Abbasids rulers of the Islamic caliphate from 750-1258; made Baghdad their capital and increased the Persian influence in Islam; lost most of their real power in the 900s Achaeans



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World History Terms, up to 1500 A.D.



Abbasids -- rulers of the Islamic caliphate from 750-1258; made Baghdad their capital and increased the Persian influence in Islam; lost most of their real power in the 900s
Achaeans -- Indo-European raiders who invaded the Balkan Peninsula c. 1800 B.C.
Battle of Actium -- naval battle of 31 B.C. between Antony's forces and Octavian's forces under Agrippa; Agrippa's victory led to the deaths of Mark Antony and Cleopatra and the establishment of the Roman Empire
Battle of Adrianople -- occurred in 378 between Visigoths and Romans; Visigoth victory displayed the weakness of the Roman Empire to all
Battle of Agincourt -- 1415 between English and French; English force of 6-7,000 with superior technology (longbows and pikes) rout a much larger French force
Ainu -- aboriginal tribe of ancient Japan; later driven north to Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and the Kuriles by Oriental invaders
Alaric -- king of the Visigoths who sacked Rome in 410
Albertus Magnus -- 13th century scholar known as the Universal Doctor; considered the intellectual leader of Northern Europe
Albigensianism -- heresy of Southern France in the 12th and 13th centuries; claimed that good deity created spirit world and sent Jesus and that evil deity created material world; attacked by a Crusade
Alcuin -- 8th century English scholar; asked by Charlemagne to establish universties; leader of the Carolingian Renaissance
Allodial land -- land owned independently of the feudal system
Amorites -- a Semitic people who invaded and settled in the Fertile Crescent and Sumeria between 2000 and 1800 B.C. as part of the First Mass Migration; established the First Babylonian Kingdom
Anatolia -- another name for Asia Minor
Apella -- the Spartan assembly of all male citizens
Arameans -- Second Mass Migration tribe who invaded northern Palestine and Syria c. 1200 B.C.; their language became the common business language of the day and is said to have been the daily language of Jesus
Battle of Arbela -- October 1, 331 B.C. between Alexander the Great and Darius III; Alexander crushed Persian Army; also called Gaugamela
Archon -- one of the city officials of Athens
Areopagus -- special council of 51 judges in Athens; revived by Solon
Arianism -- Christian heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus; condemned by the first council of Nicaea in 325
Aristides -- "The Just"; Athenian general at the battle of Plataea with Pausanis of Sparta; maneuvered Athens to prominence in the Delian League
Asoka -- ruler of India (Maurya dynasty) 274-236 B.C.; converted empire to Buddhism and tried to end caste system; "Asoka's wheel" is on India's present flag
Assurbanipal -- last great king of the Assyrian Empire (668-626 B.C.); established the library at Nineveh
Assurnasurapli II -- first king of the Assyrian Empire (883-859 B.C.); expanded the Assyrian Empire and developed the first organized cavalry
Atilla -- king of the Huns who led the invasion of western Europe c. 450
Battle of Bannockburn -- 1329 victory of Scots under Robert the Bruce over English under Edward II; secured Scottish independence from England
Saint Thomas a Becket -- Archbishop of Canterbury; murdered by Henry II; subject of numerous literary works
Belisarius -- Byzantine general under Justinian; conquered the Vandals and the Ostrogoths
Saint Benedict of Nursia -- established the first Western monastery at Monte Cassino (Italy) in 529
Battle of Bosworth Field -- 1485; Henry VII becomes King of England, ushering in Tudor dynasty; Richard III slain
Byzantine Empire -- term used for the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the Western Empire in A.D. 476; lasted nominally until 1453
Gaius Caligula -- Roman emperor assassinated by the Praetorian Guard in 41; nickname means "little boot"
Cambyses II -- succeeded his father Cyrus the Great as king of Persia; added Egypt to the Persian Empire
Canaanites -- inhabitants of Palestine c. 1200 B.C.
Battle of Cannae -- 216 B.C.; Second Punic War battle in which Carthaginians under Hannibal rout the Roman army under Varro and Paulus; 85,000 Roman casualties; worst defeat in Roman history
Canute the Great -- Scandinavian king who ruled England, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; first king to unite the Norse world
Battle of Cape Mycale -- 479 B.C.; Greek allied army under Pausanis surprises the Persian fleet and destroys it
Hugh Capet -- became the first King of France in 987; established the Capetian dynasty
Battle of Carrhae -- 53 B.C.; Romans under Crassus defeated by the Parthians; Crassus killed
Cato the Elder -- Roman senator; famous for ending all his speeches with "Carthage must be destroyed"

