8000 BCE - 600 CE

Prehistory - Hunter-Gatherers
- Prehistory describes the time period before the invention of writing systems.
- The Stone Age is used to describe most of the time period. It is broken up into the Paleolithic (Old Stone), Mesolithic (Middle Stone) and Neolithic (New Stone).
- Before the Neolithic Age, people were considered hunter-gatherers. The main priority for these people was SURVIVAL and acquisition of food.
- Stone Age people were called NOMADS, moving from place to place to locate resources. Once resources in one area were exhausted, nomads would pack up in search of a new resourceful area.
- Men hunted and women gathered, as well as cared for the children and home. It can be accepted that both men and women performed EQUAL ROLES.
- The Neolithic Age (c. 8000 BCE to c. 4000 BCE) is also known as the Neolithic Revolution which includes the Agricultural Revolution.
- The Agricultural Revolution transformed people from nomads to settled villagers. DOMESTICATION (adapted vegetation and animals for human use) and SYSTEMATIC AGRICULTURE (keeping of animals and growing foods on a regular basis).
- Villages such as Jericho (Palestine) and Catal Huyuk (Turkey)
- GIVEN FOOD WAS IN ABUNDANCE, THERE WAS TIME TO BEGIN DEVELOPING CIVILIZATIONS, i.e. social classes/stratification, governments, artisans (skilled workers), religions, and eventually writing systems. Villages would become CITIES.
- GENDER ROLES CHANGE TO PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY. Men became primarily responsible with food supply and women were then regulated to domestic duties. Men gained more and more power in society and women exceptionally less.

- Early civilizations settled near a water source to fuel agricultural growth.
Mesopotamia (Tigris and Euphrates Rivers)

- Unpredictable geography prevented self-sufficiency and Mesopotamian society depended on trade between city-states.
- SUMERIANS developed CITY-STATES, i.e. Uruk, Ur
- Society: King, nobles and priests, commoners, slaves.
- Merchant class developed and long-distance trade supported the region through BARTER.
- Invention of the WHEEL enhanced trade. The ARCH distinguished its architecture. Inventions also included the sundial, potter's wheel, and a number system based on 60.
- ZIGGURATS (religious temples) dedicated to specific god and central establishment in the city-state
- Empires develop as a result of flat plain geography and need for resources, i.e. AKKADIANS, BABYLONIANS, ASSYRIANS.
- CODE OF HAMMURABI - strict justice; varied according to social class; ensured patriarchal society

- CUNEIFORM was writing system developed. NOTE: Writing systems invented as source of inventory (food supply, economics)
- Epic of Gilgamesh is considered the first written epic.
Egypt (Nile River)
- Self-sufficient civilization due to predictable geography and relative stability in government structure.
- 3100 BCE MENES combined Lower and Upper Egypt and established first dynasty.

- Pharaoh ruled Egypt as single unified state by DIVINE RIGHT. Considered a god-king. Pharaoh aided in government policy by a VIZIER who ran the government bureaucracy.
- Ancient Egypt divided in three time periods: OLD KINGDOM, MIDDLE KINGDOM, NEW KINGDOM.
- Old Kingdom (2700-2200 BCE) established PHARAOH as absolute ruler, government bureaucracy, pyramids, mummifications.

- Middle Kingdom (2050-1652 BCE) considered Egypt's "golden age" of stability and enhanced pharaoh's responsibility to his people.
- Foreign invaders, the Hyksos, conquered Egypt but Egypt adapted their technologies of bronze and horse-drawn chariots.
- New Kingdom (1567-1085 BCE) saw Egypt break beyond the Nile region and establish an empire farther south on the Nile River and into Mesopotamia.
- New Kingdom saw the arrival of the powerful Hatshepsut, first FEMALE ruler; Akhenaton who transformed Egypt's polytheism to monotheism; Tutankhamen's reign in which he restored Egypt's original religious culture; Ramses II's attempt to restore Egypt's greatness.
- Society: Pharaoh, upper class (bureaucrats and priests), merchants, artisans, peasants, slaves.
- HIEROGLYPHS was developed writing system.
Indus Valley (Indus River)
- The INDUS RIVER was an unpredictable river and MONSOON wind patterns dominated the region's climate.
- HARAPPA and MOHENJO-DARO were the region's first urban centers. Both had a grid system of roads, running water systems, and waste management.
- SANSKRIT was the written language of the Indus Valley.
- Circa 1500 BCE, the Indo-European ARYANS invaded the region through the KYBER PASS.
- Aryan civilization established its social class hierarchal system and considered themselves superior to the natives. The CASTE SYSTEM placed people based on social role and skin color into VARNAS. KSHATRIYAS (warriors/rulers), BRAHMANS (priests), VAISYAS (merchants/farmers), SUDRAS (commoners). The UNTOUCHABLES were despised and were given distateful occupations.

