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Chapter 11
State Power and Expanding
Networks of Exchange
Conceptual Questions
• How did the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate and
other Muslim states between the 8th and 10th
centuries contribute to the emergence of new
Afroeurasian cultural tradition centered on
• What part did maritime commerce play in the
development of states and cities along the chain
of seas extending from the Arabian Sea to the
Sea of Japan between 750-1000
• How did agrarian people living in the
Mediterranean region and West Africa become
linked together in a network of commercial and
cultural exchange between the 7-10th centuries?
• How did invasions and migrations between the
7-9th centuries affect Europe’s struggle for
political and economic stability?
Islamic Transition of power –
Umayyad to Abbasids
• The Umayyads were able to unite the Bedouin
nomadic peoples into an extremely strong
military force.
• The Byzantine Empire, Sasanids, and weakened
Germanic groups around the Mediterranean
couldn’t compete with this force…so why then
did it fall just as quickly as it arose? 661-750
• A new group, the Abbasids-related to the
Prophet himself-began to take advantage of
local rebellions that cost the Umayyads much
financially and militarily
Umayyad Fall
• Rulers also became more concerned with luxury and the
good life. Caliph’s had very large harems!
• Instead of fighting in the early 8th century these caliph
retreated to their palaces to live it up. Muhammad
advocated frugal and simple lives. Began to alienated
• Warriors began settling and marrying locals. They became
angry b/c of being governed by a caliph so far away and
they were not getting a cut of the booty. Booty comes from
the acquisition of new lands and the empire had stopped
growing by the end of the Umayyad period.
• Umayyads were seen as corrupt and decadent.
• Many warriors settled in the oasis town of Merv. In 740 the
Umayyads tried to introduce new troops here which
sparked a revolt…
• The revolt spread!
• By 747 Frontier warriors challenged the
Umayyads under the banner of the Abbasids.
Muhammads uncle, al-Abbas (descendants)
• Shi’a join forces with the Abbaids to fight the
• Mawali soon joined
• Battle of the River Zab in 750-(by the Tigris river)
and the Abbaids won and captured the Umayyad
• Abu al-Abbas invited the members of the
Umayyad family to a banquet afterwards where
he had all of them slaughtered so that the could
not make claims to the position of caliph
• Rebel groups overthrow
the Umayyads in 750. The
most powerful was the
Abbasids who took
control of the empire
• The Abbasids murdered
all members of the
remaining Umayyad
family-Al Abbas AlSaffah!!!!!
• One member escaped
and set up control in
southern Spain. They
were known as the
• The Berbers were lead by
Jabal Tariq. Gibraltar is
• The Muslims
advanced north
within 100 miles of
what is today Paris
before losing in the
Battle of Tours in
732. If they would
have won all of
Europe would most
likely be Muslim.
They resettled in
southern Spain
Umayyads in Spain
• In 750 when the Abbasids seized power some of the
Umayyad royals escaped to Spain and defeated the
Abbasid appointed governor in 756 and started a new
Umayyad dynasty with its capital in Cordoba.
• They enjoyed much prosperity being so far from
Constantinople. Rulers patronized the arts and literature
and built splendid palaces and mosques. They ruled
over diverse peoples including both Jews and Christians.
Eventually rulers claimed that they were the true
universal Muslim ruler in contrast to Abbasid kings.
• Muslims really pushed out of Spain when it formed into
its modern form in 1469 (marriage of Isabella and
Ferdinand). They wanted to create more unity and
homogeneity so they forced out both Muslims (Moors)
and Jews.
• Abbasids moved the capital
once again to Baghdad.
This was a strategic
location for trade as well as
• The government was set
up into departments and
• Diplomats were sent out
around Europe, Africa, and
• They ruled from 750-1258
• They kept power by
consulting many religious
leaders, but failed to keep
complete control.
Independent Muslim states
with local leaders rose up
• Example: Fatimid Dynasty
(after Muhammad’s
daughter) began in North
Africa and spread. They
were part of the Shiites
(claiming heritage from
Fatimid and her husband
• Their capital was Cairo
after they took over Egypt
• Shiism unified the group
• They declined due to
losses to the Normans
and Crusaders in the 11th
• The Abbasids conquered
Egypt in 1171
• Starting in 771 parts of Africa went independent
from the Abbasid dynasty
• And in Egypt an independent caliphate, the
Fatimid, developed and ruled too 969-1171. They
were Shiites and represented Ismailism. They
believed that a descendant of the Prophet through
Ali should be Islam’s universal leader.
• Samanids of Khurasan (819-999) also represented
another independent Islamic dynasty and they
brought Islam more to the East and encouraged
Muslim missionary efforts to China along the Silk
• They needed to collect much wealth for their large imperial
armies, bureaucracy, and grant palaces so that requires a very
complex government.
