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barometer an instrument used for measuring changes in the pressure of the atmosphere

barter to buy and sell by trading goods or services rather than money

bill of rights a list of basic human rights that a government must protect
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blasphemy an act of disrespect toward God

bookmaking the process and art of making books

boycott a refusal to do business with an organization or group

bubonic plague a deadly contagious disease caused by bacteria and spread by fleas; also called the Black Death

bureaucracy a highly organized body of workers with many levels of authority

Byzantine Empire a great empire that straddled two continents, Europe and Asia, and lasted from about 500 to 1453 C.E.
C

caliph a title taken by Muslim rulers who claimed religious authority to rule

call and response a song style in which a singer or musician leads with a call and a group responds

calligraphy the art of beautiful handwriting

Calvinism a Protestant sect of the Christian faith

canal lock a gated chamber in a canal used to raise or lower the water level

capital punishment punishment by death; also called the death penalty

capitalism an economic system based on investment of money (capital) for profit

caravan a group of people traveling together for mutual protection, often with pack animals such as camels

caravel a light sailing ship that is easy to maneuver and can sail in shallow water

cartography the art and science of mapmaking

catapult a slingshot-like war machine used for shooting rocks, shells, and other objects

cathedral a large and important church

causeway a raised road built across water or low ground

center of medieval life in western Europe, the Roman Catholic Church

chain pump a pump with containers attached to a loop of chain to lift water and carry it where it is wanted

chapel a room, sometimes inside a larger church, set aside for prayer and worship

charter a written grant of rights and privileges by a ruler or government to a community, class of people, or organization

chivalry the medieval knight’s code of ideal behavior, including bravery, loyalty, and respect for women

Christianity a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ

circulation the movement of blood through the body

circumference the distance around a circle

circumnavigate to travel completely around something, such as Earth

citizenship membership in a community

city a community that is larger than a town

city building the planning and construction of a city

civil service examination a test given to qualify candidates for positions in the government

clan a group of related families

class structure the organization of groups of people within a society

classical art art influenced by the styles and techniques of ancient Greece and Rome

clergy the body of people, such as priests, who perform the sacred functions of a church

coastal plain an area of flat land bordering a sea or ocean

code of conduct rules of behavior

colony a country or an area ruled by another country

comedy an amusing play with a happy ending
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coming-of-age ceremony a ceremony that celebrates the end of childhood and acceptance into the adult community

commerce the buying and selling of goods

common law a body of rulings made by judges that become part of a nation’s legal system

commoner a person who is not of noble rank

communal shared by a community or group

conservatory an advanced school of music

Constantinople city on the eastern edge of Europe that the emperor Constantine made the capital of the Byzantine Empire in 330 C.E.

constitutional monarchy a form of government in which the monarch’s power is limited by a basic set of laws, or constitution

convent a community of nuns; also called a nunnery

convert a person who adopts new beliefs, especially those of a religious faith

corruption dishonest or illegal practices, especially involving money

cottage industry a small-scale business in which people work mostly at home

Counter-Reformation a movement of the Roman Catholic Church following the Reformation in which church leaders worked to correct abuses, to clarify and defend Catholic teachings, to condemn what they saw as Protestant errors, and to win back members to the Catholic Church

courtier a member of a ruler’s court

crime and punishment a community’s system of defining crimes and their consequences

criminology the scientific study of crime and punishment

crossbow a medieval weapon made up of a bow that was fixed across a wooden stock (which had a groove to direct the arrow’s flight) and operated by a trigger

crusades a series of religious wars launched against Muslims by European Christians

cultural diffusion the spread of cultural elements from one society to another

cultural exchange the sharing, or borrowing, of cultural elements between societies

culture a characteristic of civilization that includes the beliefs and behaviors of a society or group of people

currency the form of money used in a country
D

daily life the elements of everyday existence in a society, including religion, recreation, housing, food and drink, and education

daimyo a local lord in Japan in the era of the samurai

data facts or information

decline of feudalism the weakening of the economic and political system that developed in Europe during the Middle Ages

decorative arts everyday, useful objects created as art such as furniture, ceramics, and textiles

denomination a particular religious grouping within a larger faith; for example, the Lutheran church is a denomination of Christianity

deposit a layer or mass of a material found in rock or in the ground

desert a geographic area with an extremely warm and dry climate

despotism rule by a despot, or tyrant

dialect a regional variety of a language

dike a wall or dam built to hold back water and prevent flooding

discovery something seen or learned about for the first time

disease an illness or medical condition

disease prevention methods to help people avoid getting sick

dissect to cut and separate the parts of a living thing for scientific study
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divination the art of telling the future or finding hidden knowledge through religious means

divine right of kings the belief that God gives monarchs the right to rule

doctrine the official teachings of a religion or church

domain the land controlled by a ruler or lord

dome a roof shaped like a half-circle or hemisphere

dowry a gift of money or goods presented to a man or a woman upon marriage

duke the highest type of European noble, ranking just below a prince

dynasty a line of rulers descended from the same family
E

Eastern Orthodox Church a Christian religion that arose in the Byzantine Empire

economy a system of managing the wealth and resources of a community or region

education a system of learning

elements of culture objects, ideas, and customs of a particular culture

empire a large territory in which several groups of people are ruled by a single leader or government

engineering the science of building structures and the like

engraving a print of an image that has been engraved, or etched, in a hard surface, such as metal