- The Aryans brought their stories and culture which they recorded orally. The VEDAS were epics of Aryan tradition which were translated into Sanskrit. RAMAYANA and MAHABHARATA are famous examples of epic poems.
China (Yellow River)
- HUANG HE (YELLOW) RIVER helped establish civilization in China. China's geography kept the region isolated with its deserts, seas, and mountains encircling the area.
Shang Dynasty
- The SHANG DYNASTY (1766-1122 BCE) was the first major dynasty established in China. This was due to bronze and iron knowledge leading to a strong military and centralized authority.
- Chinese writing sysems included ORACLE BONES and PICTOGRAPHS.
- Shang society consisted of the ruling class, artisans, peasants, and slaves. ANCESTRAL VENERATION and emphasis on family was common.
- Chinese society was originally MATRILINEAL, but women became less valued and society gradually transformed into a PATRIARCHAL society.
Zhou Dynasty
- The ZHOU DYNASTY (1122-256 BCE) replaced the Shang in 1122 BCE. The Zhou rulers justified their new rule through divine intervention. This led to the MANDATE OF HEAVEN. The Mandate established how the rulers used their divine and supreme power to support the people. If the ruler abused his power and was failing, the people had the right to replace the ruler.
- During the Zhou Dynasty, the philosophy of CONFUCIANISM became popular. DAOISM also became established during this time.

Middle East
- Established the world's first empire after SARGON conquered Sumer in 2430 BCE.
- Conquered the Akkadians in 1792 BCE.
- Hammurabi and the Code of Hammurabi.
Hittites (1600-1200 BCE)
- Based out of Anatolia (present-day Turkey), these Indo-Europeans were one of the first civilizations to use iron, becoming a strong empire in the region. Iron would be assimilated by other cultures and affect the development of the Fertile Crescent region.
- Conquered Mesopotamian region once they adapted the use of iron and calvary.
- The Assyrians ruled ruthlessly. Conquered peoples were either enslaved, deported, or annihilated.
- Resentment toward Assyrian rule and ineffective administration of the vast empire led to its fall and conquest.
- Replaced the Assyrians and rebuilt Babylon after its destruction by the Assyrians.
- Nebuchadnezzar built the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
- Began as nomadic and pastoralists in Canaan region. Due to insufficient resources, they flocked into Egypt and became enslaved.
- After leaving Egypt, the Hebrews settled in the Palestinian region and established the Kingdom of Israel. SOLOMON reigned during the height of Israel. Unfortunately, after his death, the kingdom split into Israel and Judah.
- Both kingdoms were subjected to invasions by Mesopotamian powers, such as Babylonia. This began the JEWISH DIASPORA, or spreading out/scattering of the Jewish people throughout the region/world.
- Persians allowed for their return and rebuilding of the Jewish temple at JERUSALEM.
- The Hebrews were a distinct group in the region with their MONOTHEISTIC religion rather than the common polytheistic religions throughout the area.
- Based out of the present-day region of Lebanon, the Phoenicians established a THALASSOCRACY with their trading empire expanding into the Mediterranean Sea.
- Phoenician colonies were established, including CARTHAGE in North Africa.
- Primary resources and commodities included lumber (used for ships) and murex (purple dye).
- The best contribution was the ALPHABET. Letters rather than pictographs made written language simpler. Would be adopted by Greeks and Romans and eventually become the basis of most of today's languages.
- The Lydians were based out of Anatolia. They developed a COIN SYSTEM establishing a money market economy replacing the barter system.
Persia (550-330 BCE)
- Nomadic people out of present-day Iran. Under Cyrus the Great, the Achaemenid Dynasty was established once the ruling Medes were defeated.
- As the Persians expanded, they allowed conquered peoples to continue practicing their culture and language. The Persian Empire was a HETEROGENOUS empire which prevented revolts and made the empire very powerful.
- The Persian Empire established satrapies (provinces) led by a satrap (governor). These satrapies were set up to reflect the region's area, culture, and people.
- The ROYAL ROAD spanned the empire to promote trade and communication.

