Classical Civilizations

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					        Classical Civilizations
   Common themes for our classical
    – Geographic Features and their influence on a
      civilization’s development
    – Types of Government
    – Culture and Intellectual Life
    – Movement of People and Goods
             Do Now: 9.23.09
   Staple and hand hmwk #5
   Set up your notes for “Classical Civilizations”: 1/3
   Quiz on these notes Thursday
   This PowerPoint is also linked on my homepage
   Come after school if you do not have
    PowerPoint at home.
   Aim: to assess the primary characteristics of
    civilizations in the fertile Crescent and China
         Classical Civilizations
   The Fertile Crescent
   This is the land that comprises present day Iraq.
    See map on page 32 of text.
   The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers form a band of
    arable land in an other wise arid climate.
   There are no real natural barriers in this area, and
    as a result we will see a proliferation of changes in
    power in the Ancient Middle east
   This is also referred to as the “cradle of
       Classical Civilizations
 Like Ancient Egypt, the presence of rivers
  provided the needed water and fertile land ti
  support these various civilizations.
 There are some similarities among all of the
  peoples of the Ancient Middle East, and
  here are some of the key facets that each
  have in common.
 Let’s take a look at the map on page 32 of
  our text.
         Classical Civilizations
   Each of the civilizations of the ancient Middle
    East have:
   Polytheistic religions and an economy based
    primarily on agriculture
   A rigid social structure that is based on wealth
    and power
   Governments that are power based, with a single
    ruler in power and no hint of democracy
   Here are some of the key accomplishments of
    these ancient civilizations:
       Classical Civilizations
 Sumerians: The existed nearly 5000 years
  ago, and were the first to have a
  systematized form of writing known as
  cuneiform. This utilized wax tablets, ,and
  included nearly 300 symbols.
 It is generally regarded as the first form of
  writing, and signals a new age in the
  development of civilizations.
        Classical Civilizations
 The Phoenicians began to develop an alphabet,
  that moved from using symbols like the Sumerians
  to utilizing actual letter that could be formed into
 Our 26 letter alphabet is based on this innovation.
 The Hittites, who followed the Phoenicians, were
  responsible for the invention of ironworking.
  This is key for the making of better tools and
       Classical Civilizations
 The Babylonians, who followed the Hittites
  were responsible for the codified laws
  which we studied known as the Code of
 This set of laws was clearly in favor of the
  wealthy classes, but signaled a key step in
  the unification of a people under a prescribe
  set of rules.
       Classical Civilizations
 The Persians, who we will see later will wage
  war against the Ancient Greeks, were the first
  great ancient civilization to begin an extensive
  trading network in the Mediterranean. See page 39
  in your text
 They also began the minting of coins to be used as
  a means of exchange.
 What is key to note about this area and this time
  was the fact that geography played a huge role in
  the development off these peoples.
      Classical Civilizations
 We will see similarities in the development
  of civilization is the Far East.
 Let us take a look at Ancient China and
 Notice the importance of geography in the
  development of these great river valley
       Classical Civilizations
 China: What we have to consider and what we
  need to know…
 Geography: Isolation due to high mountains and
  expansive deserts allow for a sort of protracted
 Let’ look at the map on page 59 of your text.
 China, more than any other region has the concept
  of centralized government down!
      Classical Civilizations
 Mandate of Heaven: this is the equivalent
  of the Divine Right theory that will be
  popular in latter day Europe.
 If God and Politics are connected, there can
  be grave problems.
 The dynasties that you read about are most
  important for the concept of the Dynastic
  Cycle…(see page 62 in text)
          Classical Civilizations
 The Dynastic cycle reflects the natural ebb
  and flow of power in any system.
 New Dynasties: Provide
    –   Peace               As time passes…
    –   Roads and canals    The Dynasty
    –   Land                becomes lazy…
    –   Protection          and neglects the
         Classical Civilizations
   Corruptions causes over-taxation
   Failure to protect their provinces places them at
   Roads and wall begin to fall apart: Lack of
   People are mistreated – governmental apathy
   The “Mandate of Heaven” is “lost”.
   (Really the people’s confidence in the Dynasty is
      Classical Civilizations
 Problems arise that the Dynasty cannot or
  will not handle…
 Finally, a new dynasty fills the power
  vacuum and claims the “Mandate of
 The cycle will continue with each
  succeeding Dynasty…(chart on page 62)
           Do Now: 9.22.08
 Have Hmwk #9 on your desk. Have your
  notebook out. Notes continued : “Classical
 Today’s focus: China, India, Ancient Greece.
 Quiz #2 on Tuesday, based on the notes you have
 Hmwk #10 – Wednesday. Pages 104 – 116 (1/3
  2/3 from your text.
      Classical Civilizations
 Power and Centralized Government in
 Feudalism – (this system will also be the
  foundation of European Middle Ages and
  early Renaissance.)
 Feudalism is a three-tiered system of
      Classical Civilizations
              Dynastic Rulers
     Give land and some autonomy to:
                 Local Lords
Give military allegiance to the Dynastic Ruler
            The Peasant Classes
     Give taxes to the lords in return for
      Classical Civilizations
 Remember that the history of China will be
  a constant struggle between those in power,
  and those seeking power.
 Government is highly centralized, and
  power remains in the hands of the few.
 No matter who gains control, it always
  devolves into a system of exploitation.
 See map on page 95 in text book
      Classical Civilizations
 Chinese Contributions:
 Civil Service: Government Employment
 Paper Manufacturing
 Acupuncture
 Bronze and ceramic work
 The Great Wall
        Classical Civilizations
 India: Geography
 *See map on page 51 of your text
 Three regions of importance…
    – North: Flat. Fertile. Plentiful Water
    – Deccan Plateau: Central. Dry. Little Population
    – Coastal Plains: Fishing. Farming. Trading.
        Heavily Populated.
      Classical Civilizations
 Mauryan Dynasty. (321 – 185 B.C.E)
 Here we see similarities to the Chinese in
  terms of centralized Empires.
 A Bureaucracy existed – a government of
  departments and appointed officials.
 Taxes are collected.
 Public works (Roads etc.) are built
        Classical Civilizations
 The Spread of Buddhism will be central to
  the history of the Indian Subcontinent, and
  we will cover that in later units.
 Further, schools and libraries were built in
  the major cities.

