Prehistory - Ancient Mesopatamia
Neanderthal flourished in Europe and Southeast Asia. They were the first humans to bury their dead, fashioned clothing from animal skins, lived in caves, and created cave drawing.
Cro-Magnon had a similar bone structure to the modern human and are also known as Homo sapiens Sapiens. They were skillful toolmakers and used spoken language.
Pastoralism developed in the grasslands of Africa and Eurasia as agricultural communities arose. Pastoralists or herders contributed meat and other animals to the overall food supply, Further enlarging Neolithic human populations. At times their overgrazing of livestock led to soil erosion.
The Agricultural Revolution also known as the Neolithic Revolution occurred when people figured out how to cultivate plants. The cultivation of crops created a constant supply of food and allowed people to stay in one place.
Çatal Hüyük, located in south central Anatolia, became a prominent village due to its close proximity to obsidian deposits. Çatal Hüyük had a rapid development of specialization and artifacts such as baskets, textiles, leather, tools, beads, jewelry, etc have circulated through this town
Mesopotamians discovered that when you mixed copper with tin they could create a much harder and stronger implements which led to the creation of bronze. Bronze had an immediate effect on military affairs and later had an effect on Agriculture.
Sargon of Akkad was a talented administrator and brilliant warrior who created the Akkadian empire in Mesopotamia. At the high point of his reign his empire embraced all of Mesopotamia and he transformed his capital city of Akkad into the most powerful city in the world.
The Epic of Gilgamesh was the work of compilers living during the Babylonian Empire. The experiences of Gilgamesh and Enkidu explored the themes of friendship, relations between humans and gods and especially the meaning of life and death. It was the principle vehicles for Mesopotamian reflections in moral issues.
Abraham was the Hebrew Patriarch that was from Sumerian city of Ur, but later led Hebrews to Northern Mesopotamia (Canaan) due to the disorder in Sumer.
Hammurabi was the most prominent Babylonian conquer who was know as the "King of the four corners of the world." Hammurabi created the Hammurabi's Laws which established high standards of behavior and stern punishment for violators.
Menes was a conquer who established the city of Memphis and started to build a society in which Pharaohs much like himself would rule Egypt. The entire river valley was united under King Menes and as result the civilization became wealthy and powerful.
The most enduring symbols of their authority and divine status are the massive pyramids constructed during the Old Kingdom. The enormous pyramids show the Pharaohs ability to marshal Egyptian resources.
The Pharaohs of the New Kingdom presided over a prosperous and productive society. Agricultural surpluses supported a population of perhaps four million people as well as an army and an elaborate bureaucracy that divided responsibilities among different offices. Pharaohs of the New Kingdoms did not build enormous pyramids.
Ancient India and China
Oracle bones were the principal instrument used by fortunetellers in Ancient China. Oracle Bones were used during the Shang Dynasty and Oracle Bones give us an insight into the Shang Dynasty's political and social order.
Harappa and Mohenjo-daro were two prominent cities in the Harappa society that were political and economic centers for their own regions in the Indus River valley. The two cities represented a considerable investment of human labor and other resources. They both a high degree of standardization which was possible because the Indus Valley facilitated trade, travel, and communications among the far-flung regions of Harappan society.
Xia Dynasty made one of the first efforts to organize public life in China on a large scale. Yu was the founder of the Xia and helped establish recognized authorities and formal political institutions. The Xia Dynasty was located along the Yellow River
Shang Dynasty was centered around the Yellow River Valley. The Shang were a warrior people who moved their capital several times. They used its agricultural surplus to build a trade centered civilization. At its height Shang controlled large parts of northern China and was militarily quite powerful.
Vedas are composed of hymns, songs, prayers and rituals honoring the various gods of Aryans. The Vedas represent a priestly perspective on affairs. The word Veda means "wisdom" or "knowledge". In view of their importance as historical sources scholars refer to Indian history during the millennium between 1500 and 500 B.C.E. as the Vedic age.