• They were more similar to Sasanids and Byzantine imperial
governments: hierarchy of provinces and districts, specialized
ministries, secretaries and accountants, vizier, caliph similar to
Persian rulers “Shadow of God on Earth”, and barid system,
literate or education Persians employed into the government
• Ulama or legal scholars emerged as the guardians of shari’a
law. While the caliphs tied their image to their spiritual
worthiness in spite of their absolutism. Problem is that the
ulama wasn’t a fan of the caliph as legitimate successors and
the idea of egalitarianism vs. absolute monarchy was a
problem. The caliph often behaved poorly as well such as the
thousands of concubines he kept.
Problems with Abbasids
• As early as the 3rd caliph, al-Mahdi, problems
were apparent within the Abbasid rule
• He was decadent and had many wives and
• He did not fix the issue of succession.
Instead he allowed his wives to fight over the
potential succession of their son. Place
intrigue occurred. After he died his eldest son
took the throne only to be assassinated within
the year!
Harun al-Rashid
786-809 Hauren al-Rashid became the caliph
• After the assassination of his older brother, Harun became caliph.
As a young man Harun was in charge of many military campaigns
and named governor of a few provinces.
• He was the son of a slave woman
• He also enjoyed excess living like his father
• His court was written about in The thousand and One Nights
• He and Charlemagne, the most powerful Christian emperor in
Europe, exchanged gifts
• Harun became caliph at only 22 and relied on his mother and other
advisors (viziers). Eventually killed them because the family became
too powerful
• The dependence on royal advisors became a problem for later
caliphs. Over time the advisors controlled the court and caliphs lost
• Local uprising and rebellions and independent states start to be
formed under Harun’s reign
• Harun led expeditions against Byzantine and forced them to agree
to paying money to Baghdad
Abbasid Decline
• Harun al-Rashid’s death prompted a civil war between
his two sons. They literally fought for the throne.
• Al-Ma’mun won (813-833)
• His sons later were convinced that in order to get the
throne after the death of their father they would have
to amass larger personal armies.
• On son had 4000 slave body guards. Eventually after
becoming caliph he had a mercenary force of 70,000
• 846 slave mercenaries killed the reigning caliph and
placed one of his sons on the throne. From this point
on during the Abbasid reign the leaders of the slave
mercenary armies were the real power behind the
• Due to needs for farming and draining salt, the Abbasids began to
rely more and more on slave labor. This was similar to the Roman
model of slave labor, the owners worked the slaves in gangs under
horrible conditions.
• Zanj Revolt- Ali ibn Muhammad –from Zanj or Eastern Africa led a
huge slave rebellion (869-883). Some landowners of southern Iraq
had bought thousands of slaves from the land of Zanj to drain the
salt marshes east of Basra. Alī ibn Muḥammad, a Persian claiming
descent from Alī and Fāṭimah (Muḥammad’s daughter) gained the
support of several slave-work crews—which could number from 500
to 5,000 men—by pointing out the injustice of their social position
and promising them freedom and wealth.
• 830’s the caliphs also had slave armies to strengthen themselvesthese special soldiers are called mamluks and had no ties to local
families or factions so loyal to the caliph. Often earned their freedom
later in life.
• In order to try and control the mercenaries forces the treasury
had to be drained
• Caliphs also started to move the capital to escape the turmoil
of Baghdad
• This lead the peasants to pay for the new palaces and
imperial centers as well as the army
• Heavy taxes were placed on peasants. Tax collectors pillaged
through villages. This led to some villages being abandoned.
Also many public projects such as irrigation systems fell into
disrepair. Some peasants moved to new areas to avoid the
Abbasid tax collectors.
• Some joined gangs or became vagabonds wondering through
the empire
• Shi’a also supported and created some peasant uprising
against the Abbasids. They wanted them out of power for
official abuses!
Women became increasingly subjugated during the rule of the Abbasids
because of the development of the harem
Wives and concubines(slaves) of the caliphs were restricted to forbidden
quarters within the palace
The slave concubines could win their freedom by producing strong
offspring (sons)
The wealth of the Abbasids led to the demand for thousands of slaves.
Many performed domestic service roles.
There are stories of caliphs who had 11,000 eunuchs and even 4000
Captured non-Muslims were typical slaves
Sold in large slave markets which every large town had
Slaves were valued for their beauty and intelligence
Caliphs and important men spent more time with their concubines than
their wives because they were many times better educated.
Had more freedoms than the wives and could go out into public without
wearing a veil or robes required of married women
Lower class women were typically married at puberty (legally age 9) and
were raised to run the household and serve their husband. They typically
did not have outlets beyond their homes for work like farming and
Upper class women like the wives and concubines of caliphs plotted to
advance the interests of their sons! Lots of infighting and intrigue!
Women overall lost much of their freedoms during this time period!
Decline of Abbasids
Territories began breaking off and becoming independent so caliphs
attempted to curtail this problem
But they could not and now other families were plotting to replace
the Abbaids
In 945 the armies of one of the regional dynasties, the Buyids of
Persia attacked and captured Baghdad.
