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Classical Empires. Alexander the Great Gupta India Han China Rome. Alexander’s Father. Philip II of Macedonia became king at the age of 23. Conquered Greece: Allowed for state control in local matters, but under the umbrella of Macedonia. Killed at his daughter’s wedding.

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Classical empires

Classical Empires

Alexander the Great

Gupta India

Han China


Alexander s father
Alexander’s Father

  • Philip II of Macedonia became king at the age of 23.

    • Conquered Greece: Allowed for state control in local matters, but under the umbrella of Macedonia.

    • Killed at his daughter’s wedding.

    • His son Alexander established his control with the support of the army. (age:20)


  • Student of Aristotle: learned science, geography and literature.

  • 334 BCE invaded Persia to complete his father’s plan.

  • Persian king, Darius III, raised an army to defeat Alexander.

  • Alexander attacked and eventually defeated Darius III.

    • Darius III was scared and offered a truce and 1/3rd of his Empire.

    • Alexander refused, he believed he could conquer it all.

  • He moved into Egypt, a territory of Persia, and was welcomed as a liberator.

  • Eventually Alexander controlled and occupied the capitals of Babylon, Susa, and Persepolis.

  • Tried to kill Darius and followed him east, where he found him already dead.

  • Alexander then decided to try and conquer to the farthest edge of the Asian continent.

  • 327 BCE Alexander crossed into Indus Valley.

    • They met the large Indian Army, including 200 elephants.

    • Alexander defeated the army and proceeded to march 200 miles farther.

Downfall of alexander s empire
Downfall of Alexander’s Empire as a liberator.

  • After the victory in the Indus Valley Alexander’s army had low morale.

  • They had been fighting for 11 years and had marched almost 11,000 miles. They wanted to go home.

  • Alexander reluctantly turned back to Babylon.

  • One year after his return he died of a fever before being able to organize and unify his Empire.

Gupta india

Gupta India as a liberator.

Gupta india1
Gupta India as a liberator.

  • Soon after Alexander took control of India he left and a military leader named Chandragupta Maurya seized control.

  • Chandragupta Maurya grew up in the Magadha kingdom which was ruled by the Nanda family.

  • Chandragupta Maurya killed the king and took control which began the Mauryan Empire.

  • By 303 BCE the as a liberator. Mauryan Empire stretched for more than 2000 miles and pushed the last of the Greeks out of India and also united north India for the first time.

  • In order to maintain the large army for battle the government had to levy high taxes

    • Farmers had to pay the government the value of up to half of their crops.

Government as a liberator.

  • Chandragupta Maurya created a highly bureaucratic government.

  • Divided the Empire into four provinces and appointed a royal prince.

  • Each province was also divided into local districts which had officials to collect taxes and enforce the laws.

Asoka as a liberator.

  • Asoka was Chandragupta Maurya’s grandson, and it was under his rule that the Empire was brought to its height.

  • 269 BCE Asoka became king. He waged war to expand his empire much the same way his grandfather did.

  • After the slaughter of 100,000 soldiers Asoka felt guilt and began to study Buddhism.

Buddhism and asoka
Buddhism and Asoka as a liberator.

  • Asoka had large stone pillars with the teachings of nonviolence and religious tolerance placed throughout the empire.

  • Asoka had an extensive road system built so that he could travel to the far corners of India.

  • Also he improved the conditions along these roads to make traveling easier and improve communication in the Empire.

  • After Asoka’s death the empire could not be held together.

  • It fell into a period of turmoil and regional kings began to challenge the imperial government.

  • After 500 years of turmoil a strong leader emerged, Chandra Gupta.

    • He is not related to Chandragupta Maurya.

    • He did not come to power by military conquest, but by marrying the daughter of an influential family.

Gupta empire
Gupta Empire

  • Most people live in small villages.

  • Craftspeople and merchants lived in certain districts and had shops on street level and lived in the area above.

  • Most people were farmers.

  • Patriarchal families headed by the eldest male.

  • Family groups all worked together to farm.

  • Droughts were common so people had to irrigate their crops.

  • Tax on water and every month people had to work one day to maintain wells and irrigation ditches.

Height of the empire
Height of the Empire were matriarchal.

  • Chandra Gupta II was viewed as the best prince among the Guptas.

  • He defeated the Shakas and added their western coast to the empire.

