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Ancient Stuff. 8000 BCE to 600 CE. The Big Picture. What are civilizations all about? What makes a civilization? Political, economic, religion Social levels Occupations Use of technology Art Communication Transportation How does change occur within a society? CULTURAL DIFFUSION

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Ancient Stuff

8000 BCE to 600 CE

The Big Picture

  • What are civilizations all about? What makes a civilization?

    • Political, economic, religion

    • Social levels

    • Occupations

    • Use of technology

    • Art

    • Communication

    • Transportation

  • How does change occur within a society?


  • How are people impacted by, and how do they impact, geography, and climate?

At the beginning there was…

  • Major changes… remember that everything is a chain reaction in history

    • one event sets up everything

  • The beginning period

    • Figuring out farming

    • What happens when there is enough to eat?

    • Developing tech and ideas to support a city

      • And takeover others

    • Rise of major world religions

    • Collapse of Classical Empires

Nomads: Follow the food

  • Imagine early people

    • No cities

    • No farms

    • Only tried to satisfy FOOD and SHELTER needs

    • No advanced tools

    • Had to FIND shelter and had to FIND food

Foraging Societies: Hunt and Gather

  • Foraging societies = Hunter and Gatherers

  • Life was dictated by the animals

Pastoral Societies: Taming the animals

  • Characterized by the DOMESTICATION of animals

  • Usually found in more mountainous regions

The Neolithic Revolution

  • “New Stone”

    • AKA Agricultural Revolution

  • 8000 BCE to 3000 BC

  • Civilizations started by water sources

  • Learn to cultivate => get to stay in one spot => => Sense of Property with ties to land => Sense of Unity => specialization of society => culture

Important consequence…


  • Leads to more complex societies, organized economies, governmental structures, religion

  • With IRRIGATION more land could be cultivated… leading to greater societal expansion

Impact on environment

  • Changed the landscape

    • Diverted water

    • Clearing land

    • Buildings

    • Stones cut into for building materials and monuments

  • Animals used for labor… not just food and clothing

The Bronze age

  • The latter half of the Neolithic period

  • They had developed in the first half

    • Pottery

    • Sharpened stones

    • Plows

    • Carts

    • Sails

    • wheels

  • During the Bronze age

    • Combined copper with tin

    • Created a harder metal

The BIG, Early civilizations: The Rivers Deliver

Early civilizations

  • 3000- 2000 BCE

  • Mesopotamia

  • Egypt

  • India

  • China


    • The city and the surrounding countryside


  • “land between the rivers”

    • Tigris and Euphrates

    • Flooding was unpredictable

      • Early settlements washed away

      • Eventually built canals and dikes

  • Encompassed multiple civilizations

    • Sumer

    • Babylon

    • Persia

  • Part of the FERTILE CRESCENT

Mesopotamia Cont…

  • By 3000 BCE

    • UR, Erech, Kish

      • Major City-States

Ancient SUMER

  • Developed CUNEIFORM

    • Ancient writing form

    • Scribes

      • Writer

        • Wrote laws, customs, treaties

  • Developed 12 month calendar

  • Math…60 units (as in 60 seconds)

  • Developed arches and columns

Sumerians Cont…

  • Polytheistic

    • Belief in more than one god

    • Each city has its own god and then there was a collective of gods that all cities worshipped


    • Raised temples to honor the gods

    • Disasters were due to gods being angry

  • By 1700 BCE it was no more

From Sumer to Babylon to Nineveh to Babylon

  • The Akkadians (city of Akkad)

    • Rose after the decline of Sumer

  • Eventually overrun by BABYLON

    • Leader: King Hammurabi

      • HAMMURABI’S CODE: first set of modern legal code

        • Distinguished between major and minor offenses

        • Applied to everyone

        • Distinguished between social classes

  • Babylon falls to the HITTITES

    • 1500 BCE


  • Hittites

    • Dominated due to use of iron weapons

  • Assyrians learn of Iron tech

    • Ninaveh (capital of Assyria)

    • Highly disciplined but cruel

    • Frequent uprisings

  • Chaldeans took over next

    • Leader: King Nebuchadnezzar

    • Rebuilt Babylon as a showplace

  • Persians then emerge and take over the Fertile crescent

Persian Immersion

  • 500 BCE

  • Built roads

    • Great Royal Road

      • 1600 miles from Persian Gulf to Aegean Sea

Lydians, Phoenicians, and Hebrews… OH MY!

