucian education/civil service exams that the Tang used. He gave many more opportunities to people who wanted to become part of the enormous bureaucracy. Eventually the bureaucracy got too big to control, and they were pressured to raise taxes which got the people rebellious. Also, scholar bureaucrats were leading the military into battle when they often had no clue what they were doing. Nomadic people took this to their advantage, and eventually captured Kaifeng, the Song capital and decided it was the new establishment of the Jin empire. In 1279 the Mongols took over, ending the Song Dynasty. Although the Song dynasty wasn't as powerful as the previous dynasty, it showed a unique way to ruling its land by a large bureaucracy.
During the Song Dynasty, people not only studied the classic Chinese works of art for Confucianism, but they also studied the writings of Buddhism. Both of these ways together was to be known as NeoConfucianism. They found inspiration in Buddhism texts, and logic in Confucian texts that created a balance the people enjoyed. Although they were not interested in the religious aspect of Buddhism, they were enticed by its philosophical values. Zhu Xi (1130-1200c.e.), author of Family Rituals, was devoted to Confucian values. Zhu Xi was also highly interested in the Buddhism philosophical thoughts, like many people of the Song Dynasty at the time. NeoConfucianism shows the impact both Confucianism and Buddhism had on society and it continued to influence philosophy and politics for more than half a millennium.
The Silla Kingdom was the native "dynasty" in Korea during the seventh century. To avoid costs and conflict, the Tang Dynasty and the Silla Kingdom created a compromise. The negotiation outlined that the Chinese would withdraw their forces from Korea, and the Silla King would recognize Chinese supremacy. This meant that no war was started between them and that the Silla King agreed to acknowledge the Tang emperor as his overlord. In this compromise, Korea acted as a vassal to China but remained independent as well. Likewise, Korea's obedience and respect towards China led them to increased trade with Chinese merchants. The Chinese and the Korean had a very valuable relationship. The compromise between them helped Korea stay independent and opened up trade between Korean merchants and Chinese merchants. The increased trade brought wealth into the Silla Kingdom and new culture.
Japan inherited many ideologies such as Buddhism and Confucianism from China. However, they did have their own indigenous religion called Shinto. Shintoism was based on the worshiping of ancestors and nature deities, the emphasis of purity, clan loyalty, and the divinity of the emperor. Another big idea of Shintoism was the belief that actions and rituals are more important than words. Followers of the religion are animistic, which means they believe that things in nature, such as trees and mountains, have souls. Shinto is polytheistic; those who practice it worship many nature spirits called Kami. Shinto is still practiced today and the beliefs are very similar. From Shintoism we get concepts such as "actions speak loud than words" and also the Japanese Code of Bushido. Bushido was the belief that dishonoring oneself, family, or lord was worse than death and one should commit suicide if they committed a shameful deed. The religion shows us the root of Japanese beliefs and how they differed from China.
During the decline of Heian Japan, the equal-field system fell out of use. This led the aristocratic clans to fight for land. Eventually the two clans, Minamoto and Taira, became the major owners of the island and they began fighting for authority in Japan. The Minamoto clan emerged triumphant in 1185 and sought power in Japan. Instead of abolishing the imperial figures, the clan leader decided to become a shogun (military governor). The shogun, or shogunate, had absolute power while the emperor became merely the figurehead of the empire. This was significant because it was one of the first times the "face" of the empire and the power-holder weren't the same. Today we see this in England with the Queen and parliament. This shows how, if left unattended, the people with money will rule an empire because money, in the end, equaled power in Japan and in many other societies as well.
Japanese feudalism began in during 1185-1573 CE in the Kamakura and Muromachia periods. Feudalism was a decentralized form of government in which lords, called Diamyos, held the power in their province. The provincial lords would "hire" vassals called samurais, who were professional warriors, to enforce their authority. The samurais mainly provided military services for the lords. In return for their services, the lords would provide for the samurai and his family. The provisions included food, clothing, and a house. Their relationship was based on loyalty and loyalty was very important to the Japanese. They even followed a code called Bushido, which encouraged them to commit suicide if they dishonored their lords. Because the vassals were so well taken care of, they spent most of their time training and hunting. The vassal lord relationship is important because it was a new system of government. There is only one other example of this in Western Europe. The feudalism system was successful for approximately 388 years, which shows how well it worked.