The caliphs were now puppets controlled by powerful families like
the Buyids of Persia. Buyids were Shi’a
Buyid leaders took on the title sultan (victorious)
Sultans became the title for then on out is the Muslim West
Buyids couldn’t stop the disintegration of the empire and by 1055
they were overthrown by the Seljuk Turks from Asia
Turkic military leaders ruled the remaining Abbasid Empire in the
name of caliphs. The Seljuks were Sunnis and began removing all
Shi’a influence and power from the government. They also defeated
the Byzantines which gave rise to Turks moving to settle Asia Minor
(Anatolia or Turkey today).
They won the battle of Manzikert in 1071 gaining lands in the
Anatolia from the Byzantine empire...this eventually led to the start
of the Crusades (1096-1291). This further weakened the empire.
1258 Mongols took advantage of this instability to sack Bagdad and
kill the last caliph thus ending the Abbasid Empire!!!
• Knights from western Europe sent by the
Catholic Church to retake the Holy lands and
save Christians who were being tortured and
killed by Muslim conquerors according to
Christian Byzantium
• "Because he has laid down his life for us: and
we ought to lay down our lives for the
brethren," [1 John 3:16].
• The Crusades did help western Europe that
was divided by fighting between and within
countries. The Crusades were something to
unify Christians.
• First crusades 1096-1099 were the most
successful b/c of the element of surprise
and the Muslim political divisions
• By 1099 Jerusalem was taken with many
Muslim and Jews killed in the process
• Continued the Crusades for 2 more
centuries, they differed in success
• Muslims were united under Salah-un-Din
(Saladin). Muslims reconquered lost
• First crusades 1096-1099 were the most
successful b/c of the element of surprise
and the Muslim political divisions
• By 1099 Jerusalem was taken with many
Muslim and Jews killed in the process
• Continued the Crusades for 2 more
centuries, they differed in success
• Muslims were united under Salah-un-Din
(Saladin). Muslims reconquered lost
Dates of
Crusades Timeline of Events
First Crusade
1096 - 1099
The People's Crusade - Freeing the Holy Lands. 1st
Crusade led by Count Raymond IV of Toulouse and
proclaimed by many wandering preachers, notably
Peter the Hermit
Second Crusade
1144 -1155
Crusaders prepared to attack Damascus. 2nd
crusade led by Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III and
by King Louis VII of France
Third Crusade
1187 -1192
3rd Crusade led by Richard the Lionheart of
England, Philip II of France, and Holy Roman
Emperor Frederick I. Richard I made a truce with
Fourth Crusade
1202 -1204
4th Crusade led by Fulk of Neuil French/Flemish
advanced on Constantinople
The Children's
The Children's Crusade led by a French peasant
boy, Stephen of Cloyes
Fifth Crusade
1217 - 1221
The 5th Crusade led by King Andrew II of Hungary,
Duke Leopold VI of Austria, John of Brienne
Sixth Crusade
1228 - 1229
The 6th Crusade led by Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II
Seventh Crusade
1248 - 1254
The 7th Crusade led by Louis IX of France
Eighth Crusade
1270- 1291
The 8th Crusade led by Louis IX
Impact of Crusades
• There had already been contact between the
Muslims and Europeans via trade as well as
the Berber Kingdom
• However the greater contacts due the
Crusades led to Europeans rediscovering
ancient and Muslim knowledge
• Greek and Roman literature, math,
philosophy, technology and Muslim
• Also played a role in greater cultural like
chess, dates, coffee, and yogurt
Muslim Achievement
• Despite a decline in the Abbasids power and
wealth there were many very wealthy merchants.
Trade flourished.
• Artists, architects, and engineers built beautiful
mosques and palaces. They made tapestries
• Science: corrections to Greeks in algebra and
geometry, trigonometry (sine, cosine, tangent),
objective experiments, material substances into
three categories: animal, vegetable, and mineral
by al-Razi, astronomical tables and maps,
hospitals and doctors, paper making, ceramics,
silk-weaving, and maps of the world
• Persians started to play a greater role in
the Abbasid court which led to Persian
replacing Arabic as the written language of
the Abbasid court
• Arabic language of law, religion, and
• Persian used for literature and calligraphy
• Rubaiyat
Religious Trends
• Contradictory trends: social strife and political
divisions vs. expanded trade and intellectual
• Mysticism vs. growing orthodox religious scholar
• Crusades supported growing hostilities of nonIslamic ideas and thinking
• Orthodox didn’t support the idea of Greek
questioning being applied to religion. The Qur’an
was final.
• Sufist movement during Abbasid period:
wondering mystics who sought a personal
relationship with God. There were many
manifestations including Sunni and Shi’a were
against the abstract an impersonal relationship
with Allah taught by the ulamas.
Invasions from the East!
Mongols started raiding in 1220’s
By 1258 Baghdad was sacked by the Mongols
The 37th and last Abbasid caliph was killed by the
• The Mongols were stopped by the Mamluks or Turkic
slaves in Egypt in 1260 in the Battle of Ain Jalut.
