World Civlztn,Begin HIST 050
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History 50 Summary 11 Ancient Greece was perhaps the most brilliant and surprising of all civilizations Here at the dawn of western civilization Greece brought astounding innovations in politics quotdemocraticquot participation philosophy rational analysis and art classical aesthetics The geography of Greece to some degree determined its civilization Greece is small not characterized by large river valleys mountainous and relatively barren and surrounded by the sea It seemed fated to have small states separated by the mountains and to carry on trade exporting wine and olive oil and importing foodstuffs Although politically divided Greek had a certain unity based on culture language they all spoke and wrote Greek and religion all worshipped the Olympian gods and met at Delphi and Olympia the Greek pantheon included Zeus Poseidon Aphrodite and Athena traditional Greek religion was a fairly typical polytheism The oracle at Delphi and the Olympic Games at Olympia begun c 776 BCE were important foci of Greek culture The Minoans inhabited Crete in the 2nd millennium BCE a wealthy sophisticated mercantile goodliving people with no walls around their cities Their art is characterized by pleasing sensuous pictures done in bright colors The Mycenaeans on the other hand were a warrior people living in beautiful forti ed mountain palaces on the Greek mainland It was probably they who conducted the expedition against Troy in the 13th century BCE Homer who lived probably 600 years later at the end of the Dark Age wrote his two great epics the Iliad and the Oajssey based on memories of this historical war Homer was the basis of Greek education in the classical period When the Mycenaeans collapsed Greece entered the Dark Age until about 750 BCE The level of civilization collapsed throughout the area as the Dorians invaded from the north Many Greeks emigrated to Ionia the western coast of Turkey once the crisis was over and prosperity restored many others left to found colonies in the Black Sea and particularly along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea Greeks were particularly numerous in southern Italy and Sicily Most of the colony cities maintained ties with their mother cities in Greece The evolution of Greek politics and events in the historic period 700 BCE to about 300 BCE and particularly in the Classical Age 500 BCE to 338 BCE The central institution of Greek politics was the polis the small citystate of which there were many in Greece Politics were very important to the active political class adult free males ostracism was one of the worst punishments The armies of the Greek states were based on the hoplite heavily armored infantry essentially a citizen army raised from farmers artisans shop owners etc Their military important gave them extra leverage in politics The hiring of lower class Athenians to man the triremes in the Athenian navy gave political importance to common people Only a small percentage of the population of Athens were active citizens they excluded women restricted to domestic responsibilities resident aliens and numerous slaves Athens was a wealthy commercial city very sophisticated and open to foreign in uences The 6th century saw much political con ict the pattern was the formation of tyrannies that brought reforms edging the city toward increasing democracy The process culminated in the victory of the Athenian eet and the common rowers in the ships in the Persian Wars The system them moved to democracy in the age of the famous Pericles Some of the institutions of Athens were rather extreme all citizens adult male freemen could sit in the Assembly polis officials were either elected by the Assembly or chosen by lot Sparta was quite different It was essentially a military camp where boys were separated from their families at the age of 7 and trained to be soldiers The city had a eugenics ideology to produce stronger soldiers men were not supposed to have sex with their wives except when they were very quotardent quot Women were childbearers and hometenders but they actually had more freedom than Athenian women they were allowed to exercise naked Sparta was very provincial the culture frowned on intellectual activities precious metals monumental buildings travel abroad etc Education was restricted to practical literacy The 5th century BCE was a time of great drama for the Greeks Herodotus was the historian of the Persian Wars The rst Persian invasion came in 490 BCE the Greek states for once formed a defensive confederation and the Athenians defeated a Persian army at Marathon The second invasion came in 480 BCE The Persians fought through the SpartanGreek defenses at the Battle of Thermopylae but the invasion was defeated essentially by the Athenian naval Victory at Salamis Thus began the gold age of Athens in which this city built an impressive empire of Greek states surrounding the Aegean Sea Athens rebuilt the Acropolis with tribute money collected from tributary states in their empires Other Greek states under the leadership of Sparta formed a countercoalition War broke out in 431 BCE beginning the Peloponnesian Wars after the disastrous defeat of the Athenian invasion