Period 2: Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies (600 Bce - 600 Ce)

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PERIOD 2: Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies, c. 600 BCE to c. 600 CE The Development and Codification of Religious and Cultural Traditions I. Codifications and further developments of existing religious traditions provided a bond among the people and an ethical code to live by. A. The association of monotheism with Judaism was further developed with the codification of the Hebrew Scriptures, which also reflected the influence of Mesopotamian cultural and legal traditions. The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Roman empires conquered various Jewish states at different points in time. These conquests contributed to the growth of Jewish diasporic communities around the Mediterranean and Middle East. B. The core beliefs outlined in the Sanskrit scriptures formed the basis of the Vedic religions – later known as Hinduism – which contributed to the development of the social and political roles of a caste system and in the importance of multiple manifestations of Brahma to promote teachings about reincarnation. II. New belief systems and cultural traditions emerged and spread, often asserting universal truths. A. The core beliefs about desire, suffering, and the search for enlightenment preached by the historic Buddha and recorded by his followers into sutras and other scriptures were, in part, a reaction to the Vedic beliefs and rituals dominant in South Asia. Buddhism changed over time as it spread throughout Asia – first through the support of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, and then through the efforts of missionaries and merchants, and the establishment of educational institutions to promote its core teachings. B. Confucianism’s core beliefs and writings originated in the writings and lessons of Confucius and were elaborated by key disciples who sought to promote social harmony by outlining proper rituals and social relationships for all people in China, including the rulers. C. In the major Daoist writings, the core belief of balance between humans and nature assumed that the Chinese political system would be altered indirectly. Daosim also influenced the development of Chinese culture: medical theories and practices, poetry, metallurgy, architecture. D. Christianity, based on core beliefs about the teachings and divinity of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded by his disciples, drew on Judaism, and initially rejected Roman and Hellenistic influences. Despite initial Roman imperial hostility, Christianity spread through the efforts of missionaries and merchants through many parts of afro-Eurasia, and eventually gained Roman imperial support by the time of Emperor Constantine. E. The core ideas of Greco-Roman philosophy and science emphasized logic, empirical observation, and the nature of political power and hierarchy. III. Belief systems affected gender roles. Buddhism and Christianity encouraged monastic life and Confucianism emphasized filial piety. IV. Other religious and cultural traditions continued parallel to the codified, written belief systems in core civilizations. A. Shamanism and animism continued to shape the lives of people within and outside of core civilizations because of their daily reliance on the natural world. B. Ancestor veneration persisted in many regions: Africa, The Mediterranean region, East Asia, The Andean areas. V. Artistic expressions, including literature and drama, architecture, and sculpture, show distinctive cultural developments. A. Literature and drama acquired distinctive forms that influenced artistic developments in neighboring regions and in later time periods: Greek plays, Indian epics. B. Distinctive architectural styles developed in many regions in this period: India, Greece, The Roman Empire, Mesoamerica. C. The convergence of Greco-Roman culture and Buddhist beliefs affected the development of unique sculptural developments. The Development of States and Empires

I. The number and size of key states and empires grew...
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