• In 1401 Baghdad again was captured by the forces of
Tamerlane. He was known for his cruelty and for
building pyramids of the skulls those he killed when
conquering a city.
• Baghdad never recovered and became a regional city
and was no longer a world city
Islam: Bridge between Worlds
• In spite of successional problems within the Muslim
community, the position of the Islamic Empire as a
global civilization was created during the Abbasid
• Islam enriched the lives of peoples from around the
world by sharing their knowledge
• They had wonderful achievements in arts, science,
and literature
• They were the place to exchange ideas
• They also had some problems in that they were
divided many times and they also had a rift between
the Sufis and orthodox Muslims
• They were also not open to outside influence
• This eventually led to European Christians exploiting
the weaknesses of the Muslim world.
Byzantine Empire
• Refer to chapter 10 notes!!!
• Generally speaking the Byzantine Empire
lost a lot of lands to the Islamic caliphates
• However the Arab empires were not able
to take Constantinople despite multiple
• While the rise of new rulers (Macedonian
dynasty) with the particular leader, Basil II,
managed to expand the empire. (9761025)
The spread of Islam
• Islam spread via conquest
• And by the 9th century missionary activity
• Trade-Muslim merchants and Sufi mystics
also spread the message. Sufis spread the
message of Islam and were thought to be
mystical/ magical. They tolerated the beliefs
of earlier animist, Hindus, and Buddhists
mixed with Islam
• But conversion not as formal of a process as
other religions
• In spite of egalitarian goals there was a
natural social hierarchy that formed:
governing, estate-owning, merchants,
farmers and laborers, and slaves.
• Patriarchy
• Slavery
• *Conflict naturally also developed between
science and religion
• Commercial activity expanded: innovations like dhows
made navigation easier, monsoon seasonal understanding
made travel easier, Southern India develops more
expanding economic activity (pepper and cotton),
commercial towns along the Zeng coast or East Africa
developed or grew creating further opportunities (ivory,
gold, animal skins, and slaves).
• As Muslim merchants expanded commercial activity they
created outposts and diasporas and helped to further
spread Islam. Muslim merchants even had an outpost in
Canton, China!
• Shrivijaya-700-controlled straights of Malacca-patronized
Buddhism (Mahayana). It fell in the 13th century and
opened up Indonesia to the spread of Islam and Muslim
Empire incorporated Tibet, Vietnam, Manchuria, and a vassal
kingdom (Silla) in Korea by 668
• Tang established a larger empire than that of the Han and even
larger than present day China!
• Continued to revive the scholarly gentry and Confucian
• Under the Tang the scholar-gentry offset the powers of the
• From the Tang era onward, the political power in China was
shared by a succession of imperial families and the bureaucrats
of the civil service system
• The scholar-gentry class staffed most of the posts the
secretariats and executive departments that oversaw a huge
• Imperial palace to subprefecture (or county level)
• One secretariat drafted royal decrees and the other looked at
regional reports
• The executive department was split into 6 ministers: including
war, justice, and public works. Bureau of Censor that kept track
of all officials at all levels to ensure they were doing their jobs.
Tang decline and Song Rise
• Weakening imperial power under controversy of Empress Wu 690-705
and Empress Wei (who poisoned her husband, the son of Empress Wu
and put her small child on the throne). Another prince led a revolt in the
palace against her and won. He became emperor Xuanzong
• High point in Tang dynasty under his rule for a time!
• He was a great leader in the beginning but then he stopped focusing on
ruling and began to be obsessed with courtly life and pleasure. He greatly
enjoyed playing music and it was said he had 1000 concubines!
Xuanzong became infatuated with a beautiful young women, Yang
Guifei, after the death of his second wife. She was in the harem of one of
the imperial princes. Xuanzong began giving her flute lessons and her
status grew. She used her new position to get her greedy relatives access
to the upper level of government. She was arrogant and excessive.
Xuanzong neglected the state affairs which resulted in disaster. In 755 a
revolt broke out which the Tang crushed. However the Tang troops
mutinied and killed several Yang family members and forced the emperor
to kill Yang Guifei. He did, but never quite recovered. Later rulers Tang
rulers were weak.
• Nomadic peoples living on the borders gained powers and took over
portions of northern China. The local governors became independent
rulers in their own!
• An Lushan march on Chang’an forced Xuanzong to
abandon the throne to his son
• Had to pay the Turkic Uighur peoples (chapter 10) to
help put down the revolt-cost them huge sums of
money-payments of silk.
• Government appointed military men to govern the
provinces instead of civil servants –many had been
loyal to An Lushan and before long were basically
ruling a warlords and not sending taxes to the capital.
• At one point things got so bad that emperors formed
personal military forces (eunuchs) but eventually they
starting killing off the emperors and controlling them!!!
• Equal field system fell apart and peasants lost their
lands to the landed gentry and poverty increased.
Emperor Xuanzong
Tang to Song
• Tang couldn’t control the vast empire. In 751 Arab armies
defeated the Chinese on China’s western frontier at the
Battle of Talas!