Celts -- a First Mass Migration tribe that settled in northwestern Europe c. 2000 B.C.
Chaldeans -- Second Mass Migration tribe, originally from Saudi Arabia, that attacked and destroyed the Kassites c. 1200 B.C.; rebuilt the city of Babylon (for this reason they are sometimes referred to as Neo-Babylonians)
Battle of Chalons -- 451 between an alliance of Western peoples under Roman commanders and the Huns under Atilla; Atilla's advance into Western Europe halted
Champollion, Jean-Francois -- Frenchman who deciphered the Rosetta Stone in 1822
Chandragupta -- grandfather of Asoka who founded the Maurya dynasty
Chares -- Greek architect of the Colossus of Rhodes
Charlemagne -- king of the Franks; given the title "Holy Roman Emperor" in 800
Charles Martel -- served as Mayor of the Palace (Frankish second-in-command) from 714-741; son of Pepin II of Heristal and grandfather of Charlemagne; defeated the Arabs at Tours
Cicero -- Roman statesman and Senator; beheaded in 43 B.C. by agents of Mark Antony
Cimon -- became Polemarch of Athens in 478 B.C.; created the Delian League and hoped to continue the war with Persia
Cleisthenes -- established the first democracy in 508 B.C.; known as the "father of democracy"
Cleopatra VII -- Queen of Egypt from 48-30 B.C.; had affairs with Antony and Julius Caesar
Constantine the Great -- emperor of the Western Roman Empire from 312-324; reunited the Empire briefly prior to his death (324-337)
Consuls -- the two commanders of the army of the Roman Republic; they were elected by the Curiata for one-year terms and also served as executives of the government
Battle of Crecy -- 1339 between English under Edward III and French under Phillip VI; English victory mainly due to archers

