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 reestablished themselves under the Ming Dynasty. The Mongols left two major impacts. The Golden Horde conquered Russia and they were treated as a vassal state, they didn’t unify or culturally develop as quickly as its European neighbors to the West. Their other major influence was that they facilitated world trade, cultural diffusion, and awareness. 1. The Islamic world 4. The rise and role of Dar al-Islam as a unifying cultural and economic force in Eurasia and Africa Though they did “encourage” their subjects to convert to Islam, they were quite flexible well.
They were tolerant of their local customs of the areas they conquered. The Sufis, Islamic mystics, were its most effective missionaries. They stressed a personal relationship with Allah, in contrast to other religions that emphasized a particular form of ritual. By allowing and even encouraging, followers to practice their own ways to revere Allah, and by tolerating others who placed Allah in the framework of other beliefs, the Sufis succeeded in converting large numbers of people to Islam. And with a theocratic government, the more rapidly the religion expands; the more rapidly the empire expands.
They also controlled and monopolized the cross-roads of the Silk Road. 5. Islamic political structures, notably the caliphate When Mohammad died in 632, Abu Bakr, one of his followers became Caliph, the head of state, military commander, chief judge, and religious leader. The Caliph ruled an empire and also made pronouncements on religious doctrine. The Islamic empire was a theocracy. Because a caliph ruled it, the theocratic Islamic Empire was referred to as a caliphate. As time passed, the caliphs began to act more like hereditary rulers, except that there was no clear line of succession.
The first four caliphs were Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. Ali was assassinated and was succeeded by his son, Hasan. Under pressure form a prominent family in Mecca, Hasan relinquished his title, and established the Umayyad Dynasty. The capital was moved to Damascus, Syria, although Mecca remained the spiritual center. Conquered subjects were “encouraged” to convert to Islam, those who didn’t were forced to pay a tax called Jizya. The Umayyads expanded as far as northern Africa and into Spain, where they ruled the Iberian Peninsula.
They attacked the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. Despite their success, problems with succession started to emerge. Muslims split into two camps, Shiite and Sunni. Shiite (Shia) Islam holds that Mohammad’s son in law, Ali, was the rightful heir to the empire, based on Mohammad’s comments to Ali. Sunnis, in contrast, thought that the leaders of the empire should be drawn from a broad base of people. In a battle for control of the empire against the forces of Abu al- Abbas, the Umayyad Empire was defeated. The Abbasid Dynasty around 750 in all areas except Spain replaced it.
The Abbasid Dynasty reigned from 750 to 1258 until the Mongols defeated the Islamic Empire. They built a magnificent capital at Baghdad. The Abbassid defeated the Tang Chinese army during the Battle of the Talus River in 751 CE. This fight was for the control of Silk Road trading posts in central Asia. They discovered paper money that was on the Chinese soldiers. 6. Arts, sciences, and technologies The Islamic Empire was built around trade. The merchants introduced the unique idea check, which free them from the burden and danger of carrying coins. They also developed a system of itemized receipts and bills.
Steel was produced for the manufacturing of swords. Mohammad al-Razi, published a massive medical encyclopedia. They also expanded on what they learned in India, especially in algebra. They learned how to make paper from the Chinese POWs. They preserved the Western culture, as did the Byzantines. When the Arabs encountered the classic writings of ancient Athens and Rome, including those of Plato and Aristotle, they translated it into Arabic. 2. Interregional networks and contacts 7. Development and shifts in interregional trade, technology, and cultural exchange 8.
Trans-Sahara trade When the Muslims Empire spread across North Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries, these African kingdoms (Ghana, Mali, Songhai) began trading with the larger Mediterranean economy. Islamic traders penetrated the Sahara Desert and reached the wealthy interior Africa. Increasingly, caravans of traders were willing to do what they had to do to get to the riches on the other side of the sand. At first, the push factor was salt, which they had little of. Then they began to encounter Islamic traders along the salt road, and started to trade for other commodities.
The pull factor that lured the Islamic traders was gold in West Africa. They also introduced Islam into West Africa. For Ghana, they was subjected to a Holy War led by an Islamic group intent on converting or killing them. They defeated the Islamic forces but their empire fell into decline. By the time the Mali came into power, the region had converted to Islam, this time a more peaceful transition. 9. Indian Ocean trade The Persians and the Arabs dominated the Indian Ocean Trade. The Indian Ocean connected ports in western India to ports in the Persian Gulf, which were connected to ports in eastern Africa.