  • Lydians

    • Came up with money instead of bartering

    • Allowed more consistent pricing and a reason to save

  • Phoenicians

    • Established powerful naval city-states along the Mediteranean

    • Developed simple alphabet… leads to our modern alphabet

  • Hebrews (Jews/Judaism)

    • Monotheistic

    • Established Israel in Palestine


  • Believed they are God’s chosen people

  • Frequently invaded but maintain identity

    • Nebuchadnezzar enslaved them

    • Under Persian rule they were freed

Ancient Egypt: Stay awhile along the Nile

Ancient Egypt

  • Reached peak around 1400 BCE (New Kingdom)

  • Three major Kingdoms

    • Old

    • Middle

    • New

Egyptian Achievements

  • Before the Old Kingdom they united under King Menes

  • Rulers known as Pharoahs

    • Seen as gods

  • Constructed Obelisks and Pyramids

  • Hieroglyphics

    • System of writing in pictures

  • Reliable calendar

  • Engaged heavily in trade

You can take it with you!

  • Egyptians were polytheistic

  • Belief in the afterlife

  • Believed they could take their belongings

  • Believed they could use their bodies in the afterlife…leads to MUMMIFICATION

    • Preserving dead bodies

    • Only available to the elite

Egyptian Women, Hear them ROAR!

  • Queen Hatshepsut

    • First known female ruler

    • 22 years during New Kingdom

    • Expanded trade

  • Women could

    • buy and sell property

    • Inherit property

    • Will their property

    • Dissolve marriages

  • Women were still subservient to men

    • Valued as bearers of children

    • Females not as educated as male counterparts

Ancient Egypt in Decline 

  • By 1100 BCE until 100 BCE

  • Conquered by both Assyrians and Persians… then the Greeks and finally the ROMANS

Indus River Valley Civilization:

Indus Valley cont…

  • 2500 BCE to 1500 BCE

  • Khyber pass

    • “only” way into the Indus Valley

    • They were cut off from invaders at the beginning

  • Major cities

    • Mohenjo-Daro

    • Harrapa

      • Home to about 100,000 each

  • May have had sophisticated water systems

  • Strong Central government

Indus Valley Cont…

  • Most likely led by a King-Priest

  • Polytheistic

  • Indus Industry was top notch

    • Used potter’s wheel

    • Grew cotton

    • Made cloth

  • Around 1900 BCE the cities started to be abandoned for unknown reasons

Arrival of the Aryans

  • Nomadic tribe from North of the Caucasus Mountains

Aryans Cont…

  • Used horses and advanced weapons to easily defeat Indus people

  • Began to settle Indus Valley

  • Most Important fact

    • Belief system formed HINDUISM

      • Reincarnation

      • Polytheistic

      • Recorded beliefs in the VEDAS and UPANISHADS

  • Also contributed the CASTE SYSTEM

Caste System

  • Initially Warriors/Priests/Peasants

  • Later changes to Priests (brahmans)/Warriors/Landowners-Merchants/Peasants

  • As system evolved movement between classes forbidden

    • Born into it

Early China: SHANG on the HWANG

  • Shang China rose in the Hwang Ho River Valley

    • AKA Yellow River Valley

Shang Cont…

  • 1600 BCE to 1100 BCE

  • Like others they used agricultural surplus to build a trade center

  • Northern China

  • Military Power

    • used chariots

  • Limited contact with world

  • Believed they were the CENTER OF THE WORLD

Shang Cont…

  • Called themselves “ALL UNDER HEAVEN”

  • Accomplished Bronze workers

  • Chariots and developed the spoked wheel

  • Pottery

  • Silk

  • Devised a decimal system

  • Highly accurate Calendar

Shang’s Family Focus

  • Extended family important

  • Patriarchal structure

    • Led by eldest male

  • Believed God’s controlled all aspects of people’s lives

  • Believed they could call on their dead ancestors to advocate with the Gods

    • Led to greater significance of extended family

Enter the ZHOU

  • Zhou dynasty

    • AKA Chou

    • 1100 BCE

      • Ruled for about 900 years

  • Believed in MANDATE OF HEAVEN

    • Heaven would grant power as long as its rulers governed justly and wisely

    • Similar to DIVINE RIGHT

Zhou Cont…

  • Developed a feudal system

    • King ruled overall

    • Nobles given power over smaller regions

      • King protected nobles in exchange for loyalty

  • As time passes, the nobles built up power

    • Kingdoms emerge after splits

      • Some developed BUREAUCRACIES

        • Government organizing into BUREAUS

          • Specialized departments

  • ZHOU ends in 256 BCE

WEST AFRICA: BANTU migrations and the “Stateless Society”

