The End of the Class.. Download

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THE END OF THE
CLASSICAL ERA
A REVIEW
The three great classical
civilizations, Rome, Han China,
and Gupta India either collapsed
or declined.
 All three suffered from invasions
by nomads from Asia who took
advantage of internal imperial
weakness.

Rome also endured invasions by
Germanic tribes
 The western portion of the
Roman Empire lost more of its
earlier achievements than other
civilizations.

The general collapse forms a
significant break in world history
 Many components of classical
achievement survived the period
of decline, and new forms
appeared as civilizations altered
to meet the changes.

New periods in history are
infrequent; they must be defined
carefully
 At the close of the Classical
Period the decline of empires and
the rise of religions marks a new
periodization.
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Three shifts, or changes, must
occur to mark a new period in
world history.
#1
 Some
civilizations will divide
in new ways, altering the
world map:
 Cultural
and political
boundaries shifted in India and
the Mediterranean world.
#2
 Different
kinds of contacts
must be established among
civilization areas:
 Buddhism,
Christianity, and
Islam spread quickly.
#3
 New
parallels must arise in
the patterns displayed by
major civilizations:
 The
Islamic world replaced
India as the most expansive
civilization.

The major world religions,
Christianity, Buddhism, and
Islam, rose or expanded as the
great empires declined.
UPHEAVALS IN EASTERN AND
SOUTHERN ASIA

The key transition in Asian
civilizations came with the
decline of the Han in China, the
Gupta in India, and nomadic
pressures.
DECLINE AND FALL IN HAN
CHINA
The Han Dynasty appeared to
recover vitality during the 2nd
century C.E.
 However, poor rulers and
popular unrest fueled by landlord
exploitation culminated in
revolution.

Daoist leaders, the Yellow
Turbans, began a period of
disorder ending with the fall of
the Han in 220 C.E.
 China split into three unstable
kingdoms
 The landowning class operated
beyond government control.

There were no firm dynasties for
350 years
 The instability turned interest
toward the spiritual calm and
order of Buddhism
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Brought from India by merchants
and missionaries, Buddhism
overcame Daoist attacks and
spread throughout China by the
5th century.
In the process, Chinese cultural
values, including the
subordination
of women, were
incorporated into Buddhism
 The
growing influence of
Buddhism influenced
Daoists…
 They
formalized their religion
 Adopted beliefs about
achieving immortality through
good works
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Political revival occurred at the end
of the 6th century when the Sui
Dynasty reunited China.
They collapsed in 618 and were
replaced by the Tang
During these troubled years old
values survived and China retained
greater homogeneity than other
civilizations.
DECLINE IN INDIA

Chandragupta
II brought the
Gupta Dynasty
to the high
point of its rule
in the early 5th
century.
Under his successors the
decentralized Gupta could not
repel Hun invasions
 By 500 the Huns controlled
northwestern India
 The Gupta collapsed in 550

Despite the attempts of Gupta
descendants to rebuild the
dynasty, India divided into
regional dynasties ruled by
princes called rajput
 Buddhism declined in favor of
Hinduism

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Worship of the
mother goddess
Devi spread widely.
The caste system strengthened,
assimilating invaders, and
extending through southern
India
 The economy flourished, with
new trade links opening
southern India and southeast
Asia.

An important threat to Indian cultural
continuity came from the
7th century expansion of Islam
as Muslim
invaders entered northwest
India and won converts.
By the 8th century, Arab traders gained
control of Indian commerce.
THE DECLINE OF ROME
The decline of Rome was much
more disruptive than the fall of
the Gupta and Han
 For many reasons, the Roman
Empire was in decline from the
late 2nd century C.E.

REASONS
A shrinking population hindered
army recruiting
 Emperors had less ability
 Disputes over succession led to
continual army intervention
 Tax revenues fell during hard
economic times.
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REASONS (continued)
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Pervasive despondency meant a loss
of meaning in life
Expansion ended in 180, thus closing
a source of slave labor
The economic system lost vitality
Environmental deterioration
diminished grain imports
Plague was recurring
REASONS (continued)
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Germanic soldiers had to be hired to
protect the frontiers… from
Germanic tribes!
In the midst of these problems
Rome’s upper classes turned from
political service to pleasure seeking
lives
Cultural activity, except for works by
Christian writers, decayed.
As cultural authority declined,
farmers seeking protection,
clustered around large landlords
 Political decentralization was
most pronounced in the western
empire
 Political power passed to
landlords and the economy
contracted.