force in Sicily Athens was nally defeated in 404 and subjected to a humiliating defeat The great Athenian historian Thucydides attributed the Athenian defeat to the hubris of Athens which brought nemesis on their heads The Greeks however did not stop ghting among themselves until their independence was taken away from them by Philip of Macedon in 338 BCE Greek sculpture owed much to Egyptian examples but developed its own style ideal naturalism that has had an enormous impact on art styles in Rome Europe and elsewhere ever since Be sure to take a look at the bronze copy of Poseidon in front of the Sacramento Community Center Alexander the Great d 323 BCE son of Philip was one of the wonders ofworld history In a few years he con rmed his domination of Greece invaded and subdued the entire Persian Empire revenge for the Persian Wars and the burning of the Acropolis at Athens Alexander s armies even penetrated into Afghanistan and the Indus Valley in India His empire fell apart at his death and was essentially divided into three parts by his top generals the most famous were the Ptolemies in Egypt of which Cleopatra was the last ruler The Hellenistic World eastern Mediterranean and the Ancient Near East c 323 BCE c 100 BCE had a certain unity despite its political instability The upper classes throughout this area tended to be Greeks many of whom emigrated from Greece in this period the international language was kaine a popular form of Greek The great majority of the local populations was not Greek and did not speak Greek There was a fruitful miXing of traditions that produced a dynamic culture They are famous for their scientists particularly Aristarchus who believed the earth was a sphere and Eratosthenes who measured the circumference with a simple but ingenious system bnased in Egypt and Archimedes a Sicilian Greek who discovered and developed many physical laws and the author of the California motto quotEurekaquot Perhaps the foremost philosophical school was the Stoics who posited the eXistence ofa single u l 39 39 God 1 39 39 39 the 39 l of ethical behavior in order to achieve personal happiness and who founded the idea of natural law that has had a major in uence on western civilization and Christian philosophy The Hellenistic world was also the host for several mystery religions such as the Cult of Isis In a world where civic religions provided little emotional comfort the mystery religions promised personal immortality achieved by some sort of communion with a savior gure such as Isis or Mithras the Bull followed by an ethically upright life There are obvious parallels between these mystery religions and Christianity that triumphed in the Roman Empire beginning in the 4th century Aeschylus39 Oresteian Trilogy 458 BCE tells us a great deal about Greek civilization Past events have a lot of in uence on the action of Agamemnon The reader needs to know something about the forced cannibalism of Thyestes the sense in which Helen caused the Trojan War Agamemnon s sacri ce of Iphigenia at Aulis and the course of the war Agamemnon is by far the most dramatic of the plays but the three make a coherent thematic and dramatic whole action is merely suspended after the rst play Clytemnestra is perhaps the most dramatic and commanding of all female characters in Greek tragedy The Greeks were undoubtedly horri ed by her malelike boldness but to the modern eye her will resoluteness and personal power are more attractive We are horri ed by her crimes and rebellion but mesmerized by her stature and relentless will The story of the three plays takes the Viewer from the old dispensation of the Furies in which crime is met by retribution and on to in nity to the new dispensation of the Olympian gods where differences must be settled by reason accommodation and the rule of law The trilogy leads us from darkness to light from savagery to civilization and from vengeance to justice In the Eumenides Athena intervenes in behalf of her father Zeus and persuades the Furies to submit to the new order Athena and the Athenian jury nds Orestes innocent and the goddess inaugurates an era of good will peace and prosperity with one hopes the cooperation of the Furies who have been turned into chthonic fertility goddesses Incidentally quotuppityquot women such as Clytemnestra have been returned to their true place the hearth Elektra is the model of the good girl the Furies have been handled severely Athena admittedly the paragon of harmony discussion and compromise emphasizes her masculine characteristics Ancient Rome as the second part of the origins of Western Civilization Rome was much in uenced by the Greeks although Rome was more practical and less aesthetic and intellectual It is in uential for its practical achievements of functional architecture and transnational empire It originated in central Italy in Latium The overthrow of the Etruscan monarchy was dramatized by the Roman historian Livy writing in about 70 CE His story of the Rape of Lucretia demonstrated the civic virtue of the Roman Republic the domestic skills and chastity expected of Roman matrons and the bad reputation of monarchy in Roman culture Afterwards the Romans set up a republic which was largely aristocratic in nature The most powerful