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni was the leader of the Turks in Afghanistan. In 1001-1027, he led seventeen raiding expeditions into India, and annexed states in India and Punjab. Mahmud was interested in the wealth he would gain from raiding the temples, rather than ruling in India. His expeditions demolished hundreds of Hindu and Buddhist sites and led to a hastened decline of Buddhism in India. Mahmud of Ghazni attempted to spread Islam into India by building mosques and shrines on top of the demolished Hindu and Buddhist sites. Unfortunately for him, his efforts did not encourage Indians to convert to Islam. Mahmud of Ghazni had a huge impact on India. He quickened the decline of Buddhism in the place of its creation, and he also attempted to spread the Islam religion in India. His raids left a mark of destruction in India, and a great economic loss as well.
Sultanate of Delhi
In the late 12th century, Mahmud's successors led a more organized campaign into India. This time, however, they were not only interested in converting India to Islam, but conquering it as well. The campaign led to the dominance of Hindu Kingdoms in northern India, and the establishment of the Islamic state called the Sultanate of Delhi. The sultans strategically established their capital in Delhi. Delhi was a site where they could enforce their authority from the Punjab to the Ganges river valley. The sultans tactic was very successful and they ruled from 1206-1526. They also had the most powerful army at three hundred thousand soldiers, which made it one of the most powerful Islamic militaries in the world. Even with all the success, nineteen of the thirty-five sultans were assassinated. In the end the sultans helped promote Islam and established the headquarter for their faith in India.
Vishnu and Shiva
Vishnu and Shiva were two of the most important deities of the Hindu faith. Vishnu was the preserver of the world. It was believed that he observed the universe from the heavens and entered the world as a human. He disguised himself as a in order to stop evil and to communicate this teachings. Shiva was the god of fertility and ironically the god of destruction as well. He created life and also destroyed it. Vishnu and Shiva were associated with man gods and goddess. The veneration of Vishnu and Shiva began in northern and southern India. Hindu's believed that by offering food and drink and mediating, they would achieve union with the gods and receive salvation. Vishnu and Shiva also inspired cults to be created. The cults worshipped either one or the other, or both. Hinduism became the major religion in India after the decline of Buddhism. Hinduism influenced new philosophy in India and became the major religion of India.
The Carolingian Dynasty was a Germanic dynasty. It received its name from Charles Martel, also known as "Charles the Hammer". Charles was the deputy to the last of Clovis's descendants, and he did not rule the Franks as their king. Charles also conquered the Spanish Muslims at the Battle of Tours. In 751, Pepin the Short claimed the throne and officially established the Carolingian Dynasty. Pepin was the son of Charles Martel and the father of Charlemagne. Charlemagne, also known as "Charles the Great", reigned from 768-814. He was successful at temporarily reestablishing the centralized imperial of a society. The society had been disrupted by the invasion and contest for control between power-seeking local rulers. Charlemagne was also very intelligent. Although he was illiterate, he spoke Latin and Greek. Charlemagne enlarged the empire and used his military as a means of spreading Christianity. He also destroyed the Lombards who threatened the Pope, therefore, his religion. However, even with his success, he hesitated to called himself and emperor. He did not want to challenge the authority of the current Byzantine emperors. In 800 the Pope officially named him emperor, which gave Charlemagne mixed feelings. The importance of the Carolingians and Charlemagne is very great. Charlemagne spread Christianity and protected his religions from those who challenged it. Likewise, the Pope naming Charlemagne as emperor began a new era. This era began a time when the religious leaders also became the political leaders. This act was very significant and it shows where the conflict of church and state began and how it began.