The Zhou Dynasty replaced the Shang Dynasty as the administrator of Northeastern China, but the Zhou Dynasty keep most of the Shang traditions and customs. The Zhou Dynasty lasted for nearly 900 years. The Zhou Dynasty believed in the Mandate of Heaven, meaning that heaven would grant the Zhou power only as long as its ruler governed justly and wisely.
The word Upanishad means "a sitting in front of," and it refers to the practice of disciples gathering before a stage for discussion of religious issues. The Upanishads developed several specific doctrines to explain their line of thought which was appearances are deceiving, that individual human beings are not separate and autonomous creatures.
The last centuries of the Zhou Dynasty were so violent they are known as the Period of Warring States. Territorial princes ignored the central government and used their resources to build strength and expand their states. They fought ferociously with one another in hopes of establishing themselves as new leaders of a new political order.
Ancient America's and Oceania
The humans who first migrated to Australia and New Guinea arrived in water-crafts, but because of the low sea levels the migrants did not have to cross large stretches of open ocean. By the first millennium CE they had established human community is all habitable islands of the Pacific ocean. The first human migrants to reach Australia and New Guinea were hunter-gatherers
Homo Sapiens took advantage of land bridges linking Siberia to Alaska and established human societies in North America.
The Olmecs or the "Rubber People" were an urban society supported by surpluses of food. Olmecs were located in modern Mexico. They mastered Irrigation techniques and constructive large-scale building, they were polytheistic and developed a writing system and a calendar. They are known for their trade in jade and obsedian as well as their colossal Olmec heads made from basalt rock.
The Chavín cult spread through most of the territory occupied by the modern Peru. The cult arose when maize became an important crop in South America
Popol Vuh was a mayan myth that the gods created humans with water and maize.
The earliest heirs of the Olmecs was the Maya, who created a remarkable society in the region now occupied by southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. The Maya built the states of Tikal and Chichén Itzá. The Mayan are known for their elaborate calendar.
Cyrus was from a mountainous region on southwestern Iran. He was known to be a tough, wily leader and an outstanding military strategist. He laid the foundation for the first Persian empire known as the Achaemenid empire.
The Achaemenid empire relied on a balance between central initiative and local administration. The Achaemenid Empire organized their administration by Satrapies. The Achaemenids' roads and administrative machinery enabled them to govern a vast empire and extend Persian influences throughout their territories.
Darius was the greatest emperor of Achaemenid empire.His armies conquered lands as far as the Indus Valley.He centralized his administration and built the capital Persepolis. He built the biggest empire of his time.
Confucius believed education was part of the preparation for an ideal government. Confucius believed in three main qualities; which are ren, li, and xiao. He served as an educator and a political advisor. He encouraged his students to cultivate high ethical standards and to hone their faculties of analysis and judgment.
The fundamental ideas and values of Confucianism were moral, ethical, and political in character, but thoroughly practical. Confucianism has three main qualities; which are ren, li, and xiao. Ren is an attitude of kindness and benevolence.
Laozi is the supposed founder of Daoism. He was a sage that contributed to the basic exposition of Daoist beliefs, Daodejing (Classic of the Way and of Virtue).
Daoists believed it was pointless to waste time and energy on problems that defied a solution. Daoist devoted their energy towards reflection and introspection. Daoist believed that harmony would be reached when people ceased to meddle in affairs that they could not understand or control
Legalism was based on the fundamental principles which promoted a practical and ruthlessly efficient approach to statecraft. Legalist did not concern themselves with morality, ethics, or propriety. Legalists didn't concern themselves with the principles governing the world or the place of human beings in nature. Legalists concerned themselves with their state in which they were devoted to strengthening and expanding at all costs.
Mencius was the most learned man of his age and the principal spokesperson for the Confucian school. He was a big advocate for the virtue of ren. He is considered to be the most authoritative of Confucius's early expositors.
The Qin Dynasty was a period in time when Qin Shihuangdi reigned. He created a dynasty that was highly centralized with a uniform coinage, legal standards, and a standardized script. Qin reigned form his Capitol of Xianyang. Under the Qin Dynasty defensive walls were built and linked together as well as 6,800 km long of roads. The Qin are also famous for their terra-cotta army.
