World History AP with Mr. Duez - Learning Targets

Part 2 - The Classical Era in World History, 500 B.C.E. - 500 C.E.

Chapter 4—Eurasian Empires, 500 B.C.E.–500 C.E.

Chapter 4 Learning Targets:

Big Picture Questions

1. What common features can you identify in the empires described in this chapter?

2. In what ways did these empires differ from one another? What accounts for those differences?

3. Are you more impressed with the “greatness” of empires or with their destructive and oppressive features? Why?

4. Do you think that the classical empires hold “lessons” for the present, or are contemporary circumstances sufficiently unique as to render the distant past irrelevant?


Margin Review Questions

Q. How did Persian and Greek civilizations differ in their political organization and values?

Q. Why did semi democratic governments emerge in some of the Greek city-states?

Q. What were the consequences for both sides of the encounter between the Persians and the Greeks?

Q. What changes did Alexander’s conquests bring in their wake?

Q. How did Rome grow from a single city to the center of a huge empire?

Q. How and why did the making of the Chinese empire differ from that of the Roman Empire?

Q. In comparing the Roman and Chinese empires, which do you find more striking—their similarities or their differences?

Q. How did the collapse of empire play out differently in the Roman world and in China?

Q. Why were centralized empires so much less prominent in India than in China?


Ahura Mazda: In Zoroastrianism, the good god who rules the world. (pron. ah-HOOR-a MAZ-dah)

Alexander the Great: Alexander III of Macedon (356–323 B.C.E.), conqueror of the Persian Empire and part of northwest India.

Aryans: Indo-European pastoralists who moved into India about the time of the collapse of the Indus Valley civilization; their role in causing this collapse is still debated by historians.

Ashoka: The most famous ruler of the Mauryan empire (r. 268–232 B.C.E.), who converted to Buddhism and tried to rule peacefully and with tolerance. (pron. ah-SHOKE-uh)

Athenian democracy: A radical form of direct democracy in which much of the free male population of Athens had the franchise and officeholders were chosen by lot.

Caesar Augustus: The great-nephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar who emerged as sole ruler of the Roman state at the end of an extended period of civil war (r. 31 B.C.E.–14 C.E.).

Cyrus (the Great): Founder of the Persian Empire (r. 557–530 B.C.E.); a ruler noted for his conquests, religious tolerance, and political moderation.

Darius I: Great king of Persia (r. 522–486 B.C.E) following the upheavals after Cyrus’s death; completed the establishment of the Persian Empire. (pron. most commonly in American English DAHR-ee-us)

Greco-Persian Wars: Two major Persian invasions of Greece, in 490 B.C.E and 480 B.C.E, in which the Persians were defeated on both land and sea.

Gupta Empire: An empire of India (320–550 C.E.). (pron. GHOOP-tuh)

Han dynasty: Dynasty that ruled China from 206 B.C.E to 220 C.E., creating a durable state based on Shihuangdi’s state-building achievement. (pron. hahn)

Hellenistic era: The period from 323 to 30 B.C.E in which Greek culture spread widely in Eurasia in the kingdoms ruled by Alexander’s political successors.

Herodotus: Greek historian known as the “father of history” (ca. 484–ca. 425 B.C.E). His Histories enunciated the Greek view of a fundamental divide between East and West, culminating in the Greco-Persian Wars of 490–480 B.C.E (pron. hair- ODD-uh-tus)

hoplite: A heavily armed Greek infantryman. Over time, the ability to afford a hoplite panoply and to fight for the city came to define Greek citizenship.

Ionia: The territory of Greek settlements on the coast of Anatolia; the main bone of contention between the Greeks and the Persian Empire.

Mandate of Heaven: The ideological underpinning of Chinese emperors, this was the belief that a ruler held authority by command of divine force as long as he ruled morally and benevolently.

Marathon, Battle of: Athenian victory over a Persian invasion in 490 B.C.E

Mauryan Empire: A major empire (322–185 B.C.E.) that encompassed most of India.

Olympic Games: Greek religious festival and athletic competition in honor of Zeus; founded in 776 B.C.E and celebrated every four years.

patricians: Wealthy, privileged Romans who dominated early Roman society.

pax Romana: The “Roman peace,” a term typically used to denote the stability and prosperity of the early Roman Empire, especially in the first and second centuries C.E. (pron. pox roh-MAHN-uh)

Peloponnesian War: Great war between Athens (and allies) and Sparta (and allies), lasting from 431 to 404 B.C.E. The conflict ended in the defeat of Athens and the closing of Athens’s Golden Age.