Croesus -- last king of Lydia (reigned until about 560 B.C.); said to have been the richest man in the world; visisted Oracle at Delphi about whether to battle Cyrus the Great and misunderstood the answer. (According to legend, the Oracle told Croesus that a great empire would fall if he went to war; the empire turned out to be Lydia instead of Persia.)
Crypteia -- the Spartan secret police
Battle of Cumae -- naval battle of 474 B.C.; combined Carthaginian/Greek forces defeated the Etruscans; broke Etruscan power in Italy
Cuneiform -- wedge-shaped system of writing used by the Sumerians
Cyaxares -- king of the Medes who helped overthrow Assyria
Cyrus II (the Great) -- king of the Medes and Persians 550 B.C. - 529 B.C.; established the Achamenid Persian Empire
Darius I -- king of Persia 524 B.C. - 486 B.C.; started the war with the Greek city-states; made Zoroastrianism the state religion
Datis the Mede -- commanded the Persian forces at Marathon
Vasco de Gama -- Portuguese explorer who became the first to complete a successful voyage to India in 1498
Delian League -- Athenian parallel to the Peloponnesian League; created by Athens to continue the Persian Wars
Diocletian -- Roman Emperor (285-305) who split the Empire into Eastern and Western halves; voluntarily abdicated
Doomsday Book -- census done by William the Conqueror in England
Draco -- elected Chief Archon of Athens in 620 B.C.; first codified the laws of Athens
Eleanor of Aquitane -- wife of Louis VII of France and later Henry II (Plantagenet) of England; mother of Richard the Lionhearted
Ephialtes -- traitor who enabled the Persians to defeat the Greeks at Thermopylae
Ephors -- the five elected political rulers of Sparta; had absolute political power
Essenes -- ascetic Jewish sect of the first century who favored communal withdrawal from society
Etruscans -- wandering tribe (not part of any of the Mass Migrations) that settled in north central Italy c. 800 B.C.
Fatimids -- line of Shiite caliphs who claimed descent from the daughter of Muhammad; in 973, established their capital in Cairo
Fief -- heritable land held from a lord in exchange for services
Battle of Fontenoy -- 841 between Charles the Bald/Louis the German (victorious) and Lothair; led to signing of the Treaty of Verdun
Gaeseric -- first king of the Vandals (429-456); sacked Rome in 455
Gauls -- tribe of the Second Mass Migration that settled in northwest Europe c. 1000 B.C.
Gerousia -- the Spartan council; had 28 members elected for life
Gnosticism -- Christian heresy which proclaimed salvation through knowledge; generally dualistic
Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus -- brothers who used their positions as tribunes to attempt agrarian reform; members of the Senate rioted and killed them both
Gregory I (the Great) -- Pope from 590-640; established the Vatican state
Gregory VII -- pope from 1075-1083; outlawed lay investiture
Hadrian -- emperor of Rome from 117-137; stopped expansion of the Roman Empire; built Hadrian's Wall in England
Hannibal -- general who led the Carthaginian armies from 221-178 B.C. in the Second Punic War; launched a disastrous invasion of Italy in 218 B.C. that turned the war in Rome's favor
Harold II -- last Saxon king of England (died 1066)
Battle of Hastings -- 1066 between Normans under William and Saxons under Harold II; Norman victory in which Harold was killed paved the way for the Norman conquest of England
Hatshepsut -- pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt; the first recorded woman ruler in history
Hebrews and Habriu -- tribes who lived in northeastern Egypt and were later enslaved by Egypt; the Exodus took place during the reign of Ramses II, c. 1240 B.C.
Helots -- term for Spartan slaves
Henry I -- king of England from 1100-1135; modernized the English government
Henry IV (HRE) -- Holy Roman Emperor from 1056-1106; clashed with Pope Gregory VII over lay investiture; forced to submit after papal interdict and rebellion; absolved after doing penance at Canossa in 1077
Herodotus -- first historian; histories are generally not trustworthy due to Herodotus' pro-Greek slant in all his writings
Hieroglyphics -- the system of writing used by the ancient Egyptians
Hippias -- succeeded his father Peisistratus as Tyrant of Athens; known for his viciousness and cruelty
Hittites -- the most ancient of the Indo-European tribes of the First Mass Migration; settled in Asia Minor c. 2100 B.C.
House of Hohenstaufen -- ruled the Holy Roman Empire 1138-1254; originated in Swabia
Holy Roman Empire -- term used for the Eastern Kingdom of the Franks after 962
Hoplite -- term for an ancient Greek soldier, who was equipped for battle with a sword, spear, and shield
Hurrians -- an Indo-European group of tribes that settled in northern Mesopotamia between 2000-1800 B.C. (First Mass Migration);

