All You Need to Know

AYNTK: Classical Era. 600 BCE – 600 CE. Colors will correspond by theme throughout the study guide.
1. Emergence of major world religions (except for Judaism). Christianity, Zoroastrianism Hinduism, Buddhism, &
Philosophies: Confucianism, Daoism.
2. Emergence of intensified trade routes. Silk Road, Indian Ocean maritime trade, Trans-Saharan
3. Emergence of empires. Athenian, Greek, Roman, Persian, Mauryan, Guptan, Qin, and Han.
4. Fall of Empires. Borders too big to govern, outside invaders too tough to handle, leads to internal problems in
5. Women = still w/out many rights, especially political rights. Spartan women = strongest of era.
6. Empires emerge in five main areas (in bold)
a. The Mediterranean (ordered chronologically by periods of dominance)
i. 1600-800 BCE = Ancient Period influences: Minoans, Mycenaeans, Phoenicians (reconnect MDT
w/SWAsia). Minoans, Mycenaeans = found Greek language. Phoenicians = est. Carthage & phonetic
alphabet (our letters). All good seafarers, traders. Iliad/Odyssey penned by Homer during this time.
ii. Greece – mountainous country, communication = tough between poleis, poor soil, few crops, few
natural resources. Trade was necessary.
1. 800 - 400 BCE = Spartans.
a. Early politics = invaded Messenia, captured population, made slaves (helots).
i. Lycurgus (7th c.) = lawgiver.
ii. Helots = central to Spartan economics (out #ed population 10:1)
iii. Spartan men = trained from birth for battle
b. Colonization of Black Sea/W.MED. begins 7th century BCE
c. Spartan men = equal, frugal lifestyles. Athletics = important.
d. Spartan women = freer than Athenian women, equal w/men
2. 800 – 400 BCE = Athenians. Become great, defeat Persians, get greedy, defeated by Spartans
a. Early political turmoil (aristocrats, monarchs, then tyrants), democracy after (5 th c.)
i. Important figures: Solon (early 6th c.) = lawgiver, Cleisthenes (late 5th c.) =
est. Council of 500. Democracy: 1/3rd of population voted, just free males.
ii. Hoplites = central to Athenian armies
b. Colonization of Black Sea/W.MED. begins 7th century BCE. Driven by trade/land.
c. Athens had urban aristocracy, most Athenians lived in outskirts & farmed
d. Gender inequality, women mostly at home, could be citizens
e. Philosophy = love of wisdom. Socrates. Plato. Aristotle. Focus on natural law.
f. Art forms: Drama/Comedy, Lyric poetry, epics, architecture, sculpture.
i. Sculpture = Man = measure of all things. Plays = strong emphasis on
ii. 500 – 300 BCE = Greek Classical, or ‘golden age.’ Best stuff from Greece!
3. 430-400 BCE = Peloponnesian War. Sparta v. Athens, Athens got greedy, abused Delian
League, Sparta defeated Athens in several battles across WMED/Aegean. Quarrels between
poleis were frequent, Greek system broke down. Fall of Athens & Sparta.
4. 400 – 320 BCE = Philip II/Alexander the Great (Macedon).
a. Philip takes advantage of Greek quarrels w/superior army/great cavalry, brings
Greece under control.
b. Alexander 336 – 323 BCE = conquers Persian Empire, goes to India, comes back,
dies. Brilliant military commander. Roman emperors later all have ‘Alexander
complex.’ Dies in 323, empire cut into 3 states: Greece/Macedonia, Egypt, Persia.
c. Greek culture blended w/local in these areas to create ‘Hellenistic synthesis”
iii. Western Mediterranean
1. 600 – 150 BCE = Carthage. Founded by Phoenicians. Rome’s great rival. 3 Punic Wars
w/Rome, finally defeated ~150 BCE when Rome destroyed Carthage. Excellent navy.
2. 750 – 500 CE = Rome. Starts as small refuge, then all of Italy, then WMED, then Greece &
beyond. Greatest extent: Britain (N), North Africa (S), MPT (E), Iberia (W)
a. 750 – 500 BCE = Monarchy.
b. 509 – 40 BCE = Republic. 2 Consuls, Senate (patricians, upper class). Popular
assemblies (plebians, lower class) w/voting (mostly symbolic, not practical).
i. Rome expands its territory, 1st conquers area around Rome, then Italy. Gets
non-Italian territory after Punic Wars. Rome soldier/farmer = backbone.
ii. Gods, architecture, sculpture, poetry = borrowed from Greeks.
iii. Male-dominated society. Paterfamilias. Women had some economic rights,
prob. freer than Greek women.
iv. Patron-client relationship – patron gives client (plebian) funds, legal
protection, advice, etc. in return for loyalty.
v. 150 BCE – 70 BCE = Struggle of the orders = class warfare. Plebs v
vi. LAW = we inherit much from Rome. Concept of precedent, natural law,
equality among citizens in eyes of law.
