A. P. World History Post-Classical Essay



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Frank Longueira May 3, 2009
A.P. World History Post-Classical Essay
Period 7
Change Over Time Post-Classical Era (500-1450)
The Post-Classical Era was an era filled with change, continuity, and development. East Asia was a very prominent part of the world during this era. East Asia illustrated many major political, social, economic, and religious changes and displayed consistent continuity along with many interactions with other lands during 500 C.E. – 1450 C.E.
Between 500 C.E. – 1450 C.E., many major political, social, economic, and religious changes occurred in East Asia. One important change involved the dynasties of China. China was ruled by three different dynasties, the Sui, Tang, and Song, during separate times in this time period. Each dynasty displayed different major values that were focused upon. Another political change occurred when China became very powerful and saw itself as the Middle Kingdom. China issued tributary relationships with neighboring lands and looked to keep them in order. These relationships involved much interaction, including gifts being exchanged. A third political change involved the fall of the Tang dynasty. China had once saw itself as almighty, but in times of devastating rebellions and foreign pressure, they had to ask for help from a Turkish tribe named the Uighurs. A major change involving religion was the spread of Buddhism from India through the silk roads into China. Buddhism was a new faith of hope and order for the Chinese. The emergence of Buddhism led to social changes. Buddhism became a syncretic faith with Confucianism and Daoism. Argument over Buddhism’s importance led to these changes. Buddhism helped the Chinese develop new values and order. The changes economically played a huge role in China. The construction of the Grand Canal by the Sui Dynasty increased trade and communication within China. In addition, during the Tang and Song dynasties, new agricultural techniques, such as fast-ripening rice from Vietnam, led to an increase in food production. This resulted in urbanization and a commercial market economy. This then led to technological development, such as gunpowder, the magnetic compass, movable type, and high quality porcelain. The economy also boasted the creation of “flying cash” and paper money. All in all, many major political, social, economic, and religious changes occurred in East Asia during 500 C.E. – 1450 C.E.
East Asia also displayed continuity between 500 C.E. – 1450 C.E. the patriarchal society of China continued and foot binding empowered it. China’s patriarchal society and foot binding can be connected with the Islamic World’s patriarchal society and the veiling of women. Another type of continuity was the continued observance of Confucian values and education played a role in China’s bureaucracy of merit. Lastly, family values have always been honored and important, and still are.
East Asia was home of many interactions between 500 C.E. – 1450 C.E. The main interactions involved China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan through religion, in Buddhism, and political organization. Japan based its system of writing off the Chinese’s as well.
In conclusion, East Asia housed many major political, social, economic, and religious changes during the Post-Classical Era. As well as many changes, East Asia displayed much continuity and interaction. All of these features showed East Asia to be a prominent part of the world during the Post-Classical Era.

From: Margarita Sokolova <dancer11194@hotmail.com>
Subject: post-classical era essay

Change Over Time – Southwest Asia by Margarita Sokolova


In the time span of 500 C.E. to 1450 C.E., the empires of Southwest Asia experienced many political, social, economic, and religious changes. Shifts of power, conflict, advances in agriculture, education, and formulation of sects are among these changes.
Both the Byzantine and Islamic empires experienced various political changes. On of these changes was who the ruler of each empire was. While the Byzantine empire was a part of Rome, power was in the hands of two consuls; once Byzantine established itself as a separate entity, a centralized government consisting of a power emperor and a bureaucracy was formed. During the life of Muhammad, the Islamic empire was ruled by the prophet; following his death, caliphs were selected because Muhammad was considered the final prophet. Along with those changes were the changes in borders. Byzantine ideas spread from Constantinople to the Slavs and Moscow. Following the collapse of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Slavs perpetuated the ideas of Orthodox Christianity and Moscow became the “Third Rome.” Similarly, Islam conquered the Byzantine, Persian, and parts of the Indian empire. In Byzantium, Hagia Sophia was rededicated as a mosque once the name of Constantinople was change to Istanbul in 1453. Through the Sind conquest, Islam became the religion of northern India through territory expansion. Despite these changes, each empire stayed true to its laws; Byzantium used a codification of Roman law and Isla followed sharia.
Islam and Byzantium both gained a large role in the trade cycle. Through interaction with China, Byzantium developed a new silk industry using technology smuggled by monks. Due to the demand for this high quality textile, Byzantium played a prominent role in Mediterranean trade and the bezant gold coin became the standard of currency. Constantinople’s location also allowed it to act as a trade clearinghouse, further boosting the economy. Islam also benefitted from foreign ideas. Through the use of the Chinese compass, lateen sail, and the astrolabe, Islam shifted to maritime trade, allowing increased exchange of goods. On land, the Muslims attempted to develop new agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, fertilization, irrigation, and the use of animals in farming. These advancements increased agricultural productivity and boosted the economy.
Religious disunity was a common factor in both the Byzantine and Islam empire. Once a part of the Roman Catholic Church, the schism between the eastern and western portions of the Roman Empire in 1054 lead to the creation of the Eastern Orthodox church. While it was still a form of Christianity, Byzantine religious ideas differed from those of the Romans by conflicts such as disagreement over icon use. Another religious change in Byzantium was the shift of a Christian to Muslim community in the empire. When the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople, Hagia Sophia became a mosque. Islam also experienced religious changes. The first was the division of the Sunni and Shia sects following the death of Muhammad. Conflict over caliph selection led to major division that still exists today. The Shia support the election of Ali, who was in Muhammad’s bloodline. Despite this division, two things remained constant in Islam; the use of the Quran and devotion to Allah and the Five Pillars.
Islam and Byzantium also experienced some social changes. In contrast to other societies, Byzantine schools were open to boys AND girls. The schools showed signs of Greek influence such as the teaching of Greek philosophy, literature, science, and language. Educational changes were also present in Islam. The creation of madrasas, or institutions of higher learning, gave Muslims the opportunity to become further educated in their belief. The Quran and sharia were often used in the teachings. Furthermore, merchants were highly valued in Islam, while in other societies, they were looked down upon. Muhammad himself was a merchant.
The changes seen in these two societies were a result of interaction with other civilizations. Through advancements in politics, economics, religion, and social structure, Byzantium and Islam became two distinct and powerful empires.

