Twitter - Quiz Tutors
Facebook - Quiz Tutors

Culture Trade & Civilization – World History

These history chapters discuss culture, trade & civilization throughout the world human history.

Russia and the Ottoman Empire

-Landlocked, did not have a geographical outlet to the Mediterranean
-The Ottoman Empire was centered in Turkey, whose borders include the Black Sea (north) and the Mediterranean Sea (south)
-Historically, a characteristic of Russian foreign policy from the 17th century onward was to obtain permanent access to the Mediterranean
-A port on the Black Sea would allow Russia to better control its own destiny
-Britain and other European countries prevented the territorial expansion of Russia in the direction of Turkey (European objective was the to maintain the current balance of power)
-The most notable attempt by Russia to upset the balance resulted in Russian defeat during the Crimean War (1853-56)

Islamic civilization: government and religion

-Arabs preserved the cultures of the peoples they conquered
-Religious pilgrimages led to the spread of new ideas
-The caliphs improved farming methods and crop yields
-Military expansion also served as a vehicle for cultural exchane between the Arab and western worlds

Islamic civilization: trade and cultural expansion

-Trade and commerce led to a high standard of living in cities
-Muslim trade helped spread Islamic culture to foreign lands
-Many factors helped trade expand, including no taxation and strong banking practices
-Ibn Battuta (Islamic scholar, A.D. 1305-1368) spread Islamic culture by traveling widely

Muslim contributions

-Institutions: hospitals, medical schools, libraries, universities
-Agriculture: cash crops, crop rotation
-Mathematics: algebra, algorithms, Arabic numerals, decimal point
-Globalization: exploration, work of scholars, trade (Atlantic, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, China Sea)
-Science: methodology, theory and experimentation, astrolabe (astronomical instrument used to locate and predict the positions of the sun, moon, planet and stars), alchemy
-Arts: calligraphy, illuminated manuscripts, glazed pottery, Persian and Arabian mythology
-Medicine: forceps, bone saw, scalpel, surgical needle
-Technology: mechanical clocks, pointed arch, stained glass, windmill
-Poetry, philosophy, literature

The Early Middle Ages

-c. A.D. 500-1000
-Dark Ages: A.D. 500-800
-The collapse of Rome and sweeping advances of Germanic and Viking raiders, Europe entered a time of chaotic political, economic, and urban decline
-A struggle back toward stability

Role of the Church in the Early Middle Ages

-As the Western Roman Empire was under relentless attack from barbarian tribes, people looked to the Church for salvation
-The Church became the preserver of civilization and its unifying force in both political and religious life
-Church entered into feudal contracts and became an extensive landholder; at one point, the Church owned approx. 1/3 of the land
-Europe was referred to as “Christendom”
-Both the Christian Church and local nobles exercised their authority to form a new kind of society, creating the foundation for a politically reorganized Europe of competing nation-states

The Franks

-Became the dominant Germanic tribe
-Clovis, king of the Franks (A.D. 481-511), was converted to Christianity
-Domestic feuds and civil war broke out among the Merovingians (A.D. 561)
—Political power shifted away from the monarchy
—Charles Martel (Frankish military/political leader) halted the Muslim advance into Europe at the Battle of Tours (A.D. 732); Martel’s victory helped preserve western civilization

The Carolingians

-Replaced the Franks as legitimate rulers
-Pepin the Short (A.D. 747-768) was appointed by the pope as king and established the Papal States on former Byzantine lands
-Charlemagne (A.D. 768-814) dominated the political structure of the early Middle Ages
—He was crowned “Emperor of the Romans” by Pope Leo in A.D. 800 and had a major impact on the history of Europe
—He revived the concept of the Holy Roman Empire and established authority over secular rulers
-His empire included most of the former Roman Empire and additional Germanic lands between the Rhine and Elbe rivers
—The Carolingian Renaissance resulted in the establishment of a palace academy with a prescribed academic curriculum

Dissolution of the Frankish Empire

-Hastened by the Frankish system of inheritance
-The Treaty of Verdun (A.D. 843) divided Charlemagne’s empire among his three grandsons
-Carolingian rule ended in the 10th century because of the decline in central authority and the invasions of the Scandinavian tribes

The Viking (Norse) invaders

-Pillaged the coasts of Europe in the 8th century
-The Danes were responsible for the major invasions of England
-Alfred the Great (A.D. 871-99) established the English kingdom after stemming the Danish invasions
-In France, the Carolingian king was forced to cede Normandy to the Vikings

The feudal system

-The government system and basis for society in the Middle Ages
-The system was based on land ownership; person who was allowed by a lord to use his land was called a vassal and the land was called a fief
-There were no formal countries, but the fiefdom held economic and political power
-Under feudalism, political authority was dominated by the land-owning nobility
-In return for protection against invaders, vassals were expected to be loyal to the landowner
-Manorialism was the agricultural organization and economic foundation of feudalism

Feudalism: political

-Hierarchical and interdependent
—Vassals/lesser lords
—Peasants (free and serfs)
-Grants of land given by lords in exchange for oaths of loyalty
-Private armies of vassals and their knights protected lords and their lands
-Peasants owed labor and obedience
-All owed loyalty and obedience to the Church

Feudalism: economic

-Manor estates
—Owned by lords
—Peasant serfs given land to work in exchange for percentage of crop
—Free peasants worked as skilled laborers
—Dues and fees charged for tenancy, use of roads, bridges, etc.