  • Around 1500 BCE

  • Niger river and Benue River valleys migrated east and south


      • Spurred by climate change

      • Sahara desert area

  • BANTU was the family of languages


    • First city in Sub-Saharan Africa

    • Not hierarchically organized

      • Collection of communities

Classical Civilizations

Classical Civilizations: India

  • Mauryan Empire

    • 321 BCE to 180 BCE

  • Gupta Dynasty

    • 320 to 550 CE

Mauryan Empire

  • 321 BCE to 180 BCE

  • Aryan Culture spread (Introduced Hinduism and caste system)

  • Founded by Chadragupta Maurya

    • Unified the smaller Aryan kingdoms

    • Grandfather to Ashoka Maurya

  • Ashoka was its greatest leader

    • Rock and Pillar Edicts

      • Reminded people to live generous and righteous lives

      • Converted to Buddhism and spread the religion

Mauryan Empire cont…

  • Became powerful through trade

    • Silk, cotton, elephants

    • To Mesopotamia and eastern Roman empire

  • Had a powerful military

    • Ashoka converted to Buddhism after a violent and bloody battle over the Kalinga

    • He then started preaching nonviolence and moderation

Gupta Dynasty

  • 320 – 550 CE

  • Major Leader: Chandra Gupta

    • Led the “golden age”

      • Peaceful time

      • Advances in art and science

        • Developed Pi and concept of zero

        • Decimal system of 1-9

          • Diffused to Arabs and became known as arabic numerals

  • Hinduism came back along with caste system

    • Women lost rights

  • Collapsed after White Hun invasion in 550

Classical Civilizations: China

  • Qin Dynasty

    • 221 to 209 BCE

  • Han Dynasty

    • 200 BCE to 200 CE

Qin Dynasty in China

  • 221 to 209 BCE

    • Extremely short

    • Buuuuuuut Important

  • Connected fortification walls and created the GREAT WALL OF CHINA

  • Leader: Qin Shi Huang Di

  • Standardized laws, currencies, weights, measures, and writing

  • Did not tolerate dissent… burned books and killed dissenters

Qin Cont…

  • Patriarchal


    • Believed in strong government

  • After emperor’s death peasants revolted and led to the HAN DYNASTY

Han Dynasty in China

  • 200 BCE to 200 CE

  • The Huns invaded China and Eastern Europe

  • Major leader: WU TI

  • Trade thrived along the Silk Road


    • Based on merit not who you knew

    • Based on teachings of Confucius

    • Testing lasted several days

    • Open to all but only the wealthy could afford to prepare for it

Han Dynasty cont…

  • Invented paper, accurate sundials, and calendars

  • Broadened use of metals

Classical Civilizations: The Mediterranean

Classical Civilizations: Greece

  • Mountainous area

    • Not good for agriculture

  • Good harbors and mild weather

  • Eventually replaced bartering with monetary system… developed by who?

  • Because of this ATHENS emerges as a wealthy city

  • Because land was scarce they developed a strong military to expand their territory

Greece cont…

  • Polis

    • AKA city-state

    • Shared culture and identity

    • Each was independent

      • Led to conflict

  • Two main city-states

    • ATHENS

      • More culturally centered

    • SPARTA

      • More militarily centered

      • Women had more rights than in Athens

Greece cont…

  • Polis

    • Composed three groups

      • Citizens (adult males) in business/commerce

      • Free people with no political rights

      • Non-citizens (slaves with no rights… about 1/3rd)

  • Among Citizens civic decisions were debated and all citizens participated (only males)


Greece cont…

  • Slavery led to Democracy

    • Slave labor led to extra free time

    • Slaves could buy their freedom

Greek Mythology

  • Polytheistic

    • Zeus

    • Aphrodite

  • Gods possessed human failings

    • Got angry

    • Got drunk

    • Took sides

    • Had petty arguments

War with Persia… The Greeks hold on


    • United Greek city-states against their mutual enemy… Persia

    • Much of Athens was destroyed

    • Two major victories

      • Marathon and Salamis

  • After war they enter the “Golden Age of Pericles”

Golden Age of Pericles

  • Leader: Pericles (of Athens)

  • Philosophy and the arts flourished

  • Hoplites and Phalynx established

  • Established the DELIAN LEAGUE

    • An alliance against aggression from common enemies

    • Athens took the money

      • Spent on arts and navy

In Philosophy…


  • Believed truth could be discerned through rational thought and deliberate observation