body was the Senate composed of patricians nobles and rich plebeians Many rich Romans particularly the patrician families derived their wealth from latifundia large landed estates that often exploited slave labor for pro t The tribunes who were elected to defend the interests of the plebeians were also very in uential in the constitution The elected governing officials were primarily the two consuls who were elected for one year and had the im perium the power to command the praetors who were judicial officials and the censors who oversaw public morality and behavior Polished formal oratory was a famous Roman skill developed particularly by the immortal Cicero There was much political con ict but no political violence before the time of the Gracchi Roman expansion was rapid and efficient There was no preconceived plan but the process seemed to build on its own momentum Roman success was due primarily to the excellence of the Roman army look particularly at it supply organization and to the excellence of the Roman communications system Roman roads Roman character and persistence also played a major role The stories of Horatio at the Bridge Cincinnatus as temporary dictator and the suicide of the noble Lucretia all from the 2nd century CE Livy illustrate Roman image of their republican virtue The Battle of Cannae 216 BCE in which an entire Roman army was destroyed by Hannibal illustrates the point rather than give up Rome raised yet another army and then fought a guerilla war against the invincible Carthaginian The Romans also usually treated their conquered peoples well eg they gave the Italians quotalliedquot status and always the possibility of Roman citizenship eventually all the free inhabitants of the empire were given citizenship about 212 CE Expansion went in three stages 1 absorption of the Italian peninsula achieved by about 275 BCE 2 absorption of the Carthaginian Empire composed primarily of Sicily western North Africa and Spain by the end of the Third Punic War Cato quotCarthago delendum est quot and 3 relatively painless annexation of the territories of the eastern Mediterranean including Greece Asia Minor Palestine and Egypt by the end of the 2nd century BCE The Republic declined and disappeared in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE The basic problem was a social crisis in Italy arising out of the growing gap between rich and poor and the contrast between the growing power of the Roman state and the inefficient executive of the republic The Gracchi brothers tried to reform the social constitution of Rome in the 2nd century but they made little progress and were assassinated by political thugs The taboo on political violence was broken About the same time the Roman army became politicized Marius found that to recruit enough soldiers he had to hire professional soldiers they were more loyal to their general than to the Roman state and if the civilian leadership the Senate refused to grant concessions the general could use his army against them to force compliance Sulla marched on Rome and once in power he conducted a reign of terror against his political opponents he then retired from politics The process culminated in the career of Julius Caesar who after military success in Gaul quotcrossed the Rubiconquot and had himself made dictator in Rome He was assassinated in 44 BCE by republican conservatives such as Brutus Caesar s death however did not stop the process It culminated in a confrontation between Marc Antony and Octavian Julius Caesar s nephew in which the latter defeated the former By this time public opinions was heartily sick of con ict and welcomed a statesmanlike winner Octavian known as Augustus installed a quotrestored republicquot he was a moderate who built up his constitutional power while maintaining traditional institutions such as the Senate and traditional values such as maniage and the family Augustus was careful to maintain his connection to republican traditions He was a great supporter of literature and the arts 45 years of peace and prosperity made him eXtremely popular and there were no calls for a return to the old constitution upon Augustus death in 14 CE The Empire with a capital 39E39 was prosperous and stable for its rst 200 years despite the rule of corrupt emperors like Caligula and Nero in the rst century The quotGoodquot Emperors of the Zn century eg Trajan Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius reigned over the golden era of Rome the Roman Empire reached its greatest eXtension under Trajan peace and prosperity everywhere the Emperor built up his power at the eXpense of traditional bodies like the Senate much of the strength of Rome was in the provinces such as Gaul and Spain The arts while strong especially in literature cf Tacitus and Vergil always took second place in Rome to practical accomplishments The most impressive was perhaps architecture and engineering Romans were able to build large impressive and useful building by applying two engineering innovations the arch and concrete The skeleton of the Colosseum was constructed of aggregate concrete and it was covered with a skin of stone to make it quotlook Greekquot The Roman economy was highly dependent on slaves and there was a widespread and