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Transcript of HISTORY
The Classical Age was a time of prosperity throughout the old world. The Greeks developed the first modern democracy.Later, he strong, wealthy Roman Empire maintained relative peace throughout the Mediterranean region. They united southwestern Europe, parts of the Middle East, and North Africa, while the Greek tradition of government by the people into a republic run by an elected senate, which would later serve as a model for the English Parliament. In both Greece and Rome, the government was often dominated by great men like Pericles or Julius Caesar who defined their political eras. In the East, Han China and its powerful class of educated bureaucrats dominated Asia, influencing their neighbors and improving peasants' quality of life with fair, smart government. In both cases, these empires had lasting impacts on the regions from which they originated. For example, the Roman Empire would go on to influence the Byzantine Empire and later scholars of the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. Han China's Confucian government style still plays a role in communist China today.
Culture thrived in the Old World during the Classical Age. Fostered by stable, wealthy empires and active international in both Asia and the Mediterranean, artists,scientists, and philosophers formed masterworks. For example, during the early Classical Age in China, Confucius, spurred on by the turmoil of the Warring States Period, wrote The Analects. During the Han Dynasty, civil service exams resulted in an explosion in the number of educated people. The Confucian style strengthened China's hierarchical society, with clearly defined parents' power over their children, and set up the patriarchal basis for the oppression of women, which worsened in China as time went on. Precise art and calligraphy, coupled with re-interpretations of classic literature, characterized this period. The Greeks developed a complex polytheistic mythology, much of which survived well in to the time of the Roman Empire. Greek architects built monumental temples to their gods, such as the Acropolis, which were characterized by large columns. The Romans continued this tradition with marvels like the Coliseum while writing and studying at great academic institutions such as the library of Alexandria. Greek culture was notable in that, through great philosophers like Socrates, people began to see for the first time that the world natural events can be explained and are governed by certain unbreakable laws. Although most of their theories were eventually proved wrong or significantly modified, the Greek philosophers ushered in a new era understanding world as controlled by science, not superstition, which would continue into the Roman empire.
Economic activity and social structure provided common elements for Western civilization during the post-classical age. The medieval economy quickly disappeared from the classical patterns to develop a more productive economic life. Greater agricultural production led to urbanization and improved commercial activities. Banking arose in Italy as well as southern Germany, the Low Countries, France, and Britain. As the market expertise of western merchants increased, Italians began to connect Europe with other parts of Eurasia through Mediterranean trade routes. After 800BC multiple agricultural improvements allowed peasants to basically become free land holders. By giving the peasants more freedom, Lords would benefit from high productivity resulting in better living conditions for themselves. Overall, better lives for the working class aided productivity toreach heights far beyond the ancient world.
The Classical Age saw the genesis of a new world economy. For the first time, people had surplus foods to trade for luxury goods. In ancient Greece, the rocky, mountainous terrain made feeding the large population impossible. Therefore, Greeks supplemented their locally-grown diet with goods from around the Mediterranean. Later, Rome's control over the entire region and ever-expanding road system enabled easy trade. Rome's stability, coupled with that of the Han Dynasty to the East, fostered the growth of intercontinental Silk Road trade, especially in silk, between the two empires. Despite Confucianism's negative stance on merchants, trade was an important part of life in Han China. Chinese merchants traded silk, gems, and other luxury items with India, the Middle East, and, indirectly, the Roman Empire. Meanwhile, in southern Asia, India produced some of the finest cotton and steel in the world, trading them as far away as China and the Middle East.
The colonial nature of countries in the early modern period began the process of developing the globalized culture seen worldwide today. As countries, especially great Britain, took over vast areas of the Americas and India, European dress, food, and entertainment styles went there too. Spain actively spread Catholicism through its powerful missionary system in the New World. The results of their work can still be seen in the near ubiquitous Catholicism of the Philippines as well as Central and South America. European countries often adopted cultural traits from the people of their colonies as well. For example, the potato, which originated in the Americas, became a staple of Irish cuisine and Russian vodka. Asian styles of dress and art became popular in Europe, continuing into the Victorian period. In addition to these trends of cultural unification, the late early modern period also saw a pull toward individualism, as colonial residents strove to define their own identities.
600BCE-600CE The Classical Age was defined by the rise of the world's first great civilizations in India, China, and Europe. For the first time, vast swaths of land were united under one flag as the Han, Roman, and Gupta empires controlled took control of their regions. Furthermore, these three areas traded together for the first time, as the Silk Road stretched from Rome to Cheng'an. Political systems still seen today like the democracy, republic, and merit-based beurocracy took form.
1450-1750 The Early Modern age saw the rise of Europe, especially Britain and Spain, as teh leading world power. Set against the backdrop of the Protestant Reformation, European countries conquered the new world, took on the highly materialistic mercantilism model of economics, and projected their power over the old centers of power in Asia, India, and Africa. With the defeat of the Ottoman Empire by the Spanish armada at the Battle of Lepanto, even the Muslim world was forced to play second fiddle to Europe. Colonialism began to cause the development of the worldwide culture we see today as foods, ideas, and technologies were disseminated across continents and oceans alike.
