Ancient Greece

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					 Fall of Classical Empires 200-600 CE
• Decline of Han, Gupta and Roman Empires

         Why civilizations fall?

• External             • Internal
  – War                  – Overpopulation
  – Natural disaster     – Economic problems
  – Disease              – Social disruption
                         – Political struggles

   How do civilizations collapse?
• Population size and density decrease dramatically
• Society tends to become less politically centralized
• Less investment is made in things such as
  architecture, art, and literature
• Trade and other economic activities are greatly
• The flow of information among people slows
• The ruling elites may change, but usually the
  working classes tend to remain and provide
   Is it possible to prevent collapse?
• Every society must:
   –answer basic biological needs of its
     • food, drink, shelter, and medical care.

  –provide for production and distribution
   of goods and services
     • perhaps through division of labor, rules
       concerning property and trade, or ideas
       about role of work).

•provide for reproduction of new
members and consider laws and
issues related to reproduction
  •regulation, marriageable age, number
  of children, and so on.

•provide for training of individuals so
that they can become functioning
adults in society.
  •education, apprenticeship, passing on
  of values
• provide for maintenance of internal
  and external order
  • laws, courts, police, wars, diplomacy.

• provide meaning and motivation to its

                Han China

• Decline begins around 100 C.E.
• Causes:
  – Heavy taxes levied on peasants
  – Decline in interest in Confucianism
  – Poor harvests
  – Population decline from epidemic disease
  – Pressure from bordering nomadic tribes

–Social unrest– especially by students
–Decline in morality
–Weak emperors
–Increased influence of army generals
–Unequal land distribution
–Decline in trade

• Daoism
  – Gains new popularity
• Yellow Turbans
  – Daoist revolutionary group 184 C.E.
    • Promise new age of prosperity and security
       – Initiated by magic
    • Attacked the weakness of emperor and the self
      indulgence of bureaucracy
    • Protest movement will eventually fail
• Decay of Han empire made it difficult
 to resist the nomadic invaders that
 lived along their borders
  – Called the Hsiung-nu
    • Raid the borders for decades
    • Chinese paid tribute to prevent further
       – But by 220 C.E. no longer keep the Hsiung-nu out

• Fall of China
  –Will be followed by almost 3 centuries
   of disorder and decentralization
  –Structures of classical China were simply
   too strong to be overturn
    • Bureaucracy will decline in scope and

• China despite threats will survive and
  not have to reinvent its civilization
  –Confucian tradition continue among the
  –Nomads will assimilate into the Chinese

              Fall of Rome
• Pax Romana
  – Came to close with death of Marcus
    Aurelius in 180 C.E.

• Ineffective emperors
    – More concern with life of pleasure than rule
• A drop in population
    – Early symptom of Rome’s decline
•   Influence of army generals
•   Introduction of a new religion for the majority
•   Decline in trade
•   Increase in taxes
•   Decrease money flow into empire
    – As a result of conquest of new territory ceasing   14
• Epidemic disease
  – 2nd and 3rd century– Han and Roman
    suffered large scale outbreaks of epidemic
    • Result of trade and interaction
    • Smallpox, measles, bubonic plague
    • No immunity or medicine
    • Roman lost 25% of population
       – Higher rate in Cities

• Poor harvest
• Unequal land distribution
• Social and moral decay and lack of interest
  the elite classes
• Roman dependence on slave labor
• Recruitment on non Romans in the Roman
• Vastness of the empire
  – Difficult to rule
• Barbarian invasions
  – Someone who is not a part of an civilization
• Many small landowners during the
  decline will be forced to sale their
  land to owners of large estates
  –Called latifundia
    • Self sufficient
       –Lessen the need for a central authority
       –Roman emperors
    • Economic self sufficiency will discourage
       –Decline in trade will eventually produce a
        decline in urban population
        Measures to save the empire

• Diocletian
  – Reduce the size of the empire
  – Imposed strict control over empire
  – Declare himself a god
     • When Christians refused to worship him, more persecution
• Constantine
  – Establish a second capital at Byzantium
     • Rename the city Constantinople
  – Convert to Christianity and allow worship
     • Edict of Milan

• Last straw was the barbarian invasions
  – Originated in steppes of Central Asia
• Huns will migrate south and west in
  search of better pasturelands
  – Movement of Huns will pressure Germanic
    tribes who already live on Roman Empire
  – Effective against empire armies because of
    their skills as horsemen
    • stirrup
• Germanic tribes will overrun the Roman
  – By 425, several Germanic tribes establish in
    the empire
  – 476 the last western Roman emperor is
    replaced by Germanic ruler of Visigoth tribe
    • Romulus Augustus

        Eastern Roman Empire
• Did not fall at the same time
• Reason for endurance
  – Less pressure from invaders
  – More active in trade
     • Located on Bosporus
        – Hub for trade routes
     • Center of art and architecture
  – More wealth than western Roman empire
  – Older traditions of civilizations

• Neighboring empires served as trade
  – Parthians and Sassanid's
• Preserved Greek culture but also brought in
  Chinese and Indian goods and cultural trends