Persepolis: The capital and greatest palace-city of the Persian Empire, destroyed by Alexander the Great. (pron. per-SEP-oh-lis)

Persian Empire: A major empire that expanded from the Iranian plateau to incorporate the Middle East from Egypt to India; flourished from around 550 to 330 B.C.E

plebeians: Poorer, less-privileged Romans who gradually won a role in Roman politics.

Punic Wars: Three major wars between Rome and Carthage in North Africa, fought between 264 and 146 B.C.E, that culminated in Roman victory and control of the western Mediterranean.

Qin dynasty: A short-lived (221–206 B.C.E.) but highly influential Chinese dynasty that succeeded in reuniting China at the end of the Warring States period. (pron. chin)

Qin Shihuangdi: Literally “first emperor from the Qin”; Shihuangdi (r. 221–210 B.C.E.) forcibly reunited China and established a strong and repressive state. (pron. chin shee-hwang-dee)

Solon: Athenian statesman and lawmaker (fl. 594–560 B.C.E.) whose reforms led the Athenians toward democracy.

Wudi: Han emperor (r. 141–86 B.C.E.) who began the Chinese civil service system by establishing an academy to train imperial bureaucrats. (pron. woo-dee)

Xiongnu: Nomadic peoples to the north of the Great Wall of China who were a frequent threat to the stability of the Chinese state. (pron. shong-noo)

Yellow Turban Rebellion: A major Chinese peasant revolt that began in 184 C.E. and helped cause the fall of the Han dynasty.


Period 2: Organization & Reorganization of Human Societies, c. 600 BCE to c. 600 CE

Key Concept 2.1 The Development & Codification of Religious & Cultural Traditions

I. Codifications of existing religious traditions create a bond among the people & an ethical code

A. Judaism developed

1. Influenced by Mesopotamian culture & legal traditions

2. Conquered by political states led to diaspora communities

B. Sanskrit scriptures formed Hinduism(s)

II. New belief systems emerged & spread, often asserting universal truths.

A. Buddhism

B. Confucianism

C. Daoism

D. Christianity

E. Greco-Roman philosophy & science

III. Belief systems affected gender roles

IV. Other religious/traditions continued parallel to written belief systems.

A. Shamanism & animism

B. Ancestor veneration

V. Artistic expressions, including literature & drama, architecture, & sculpture.

A. Literature & drama

B. Indian, Greek, Mesoamerican, & Roman architectural styles.

C. Greco-Roman sculpture, syncretism w/ Buddhism

Key Concept 2.2 The Development of States & Empires

I. Imperial societies grew dramatically.

A. Persian Empires

B. Qin & Han dynasties

C. Maurya & Gupta Empires

D. Phoenician & Greek colonies/colonization, Hellenistic & Roman Empires

E. Teotihuacan, Maya city states

F. Moche

II. Empires & states developed new techniques of imperial administration

A. Rulers created centralized governments, elaborate legal systems, & bureaucracies.

B. Imperial governments projected military power

C. Much of the success of empires rested on their promotion of trade & economic integration

III. Unique social & economic dimensions developed in imperial Societies.

A. Function of Cities

1. centers of trade

2. religious rituals

3. political administration

B. Social hierarchies 1) cultivators; 2) laborers; 3) slaves; 4) artisans; 5) merchants; 6) elites; 7) caste groups.

C. Methods used to produce food, rewards for elites.

D. Patriarchy continued to shape gender & family relations.

IV. Roman, Han, Mauryan, & Gupta declined, collapsed, transformed into successor empires or states.

A. Empires caused environmental damage & generated social tensions & economic difficulties.

B. External problems resulted from the threat of invasions

Key Concept 2.3 Emergence of Trans Regional Networks of Communication & Exchange

I. Hemispheric trade, communication & exchange networks impacted climate & location of the routes, the typical trade goods, & the ethnicity of people

A. Eurasian Silk Roads

B. Trans-Saharan caravan routes

C. Indian Ocean sea lanes

D. Mediterranean sea lanes

II. New technologies led to long-distance communication & exchange.

A. New technologies led to domesticated pack animals, promoted longer routes.

B. Maritime technologies, monsoon winds

III. Intangible Trade Networks

A. crops led to changes in farming & irrigation

B. Diseases decreased urban populations, also decreased empires (Rome & Han)

C. Religious & cultural