Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Test 2 study questions

As promised, before 5:00 PM on Tuesday. It was a late night getting through your questions. I sorted through them this morning, did a lot of editing of the questions. Most of these are aggregates of several questions that I received. Only a few are verbatim student questions. There are actually fewer, not more, than last time, but the questions are generally more complex and elicit a more detailed answer. We'll meet on Wednesday to form study groups.

1) What forces drove Han Wudi to expand his empire toward Central Asia and what impact did this have on long distance trade?

2) Sub-Saharan Africa was relatively late in acquiring metal tools, but when they did, important transformations took place. Describe the emergence of metal tools in the region, what impact these tools had on society, and how despite the presence of such tools, approaches to agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa was different than in other societies of Afro-Eurasia.

3) Describe the impact of coinage upon the world of trade. Be sure to consider its transformative effects on society as broadly as possible. How much of the globe was affected by its use?

4) What led to the emergence of cities on the Ganges plain around 500 BC? Why was their existence antithetical to traditional forms of Brahminic life?

5) Describe the differences between Athens and Sparta in the years leading up to the Peloponnesian War with respect to the oikos, politics, military service, and economics. How did these differences reflect their society’s differing philosophies?

6) How did the emergence of the nude figure in art, and moreover, the specific way that artists portrayed the body, reflect fundamental aspects of humanistic society in Classical Greece?

7) How were the gods of Classical Greek mythology fundamentally different from the deities of most other societies that had gone before? How important were they in guiding Greek political life? Be sure to consider the role of the gods in what they can tell us about Classical Greek values.

8) How did the Classical Greek approach to philosophy and science mark a major departure in human intellectual departure? What was the basic assumption of the Greek approach? Give two examples of either scientific or philosophical achievements of this society.

9) What were some of the factors that fueled the rise of new kind of chattel plantation slavery in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Hellenistic World? What negative impact did this have on the societies that widely adopted the system?

10) Compare and contrast fully the differences between the Roman and Judaic reaction to the Hellenistic World.

11) Alexander “the pretty good”  (or Great, if we must) was one of the world’s most successful conquerors but failed to build a true empire. Explain his method of creating and utilizing an army and why this was radically new and effective. Why did all of this success not lead to a great Macedonian empire?

12) Describe the ways in which Alexander’s army was a full reflection of the economics, military technology, and philosophies of the Hellenistic World.

13) Considering advances in navigation and maritime technology along with knowledge of weather, describe the advances made by Arab traders in the Indian Ocean in opening alternative trade routes to the East by way of the sea. 

14) How did the Mahayana school of theology change Buddhism and how did this change affect the spread of that faith?

15) Describe the political and economic realities that led to the emergence of not only the caravan but also of caravan cities. Give an example of a caravan city and describe its emergence.

16) We know that Alexander’s armies spread the sorts of things that we traditionally associate with Hellenism all over Eurasia, but his conquering forces also had a big impact on Chandragupta and the Mauryan dynasty. Describe these influences and how they empowered Chandragupta to set in motion the consolidation of the Indian subcontinent.

17) Describe in both importance, detail, and proportion the ingredients that constituted Hellenistic “cosmopolitanism.”

18) Contrast Asóka’s rise to power with his conversion to devout Buddhism.

19) Silk was not a technology that spread easily. Describe some of the misconceptions and folkloric tales of the quest to “steal” the secrets of silk production from the Chinese, and contrast that with the fundamental hurdles one might encounter in producing silk.

20) How did the silk trade serve as a vehicle for the spread of religious and cultural knowledge?

21) In what ways, from Byzantium to China, did silk represent political power? Give examples.

22) Describe the relationship between women and silk production in Chinese society.

23) Compare and contrast the importance of silk in China with that of Rome. Be sure to offer examples.

24) What sort of convergence of factors under the rule of Asóka led to the dramatic spread of Buddhism. Consider both the theological and geopolitical.

25) Why was military service in Classical Athens some mark of distinction of both being a free man and having the right to citizenship? What might this philosophy tell us about the reasons that Spartan women had comparatively more rights in their society?

26) What was the significance of a city like Kashgar along the silk road? How do the present-day occupants of Kashgar reflect the cultural diffusion brought by the silk road over 2 millennium?

27) Why were Hellenistic plays so universal – i.e., what was so Hellenistic about them?

28) Compare and contrast fully the two Hellenistic philosophies of Stoicism and Epicureanism. Where in the Hellenistic world do we find the influences of these two very different philosophies?


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