. The Paleolithic Era was a showcase of early human technology and hunter-and-gatherers. Humans lived in groups and traveled constantly to find food. To do this they used rocks and sticks at first before expanding their technology into various kinds of spears such as holding and throwing. In addition, this time period also brought needles, jewelry, and artwork. These societies also had a separation of gender based on the kind of work you did, with the men hunting mostly and women gathering.
As time went on agricultural societies would replace most nomadic/pastoral groups from the Paleolithic Era. These groups were the first to truly settle down in one place year-round. With this development came major changes for life as humans knew it. Firstly, a set agricultural system meant that not everybody needed to focus on producing food and could instead create different trades and jobs. Much more artwork, music, and tools would come out of this period than the Paleolithic period because of this. With the creating of new trades and jobs came the creation of the first caste systems. While there was a separation of jobs in the Paleolithic era everybody was relatively equal, whereas in agricultural societies there was a separation of people which put some above or below others depending on the work they did.
2. Patriarchy is a system that consistently puts men in positions of power over women and has been something that can be found in most, if not all, societies. The exact origin of patriarchy and why it came to be is unknown, but historians have found some potential reasons. One of these being how our societies developed. When humans were hunters-and-gatherers there was a separation of people based on what your job was and, therefore, your gender. Women were gatherers and men were hunters, most likely because of women’s ability to give birth. This meant gathering would keep them closer to “home” (wherever it was at the time) and their children in order to care for them.
This way of life would become somewhat of a tradition to many people and would carry on throughout many societies, even as they developed into agricultural societies and later on, civilizations. When societies became civilizations, and started developing full legal systems and politics the traditions of patriarchy would carry over into it. Laws would be developed to keep women in the home and men in power as by that point it would be the way of life people had known and a very old tradition. Because of this, civilizations would stay patriarchies for millennia, though how this patriarchy was carried out would change from place to place. Women might have been forbidden to work in some places while in others it was expected for women of lower classes to work outside the home. Neither of these types of societies would really give women a choice however, and so, while the methods of patriarchy were different the outcomes (women having no choice/men in power) and the beginnings (a separation of gender due to women not being able to due lots of taxing work while pregnant) were very much the same.
3. Rome started, much like many other major places and powerhouses, as a single city among quite a few others. Within time it would grow to be the head of what is seen by many as one of the most important empires of its time. This change would occur to Rome specifically instead other cities because of the way Rome was set up and operated. Rome had a specific way of running its government and military which was founded on a single way of doing things, organization. Both government and military were split into different groups each having their own job and specific rules set on who joins and what they could and couldn’t do. This included rules that set up and kept a democracy in place as men served in the military, but women weren’t allowed and only some men were seen as citizens and could therefore vote and participate in government.
In addition to patriarchy Rome also had other ways of organizing government and laws. This was with the morals that Romans at large kept. Morals were either directly in laws or heavily influenced their creation and existence. This included the virtues held by Romans such as honor, courage, and respect. These virtues may have been what drew in other and caused many to willingly assimilate into Roman culture when conquered. This assimilation from conquered peoples would help grow from a single city to the capital of a sprawling empire.
4. Zoroastrianism and Judaism are two religions that were never main religions of huge empires but still had a huge impact on the world, especially in the fact that there were the precursors to Christianity and Islam and heavily influenced them. One of the main beliefs from Zoroastrianism and Judaism that would find its way into Christianity and Islam is the belief in one god, i.e. monotheism. During the start of these religions monotheism was pretty much unheard of, but would become the center of all four religions. In addition, Christianity and Islam also inherited the idea of some sort of prophet and/or savior of their religion. While this idea would express itself in different ways (from different people being prophets to whether or not a savior/messiah has already arisen) the general form was shared and found in each religion.
Another way of viewing things would also be shared in each religion but would take different forms in each one. This is the concept of dualism. Each religion has its own take on things but ultimately all of them have some sort of dualism belief, using in its concept of the afterlife, some form of “heaven and hell”. This also coincides with a shared trait between Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam. While none of these religions can be defined as having a truly benevolent or malevolent god, the people of these religions do view their god as mostly benevolent. These traits show the commonalities within these religions and show us how Zoroastrianism and Judaism influenced Christianity and Islam.
5. Christianity started out a small religion mostly rejected by those around it. During this time period believers would meet in small groups usually at someone’s house or some other specified place when they could. This would continue even after Jesus’s death until the religion started to gain some traction. As more and more people joined the religion the meetings and worship started to change. However, the biggest changes would occur with St. Paul. St. Paul would bring about many of the beliefs and practices known to Christianity including the ideas of Jesus dying for mankind’s sins and his revival meaning eternal life for those who believe and the practices of baptism and communion. In addition, he would help create churches and center the meetings and worship of Christianity in a single building in certain ways (churches with hymns and sermons).