Amerindian Civilizations
Olmec (1400-400 BCE)
- The Olmecs settled along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Urban centers included SAN LORENZO and LA VENTA.
- Olmec culture was distinguished by COLOSSAL HEADS.
- Society was authoritarian and classes were distinguished through type of dress.
- The Olmecs developed a writing system based on hieroglyphs. Currently not deciphered.
Chavin (900-200 BCE)
- The Chavin settled in the Andean Mountain range in South America.
- The Chavin were cult-based and did not develop a writing system.
- The Chavin prospered through agriculture and trade with each other.

Ancient Greece
- The Greek peninsula is very mountainous with sporadic valleys. The rugged coasts offered good harbors, but limited the number of city-states. Food production was also limited due to poor availability of fertile land thus trade would become a factor in Greek life.
- Early Greek civilization on the island of Crete. Established a thalassocracy and introduced sailing crafts.
- Bull frescoes dominated the culture.
- Natural disasters and invasions weakened and destroyed the Minoans.
- The Myc were a war-like civilization set up on the Greek mainland. Cities were highly defended and supplied in order to prevent conquest.
Classical Greece
- The Greeks established city-states (POLIS), consisting of an urban center and its surrounding countryside.
- SPARTA set up an OLIGARCHY (rule by few). Only Spartan male citizens could participate in the government. Two kings (domestic duties, military duties), the Gerousia (assembly body), and the Ephors determined public policy.
- Sparta was a militaristic society. It enslaved neighboring regions and became a land-based power in the Peloponnese. It was an agricultural society.
- ATHENS, once ruled by tyrants and aristocracies, became the world's first DEMOCRACY. Under the rule of Cleisthenes and PERICLES, Athenian democracy developed. Pericles (443-429 BCE) set up DIRECT DEMOCRACY, where all Athenian citizens participated determining laws and policies.
- In some periods, the Greeks experienced huge increases in population. This forced some Greeks to expand from the mother country and across the Mediterranean Sea setting up colonies. Colonies retained their allegiance to the mother city-state.

- From 500 to 449 BCE, the Persians attempted to conquer the Greek peninsula. The Greco-Persian Wars saw most of the Greek city-states band together and fight off the Persian invasions. After the wars, Athens established the DELIAN LEAGUE, an alliance of Greek city-states to prevent another Persian attack. However, Athens came to dominate the league and evolved into an "empire."
- The rivalry between Athens and Sparta came to a head in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). Sparta's army outlasted Athen's navy. The constant warfare between the city-states paved the way for a new invader from the near north.
- Greek society was highly patriarchal. Women were treated harshly and regulated to domestic duties. Women had very little rights or privileges, but had some property rights and could own small businesses. Slavery was prevalent for agricultural and mining use.
- Greece produced the famous philosophers of SOCRATES, who preached reason, the question-and-answer method (Socratic Method); PLATO, who promoted his REPUBLIC with a dominant philosopher-king class supported by warriors who ruled over the selfish commoners; and ARISTOTLE, who promoted logic through observation, investigation, and experimentation.
- HIPPOCRATES contributed to the field of medicine by determining illness through practical use rather than through belief. EUCLID and PYTHAGORAS helped develop mathematics, especially geometry.
- Playwrights, such as EURIPEDES and ARISTOPHANES, produced tragedies and comedies. HOMER gave the world epics like the Iliad and the Odyssey.
- Greek architecture consisted of temples and stoas. The Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders on columns highlight Greek buildings.
Hellenic Greece
- The weakened city-states of Greece Proper allowed MACEDONIA's Philip II to easily conquer the region. Though considered barbarians by most Greeks, Philip believed Macedonians were a part of the Greek world and respected their culture. After his assassination, his son, ALEXANDER, claimed the throne and continued Macedonia's expansion.
- Alexander finished conquering the Greek peninsula and set his sights on Persia to avenge the wars from the previous century. He conquered the Persian Empire and expanded all the way to the Indus River, creating the largest empire in the world at that point. Alexander established cities and absorbed some Persian customs to alleviate resentment and promote unity. However, he died in 323 BCE.
- Alexander's empire was split among his generals. The ANTIGONID (Greece), SELEUCID (Middle East), and PTOLEMAIC (Egypt). Of all these, the Ptolemaic Empire became the most powerful.