Feudalism: outcomes

-Political outcomes: stability, leading lords emerged as kings, foundation for nation-states
-Economic outcomes: self-sufficiency, foundation for urbanization
—Productive surpluses and specialization of skills would lead to trade
—Trade would lead to growth of towns and cities
-Christian value system institutionalized by the Church

The Later Middle Ages

-c. 1000-1500

France during the later Middle Ages

-The rise of feudal monarchs resulted in the development of the nation-states of France
—By the early 13th century, royal authority had expanded and France had become a European power
—Conflicts with the pope over the extent of religious rule resulted in an increase in the authority of the monarch
—The Hundred Years War (1337-1453) between England and France resulted in the English being driven out of most of France

England during the later Middle Ages

-The Norman Conquest (invasion of England by William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy) had a profound impact on the development of the culture, language, and judicial system of England
—The Battle of Hastings (1066) ended Anglo-Saxon rule in England
—By the 12th century, English common law was firmly established
—The Magna Carta (1215) limited the power of the king; it is the most important document in English constitutional law
—By the 14th century, the English Parliament was firmly established

The Magna Carta

-In 1215, King John was forced by the nobles to sing the Magna Carta
-Limited the power of the king and increased the power of the nobles
-Key provisions: King’s authority limited by law, rights of the king’s subjects declared (i.e. habeas corpus), respect for legal procedures
-Modern influence: constitutionalism/importance of a written constitution, individual rights, due process of the law, concept of a representative government, taxation with representation, trial by jury
-Would later be a significant influence on the American Constitution

English Parliament

-Firmly established by the 14th century
-Gained power at the expense of the king
-Composed of the House of Lords (titled nobility) and the House of Commons (gentry and middle classes)

Spain and Portugal during the later Middle Ages

-The Reconquista reestablished Christian control over Muslim Spain in 1492, Portugal in 1250
—The Spanish state was marked by strong, absolutist rule
—The monarch instituted inquisitions and also expelled the Jews

The Holy Roman Empire during the late Middle Ages

-The pope was dominant in religious matters and the monarch in secular matters
-A continuing power struggle evolved between the papacy and the secular ruler during the late Middle Ages

Characteristics of medieval civilization during the late Middle Ages

-Class division of society
-The decline of feudalism and manorialism
-The commercial revival

Characteristics of medieval civilization during the late Middle Ages: society

Society was based on a strict class division: clergy and nobility were the privileged class, peasants and artisans were the work force, and serfs were tied to the land

Characteristics of medieval civilization during the late Middle Ages: feudalism/manorialism

The decline of feudalism and manorialism was evident by the 12th century and complete by the 16th century

Characteristics of medieval civilization during the late Middle Ages: commercial revival

The commercial revival led to the rise of towns.
-A true middle class emerged
-Economic activities in the towns were supervised by the guild system (merchant and craft guilds)
-The Crusades led to the revival of international trade

Characteristics of medieval civilization during the late Middle Ages: education

Education stressed the liberal arts.
-Theology influenced both religion and politics
-Universities were created in Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge during the 11th and 12th centuries
-Latin was the language of intellectual Europe; vernacular was used by the 12th century.

Characteristics of medieval civilization during the late Middle Ages: philosophy

Philosophy (Scholasticism) dealt with the consistency of faith and reason

Characteristics of medieval civilization during the late Middle Ages: architecture

Architecture was dominated by the Romanesque (11th-12th century) and Gothic (13th-15th century) styles

Historical interpretations of the Middle Ages

-A period of transition between ancient and modern Europe
-Unique with a distinctive culture; out of feudal customs and traditions that included Greek and Roman classical culture, influences from the Arab world and the East, and tenets of Judeo-Christian belief, evolved a modern Europe and the foundations of Western civilization emerged

The Renaissance

-c. 1350-1600
-The revival of intellectualism, literature, philosophy, and artistic achievement
-Spread westward and into northern Europe
-Continued the road started in the Middle Ages that would lead to modern Europe

Development of the Renaissance

-Began in Italy during the 14th century
-Conflicts between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire in the 13th and 14th centuries resulted in regional autonomy (independent/self-government) for the Italian city-states
-The heritage of the Greek and Roman civilizations contributed to the development of the Italian Renaissance
-The Crusades focused attention eastward (on Greece and the Near East)
-By the 14th century, the move toward secularization was predominant