From: James Sinodinos <yankeesallstar15@aol.com>
Subject: Change Over Time Essay

East Asia became one of the most advanced and prosperous regions in the post- classical era due to the resurgence of the imperial style rule. After the collapse of the Han Dynasty, East Asia was plagued with 350 years of turmoil and destruction. This ended however when the Sui Dynasty came into power. This dynasty was able to bring back the centralized imperial rule due to a few successful military campaigns. The Sui dynasty lasted for less than thirty years, but it made way for the Tang and Sond dynasties to emerge and become stable and prosperous.

The Tang Dynasty reached a period of great stability and peace under the rule of their second leader Tang Taizong. He ruled ruthlessly and fairly which led to great success in East Asia. The Tang dynasty made many changes that allowed thwm to become successful. For example, they created a system of bueracracy based on merit. This meant that high- ranking government jobs were handed out based on a civil service examination. This ensured that only the most intellectual of people would be running the empire. The Tang dynasty was very smart in doing this because the Han dynasty did not have a beuracracy based on merit which led to the downfall of the society.

After the fall of the Tang dynasty, the Song dynasty came into power. They made changes from the Tang dynasty including areas such as the beuracracy based on merit and the military. These changes did not work out for the best however. The Song dynasty changed the system of the civil service examinations and allowed for more people to take them. The Song dynasty also increased the pay of the people to take them. The Song dynasty also increased the pay of the people to take them. The Song dynasty also increased the pay of the people who were awarded government jobs. This led to financial problems that weakened the society. The military also weakened as a result of this. During this time period in East Asia, many revolutionary advances were made in the fields of agriculture, technology, and industry. Some of the agricultural advances included fast- ripening rice, the heavy iron plow, and enriching soil with manure. These advances in agriculture led to a surplus in crops in East Asia. The surplus of crops allowed for a rapid incease in population growth and increased urbanization. New advances in indutry included porcelain, gun powder, and the printing which helped expand trade. Due to this industrial and agricultural prosperity, China developed a Market Economy. Foriegn interest in Chinese products incresed and the Market Econmy was extremely prosperous.

Another significant change in China was the conversion to Buddhism. For years, Confusianism and Daoism were the major religions in China. This came to an end after several nomadic invasions. The Chinese people turned on Confucianism and sought out Buddhism due to its high standards of morality, its intellectual sophistication, and its promise of salvation. Over time, scholars were forced to tailor Buddhism to the Chinese way of life. Buddhism had a great influence on other societies such as Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. however, in Japan most people stayed true to the Shinto which shows a sense of continuity in Japan. Chinese culture also influenced these three societies in other areas such as political structure and material culture. These societies adopted the centralized imperial government in their own way.

East Asia was a very prosperous and influential area during the post- classical era. China made many changes and advances in agriculture and industry that led to much success. Also, the Chinese conversion to Buddhism also led to prosperity and stability. China's influence was felt in area such as Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. These areas were greatly influenced by Chinese political structure, material culture, teachings, and religion. Therefore, China was an extremely successful society in political, economic, and religious ways of life. Their influence was felt hundreds of years ago and it will carry on into the future.