Tax revenues declined, cities fell
in size and trade declined
 Some emperors tried to restore
central authority.


Diocletian (r 284305) improved
administration and
tax collecting, and
increased controls
on the economy.

Constantine (r 312337) established a
second capital at
Constantinople and
accepted
Christianity.
The measures did not restore
vitality to the empire as a whole
 The eastern half flourished, the
western half did not
 Economic regulation curbed
initiative and lowered
production.

Many overburdened peasants
welcomed the changes brought
by the Germanic invasions
 The last Roman emperor was
removed in 476.

RESULTS OF THE FALL OF
ROME
Rome’s collapse ended
Mediterranean unity
 Three Zones emerged, each
would later produce distinct
civilizations.

ZONE 1
The northeastern part of the
Roman Empire did not fall
 The vibrant, artistically creative
and commercially active
Byzantine Empire incorporated
Hellenistic and Roman patterns.

ZONE 2
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North Africa and the shores of the
southeastern Mediterranean suffered
serious disruption
Temporary regional kingdoms
emerged
Although Christianity spread,
differing interpretations split its
unity
Eventually, North Africa would fall to
Islam.
ZONE 3
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In the 3rd zone, the western and
northern portions of the empire, the
level of civilization declined
Regional Germanic kingdoms
appeared
The only vital force was Christianity,
but it was not able to prevent the
decline of civilization
DEVELOPMENT AND SPREAD
OF WORLD RELIGIONS
Buddhism, Christianity, and
Islam became the only religions
spreading far beyond a single
region
 Hinduism and Daoism, remained
regional religions, but gained
new followers

CHRISTIANITY AND
BUDDHISM COMPARED
SIMILARITIES
Both religions stressed
otherworldliness; the possibility
of an afterlife
 Both produced important
monastic movements
 Chinese Buddhism, called
Mahayana, emphasized Buddha
as a savior god similar to Christ.
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SIMILARITIES (continued)
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Each religion accepted the role
for holy men – among Buddhists
called bodhisattvas – aiding
believers in gaining holiness.
DIFFERENCES

Christianity, the heir to
Mediterranean religions and Roman
traditions, emphasized:
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Church organization
Gave more value to missionary activity
Claimed possession of exclusive truth
Christianity began as a Jewish reform
movement only gradually turning to
missionary activity.
DIFFERENCES (continued)
Christianity believed that there
was a single god who loved
humanity
 A virtuous life would be devoted
to his worship
 Under Paul, Christianity became
a separate religion open to all.

Despite competition from
Eastern mystery religions and
government persecution,
Christianity won over 10% of the
Roman Empires population.
 There were doctrinal
controversies during the time of
Constantine.
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The Council of Nicea in 325,
demonstrated the importance of
unified doctrine to Christianity
It ruled in favor of the Nicene Creed
This interpretation holds that one
Christian god had three personas
This belief was called
transubstantiation

Shortly afterwards,
Pope Leo I clearly
established the
papacy as the
supreme religious
authority in
western Europe.
Christianity continued to
appeal to all classes,
especially the poor and women.
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Christianity promoted a new culture
different from that of the classical
world by its beliefs in spiritual quality
and otherworldly emphasis.
The state was accepted but made
secondary to religion
Greater emphasis was awarded to
disciplined work

Classical values retained were:
 Philosophical themes
 Architectural styles
 Latin language in the west
 Greek language in the east
 Monastic libraries preserved
classical literature

The world religions, a new force
in world history, provoked beliefs
that transcended political
entities.
CONCLUSION
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By 600, the major civilizations had altered
in permanent ways
China maintained political cohesion; along
with India it preserved much cultural
cohesion as well.
In contrast, the Roman Empire
disintegrated and successor civilizations
did not restore geographical unity or a
unified classical culture.
Nomadic invaders toppled
empires and spread new ideas
and techniques
 Missionaries brought Buddhism,
Christianity, and, as you will see,
Islam into new regions.
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