Monasticism/St. Benedict and St. Scholastica
Christian Monasticism originated in Egypt. Its creation came about due to many Christians seeking ascetic and holy lifestyles in Egypt during the second and third centuries. The legalization of Christianity during the fourth century increased the popularity of a monastic lifestyle through the Roman Empire. The widespread interest in Monastic districts spread to Italy, Spain, Gaul, the British isles, and the eastern Mediterranean. The districts each developed their own rules, procedures, and priorities. Depending on the district, a monk could be living an extremely self-disciplined lifestyle or a relaxed lifestyle. St. Benedict of Nursia who lived from 480-547 C.E., was a big proponent of strengthening the discipline and sense of purpose for the monastic movement. In 529, Benedict created a set of regulations called, Benedict's Rule for the communities to follow. The Rule did not require extreme asceticism, but it did require the monks to live celibate lives under the supervision of an abbot. It also required prayer, meditation, and study. St. Scholastica, St. Benedict's sister, helped convert the Rule for women. The Rule helped provide guidance for woman in convents. The Christianity in Egypt shows how far the religion spread. The religion inspired many people to convert and the Rule gave followers guidance. The limited asceticism was almost like Buddhism over Hinduism. It was easier for people to follow, yet they still felt devoted to theie religion. St. Scholastica's efforts helped women feel equality in terms of religion. This strengthened women's rights and gave them a chance to be equal to men.
The Vikings were nomadic invaders from the north who raided norther France during Charlemagne's rule in the ninth century. The Vikings, also known as Norsemen, expanded due to population pressures, agricultural needs, and conflict with Christians. The Vikings are well known for their incredible boats. The boats were shallow and provided safer and more reliable sea travel. The Vikings conquered much of the north Atlantic and they established settlements in Iceland, Greenland, the Shetland Islands, and the Faeroes. The Vikings had to leave Greenland due to agricultural difficulties from global cooling. The Viking's invasion of Constantinople was devastating. They raided it three times which was very harmful to the city. The Carolingians had no way to fend off the Vikings, and they were defeated and decentralized. The Viking's migrations were very devastating to Constantinople and the Carolingian empire. The migrations even led to the decentralization of the empire and eventually the creation of feudalism.
Feudalism (in Europe)/Fief/Vassal
Due to the ninth century invaders, the Carolingian empire became decentralized. The decentralization led to power distribution among local rulers. The local rulers, such as Carolingian courts, authorities, and nobles, took control of their own territories while in allegiance with the Carolingian king. Gradually the nobles became more and more like miniature kings, and their territories like miniature kingdoms. The nobles had taxes, militaries, and local affairs to administer. The nobles began developing relationships with important individuals in their territories. The lords would form a contract with the individuals promising them land, or fiefs, in return for military loyalty. The private armies, and the business interactions between the lords and their knights, or vassals, became known as feudalism. The feudalism government did become complex and occasionally confusing. Some vassals would have multiple lords and this created some conflict. Feudalism is no longer a term used by historian. It has only been seen in Japan and the systems are very similar. Feudalism created an extremely decentralized government and conflict between territories.
The Manor system was created from the decentralized society of the Carolingian Empire, and from the feudal interactions between lords and vassals. The Manor system was based on the concept that the vassals, or knights, becoming lords themselves. Their lordship was not literal, but the comparison was very close. The vassals would have control over the manor and its inhabitants. The manor was a large estate, almost like a farm, with fields, meadows, agricultural fields and animals, lakes, and serfs. Serfs were the workers on the manor. They were like slaves who were not entirely free, but nor entirely enslaved. They had working obligations to fulfill, but they were able to pass land down to their heirs and marry. The knights were usually the lords of the manor and they administered the government and justice of the manor. The power levels of the feudal system are similar to that of a federal government. There is a head leader and several smaller leaders and even smaller leaders under them. The king was the leader of the entire kingdom, and the lords were the leaders of the provinces, and the knights the leaders of the manors. This is like the president, the governors, and the mayors. It is similarities that make the manor system so important. We can see how power distribution developed and how government systems developed as well.
The Mongols created the Eurasian routes which were very similar to the earlier silk roads. The Eurasian routes were highways for the spread of religions, culture, and philosophies. The spread of religion converted many people along the routes. The Sufi missionaries popularized Islam among Turkish people and the Buddhist missionaries attracted many Mongols to Buddhism. Culture was also spread and new things were exchanged along the routes. Just like the silk roads, the Eurasian routes were extremely important to the development of civilizations. It also shaped how civilizations formed based on what cultures and religions they learned. On the actual silk roads, one of the Mongol's allies, the Uighur Turks, lived on the oasis cites bordering the road. They were very intelligent and some administered the Mongol empires. The routes are key to the spread of culture and without them civilizations would have had a completely different upbringing.
