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AP World Classical Civilizations
Terms in this set (25)
What were the common features of the classical civilizations?
- patriarchal family structures; male authority within families and most other areas of life
- agricultural based economies
- complex governments
- expanding trade base
What were the four main classical civilizations and their dates?
Greece - from 800 - 300 BCE
Rome - from around 500 BCE to 476 CE, but eastern half continued for another 1000 years
China - 500 BCE to 600 CE
India (no dates)
Describe the culture of Greek society.
- most enduring influences come from Athens
- valued education, placed emphasis on importance of human effort, human ability to shape future events
- interest in political theory
- celebration of human individual achievement and the ideal human form
- philosophy and science emphasized the use of logic
- highly developed form of sculpture, literature, math, written language, and record keeping
- polytheism, with gods having very human characteristics
- cities relatively small
- great seafaring skills, centered around Aegean, but traveling around entire Mediterranean area
Describe the culture of Roman society.
- Perfection of military techniques
- conquer but don't oppress
- division of army into legions
- emphasizing organization and rewarding military talent
- art, literature, philosophy, science derivative from Greece
- superb engineering and architecture techniques, extensive road and sanitation systems
- monumental architecture, buildings, aqueducts, bridges
- polytheism, derivative from Greeks, but religion not particularly important to the average Roman; Christianity developed during Empire period, but not dominant until very late
- great city of Rome, buildings, arenas, design copied in smaller cities
Describe the culture of classical Chinese society.
- Confucianism developed during late Zhou, by Han times it dominated the political and social structure
- Legalism and Daoism develop during same era
- Buddhism appears, but not influential yet
- thrusts from nomads in the south and west spark the first construction of the great wall
- clay soldiers, lavish tomb for first emperor Shi Huangdi
- Chinese identity cemented during Han Era
- Han was a golden age with prosperity from trade along the Silk Road
- inventions include water mills, paper, compasses, and pottery and silk making
- calendar with 365.5 days
- capital of Xi'an possibly the most sophisticated, diverse city in the world at the time, many other large cities
Describe the culture of classical Indian society.
- Aryan religious stories written down into Vedas
- Hinduism became the dominant religion
- Buddhism began in India during this era
- Mauryans Buddhist, Guptas Hindu
- Great epic literature such as the Ramayana and Mahabarata
- extensive trade routes with others
- connections to Silk Road, and heart of Indian Ocean trade
- coined money for trade
- Arabic numerals developed in India, employing a 10 based system
Describe the political structure of Greece.
- no centralized government, concept of polis (a fortified site that formed the center of many city states
- governing styles varies (Sparta a military state, Athens eventually a democracy for adult males)
- Athens government first dominated by tyrants, or strong rulers who gained power from military prowess, later came to be ruled by an assembly of free men who made political decisions
- both athens and sparta developed strong military organizations and established colonies around the Mediterranean Sea
- Sparta theoretically equal, wealth accumulation not allowed
Describe the political structure of Rome.
- rule by aristocrats, same power shared by assemblies
- senate is the most powerful
- two consuls chosen to rule, selected from the military
- non-hereditary emperor, technically chosen by Senate, but generally chosen by predecessor
extensive colonization and military conquest during both eras
- development of an overarching set of laws
- not by whim of leader
Describe the political structure of classical China.
- emperor rules by mandate of heaven (belief that dynasties rise and fall according to the will of heaven)
- emperor was the son of heaven
- emperor housed in the forbidden city
- political authority controlled by Confucian values
- emperor in full control but bound by duties
- political power centralized under Shi Huangdi, seen as the first real emperor
- strong centralized government
- supported by the educated chi (scholar bureaucrats who obtained positions through civil service exams)
Describe the political structure of classical India.
- lack of political unity, geographic barriers and diversity of people
- tended to fragment into small kingdoms
- political authority less important than caste membership and group allegiances
- Mauryan and Gupta empires formed based on military conquest
- Emperor Ashoka seen as greatest, converted to Buddhism and kept the religion alive
- Gupta empire used "theatre state" techniques which would heater grand palaces and courts to impress all visitors and hide weak political weakness
Describe the social structure of Greece.
