Postclassical World History

Topics: Silk Road, Islam, Africa Pages: 26 (8652 words) Published: August 16, 2012
1. Questions of periodization
1. Nature and causes of changes in the world history framework leading up to 600 C.E. – 1450 as a period During the postclassical era, we’re dealing with the rise of Islam, developments in Europe and the Byzantine Empire, developments in Asia, the rise and fall of the Mongols, developments in Africa, and the developments in the Americas. Technologies and innovations in this era include warfare and ship building. The role of women also changes, the wealthier a society is, the less public presence and freedom women have. During the postclassical era, we’re not only dealing with the rise of postclassical civilizations, but also how they interact as a whole. The Silk Roads, the Indian Ocean, the trip across the Sahara to West Africa, and the continued trade in the Mediterranean were all used to facilitate trade and cultural diffusion. 2. Emergence of new empires and political systems

When it comes to the postclassical era, what jumps to mind is the Dar al Islam and their rapid expansion throughout the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. In Europe, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe was centralized while Western Europe was not. In Western Europe, the pope and the Roman Catholic Church served as their government. During the middle ages, feudalism dominated Western Europe, where life was centered in the manor. In China, the Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties developed golden ages, with the brief interruptions of the Mongols. In Africa, the western empires, Ghana, Mali, and Songhay dominated the gold trade. In the Americas, the Olmecs set a cultural precedent for their successors. 3. Continuities and breaks within the period (e.g., the impact of the Mongols on international contacts and on specific societies) In Arabia, women didn’t have property rights or inheritance rights, and they were also viewed as property themselves. If a man divorced a women, he could keep her dowry, thus baby girls were seen as less valuable than baby boys over time. This value system translated into female infanticide. The Qu’ran gave women some legal rights and they were treated with more dignity. They were equal to men before Allah. If men divorced his wife, she could have her dowry back. Infanticide was strictly forbidden. Women gained considerable influence at home and in early Islamic society, women sometimes had influence outside the home. Khadija, Mohammad’s first wife, had been a successful businesswoman. Even with these rights, Islamic society was still patriarchal. Men were permitted to have as many as four wives, while women should be obedient to one man. Land was passed through the males, thus the legitimacy of the boy couldn’t be questionable. Legally, women were treated unequally; they only had half the weight in testimony in court than men. They also had to be veiled in public, which was adopted from Mesopotamia and Persia. Over time, Islamic society became more structured and more patriarchal. Women only had one task and that was to care for her family and be loyal to her husband. However, with Islam, women did gain respect and were highly protected under the Qu’ran than they previously had been. When Eastern Europe and Western Europe broke apart, they both still practiced Christianity but in different forms. Western Europe practiced Roman Catholicism and Eastern Europe practiced Orthodox Christianity. When the Mongols conquered territory from the Pacific Ocean to Eastern Europe, they let their subjects practice their own religion. The Mongols were diffusers of culture. The Mongols in Persia assimilated by those they conquered. They became Muslim. Elsewhere, Mongols either couldn’t absorb or they intentionally didn’t. in China, Kublai Khan, dismissed the Confucian scholars, forbade marriage between Mongols and Chinese, and wouldn’t allow the Chinese to learn the Mongol language. The Chinese kept their own identity and they kicked the Mongols out in 1368. The Chinese...
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