Temujin was a Mongol and was born into a noble family in 1167. His father was a warrior who was a powerful leader and successful at creating alliances between the Mongol clans. Unfortunately, when Temujin was ten-years-old, his father was poisoned by a rival clan and he died. Temujin lived a harsh life after that fateful event, suffering poverty and a kidnapping. Gradually, Temujin built up his reputation as a powerful leader and warrior. When Temujin united all of the Mongol clans, he was proclaimed Chinggis Khan, meaning universal ruler, in 1206. Chinggis was a master at leading. He broke up the tribes to avoid resistance, and he chose his officials based on merit rather than kinship. Chinggis also extended Mongol rule into China and began his conquest in 1211. By 1220, the Mongols had control over northern China. Chinggis was, however, a ruthless conqueror. His army was much smaller than most with only 100,000 men, and he defeated many larger armies. Chinggis killed all of his prisoners of war, except if they surrendered and if they were skilled. This meant that he killed thousands of men, women, children, and even pets. Chinggis is remembered as one of the most brutal warriors to have ever lived. His harsh combat style was useful. He expanded his empire and was a very successful conqueror. Chinggis's brutality and leadership make him a very important figure in history, and most will not forget his achievements.
Khubilai, Chinggis Khan's grandson, followed in his grandfather's footsteps. He was ruthless in combat and a successful conqueror. Khubilai was also interested in cultural matters and spreading Buddhism, unlike his grandfather. He spread the Mongol rule into all of China. In 1279 all resistance was eliminated and Khubilai formed the Yuan Dynasty. He was the first emperor of the dynasty and it lasted until 1368. The Mongols and the Chinese had a very tense relationship. The Mongols refused to teach the Chinese their language, outlawed intermarriage between them, and even considered the genocide of Chinese people. However, under Mongol rule, China was reunified and new culture was spread during the Pax Mongolica, or time of Mongolian peace. The decline of the Yuan Dynasty was partially due to unbacked paper money, and the wealth of the dynasty attracted invaders. The conquest of all of China was a huge military success. It was a large goal to achieve, but Khubilai Khan was successful and his great leadership brought him his success. Although the impact was not great for the Chinese, it did create a time of peace and unification for them.
Timur was a "self-made" Turkish conqueror. He walked with a limp and was therefore nicknamed, "Timur the Lame" which gradually transformed to Tamerlane. He was born in 1336 near Samarkland and idolized Chinggis Khan. Tamerlane came from a noble family and eventually made a name for himself. He was a courageous leader with many devoted followers. He eliminated his rivals and extended his authority throughout the khanate of Chaghatai and built an amazing capital at Samarkand. Tamerlane had many other successful raids in Persia, Afghanistan, the Golden Horde, Russia, and India. He was planning on invading China, but in 1405 he became ill and died. Tamerlane was a conqueror, not a governor. He was interested in military campaigns and strategy. He also used a bureaucratic system to control his territories. Tamerlane seemed to be living Chinggis Khan's life. He didn't conquer all of the same territories but he tried to become the new Chinggis. Tamerlane shows us how great Chinggis's conquests were. It shows us how he was idolized and the impact he made in history.
Osman was a leader of the nomadic Turks who had migrated to ilkhanate from central Asia. He created a state for himself during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries in northwestern Anatolia. Osman pronounced himself independent of the Saljuq sultan in 1299 and created a campaign to build a state at the expense of the Byzantine empire. He took territory from Byzantine beginning in 1300. Osman attracted more and more attention after all of his success. This created the Ottoman empire. His followers then became known as Ottomans. In 1453 Sultan Mehmed II captured Constantinople. The Ottoman empire grew vast up until the sixteenth century. Osman's efforts led to the success of an empire. The Ottoman empire grew very large and was able to capture Constantinople and lessen the power of the Byzantine empire.