Classical Age: A Time of Peace
From 600 to 1450 CE the biggest changes were not in politics, but rather the spread of major religions, like Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam,and new trade systems which connected much of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Maybe the most powerful religious leaders during the five centuries after the fall of the western empire was the Pope of the Catholic Church. Popes attempted to appoint bishops, regulated doctrine, sent missionaries, and tried to impose a centralized government based on the old Roman Empire. Religion also created new political values and issues. Islam developed dynamism which meant effecting more cultures and people than Christianity and Buddhism. The expansion of all of these religions at around the same time, mutual intolerance arose between the big religions like Islam and Christianity.
The post-classical age got its name from the decline of major empires. As people experienced their economy declining they turned towards religious faith for safety, guidance, and reassurance. There was the collapse of boundaries, which caused people to live in new areas. For example the fall of Roman Empire opened opportunities in eastern Mediterranean. Expanding trade caused the development of better ships and new navigation devices, such as the compass made by the Chinese and ship designs by the Middle East. The center of the post-classical West moved out of the Mediterranean to the northern plains that stretched from the Low Countries across France and into western Germany. The West remained vulnerable to continued invasions during this period. Given the political instability, cultural achievements in the first five centuries of the Middle Ages were limited.
The early modern period ushered in a new world political hierarchy. Europe came out of its backward medieval period as the foremost military, especially naval, power in the world. With cannons and guns, Europeans ventured out of the Mediterranean to the coasts of Africa, the Philippines, South Asia, and even Japan. During this period, Europeans had one response to political resistance: cannons. Diplomacy was thrown to the wayside in both Asia and the Americas. When Native American tribes such as the Inca and Aztecs tried to resist the gold-hungry conquistadors in South America, Pizarro and Cortes respectively squashed them. Early European explorers used conversion and funding crusades as justification for their brutal expansion. The Pope's mediation between Spain and Portugal over land in the New World demonstrated the continuing power of the Church in politics. Despite their differences, European countries were bound together by the Catholic church until 1517, when Martin Luther's 95 theses sparked the Protestant revolution, which resulted in not only religious but also political change throughout Europe. England and Germany, Protestant strongholds, warred against the Holy Roman Empire, France, and Spain, which had remained largely Catholic. This led to shifting borders, and over time, the dominance of Great Britain over France in North America.
From the sixth century, the most important political relationships involved feudalism. The feudal system linked landlords in military alliances. Greater landlords provided protection and aid to lesser lords, called vassals, in return for loyalty and military service. The Norman Conquest of 1066 introduced feudal monarchy into England. Because of the ability of William the Conqueror to introduce the feudal system abruptly, England was more centralized than other feudal monarchies. While feudalism inhibited the growth of centralized states, it did help to end local warfare. Over time feudal monarchy based on the king's relationship to powerful regional vassals came into existence. Kings of France improved their position after the tenth century and began to develop a small bureaucracy.By the thirteenth century, a centralized system of feudal monarchy complete with a bureaucracy and links to regional administration existed in France.
The most important feature of the Early Modern period is the emergence of Europe as the most powerful entity in a new world economy. Driven by the popular mercantilism economic ideology, which stressed national economic self-sufficiency, European nations reached out to Asia and the New World for colonies to provide them with precious metals and the other raw materials they needed. In India and China, the Portuguese and British East India companies set up colonies to dominate the spice trade. In the Americas, Spain and Portugal destroyed ancient Native American civilizations in their search for gold and silver. In North America, the French flourished in the fur trade while the English grew cash crops like tobacco to be shipped back to Great Britain. This new found interest in commerce was representative of a wider trend of the decreasing importance of Christianity in people's everyday lives. Although some moved to the New World for religious freedom, the dominant motivation for European expansion was commercial. In the East, China and Japan reverted to an isolationist stance, insulating themselves from the global surge of European power. This isolationism, coupled with huge imports of opium from British-controlled India lead to technological stagnation over time. Africa's fractured political system was worsened by constant demand for slaves in America. Regional kings went to war to capture slaves, and tribes in southern Africa fought to protect their land from the Boers rapidly expanding from the Portuguese colony at the Cape of Good Hope, founded to protect and resupply trade ships on their way to the Indian Ocean.
The Roman Empire at its Height
The Han Dynasty at its Height
Triangle Trade Between Afica, Europe, and the Americas
Building of a Catholic mission in S. America
In this Prezi, we've covered about 2000 years of history. For a more in-depth analysis or just a different perspective please see the comprehensive world history videos make by our friends over at CrashCouse at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBDA2E52FB1EF80C9
Daniel Lytle and Kevin Quisumbing
Religious Divisions of Europe during the post-classical era.
The Norman Conquest 1067-1072