Literature and Philosophy

-Reflected the new secular trends
-Humanism stressed the importance of the individual
-Machiavelli’s “The Prince” stressed that “the ends justify the means” as a political philosophy
-The influence of the “classical” arts was strong, and a new emphasis was placed on science

The spread of the Renaissance throughout Europe

-The Renaissance of northern Europe emphasized the teachings of Christianity and placed less reliance on humanism
-The French Renaissance reflected a democratic realism
-The English Renaissance did not flower until the Elizabethan Age

General characteristics of the Renaissance

-The emphasis was on man rather than God
-There was a reawakening or rebirth of classical models
-The ideal of the “universal man” was widely held

Renaissance—Rebirth of Classical Greek and Roman Culture

-Works of Greeks and Romans reconnected Europeans with their ancient heritage
-Emphasis on “humanism”
—Progress through rational thought
—Universal nature of the human condition
—Writings of the Greek and Roman philosophers and commentaries on their works
—Free politics and governance from Church control
-Realism and formalism
—Art that emphasized the lives of everyday people realistic rather than idealized depictions
—Architecture based on Greek and Roman forms

The (Protestant) Reformation

-Renaissance secularism created tension between princely kingdoms and the authority of the Church
-There also emerged within the Church questions about its worldly rather than spiritual interest in acquiring power and wealth
-This internal struggle led to a rift in the Church, the rise of Protestant faiths, and more than a century of religious warfare

Reasons for the Reformation

-Dissatisfaction with church ritual and Latin overtones
-Humanism emphasized man’s needs and concerns
-The printing press allowed mass communication (Luther’s 95 Theses were translated, widely copied, distributed throughout Europe)
-Luther’s excommunication

Martin Luther

-1483-1546, Northern Germany
-Rejection of hierarchical priesthood and papal authority
-Questioned the right of the pope to grant indulgences (full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven)
-Salvation through faith rather than sacraments
-Luther’s “Ninety-five Theses” served as a catalyst in starting the Reformation
-Luther’s excommunication initiated the Reformation; Lutheranism developed its own following
-Lutheranism decentralized religious authority; allowed for a state church system controlled by individual local German princes

John Calvin

-Geneva, Switzerland
-The Doctrine of Predestination (God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others) was central to Calvinistic belief
-Rejection of all forms of worship and practice not traced to Biblical tradition
-Calvinism became a revolutionary anti-Catholic movement
-Basis of “Reformed Churches,” which spread throughout Europe; Calvinism made Protestantism an international movement

The English Reformation

The First Act of Supremacy (1534) marked the beginning of the English Reformation.
-The king of England, Henry VIII, became the head of the church
-The pope’s refusal to annul the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon initiated the break (political rather than religious break with the Church)
-Created the Anglican Church of England
-Elizabeth I (1558-1603) firmly established Protestantism in England and secured the Anglican Church

The Counter Reformation

-Also known as the Catholic Reformation
-Attempted to halt the spread of Protestantism
-The Jesuits (Society of Jesus) became the first official Catholic response to the Reformation; Jesuits also initiated missionary and educational endeavors
-The Council of Trent (1545-63) defined the doctrines of Catholicism and reinforced papal authority

Effects of the Reformation

-The medieval political unity of Europe was replaced by the spirit of modern nationalism
-The authority of the state was strengthened
-The middle class was strengthened
-Calvinism gave capitalism its psychological base
-Religious wars reflected the fervor of the times

The Age of Reason/Enlightenment

-The disintegration of traditional feudal loyalties, the rise of powerful monarchies, and the collapse of a single religious doctrine caused European intellectuals to think about new ways of unifying and governing nation-states
-Their exploration of new ideas in the “Age of Reason” was encouraged by the exciting processes and discoveries of the scientific revolution

Philosophy influenced by the Age of Reason

-Christianity and church dogma were questioned
-The proper function of government was defined by Voltaire, Montesquieu, Locke, and Rousseau. Their ideas led to the philosophical bases for the American and French revolutions.
-In economics, the doctrine of “laissez faire” (limited government intervention in business affairs) stood in opposition to regulated trade
-Adam Smith wrote the “Wealth of Nations” (1776) and advocated manufacturing as the true source of a nation’s wealth (the laws of the market place and not government regulations dictate national economies); considered the father of modern economics

John Locke

-An English philosopher
-Believed that people made a contract with their government to protect natural writes
-Wrote about the inalienable writes to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
-His political ideas had a dramatic impact on the development of democratic political thought in the late 18th century; influenced both the United States “Declaration of Independence” (1776) and the French “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” (1789)
-Stood in direct contrast to absolutism, the prevailing doctrine of the time


-Refers to the absolute rule of monarchs with unlimited power
-The theory of absolute monarchs and the divine right of kings (rule by God’s will)
-Evolved from the limited power of the ruling class during the Middle Ages to the Age of Absolutism in the 16th-18th century

Enlightened despotism

-Also called enlightened absolutism
-Grew out of the earlier absolutism of Louis XIV (France) and Peter the Great (Russia)
-Advocated limited responsibility to God and church
-A form of absolutism in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment


-Dominated the culture of the 18th century
-There was an attempt to revive the classic style and form of ancient Greece and Rome
-In literature, the novel was the outcome; in architecture, the Rococo style was dominant
-In music, Haydn and Mozart emphasized the Classical era’s formal symmetrical structures, simple rhythms, and tuneful melodies. Beethoven influenced both the Classical and Romantic periods.