  • This allowed for trade with the rest of India and the Mediterranean world.

  • He also strengthened his empire through diplomatic means of arranged marriages.

  • After Chandra Gupta II’s death another period of turmoil occurred.

Han china

Han China were matriarchal.

Rise of the han
Rise of the Han were matriarchal.

  • During the civil war at the end of the Qin dynasty one general, Liu Bang, came to power.

  • He established the Han dynasty in 202 BCE.

  • Liu Bang first wanted to establish a centralized government by destroying rival kings and requiring local officials of the provinces, called commanderies, to report to him.

  • He gained the favor of the people by lowering taxes and softening harsh punishments.

Emperor wudi
Emperor were matriarchal. Wudi

  • Liu Bang’s great grandson was Wudi.

  • He continued on the legacy of Liu Bang by maintaining centralized power.

  • Wudi expanded the empire through war.

  • Biggest enemy was Xiongnu.

    • Had previously practice appeasement, but Wudi decided to stand his ground and defeated Xiongnu.

    • Wudi settled his troops along the northern border to keep the nomads out, this worked for a while but the nomadic groups would consistently cause problems throughout China’s history.

Han expansion
Han Expansion were matriarchal.

  • Conquered modern Manchuria and Korea.

  • Went South and settled to modern Vietnam.

  • By the end of Wudi’s reign he had almost expanded to the boundaries of modern day China.

Government were matriarchal.

  • Relied on complex bureaucracy.

  • Had to levy high taxes to maintain such a large government.

  • Peasants had to give the government a month’s labor and military service in addition to taxes.

    • Used this labor to expand the Great Wall that stretched across the northern border.

  • Government required examinations in order to get civil service jobs.

  • Sometimes loyal followers were rewarded with government positions.

Confucianism were matriarchal.

  • Wudi wanted his officials to follow the Confucian principles.

  • Confucius taught that gentlemen should practice: “reverence, generosity, truthfulness, diligence and kindness.”

  • Wudi set up schools to encourage Confucian study.

Technology were matriarchal.

  • Paper was invented in 105 CE

    • Books were now more readily available because it was a cheaper option than silk.

    • Helped to spread education

    • Record keeping became easier with paper records and the bureaucracy expanded.

  • Collar harness allowed horses to pull heavy loads.

  • Plow with two blades, iron tools, wheelbarrow, watermills to grind grain.

Commerce were matriarchal.

  • Population grew to 60 million during the Han Dynasty.

    • Because there were so many people to feed, farming became an honored profession.

  • Government monopoly of mining of salt, forging of iron, minting of coins and brewing of alcohol.

  • Also government began to compete with privately owned silk mills.

    • Expansion along the silk road due to the high demand in other parts of the world.

Culture were matriarchal.

  • Increased trade allowed forincreased contact with the outside world and many groups came under Chinese control.

  • To unify the empire the government encouraged assimilation.

    • Government sent Chinese farmers to settle new areas and intermarry with the local peoples.

    • Set up schools to teach Confucian philosophy and appointed locals to government positions.

  • Historians also tried to unify Chinese culture by recording China’s history

  • Confucian teaching stated that women dedicated themselves to the family.

  • Women were supposed to obey their parents when they are younger and then their husband and husband’s parents after marriage.

  • Women needed to be faithful, pure and modest in order to bring their family honor.

  • Some upper class women broke out of this mold.

    • They were able to get an education

    • Some empresses were able to hold great power.

    • Daoist and later Buddhist nuns were able to receive an education and live apart from their families.

Problems the family.

  • One of the biggest problems Han China faced was the economic imbalance due to the ability of the rich to increase their wealth at the expense of the poor.

    • All of a father’s male heirs inherit equal parts of the family’s land. As time goes on the plots get smaller and smaller

    • The farmer had trouble growing enough food to feed his family and might have to borrow money from large landowners at a high interest rate, which could lead to the lender being able to take possession of the land if the debt could not be paid.

  • Large landowner did not have to pay taxes, so as their land holdings increased the amount of taxable land decreased which led to the need to raise taxes again.

  • The gap between the rich and poor increased each time taxes were levied.

  • Fall of the Han

    • Because the gap between the rich and poor kept growing, the peasants began to revolt.

    • Rivals in the palace also began to compete for a place as a successor to the emperor.