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Lecture

2_01_iron_and_empire.pdf

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Department
Humanities
Course
HUMA 1770
Professor
Leo Stan
Semester
Summer

Description
Part two The ancient world Chronology 1000 to 500 BC central Asia, south China, Indochina. Spread of iron making, weapons and Confucianism state ideology. tools across Asia, Europe, and west and Spread of peasant agriculture and central Africa. Phonetically based Hinduism into south India and then to scripts in Middle East, Indian Malay peninsular and Cambodia. subcontinent and Mediterranean area. Indian merchants finance great Clearing and cultivation of Ganges Buddhist monasteries, carry religion to valley in India, new civilisation, rise of Tibet and Ceylon. four caste system, Vedic religion. AD 200 to 500 Phoenician, Greek and Italian city Chinese Han Empire disintegrates. states. Unification of Middle East into Collapse of urban economy, rival empires based on Mesopotamia or fragmentation of countryside into Nile. Emergence of a small number of aristocratic estates, loss of interest in ‘warring states’ in China. ‘classic’ literature. Buddhism spreads among certain groups. 600 to 300 BC Flowering of ‘classical’ civilisations. Gupta Empire unites much of in India in Confucius and Mencius in China. The 5th century, flowering of art and science. Buddha in India. Aeschylus, Plato, Growing crises in Roman Empire. Aristotle, Democritus in Greece. Class Technological and economic stagnation. struggles in Greece. Trade declines. Slavery gives way to Conquest of Middle East by taxes and rents from peasants bound to Macedonian armies of Alexander and land. Peasant revolts in France and of most of Indian subcontinent by Spain. Increased problems in defending Mauryan Empire of Ashoka. empire’s borders. Rise of cults of Osiris, Struggles between Plebeians and Mithraism and Christianity. Patricians in Rome. City conquers Constantine moves capital to Greek city most of Italy. of Byzantium (330), makes Christianity 300 to 1 BC the empire’s official religion. Persecution Disintegration of Mauryan Empire in of pagan religions, other Christian India, but continued growth of trade beliefs and Jews. Rise of monasticism. and handicraft industry. Hindu Division of empire. Loss of England to Brahmans turn against cow slaughter. empire (407). Alarick’s Goths sack Rome (410). First Ch’in emperor unifies north China. Massive growth of iron AD 500 and after working, handicraft industries and ‘Dark Ages’ in western Europe. trade. Building of Great Wall and of Population falls by half. Collapse of canal and road systems. Peasant revolt trade, town life and literacy. brings Han Dynasty to power. Eastern empire survives to reach peak Rome conquers whole Mediterranean under Justinian in 530s-550s, with region and Europe south of Rhine. building of Saint Sophia cathedral, Spread of slavery and impoverishment of then declines. peasantry in Italy. Peasants support Collapse of Gupta Empire in India. Gracchus brothers, murdered in 133 and Decline of trade, towns, use of money 121. Slave revolts in Sicily (130s) and in and Buddhist religion. Agriculture and Italy under Spartacus (70s). Civil wars. artisan trades carried out in virtually Julius Caesar takes power 45. Augustus self contained villages for benefit of becomes emperor 27. feudal rulers. Ideological domination AD 1 to 200 by Brahman priests. Full establishment Peak of Roman Empire. Crushes revolt of elaborate hierarchy of many castes. in Palestine AD 70. Paul of Tarsus Decline in literature, art and science. splits new sect of ‘Christians’ away from Judaism. Continued fragmentation of China until rise of Sui Dynasty (581) and Discovery of steel making in China. then T’ang Dynasty (618) see revival Extension of Han Empire into Korea, of economy and trade. 44 Chapter 1 Iron and empires The second great phase in the history of civilisation began among the peasants and pastoralists who lived in the lands around the great empires, not in the states dominated by the priests and pharaohs. It depended on the efforts of people who could learn from the achievements of the urban revolution—use copper and bronze, employ the wheel, even adapt foreign scripts to write down their own languages—without being sucked dry by extortion and brainwashed by tradition. There were societies across wide swathes of Eurasia and Africa which began to make use of the technological advances of the ‘urban revo- lution’. Some developed into smaller imitations of the great empires— as seems to have been the case with Solomon’s empire in Palestine, described in the Old Testament. Others were much less burdened, at first, with elaborate, expensive and stultifying superstructures. There was greater freedom for people to innovate; and also greater incentive for them to do so. The adoption of these techniques was accompanied by concen- tration of the surplus in the hands of ruling classes, much as had hap- pened in the original urban revolutions. But these were new ruling classes, from l
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