  • Although not always accurate, the process they went through was revolutionary

Other advances during the Golden Age…

  • Greek architecture

    • Ionic, Dorian, Corinthian columns

  • Math and Science flourished

    • Archimedes, Hippocrates, Euclid, Pythagoras

  • But culture did exist before the Golden Age

    • Homer

      • Wrote the Illiad and The Odessey

Trouble for Athens

  • Others aligned with Sparta to form the Peloponnesian League

  • Athens became fearful of Sparta and vice versa

  • Trade disputes lead to PELOPONNESIAN WAR

    • 431 BCE

  • Athens hid behind its great walls since it couldn’t get to Sparta

    • Sparta was inland…Athens had only a good Navy

  • Plan worked except for a plague and a defeat of their navy at Syracuse

Weakened by War

  • Sparta did not destroy Athens since it respected them

  • Both weakened

  • Conquered by the Macedonians

    • Leader: Phillip of Macedon

      • 359 BCE to 336 BCE

        • Also respected the Greek culture

  • Phillip’s son becomes king


      • Taught by Aristotle

Alexander the Great

  • Conquered the Persian Empire

  • Creates largest Empire of the time

    • Divided into three empires

  • Adopted Greek customs then Culturally Diffused the ideas


    • The culture, ideals, and pattern of life of Classical Greece

    • Much of the World had uniform beliefs

Death of Alexander

  • Died at 33 years old

  • Macedonian empire collapses afterwards

  • Rome emerges

Classical Civilizations: ROME

Classical Civilizations: ROME

  • 509 BCE to 476 CE

  • Good position geographically

    • Alps to the north provided protection

    • Protected from large scale naval invasion

    • Crossroads/easy access to many places

  • Polytheistic

    • Many gods were Greek but renamed to suit culture

Social Structure in Rome

  • PATRICIANS (land owners) vs. PLEBEIANS (the others) vs. Slaves

  • Patriarchal Society

  • Slavery was important

    • 1/3 of pop

    • Came from conquered territories


    • Senate and Assembly

    • Two Consuls elected annually

  • Much more stable since you don’t have to vote on everything

  • Code of Laws

    • Twelve Tables of Rome

      • Innocent until proven guilty

Roman Military Domination

  • Carthage was first major enemy (N. Africa)


  • First Punic War

    • 264 BCE to 241 BCE

    • Rome Won

  • Second Punic War

    • 218 BCE

    • HANNIBAL, Carthaginian General

      • Invaded much of the Roman Empire

      • Had to return home to defend Carthage and lost their gains

Roman Military Cont…

  • Third Punic War

    • Rome started it

    • Invaded Carthage… burned it to the ground

  • Rome also faught

    • Defeating the Macedonians

    • Gauls in the north

    • Spaniards to the west

  • With all this conquering they

    • Built road networks, aqueducts, and grew their Navy

Collapse of the Republic and Rise of Imperialism

  • Problems in Rome

    • Large landowners started using more slaves

      • Displaced small farmers… they move to cities… causes overcrowding with not enough jobs

    • Roman currency devalued

    • Political leaders began fighting

      • Power of Senate weakens… leads to


          • Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar

First Triumverate

  • Caesar given power over Gaul (France)

    • Never invaded Germany

  • Caesar’s followers pushed out the other two

    • Becomes Emperor for life

    • Angry senators assassinate him in 44 BCE

  • Second Triumverate emerges

    • Octavius, Marc Antony, and Lepidus

      • Octavius rose to power

        • Becomes “Augustus Caesar”


Augustus Caesar

  • Rome becomes the capital of the Western World

  • 200 years of peace

    • PAX ROMANA (Roman Peace)

  • Growth of arts and sciences

    • Literature

      • Virgil’s Aeneid

    • Architecture

      • Pantheon, Colosseum, Forum

Religious Diversity: New Chiefs of Beliefs

  • Early on it was Paganism

    • Made sacrifices to Roman Gods

    • Had to worship them in order to show loyalty

  • Christianity then emerges

    • Grew out of Judaism

    • Romans initially OK with it… then see it as a threat

  • Roman Emperor NERO persecuted Christians

  • Emperor Constantine ends persecution in 313 CE with the EDICT OF MILAN

    • 391 CE Christianity becomes official religion

Late Classical Period: Empires Collapse, and People on the Move

Late Classical Period

  • 200-600 CE

  • Fall of

    • Han China

    • Gupta Empire

    • Western Roman Empire

    • Mayan

Collapse of the Han

  • Han dynasty interupted by WANG MANG

    • Seized throne by using the MANDATE OF HEAVEN argument

    • Established the XIN DYNASTY (9-23 CE)

