The Classical Period. Directions, Diversities, and Declines by 500 C.E. Cultural diffusion or independent invention. A major theme of the AP* World History course is cultural diffusion versus independent invention.
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Directions, Diversities, and Declines by 500 C.E.
A major theme of the AP* World History course is cultural diffusion versus independent invention.
Chapter 10 posits the idea that “many of the most important aspects of civilization may have been exported from the cores rather than reinvented by different cultures at different times.”
A comparison chart listing the four world areas—sub-Saharan Africa, northern Europe, Japan, and the Pacific islands—would be helpful in learning how each culture developed in relation to religion, government, and family, and how their culture traits compare to those of classical civilizations.
Chapter 5 deals with the collapse of empires and civilizations in the classical world and the emergence of new cultures.
Be especially alert to the influences of religion—Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism—on these new empires.
Compare the world religions
Each also responded to political instability and to poverty.
Each often took on features of local cultures, in a process called “syncretism.”
Islam will be featured in greater detail in upcoming chapters.
With Buddhism and Christianity, the Islamic faith completes the roster of world religions, with most of the Earth’s population following one of these three belief systems today.
Polytheistic faiths continued to exist, especially in Hinduism and Daoism.
Both Hinduism and Christianity served many purposes for their followers.
Both gave hope to people who felt they were a part of a dying cause.
Both had risen because of invaders on the civilization and because of government oppression on its people.
Both religions later led to the fall of the classical civilizations.
Beyond the Classical Civilizations.
Another area of the world developing by 600 C.E. was in Central America.
The Olmecs displayed many impressive achievements, including building pyramids and defining an accurate calendar.
They influenced their successors, including the Teotihuacan and the Maya.
The rise of agriculture was significant in the Americas but less so in Polynesia.
Governments were headed by kings in both areas.
A lack of large domesticated animals was a mutual experience.
Writing systems were usually nonexistent in both places.
Polytheism was the common choice of religions.
Both systems developed civilizations later than in China, India, or the Middle East.
Nomadic peoples were often agents of contact between civilizations and between farming peoples and town dwellers.
Both Chinese and Roman armies battled hostile nomads who threatened to disrupt trade.
Religions, art, agriculture, technology, and, most infamously, disease spread along trade routes established by nomads.
Sedentary civilizations adopted military tactics and materiel from nomadic peoples and developed their own to deter them, like the Great Wall and gunpowder, in China.