Enlightenment a period beginning in the 1600s in which educated Europeans changed their outlook on life by seeing reason as the key to human progress

environment the water, topography (shape of the land), and vegetation (plant life) of an area or region

epidemic an outbreak of a disease that affects many people within a geographic area

everyday object a common item used by most people in their daily lives

evolution the process by which different kinds of animals and other living things develop

excavate in archeology, to carefully dig out an ancient site

excommunicate to formally deprive a person of membership in a church

exploration travel in new areas

explorer a person who travels to unfamiliar places in order to learn what they are like and to describe them with words, pictures, and maps

expulsion removal by force

extended family an immediate family (parents and their children) plus other close relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins
F

family life the daily interaction of members of a family

family-based community a small community in which all the members are related; in early societies, people lived in family-based communities before there were villages and towns

Fatimid dynasty a Muslim ruling family in Egypt and North Africa that was descended from Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter

feudalism the economic and political system that developed in Europe during the Middle Ages

fief land granted by a lord to a vassal in exchange for loyalty and service

Five Pillars of Faith the most basic acts of worship for Muslims: faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and making a pilgrimage to Makkah

folktale a story that is usually passed down orally and becomes part of a community’s tradition
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food something people eat to stay alive and healthy

foreign contacts interaction with people from different cultures or parts of the world

fresco a picture painted on the moist plaster of a wall or ceiling

friar a member of a certain religious order devoted to teaching and works of charity
G

garrison a place where a group of soldiers is stationed for defensive purposes

genealogy an account of the line of ancestry within a family

geocentric having Earth at the center (Geo is Greek for “Earth.”)

geography the physical features of an area

glyph a symbol or character in a hieroglyphic system of writing

golden age a time of great prosperity and achievement

government the people or groups that rule a particular region

government by foreigners when people from one country have power in another country’s government

guild an organization of people who work in the same craft or trade

gunpowder an explosive powder made of saltpeter and other materials
H

habeas corpus the principle that accused persons cannot be held in jail without the consent of a court

hadith accounts of Muhammad’s words or actions that are accepted as having authority for Muslims

harrow a farm tool used to break up and even out plowed ground
headdress a decorative covering worn on the head, often as a sign of rank

Heian period a period of Japanese history that lasted from 794 to 1185

heliocentric having the sun at the center (Helios is Greek for “sun.”)

hereditary passed on from parent to child; inherited

heresy beliefs that contradict the official teachings of a religion or church; one who holds such beliefs is called a hectic

heretic a person who holds beliefs that are contrary to the teachings of a church or other group

hierarchy a system of organizing people into ranks, with those of higher rank having more power and privileges

hieroglyphic writing that uses pictures as symbols

hoist a mechanical device used to lift people or heavy objects

Holy Communion in Christian ritual, the sharing of bread and wine that has been consecrated by a priest or minister (also called the Eucharist)

Holy Land the area between Egypt and Syria that was the ancient homeland of Jews and the place where Jesus Christ had lived; also called Palestine

homes and households the buildings and structures where people live

humanism a philosophy that emphasizes the worth and potential of all individuals and tries to balance religious faith with belief in the power of the human mind

Hundred Years’ War a series of wars fought by France and England between 1337 and 1453

hypothesis an idea or assumption to be tested in an experiment
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I

Iberian Peninsula a peninsula in southwestern Europe that today is divided between Spain and Portugal

icon a type of religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and considered sacred by Eastern Orthodox Christians

illuminated manuscript a handwritten book decorated with bright colors and precious metals

imagery descriptive or imaginative language, especially when used to inspire mental “pictures”

imam a leader of prayer in a mosque

immortal able to live forever

immune system the body’s natural defense against disease

impact a lasting effect

imperial belonging or related to an emperor

imperial China China under the rule of emperors

Inca Empire a great society in the Andes Mountains of South America that arose in the 1400s C.E. and lasted until 1532

individual rights the privileges of the people in a society

indulgence a grant by the Catholic Church that released a person from punishment for sins

industry a business that manufactures a particular product

inflation an increase in the supply of money compared to goods, resulting in higher prices

inoculate to protect against disease by transmitting a disease-causing agent to a person, stimulating the body’s defensive reactions

Inquisition a judicial body established by the Catholic Church to combat heresy and other forms of religious error

invention a new tool, device, or process created after scientific study and experimentation

irrigate to bring water to a dry place in order to grow crops

Islam the religious faith of Muslims; also the civilization based on the Islamic religion and the group of modern countries where Islam is the main religion
J

Jew a descendant of the ancient Hebrews, the founders of the religion of Judaism; also, any person whose religion is Judaism

jihad represents Muslims’ struggle with challenges within themselves and the world as they strive to please God

journeyman a person who has learned a particular trade or craft but has not become an employer, or master
K

kingdom a country or territory ruled by a monarch

knight an armed warrior
L

language the means of verbal and written communication; an aspect of culture

latitude a measure of how far north or south a place on Earth is from the equator

law a legal system

learning knowledge gained from study or experience

legend a popular myth or story passed on from the past

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