- As a result of Alexander's expansion, HELLENISM (the Greek culture) spread throughout the known parts of the world. This was also contributed by the Greek colonization in the Mediterranean. Parts of the world adopted Greek culture by combining with the native culture.
- Hellenistic philosophy promoted the idea of self-desire and personal satisfaction.
- Hellenistic sciences saw the promotion of the GEOCENTRIC THEORY with the Earth as the center of the universe.

Ancient Rome
- Rome rested on the Italian peninsula. It jutted out into the middle of the Mediterranean, providing Rome the opportunity to control the prosperous trade routes and regions from a central location.
The Republic (509-31 BCE)
- In 509 BCE, the last Etruscan king was deposed in Rome and a REPUBLIC was established. Two CONSULS fulfilled executive duties while the SENATE retained most political power. In cases of emergency, the Senate appointed a dictator to rule for a limited time.
- Roman socio-political structure was divided among PATRICIANS (land-owning nobility) and PLEBIANS (all other free men). In the beginning, only Patricians could hold political power. After protests and revolts, the Plebians were awarded opportunities to participate in political matters.
- The TWELVE TABLES was the Roman legal code. These laws included concepts such as "innocent until proven guilty," "defendant to confront their accuser," "cruel and unusual punishment," and "trial by jury."
- Rome's excellent military character spearheaded its expansion. The PUNIC WARS (264-146 BCE) was a series of conflicts between Rome and Carthage. Once Carthage was finally defeated, Rome took control of Carthage's Mediterranean Sea trade network. Rome continued to conquer Greece, the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa (including Egypt), and into large parts of the Middle East.
- Rome's success was attributed to its administration of its provinces. It granted Roman citizenship to cooperative regions and allowed them to continue their cultures as long as they did not revolt and recognized Roman authority.
- Rome was plagued by power-hungry leaders and found itself in civil wars. The FIRST TRIUMVIRATE formed to keep control. This included JULIUS CAESAR, Pompeii, and Crassus. Their rivalries fueled a violent civil war which saw Caesar victorious. He became dictator for life. After his assassination, the SECOND TRIUMVIRATE (Marc Antony, Lepidus, and OCTAVIUS) engaged in another civil war. Octavius succeeded and became imperator (EMPEROR).
The Empire (31 BCE-479 CE)
- Octavian became AUGUSTUS and led the Roman Empire on a road of success and prosperity.
- The PAX ROMANA (27 BCE-180 CE) saw peace and prosperity throughout the empire. Public facilities were built. Crime and corruption declined. Roman unity flourished under a common language (Latin) and a common coinage.
- Over time, the emperor consolidated his power and the Senate became nothing more than an iconic body.
- Internal corruption, ineffective or horrible leaders, inconsistent political stability, stress over controlling a large amount of land, constant foreign invasions, epidemics, devalue of Roman citizenship, and financial problems contributed to the weakening and eventual fall of the Empire.
- DIOCLETIAN attempted to save the Empire by splitting it into two, a Western and Eastern Empire. He forced vocations and established price controls to alleviate inflation. It was too little, too late.
- CONSTANTINE moved the capital from Rome to CONSTANTINOPLE. His major contribution was the EDICT OF MILAN providing tolerance for Christians.
- The EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE thrived from Constantinople, but the WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE was chaotic and falling apart. The East adopted the Greek culture whereas the West continued the Latin culture.
- Foreign invaders, such as the VISIGOTHS, HUNS, and VANDALS, harassed the Western Roman Empire's borders. In 410 BCE Rome was sacked by the Visigoths. In 479 BCE the Western Roman Empire collapsed.
Roman Culture
- Roman society was patriarchal, with families led by the male head of household (PATERFAMILIAS). The paterfamilias determined the family's status and direction.
- Roman women were treated similarly to Greek women. They possessed little to no rights and remained suboridnate to men. Though upper-class women could own property and involve themselves in social functions.
- Slavery was very predominant in Roman society. At some points, 1/3 of the population was enslaved. Conquered peoples, criminals, and debtors usually made up the slave population. Slaves worked on farms or were used as domestic servants. Some Greek slaves worked as tutors. The dependence on slavery prevented technological innovation compared to other parts of the world, such as China and India.
- The LATIFUNDIA, large landed estates, became prevalent in the latter years of the Empire. They were formed by wealthy landowners buying out small landowners who could not sustain in the economy or were unavailable to prevent the acquisition due to service in the military. Most latifundias functioned to promote CASH CROPS. The growth of latifundias kept the Empire from earning valuable revenue, decreased trade, and weakened the central authority of the government.
- Roman culture was more of a diffusion of cultures as Rome expanded throughout the Mediterranean region. Rome assimilated many aspects of conquered lands.
- ROMAN ENGINEERING was a fantastic display of ingenuity. Roman structures resembled characteristics from various parts of the world, including the arch and dome from Mesopotamia and the colonnade from Greece. The Romans used cement to make long-lasting structures. Roman innovation included the AQUEDUCT, providing water for cities and farms. The Romans established an efficient and vast system of roads, including the famous APPIAN WAY.
- Roman art portrayed realistic depiction rather than the idealistic pattern of Greek art.
- The Romans polytheistic religion assimilated Greek beliefs and renamed the many deities, i.e. Zeus became Jupiter.
- LATIN was the official language of Rome and through cultural diffusion of the Phoenician and Greek alphabet the Romans developed their own version.
- Greek philosphy penetrated Roman culture, including the works of Aristotle.
- Most Roman literature emphasized the glory of Rome, including the works of Virgil (The Aenied) and Livy.