justi ed fear in the empire of slave crime and revolt Spartacus bloodily repressed slave revolt in 73 BCE was a case in point The Romans treated their slaves pretty cruelly There were a large number of poor in Rome and the ruling classes and Emperor were concerned to keep them from getting politically active Partly as a result Roman emperors always inaugurated their reigns with the construction of public works most commonly baths many of which are still standing in Roman cities The public baths were eXtremely elaborate and well equipped and had facilities for all classes Juvenal talks about the usefulness of quotbread and circusesquot As many as 200000 Roman poor were on the dole receiving free food from the state More famous were the circuses organized for the entertainment of the Roman populace The chariot races in the Circus MaXimus would attract more than 100000 spectators and the slaughter of wild beasts and the gladiatorial combats in the Colosseum would attract as many as 60000 spectators to watch gladiators battle to the death The policy appears to have worked since the Roman mob never became involved in politics Meanwhile the Roman Empire after about 200 CE began to encounter problems including falling population perhaps due to epidemic diseases falling production in ation and declining efficiency from the Roman army The pressure on the frontiers increased in the 3rd century from incursions from various barbarian tribes including the Goths Diocletian and Constantine put through reforms that eXtended the life of the western half of the empire There were two main reforms l divide the Empire into two distinct though related parts the western Latin empire ruled by an emperor in Rome and the eastern Greek empire ruled by an emperor in Constantinople founded by Constantine 2 increase the power of state regulation to save the economy the state tried price and wage ceilings and attempted to tie workers to their professions Although the latter reforms were generally not successful the efforts of these two emperors eXtended the life of the western empire until the end of the 5th century Nb This was also a momentous time for the Christians Diocletian launched a ferocious persecution against them that seemed for a while to be having success Constantine however reversed the policy favored the Christian religion during his reign and converting on his deathbed Christianity became the official religion of state at the end of the 4th century The western Latin half of the empire nally collapsed in the late 5th century traditionally 476 CE giving rise to numerous Germanic kingdoms in Western Europe that kept some of the Roman traditions such as language alive The eastern Roman Empire however continued to thrive as the Byzantine Empire ruled by the Emperor in Constantinople This empire had glorious days ahead and did not disappear until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 The Rise of Islam Reasons for studying Islam are so obvious that they don t bear repeating It was in any case one of the great lateemerging civilizations of the world Arabia before the time of Muhammad was a polytheistic pastoral society with commercial cities such as Mecca and later named Medina There was much acquisitive comrnercial behavior in the cities and since the society was organized on tribal lines there was a lot of interclan political violence Muhammad 570632 was born into a trading family in Mecca he worked as a caravan manager before he became disillusioned with the secular values of his society He retired to caves outside the city where he received revelations from the Angel Gabriel these revelations were later written down as the Qur an In the hegira he ed to Medina later overcoming his enemies by force and returning to Mecca where he died in 632 The teachings of Muhammad are contained primarily in the sacred scriptures the Qur39an edited in the few years after his death and the Hadiths compilations of the prophet s sayings executed in the two centuries after his death Muhammad saw himself as bringing monotheism to the Arab peoples Muhammad considered Jews and Christians as privileged quotpeople of the book quot who would not be compelled to convert to Islam God had revealed himself to these two peoples but they had distorted his message in the postQur anic tradition Muhammad s revelation is the ultimate one superseding the previous revelations Islam is rst a religion of faith the believer must confess his faith daily quotThere is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet quot It is also an ethical religion enjoining proper ritual and behavior in order to achieve salvation in Paradise the disobedient will end up in Hell The Last Judgment is an indispensable part of Muhammad s teaching Students should learn the quotFive Pillars of Islamquot Islam commands strict behavior in sexual ethics honesty charity etc Men are allowed to have a maximum of four wives Women are enjoined to be modest in their dress and behavior but seclusion and veiling of the face are not in the Qur an Muslims had strict taboos against the consumption of pork and alcohol There is in Islam as in Christianity an important egalitarian element that tended to be diluted by the societies where the religion thrived In contrast