8000 BCE- 2000 BCE:
River Valley Civilizations:
Mesopotamia, China, Egypt, and India were all river valley civilizations, meaning they arose in the valleys of major rivers. Mesopotamia arose on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; china on the Yellow river; Egypt on the Nile river; and India on the Indus river. Irrigation systems were built to control water for farming. All four civilizations were governed by kings who derived their authority form the gods(either they claimed to be a god themselves or they claimed to by appointed by the gods). All were polytheistic and their gods were usually tied to nature. All had hieroglyphic writing systems. The Indus valley civilizations writing system has yet to be deciphered so researchers know little about the civilization. All were a patriarchal society were the eldest male in the extended family had the greatest authority. They all also developed metallurgical skills and made important cultural achievements. In Mesopotamia, the wheel, the sundial, number system based on 60, construction, irrigation systems, mathematics and astronomy, and a writing system; in China, paper, wheelbarrow, watermills, construction, writing system, and irrigation systems. In India, construction, writing system, and irrigation system; in Egypt, writing system, irrigation system, calendar based on 365 days, construction, and a form of papyrus.
Women in Egypt were treated better then women in Mesopotamia, India ,or China. Women in Mesopotamia, for example, could be beaten(as long as the stick was smaller than the husbands thumb) or drowned by their husbands, but women in Egypt divorce, own/inherit property, and participate in business ventures with their husbands.
Roman, Han, and Gupta India:
All three empires were built on conquest, and they begun as small states and eventually became large, culturally diverse empires. All three were patriarchal societies. The status of women varied in these civilizations but the women were subordinate to men and were chiefly mother and wives. All built an elaborate network of roads for the movement of their armies; the merchants used the roads as well for trade. All were influenced by new religions: Buddhism in china and India, and Christianity in Rome. All were governed by kings at some point in their development( Rome was a kingship, then developed a republic, then an emperor), kings ruled with help of complex bureaucracies, and their empires were divided into provinces. All had similar causes for collapse: high taxes, nomadic invasions, long borders that were hard to defend, corrupt rulers, influence to new religion, and the spread of disease( bubonic plague and small pox).all developed important cultural achievements: network of roads, uniform currency, indoor plumbing, aqueducts, public baths, and construction in Rome. In Han China, a network of roads uniform currency, construction, the civil service exam, irrigation systems, and paper money; and in Gupta India, construction, network of roads, concept of zero, cataract and abdominal surgeries, and circumference of the earth.
Rome and India relied on slaves for agricultural and domestic labor and for monumental building. Han China did not use slavery (slavery had been abolished during the Qin dynasty). Slavery was abolished so taxes could be collected, for rich did not pay them nor did slaves. One of Rome’s reason for decline was their over dependence of slavery.
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism:
All three religions were monotheistic and believed in the same god(Christianity: God; Islam: Allah; and Judaism: YHWH). All believed in heaven/hell and final judgment and prayer is very important in all three religions.
Christians believe that Jesus is the messiah and Christianity is larger than both Islam and Judaism( 1 billion followers v. 800 million v. 17 million). Christianity dominated the Roman world, including the Byzantine Empire...