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Ancient Civilizations

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Sabrina Anand

on 28 August 2014

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Transcript of Ancient Civilizations

Ancient Civilizations
The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Indus Valley Civilization
Early China
Indians of Early America cont.
The Roman Empire’s period of greatness lasted about 200 years.
It began with the reign of Caesar Augustus and ended with the death of Marcus Aurelius.
After the year 180, the empire began to decline.
Many factors led to the fall of Rome.
As the empire expanded and acquired more territory, taxes were increased to administer the government and to support the army.
At the same time, an influx of slaves into the empire caused widespread unemployment, a number of social problems (such as crime), moral decay, and a lack of interest in government.
Few people in Rome seemed to realize, or care, that the empire was crumbling around them.
During one 50 year period, 26 different emperors ruled from Rome.
As Rome grew weaker, its army also declined.
The overall effect was that the army became undisciplined and ineffective.
The Fall of the Roman Empire cont.
The Fall of the Roman Empire cont.
The Fall of the Roman Empire cont.
In time, higher taxes wiped out the middle class, and trade and business suffered.
While the poor grew poorer, the rich indulged themselves in idleness and pleasure.
The Fall of the Roman Empire cont.
The orderly succession to the throne that had characterized the empire throughout its history ended.
Rival factions of the army fought civil wars and installed their own candidates as emperor.
The Fall of the Roman Empire cont.
Of this number, 25 were murdered.
Such instability in the government weakened Rome and made it vulnerable to attacks from Germanic tribes to the north.
Citizens ignored their duties and refused to enlist in the army, forcing officials to recruit barbarians who had settled within the empire.
The Fall of the Roman Empire cont.
All of these factors contributed to the takeover of the Roman Empire in the west by the Germanic Visigoth tribe.
At about the time that early civilizations were flourishing in Egypt and Mesopotamia, others were beginning to develop in India and China.
In India, an early civilization sprang up in the valley of the Indus River.
For centuries, little was known about the first inhabitants of the Indus Valley.
Then in 1920, archaeologists unearthed the ancient cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
They also discovered large granaries, with their walls closed in, that seemed to indicate that the residents used grain as money.
The people of the Indus Valley were farmers, herders, and traders.
Evidence points to the theory that the people of the Indus Valley traded with the peoples of the Fertile Crescent.
The people may have moved elsewhere, after centuries of flooding caused their cities to disappear under a sea of mud.
The Indus Valley Civilization cont.
They were surprised to find streets that intersected perfectly and houses that had bathrooms with drainage systems.
The Indus Valley Civilization cont.
The Indus Valley Civilization cont.
The Indus Valley Civilization cont.
The Indus Valley Civilization cont.
The two cities were similar, although they were located roughly a thousand miles apart.
Countless clay toys that were unearthed seemed to indicate that the making of toys was an important industry.
They grew and traded such major crops as wheat and barley.
No one really knows what happened to the Indus Valley civilization.
Another possibility is that they were conquered by Indo-Aryans from Persia, who moved into the area.
People have lived in China for more than 500,000 years.
One of the first was the Shang dynasty. Others of importance during ancient times were the Chou (ZHOU), Ch’in (QIN) and Han dynasties.
Under the Shang rulers, the Chinese learned to make beautiful objects of bronze.
They also developed a system of writing, which they inscribed on bones and shells.
Under the Ch’in dynasty, the Great Wall of China was built and during the Han dynasty, paper and porcelain were invented.
Early China cont.
Early China cont.
During the Chou dynasty, great philosophers like Confucius and Lao-tse left their mark on history.
Confucius, for example, gave us the Golden Rule, which states, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
Early China cont.
Early China cont.
Chinese civilization may be older than the civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India.
The earliest civilization to develop there sprang up in the valley of the Hwang Ho (Yellow) River.
The earliest inhabitants of the Hwang Ho valley were farmers who grew vegetables, wheat, and millet(a form of grain).
At first they grouped themselves into villages.
However, Chinese villages were incorporated into states, and dynasties began to rule China.
The Great Wall of China, erected to keep out invaders, is the longest fortified line ever built. It still stands today.
Egypt’s early civilization was not the only one to develop in Africa.
During its existence Kush traded with India and Egypt.
Its culture, in fact, was amazingly similar to that of Egypt.
The Kushite capital city of Meroe bore evidence of the architectural skills of its people.
They constructed pyramids in the manner of the Egyptians, except their pyramids were flat at the top instead of pointed.
Later, even greater empires like those of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai appeared on the coast of West Africa.
But these empires, for the most part, spanned the years of the Middle Ages rather than those of ancient times.
Powerful African Kingdoms
Powerful African Kingdoms cont.
Powerful African Kingdoms cont.
Powerful African Kingdoms cont.
Powerful African Kingdoms cont.
Powerful African Kingdoms cont.
Kush was located in the upper Nile Valley, where Sudan is today.
It was the first civilization to develop south of the Sahara Desert.
Powerful kingdoms also appeared in Kush and Axum toward the end of ancient times.
The Kushites built great temples and beautiful brick mansions, as well as reservoirs and tanks for storing water.
Because their written language has yet to be deciphered, little else is known of Kushite culture.
The Axumites were a trading people who sold ivory and other goods in Persia, Arabia, India, and Asia Minor.
One of their kings, Ezana, conquered the Kushite city of Meroe, as well as parts of Arabia.
The other early African kingdom, Axum, existed in what is now Ethiopia.
It was centered southeast of Kush near the Red Sea.
To commemorate his victories, he built several needle-shaped obelisks, which still stand today.
King Ezana and the Axumites converted to Christianity .
Today, over half the population of Ethiopia belongs to a Christian church that is similar in its beliefs to the Greek, or Eastern, Orthodox Church.
Students of history are often surprised to learn that during the so-called Dark Ages in Europe, highly developed civilizations flourished in America and among the Maya, Aztec, and Inca span the years of the Middle Ages up to the time of the Spanish conquistadors.
Unlike the early civilizations of Asia and the Middle East, the Maya civilization did not spring up around a river valley.
The Maya were the only Indians of the Americas to have an advanced form of writing.
They also had a more exact calendar than either the Egyptians or the peoples of Mesopotamia.
The Maya were skilled in astronomy and arithmetic, and they constructed numerous pyramid-like temples throughout their empire.
From the tops of these temples, they often offered human sacrifices to pacify their gods.
Indians of Early America cont.
Indians of Early America cont.
Indians of Early America
Instead, the Maya built their cities and developed their way of life in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and in the jungles of Central America.
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