The Scientific Revolution

-Transformed society and changed the way people looked at the natural world
-In doing so, science came into direct conflict with the teachings of the Church
-Began in the 16th century
-Important people: Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton

Nicolaus Copernicus

-Challenged the Church doctrine of a geocentric (earth-centered) theory of the universe (Ptolemy’s theory; was the prevailing thought for more than 1,000 years)
-Believed that the sun was the center of the solar system, and the earth moved around it
-Proposed and published his heliocentric (sun-centered) theory
-Theories were rejected by the Catholic Church

Galileo Galilei

-Mathematician, physicist, astronomer
-With a telescope, provided the first observational evidence in support of Copernicus
-Observed the phases of Venus; discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter; observed and analyzed sunspots
-Was questioned before the Inquisition, the primary purpose of which was to eradicate heresy and strengthen the Catholic Church
-In 1633, fearing execution, he recanted the heliocentric view of the solar system

Johannes Kepler

-Mathematician, astronomer
-Believed God had created the world according to an intelligible plan and that man could understand this plan through application of reason
-“Three laws of Planetary Motion”—mathematical calculations regarding planetary orbits that supported heliocentric theory (the motion of planets around the sun)

Isaac Newton

-Mathematician, physicist, and astronomer
-The most influential scientist of the Enlightenment
-Described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries
-Showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws, by demonstrating the consistency between Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and his theory of gravitation; thus removing the last doubts about heliocentrism and advancing the Scientific Revolution

The French Revolution

-Began as an attempt by the leaders of the industrial and commercial classes to end the injustices of the French monarchy
-Rallying cry of the French Revolution, “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity,” led to a Reign of Terror against the aristocracy
-The fall of the Bastille on July 14 marks France’s 4th of July
-Napoleon Bonaparte rose to power at a time of renewed social unrest in France

Background to the French Revolution

-An inequitable class structure was the basic cause of the revolution
-A disorganized legal system and no representative assembly added to the problems of the government
-Enlightenment philosophy influenced the middle class
-The bankruptcy of the French treasury was the immediate cause of the revolution
-The “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” (influenced by Locke’s ideas) defined enlightenment concepts of national law and the sovereignty of the people

Napoleon and the First Empire

-Military and political leader during the later stages of the French Revolution
-Emperor of the French from 1804-1815
-His legal reform, the Napoleonic Code, has been a major influence on many civil law jurisdictions worldwide
-Best remembered for the wars he led against a series of coalitions, the Napoleonic Wars, during which he established hegemony over much of Europe and sought to spread revolutionary ideals

Napoleon and the First Empire: domestic reforms

-Domestic reforms resulted in a more efficient government.
-The Napoleonic Code:
—No privileges/tax exemptions based on lineage
—Government promotion was based on ability
—Modernized French law (equality before the law)

Napoleon and the First Empire: international relations

International relations placed France against Europe.
-Napoleon won territory from the Holy Roman Empire and forced Spain to cede the Louisiana territory to France
-The “continental system” was a failed French attempt to close the continent to British trade in hopes of destroying the British economy
-The Battle of Waterloo (1815) ended in defeat for Napoleon and ended the French Empire; Napoleon was permanently exiled to St. Helena

Causes of the Industrial Revolution

-The scientific revolution brought about new mechanical inventions
-The availability of investment capital and the rise of the middle class provided an economic base
-Geographic and social conditions in England favored industrialization:
—The cotton textile industry was well established
—Britain was a colonial and maritime power and was able to easily ship products; rivers provided the necessary waterpower to run machinery
—England had abundant reserves of coal and iron
—The necessary labor force was in place following the enclosure movement that forced thousands of people from rural land to cities
—Investment capital supplied by a burgeoning middle class provided money to purchase equipment for the emergent factories

Results of the Industrial Revolution

-A dramatic increase in productivity and the rise of the factory system
-Demographic changes (from rural to urban centers)
-The division of society into defined classes (propertied and nonpropertied)
-The development of modern capitalism


-Profits linked to the manufacturing of products
-Private ownership of land
-Freedom of choice
-A competitive free-market system
-Limited government restraints

Social Darwinism

-Expanded Darwin’s theory of evolution to include society as a whole
-Darwin, in “On the Origin of Species” (1859), theorized that evolution is a continuous process in which successful species adapt to their environment in order to survive
-The social Darwinists viewed society as a “struggle for existence”; only the “fittest” members of society would survive
-The accumulation of wealth was considered a visible sign of a successful adaptation, and virtue and wealth became synonymous
-For social Darwinism to succeed, it was thought that a free and open economic system was needed
-Capitalism was regarded as the “natural environment” in which “survival of the fittest” could be tested
-The social Darwinists also believed that some races were superior to others, that poverty indicated unfitness, and that a class-structured society was desirable