Qin Shihuangdi was the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty and greatly influenced Chinese history. He linked walls that became the precursor to the Great Wall of China. To add he pointed China in the direction of cultural and political unity. Qin Shihuangdi governed from his capital of Xianyang. He was known to have standardized life in China.
The Han Dynasty was the longest empire in China's history. Han Dynasty was unified under a centralized imperial rule by emperor Liu Bang. Technological advancements and inventions of the Han included Paper, collar harness, plow, wheelbarrow, and waterwheel. The social classes under the Han included the emperor. Governors and kings, nobles, scholars and state officials, peasants, artisans, merchants, soldiers, and slaves. Agriculture was vital to the Han Dynasty. Han Wudi set up a Confucianism based imperial university. The taxes collected by the Han dynasty supported the government and the military.
The Yellow Turban uprisings- so named because of the distinctive headgear worn by rebels- was a particularly serious revolt that raged throughout China and tested the resilience of Han state.
Buddhism is a religion based on the four Noble truths and is associated with Buddha. It's adherents desired to eliminate all distracting passion and reach nirvana. Buddhism focuses on human suffering and how to eliminate it.
Siddhartha Gautama is the founder of Buddhism. He believed that people needed to be more aware of the suffering around them. He received enlightenment and understood the problem of suffering. Buddha doctrine is known as the Four Noble Truths that explains suffering and desire. The Eightfold path discusses the elimination if desire.
The Mauryan Dynasty was an Indian dynasty that was founded by Chandragupta Maurya and reached its peak with Ashoka. The Mauryan Dynasty unified the Indian subcontinent and left a lasting impression on India.
Ashoka Maurya is the grandson of Chandragupta. Under Ashoka's rule the Mauryan empire reached its peak. He began his rule as a conquerer and conquered Kalinga. He also known as a governor that ruled a tightly organized bureaucracy.
The Gupta Dynasty based their state in Magadha, a crucial region because of its wealth and its dominance of the Ganges valley. The Gupta Dynasty was somewhat smaller in size to the Mauryan. The Gupta dynasty brought stability and prosperity to the subcontinent. Gupta's prosperity sustained the work of scholars and enabled them to lay the foundations for sophisticated studies and natural sciences and mathematics.
Chandra Gupta forged alliances with powerful families in the Ganges region and established a dynamic kingdom about the year 320 BCE. He is not related to Chandragupta Maurya. Chandra Gupta was the emperor of the Gupta Dynasty
Socrates did not commit his thought to writing and he also didn't assertively expound his views. He believed that humans could be honest and honesty should be more value then wealth, fame, or other superficial attributes. Socrates subjected traditional ethnically teachings to critical scrutiny. Due to this very reason he was convicted of corrupting the youth and condemned him to death.
Plato composed dialogues of Socrates views. Plato was Socrates disciple and in his earliest dialogues he largely represented his mentors views. Plato was disturbed by that fact that he could not gain satisfactory intellectual control over the world. Plato developed his belief that the world in which we live was not the only world. Plato skewed an ideal state that reflected his philosophical views.
Aristotle was the student of Plato. He elaborated a systematic philosophy that equaled Plato's work in its long term influence. Aristotle believed that philosophers could rely on their senses to provide accurate information about the world and then depend on a reasons to sort out the mystery. He wrote on biology, physics, astronomy, psychology, politics, ethics, and literature.
Alexander of Macedon was the son of Phillip of Macedon. Alexander assembled an army of about forty-eight thousand men to invade the Persian empire. He was a brilliant strategist and an inspired leader who inherited a well equipped, well disciplined, highly spirited veteran force. Alexander had conquered Anatolia, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and part of India. Although he accomplished much he died at the age of thirty-three
The Roman Republic consisted of patriarchs ( land owning noble-men), Plebeians (all free men), and slaves. The Roman government was organized as a representative republic governed by two distinct groups including the Senate and the Assembly. Consuls had veto power over decisions made by the assembly. The Roman Republic's codified laws were the Twelve Tables. The social structure of Roman family centered on the pater familia. The Punic Wars occurred during this time.
