Major themes of the Classical Period
Defined in this period of time, three most important civilizations are Greece, Rome, and China. Developed institutions, systems of thought and cultural styles that will endure all the way up until today.
Cultural traditions – looking at the emergence of different religions. Judaism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity etc.
Time of huge empires, Persian (largest of Middle East), Roman and Chinese empires.
Idea of the axial age, Karl Jaspers. 800 BCE 200 BCE. Asked the question, why in this 600 year period, did all of these religious/cultural traditions emerge? All emerge during this time with few exceptions. He looked at this, and said this is a pivotal time in history, Greece (Aristotle, Socrates), Persia, China.
A lot of cultures were in conflict, and needed these people to emerge and help explain things. Could have come out of the idea of people searching for more meaning: why are we here?
What is an Empire?
Empires are political systems with coercive power. i.e. they use coercion to get more resources, and conquer their neighbors.
Larger, more aggressive states, conquer their neighbors and use their resources. Include multi peoples and culture and languages under a single political system.
No clear line between empires and small multiethnic states.
Common problems of Classical Empires
Need to consider
1. when you conquer your neighbors do you impose your cultural on the conquered? Do you make them like you?
2. How do you rule over all these people? Directly, indirectly? Directly, strongly managed system from center, indirectly, leave local rulers in power?
3. How do we get wealth out of these people we conquer? How do we get tribute from them without them revolting against us? Do we tax them?
The Persians & The Greeks
The Persian Empire (Archaemenid Dynasty)
In 500 BCE, was the largest and most impressive empire. Persians created empire that stretched Indus River valley, to Mediterranean...