Kingdom of Ghana
The Kingdom of Ghana developed in the fourth to fifth centuries C.E. It was located between the Senegal and Niger river straddling the borders of modern day Mali and Mauritania. It was the center of African gold trade. The gold was imported from the south into Ghana and then distributed from there. The kingdom also made its wealth from the taxes they collected from passerby's. Ghana's kings converted to Islam around the tenth century. This conversion was to improve relations with merchants and to gain support from other Muslim states in north Africa. Ghana didn't take Islam practices very seriously and they didn't enforce it on their society. They continued to observe their traditional customs and the practicing of magic. Eventually the Ghana kingdom dissolved due to its size and wealth. It attracted nomadic invaders and the raids weakened the kingdom. The kingdom fell to the powerful Mali empire. The Ghana Kingdom used religion as a way to gain economic success. Usually the two are not closely connected but in this circumstance the economic success depended on religious relations. The Ghana Kingdom controlled most gold trade and was a very wealthy kingdom because of their geographical position and use of intelligence.
Mali Empire/Sundiata/Mansa Musa
The Mali empire was founded by Sundiata. Sundiata was the "lion prince". He reigned from 1230-1255. He founded the Mali empire in the thirteenth century after his return from banishment. Sundiata was a follower of the Islam faith but only for trade benefits. He did not force his people to convert. The Mali kingdom gained its wealth from sub-saharan trade and tax to caravans. The capital of Nani attracted many merchants and also added to the wealth of the empire. Mansa Musa was the grandson of Sundiata. Unlike his grandfather, Musa was a devote Muslim. He even went on the pilgrimage to Mecca. Musa gave gifts to those who helped him on his pilgrimage and it is estimated that he gave out so much gold that its value decreased by twenty-five percent. Musa built mosques and he established religious schools. The centralized government of the Mali kingdom continued after its decline. The kingdom was full of wealth and culture. Musa spread Islam throughout the kingdom and educated people on the religion as well. The solid structure created by Sundiata and Musa lasted after the kingdoms decline and spread Islam into Africa.
In the middle of the fourth century Christianity was established in the the Ethiopian Kingdom of Axum. The first converts were merchants who traded with Christians and as missionaries visited Axum, they also converted the kings. Another possible reason for the conversion is to gain relations with the Egyptian Christians. The bible was translated into Ethiopian and spread throughout the kingdom. In the late seventh century, Axum began to decline. The expansion of Islam almost wiped out Christianity except in the highlands of Ethiopia. During the twelfth century Christianity became more popular again due to enthusiastic campaigns form the new dynasty. Massive churches were built and the rulers even claimed to be descended from David and Solomon in the Kebra Negast. Gradually after the socialist movement, it fell out of favor in 1974. Christianity became very popular in Ethiopia and it remained there for quite a while. The translated bible was able to spread the religion even further and so was the Kebra Negast.
The Zanji Revolt was a slave uprising in Mesopotamia. This occurred in 829. The term Zanj was pertaining to the black slaves from the Swahili coast. The revolt was started by Ali bin Muhammad and included fifteen-thousand salves. The revolt captured Basra and established a rebel state. The rebellion was crushed in 883 and Ali bin Muhammad was killed. This revolt brought the attention of slaves up front. The slave owners became aware of the need for stricter control and watch over the slaves. This revolt didn't help the Swahili slaves, it only brought harsher work climates upon them.
The name Zimbabwe means, "dwelling of the chief". Great Zimbabwe was a city of stone towers, palaces and buildings. All of the buildings were built in the early thirteenth century. Zimbabwe had a complex and organized society. Their organized society was one of the reasons they were able to construct the Great Zimbabwe that housed up to eighteen thousand people by the lat fifteenth century. The kingdom of Zimbabwe stretched from the Swahili city of Sofala to the interior of south central Africa. Zimbabwe is the best known of the kingdoms. It managed trade between internal and coastal regions which put them in a position of wealth and power.
During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a great amount of trade was taking place on the coast of Africa. The local chiefs in that eastern area began to tax all the trade taking place there, which gave them more authority and influence in the surrounding areas. Over time, the trade was narrowed down until it centered around several cities with especially convenient locations for sea trade. At each of these trade sites a city-state developed which was ruled by a king. In the twelfth century these cities began to evolve and use more advanced means to construct buildings such as replacing wood and dried mud for coral and stone. The elite even wore silk and ate off porcelain imported from China. One of the most prosperous Swahili city-states was Kilwa. Due to the large amounts of trade they took part in, they were able to construct massive stone buildings, and used copper coins for a currency. The Swahili city-states were very important to society because the long distance trade influenced the establishment of kingdoms in central Africa, and also advanced the technology and lifestyles of the city-states themselves.