• Justinian attempts to reconquer portions of
  Roman empire
  – Failed
• Western Empire
  – Increasingly fragmented into self sufficient estates
     • Germanic kingdoms
  – Centralized government replaced by rule based on
    tribal allegiances of the German invaders

• Western half of the Roman Empire experience
  the most severe collapse. Why?
  – Rome was economically interdependent and the
    decline in trade severely hurt the economy
  – Continual waves of nomadic invasions made
    recovery difficult
  – The spread of disease led to a decrease in
    population and a weakened empire

                     Gupta India
• Less devastating than that of Han China and
• By 500 – number of invasions by nomadic people
   – May have been related to Huns
• Many of the invaders integrated into warrior
  caste of India
   – Form a new ruling group of regional princes called
      • Controlled small states and emphasized military
• Influence of Gupta rulers decline as local princes
  more powerful
• Traditional Indian culture will continue despite
  invasion from outside and later during foreign
   – Buddhism will become less popular
   – Hinduism will increase in numbers
   – After 600 Islam will present a new challenge

                                                –   Source- 5 steps to a 5

             Comparisons of Fall Classical Empires
           Han                        Western Rome                Gupta
Time of    220 CE                     476 CE                      550 CE
Economic   •Scholar officials were    •Rich landowning class      •The government
           often exempt from          often resisted paying       had great difficulty
           taxes                      their taxes                 raising enough
           •Peasant often fled        •When tax collectors        taxes to pay the
           from tax collectors        approach- driven away       army to protect its
           •Result of severe          by landowners private       borders
           reduction of tax           armies
           revenue which cripple      •Church land not taxable
           the empire                 •As the empire declined
           •Long distance trade did   , so did trade because of
           decrease, but Chinese      unsafe roads and
           were self sufficient and   because it relied on
           were not severely hurt     economic independence
           by this                    •The drop in tax revenue
                                      and inflation cripple
                                      Rome’s economy

            Han                       Western Rome             Gupta
Political   •The government was       •The government had      •The regional powers
            unable to check the       trouble finding          of the Guptas allowed
            power of the large        bureaucrats that could   them to keep much of
            private estates owners    enforce the laws         their administrative
            •The emperor heavily      •Power struggles for     power
            relied on the advice of   the throne plagued the   •They eventually grew
            his court officials and   empire                   more powerful than
            was often misinformed     •From 235-284 CE, 25     the central
            for their personal gain   out of 26 Emperors       government
                                      died a violent death
                                      •The division of the
                                      empire into two
                                      sections allowed the
                                      eastern portion to
                                      remain stronger, while
                                      the western portion

            Han                       Western Rome            Gupta

Social      •The population           •Plagues dramatically
            increase led to smaller   reduced the
            family plots and          population, in
            increased difficulty of   particular the
            the peasant class to      farming population
            pay taxes                 •Upper class more
                                      pleasure seeking
                                      •Loss of morals
Role of     •The Xiongnu invaded,     •The Roman army         •The government
Nomadic     but only after the        could not defend        was too weak to
Invasions   empire had already        against the             defend against the
            fallen                    movement of such        nomadic invasions
            •Nomadic invasions        nomadic groups as       of the White Huns
            took place because        the Ostrogoths, Huns
            the empire was no         and Visigoths.
            longer providing them     •Rome was sacked by
            with what they            the Visigoths in 476
            needed                    BC
                                                                     Source-kaplan 29
           New Religious Map
• 200-600 CE will see effective rise in many of
  the world’s religions
  – Plague had caused new interest in belief system
    that could provide comfort.

• Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism share
  common characteristics
  – Intense devotion and piety
  – Importance of spiritual concerns beyond the daily
    cares of earthly life
  – Hope of better existence after this life
  – Each responded to new political instability and to
    the growing poverty

• People of Asia, Europe and Africa will undergo
  a conversion process
• Many will blend new beliefs with old
  – Called syncretism
     • Also meant that religions changed too
     • Sometimes adopting features of different civilizations
       while holding on to larger religion claims

• Will change substantially as it move out of
  – Will be worship by a minority faith in India
• Chief agents for expansion and leadership was

• Bodhisattvas
  – An enlightened being who, out of compassion,
    forgoes nirvana in order to save others
     • Serve as example to others by leading them in prayer
       and advising them on spiritual matters

• Buddhism was not popular with Chinese
  Confucian leaders
  – Thought belief in afterlife would divert people
    from appropriate political interests
     • Might distract ordinary people from loyalty to emperor
  – Incompatible to proper family obligations

• Buddhism will had a greater influence in
  Japan, Korea and Vietnam than in China
• Buddhism will not by itself dominate any
  whole civilization but will live along side of
  other faiths.

