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Rise and Fall of Classical Civilizations in the Mediterranean

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Title: Rise and Fall of Classical Civilizations in the Mediterranean


1
Rise and Fall of Classical Civilizations in the
Mediterranean
2
Rise and Fall of Greek Civilization
  • Greek civilization rose between 800 and 600
    B.C.E. due to the formation of strong
    city-states regional cities that served as
    provinces within the Greek country.
  • Greece reached its pinnacle under the leadership
    of Pericles, who led Athens to a golden age.
  • Greece fell into decline after the Peloponnesian
    Wars of 431-404 B.C.E., pitting Athens and Sparta
    against one another.
  • Philip II of Macedon and his son Alexander
    conquered the Greek mainland in 338 B.C.E, adding
    it to their empire and commencing the Hellenistic
    period.

3
Greek Political Institutions
  • Athens pioneered the direct democracy- political
    decisions were made by general assemblies,
    although usually only a minority of the
    population attended.
  • Women, slaves, and foreigners had no rights to
    political participation- only male citizens were
    permitted to participate.
  • During the Peloponnesian Wars, Athens
    demonstrated the drawbacks of democracy, such as
    low-class citizens who encouraged a reckless
    military.
  • Despite its democracy, Athens engaged in an
    age-old oligarchy.

4
Greek Religion
  • Greece did not generate a major religion, but
    rather engaged in a form of polytheism
    characterized by gods who possessed human-esque
    flaws.
  • Regular ceremonies to the gods had real political
    importance.
  • Greek religion tended to be more earthly in its
    approach, unlike monotheism.
  • However, it lacked the ability to spiritually
    satisfy the working class.

5
The Development of Philosophy
  • Where the Greeks failed in religion, they
    excelled in philosophy.
  • The philosopher Socrates developed the Socratic
    method- rational inquiry by means of skeptical
    questioning- which later became an imperative
    function in the heritage of Greek thinking.
  • Important Greek philosophers included Socrates,
    Plato, Aristotle.
  • Greek interest in rationality caused philosophers
    to classify much of the physical world.

6
Greek Cultural Contributions
  • Greeks did much for the arts, including
    contributing to literature and inventing drama.
    The Athenian dramatist Sophocles developed the
    theory of the Oedipus complex.
  • Epic literature flowered beneath the Hellenistic
    period, including the Iliad, the Odyssey, and
    Sophocles play Oedipus Rex.
  • Greeks also contributed much to architecture and
    shipbuilding.

7
The Greek Economy
  • Greece harbored a substantial population of free
    farmers who sold their crops in the largely
    agricultural market.
  • The rise of commercial agriculture led to much of
    the success experienced in Greek city-states.
  • Leading merchants were typically foreigners-
    citizens were often farmers.
  • Slavery was a key element in the Greek economy,
    but unlike later societies, Greeks did not
    mistreat their slaves, but rather treated them as
    household servants.

8
Greek Society
  • Greek society emphasized a tight family structure
    with the husband and father figure firmly in
    control.
  • Women had vital economic functions, particularly
    in farming and artisan families, but were held
    inferior in law and culture.
  • Few farmers actively participated in democratic
    functions or cultural opportunities such as
    festivals.
  • Technological advancements made during the
    Hellenistic era paled in comparison to those of
    the Roman empire.

9
The Rise and Fall of Rome
  • The Roman republic was founded in 509 B.C.E.,
    although despite the republic, the position of
    emperor was maintained.
  • A strong military and a drive to conquer led to
    the attainment of vast territories that composed
    the Roman empire.
  • The Roman empire lasted for over 900 years before
    its collapse in 476 C.E.

