Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Questions for Test 1

1.)Describe the relationship between the emergence of widespread agriculture and the emergence of the caste system in Vedic society.

2.) Describe the relationship between Vedic religious structures and texts and the social order represented by the caste system.

3.) How did the Phoenicians revolutionize communication and how was it superior to the pre-existing systems of other societies?

4.) How did the duties of the Brahmin class of the Vedic culture differ from the duties of the Zhou ruling class?

5.) Provide three examples of how the Mycenaean culture differed from that of the Minoans.

6.) Because the Shang dynasts understood the importance of agriculture and maintaining power, what did they do to promote agrarian development? What did the Shang dynasts do to increase production and best use the land?

7.) The Shang dyansty and Aegean peoples took very different approaches to exploiting copper ore reserves in their worlds. How were they different and how did this reflect significant differences in societal needs?

8.) What were the main differences between the two types of slaves in the Assyrian social structure? How did this two-tiered system of slavery reinforce the "us and them" mentality used by the neo-Assyrians and make the brutality of their conquests acceptable?

9.) Describe the two main phases of the Neo-Assyrian empire and how structural flaws within the society led to its downfall.

10.) How did the Persian empire utilize improvements in infrastructure to better govern its empire?

11.) Describe the differences in attitude toward neighboring empires taken by the Phoenicians and the Greeks (both "borderland" peoples). How did their differing approaches reflect cultural differences?

12.) How did the Assyrian king use his relationship with the Assyrian god Ashur to influence his people? In what ways was this propaganda helpful for the people and in what ways was it hurtful?

13.) Describe the emergence, characteristics, and interrelated nature of the classic "urban/rura divide."

14.) In spite of Old Kingdom Egypt's prosperity, why did it not have the same sort of large urban centers as those that developed in the "fertile crescent" of early Mesopotamia?

15.) Explain how Hammurabi's image as a ruler parallels with that of the Egyptian pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom.

16.) What changes made by Middle Kingdom pharaohs in Egypt reinforced their authority and power after periods of chaos?

17.) How did the arrival of transhumant peoples force both the collapse of the Third Dynasty of Ur, but also conversely lead to a rise of future culture and literature?

18.) Why did Northern Europe develop slowly compared to the civilizations of Old Kingdom Egypt and early Mesopotamia? What changes led to increased development along this remote frontier?

19.) How did the treatment of women in Assyria compare with the role women played in Minoan culture? What can this tell us about the fundamental differences between these two societies?

20.) How did the Heavenly Mandate of Zhou China differ from the propaganda machines of other civilizations with respect to the functioning of dynastic change?

21.) How did the invention of writing contribute to the creation of hierarchy in the world's most ancient cultures?

22.) To what extent did religion affect the formation of larger cities and empires such as Egypt and Mesopotamia, and how did it reinforce the power of the cities' leaders?

23.) How were the Shang and Egyptian societies' views on royal afterlife both alike and different?

24.) The Persian Empire grew and expanded much more successfully than the Egyptian Empire and was able to sustain its success longer than the Assyrian Empire. What enabled the Persians to accomplish these feats?

25.) How were Zoroaster's teachings different from those of the early Mesopotamian religions yet similar to the teachings of Akhenatan?

26.) How was the lack of a centralized government and territorial state beneficial to the people living the area now know as Greece leading up to the second millennium BCE?

27.) Compare and contrast the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures with regard to economics, warfare, and social structure.

28.) What were the Upanishads and how did they support the belief of reincarnation in the Vedic World? Compare it to Persian beliefs of the same era.

29.)Why were the Zhou not as powerful of a conquering force like the Assyrians and the Persians?

30.) What social and political forces in Zhou China caused scholars to rise to the top of the social order?

31.) What religious system did China's Zhou dynasty employ to gain support in order to overthrow the Shang dynast? In what ways did this ideology help and hinder the Zhou? How was this different from other civilizations during this period?

32.) How was the formation of unity amongst the Vedic peoples different from that of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and the Zhou Dynasty?

33.) In what wasy did a Vedic culture unify what political rivalries had divided? Who transmitted the Vedic culture, and what was the common language of this culture?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Territorial States, Laws, and Technology

We're going to read a little from the Code of Hammurabi today. What do you suppose was truly the goal of the code?

Here is a video of some bronze casting technique (modern) in a promotional film by an art studio. How might this have been more difficult in the past, and why did this sort of endeavor require organization and skill?

We'll talk a little bit more about technological innovation, not the least of which was the chariot. This Wikipedia article about the battle of Qadesh (Kadesh) and the ensuing treaty is quite good and interesting. The chariot did have its limits, however.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Your Textbook

Just to clarify, there are two different versions of volume 1 of the text available online from W.W. Norton.

One allows you to download and print PDF versions of the book:


The other is an e-book that you read on Norton's site:


Both are $39.

Or you can get an e-book version of the combined volumes (remember, not all professors use this book. I do, and Dr. Fidler does) for both halves of World Civ.:


This one is $43.50