Holy Roman Empire
After the decline of the Carolingians in the ninth century, local authorities took control of their own regions, and some built larger states by expanding their influence. One example is Otto of Saxony who, by the mid-tenth century, had proclaimed himself the king of Germany. In his campaigns he also managed to douse some political unrest in Italy, and protected the church. To show his gratitude for Otto's protection of the church, Pope John XII pronounced him emperor in 962 CE, which gave way to the Holy Roman Empire. There was a lot of conflict within the Holy Roman Empire between the popes and the emperors. Both claimed authority in Europe, and emperors tried to control the appointment of church officials which the popes thought to be their area of expertise. The Holy Roman Empire was very influential to society because is spurred conflict between emperors and popes, which would have lasting implications on the division between church and state.
Norman Invasion of 1066 (Battle of Hastings)
The founders of the English monarchy were the Normans, who descended from the Vikings. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy launched an attack on England. He succeeded in conquering it, and from then on he ruled over those descending from the Angles, Saxons, and Germanic people, all of whom had migrated to England in the fifth and sixth centuries. After a quick victory William of Normandy, now known as William the Conqueror, brought the Norman style of government to England. The Norman Invasion had a profound influence on society because it brought a much more centralized and tightly ruled government to England.
Despite the fact that most of the trade during medieval times was located in the Mediterranean Basin, there was still a good deal of commerce in the northern seas, particularly the Baltic and the North seas. They were part of a trade network called the Hanseatic League, also known as the Hansa, which was a very well developed association of cities that traded from Novgorod to London. The Hanseatic League controlled the trade in grain, fish, furs, timber, and pitch. The Hanseatic League was very important to society because it linked trade in major European rivers with trade in the Mediterranean.
Guilds (In Europe)
Medieval Europe was a stratified society, but even so the working class was not disregarded. Merchants and artisans created guilds, which controlled the production and sale of their items. By the thirteenth century, guilds in Europe regulated the majority of the urban economy. Standards of quality and price were put in place, and techniques were specialized. Also, guilds established a social significance as well as an economic one. They focused on friendship and support, and often socialized together at banquets and drinking parties. The guilds were very important to society because they provided a social aspect to work that enabled medieval cities to function.
St. Dominic/St. Francis
In response to the increasingly materialistic Roman Catholic church, some devout individuals organized campaigns to promote spiritual virtues over materialistic virtues. Two of the most prominent were St. Dominic and St. Francis. In the thirteenth century, they organized orders of beggars which were called the Dominican and Franciscan friars. These groups had no possessions and acquired food from begging from the crowds to which they preached. They targeted cities where there were new migrants in such numbers that the church could not serve them all. St. Dominic and St. Francis were very influential to society because they showed the dangers of being too materialistic, and how even the church had fallen into materialistic ways over spiritual ways.
Chivalry was the church sponsored code of conduct for knights, which was originally created to stop fighting within the Christendom. It stated that knights must observe the following: order, piety, Christianity, protection of women, and love. This code was supported by nobility, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine. Troubadors, who were hired by women wishing to spread chivalric values, sang about chivalry to other aristocrats as entertainment. Chivalry was very influential to society because, instead of seeking wealth and power for themselves, knights sought to follow the code and keep order and piety. Also, it provided an expectation for women to be treated with respect and kindness by men seeking their love.
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II established the crusades in 1095. At the council of Clermont, he asked Christian knights to take back the holy land. He promised forgiveness of all sins and a guarantee of salvation to any who died during this expedition. Knights responded enthusiastically in great numbers, and within a year one group had already set out for Palestine. Unsurprisingly they failed miserably, and few made it back to Europe. However, Pope Urban II was nonetheless very influential in that he captured the publics interest in the idea of crusades.
First and Fourth Crusades
After the failure of the original group that set out to take back the holy land, a few nobles organized a much more put-together military group for the expedition known as the First Crusade. In 1096 they set out for Palestine, and captured Jerusalem in 1099. However, their victory encouraged their foes to band together and expel the European Christians from the Mediterranean. By 1187 the Muslims had recaptured Jerusalem. After this there was a series of other crusades that attempted to recapture Jerusalem back from the Muslims. The Fourth crusade went very badly when the crusaders captured Constantinople, sacked it, and then ruled it under a Roman Catholic regime from with the Byzantines never fully recovered. The First and Fourth Crusades were very influential to society because they spurred the hatred between the Muslims and the Christians that still exists to this day.