• In 907 Chinese rebels sacked and burned the Tang
capital at Changan and murdered the last emperor, a
• Rival warlord divided China into several kingdoms
• In 960 an able general reunited China and proclaimed
himself Song Taizu, the first Song (sung) emperor. The
Song dynasty lasted from (960-1279). Song armies didn’t
regain western lands lost in 751 nor did they regain
northern lands. The northern Liao dynasty founded in
907 by the nomadic Khitan peoples in Manchuria made
the Song sign treaties that committed them to paying
heavy tribute in silver, silk, and tea to keep from invading.
• Song empire was much smaller than Tang
Song Map
Tang and Song Innovations
The Tang and Song eras were a time of major shifts in the population of China, new patterns of
trade emerged, renewed urbanization occurred, the novel began, and many technological
innovation happened.
Canals-like the Grand Canal built by Yangdi of the Sui which connected northern China with the
Yangtze River basin more than 500 miles south. This was important because the south surpassed
the north in population and crop production. River connections were also west to east instead of
north to south. This would help the imperial
Tang conquest and expansion of canals promoted trade
Middle East-horses, Persian rugs, tapestries for silk, textiles, porcelain, and paper
Maritime –(Junks Chinese ships-watertight bulkheads, sternpost rudders, oars, sails, compasses, bamboo
fenders, and gunpowder-propelled rockets for self defense!
Tang and Song government supervised the hours of the markets and merchants banded together
to form guilds to promote their interests and regulate competition
Money economy expanded: deposit shops (aka early banks) formed and the first use of paper
money began under the Tang –flying money. Merchants deposited money in hometown banks
and then got credit vouchers they used while traveling-flying money which they presented for
reimbursement in the appropriate office in the city of destination-reduced robbery! By 1000 it was
clear private banks couldn’t handle need on its own so the government began to issue paper
Population growth
Encouraged peasants to migrate to uncultivated areas –built military garrisons there
State regulated irrigation and embankment systems
Champa rice introduced from Vietnam (multiple crops a year!)
Wheelbarrow, bridge building, explosive powder-fireworks then grenades and bombs, Song had
warships with naphtha flamethrowers, poisonous gases, and rocket launchers.
Chairs were new, tea drinking, coal used for fuel, kite
Super important: Compasses, abacus, Bi Sheng and moveable type-combined with paper (Ci
Lun-Han) made printing possible
Footbinding begins
• 400-600 CE many things such as Buddhism and rice reached Japan
via Korea.
• From 600-700s a local dynasty formed called the Yamato. The
Yamato court, concentrated in the Asuka region, exercised power
over clans in Kyushu and Honshu, bestowing titles, some hereditary,
on clan chieftains. The Yamato name became synonymous with all
of Japan as the Yamato rulers suppressed the clans and acquired
agricultural lands. Based on Chinese models (including the adoption
of the Chinese written language), they developed a central
administration and an imperial court attended by subordinate clan
chieftains but with no permanent capital. By the mid-seventh
century, the agricultural lands had grown to a substantial public
domain, subject to central policy. The basic administrative unit was
the county, and society was organized into occupation groups. Most
people were farmers; other were fishers, weavers, potters, artisans,
armorers, and ritual specialists.
[Excerpted from Japan: A Country Study. Ronald E. Dolan and Robert L. Worden, eds.
Washington, DC: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 1994]
• The Soga had intermarried with the imperial family, and by A.D. 587
Soga Umako, the Soga chieftain, was powerful enough to install his
nephew as emperor and later to assassinate him and replace him
with the Empress Suiko (r. A.D. 593-628). Suiko, the first of eight
sovereign empresses, was merely a figurehead for Umako and
Prince Regent Shotoku Taishi (A.D. 574-622). Shotoku, recognized
as a great intellectual of this period of reform, was a devout
Buddhist, well read in Chinese literature. He was influenced by
Confucian principles, including the Mandate of Heaven, which
suggested that the sovereign ruled at the will of a supreme force.
Under Shotoku's direction, Confucian models of rank and etiquette
were adopted, and his Seventeen Article Constitution (Kenpo
jushichiju) prescribed ways to bring harmony to a society chaotic in
Confucian terms. In addition, Shotoku adopted the Chinese
calendar, developed a system of highways, built numerous Buddhist
temples, had court chronicles compiled, sent students to China to
study Buddhism and Confucianism, and established formal
diplomatic relations with China.
• Numerous official missions of envoys, priests, and students
were sent to China in the seventh century. Some remained
twenty years or more; many of those who returned became
prominent reformers. In a move greatly resented by the
Chinese, Shotoku sought equality with the Chinese emperor by
sending official correspondence addressed "From the Son of
Heaven in the Land of the Rising Sun to the Son of Heaven of
the Land of the Setting Sun." Shotoku's bold step set a
precedent: Japan never again accepted a subordinate status in
its relations with China. Although the missions continued the
transformation of Japan through Chinese influences, the Korean
influence on Japan declined despite the close connections that
had existed during the early Kofun period.
