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Feudalism [Europe, Mayans, India, Japan]

131 Lecture on global Feudalism

Nathan Chio

on 30 July 2013

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Transcript of Feudalism [Europe, Mayans, India, Japan]

Caste & Feudalism
European Feudalism
In World History
Mayan Society
Caste in India
Mayan Caste System
Mayan Calendar
Mayan Ballgame
Mayan Resistance
Feudal Japan, 1185-1868
The King (hereditary)
Priests and Nobles (hereditary)
Artisans, merchants and craftsmen
Farmers and Slaves
Mayan Dates
2600 BCE Earliest Evidence
250-900 CE Classic Period
700s-800s? Mayan Collapse
900s-1551 Postclassic Period
1551-1697 Spanish Conquest
Tzolkin - sacred
Haab' - solar calendar
Varnas - 4 main categories
Jatis - communities or subcommunities
At one time functioned largely like guilds
Name = Jati
Halwai = Sweet maker
Dhobi = washerman
Srivastava = military scribe

Hereditary nature would pass down skills.
Rig veda - Ancient Indian Sacred Texts [1700-1100 BCE]
His mouth was the Brahman [caste], his arms were the Rajanaya [Ksatriya caste], his thighs the Vaisya [caste]; from his feet the Sudra [caste] was born.
Caste has recently grown less mutable.
Not a Caste
Associated with Professions viewed as unclean: leatherwork, butchering, handling of garbage or waste
9th-15th centuries CE
a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility
Early 9th century Europe lacked centralized power.
Peasants were exploited by warlords.
New Warrior Aristrocracy took weapons from peasantry.
"The moment the farmers lost their right to carry arms,
they were no longer free. They slipped back to being mere
agricultural laborers. Each peasant was under the authority
of a lord, who controlled every detail of his or her life. This
was the basis of the system of feudalism."
Japanese Classical Period, 500-1185
Influence of Buddhism
Heavily influence by Chinese culture
Buddhism, Chinese literature, Confucian societal values.
In classical period Japan ruled by an emperor
Imperial Court was seat of culture in Classical Japan
Toward the end of the classical period civil war broke out between several power clans.
Art, poetry and civility are valued.
Warriors are not.
Feudal Japan
Warrior Families Rule Japan
The Emperor and Court still around but lack any real power.
Daimyo - Lords
Shogun - Military Ruler of Japan
Minamoto no Yoritomo
In the Feudal Period, Buddhism reaches all level of Japanese society.
han- domain of Daimyo
Build castles, establish towns
Each Daimyo retains Samurais
Tsurezuregusa or Essays in Idleness
Yoshida Kenko
I wonder what feelings inspire a man to complain of "having nothing to do." I am happiest when I have nothing to distract me and I am completely alone.
If a man conforms to society, his mind will be captured by the filth of the outside world, and he is easily led astray; if he mingles in society, he must be careful that his words do not offend others, and what he says will not at all be what he feels in his heart. He will joke with others only to quarrel with them, now resentful, now happy, his feelings in constant turmoil. Calculations of advantage will wantonly intrude, and not a moment will be free from considerations of profit and loss. Intoxication is added to delusion, and in a state of inebriation the man dreams. People are all alike: they spend their days running about frantically, oblivious to their insanity.
Even if a man has not yet discovered the path of enlightenment, as long as he removes himself from his worldly ties, leads a quiet life, and maintains his peace of mind by avoiding entanglements, he may be said to be happy, at least for the time being.
It is written in Maka Shikan, " Break your ties with your daily activities, with personal affairs, with your arts, and with learning."
Samurai and Buddhism
Zen Buddhism encouraged personal enlightenment through discipline and meditation.
Impermanence of life.
Need to renounce worldly attachments.
Samurai: Warrior Nobility
Japanese code associated with Samurai
Frugality, martial arts, honor, loyalty
Influenced by both Confucianism and Buddhism
At first functioned like Knights.
Later become more like Lords.
Samurai Weapons:
Daisho - Long and Short Swords
Yumi - long bow
tanegashima - matchlock gun
Seppuku - ritual suicide
47 Ronin
http://s90.photobucket.com/albums/k255/SHATTERED-PEACE/VIDEO TREASURE CHEST/?action=view&current=SNL-JohnBelushi-SamuraiDeliSaturday.flv
Earliest texts [Shruti - early tenants of Hinduism] place very little importance on caste system [descriptive rather than prescriptive].
Rig Veda 9.112.3: "I am a bard, my father is a physician, my mother's job is to grind the corn."
While later scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita [between 5th and 2nd century BCE] ascribe the 4 varnas to God, they're understood as resulting from one's personal qualities and karma, not birth.
The term "caste" came to India via the Portuguese [castas] in the 17th century.
They assumed categories they encountered in India were similar to those in Portugal and colonial Spain [South and Central America] where society was highly stratified on the basis of "class, race and breed."
They imagined caste in India to be perhaps more concrete than it actually was.
Mobility across the castes:
Scholars today now generally agree that in most periods caste was very influential but was not "static and unchanging."
The exact relationship between the castes changes over time.
In practice when one achieved political power, they could then acquire a lineage locating them in their new caste.
Others believed that mobility across caste lines in one lifetime would be rare but certain Jatis might change their social status over time.
LAWS OF MANU - "how to live your life" c. 200 BCE

87. But in order to protect this universe He, the most resplendent one, assigned separate (duties and) occupations to those who sprang from his mouth, arms, thighs, and feet.
88. To Brahmanas he assigned teaching and studying (the Veda), sacrificing for their own benefit and for others, giving and accepting (of alms).
89. The Kshatriya he commanded to protect the people, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), and to abstain from attaching himself to sensual pleasures;
90. The Vaisya to tend cattle, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), to trade, to lend money, and to cultivate land.
91. One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudra, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes.
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