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leisure and entertainment a time when people are free from work and have fun

leprosy a skin and nerve disease that causes open sores on the body and can lead to serious complications and death

literature writing in prose or verse that is excellent in form and expresses ideas of interest to a wide range of people; an aspect of culture
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litter a seat or chair on which a person is carried; a kind of carriage for high-ranking people

liturgy a sacred rite of public worship

longbow a large bow used for firing feathered arrows

longitude a measure of how far east or west a place on Earth is from an imaginary line that runs between the North and South Poles

lord a ruler or a powerful landowner

Lutheranism a Protestant sect of the Christian faith
M

Magna Carta a written agreement from 1215 that limited the English king’s power and strengthened the rights of nobles

manor a large estate, including farmland and villages, held by a lord

maritime relating to the sea

market economy an economy in which prices are determined by the buying and selling decisions of individuals in the marketplace

market a place to buy and sell goods

marriage a legal agreement entered into by two people that unites them as family

martial arts styles of fighting or self-defense, such as modern-day judo and karate, that mostly began in Asia

mass the amount of matter in an object

massacre the killing of many helpless or unresisting people

mass-produce to make similar items in quantity by using standardized designs and dividing labor among workers

mathematics the science of numbers

matrilineal based on a woman’s family line

Mayan civilization a great civilization that lasted from about 2000 B.C.E. to 1500 C.E. and at its peak included present-day southern Mexico and large portions of Central America

medical treatment some form of medicine provided to cure or control a disease or physical condition

medicine the science of healing the body and preventing disease

meditation a spiritual discipline that involves deep relaxation and an emptying of distracting thoughts from the mind

mercantilism an economic policy by which nations try to gather as much gold and silver as possible by controlling trade and establishing colonies

mercenary a soldier who is paid to fight for another country or group

meritocracy rule by officials of proven merit

Mesoamerica “Middle America,” the region extending from modern-day Mexico through Central America

microscope an instrument that uses lenses to make small objects appear larger

middlemen people who fill in for or represent others in business dealings; agents

military related to soldiers and warfare

military technology knowledge and tools used to accomplish military goals

minstrel a singer or musician who sang or recited poems to music played on a harp or other instrument

miracle play a type of religious drama in the Middle Ages based on stories about saints

missionary a person who works to spread a religion and make converts

moat a deep, wide ditch, often filled with water

monarch a ruler, such as a king or queen

monastery a community of monks

monasticism a way of life in which men and women withdraw from the rest of the world in order to devote themselves to their faith

monk a man who has taken a solemn vow to devote his life to prayer and service in a monastery
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monotheism belief in a single God

mosaic a picture made up of small pieces of tile, glass, or colored stone

mountain range a single line of mountains that are connected

movable type individual characters made of wood or metal that can be arranged to create a job for printing and then used over again

Muhammad a man born in about 570 C.E. who taught the faith of Islam

mural a painting on a wall

music vocal and instrumental sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony

Muslim a follower of the Islamic faith

mystery play a type of religious drama in the Middle Ages based on stories from the Bible

mystic a person who is devoted to religion and has spiritual experiences

mysticism a form of religious belief and practice involving sudden insight and intense experiences of God
N

nationalism identification with, and devotion to, the interests of one’s nation

natural law the concept that there is a universal order built into nature that can guide moral thinking

natural rights rights that belong to people “by nature,” that is, simply because they are human beings

navigation the science of guiding ships and other vehicles of transportation from one place to another

New Testament the second part of the Christian Bible, which includes the Gospels and other writings of the early Christian church

New World the name given by Europeans to the Americas, which were unknown in Europe before the voyages of Christopher Columbus

noble a person of high rank by birth or title

Noh theater a classic form of Japanese drama involving heroic themes, a chorus, and dance

nomad a person who moves from place to place, often in search of water and vegetation

northwest passage a water route through North America connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

nun a woman who has taken a sacred vow to devote her life to prayer and service to the church
O

oasis a place where water can be found in a desert

observatory a building designed for observing the stars and planets

Old Testament the first part of the Christian Bible, corresponding to the Jewish Bible

oppression cruel or unjust treatment

oracle a person through whom a god or spirit is believed to speak

oral traditions the art of storytelling to record a culture’s history

orbit the path that one heavenly body (such as a planet) follows around another (such as the sun)

original sin in Christian belief, the sinful state into which all people are born
P

pagoda a tower-shaped structure with several stories and roofs

painting artwork created with paint on a flat surface such as paper or canvas

papacy the office, or position, of pope as head of the Catholic Church

patriarch in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the bishop of an important city

patrilineal based on a man’s family line
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patron a person who supports the arts or other activities by supplying money for them

peasant in feudalism, a person who worked the land

pen name a name used in place of a writer’s real name

persecute to cause a person to suffer because of his or her beliefs

perspective the appearance of distance or depth on a flat surface, as in a painting

pharmacist a person who prepares medications for use in healing

philosopher a scholar or thinker

philosophy the study of wisdom, knowledge, and the nature of reality

pictograph a written symbol that represents an idea or object

pilgrimage a journey to a holy site

plantation a large farm where crops such as sugar, rubber, or tobacco are grown

plateau a raised area of flat land

playwright an author of plays

plaza a public square or other open area in a city where people can gather

pok-a-tok a Mayan ball game that had religious significance

politics the science of government

polygamy marriage in which a man or a woman has more than one spouse

polytheist a person who believes in more than one god

pope the bishop of Rome and supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church

porcelain a hard, white pottery; also called China

porter a person who is hired to carry loads for travelers

predestination the belief that the fate of each soul was decided by God at the beginning of time

projectile an object that is fired or launched, such as a cannonball

prophet a person who speaks or interprets for God to other people

proportion the relative sizes of things, such as the length of an arm compared to the overall size of the human body