to Hinduism Buddhism and Confucianism there are many parallels between Christianity and Islam that strike the eye monotheism strict ethical behavior the importance of prophets and of scripture Differences include the Christian belief in the Trinity the heavy Christian reliance on the clergy and the Christian belief in the sacraments The political expansion of the Arabs and Islam was remarkable in the few decades following the death of Muhammad Arab imperialism was probably motivated by a combination of secular factors desire for power wealth status from a people used to making raids to make a living and religious enthusiasm derived from Islam Although the term 39jihad39 has several meanings focused on everyman s struggle against evil Muslims were enjoined to support the defense of Islam against its in del enemies and to support its expansion if you died in such a just war you would go to heaven References to war in the Qur an are usually defensive The victorious Arabs set up remarkable states and societies all the way from Spain Arab arrnies were not successful in conquering France defeated at the Battle of Tours in 732 to Central Asia A fateful succession crisis occurred in 661 with the assassination of Muhammad s cousin and soninlaw Ali this lay the foundation of the historic split between Shiia and orthodox Sunni Muslims The Arab empires were ruled by caliphs emperors who exercised theoretically religious powers as imams along with their secular authority The rst dynasty were the Umayyads who had their capital in Damascus quotMore political than piousquot they were overthrown in the 8th century by the Abbasids who moved the capital to Bagdad There Persian in uence was great The caliph s prime minister was called the vizier Their rule was also more political and secular than pious the steps to the caliph s throne were paved in gold the caliph and his concubines bathed in pools of wine homosexuality was common etc The most renowned Abbasid caliph was Harun al Rashid 789809 who reigned in a period of stability and prosperity and sponsored learning and the arts The dominance of the Abbasids in the Mideast was ended by the arrival of the Seljuk Turks in about the 11th century they were followed by incursions from the Christians the Crusades the Mongols Tamerlane and the Ottoman Turks who stabilized the area beginning in the 14th century The Arab states were generally tolerant Jews Christians and Persians were allowed to practice their religion and maintain their culture upon payment of a taX Qur an quotthere is no compulsion in matters of religionquot Conversions to Islam which eventually dominated the area came more or less voluntarily over a period of time up to 200 years The result of this was the creation of an international Muslim culture with Arabs eventually making up only a minority of Muslims across the world Persian culture and intellectuals generally prevailed in the later years of the Abbasids Islam developed a remarkable diverse religious pro le in the Middle Ages The Shiites emerged as a sectarian movement already in the 7th century they claimed that they had the correct descent from Muhammad through Ali They tended to be quotstricterquot in their interpretation of the sacred teth than many Muslims they favored esoteric and secret interpretations They were often resistant to political authority and more inclined to look for guidance from their religious leaders the imams Their importance in places like Mesopotamia and Persia led to their persecution in some places in this period and to the formation of the Sunni movement that stressed a quotsensiblequot and reasonably broad interpretation of Islam that could be adopted by most Muslims The popularity of the Shiites was diminished somewhat by the popularity of the mystical Su s in the later part of this period Su s withdrew in some way from society and attempted to enter into direct communication with God The Persian mystic poet Rumi 13th century is the best known of the Su leaders known for his monasteries and the practice of ecstatic dancing and music quotwhirling dervishesquot he is still popular today among a small number of Su brotherhoods In modern Islam about one billion adherents Sunnis make up a majority of 85 Shiites most of the rest The secular culture of the Arab world has also enjoyed popularity in the modern West Arab scholars were responsible for preserving much classical learning in their universities when western medieval scholars were searching for reliable teth of Aristotle s work in the 12th century they found them in Muslim Spain Arab mathematicians were also responsible for many inventions in mathematics Arabic numerals algebra and the concept of zero The skeptical secular poetry quoteat drink and be merry for tomorrow you may diequot of Omar Khayyam The Rubaiyyat appears to be in uenced by Roman poetry it also had an impact on modern western readers The famous quotArabian Nightsquot stories of romance and adventure eg quotAladdin and the Magic Lampquot were rst collected by Arab scholars around 1500 from oral sources they were translated into French in the 18th century and then into English in the 19th century The quotArabian Nightsquot are secular adventure stories where a desire for money and