Classical India
- The political fragmentation of the Indian region plagued the area for centuries. It prevented civilizations and empires from lasting long.
Maurya (322-185 BCE)
- After the invasion of Alexander the Great, Hellenistic culture infiltrated the Indian region and spurred the founding of the MAURYAN EMPIRE by CHANDRAGUPTA.
- The Mauryan Empire established a strong central government with a large bureaucracy and large military force to keep order and prevent regional conflict.
- ASOKA was the most famous Mauryan ruler. He expanded the empire through brutal conquests. He promoted trade and communication, especially the Silk Road.
- After witnessing the brutality of his conquests, Asoka modified his views and formally established Buddhism as the state religion. He preached tolerance allowing Hindus to continue their beliefs.
- Buddishm spread throughout the region. Hospitals were built and there was beautification of cities.
- After Asoka's death, the Mauryan Empire weakened and regional disputes broke the empire apart. The Kushans invaded and replaced the Mauryan Empire.
Gupta (320-550 CE)
- In 320 CE, the KINGDOM OF THE GUPTAS was established. It recognized Hinduism as the official religion, but promoted tolerance of Buddhism.
- The Gupta government was decentralized and allowed regional governors to rule as long as they recognized the authority of the Gupta rulers. The Guptas practiced THEATER-STATE politics by showering regional governors with treasures and women in official state visits. This show of gratitude proved effective in stabilizing the region.
- India experienced a Golden Age under the rule of the Guptas. Education thrived with the promotion of Sanskrit. The CONCEPT OF ZERO, ARABIC NUMERALS (1, 2, 3...), the DECIMAL SYSTEM, and early ALGEBRA were discovered. Anatomy and health studies improved with inoculations against smallpox, plastic surgery, and sterilization. Gains in astronomy were made such as predicting eclipses and discovering planets.
- The Gupta society became extremely patriarchal. Women lost rights and privileges, such as owning property. Arranged marriages became common, especially for young women. The SATI was reinforced.
- Trade boomed in the region as merchants and traders expanded into Southeast Asia and East Asia. The Silk Road played a significant role.
- The rise of regional princes and foreign invasions by Huns and other nomads weakened the Gupta Empire. It fell circa 550 CE. India politically fragmented yet again.