The intellectual response to the Industrial Revolution

-The classical economists advanced the theory of laissez faire
-Thomas Malthus (1776-1834) theorized that population growth would far outstrip food production
-The revolutionary socialism of Karl Marx advocated a violent overthrow of the present economic system
—History was seen as a class struggle between the exploiters (bourgeoisie) and the exploited (proletariat)
—“The Communist Manifesto” (1848), written by Marx and Friedrich Engels, advanced the theories of modern scientific socialism

Inventions of the Industrial Revolution

-Manufacturing: flying shuttle
-Birth of the factory system: spinning jenny, water frame, spinning mule, watt steam engine, power loom, cotton gin
-Iron-making: coke smelting, grooved rollers
-Transportation: steam locomotive, steamboat

Flying shuttle

-Increased the speed of weavers

Spinning jenny

-Increased the speed and output of yarn spinners

Water frame

-Introduced the first power-driven machine to manufacture cloth

Spinning mule

-A power-driven machine that produced fine, strong yarn

Watt steam engine

-Meant that factories were no longer dependent on water sources for power

Power loom

-Led to faster production of cloth

Cotton gin

-Made it possible to meet increased demand for cotton by mechanizing the process for separating seeds from cotton fiber

Coke smelting

-Improved production of iron

Grooved rollers

-Allowed iron-makers to roll out iron into different shapes

Steam locomotive

-Used initially to haul freight at coal mines and ironworks
-The steam engine was used to develop it


-Built by American inventor Robert Fulton
-The steam engine was used to build it

The topography of Africa

-Mainly composed of three regions: desert, savanna, and tropical rainforest
-The Sahara desert dominates the continent (covers most of northern Africa)
-Trade and commerce were connected to the geographical potential of the area
-Large populations flourished in the savanna and were primarily agrarian

Africa’s geological diversity

-Four rivers (Nile, Congo, Niger, and Zambezi) were important to Africa’s economic history
-Egyptian civilization developed in the Nile Valley
-Africa above the Sahara (Northern Africa) is often associated with Arab influence
-The irregular coast line (no natural harbors) of the African continent restricted European exploration

Ancient Africans’ advances in their societies and cultures

-Lineage was the basis of tribal organization
-Religion, politics, and law became the focus of African culture
-Art and sculpture were emphasized

Famous empires that grew in the West African savanna

Ghana, Mali and Songhai

The East African Coast

-Saw the development of city-states
-East African civilization was based on international trade and seaport cities
-Swahili culture developed its own language and thrived in the city-states
-The Portuguese destroyed much of the East African trade after 1500

The Kingdom of Zimbabwe

-Developed in the interior of the continent
-Grew from an iron-working settlement
-Huge stone structures were constructed
-Economy was based on the gold trade

Islam in Africa

Stimulated new states of West Africa and spread Islamic culture and religion

The forest states

-Developed strong governments
-Benin grew wealthy and powerful until European contact threatened society
-Slave trade produced wealth for the cities and the expansion of the slave trade extended into Africa’s interior
-Trade, taxes, and a powerful government resulted in Asante becoming a strong state

Origins of people in America

-20,000-30,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, the first humans crossed over the Bering Sea land bridge into the Americas
-As they migrated southward, they inhabited the hemisphere from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego
-Their widespread dispersion led to a diversity of languages and cultures, the most advanced of which were located in Mesoamerica and South America

Ganges River

-In eastern India
-Sacred to Indians but was not the geographical river area that led to the development of Indian civilization
-Associated with the rise of the Mauryan Empire in 322 B.C.

Image: Ganges River
Culture Trade & Civilization - World History

Indus River

The earliest Indian civilization, the Harappa culture, developed around the Indus River Valley in 2500 B.C.

Culture Trade & Civilization - World History

Mesopotamia: developments

-Writing (cuneiform)
-Organized government
-Written law code (Hammurabi’s Code)
-Systematized religion (Zoroastrianism)
-Astronomy; astrology

Culture Trade & Civilization - World History
Image: Mesopotamia: developments

Egypt: developments

-Complex religion of gods, rituals, and governance (pharaoh)
-Writing (hieroglyphics)
-Engineering and building (pyramids)

India: developments

-Urban culture
-Planned cities (i.e. citywide sanitation systems)
-Metallurgy (gold, copper, bronze, tin)
-Measurement (weight, time, length, mass)

China: developments


The ancient Near East: geography

Comprised the Tigris and Euphrates Valley, the Fertile Crescent, and the Nile Valley.