luxury play a big role Medieval Arab culture was brilliant secular diverse with intensely felt religious beliefs It was not afraid to borrow from other cultures India in the quotmedievalquot period c350c1500 did not enjoy longlived political unity but excelled in religious developments and in its cultural dynamism The main instance of political unity occurred under the Gupta Dynasty that ruled northern India from about 320 to about 550 CE Chandragupta and Samudragupta were two of the kings The empire stretched quotfrom sea to seaquot across northern India The kings who normally played musical instruments were known as patrons of the arts they even founded a university devoted to the ne arts and as tolerant promoters of religious establishments both Hindu and Buddhist although the kings were Hindus The economy was quite prosperous in this period as evidenced by the comments of Chinese visitor Fu Xian and the eXistence of a widespread gold coinage done in a pleasing style The rst main religious development was the rise of the popularity of Buddhism in the early period and the split of the movement into two main wings The Theravada movement seems closer to the original inspiration of Gautama Siddhartha it retained its ethical philosophical orientation and stressed strict personal behavior and meditation preferably in a monastery as a means of escaping the wheel of life Mahayana Buddhism on the other hand developed the quotreligiousquot devotional ritualist side of Buddhism They stressed that Buddha was a manifestation of God and they recognized bodhissatvas who were somewhat similar to Christian saints and who helped the common folk in their striving toward release The idea came originally from discussion of Siddhartha s life the current bodhissatvas were preliminary incarnations of a second Buddha who would appear on earth at a future date Common people could aspire to become quotarhantsquot or quotworthiesquot who while not fully enlightened could attain nirvana Their nirvana resembled the MuslimChristian idea more closely Soon however the popularity of Buddhism began to decline in India Theravada Buddhism became dominant in Sri Lanka and in many areas of Southeast Asia whereas Mahayana Buddhism migrated to China over the Silk Road and then on to Korea and Japan Perhaps the main reason for Buddhism s decline in India was the arrival of Islam on the northwest frontier in roughly the 9th century The Muslim ruler Mahmud of Ghazni whose power base was in Afghanistan eXtended his power over Northwest India in about 1000 CE Eventually Muslim rulers established their authority over Hindu subjects in the Delhi Sultanate that eXtended over the north part of India it was visited by Ibn Battuta in the 14th century Large portions of the population of west east and north India were converted to Islam over the years thus establishing the population base for Pakistan and Bangladesh The impact on Indian society was somewhat modest compared to the religious change Instead of abolishing castes Muslim Indians set up their own castes thus preserving the system Every indication is that the Hindu custom of sati was preserved although its frequency does not seem to have been great Muslim Indians did adopt the purdah secluding and veiling their women although not to the eXtent of the Arab areas of Islam Overall while religion changed signi cantly culture and society changed only incrementally The Sikhs founded at the beginning of the 16th century by the guru Nanak originally intended to combine the best of the Indian religions into a new one that would supersede the old The Sikhs believed in a single personal God they rejected castes images and pilgrimages but maintained the concepts of karma and reincarnation their sacred Golden Temple is in Amritsar Sikh men were not supposed to cut their hair thus wearing it in a turban and they all took the name of quotSinghquot lion whereas the women were named quotPrincessquot Most of Sikh history has been devoted to defending their autonomy They were friendly with the British and not enthusiastic about being part of India after 1946 Most Sikhs currently live in India with signi cant emigre communities eg in Yuba City Sikh militants demand a separate Sikh state in North India Indian culture is diverse brilliant and sensuous compared to Christian and Islamic culture there is in India little n quot39 between quot quot and r39 39 quot The Gupta and postGupta period gave rise to the classic secular period of Indian arts Indian painting and sculpture dwelled fondly on female nudity take a look at examples in the teXt and the famous quotKama Sutraquot composed in the 3rd century BCE focused eXplicitly on enhancing the pleasure of partner seX and on the spirituality of sexual relations Kalidasa was the most famous author in the Gupta period He is famous for his poem quotCloud Messenger quot which with its sensual evocation of nature speaks of the author s nostalgia for his homeland His most famous play was Shakuntala that speaks of the birth of a strong erotic love bond between a king and a maiden that he encounters in an enchanted forest Many parallels are drawn between the harmony and fertility of the forest on the one hand and the feelings and bodies of the lovers on the other