• About twenty years after the deaths of Shotoku (in A.D. 622),
Soga Umako (in A.D. 626), and Empress Suiko (in A.D. 628),
court intrigues over succession and the threat of a Chinese
invasion led to a palace coup against the Soga oppression in
A.D. 645. The revolt was led by Prince Naka and Nakatomi
Kamatari, who seized control of the court from the Soga family
and introduced the Taika Reform. (Taika = great change)
Imperial Age of Japan
• Chinese influence on Japan peaked around 7-8th centuries
as Japanese rulers sought to build a Chinese style
bureaucracy (Taika 645-710 and Heian 794-857)
• Japanese court at Nara flooded by Chinese imports
• Shinto remained central to Japanese culture (Religion of
early Japanese culture; devotees worshipped numerous
gods and spirits associated with the natural worlds; offers of
food and prayers made to gods and nature spirits)
• In 646 the emperor and his advisors introduced Taika
reforms aimed at completely revamping the imperial
administration along Chinese lines
• Aristocracy struggled to assimilated (hard language to master
and Buddhism hard to master too) while commoners were
effected by the large Buddhist temples that started appearing
and their duty to respect the Confucian gentry
• Commoners looked to Buddhism for cures or magic/ a
change of luck. They mixed Buddhism with kami or the
nature spirits. Adopted Mahayana Buddhism.
Shift to Heian (Kyoto)
• Taika reforms of 646 to make the Japanese
monarch a Chinese style emperor, to create a
bureaucracy and peasant conscript army
• Aristocratic families and Buddhist monks resisted
changes. (Empress Koken and the Buddhist monk
who tried to take the throne…women could never
• 794 emperor Kammu established a new capital at
Heian (Kyoto). Buddhists were forbidden from
building monasteries in the city, but built on the
outskirts! They started controlling politics!!!
• Soon Taika reforms abandoned and the aristocratic
families were restored to power. Elaborate system of
rank which was very rigid. Aristocracy took positions
now in the central government and the emperor gave
up on his goal of a large peasant conscript army.
Instead, local leaders told to organize militia forces.
Ultracivilized: Heian Era
• Political power under the Heian weakened,
but culture flourished!
• Japanese emperor and courtiers lived in
luxury and were focused on beautiful sights
• Complex palaces, gardens, and ponds/
• Aristocratic classes had strict codes of
behavior (polite)
• Writing verse/ poetry very important: The Tale
of Genji
Decline of Imperial Power
• While the emperor and his courtier were
admiring nature and obsessed with the latest
fashion trends the aristocratic families
controlling the bureaucracy got smaller.
• The Fujiwara family emerged as the leader
over imperial affairs! They sacked
administration with their family and also
married them off into the imperial family.
• Buddhist monks and aristocratic families
like the Fujiwaras worked together to
increase their land holdings and build up
large powerful estates around the capital.
• Monks and aristocracy failed to recognize the
growing power of local lords and the powers
of the emperor decreased
Rise of the Provincial Warrior
Elite controlled labor and
• Elite families in the provinces
denied the court resources and they began ruling
themselves as little kingdoms ruled by a “house”
government. The mini-state was protected by a small
fortress and ditches. Local lords live in the fortress
and were alert to neighboring lords who might want to
attack. They also collected taxes from the people, but
kept it for themselves!
• The Bushi were the warrior leaders who
administered law and order. The Bushi built up their
own armies due to the emperor’s failure of creating a
large conscripted peasant army.
• Bushi warrior groups were soon the most powerful
forces in the country. Their specialized mounted
troops or samurai were loyal to local lords but called
upon to protect the emperor and capital.
• 11th - 12th bandits roamed freely and monasteries
• The warriors emerged into their own warrior class to
support these various activities. The peasants
supported them with food and labor.
• Battles were elaborately negotiated beforehand and
each side tried to demonstrate cause. Warriors would
yell out their family lineage and exploits, but the other
warriors were yelling at the same time so they
probably didn’t hear them!!
• Warrior code developed-stressed family honor and
death over retreat/ defeat. Beaten or disgraced
warriors turned to ritual suicide, seppuku or harakiri, to restore their family’s honor. They
disemboweled themselves
• Japan moving toward a feudal order similar to that of
Western Europe during the post classical era
• Peasant lost status as warrior class developed. They
turned into serfs tied to the land and separated by
class. They couldn’t ride horses or even carry a
sword because of their social position
Japan’s Culture
• In spite of much sinification, Japan did
form a distinct culture: art and music,
government law codes: ritsuryo seido
• Made their own script, wabun
• Mixed Shinto and Buddhism ideas
• But…new contact brought a plague tht
killed about ¼ of the population in the
• Korea isn’t part of China!!!