The ancient Near East: cultural contributions

-The first system of independent states
-The first system of writing (cuneiform and hieroglyphics)
-The first massive architectural achievements (ziggurat and pyramid)
-The first lasting monotheism
-The beginning of science, mathematics, and astronomy
-The first codification of law

Mesopotamian civilizations

-The Sumerians
-The Babylonians
-The Hittites
-The Assyrians
-The Chaldeans
-The Persians

The Sumerians

-The creators of Mesopotamian civilization (3500-3000 B.C.)
-Used Tigris and Euphrates rivers for trade and commerce, as well as areas surrounding the Persian Gulf
-Material progress included large-scale irrigation projects, an advanced system of mathematics, and the invention of the wheel
-The ziggurat was the center of community life and served as a temple, storehouse, and treasury
-Sargon established the first empire (c. 2371 B.C.)

The Babylonians

-Conquered Sumeria and established a new empire (2300-1750 B.C.)
-The code of Hammurabi was the first universal written codification of laws in recorded history (c. 1750 B.C.)
-Ahievements included a centralized government and advancements in algebra and geometry

The Hittites

-Conquered much of Asia Minor and Northern Mesopotamia (2000-1200 B.C.)
-A major contribution included the invention of iron smelting, which revolutionized warfare

The Assyrians

-Warrior nation; created an empire based on military superiority, conquest, and terrorism (911-550 B.C.)
-Empire origniated in the highland region of the upper Tigris rRiver but grew to encompass the entire area of the Fertile Crescent
-Military techniques included siege warfare, intimidation, and the use of iron weapons
-Created a centralized government, a postal service, an extensive library, and a system of highways

The Chaldeans

-Established the new Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar (605-538 B.C.)
-Conquered Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine
-Developed astrology, astronomy, advanced government bureaucracy, and architectural achievements such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Persians

-Attempted to unify the entire Near East under one rule (500s B.C.)
-Established an international government
-Zoroastrianism, an ethical religion based on concepts of good and evil
-Failed to conquer the Greeks; Persia was eventually conquered by Alexander the Great (334-331 B.C.)

Smaller civilizations of the Near East

-The Phoenicians
-The Lydians
-The Israelites

The Phoenicians

-Became the first explorers, traders, and colonizers of the ancient world; their civilization reached its peak in 1000 B.C.
-Greatest seafaring civilization in the ancient world
-Developed extensive trade networks throughout the Mediterranean and set up distant trade networks and trading colonies such as Tyre and Sidon
-Invented the first true alphabet
-Dominated the Mediterranean commerce and exported manufactured glass and purple dye (royal purple)

The Lydians

-Occupied western Asia Minor (500s B.C.)
-Their culture reached its zenith under King Croesus (Golden King)
-Were responsible for the first coinage of money

The Israelites

-Established the first lasting monotheism
-Saul established the first kingdom in Palestine (c. 1030-1010 B.C.)
-After the death of Solomon (922 B.C.), the Hebrews were divided into two kingdoms (Israel and Judah)
-Disunity and conquest resulted in the destruction of Israel (722 B.C.) and Judah (586 B.C.)
-The revolt of the Israelites against Rome resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) and the forced dispersal of the Jews from Palestine (Jewish Diaspora, c. A.D. 132-135)


-Established a civilization in the Nile Valley (3000 B.C.)
-Natural barriers (desert and sea), as well as its isolation from other civilizations, greatly hindered foreign invaders; spared them from the repeated political disruptions characteristic of Mesopotamia
-Its history can be broadly outlined in specific time periods that reflect the changes taking place in over a 3,000-year period

Egyptian civilization: significant aspects

-Life was dominated by concerns for the afterlife, religion, and the pharaoh
-Medical advances and specialized surgery were major contributions
-The Egyptians invented a hieroglyphic writing system
-Commerce flourished throughout Arabia, India, and part of Africa
-Agriculture was the basis of the economy
-Monumental architecture reflected remarkable building and engineering feats, as well as mathematical precision
-Annual flooding in the Nile was the basis for the sustained economy; the Nile had an impact on all of Egyptian society

Greece: geography

-Rugged landscape of mountains and valleys, scattered islands led to the development of independent city-states (polis) rather than one unified empire
-Scarcity of good agricultural land encouraged seafaring in eastern Greece
-The southern mainland, with adequate agricultural resources, relied on farming

Minoan civilization

-An Aegean civilization
-Civilization of Crete (c. 4000-1400 B.C.) based its prosperity on extensive commerce

Mycenaean civilization

-Centers of Aegean civilization; depended on the Aegean Sea to develop and extend their culture
-(c. 2000-1150 B.C.) developed heavily fortified cities and based prosperity on trade and warfare
-The Dorians conquered the Peloponnesus (peninsula of southern Greece) and ushered in a “dark age” characterized by violence and instability
-Iona became the birthplace for the Hellenic civilization


-Athens and Sparta were the most important city-states in ancient Greece; both developed a unique culture and distinct political structure