   Let’s move on to Ancient Greece.
        Classical Civilizations
 Geography and the impact on Ancient Greece:
 Consult map on page 108 of your text book
 Mountains, and it’s location prevented Greece
  from having an expansive empire like Egypt or
 Yet, its location also facilitated their skill as
  sailors, which proved to be a benefit in trade.
      Classical Civilizations
 Most significantly, concerning Geography
  in Ancient Greece, was the fact that
  mountains caused the development of the
  City States
 Simply put, people settle in valleys more
  easily than on the sides of mountains
 Hence, in Ancient Greece, independent city
  states developed, rather than having one
  unified “country”.
        Classical Civilizations
 The city state was also referred to as the
 This polis was built on two levels:
    – On the hilltop was constructed the acropolis –
      which typically contained the marble temples
      dedicated to the Greek Gods and goddesses
    – On the flatter plain was the walled main city –
      where the citizens lived.
      Classical Civilizations
 What was the Greek Governmental system
 It will change somewhat over time, but we
  can make some generalities here:
 Early Greece was really a series of
  monarchies in control of the city states.
 Over time, this evolved…
       Classical Civilizations
 Power shifted to the wealthy landowners, called
 This landholding elite were the challenged by a
  growing middle class who prospered as trade
 Hence, the aristocrats then banded together to
  form an oligarchy – which is governmental rule
  by a selected few. This elite were the most
  powerful both economically and politically.
       Classical Civilizations
 Sparta and Athens: a case study in two city states.
 Interestingly – as iron replaced bronze as a metal
  to shape weapons, these weapons became cheaper
  and the military could expand its ranks.
 City-states were now in the hands of citizen
  soldiers, and we will see Sparta and Athens differ
  greatly on their emphasis on the role of the
         Classical Civilizations
   Sparta                        Athens
   Monarchy with two kings       Limited democracy
   Military Society              Laws made by an
   Trade and travel               assembly – only males
    discouraged                   Trade encouraged
   Military training             Education for boys
    mandatory for boys            Women were still
   Women totally subjugated       subjugated
        Classical Civilizations
 The wars between the Athenians and the Spartans
  weakened the power of the Greek city states, and made
  them vulnerable to attack from outside forces.
 The Greek also fought a series of campaigns against the
  Persians, which further diminished their power.
 Greece will be invaded by a power from the north, the
 Phillip of Macedonia will conquer Greece, but it will be his
  Son, Alexander will become known because of his great
  successes as Alexander the Great.

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