From: Diana Kosianka <dkosianka@aol.com>
Subject: Change Over Time Essay

Diana Kosianka

AP World History, Period 6

Ms. Katherine Palma

April 22nd, 2009

Change Over Time



Time changes for all regions, and nothing, absolutely nothing, remains as it was. Southwest Asia, better known to most as the Middle East, is no exception to the rule of change in governments, social standings, and economies, and it has also changed other societies as well, particularly India. It went from polytheistic to monotheistic, granted more rights for women than usual during the Post-Classical Era, and created a mass economic boom from its trade. For better or worse, it adapted from other cultures as well as allowing the empire to expand. Some are supportive, while others are not as gracious about this. Either way, for all the Middle East and the Islamic Empire accomplished, the world today would not be as recognizable without them.
Before Muhammad’s calling to become a prophet, Arabia was polytheistic and had little rights for women in the sixth and seventh centuries. The leaders of the time profited from the worship of multiple gods, thinking this was important for their economy. In all actuality, they were exploiting their religion. They also allowed female infanticides as well, limiting their women to become objects. A Post-Classical patriarchal society usually restricted their opposite sex, possibly because the men involved felt they needed to feel superior without competition. Muhammad came to the picture in the early seventh century as a simple merchant who had a vision from Allah that he was his last prophet, so with the help of his wife, he spread the message to his fellow Muslims in Mecca. He was already a progressive man, even in a time where women’s rights were restricted. His wife in a particular was a strong woman who ran a business of her own. However, in 632, the government wanted him and his followers dead. They were not ready for changed and felt he was a threat. Still, he and the rest of his fellow Islamics stayed alive and spread the word around after they fled their home to Medina. In a fit of irony for their persecutors, Islam became the new dominant religion in the Middle East, wiping out polytheism almost altogether.
Islam reaped its way into future laws by the late seventh century, when Muhammad was already dead and his nephew became a caliph, which was a religious and political leader, during the Umayyad era. Under this period, trade flourished for the highly esteemed merchants, who returned with spices, silk, and porcelain from China and cotton, crops, and Hindi numerals from India. Ultimately, Islam would spread to this region as well in the eighth century by way of migrations, Arab invasions, trade, and marrying locals. The religion also spread with the help of Sufis, Islamic mystics who tolerated all religions. However, the era had its drawbacks too. There was a debate between the Shiites and the Sunnis over who should be the next leader, as well as an upheaval among the non-Islamic groups over the jizya and their lack of positions in the government. Abu al-Abbas, a military general and another one of Muhammad’s relatives, stamped out the old dynasty and started a new one. This was the Abbasid period.
During this time, philosophers like Ibn Rushd, Averoes to us, adapted Greek thinking and made new mathematical advances. Algebra and geometry were amongst them. They proved useful in architecture and keeping records while maintaining the empire’s cosmopolitan society. It expanded from the Middle East to Spain, India, and parts of North Africa as well. Ultimately, it would reach Turkey in 1453, when the Ottoman Turks conquered and sacked Constantinople. There, the originally Eastern Orthodox country became catholic. The conquerors themselves adapted to their customs as well.

From: Christine Loui <talentedgirl23@yahoo.com>
Subject: Change OverTIme- Post Classical Era essay

In many places around the world during the Post-Classical era of 500 C.E- 1450 C.E. there were many political, social, economic, and religious developments. One place was China, Korea, and Japan that make up East Asia. However, East Asia was no isolated from the rest of the world as it interacted with other societies and each other.


In the political aspect, East Asia became a centralized government with imperial authority as opposed to scattered and states that were not united. In china families would rise to rule over China and the time period would be referred to as a dynasty. The idea of an imperial government reached to Japan as they accepted this form of government to govern their society. In Japan shoguns rose and had power over the society rather than an emperor who was just a figure head. Korea had entered a tributary relationship with China as they viewed Chinas as their overlord. They did borrow ideas of government from china like Japan did.
The social changes that occurred in East Asia were no different from today’s society. They believed in a patriarchal society as shown by foot binding women’s feet. This shows that men chose the wives and women had no say in the matter whatsoever. There was also the idea of an equal fields system in China that tried to equally grant land to each class of family. Farmers were a main part of society. The Japanese also adopted the equal fields system to help with the social structure. However, it did not last and neither did it in China.
Economically, China has made many discoveries. There is the invention of the compass that helped sailors trade at sea, changing how people travelled. They invented silk which was in high demand, by neighboring societies. The manufacturing of paper helped keep records in China and spread education, changing the way people now learned. Silk was a major export helping China rise. They also got imports that changed the lifestyle. Fast ripening rice from Korea and Vietnam helped China grow agriculturally then in urbanization and finally in economics.
As well as trade involves economics, it also involved religion. Buddhism had entered through trade. Before Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism attracted China. Now a new religion was introduced to China and eventually was introduced to Korea and Japan. Buddhism did not only change East Asia, but it changed itself. In order to help Buddhism grasp its place, China replaced some terms with Daoism terms like “nirvana” as “the dao” and how if you sent a son to the monastery it would make up for not going with celibacy. Confucianism still stayed the same and diffused in the rest of East Asia also. Buddhism also created another change as people tired combining Buddhism and Confucianism together to make Neo- Confucianism. In Japan one religion that didn’t change was their native religion Shintoism even though they accepted Confucianism and Buddhism.
Not only did East Asia interacted with each other, but others as well. In Byzantium they were able to make their own silk to help their economy because of silkworms in China. In Islam they used China’s paper manufacturing techniques to make their own paper for record keeping. Buddhism originated from India, but spread to China by trade. Even though there are differences there is continuity of ideas like silk, block printing, imperial rule, patriarchal societies, in some areas, and the ideas Buddhism and Confucianism.
Because of the political, social, economic, religious changes of East Asia, it has helped progress East Asia to what it is today. They not only created and spread ideas, but they also accepted ideas. These ideas changed and continue to change East Asia over time.