-Established the world’s first democracy (c. 507 B.C.), developed democratic institutions
-The Age of Pericles (460-429 B.C.) represented the zenith of Athenian society and the height of its democracy
-Developed philosophy as represented by Sophocles and Socrates; the Socratic method of teaching developed during this period)
-Became a world commercial center and cosmopolitan city

-After defeating the Persians, conflict between Athens and Sparta dominated Greek politics


-Athens and Sparta were the most important city-states in ancient Greece; both developed a unique culture and distinct political structure

-Developed a totalitarian and militaristic state dependent on slave labor to sustain its agricultural system; state owned most of the land
-Warrior state, dependent on a superior military (result of constant threat of rebellion)
-Essential for Spartans to be subservient to the interests of the state in order to maintain power
-The purpose of government was to keep up the military strength of the state
-The rigid structure of Spartan society allowed the Spartans to rule even though Spartan citizens were outnumbered by noncitizens by about 10 to 1
-Large families discouraged
-At birth, all Spartan males belonged to the state; by age seven, boys enrolled in military-style camps
-Spartan way of life extended to mothers examining newborn children to determine of they were healthy; those that were not were left to die

-After defeating the Persians, conflict between Athens and Sparta dominated Greek politics

The Peloponnesian War

-431-404 B.C.
-Devastated Sparta, Athens, and their Greek city-state allies
-Sparta was victorious but unable to unite the Greek city-states
-Greek individualism was a catalyst in the collapse of the Greek city-state alliances

Alexander the Great

-356-323 B.C.
-Of Macedonia
-Established the Hellenistic Age
-Conquered Persia, Asia Minor, and Egypt; established a world empire
-Bureaucracy replaced the city-state as the form of government
-Following his death, dynasties were established in Macedonia, Egypt and Persia

The Hellenistic Age

-Began with the death of Alexander the Great
-323-30 B.C.
-Fusion of Greek and Eastern cultures
-A time of great economic growth and expansion; an increase in international trade and commerce
-Rise of cities; Rhodes, Alexandria, and Antioch replaced Athens in commercial importance
-An end to the Greek city-state system as a major political entity

Contributions of the Greek World

-4000-323 B.C.
-Organized warfare: Mycenae (military stronghold), Sparta, phalanx (military formation
-Literature: epic poetry (Iliad, Odyssey), plays (drama, tragedy, comedy)
-History: Herodotus (historian who reported the Persian Wars), Thucydides (historian who reported the Peloponnesian War)
-Architecture: columns and colonnades (sequence of columns), Parthenon
-Arts: theater, sculpture, decorative pottery
-Government: democracy (Athens), oligarchy (small group of people in power—Sparta), bureaucracy (Alexander the Great), a system of law to improve society
-Other: founded most of the major philosophical schools, established the systematic basis for the scientific method, and perfected advances in shipbuilding and commerce

The Roman Republic

-509-27 B.C., started after Etruscan control was overthrown
-Society was divided into the patricians (propertied class), plebians (main body of Roman citizens), and slaves
-Government was based on consuls, the Senate, and the Centurial Assembly
-Roman army became the most powerful military organization in the world

The Punic Wars with Carthage

-146 B.C.
-After which Rome emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean
-Rome incorporated Greek culture into its empire
-Roman expansion resulted in a world republic

The Roman Republic: decline

-Ravaged by economic and political decline and repeated civil wars
-Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C.
-Augustus became the first emperor of the Roman Empire (27 B.C.)

The Roman Empire

-Lasted five centuries
-The Pax Romana (Roman peace) was two centuries without a major war (27 B.C.-A.D. 180)
-By the end of the second century A.D., Rome was in economic and political decline, which weakened the empire


-Attempted to stem the tide
-The empire split into the Western and Eastern Roman Empires
-Barbarian invasions by Germanic and Asiatic tribes (the Goths, Vandals, and Huns) devastated Rome, and it fell in A.D. 476
-The Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople (formerly Byzantium) remained intact; survived until 1453 (foundation of the Byzantine Empire)

The Fall of Rome

-Immediate cause: continuous barbaric invasion
-Internal factors included political instability, decreasing farm production, inflation, excessive taxation, and the decline of the military, including the use of mercenaries
-The rise of Christianity divided the empire

Rome’s political problems

-No formal system in place to choose Roman emperors; some chosen directly by the emperor, others were heirs to the throne, others were able to buy the throne
-Informal and corrupt process of succession resulted in weak and ineffective rulers and many political assassinations
-By the end of the fifth century, the emperors were so weak that they were the puppets of the military, often bribing the army to stay in power

Rome’s economic problems

-Emperors repeatedly raised taxes to support the ever-increasing needs of the army
-Created tremendous burdens on the population, with the common people being most affected
-Continual economic crises resulted in a rise in poverty and unemployment
-Trade and commerce, keystones in stabalizing the Roman economy, declined
-The government reduced the value of the coins in circulation, which caused runaway inflation
-With money worthless, business was hurt, crime increased, and political instability worsened