• By 200 CE more people in Asia , Europe and
  North Africa are starting practice monotheism


• Christianity will stress
   – Evangelism
       • Preaching of the gospel through missionaries and widespread
   – Hierarchy of church officials
       • Copy the example of the Roman government organization and
   – Egalitarianism of all believers
       • Maintaining equal political, economic and legal rights for all
   – Belief in the trinity
   – Intolerance of other groups
   – Belief that humans as superior to the rest of nature

• Han China, Gupta India, Greece and Roman
  will dominated the world during the Classical
  – Long distance trade greatly expanded
     • Allow for the movement of ideas and goods

• Will influence other civilizations and societies
  that come into them
  – Indian merchants will develop long distance trade
    routes with Southeast Asia
     • Broaden spread of Buddhism and Hinduism
  – Trade will draw Africa into classical Mediterranean
     • Romans kept Mediterranean Sea safe for trade and
       travel which will allow long-distance trade
     • Greek merchants will carry Christianity to Ethiopia

                  Silk Roads
• Longest and the most important overland
  trade route
• Originated during a diplomatic mission to
  Central Asian nomads during the Han Empire
  – Diplomatic mission failed, but silk and horses big
  – Chinese historians see Zhang Jian as the originator
    of the trade route.

                                         Source- Kaplan & 5 Steps to a 5 41
• Almost never did one merchant make the
  entire journey
  – Parthians and later Sassanid will play a major role
    in the trade.
     • Pastoral nomads
        – Will provide animals
        – Handle the animals
        – Provide protection
     • Travel in caravans in stages- one oasis to next

–Transported not only trade goods
 but also religious beliefs, technology
 and disease (cultural diffusion)
  • Buddhism , Manichaeism & Christianity
       »Stress meditation and ethical
       »Derived from Zoroastrianism
       »Dualist faith
       »Struggle between good and evil
• Will change the way war was fought
   –Mounted bowmen

             Goods that Traveled
       East to West            West to East
•   Silk               •   Glassware
•   Spices             •   Jewelry
•   Cotton             •   Bronze goods
•   Pearls             •   Wool and linen
•   Coral              •   Olive oil
•   Ivory              •   Gold and silver bullion

                                                     Source – Kaplan 45
              Indian Ocean
• Linked the lands bordering the Indian Ocean
  and the South China Sea
• Principles players in trade was Malay and
  Indian sailors

              Indian Ocean
• Sometimes refer to as the Sea lanes of Silk
  – west from Guangzhou in Southern China South
    China Sea     Southeast Asia  India    Arabian
    Sea     Persian Gulf

                                          Source Kaplan 47
• Trade will followed the patterns of the
  seasonal changes in the monsoon winds
• The Greeks are believed to have discover the
  seasonal monsoon winds
  – Highly unlike that winds had went unnoticed until

• Sailing technology that was unique to Indian
  – Lateen sail
     • Triangular sails that enable them to sail against the
  – Ship building technique
     • Pierce the planks, tie them together and caulk
• Indian sailors will sail across the vast Indian
  Ocean unlike the Mediterranean sailors who
  never lost site of land.
• Traders in the Indian system seldom retained
  political ties to homelands
  – Due to the distance travel made contact less
  – As a result wars between the various lands
    participating in trade was rare

• Trading system well established and
  – Goods traded
     • Spices, aromatic resins, pearls, Chinese pottery and
       other luxury items
• Volume of trade not as high as in the
  – Due to distance

• Seafarers had significant social impact despite
  their lack of political power
  – Married local women in the ports they frequent
  – Women will become mediators between the
     • Families were bilingual and bicultural
     • Seafarers- Persian, Arab, Indian and Malay will have
       mixed heritages and rich cultural diversity

         Mediterranean Sea
• Often refer to as Roman Lake
  – Because the Roman Empire surrounded the sea
• Sea trade flowed from Syria      Spain
  North Africa
• Romans kept lake free and safe from pirates
  – Allowed trade to thrive and grow
  – Transport goods from one part of empire to the

                                             Source Kaplan 53
Roman Trade Routes

               Role of Women in Religion
Religion        Role of Women
Buddhism        •Women could achieve nirvana
                •An alternative lifestyle was available for women as nuns in a
Christianity    •Men and women were equal in eyes of God
                •Women could go to heaven
                •Many early converts were women
                •Women could live in convents
Confucianism •Men were superior to women
             •One of the five key relationships is that of husband and wife
Hinduism        •Men were superior to women
                •Women were not allowed to read the sacred prayers, the
                •In order to reach moksha, one must be a male Brahmin

                                                                      Source Kaplan55
        Women Status in Ancient Societies
Rome/Greece                    India                         China
•Strict & patriarchal social   •Strict patriarchal -Caste    •Strict Confucian social
divisions                      system                        order and guidelines for
                                                             virtuous behavior
•Little land ownership         •Women were not allowed       •Only sons inherit property
                               to inherit property
•High literacy among upper •Forbidden to read sacred         •Upper classes educated in
class                      texts                             arts and literature and all
                                                             educated in virtues
•Spartan women were            •Not allowed to be citizens   •Not allowed to be citizens
•Women could own               •Needed large dowry and       •Arranged marriages
business (especially           no remarriage for widows      though widows were
women)                                                       permitted to remarry
•Women could be                •Women could not achieve      •Buddhist convents and
priestesses or later nuns      moksha                        Daoism balance male and
                                                                          Source- Princeton 56