The Classical Period: Directions, Diversities, and Declines by 500 C.E.
Expansion and Integration • As Classical Civilizations decline major world religions rise as a force to define the next period • Each civilization had to deal with expansion and integration and how they dealt with these issues helped determine how they fell Integration • Territorial • Social
Decline of China Internal Problems • Decrease in Confucian intellectuals • Increase in corrupt bureaucrats • Increase in social unrest partly due to declining resources from environmental damage (such as deforestation, soil erosion, silted rivers) • Increase in epidemics killing the population • Threatened cultural unity with the introduction of Buddhism • Sui and Tang revive the empire briefly • NO PERMANENT DISRUPTION
India’s Decline • India’s decline was less dramatic • Increase in invasions, led to an increase in regional princes. In turn, central power weakened. However, many invaders integrated and even adopted some of the religious views of the conquered people. • Hinduism cemented the culture and lessened the fall but Islam would soon threaten it.
Fall of Rome • There were symptoms of decay after 180 CE • Internal problems • Drastic decrease in population (1 million – 250,000) due to plague and disease • Depressed society • Elite become more pleasure-seeking and so no new culture is being created
Fall of Rome (contd.) • Diocletion tried to reverse the trend but couldn’t • Constantine thinks dividing the empire will help manage its problems but that doesn’t work either • This leads to a split in the unity Mediterranean culture • Did not produce shared political culture or the bureaucratic institutions of China nor did is have the religion to hold it together as in India • Empire fell into 3 zones • Eastern Empire- Byzantium • N. Africa and Southern shores of Mediterranean • Western part of the Empire (with no sophisticated culture)
All civilizations suffered from outside invasions • Rome fell to Germanic invasions • India fell to the White Huns and China to another similar Central Asian group called the Xiongnu
Cases of Expanded Empires and their Influence • Southeast Asia • Gained access to civilization through contact with India • Africa • Independent kingdom of Kush along the upper Nile, which fell to Axum, which in turn fell to Ethiopia • Axum and Ethiopia had contacts with the Mediterranean civ.
Other Civilizations • Africa • Below the Sahara the major development was a further extension of agriculture and the development of regional Kingdoms (Ghana is first state) • Asia (Japan) • Japan, by 200 CE, had established extensive agriculture • Shintoism provided for worship of political rulers and spirits of nature and by 700 CE was able to unify Japan
Other Civilizations • Asia (Polynesian) • Reached Fiji and Somao by 1000 BCE (via special canoes) • Central Asia • Herding people played large role in trade, innovation and later invasion of the classical societies
Other Civilizations • Europe • Europe is organized into loose kingdoms • Central America • Olmecs develop impressive agriculture but by 400 BCE had disappeared without a trace • Olmec successors- Maya and Inca both develop in relative isolation and therefore lacked some of the advantages of being able to copy other civilizations but they were sophisticated nonetheless
New Religious Map- the spread of major religions was a vital result of changes in the classical world