Overview from 500

Bell Ringer
• How did the Roman Empire Fall?
• Who were the Huns?
• Where is Persia?
Overview from 500-1500 C.E.
Classical Empires Fall
• The nature of History is that things change.
• In early history there were the great empire of
the Han Dynasty, Rome, and India (Gupta).
• For new empire to emerge, however, the old
ones need to fall.
Han Dynasty
• The Han Dynasty had existed and ruled
for a number of years.
• They suffered from political instability
when a young emperor would lose the
throne. The Dynasty would regain
control but suffer from instability from
then on.
• The Han also faced the attacks of
Nomadic tribes from Central Asia, which
caused higher taxes and unhappy
• The Han would also suffer from
epidemics, outbreaks of disease,
because trade from the Silk Road would
bring in new disease.
Roman Empire
• Rome, much like the Han, suffered from political
instability and nomadic tribes.
• In the last half of the 3rd century, of the 26
different emperors of Rome, 25 were killed or
committed suicide.
• To pay for the expenses of the empire taxes were
raised on the lower levels of society (farmers)
• To avoid the taxes farmers would abandon their
farms and move into the city
• As more farmers moved to •
the cities there were not
enough jobs, disease
became a problem, and the
price of food rose. Taxes
cause inflation, and civil
To make Rome easier to
rule the Emperor
Constantine would split
the empire in two and
make Byzantium the
second capital.
• Rome will face pressure from Germanic tribes
from the north. They will succeed in sacking
Rome three times 410, 455, and removing the
last emperor in 476.
• The Byzantine empire would live on.
Gupta Empire (India)
• The Gupta empire ran differently from the
Han and Roman. They allowed for autonomy
(self governance) but kept strong central
• For this reason they did not suffer the set
backs of political or social issues like the other
classical empires.
• The Gupta fell because of foreign invaders known
as the White Huns.
• The Gupta benefited from having 2 defenses: The
Persian military and the Himalayan Mts.
• The Gupta Empire successfully defends against
them once, but drain their resources paying for
the defense, and fall to the second invasion
Rise of new Civilizations
• In the place of the Romans the Sassanian
Empire of Persia (the Persian Empire) will
stretch from the Byzantine Empire to India.
• As they are direct neighbors with the
Byzantine Empire both peoples will spend a
large amount of money fighting wars with
each other.
• In China no new dynasty will immediately
emerge, but about 300-400 years later the
Tang and Song dynasties will take over.
• Some of the most stable and successful times
in the history of Ancient China.
Dark Ages
• Europe will fall into the Dark Ages, where
cities will fall, economies will crumble, and art
and literature aren’t produced.
• New leaders, such as Charlemagne, will
eventually come and start new kingdoms, Holy
Roman Empire.
• The knowledge of Europe will be kept safe by
the Byzantine and Islamic Empire
• Also, independently, at this time empires will rise
in Mesoamerica (Mexico & Central America)
• Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec Empires
Muslim Empire
• Muhammad will receive the message of God
around 610 (You know this story)
• Muhammad will retake Mecca in 630, and die
two years later.
• His father-in-law, Abu Bakr, will be selected by
the Muslim community to be their next
leader/ruler, AKA a Caliph
• Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali will be the
first four Caliphs (632-661)
• They will conquer parts of northern Africa, the
Middle East, and take the Persian Empire from
the Byzantine.
Why the Success?
• 1. Belief God was on their side.
• 2. Mastery of the Camel for transportation
and warfare.
• After the four Caliphs the Umayyad family will
take over the Islamic Empire.
• They will continue expanding across Africa,
and into Spain.
• They will also capture parts of China.
• They are only defeated when they try to enter
France (Charles Martel) and at Constantinople
• The Umayyad Caliphate will be overthrown by
the Abbasids.
• They move the Capital to Baghdad, rule for
500 years, and the time is considered the
height of the Islamic Empire.
Split of the faithful
• Shi’a
• Never truly accepted
the Umayyad or
Abbasid rulers.
• Follow the descendants
of Ali, the last caliph
• Minority
• Sufis
• Sunni
• Accept the Umayyad
and Abbasid rulers
• The majority of Muslims
• Mystics who reject worldly rule and
seek direct experiences with god.
• Holy men who are important in
spreading the religion
• Despite the differences of its followers Muslims
will for a massive empire by 900, known as Dar
al-Islam (the House of Islam)
• The Muslim empire will encourporate Arabs,
Christians, Jews, Persians, Indians, Turks, North
Africans Berbers, and Black Africans.
• Christians and Jews will be respect by Muslim
rulers as, “People of the Book,” and allowed to
keep practicing their faith.
• Non-Muslims had to pay a special tax though
Society and Economy
• Most people who are in the Muslim empire will
convert (willingly) and learn Arabic
• The Common language helps unite the Empire
• Social System: 1. Muslims, 2. Converts,
People of the Book, 4. Others
• Women will be lower in society, but are allowed
to own property (better than most cultures)
• The Muslim empire will thrive on trade as it
helped connect major trade roads.
• Camel and boats will be used to trade, and the
common language allows for people to trade
anywhere in the empire
• Rulers guaranteed safe conduct for trade
Culture of Islam
• Islam will have it’s own culture, but absorb
ideas from Rome, Persia, China, and India.
• They will become wonderful Architects
• Will create universities
for studying
(Plato or Aristotle)
• Muslims will make advancements in
mathematics. They apply algebra to
astronomy, and are responsible for the
modern number system (including zero from
• Develop irrigation, canals, water wheels,
dams, and improve on sailing by using Greek
and Chinese technology.
Mongol Empire
Nomadic tribes from Central Asia.
Excellent warriors and raiders
Their leader was called a Khan
One Khan, Temujin, would unit the Mongol
tribes and take the name Genghis Khan, or
“Universal rider”
• The Mongols will go on to conquer most of
Reasons for Success
• Excellent warriors when on
horseback (ride while sleeping)
• Extremely disciplined, organized in
groups of 10
• Genghis was a great strategist and
could fool his enemies in battle
• Genghis was brutal. If a city
rebelled after he conquered it he
would kill everyone.
• After Genghis dies he lets his
grandsons carry on the mission.
Mongol Rule
• As their empire grew the Mongols had to
learn to rule.
• They imposed their own value system: theft,
lying, betrayal, & defiance could all be
punishable by death.
• Believed in religious tolerance. They believed
in one God, but that men had learned to
interpret that one God differently.
• The Empire would grow large, and be divided
into four. The Four sections would continue to
work with one another.
• This time is known as the Pax Mongolica, or
the Peace of the Mongols.
• Trade will continue to flourish, and paper and
gunpowder will make its way to Europe during
this time.
• The Empire will be brought down by the
Bubonic Plauge (Black Death) which will
spread all the way to Europe
World Religions
• Many religions will spread during this time.
• Conflict sometimes occurred: Muslims didn’t
like Hundiusm.
• The Crusades (Christians vs Muslims) would
be fought for portions of the Middle East
• Muslims will be driven out of Spain as well
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