Salah al-Din, known as Saladin, was a Muslim leader who recaptured Jerusalem from the First Crusade in 1187. His victory sealed the fate for the Christian forces in the Mediterranean, who were forced out or killed. Despite having defeated the Christians crusaders, the was nonetheless respected by them for being a very chivalrous man and following the Code of Chivalry. Saladin was very important to society because his defeat of the First Crusade and the recapture of Jerusalem for the Muslims prompted many more crusades to follow, and also forced the Christians out of the eastern Mediterranean.
The Toltecs began migrating to central Mexico around the eighth century from northwestern Mexico. They settled in Tula, and tapped water from a nearby river called River Tula to use for the irrigation of their crops such as corn, beans, peppers, tomatoes, chiles, and cotton. The Toltecs had a very large army that was well maintained. They often campaigned throughout central Mexico, and built a regional empire to the northwest in case of nomadic invasions. From the tenth to the twelfth centuries they collected a tax from their peoples, and built their city into a wealthy community. However, by 1175 the Toltecs had dissolved to to civil disturbances caused by nomadic migrants. The Toltecs were influential to society because they were an important trade center for weaving, pottery, and obsidian, as well as sharing architectural designs with the Mayans.
The Mexica migrated to central Mexico from the northwest in the mid-thirteenth century. They are also known as the Aztecs, and had a reputation for kidnapping women and stealing land from neighboring regions. This rowdy behavior did not sit well with the other cities, and the Aztecs were often forced to move; they migrated around central Mexico for a century. In about 1345 they settled on an island in Lake Texcoco, which was where they founded the city Tenochtitlan which would later become their capital city. The Mexica were very important to society because they developed the agricultural system of chinampa. Chinampa meant digging up fertile muck from the lakes bottom, and using it to build plots of land on which allowed them to farm successfully. Also, later on the Mexica conquered nearly all of Mesoamerica and ruled over twelve million people.
Around the mid-thirteenth century, the Inca's settled around Lake Titicaca. At first they lived as their own separate region from the others, but in 1438 Pachacuti, the Inca ruler at that time set out on a series of military conquests that greatly expanded the authority of the Inca's. First he conquered the southern and northern highlands, but then he turned his attention to the kingdom of Chimu. After gaining control of Chimu's water system, they surrendered. By the fifteenth century, the Inca's had control over an empire stretching 4,000 kilometers, and had a population of 11.5 million. The Inca's had a bureaucratic administration, and had a capital at Cuzco. The Inca's were very important to society because they built an extensive road system that allowed for rapid communication and military mobility. These roads facilitated the spread of Inca language and religion to other parts of Mexico.
Mounds were the most impressive constructions of the woodlands throughout the eastern half of North America. These mounds served many purposes, such as sites for ceremonies and rituals, platforms for dwellings, and burial sites. The biggest surviving mound is located at Cohokia, which is near East St. Louis in Illinois. The mound is more than 100 feet high and 1,000 feet wide. Its size is rivaled only by the temple of the sun in Teotihuacan and the temple of Quetzalcoatl in Cholula. More than one hundred mounds were constructed at the height of the Cahokian society, around 900 to 1250 CE. The Cahokian Mounds are very important to society because from the burial site mounds archaeologists have been able to discover that the mound building people had social classes and widespread trade facilitated by a network of rivers.
The Pueblo and Navajo peoples were able to maintain a settled society with a large population by having an agriculturally based economy. To irrigate their maize, which made up about 80% of their diet, the Pueblo and Navajo people tapped river water. In addition to maize, they also cultivated beans, squash, and sunflowers, and hunted rabbits as well. Despite the dry climate causing frequent drought and famine, by 700 CE the Pueblo's and Navajo's constructed stone and adobe buildings ruins still remain today. The Pueblo and Navajo people were influential to society because they figured out a way to maintain a large population in a settled society.