Classical China
Qin Dynasty (221-202 BCE)
- After the fall of the Zhou, China fell into civil war called the ERA OF THE WARRING STATES (404-221 BCE). Regional warlords competed against each other, but no state was powerful enough to outlast the constant wars. Eventually, the ruler of the Qin state began to score victories and soon conquered most of the Chinese region and estabished the Qin Dynasty under the rule of QIN SHIHUANGDI. Thus began China's reign as a relatively unified country.
- Qin's government became highly centralized and bureaucratic. He wanted the most qualified individuals working in the government. He established three sectors of government: civil (domestic issues), military (defense and foreign policy), and the CENSORATE (maintain the government infrastructure).
- The philosophy of LEGALISM became prominent. Legalism preached intolerance of opinions and supported a strong, ruthless leader. It explained humankind was inherently evil and a strong, uncompassionate ruler was necessary to control society. Through Legalism, Qin Shihuangdi had Confucianism abolished, killed thousands of Confucian scholars, and burned Confucian books.
- During Qin's rule, a wall in northern China was built to prevent foreign invasions from nomadic tribes which eventually would become the Great Wall of China.
- Qin's brutal regime fostered resentment among the Chinese and after his death the empire quickly fell and civil war commenced.
Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE)
- The Han Dynasty replaced the Qin after years of civil war. It would become the most successful empire in Chinese history.
- The Han did not completely replace the Qin. It kept the centralized bureacratic government and continued strong absolute control. It did replace Legalism thought with Confucianist thought. CIVIL SERVICE EXAMS were introduced to provide the government with qualified administrators.
- WU DI (141-87 BCE) promoted Confucian education and enhanced China's infrastructure with the building of canals and dams.
- Han China expanded greatly and conquered regions in Central Asia, Korea, and Southeast Asia.
- The Han Dynasty saw China enhance its agricultural and technological areas. Irrigation systems, ox-dran plows, and water mills fuled agricultural development. Iron production rose significantly. Paper was manufactured and promoted education. The sternpost rudder and compass were invented enhancing sea trade.
- The promotion of trade enhanced the use of the Silk Road. The Han practiced a TRIBUTARY SYSTEM OF TRADE demanding tribute from neighbors in exchange for goods.
- Social stratification increased under the Han. The SCHOLAR-GENTRY (landowners and educated) were the elites. Peasants consisted of the majority of the population. The merchant class expanded, but were considered a low class since they earned on the labor of others and did not produce anything.
- Han China's society became increasingly patriarchal given the Confucianist belief in male dominance over women. Women handled domestic duties and preserved marriages. Upper-class women had some educational opportunities.
- The decline of the Han Dynasty can be contributed to taxing of peasants, epidemics, social unrest, moral decline, ineffective rulers and greedy military leaders, foreign invasions, corruption of the scholar-gentry class, unequal land distribution, and a decline in international trade.
- The nomadic HSIUNG-NU dealt a final blow to the Han Dynasty and China again returned to a period of civil war.

- Polynesians built sturdy canoes and left the Philippines and Indonesia islands to the islands of Oceania during 2500 BCE to 900 CE.
- The Polynesians were agriculturally-based. They grew root crops. They raised pigs, chickens and fished for meat.
- Polynesians were tribal-based and led by a powerful chief.
- The religious culture was polytheistic and animistic. The morality generated from the religion included avoiding inappropriate and improper behavior.
- The migrations of the Polynesians extended to New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia, Oceanic islands like Fiji, and as far as Hawaii.

South of Egypt
Early Nubia
- The region along the southern Nile River was noted as a significant black kingdom in early African history.
- For most of its early history, Egypt played a significant role in influencing Nubia's development and culture. However, both cultures diffused between each other.
- The early Nubian kingdoms prospered from its gold resource which Egypt took advantage and exploited.
Kush (1070-350 CE)
- The Kushites were able to break free from the influence of Egypt and establish the Kingdom of the Kush. They prospered from the Nile River trade and gold and ivory resources.
- The Egyptian-Kush relationship was an example of cultural diffusion as Kush images penetrated Egyptian culture and Kushites built pyramids for their dead.
- The Kushites took control of Egypt in 760 to 656 BCE as the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty.
- The Kushites were invaded by the Assyrians and weakened afterwards. However, the Kushites rebounded and moved their capital southward to Meroe.
Meroe (Kush) (c. 500 BCE to 350 CE)
- MEROE took advantage of gold, ivory, iron deposits and Nile trade.
- The Romans, based out of its Egyptian Province, kept attacking and pushing into the Kingdom of Meroe. Over time, the Kushites weakened and fell to regional neighbor from East Africa.
Axum (100 BCE - 960 CE)
- The Kingdom of Axum established itself in East Africa (present day Ethiopia) and benefited from the Indian Ocean trade and Nile and Red Sea link to the Mediterranean Sea.
- KING EZANA invaded Meroe and greatly expanded the kingdom.
- King Ezana's greatest contribution to Axum was his conversion to Christianity, the first major Christian empire in the world.
Sub-Saharan Africa
- Sub-Saharan Africa describes the region south of the Sahara Desert. It includes the SAHEL which ran east to west just below the Sahara Desert. It functioned as a trade route for caravans, linking West Africa to the Indian Ocean.
- Central Africa contains tropical rainforests which impeded significant settlement and development.
- Originating from West Africa, the BANTU were an agriculturally productive people. Their successful agricultural society increased their population and the Bantu needed to expand.
- From 3000 BCE to 1000 CE the Bantu migrated throughout sub-Saharan African, establishing Bantu-based cultures in Central, South, and East Africa. This resulted in a common culture among sub-Saharan Africans and helped establish a sense of African unity (AFRICANITY).
- The Bantu also spread the knowledge of iron and enhanced agricultural production throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Society and Culture
- A stark contrast to most civilizations, sub-Saharan Africa was predominantly MATRILINEAL, but society was patriarchal. Inheritance and family history was based on the mother's side. Women had access to significant privileges. Their roles included domestic duties and education of their children in family history. As women matured, their mothers taught them domestic duties.
- Young men learned the trade from their fathers.
- Slavery existed, but slaves were debtors, criminals, and prisoners of war.
- There was virtually no writing system in most of sub-Saharan Africa - exception with the Kush and Axum. Africans preserved their stories through oral traditions like song and dance.
- While the Kush proclaimed belief in the Egyptian gods and Axum proclaimed Christianity, the rest of Africa were polytheistic and animistic. Spirits lived in the sky and adherents practiced ANCESTOR WORSHIP. GRIOTS served as intermediaries between the natural world and the spiritual world.