Roman contributions to the western world

-Law (greatest contribution): rule of law/equality before the law, civil and contract law codes
-Engineering and architecture: concrete, arch, roads (200,000 miles of roads), aqueducts and cisterns, monumental buildings (the Colosseum)
-Culture: history, literature (Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses), rhetoric (the art and study of the use of language with persuasive effect)
-Continued the Greek tradition in literature, art, sculpture, and the humanities

Jesus of Nazareth

-Born around 6 B.C. in the Roman province of Judea
-Became an influential rabbi
-His death by crucifixion and resurrection as the Christ (Greek for messiah) were writings in the Gospels

Christianity: basic doctrines

-Began with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (compassion for the poor and downtrodden)
-Emphasized the Holy Bible as the word of God, the sacraments as the instruments of God’s grace, and the importance of a moral life for salvation
-Paul of Tarsus (Paul the Apostle), an early Jewish convert to Christianity, was responsible for the spread of Christian theology and the resulting response from the Roman empire (opposition/resistance; Christianity firmly rooted in the collapsing world of Roman rule)

Reasons for the spread of Christianity (the Roman period)

-Individual conviction in one’s beliefs (solidarity) had grown during the Roman persecution period
-The efficiency and organization of the early church administration
-Doctrines that stressed equality and immortality
-Teachings and doctrines developed by “Church Fathers” such as Augustine were granted a foothold in both the western and eastern worlds
-The conversion of Constantine to Christianity (A.D. 313)
-The establishment of Christianity as the official Roman religion (A.D. 380)
-The establishment of the supremacy of the pope at the time imperial Rome was disintegrating


-Established at Byzantium by Emperor Constantine as a “New Rome” in the East in A.D. 330
-Strategically located (where Europe and Asia meet), had excellent defensible borders, and was a crossroads of world trade
-With the fall of Rome/collapse of the western empire (A.D. 476), the Eastern Roman Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire; became the heart of the Roman imperial system
-Lasted 1,000 years, until A.D. 1453

Reasons for the Byzantine Empire’s success

-Economic prosperity was based on domination of the commercial trade routes controlled by Constantinople and a monopoly of the silk trade
-The Byzantines made excellent use of diplomacy to avoid invasions, and they were geographically distant from the tribes who sacked Rome
-Codification of Roman law by Justinian (A.D. 528-565) strengthened the bureaucracy
-Constantinople was a fortress city with excellent defensible borders

Reasons for the decline of the Byzantine Empire

-Its geographic proximity to the Arabs, Slavs, and Seljuk Turks, all of whom were becoming more powerful
-The loss of commercial dominance of the Italians
-Religious controversy with the West and a subsequent split with the Roman Catholic Church
-The sack of Constantinople during the fourth Crusade

Achievements of the Byzantine Empire

-Greek language and cultural accomplishments preserved
-Center for world trade and exchange of culture
-It spread civilization to all of eastern Europe
-Codification of Roman law (“Justinian Code”)
-It preserved the Eastern Church (“Greek Orthodox”), which converted Slavic people to Christianity
-Its economic strength was based on the stability of its money economy
-New focus for art; glorification of Christianity


-A.D. 570-632
-Emerged from the deserts of Arabia; appeared as a messenger of God (Allah) and a prophet of Allah’s monotheistic faith
-According to Islamic traditions, Mohammed was last in a line of prophets that traced back to Abraham and included Jesus
-Working to unite the disparate tribes of Arabia under the articles of a single faith, Mohammed managed to conquer and bring most of the Arabian Peninsula under his control by the time of his death in A.D. 632
-Under his successors, the conquest of surrounding regions in the name of Islam brought the lands of Mesopotamia, Persia, and all of North Africa and southwestern Asia into the Muslim fold, creating a vast Islamic empire


-Based on the teachings of Mohammed
-The spread of Islam started in the seventh century A.D.
-The Koran became the center for Islamic moral and ethical conduct
-Mohammed established a theocracy based on Islamic law


-The Muslim empire was ruled by Arab caliphs
-Arabs conquered much of the Byzantine and Persian empires (including North Africa) and Spain
-The Battle of Tours (A.D. 732) resulted in the Franks halting Muslim expansion in Europe
-Muslim Spain lasted from A.D. 711-1031
The Umayyad dynasty increased Arab lands (A.D. 661-750)

Division of the Muslim Empire

-The Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads—the capital moved from Damascus (Syria) to Baghdad
-Iberian and North African Muslims broke with Baghdad’s control


-Assumed leadership of the Muslim world
-The Seljuks fought with the crusaders and regained lost land
-Mongols invaded the eastern Muslim Empire
-The Ottoman Empire expanded territory and lasted for many centuries
-Constantinople was the center of the Ottoman Empire
-By the middle of the 16th century, the Ottomans controlled not only Turkey but most of southeastern Europe, the Crimea, Iran, and a majority of the Middle East
-By the 19th century, he Ottoman Empire was contemptuously referred to as the “Sick Man of Europe” and depended on English intervention, especially directed against Russia, for its political survival