Marco Polo was the best known long-distance explorer in Mongo times. When he was 17 Marco went along with his uncle and father to China, who had both been there before, and the great khan immediately favored Marco. For seventeen years they stayed in China, with Marco Polo going out on diplomatic missions for Khubilai. After they returned to Venice, Marco was taken prisoner during a war with Genoa. While he was imprisoned, Marco told the other prisoners of this travels. One of them was a writer, who preserved Marco's stories into one large volume. Marco Polo was very influential to society because his stories enthralled others who then traveled to China in search of the textiles, spices, and gems that Marco talked about, which provided lucrative trade.
Ibn Battuta, who lived 1304-1369, was the best know Muslim traveler. Most of the lands he visited were ruled by Islamic rulers. Because he had legal credentials, finding a government position was easy for him. He became qadi, or advisor to the sultan of Delhi in India, which meant watching over the affairs of the mosque, and hearing cases in law which he enforced according to the Islamic standards of justice. After Ibn left India, he traveled to the Maldive islands where he again became qadi. There too he dealt out harsh punishments in accordance with the sharia. Ibn Battuta was very influential to society because he gave advice and guidance in the ways of Islam to societies that had recently converted.
The first Ming emperor came from a poor family, and had risen up in the military ranks until he was proclaimed Emperor Hongwu in 1368. Hongwu erased all evidence of Mongol rule, and instead modeled the government after traditional Chinese dynasties. He did not value education, but still he reestablished the Confucian education and civil service program. Also, he brought about a more centralized rule than ever before in China, ruling directly rather than with the aid of chief ministers. The Ming emperors relied of mandarins to uphold imperial policy, and on eunuchs for government services. To help the recovering economy, the Ming emperors ordered laborers to reconstruct irrigation systems resulting in an upsurge in agricultural production. As well as an economic recovery, Ming emperors also worked toward a cultural recovery by prohibiting Mongol names and dress, and instead promoted Chinese traditions, history, philosophy, and literature. The Ming Dynasty was very important to society because it abolished Mongol culture from China and revived the economic and political aspects of China.
Zheng He was one of the men sent out by Emperor Yongle in a series of expeditions from 1405 to 1433. Zheng He was a eunuch Muslim admiral from southwestern China who had become a trusted advisor of Yongle. On every expedition, Zheng He was accompanied by a fleet of vessels and armed forces. For the first three expeditions, Zheng He traveled to southeast Asia, India, and Ceylon. On the fourth expedition, he traveled to the Persian Gulf and Arabia. During his travels, Zheng He traded Chinese silk and porcelain for things like African zebras and giraffes. The expeditions ended in 1433 when Ming officials decided the money used for the expeditions would be better put to use for agriculture. Zheng He was a very influential character in society because his expeditions brought a formidable Chinese influence and reputation to the Indian Ocean Basin.
The Renaissance refers to the period of time between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries in western Europe. This time period shows artistic and intellectual creativity, along with the furthered development of urban society. Instead of getting inspiration from the medieval artists, the painters, sculptors, and architects of the Renaissance era focused on classical Greece and Rome. Paintings showed more emotion in their subjects, and three dimensional paintings surfaced as well. Sculptures were more natural in their poses, and not as stiff as earlier pieces. Architecture during this time period became much more simple and elegant, similar to classical Greek and Roman buildings, and the dome also became much more popular. Scholars during the Renaissance were known as Humanists because of their interest in literature, history, and moral philosophy. Humanists preferred the language of classical Greek and Roman scholars to the writing style of scholastic theologians. Values and ethics were also reconsidered at this time, and instead of believing that a virtuous life was that of monks and nuns, Humanists believed that a person could lead a virtuous life while still participating in everyday affairs. The Renaissance had a huge impact on the world because it caused people to reexamine things they thought they had known such as art, where more emotion and dimensions were now brought in, architecture, which was now simplified and more elegant, and values, which now accepted leading a normal life as virtuous; all of which reflected classical Greek and Roman society rather than a medieval society.
Hundred Years War
The Hundred Years War was brought about by hostilities between the King of France and the King of England, and it lasted from 1337 to 1453. It consisted of a series of campaigns in which they both fought for control of land in France. The Hundred Years War was important to society because it weakened the economy of both France and England, causing them to directly tax their subjects and create powerful armies.
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