- Begun as trade routes between Central Asian nomads, it connected East Asia and Mesopotamia. With the increase in trade during the Classical period, the Silk Road extended from China's coast to Rome.
- Eastern goods included silk, spices, cotton, ivory, and pearls. Western goods included gold, silver, glass, wool, and bronze.
- The Silk Road was very profitable and empires became dependent on its functioning.
- Not only did the Silk Road serve as a trade route for goods, but also as a migration route and transport for ideas. Religions, such as Buddhism, technologies, and diseases traveled the Silk Roads.

- The Indian Ocean maritime system was the sea lane of the Silk Road. It was a regional system connecting South Asia, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, southern China (through the South China Sea), and East Africa.
- Sailors and traders used the monsoon winds to make their periodic travels.
- This trade network saw relative stability given no one political state controlled or conquered it. Though rivalries developed among local traders and merchants.
- Traders and merchants married women in order to stay connected to their homeland and for women to preserve their businesses and contacts while they sailed their trade routes. This provided opportunities for women in the region.
- It also allowed for ideas and technologies to spread throughout the region.

- Caravans passed north and south through the Sahara Desert connecting Sub-Saharan Africa with the Mediterranean and East Africa.
- Arab traders introduced the camel caravan in order to expedite trade circa the 1st century BCE.
- The gold-salt trade would become a dominant trade system.


- The belief in more than one god/deity.
- Typical belief system among early civilizations, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, etc.
- Deities represented landforms, concepts, and elements, as in ANIMISTIC beliefs common in Africa. Some are classified as ANTHROPOMORPHIC, such as Ancient Greece.
- Polytheism usually have hierarchies among deities.

- Hinduism evolved over long periods of time into a polythestic belief system in India.
- The BRAHMA encompasses the world. VISHNU the Preserver and SHIVA the Destroyer are two major deities in Hinduism.
- One's purpose in life is to become one with the Brahma, MOKSHA. Through REINCARNATION, a person is reborn in a new life which is determined by the past life and one's KARMA. Each person must fulfill their DHARMA, or duty in life. Good actions increase good karma whereas bad actions increase bad karma.
- Hinduism promoted the caste system. When one reincarnates, if they had good karma, he/she could move up in the caste system in the new life.
- Hinduism spread throughout South Asia and into Southeast Asia through merchants and traders.