- slavery widely practiced
- men separated from women in military barracks until age 30
- women had relative freedom
- women in Sparta encouraged to be physically fit to have healthy babies
- generally better treated and more equal to men than women in Athens
- Athens encouraged equality for free males, but women and slaves had little freedom
- neither group allowed to participate in polis affairs
- social status dependent on land holdings and cultural sophistication
Describe the social structure of Rome.
- basic division between patricians (aristocrats) and plebeians (free farmers)
- a middle class of merchant grew during the empire
- wealth based on land ownership
- gap between rich and poor grew with time
- paterfamilias, male dominated family structure
- patron - client system with rich supervising elaborate webs of people that owe favors to them
- inequality increased during the empire
- great dependence on slavery during the later empire
- slaves used in households, mines, large estates, all kinds of manual labor
Describe the social structure of classical China.
- family basic unit of society, with loyalty and obedience stressed
- wealth generally based on land ownership, emergence of scholar gentry
- growth of a large merchant class, but merchants generally lower status than scholar bureaucrats
-big social divide between rural and urban, with most wealth concentrated in cities
- some slavery, but not as much as in Roma
- patriarchal society reinforced Confucian values that emphasized obedience of wife to husband
Describe the social structure of classical India.
- complex social hierarchy based on caste membership ) birth groups called jati)
- occupations strictly dictated by caste
-earlier part of time period, women had property rights
- decline in the status of women during Gupta, corresponding to increased emphasis on acquisition and inheritance of property
- ritual of sati for wealthy women (widow cremates herself in her husband's funeral pyre)
Where did the silk road extend to?
From western China, across central Asia, to the Mediterranean Sea
What was the most desired commodity of the silk road?
Was Indian Ocean trade prominent during the classical era?
What were the three legs of the Indian Ocean trade routes?
- connection between eastern Africa and the Middle East with India
- India to Southeast Asia
- Southeast Asia to the Chinese port of Canton
What was Saharan trade?
Connection between people that lived south of the Sahara to the Mediterranean and Middle East.
Who were the main agents of Saharan trade? How did they carry their goods?
Berbers, who were nomads that traversed the desert. Carried goods in camel caravans toward Cairo. Cairo connected many civilizations.
What was sub saharan trade? How did it come about?
Connection between people in the eastern and southern parts of Africa. Came about by Banta migration.
What other forms of trade did Sub- Saharan trade connect?
Connected to the Indian Ocean trade along the eastern coast of Africa, connected the people of sub-Saharan Africa to trade centers in Cairo and India.
What were the four common factors that led to the decline of the classical civilizations?
* attacks from the Huns - Huns were a nomadic people of Asia who began to migrate south and west, probably caused by lack of pasture and drought
* deterioration of political institutions - all empires were riddled by political corruption, moral decay
* protection/maintanence of borders - military had trouble guarding them
* diseases that followed the trade routes - plagues killed of as much as half of each empire
What were the differences in the decline of the classical civilizations?
- the Gupta's dependence on alliances with princes broke down, tendency toward political fragmentation
- Rome's empire lasted much longer than other, split into two
- the fall of the empires had different effects
- Gupta had least impact, political unity was not the rule anyway, traditions of Hinduism and the caste system kept them together
- Han dynasty was problematic because strong centralized government was in place, social disorder resulted from the loss of authority, Confucian traditions gave coherence
- Roman was most devastating, depended exclusively on the ability of the government, Christianity appeared
What were the three major consequences of the falls of the empires?
- trade was disrupted, trade on the Indian Ocean increased, decline of political authority affected overland trade
- importance of religion increased, Christianity developed authority over people's lives, Buddhism spread into China, competition for Confucian tradition
- political disunity in the Middle east, new religion became: Islam
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