40 BCE – 500 CE = Empire.
i. Augustus = 1st emperor, expands Roman power more than anyone ever
ii. Provincial governors = equites (knight class). Lots of freedom.
iii. Slave labor = abundant.
iv. 1st c. BCE = Trans-Saharan trade routes begin w/introduction of Camel
v. Large gap between rich/poor. (90% of pop. = lower class).
vi. 3rd century crisis: military emperors. Army/emperor’s guards
assassinated/chose emperors frequently.
vii. 300 – 331 CE = Constantine. Stabilizes empire, moves capital to
Constantinople, permits Christianity.
viii. 476 CE = Rome sacked by Goths. Western Roman Empire = done for.
Borders were too big, emperors were too inept, politicians too inept, too
many barbarians to stop (Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks, Vandals)
ix. Christianity expands at this time. Jesus = dies ~ 33 CE. Suppressed b/c
antithetical to Roman state religion. Security of Rome actually helps
Christian word spread, Peter/Paul travel.
b. Southwest Asia
i. 550 – 330 BCE = Persia
1. Cyrus the Great = founder (Achaemenids). Extended empire from Mediterranean, Egypt, to
India. Capital = Persepolis. Satraps = regional governors (lots of freedom). Royal road =
network for army/mail/trade. Fall of Persia = Alexander the Great.
ii. 5th c. BCE = Persians vs. Greeks.
1. War 1: Darius I upset at Athens for helping Ionian rebellion, fight @ Marathon, Greeks win.
2. War 2: Xerxes invades Greece. Thermopylae, Salamis. Greeks win.
c. India – India temporarily united at two different times. Big continent, many languages, cultures, diff. geography.
i. Ancient Era influence = Aryans. Brought caste system (varnas). Brahmins = priests = top caste.
ii. 1500 – 500 BCE = Vedic Age. (VEDic = VEDas, religious texts from Aryans.Most important = Rig Veda)
1. Eventually becomes Hinduism. Karma/dharma/moksha. Vishnu/Shiva.
2. 560 – 480 BCE = Siddartha Gautama, founds Buddhism. Born as a Kshatrya (lowest caste).
a. Buddhism = four noble truths, eightfold path. 2 types = Theravada, Mahayana
iii. 320 – 180 BCE = Mauryan (bigger than Guptan) – 1st centralized Indian empire. Chandragupta
Maurya = founder. Ashoka (3rd & greatest Mauryan), young warrior, expands territory all but
southern tip of India, rejects violence, chooses Buddhism. Mauryans defeated by outside invasions.
iv. Indian Ocean Maritime trade increases. 3 zones (west to east: Arabs, Indians, Chinese). Goods: silk,
pottery, ivory, gold, spices.
v. 320 – 550 CE = Guptan. United Ganges River valley/N. India after long breakdown after Mauryans.
d. East Asia
i. – 244 BCE = Warring States Period – end of Zhou dynasty. Self explanatory. Chaos!
ii. 221 – 206 BCE = Qin. Shi Huangdi = First Emperor. Shi = legalist. Qin = important b/c they develop
modern Chinese state. Est. state bureaucracy, used public labor for public works (roads, walls),
GREAT WALL. Confucians hated Shi Huangdi. Still, he standardized currencies, laws, written language
across China. Dynasty overthrown (no one likes harsh rule).
iii. 206 BCE – 220 CE = Han. Liu Bang = founder. Confucian. De-emphasized Legalism. Han emphasized
benevolent rule over Qin forceful rule.
1. 140 – 87 BCE = Han Wudi. Divided nobles’ lands amongst their sons to break their landholding, and, consequently, political power. Massively expanded Chinese territory in every
direction. Many diverse groups under Han control.
iv. Economics = silk!, merchants = bad social status, but gained power/wealth as trade increased.
v. 2nd c. BCE = Silk Road – Chang’an (China) to Eastern MED. Ideas/goods (ex: stirrup) diffused across
cultures. Romans/Chinese never met but indirectly traded via central Asian/Indian middlemen.
Central Asian nomads held road together.
vi. Social hierarchy = topped by shi (scholar bureaucrats). Universities est. to prep men to enter
bureaucracy w/big exams on Confucian texts.
vii. Social order = scholar bureaucrats/free citizens/underclass/slaves (not many slaves). Patriarchal!
viii. Han decline = big borders, peasant uprisings, gov’t inefficiency, rising power of aristocracy.