From here Christianity would develop a complex system of organization that would remain until mostly remain until much later during the Protestant Reformation. This system would consist of a leader known as the Pope with multiple layers of other clergymen ranging from cardinals that acted directly under the Pope to Priests that lead single churches. There would a major divide though during the schism of the Roman Empire when the church split into the Roman Catholic Church that upheld the same system of organization and the Eastern Orthodox Church that had no real single leader and instead viewed Jesus as the head of the church.
6. Axum and Kush were kingdoms that lied on the north-eastern coast of Africa, across from the Arabian Peninsula in the Horn of Africa. Within the Kingdom of Kush was the city of Meroe, a main city of the region, especially for religion. During this time period the religion was a polytheistic religion unique to that of Kush but with many influences from other places as the kingdom had many connections to other due to trade. A main place of worship within this religion was the Great Temple of the Moon in Meroe, a main city in the kingdom. Within time the kingdom would be conquered by the Axum people, a civilization that would be a huge influence on trade in the surrounding area, especially by sea. The King of Axum at the time of conquering Meroe and the Kush kingdom was King Ezana, the first king of Axum to convert to Christianity.
This conversion would quickly spread throughout the area and became a main religion in Africa. However, this would not be the only religion to do so. Islam would quickly spread to Africa through trade routes and across the sea converting many people. Neither religion would fully stamp the other out and instead would continuously influence the other, shaping both religions into unique forms of themselves within Africa. This shows the diversity of the people within Africa as well as the complexity of any religion within the region. The religions that continues to thrive and spread were ones that were relatively fluid and changeable.
7. With the rapid spread of Islam came multiple civilizations founded and /or ruled by Islam. While each of these civilizations would have extremely heavy influences from Islam no two of them would act exactly the same. This sentiment applies to how each would interact with surrounding people and traditions as well. However, Islamic teachings as a whole would teach acceptance of tolerance of other traditions, including other religions. This meant that no one should force anyone to convert to Islam and they could not be punished for not being Muslim either. Many civilizations would follow these teachings and show tolerance towards those of other religions, even if they were under their rule.
One of the only common exceptions to this was small rules that gave non-Muslims slight disadvantages. Some examples might be some form of extra taxes or different taxes to those of the Muslim faith. However, this would be much more tolerant than that of other places, including places of predominantly Christian faith. In many Christian places other religions would be outlawed and persecuted afterwards, a stark difference of tolerance from that of Muslim regions. Overall, while Muslim civilizations were all different and would act in complex and diverse ways, many of them practiced some form of tolerance towards others.
8. In 1492 Christopher Columbus lead the first expedition of Spanish explorers into the Americas. This would be the start of the European colonization of the Americas that would continue for hundred of years. With the expedition of Columbus and his successors came many deaths. A large portion of the deaths from expeditions would be from diseases unknowingly brought over by the Europeans. A smaller, but still significant portion of the population, was killed by violence. However, Columbus was not the sole partaker of violence during this time period or in either his home region or the Americas. Violence was very common throughout the world and used by most, if not all, civilizations in the world. No single civilization was purely innocent.
However, there was a difference in the violence between the Spanish and the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Spanish had more weapons that were much more powerful than those of the Natives and had more experience fighting huge empires that the Natives would have had. Additionally, the Spanish would have seen no problem with conquering the Natives given that they viewed them as a backward, savage, and primitive society. This gives us reasoning behind the expeditions and invasions and also highlights some similarities within the Spanish and Native societies as the Natives were most likely thinking things along the same line about the Spanish invaders. While there were stark differences between the two many similarities can be drawn to teach us about how humans would have acted during that time period and what kind of actions were viewed as acceptable and righteous.
1. The Mongols Empire was a vast empire that covered much of Eurasia during its prime. As a pastoral society the Mongols were constantly on the move and raised around horses, giving them an easy way of traveling across flat lands very quickly. This lead to the conquering of many lands, specifically those on flat lands with lots of grass. When conquering lands the Mongols gave the option to join them or die, though many need no encouragement with the protection that is offered against other surrounding tribes as long as they stay loyal to Genghis Khan. With this conquering comes a new kind od awareness for many people, a forced awareness of those existing far away from them. People along the Eastern China coast and people along the Caspian Sea now are aware of each other existing. In addition, there are aware of new technology and ideas from other places and are thrust into a more modern world with a mixing of ideas.
The Mongols conquering vast lands also brought about a different kind of informational knowledge to people other than technology, military strategy. The Mongols had a unique kind of military strategy centered around excellent equestrian skills and flexibility. Using the speed from the horses the Mongols were able to split into multiple groups to conquer different kinds of enemies. Military strategy wasn’t the only thing the Mongols brought to others however as they also carried diseases into new lands, including spreading the Black Plague into Europe. In addition to helping spread one of the deadliest diseases the Mongols also had another huge impact on the world, and that is through genetics. Mongol men would hold many concubines, including taking those from lands they conquered this. Because of this the Mongols drastically changed the genetic makeup of most of the world.
