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The Classical Empires
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  1. The Classical Empires Unit 2: Classical Period 600 BCE – 600 CE

  2. Learning Targets/Key Themes • Students will be able to: • Define an empire and explain why empires rise and fall • Describe the basic features of the earliest empires • Analyze the key interactions between Classical Empires • These themes, along with the key vocabulary (See handout) will be the basis for your test at the end of this unit

  3. Answer the following questions in your notebook: • How would you define the term “empire”? • What are the reasons an empire is created?

  4. What is an Empire? • A state with political control of people and regions with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds

  5. Why Are Empires Created? • Strong sense of Patriotism • Extreme pride in one’s country • Expansion • To benefit the regions being conquered • To eliminate threats • Economic gain • To create a buffer zone (protection) • To spread religious beliefs • To gain political power

  6. Characteristics of an Empire • Diverse population • Strong government • Strong military • Strong diplomacy • Peaceful negotiations between two countries or regions

  7. The Classical Period (600 BCE – 600 CE) • Main Characteristics: • Growth of Empires • Growth of Trade • Cultural Diffusion • Spreading of cultural ideas and traditions from one region to another

  8. Review: • What is an empire? • Why are empires created? • What is cultural diffusion?

  9. Major Classical Civilizations • Persia • China (Zhou, Qin, Han dynasties) • India (Gupta dynasty) • Greece • Rome • Mayans (Americas)

  10. The Persian Empire (558-332 BCE) • Founded by Cyrus the Great • Darius I (521-486 BCE) • Balanced central government and local leaders • Divided government into 3 districts to make it easier to control • Built Royal Road • Fought in many wars that lead to the decline of the empire

  11. Persian Empire • Persian Society • Women worked in textile manufacturing • Government used slaves to complete public works projects • Persian Economy • Government coined money • Traded with Greeks and Indians • Main City: Persepolis • Persian Religion • Zoroastrianism

  12. Classical China • Zhou Dynasty (1029-258 BCE) • Mandate of Heaven • Rulers are given the right to rule by the gods • Strong landowners and weak emperor • Ends in civil war for two hundred years • Leads to development of major philosophies

  13. Chinese Philosophies • Confucianism • Founded by Confucius • Relationships create an orderly society • Family is foundation of society • Daoism • “Dao” – the way • Look to nature for order • Legalism • Humans are naturally evil and will only obey authority through force

  14. Qin Dynasty (221-202 BCE) • Used Legalism to restore order • Took away power from aristocracy • Strong centralized government • Unified China • Standard language and writing system • Uniform laws throughout empire

  15. Shi Huangdi • Proclaimed himself “First Emperor” • Centralized power by banning local militaries • Built roads to improve communications • Started building the Great Wall of China • Forced labor • Also built his own tomb with the Terracotta Army

  16. Terracotta Army

  17. Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE) • Founded by a peasant • Longest Chinese dynasty • Conquered Vietnam, Korea and parts of Central Asia • Traded with India, Rome, Persia • Continued building Great Wall of China • Reformed government • Promoted Confucianism

  18. Ancient Greece • Geography prevented political unification • Developed strong city-states instead  Athens and Sparta • Main Problems • Wars with Persia • Wars between city-states • Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BCE) • Athens vs. Sparta • Leads to downfall of Greek city-states

  19. Alexander the Great (332-323 BCE) • Alex’s father, Philip II, conquered most of Greece • Built a massive empire, including Greece, Egypt, and Persia • Tries to invade India, but his military refuses • After death, empire divided in three parts • Main Contribution: Hellenism • Blending of Greek and Middle Eastern/Asian cultures

  20. Roman Republic (509-44 BCE) • Political System • Republic • Consuls • Senate (patricians upper class) • Tribunes (plebians lower class) • Focused on military expansion • Laws  Twelve Tables • Created laws that everyone must follow • Protected the lower classes

  21. End of the Roman Republic • Growing Tensions between the rich and poor • Food shortages, not enough opportunities to own land or get certain jobs • Julius Caesar • General in Roman Army • 44 BCE: Invades Rome with his own military and declares himself “dictator for life” • Assassinated by upper-class senators

  22. The Roman Empire (31 BCE – 476 CE) • Established by Augustus Caesar • Continued military expansion • First true emperor of Rome • “Pax Romana” (Roman Peace) • Height of Roman Empire; Great cultural and political achievements • NOT a dynasty (Unlike China and India) • Succession based on military strength • Tolerated local customs and religions • Laws and Nationalism held empire together

  23. Expansion of the Roman Republic

  24. The Decline of the Roman Empire • 1). How did the geography of Greece impact its political development? • 2). Describe the City-State of Sparta. (culture, lifestyle, economy) • 3). Describe the City-State of Athens. (culture, lifestyle, economy) • 4). Which city-state would you wish to live in back in Ancient Greece? Explain why in complete sentences. • 5). Why was Alexander the Great able to conquer Greece so easily? • 6). What is Hellenism and how is Alexander the Great connected to it? • 7). Describe the Structure of the Roman Republic. • 8). Why is Augustus Caesar considered the 1st Emperor of Rome? • 9). What is the difference between Plebeians and Patricians? • 10). Thoroughly explain 1 reason why the Roman Empire fell in 476c.e.