The Indian Ocean trade was relatively safer than the Mediterranean because there wasn’t constant warfare. Sailors often married the local women at the ends of their trade routes, cultures diffused rapidly. Many sailors took foreign wives home and created bilingual and bicultural families. 10. Silk routes The Silk Road was used heavily again from 1200 CE until about 1600 CE, during the reign of the Mongols. The Silk Roads carried much more than silk, it carried porcelain and paper. It carried military technologies. It carried religions, such as Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity. The East met the West on the Silk Roads. 11.
Missionary outreach of major religions Missionaries played a significant role in the spread of Christianity. They used trade routes in Europe that had been already established. They even went to the Kingdom of Axum in Eastern Africa and gained many converts there, including Axum rulers. They tried to spread Christianity in East Asia but there were little success. The Buddhist missionaries made use of the Silk Roads trading network to spread their religion into China after the resurgence of Hinduism in India pushed Buddhism out. Hinduism didn’t have a lot of missionary efforts because their caste system was irrelevant to societies.
Islam was spread mostly fro their own military conquests and won over converts that way, and the Sufis played a large part as well. Merchants also played a key role in the spread of Islam. All major religions were spread by the help of missionaries and merchants along the Silk Roads and influencing regions as they go. 12. Contacts between major religions, e. g. , Islam and Buddhism, Christianity and Islam Muslims destroyed the Nalanda Monastery in the 13th century. Buddhism wasn’t violent in nature, whereas both Islam and Christianity were.
Europeans came into contact with the Muslim world during the Crusades (military campaigns undertaken by European Christians of the eleventh through the fourteenth centuries to take over the Hold Land and convert Muslims and other non-Christians to Christianity) and take over the trade routes helped spur new thought and broadened the perspective of these previously insular people. 13. Impact of the Mongol empires 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 reestablished themselves under the Ming Dynasty. The Mongols left two major impacts. The Golden Horde conquered Russia and they were treated as a vassal state, they didn’t unify or culturally develop as quickly as its European neighbors to the West.
Their other major influence was that they facilitated world trade, cultural diffusion, and awareness. 3. China’s internal and external expansion 14. The importance of the Tang and Song economic revolutions and the initiatives of the early Ming dynasty Under the Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties, China experienced a Golden Age. The Tang Dynasty ruled China since 618 CE under Emperor Xuanzong. The Tang expanded into parts of Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and Korea. By 907, the empire had become so large that local warlords gained more and more power, and the Tang Dynasty collapsed.
In 960, China was reunified under the Song Dynasty and Emperor Taizu. The Song fell to the Jurchen and then the Mongols until finally in 1279, the Mongols established the Yuan Dynasty in its place. The Dynasty was driven out of China in 1368 and the Ming Dynasty restored Chinese rule. The Tang and Song dynasties achieved in areas of art, architecture, science, philosophy, porcelain making, silk weaving, construction of transportation systems, and much more. The Tang Dynasty is famed for its poetry that tells us about their everyday lives.
Under Song, China developed printing processes, which facilitated the spread of its literary accomplishments throughout Asia, and later influenced the development of literature in Korea and Japan. The Tang and Song built an extensive transportation and communication network, including canals. The Song built the Grand Canal that integrated Chinese economy from north to south. Tang’s power base was military garrisons along the central Asian trade routes and their capital at Chang’an , the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. The Song Dynasty the movable type. Gunpowder started to be used in primitive weapons.
The magnetic compass, watertight bulkheads, and sternpost rudders made the Chinese Junks (Chinese ships). Iron production also increased tenfold. Production of steel also increased. Champa rice from Vietnam, a fast ripening rice, increased food supply. 15. Chinese influence on surrounding areas and its limits in the sixth century, the influence of China in Japan increased dramatically. In 522, Buddhist missionaries went to Japan and brought with them Chinese culture. Buddhism spread so quickly, but did not replace Shintoism. Most Japanese adopted Buddhism while also handing on o their Shinto beliefs.
Prince Shotoku borrowed bureaucratic and legal reforms, which were modeled on the successes of the Tang Dynasty In China. They modeled their capital after the Tang capital. However, they rejected Confucianism and the Civil Service Exams. Korea was China’s vassal state and that resulted in Korean schools ad the imperia; court being organized like those of the Chinese, although he power of the royal houses and nobility was also responsible for the spread of both Confucianism and Chan Buddhism to Korea. The Vietnamese rejected the Chinese influence, but eventually established a Confucian education and trade. 4.
Developments in Europe 16. Restructuring of European economic, social, and political institutions 17. The division of Christendom into eastern and western Christian cultures The Roman Empire united the entire Mediterranean for centuries, but it became to vast to govern as a while, so in 286 CE, the empire was split into an eastern half and a western half. In 313, Christianity was accepted into the empire; and in 330, Constantine converted to Christianity, he reunited the empire at Constantinople. The empire split again in 395, which at this time, the eastern half became known as the Byzantine Empire.