Protestant originally, people who broke away from (“protested” against) the Catholic Church

proverb a popular saying that is meant to express something wise or true

province a division of a country or an empire

public works construction projects built by a government for public use, such as buildings, roads, and bridges

pulpit a platform or other structure in a church from which a priest or minister preaches

Puritan a Protestant who wanted to “purify” the Anglican Church of Catholic elements
Q

Qur’an the holy book of the religion of Islam
R

rainforest an area of lush vegetation and year-round rainfall

Ramadan the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims are required to fast

ransom money paid in exchange for the release of prisoners

rationalism belief in reason and logic as the primary source of knowledge

reason the ability to think logically about something

recreation activities people do as hobbies and for relaxation
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Reformation a historic movement from the early 1500s to the 1600s that led to the start of many new Christian churches

regent one who rules in the name of another

relations with other peoples the interaction of one culture with another

relic an object considered holy because it belonged to, or was touched by, a saint or other holy person

religion a set of spiritual beliefs, values, and practices

religious beliefs ideas held to be true by a particular religion

religious order a brotherhood or sisterhood of monks, nuns, or friars

religious practices the rites and rituals of a religion

Renaissance a great flowering of culture, toward the end of the Middle Ages, that began in Italy and spread throughout Europe

rhetoric the study of persuasive writing and speaking

ritual a set of actions that is always performed the same way as part of a religious ceremony

Roman Catholic Church the Christian church headed by the pope in Rome

Roman Empire empire that, at its height, around 117 C.E., spanned the whole of the Mediterranean world, from northern Africa to the Scottish border, from Spain to Syria
S

sacrament a solemn rite of Christian churches

sacrifice a gift of an animal for slaughter as a way to honor gods

salon in France, an informal meeting of philosophers during the Enlightenment

samurai a powerful warrior class in Japan

satire a work that uses sharp humor to attack people or society
scaffolding a framework used to support workers and materials during the construction or repair of a building

schism a formal division in a church or religious body

scholarship the act of and knowledge gained through being a scholar

science knowledge of the physical world

scientific method a five-step process of gaining knowledge

Scientific Revolution a major shift in thinking between 1500 and 1700, in which modern science emerged as a new way of gaining knowledge about the natural world

scientist an expert in some aspect of science

scribe a person trained to write or copy documents by hand

scripture sacred writings; in Christianity, the Bible

sculpture the art of creating three-dimensional figures from such materials as wood, stone, and clay

sect a religious group that has its own beliefs and practices

secular relating to earthly life rather than to religion or spiritual matters

sedentary permanently settled in one place

segmental arch bridge a bridge supported by arches that are shallow segments (parts) of a circle

segregation the forced separation of one group from the rest of a community

semidivine more than human but not fully a god

separation of powers the division of powers among separate branches of government

shah a ruler in certain Middle East lands, especially Persia (modern-day Iran)

shari’ah the body of Islamic law based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah
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shogun the head of the military government of Japan in the era of the samurai

siege an attempt to surround a place and cut off all access to it in order to force a surrender

simony the buying and selling of spiritual or holy things

slash-and-burn agriculture a farming technique in which vegetation is cut away and burned to clear land for growing crops

social contract an agreement in which people give up certain powers in return for the benefits of government

social pyramid a social structure in the shape of a pyramid, with layers representing social classes of different rank or status

solar year the time it takes Earth to travel once around the sun

stele a stone slab or pillar with carvings or inscriptions

strait a narrow body of water that connects two seas

subject a person under the rule of a monarch

succession inheritance of the right to rule

sultan the sovereign ruler of a Muslim state

Sunnah the example that Muhammad set for Muslims about how to live

suspension bridge a bridge whose roadway is held up by cables that are anchored on each end of the bridge

syllable a unit of sound in a word; for example, unit has two syllables, “u” and “nit”

synagogue a Jewish house of worship
T

technology the use of tools and other inventions for practical purposes

Tenochtitlan a city built on an island in Lake Texcoco that became the center of the Aztec Empire
terrace a flat strip of ground on a hillside used for growing crops

terra-cotta a baked clay often used to make pottery and sculptures

textile a woven cloth

theocracy a government or state in which God is the supreme ruler and religious officials govern in God’s name

theology the study of God and religious truth

thermometer an instrument used for measuring temperature

tolerance the acceptance of different beliefs and customs

Torah the Jewish scriptures, or Bible. The word Torah is often used to mean to the first five books of the Bible, traditionally said to have been written by Moses.

town a community smaller than a city and larger than a village

trade the business of buying and selling or exchanging items

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