• Korea was settled by different peoples
(Siberia and Manchuria)
• 109 BCE the Korean kingdom of Chosen was
conquered by the Chinese dynasty of the
Han. Korea was colonized by Chinese
settlers afterwards and they began to
influence the culture
• Koreans resisted Chinese rule (Koguryo of
the north). As Chinese rule weakened
Koguryo established an independent state in
the north and was at war with its rivals Silla
and Paekche
• Contacts between northern China and the
• Buddhism linked Korea and China
• Chinese writing introduced, unified legal code like
China, universities, and even tried to introduce
Confucian scholars (aristocracy didn’t allow this one
to happen though)
• Warfare between Koguryo, Silla, and Paekche
weaken Korea and the Chinese had their eye on
• The Koguryo in the north bore the main assaults of
the Chinese
• Finally the Chinese decided to play on the divisions
within Korea and made an alliance with Silla. They
destroyed Koguryo and Paekche! Then the Tang
realized Silla’s real power and decided to make a
deal with them. They would allow them to be the
independent rulers of Korea if they paid China tribute
• Silla monarchs (668-9th century) and the later
Koryo dynasty (918-1392) Chinese influence
over Korea peaked.
• Silla rulers strove to turn their kingdom into a
miniature Tang empire! The sent embassies
to the Tang court, gathered Chinese text,
followed Chinese fashion, participated in the
tribute system, and kowtow (bowing
ceremony to the emperor)
• This guaranteed peace with the Chinese and
provided access to Chinese learning and
• Chinese tribute system became a channel of
trade and intercultural exchange between
Sinification of Korean Culture
• Rebuilt their capital of Kumsong to look like
the Tang capital, grid pattern with markets,
lakes, parks, and imperial housing
• Aristocracy moved to the capital with their
families and workers
• Silla ruler introduced Confucian examination
system, however, most bureaucrats gained
their position b/c of family ties rather than the
• Favored Buddhism over Confucianism and
the aristocracy gave to the monasteries and
• Many Korean artwork and design was based
on Chinese prototypes. Chinese introduced
pottery and porcelain as well as the art of
Civilization for the Few
• The imperial family and aristocracy were the
ones in Korea with the good life and benefited
from trade (imported many items like teas,
artwork, and scrolls). Everyone one else under
them and to serve them. Merchants/ artisans not
highly valued b/c so many items were imported
• Imperial family, aristocracy, government
functionaries, commoners (peasants), nearslaves (low born-miners/ artisans, servants,
Koryo Collapse, Dynastic
• Because the commoners and low born faired so
poorly in Korea and the aristocracy was more
concerned with their own pleasures than with making
life better for the poor the commoners and nearslaves rose up from time to time. These rebellions
were ruthlessly put down by the armies. However this
inner conflict weakened the Silla and Koryo regimes
of Korea. Combined the internal conflict with
invasions like from the Mongols in 1231 this led to the
fall of the Silla and Koryo dynasties.
• The aristocratic families continued to survive and
eventually elevated on of their own to the royal
throne, Yi family
• The Yi dynasty was established in 1392 and ruled
until 1910!!! They restored the dominance of the
aristocratic families and links to China
Western Africa
• 300-1100 was a period of increased
rainfall. This allowed increased farming
activities and herding activities along the
Sahel. This in turn led to an increase in
population and economic activities.
• Takrur-monarchy in West Africa who rose
based on rice growing and trade
• Gao-took advantage of trade along the
Niger River
• Kanem-pastoral warriors developed
• Introduction of the camel or dromedary
was the main innovation (by way of Arabs)
that allowed for the deserts to open up and
Trans-Saharan trade to flourish. As a
result the Gold-Salt
Routes developed.
Gold –Salt Roads
• Early on Soninke buyers traded with local
chiefs independently and then shipped the
gold to Sudanic caravan merchants who
took the bullion (gold) northward. The
need for gold was great as many wanted it
for the purpose of minting coins.
• Besides gold, slaves were also traded
along this route.
• Gold and slaves went north while salt,
textiles, jewelry, ironware, and horses
went south
Ghana or Wagadu
• The earliest and of the major West African Kingdoms.
Probably started forming the 300s!
• The king was known as the Ghana and had a sacred
status to mediate between humans and
supernatural…performed religious rituals to ensure the
welfare of his people. They were somewhat centralized
government: royal officials and an army (archers) and by
1000 they added cavalry thanks to trade. The Ghana
didn’t control the gold mines but rather monopolized
trade. Many territories remained under the control of
local leaders who sometimes paid tribute to the Ghana.
• Royal succession was matrilineal!!!! The king wasn’t
succeeded by his son but rather the son of one of his
640-700 followers of Muhammad swept across N. Africa
670 Muslims ruled (Tunisia) Ifriqiya [Roman name for Africa]
Ifriqiya (eastern n. Africa) and Maghrib (western n. Africa)
711 Muslim rule expanded into Spain –known as al-Andalus. Most of the Iberian peninsula
fell to these Muslim Berber conquerors from northern Africa in the 700s. The governors of alAndalus were Umayyads who refused to recognized the Abbasid dynasty. They acted like
caliphs and were independent Abbasid authority. (berbers=people of the desert)
Islamic advance into western Europe was only stopped in 732 by Charles Martel in Poitiers
(battle of Tours)
Many N.Africans converted to Islam b/c of message of equality & umma. Also, merchants in
Sub-Saharan Africa and eastern coast converted because it served as a cultural foundation
for their business relationships with Muslim merchants.