first to use horses


Hyksos -- an Indo-European people that conquered Egypt after crossing the Sinai Peninsula c. 1750 B.C.; part of the First Mass Migration
Ikhnaten (Akenaton) -- pharoah of the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom; introduced monotheism into ancient Egypt
Imhotep -- engineer who designed the Step Pyramid (first pyramid) at Sakkara for the pharoah Zoser c. 2750 B.C.
Indus -- a river valley in India/Pakistan where one of the four major ancient civilizations developed; major cities include Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
Jacquerie -- peasant revolt in Ile-de-France in 1358; crushed by Charles the Bad of Navarre
Jericho -- the oldest village found by archaeologists; located in southern Lebanon, it dates to c. 8000 B.C.
Flavius Josephus -- military leader and historian and author of Antiquites of the Jews and History of the Jewish War
Battle of Kadesh -- c. 1290 B.C. between Hittites under Muwatalis and Egyptians under Ramses II; Hittite victory; Egypt lost control of Syria
Kassites -- Indo-European group that settled in southern Mesopotamia c. 1570 B.C.; gradually replaced the Amorites as the dominant kingdom in the region; created the most stable kingdom of the Second Millenium B.C.; known as the "Third Dynasty of Babylon"
Khufu (or Cheops) -- pharoah responsible for construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza c. 2550 B.C.
King's Crusade -- name for the Third Crusade because it was led by Richard the Lionhearted of England, Frederick Barbarossa of HRE, and Phillip Augustus of France
Knossos -- maze-like capital of the Minoan civilization; built c. 2000 B.C.
Kublai Khan -- grandson of Genghis Khan; founded the Yuan dynasty in China
Lacedaemonians -- term given the residents of Sparta
Latins -- a tribe of the Second Mass Migration that settled the Italian peninsula c. 1000 B.C.
Battle of Lechfeld -- 955 in Bavaria between German forces under Otto the Great and the Magyars; the German victory almost completely destroyed the Magyars
Legion -- the term for a division of the Roman army; the commander was referred to as a legate
Leo the Great -- Bishop of Rome 440-461; first to use the title of "Pope"
Leonidas -- Spartan king who led the Greek forces at Thermopylae
Lombards -- ancient Germanic people who settled along the Danube in the mid-500s; conquered by the Franks
Lycurgus -- Spartan king who introduced into Sparta the reforms which converted Sparta into a military state
Lydians -- one of the "Peoples of the Sea"; first tribe to develop coined money, c. 1000 B.C.
Lysander -- Spartan military commander; led victorious armies at Notium and Aegospotami; sieged Athens and ended the Peloponnesian War
Manor -- the district over which a feudal lord held authority and which was subject to the lord's court
Battle of Marathon -- 490 B.C.; Athenian forces under Miltiades crush a much larger Persian force led by Datis the Mede
Mardonius -- commander of the main Persian army at Thrace; led the Persian invasion of Greece
Mastaba -- a rectangular ancient Egyptian tomb
Medes -- Indo-European tribe of the Second Mass Migration who settled in modern Iran c. 1200 B.C.; along with the Persians, the ancestors of modern Iranians
Battle of Meggido -- located in modern region of Syria-Palestine; first recorded battle in history
Mencius -- pupil and successor of Confucius; expanded Confucian ideas about the Mandate of Heaven
Menes -- ruler of Upper Egypt who established the first dynasty; united Upper and Lower Egypt c. 3200 B.C.

Mesolithic Age -- Middle Stone Age; c. 100,000 B.C. - c. 6000 B.C.
Miltiades -- Athenian leader who opposed Themistocles' ideas; commanded Athenian forces at Marathon
Battle of Milvian Bridge -- A.D. 312 near Rome; Constantine victorious after having (supposedly) seen a flaming cross in the sky; Western Roman Empire reunited
Minoans -- tribe which established the first civilization on Crete c. 3000 B.C.
Mursailis I -- Hittite king who destroyed Babylon in 1595 B.C.
Mansa Musa -- emperor of Mali (fl. 14th century); made Timbuktu a center of learning and commerce; promoted the growth of Islam
Mycenae -- capital of the Achaeans built c. 1600 B.C.
Nabopolassar -- led the rebellion in Babylon in 612 B.C. that collapsed the Assyrian Empire
Natufians -- name of the tribe (not a race) of men credited with the building of Jericho
Nebuchadnezzar II -- most powerful of the Babylonian (Chaldean) kings; built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon between 604-585 B.C.
Neolithic Age -- "New Stone Age"; c. 6000 B.C. - c. 4000 B.C.
Nestorianism -- fifth-century heresy that claimed two distinct natures in Christ and objected to the term "Mother of God" for Mary; condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431
Nome -- territorial division of ancient Egypt
Odoacer -- barbarian king who deposed the Roman emperor in 476; seen by historians as the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Ogodai Khan -- son of Genghis Khan and father of Kublai Khan; invaded Poland and Hungary; his death in 1241 ended the Mongol advance into Europe
Olmecs -- ancient Mexican people considered to be first civilization of Western Hemisphere; noted for stone sculptures and temple cities devoted to a jaguar god