      • Reforms were unsuccessful… led to revolts

      • Han take control after revolts but were never as powerful… fully lose control in 220 CE

        • China divides into regional kingdoms

Collapse of the Gupta Empire

  • INVADED by the HUNS (Not Attila’s forces, they were attacking Europe)… the white huns

    • Held them off for a little while but were weakened

    • Hinduism and the caste system remained intact but the empire did not

Collapse of the WESTERN Portion of the Roman Empire

  • Fell due to internal decay, external pressure (Attila and other groups)

  • Empire was just too large to be supported

  • Series of bad leaders

  • Epidemics

Roman’s cont.

  • Diocletian… 284 CE takes over and divides the Empire into halves ruled by co-emperors

  • Civil war erupts after his retirement

  • CONSTANTINE comes to power in 322 CE

    • Builds Constantinople

      • Becomes the new capital of a united Rome after he tries to take back the lost lands

    • He dies and the Empire divides again

      • Eastern half thrives (becomes BYZANTINE EMPIRE)… Western half dies

        • Germanic Tribes along borders (VISIGOTHS)

          • Were Roman

        • Visigoths pushed back by Attila and the Huns… then retreat and sack Rome

Trade and Cultural Diffusion

  • Major Trade routes emerge


      • China to Roman Empire

      • Pastoral communities feed/trade/shelter the traders

  • Disease travels the same routes

  • Religion spreads along the same routes

Major Belief Systems Through 600 CE

Outline of things to know

  • Polytheism

  • Confuscianism

  • Daoism

  • Legalism

  • Hinduism

  • Buddhism

  • Judaism

  • Christianity


  • Belief in more than one god

  • Practiced by almost all except the Hebrews


  • 400 BCE – present

  • China

  • Who was Confucius?

    • Born an aristocrat

    • His thinking was generally at odds with state policy

    • Attracted followers… they wrote his beliefs in the ANALECTS


Confucius cont…

  • Focus on 5 relationships and their obligations/responsibilities

    • Ruler and Subject

    • Parent and Child

    • Husband and Wife

    • Older Brother and Younger Brother

    • Friend and Friend

Confucius cont…

  • Ren- sense of kindness

  • Li- sense of respect


    • Respect for family obligations

  • Confucianism places the emphasis on the Individual to act accordingly NOT the government mandating it


  • 500 BCE and onward

  • China

  • AKA Taoism

  • Lao-Tzu

    • Chinese philosopher

    • The DAO or the WAY is passive… it accomplishes everything but does nothing

      • Ex. The opening in a pot does nothing but without it there would be no pot

    • You just let things happen… simple life… harmony with nature


  • Qin Dynasty (221-209 BCE)

  • China

  • Maintained that peace and order were achieved through a centralized, tightly governed state

  • Didn’t trust human nature… needed tough laws

    • Caused widespread dissent


  • Indian subcontinent

  • Believe in one supreme force… the BRAHMA… the creator

  • Hindu gods are manifestations of Brahma

    • Vishnu… the preserver


  • Goal: to merge with Brahma

    • Cannot be accomplished in one lifetime

Hinduism cont…

  • Must follow DHARMA to move up

    • The rules and obligations of the caste your born into

    • Determines how you live your next life

  • Life, death, rebirth continues until MOKSHA

    • Release of the soul to Brahma


    • Sources of prayers, verses, and origins of the universe


  • India, China, SE Asia

  • Founded: Siddhartha Gautauma

    • 563 BCE to 483 BCE

    • Rejected his wealth (was a prince)

    • Searched for meaning of human suffering

    • Meditated under a bodhi tree and reached enlightenment or Buddha status

Buddhism cont…

  • No supreme being in Buddhism

  • Follow the FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

    • All life is suffering

    • Suffering is caused by desire

    • One can be freed of this desire

    • One is freed by following the EIGHTFOLD PATH

      • Following the path moves you towards NIRVANA

        • State of perfect harmony


  • Hebrews

  • Monotheistic

  • Believes God holds them as his select people

  • Believe if they worshipped him, he would preserve them for all time

  • Believed in free will and the task of humans is to honor and serve God by following the TORAH

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