- Buddhism was founded by SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA from India during 560-480 BCE.
- He journeyed across India searching for the meaning of life and discover why there is so much suffering in the world. He sat under a tree to meditate and after a while he achieved ENLIGHTENMENT and became the BUDDHA, or Enlightened One.
- The Buddha believed people should reject the material world to end suffering and live a moral lifestyle.
- The Buddha believed in FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS: 1. All life is suffering. 2. Suffering is caused by desire. 3. One can end suffering. 4. The way to end suffering is to follow the EIGHTFOLD PATH.
- The EIGHTFOLD PATH includes right understanding, purpose, speech, conduct, lifestyle, awarness, effort, and concentration.
- The purpose of Buddhism is to reach NIRVANA, or to become one with the universe. This can be achieved through reincarnation and meditation.
- Buddhism stressed individualism, equality, and toleration. It rejected the unequal treatment of women and the caste system.
- Buddhism spread throughout India and into Southeast Asia and East Asia through trade routes and MISSIONARIES. Buddhist temples were constructed throughout the region and Buddhist monks preserved the message.

- CONFUCIUS founded this philosophy in China circa 551-478 BCE.
- He wanted to promote order in China and believed government must maintain a level of tradition in society.
- His important concepts included the REN (right feelings) and LI (right actions).
- He believed one must fulfill one's duty in life, such as a farmer must farm and a soldier must fight. Also, one must be compassionate to others. Education was highly stressed in Confucianism.
- He developed the FIVE CONSTANT RELATIONSHIPS: RULER-SUBJECT, PARENT-CHILD, HUSBAND-WIFE, OLDER SIBLING-YOUNGER SIBLING, OLDER FRIEND-YOUNGER FRIEND. The elder/ruler commanded respect from the younger/subject in exchange for protection and compassion.
- Confucius also stressed FILIAL PIETY, respecting one's parents, as well as ANCESTRAL VENERATION. Confucius thought made family an important and central concept in Chinese society.
- His teachings were compiled in the ANALECTS.

- LAOZI founded the philosophy of Daoism in China circa the 6th century BCE.
- Daoism promotes the DAO, or the WAY.
- One must live in HARMONY with nature. One must follow the WU WEI, or act by not acting. Let matters take care of themselves. People must go with the flow. Thinking and rationalizing causes suffering and goes against the flow of nature.
- Daoism believed in less government since institutions led to competition and eventually suffering and conflict. War must also be used as a defensive measure and not to expand and conquer.

- The Persian monotheistic religion founded by Zoroaster circa the 6th or 7th century BCE.
- Ahuramazda was the wise lord who dealt with the evil spirit.
- The greatest contribution of Zoroastrinism was the concept of FREE WILL.

- Judaism is a MONOTHEISTIC (one deity) and ABRAHAMIC (the patriarch Abraham as founder) religion. It was a significant religion of the Hebrews.
- YAHWEH is the supreme and only god. Unlike animistic religions, God is the creator of everything.
- Jews entered into a COVENANT with God after their EXODUS from Egypt led by MOSES. As God's CHOSEN PEOPLE, the Jews promised to follow God through his laws (i.e. TEN COMMANDMENTS) and in return he would provide for them.
- The TANAKH is the Jewish religious text. It included the TORAH, or laws, as well as poems and prophecies.
- Unlike Buddhism or Christianity, Judaism is not a missionary religion. It does not seek converts.
- Judaism preached equality among believers.

- Founded by JESUS of Nazareth during the 1st century CE, it is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion. It expands on the beliefs of Judaism.
- According to Jewish prophecy, God will send a MESSIAH (savior) and Jesus preached he was God's messiah and his son.
- Jesus preached God's love and compassion. He told his followers to lead a simple life, reject materialism, love one another, and dedicate life to God.
- Jesus promised eternal salvation for all who believed. Unlike Judaism, anyone could believe. All were equal in the eyes of God, including women.
- Jesus's teachings were viewed as a threat to Jewish and Roman authority and Jesus was crucified circa 30 CE. According to Christianity, Jesus rose from the dead thus increasing followers.
- The disciples of Jesus continued his message. Peter helped found the Church, which would eventually become the Roman Catholic Church. PAUL, a Jewish convert, was influential in spreading the message of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire given Rome's excellent road system and mobility. The cosmopolitan nature of the Roman Empire reinforced the spreading of Christianity. Missionaries also played an important role.
- Christians were often persecuted and used as scapegoats. With this MARTYRDOM, Christianity grew exponentially. People found honor in those who were willing to die for their beliefs.
- Christianity appealed to the lower classes since it offered a sense of purpose in life. Eventually, the upper class associated with Christianity in their attempts to earn eternal salvation.
- The Bible is Christianity's religious text. It is split between the Old Testament and the NEW TESTAMENT.

Study these symbols to better associate to major religions throughout time and the world.