1. Civilization is long argued about term to describe how humans gather together. Many disagree over exactly what makes something a civilization, as well as terms used to describe different kinds of civilizations. Historically, civilizations have normally involved some form of set up governmental and legal systems, some form of class system, and distinct rulers. Some argue that civilizations must also include some form of organized military and/or some form of writing system. Others take the stance that while societies without these qualities qualify as civilizations they as “primitive” civilizations, i.e. not well developed civilizations. However given the arguments over any definition of civilization it stands that something being primitive is even more subjective than something being a civilization. Overall, civilization is a much fought about topic that tries to define what makes a society modern and advanced.
2. The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of battles between the Greek Empire and the Persian Empire. After years of fighting the Greeks would ultimately win the war, with lots of help from the city of Athens. This victory gave honor and respect to the city of Athens and would also bring power to Athens, ultimately turning it into the capital of the Greek Empire. This would change the governmental set up of Greece as Athens was home to democracy and Greek Rationalism, a new way of looking at the world in terms of science and logic.
3. Qin Shihuangdi was the self-appointed first emperor of China. He inherited the title as Prince of the state of Qin but decided to take it further and created a military campaign to conquer all the nearby land and create a unified China. He would continue expanding these lands during his rule as well as bringing about changes to all of the lands. These changes were mostly political and economic reforms using legalist ideas in order to bring about standardization between all the lands.
4. Zoroastrianism is a religion that began in around the 6th or 7th century with the teachings of Zoroaster in Iran, Persia, and the surrounding areas. The religion centers around a single god with Zoroaster being a prophet within the religion. The main teachings include the idea of each human being having the will to do what they want as well as how important it is for each human to choose between good and evil. While Zoroastrianism was never the biggest religion it played a huge roles in influencing many things, including the creations of both Christianity and Islam.
5. Teotihuacan is an ancient city located in Mesoamerica. The city itself is huge and may well have been one of the biggest in the Americas and elsewhere during the height of its existence. However, a main part of Teotihuacan are the stepped pyramids known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. They are seen as some of the most architecturally advanced pyramids of the regions. Their names come from the Aztec names given to them as historians are not sure what they would have been named by the natives. The Aztecs gave them the names when they had visited the site years after it had been abandoned.
6. Borobudur is a Buddhist temple built in Indonesia around the 9th century. The temple has multiple layers, all covered in ornate artworks and inscriptions in ancient Java. The architecture is also representative of a combination of Indigenous Indonesian and Buddhist styles. Within the site is three temples, each representative of some level of Buddhist cosmology. It was most likely built by the Mataram Kingdom, who were also believed to have built other Buddhist and Hindu monuments. The temples have been regularly visited by Buddhists making pilgrimage.
7. The Sand Roads or Trans-Saharan Trade Routes were a series of trade routes between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. These routes were mainly used from the 8th to the 17th century an were mostly traveled by groups of camels. The routes were long and dangerous given the size of the Sahara desert and the average temperatures within the desert. In addition, water was scarce in the desert and many precautions would need to be taken in order to safely cross the Sahara without suffering from dehydration or heat exhaustion/stroke. Some of the main goods traded along the route were gold, ivory, wheat, and spices. The Sand Roads were used less and less once the Portuguese began traveling along the African Coast and setting up ports.
8. Pastoral Societies are societies that only live in certain places for small amounts of time before moving on to somewhere else, usually to find food for the animals they raise. While some societies still exist in the present day most existed during the Paleolithic era and slowly shifted to agricultural over periods of time. Most keep relatively to themselves but some have been known to branch out and conquer large amounts of people, mainly the Mongols.
9. Sufism is a system of practices and beliefs within Islam where practicers seek to become one with god. It is mostly distinctive from mainstream Islam because of its strict abstinence from sensual pleasures. In addition, Sufism teaches that Mohammed is what humans should strive to be and that you should seek some form of relationship to Mohammed. However, Sufism is not a distinct sect of Islam, unlike Shia and Sunni, but instead a way of approaching the Islamic faith.
10. The Ottoman Empire existed from roughly 1299-1923. It’s name coming from the first sultan of the empire, Osman I (an anglicization of which is Ottoman). Though it started as a tribe in Asia by the Black and Aegean Seas, it would quickly grow into a large empire covering parts of Asia, Europe and North Africa. It would later conquer the Byzantine Empire and make their capital Constantinople the capital of the Ottoman Empire. This would give them power over the trade routes through the Aegean and Black Seas, multiplying the amount of influence the empire had.