Ostracism -- reform iniated by Cleisthenes to prevent return of tyranny to Athens; man with most votes on shards of pottery left the city for ten years
Otto the Great -- king of Germany from 936-973; established the Holy Roman Empire
Palaeolithic Age -- "Old Stone Age"; Lower Palaeolithic from c. 900,000 B.C. to c. 500,000 B.C.; Upper Palaeolithic from c. 500,000 B.C. to c. 100,000 B.C.
Patricians -- the upper land-owning class of the Roman Republic
Pearl Poet -- name given to the unknown author of the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"
Peisistratus -- became Tyrant of Athens in 560 B.C.
Peloponnesian League -- defensive alliance organized by Sparta c. 500 B.C.
"Peoples of the Sea" -- collective name for a mixture of tribes of Indo-European raiders from the Black Sea area; attacked the Nile Delta c. 1040 B.C.
Pepi II -- Egyptian pharaoh of the Old Kingdom; ruling for almost 90 years; Old Kingdom collapsed after his death
Pepin the Short -- Mayor of the Palace from 741-751; king of the Franks 751-768; father of Charlemagne
Perioeci -- Spartan middle class of craftsmen and artisans; were not considered citizens and, therefore, were forbidden to live in Sparta itself
Persians -- Indo-European tribe of the Second Mass Migration that settled in modern Iran c. 1200 B.C.
Petrine Supremacy -- the doctrine that the pope as Bishop of Rome is the head of the church
Phalanx -- the ancient Greek battle unit
Pharisees -- first-century Jewish sect who upheld the range of tradition as of equal weight to scriptural law; advocated strict adherence to the holiness code of the Torah
Pharoah -- title used for the ancient rulers of Egypt; title literally means "living god"
Battle of Pharsalus -- 48 B.C. between forces of Julius Caesar and Pompey; Caesar wins; Pompey flees to Egypt
Philistines -- one of the Peoples of the Sea; settled on the coast of Palestine during the Second Mass Migration
Philology -- the study of ancient languages
Phoenicians -- a tribe which settled the coast of Syria between 1400 and 1000 B.C.; a seafaring tribe, they developed the first phonetic alphabet and were noted throughout the ancient world for their purple cloth
Phrygians -- tribe who destroyed the Hittites and settled on their land
Picts -- tribe in ancient Britain; first united around the 7th century; united with Kingdom of Dalriada in 843 to form the Kingdom of Scotland

Battle of Plataea -- 479 B.C.; Greek allied army under Pausanis defeats the Persian army under Mardonius