Abbasid unified territory of north Africa for a while
Almoravids: (11th century) reform movement in Islam grew among Berbers. They launched a
jihad or holy war to purify and spread Islam. They moved south to the African kingdoms and
also north into Spain, invaded Ghana in 1076.
Almohadis: (1130) reformist group-again in Spain and northern Africa.
Many attracted to Islam its moral qualities while rulers attracted because the religion
reinforced theory of kingship. Islamic tradition of uniting the powers of state with religion.
While in Western Africa to the south…kings encouraged Muslim commercial activity and
Arabic language but kept local religious ideas. That is until the king of Gao converted in 1000
CE. Although they still respected local traditions.
The Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali reflects the
syncretism or blending of traditions between
African building techniques and the Muslim
idea of a Mosque
Invaders into Europe!
• Much of Europe was a patchwork of small
monarchies and dukedoms. The largest
empire, Franks, had broken up after the
death of Charlemange among his
grandsons in the 814 Treaty of Verdun.
• Soon invaders flooded into Europe to take
advantage of this weakness and this
disrupted European economic recovery
• Cordoba Caliphate controlled by the Umayyads in
Spain dominated much of the Western
• Soon the Aghlabid dynasty (800-909) in Tunisia
built a large navy and took advantages of
weakness in the Mediterranean by taking Sicily
from the Byzantine Empire! They and other
Muslims raided the coasts of Italy and France too.
In 846 Rome’s outer communities were sacked by
• Major problem- Europeans had a difficult time
breaking into Mediterranean trade!
• Pastoral nomads of Eastern Europe
• They complicated trade matters in that much
trade went to Byzantine to avoid Muslim raiding
via the Danube River-and this is where the
Magyars moved.
• Believed they moved from the steppes near the
Black Sea due to others aggressive migrations
• They raided into Germany, France, and
Northern Italy-plundered unprotected areas and
sold many into slavery
• They were put down by German cavalry
• Scandinavian raiders who profoundly changed
Western Europe. Their zenith was from the 8001000’s. They raided due to population pressures
and not enough farmlands-thanks Medieval
Warming Period). They operate from the Black
Sea all the way to Newfoundland in North
• Various independent campaigns by different
groups of Vikings. From Norway groups attacked
Britain, Scotland, and Ireland…looting and
burning Churches! Gold…
• Some areas they looted while others they
• Norwegian Vikings –Scotland, Iceland,
Greenland, and North America
• Danish Vikings-England and France-river raids
• France-in the weakening of the Carolingian
dynasty the Vikings attacked. They French
eventually gave them a large piece of
• Swedes- Russia to the Black Sea. They
established the settlements of Novgorod, Kiev,
and other important areas too. “Rus” came to
describe the blending of Swedes, Slavs, and
Turks. This eventually became Russia.
• Generally many Vikings settle and married local
Viking Ship
Western Europe
• Feudalism
• Growing defense: castle and fortified
houses to protect lands
• King wasn’t always the strongest
• Feudalism is a political system based on
land ownership and personal loyalty
• Feudum or fief – an estate given to a vassal in return for
loyalty and service (military and taxes).
• Feudalism is based upon a web of relationships and
power based upon land ownership.
• Serfs were peasants tied to the land in return for the
services they were to be protected.
• England-Alfred the Great (871-899) ruled and pushed
out Vikings but after his death the Viking king, Canute
(Christian) formed an empire that included England,
Norway, and Estonia. But things fell apart when he died
in 1035. Soon William the Conqueror would take control
of England.
• Germany-Otto I rose to power…subdued the Magyars
and was granted the title Holy Roman Emperor by the
Gods/ Goddess
• Odin - King of all the Norse gods and goddesses.
• Frigg - The main Norse goddesses. Odin's wife and
Balder's mother. She is the main Norse goddess.
• Thor - Perhaps the most famous of all the Norse gods
and goddesses. Odin's son and Sif's husband. Known as
the thunder god. The strongest god.
• Tyr - He is a war god and is Odin's son. The god of
single combat. He has one hand.
• Loki - The son of two giants he is a trickster. Norse
mythology explains how he leads the giants in their
victory against the gods in the final battle of Ragnarok.
• Freyja - Daughter of Njord and sister of Freyr. She is the
main goddess of the Vanir. Associated with love, beauty,
and fertility.
Big Ideas
• Southernization – the historical process
whereby a number of ideas and products/
technologies of significant important spill
out and spread from India and other parts
of Asia to other areas of Afroeurasia.
• Trade routes/ networks grow
• Diffusion of crops-sugar
• Improvement and diffusion of navigation
technologies and math