Julius Caesar favored liberal policies and social reform. He spent an enormous amount of money to sponsor public spectacles which helped him build his reputation and win the election to posts of the republican government. Caesar conquered Gaul which resulted in his popularity. By 46 BCE Caesar had made himself dictator of Rome. He then centralized the military and political functions and brought them under his control. He confiscated property from conservatives and distributed it to veterans and supporters. He also extended Roman citizenship to people in imperial provinces. Caesar was attacked and stab to death by the senate.
Augustus (Octavian) was the nephew, adopted son, and protégé of Julius Caesar. In 31 BCE Augustus defeated his principal rival Mark Antony, the last of Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt. In 27 BCE the senate bestowed him a title of Augustus, a term with strong religious connotations suggesting the divine or semi divine nature of its holder, Augustus fashioned an imperial government that guided Rome into the next three centuries. He disguised his monarchy as a republic and took control of all government functions
Pax Romana is a term used to describe Roman Peace. It relates to the time when a there was political stability, cultural brilliance, and economic prosperity. Roman Peace began with the unification under Augustus and lasting through the first two centuries CE.
The Roman Republic eventually collapses and the first triumvirate took control. Caesar was on of the three and he pushed his other two partners out of the way, so he could become emperor for life. Caesar marks the beginning of the Roman Empire and after his death the second triumvirate takes control. Power shifted again to one person, Octavious who becomes emperor. Under Augustus Rome became the capital of the western world. he established the rule of law, a coomon coinage, civil service, and secure travel for merchants. The Roman Empire expanded across Southern Europe and Northern Africa. Rome fluorished and they reached new heights in arts, science, and astronomy.
Jesus of Nazareth was a charismatic Jewish teacher who, Christians recognize as their savior. Jesus was born around 4BCE and grew up at a time of high tension between Roman overlords and their Jewish subjects. Jesus was a peaceful man who taught devotion to God and live for fellow human beings. Romans were alarmed by Jesus and in efforts to forestall a new round of rebellion, executed Jesus. Jesus is considered the savior of the Christian faith and his life is compiled in a body of writings known as the New Testament.
Christianity's founder was Jesus Christ and the religion grew out of Judaism. Christianity became widely accepted in the Roman Empire after the reign of Augustus. The apostles of Jesus and missionaries extended the influence of Christianity throughout the empire. In 391 CE Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire and since then it continues to be one of the most influential religions in the world.
Constantine was son of Constantius, the co-ruler of Diocletian. In 306 CE Constantine built the city of Constantinople and by 330 CE it became the capital of the united Roman empire. Constantine was an able emperor who had faced the same sort of administrative difficulties as his successors had. Constantine experienced a vision that impressed upon him the power of the Christian God and for that very reason he let Christians practice their faith openly in the Roman Empire
-25 out of 26 emperors died violently
-divison of empire
Germanic invasions placed immediate and serious military threat to the Roman Empire. Indeed during the fifth century CE, Germanic invasions brought an end to Roman authority in the western half of the empire, although imperial rule survived for an additional millennium in the eastern Mediterranean.
The silk roads were of great significance to history because they connected the entire Eurasian land mass. To add it created a highly efficient system for communication and facilitated the trading of goods and ideas. Merchants and travelers created an extensive network of trade that linked much of Eurasia and north Africa. Silk from China was one of the principal commodities exchange over the roads. Overland roads took caravan trade from China to the Roman empire. The silk roads also included a network of sea lanes that sustained maritime commerce throughout much of the eastern hemisphere. There was a wide variety of manufactured products and agricultural commodities. In Central Asia high quality jade and strong horses were produced and traded along the silk roads
Diocletian attempted to deal with the Roman empires problem by dividing it into two administrative districts. Diocletian hoped by creating the four officials known as the Tetrarchs would be able to minister the vast empire more efficiently than a individual. His efforts on strengthening his crumbling economy were less successful than his administrative reforms but they help stabilize the economy.
-Tax revoluts by uppper class and church exempt from taxes
-decrease in trade
-25 out of 26 emperors died violently
-divison of empire