Plebeians -- the Roman lower class
Battle of Poitiers -- 1356 between English under Edward the Black Prince and French under John II; outnumbered English win battle and capture John II and his son, Phillip
Polemarch -- member of the Board of 10 Generals in Athens who was also an archon
Polytheism -- a belief in many gods
Praetorian Guard -- the personal guards of the Roman emperors
Primogeniture -- a system under which the oldest son inherits all of the father's holdings
Psammetichus -- leader of the Egyptian rebellion in 612 B.C. that overthrew Assyrian rule
Punic Wars -- series of three wars between Rome and Carthage over trade in the Western Mediterranean lasting between 265 B.C. and 146 B.C.
Pyrrhus -- king of Epirus who launched a war of conquest in central Italy; had to withdraw from the war despite winning every battle because of heavy casualties (the term Pyrrhic victory is now used to refer to a "victory" that costs so much that one wonders if it is a victory)
Ramses II -- pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom; last great ruler of the New Kingdom
Robert the Bruce -- led the Scottish victory at Bannockburn in 1329
Romulus Augustulus -- Roman Emperor deposed by Odoacer in 476; last Roman Emperor
Sadducees -- culturally Hellenized Jews of the first century who favored literal interpretation of the Torah and accommodation to Roman rule; denied the resurrection
Battle of Salamis -- off the coast of Athens in 480 B.C.; Greek fleet under Themistocles destroyed the entire Persian fleet
Sargon I -- established the first recorded empire; established his capital city at Akkad and conquered Sumer; united all of Mesopotamia in 2331 B.C.
Publius Scipio Africanus-- commander of the victorious Roman forces in the Second Punic War; defeated Carthage in 202 B.C.
Seigneur -- the lord of a manor
Sennacherib -- king of Assyria and son of Sargon II; rebuilt Nineveh and destroyed Babylon
Serfdom -- the state of being a landworker for a seigneur
House of Sforza -- ruled Milan during the 12th-14th centuries
Night of the Sicilian Vespers -- 1282; French are expelled from Sicily after a revolt; named because many of the French citizens on the island were massacred while at evening prayers
Simony -- the practice of buying and selling church offices; named for Simon Magus, from the Acts of the Apostles
Solon -- elected Chief Archon of Athens in 594 B.C.; developed the first timocracy
Spartatie -- Spartan upper class of soldiers
Flavius Stilicho -- namd head of the army by Theodosius; routed Alaric at Pollentia
Suppiluliumas -- great king of the Hittites; ruled approximately 100 years before Ramses II; alternate translation also calls him Shabbiluliu
Talmud -- extensive collection of Jewish legal and moral debates and commentaries
Tamurlane (Timur the Lame) -- Mongol leader who claimed descent from Genghis Khan; reconquered Persia, Syria, and the Ottoman Turks from 1387-1402; died while planning an invasion of China
Battle of Teutoberg Forest (Teutobergerwald)-- A.D. 9; Germanic tribesmen under Arminius rout the Roman army under Varus; Roman expansion east of the Rhine halted
Thallasocracy -- term for a naval empire; such an empire was established with the creation of the Delian League
Themistocles -- Athenian polemarch who proposed a huge naval buildup to stop the Persians; led Athenians to victory at Salamis in 480 B.C.
Theodosius I -- reunited the Empire as Emperor from 379-396; made Christianity the official religion of the Empire
Thera -- a Greek island north of Crete; eruption of Santorini volcano there in 1471 B.C. caused a tidal wave which destroyed most of the Minoan civilization; believed to be the inspiration for the legend of Atlantis
Battle of Thermopylae -- 480 B.C.; extremely costly victory for Persian forces under Xerxes; a much smaller Greek force under Leonidas inflicted nearly 5,000 casualties
Thucydides -- considered the first scientific historian; wrote the objective "A History of the Peloponnesian War"
Thutmose III -- pharoah of the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom; stepson of the pharoah Hatshepsut; expanded the Egyptian empire
Battle of Thymbra -- between Cyrus the Great (Persian) and Croesus (Lydian); Lydia falls to the Persian Empire
Tiglathpileser III -- Assyrian king from 745-727 B.C.; established Assyria as a world empire; invaded Egypt
Treaty of Tordesillas -- 1494; created the line that divided the New World between Spain and Portugal
Battle of Tours -- 732 in France between French and Arabs; French victory, led by Charles Martel, halts Arab advance into Europe
Trajan -- emperor of Rome from 99-117; added Dacia, Armenia, and Mesopotamia to the Roman Empire
Trireme -- an ancient Greek warship
The Twelve Tables -- first written law code of the Roman Republic, codified in 451 B.C.
Umayyad Caliphate -- overthrown by the Abbasids in 750; later reestablished power base in Spain
Urban II -- Pope who ordered the launching of the First Crusade in 1094
Vandals -- barbaric tribe who sacked Rome in 455; destroyed by Byzantines in 534
Vassal -- a feudal tenant; the person who held land under the feudal system and was subject to the rule of a seigneur
Treaty of Verdun -- divided Charlemagne's empire between his grandsons; Charles the Bald received France; Lothar received the Middle Kingdom; and Louis received Germany
Visigoths -- tribe who lived in Spain c. 400-700; capital at Barcelona
Vizier -- a governor or viceroy of a province
William I (the Conqueror) -- duke of Normandy; conquered England during the period from 1066-1068
Xerxes I -- Persian king 486-468 B.C.; continued the war against Greece
Battle of Zama -- 202 B.C. (Second Punic War) between Roman armies under Scipio and Carthaginian armies under Hannibal; Scipio's victory led to the capture of Carthage and the end of the Second Punic War
Zealots -- Jewish group that favored military revolt against Rome; saw the Messiah as a military leader; started the disastrous revolt that led to the destruction of the temple in 70
Zend-Avesta -- text of Parsees and Zoroastrians; consists of five parts: Yasna, Vispered, Vendidad, Yashts, and Khordah
Ziggurat -- the terraced central building of a Sumerian city
Zoroastrianism -- dualistic religion developed by Zoroaster in which there is a struggle between forces of good led by Ahura Mazda and evil led by Ahiram


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