10
Roman Political Institutions
  • The Roman republic encouraged citizens to gather
    in public assemblies to elect magistrates.
  • The first code of law, The Twelve Tables, was
    established in 450 B.C.E. as a prelude to the
    Roman constitution.
  • The Senate was the most important legislative
    body, composed largely of aristocrats.
  • Two consuls shared primary executive power, but
    in times of crisis, a dictator could be appointed
    by the Senate.
  • The republic developed numerous organizational
    capabilities due to the sheer size of the empire.
  • Local autonomy was maintained in conquered
    provinces, and there was considerable tolerance
    for indigenous customs.

11
Roman Religion
  • Rome began with firm support of polytheism,
    choosing to worship and rename the gods of their
    Greek ancestors while fusing them with Egyptian
    gods, as well.
  • As the concept of monotheism swept Europe, the
    emperor Constantine elected Christianity as the
    state religion in 313 C.E.
  • It was this upheaval between traditional and new
    that contributed to the toppling of the Roman
    empire.

12
Roman Cultural Contributions
  • Where the Greeks succeeded in shipbuilding, the
    Romans excelled in engineering innovations, such
    as the aqueduct.
  • Writers such as Cicero philosophized extensively
    upon government, and Virgil penned The Aeneid
    during the decadence of the Roman empire.
  • The Romans expanded greatly upon Greek
    architectural advances.
  • The concept of public government buildings
    flourished in Rome.

13
The Roman Economy
  • The rise of commercial agriculture was one of the
    leading developments in the formation of an
    empire.
  • Rome contained abundant slave labor, although
    considerably less kind than that of the Greeks.
  • Rome was especially interested and successful in
    technological developments pertaining to
    agriculture or manufacturing.
  • Rome imported numerous luxury goods from African
    and Chinese countries.

14
Roman Society
  • Rome emphasized a strong patriarchy, and women
    had little to no economic rights.
  • Early Roman law stipulated that the husband is
    the judge of his wife.
  • Rome had a highly stratified aristocracy, but men
    could attain greatness through military success.

15
The Evolution of Classical Civilizations
16
Development in Africa
  • During the rise of Rome, the kingdom of Kush in
    northern Africa was defeated by the kingdom of
    Axum.
  • Axum would ultimately fall to another regional
    kingdom, Ethiopia.
  • Axum and Ethiopia had active contacts in the
    Mediterranean until after the fall of Rome.
  • The activities of Jewish merchants in Africa
    brought some conversions to Judaism.
  • Greek-speaking merchants brought Christianity to
    Ethiopia.

17
Japan
  • Japan developed in complete isolation, and their
    population formed sheerly due to migration.
  • Shintoism flourished at this point in time, and
    it became the sole national religion in 700 C.E.
  • Around 600 C.E., Japan began to make contact with
    China.

18
Decline in China and India
  • Han China suffered from numerous internal
    weaknesses, and Gupta India had yet to eliminate
    the countrys tendency to dissolve into regional
    fragmentation.
  • The Huns (a group from central Asia) overthrew
    the Gupta and Han dynasties, and with them
    brought plague to China..
  • Daoism and its leaders (the Yellow Turbans)
    created great strife in China.
  • Indian rulers were unable to regulate the
    rajputs- regional leaders whose efforts often
    undermined those of the emperor.

19
The Decline and Fall of Rome
  • A disastrous plague swept the city of Rome and
    eliminated almost 75 of the population.
  • Recruiting soldiers for the Roman legion became
    increasingly difficult.
  • Romes upper classes steadily sought more earthly
    pleasure and neglected to participate in
    politics.
  • Cultural life decayed, and religious upheaval
    between pagans and Christians sapped the empires
    energy.
  • The economy declined, and tax revenues plummeted.
  • German and Hun tribes pressured Rome until it
    fell, and the pinnacle of Roman civilization
    shifted from the West to the Eastern Byzantine
    empire in Constantinople.

20
The New Religious Map
  • Buddhism expanded from India to China, where it
    was modified into the Mahayana variant, and
    Daoism took root
  • Christianity flourished under the Roman empire,
    the first pope was appointed, and was
    consequently exported to Constantinople
  • Islam began to form and take hold in the Middle
    East
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