From: Jasleen Ahuja <jasleenster@gmail.com>
Subject: Post Classical Era Essay

During the time period of 500 C.E. to 1450 C.E., different areas of the world changed and developed, affecting many aspects of their societies. One of these major world regions was Southwest Asia, including the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic World. From 500 C.E. to 1450 C.E., many political, social, economic, and religious changes occurred within these two areas, affecting their societies, cultures, histories, and interactions with other areas.

Politically, the Byzantine Empire was originally a part of the Roman Empire. After the Roman Empire weakened, the eastern half became known as the Byzantine Empire. This major change resulted in the creation of a new empire, with a capital at Constantinople. It was ruled by an emperor, who was regarded as a divine figure, with the concept of Caesaropapism. After tensions between the Eastern and Western parts of the late Roman Empire, their political relations and interactions decreased. Similar to the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic World was also facing political changes. In contrast to the Byzantines, the Islamic World was ruled by caliphs instead of emperors. Soon, the Ummayad and Abbasid were two major dynasties of Islam. These ruling powers would soon fall, however, as the Islamic Empire progressed.

The Byzantine Empire and the Islamic World were also affected in a social respect. The major social change for the Byzantine Empire was the development of the theme system, in which generals controlled certain regions. This boosted their economic, military, and social power, while free peasants who worked on the land were of lower classes. Merchants were considered to be more important during this time. In the Islamic world, the veiling of women was a major social change. Women were usually kept at home and male dominance was emphasized. Similar to Byzantium, merchants were regarded as a higher class, and interacted through caravan routes and maritime trade with other areas.

Economically, the Byzantine Empire developed a productive trading system. Although trade with Romans decreased, they traded gold, silver, gems, and other goods with areas like China and the Middle East. Silk was also introduced to Byzantium, which allowed them to produce fine silks like China. Agriculture was another major part of the Byzantine economy. As they discovered new techniques, their food supply increased, and their population grew, leading to urbanization. The area of Anatolia was a major source of grain to Byzantium, leading to wealth. When Anatolia was lost, this wealth soon decreased. The Islamic World, similar to the Byzantine Empire, was prosperous in the economic aspect. They traded through caravan routes, traveling by camel. Soon, however, they developed the compass and the sail, and they were able to conduct maritime trade. These developments increased the Islamic World's interactions with areas like India and Southeast Asia. Similar to the Byzantines, their developments led to population growth and development.

Religion also played a major role in the changes faced by Byzantium and the Islamic World. Tensions between Byzantium and the Western Romans concerning iconoclasm, political views, and some minor issues soon led to a schism between the two sides of the Church. This resulted in Roman Catholic Christianity and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. These two sides remained split, but when Ottoman Turks would soon invade the Byzantine Empire in 1453, many of them would convert to Islam. The Islamic Empire began to practice their religion in Arabia. However, through many years, Islam was spread by Muslim military, Turkish immigrants, and merchants. Islam was soon the major religion in the Ummayad and Abbasid dynasties. It would also spread to India and Southeast Asia. Islam was greatly influenced by India (math, medicine, and science), Persia (kingship and political views), and Greece (math, medicine, science, and philosophy).

Clearly, Southwest Asia was changed politically, socially, economically, and religiously through the years. Both the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic World faced many changes that influenced their histories, societies, cultures, and interactions with other areas.

From: Shirley Shum <salt-ofthe-earth@hotmail.com>
Subject: AP World HIstory Extra Credit

East Asia



After the classical era, East Asian developed into a place full of political, social, economic and religious changes. China began to refer the country as the Middle Kingdom. In addiction, China influenced Korea, Japan and Vietnam while they kept their custom as well. During this time frame, East Asia grew into one of the most influential regions in the world.
From 500CE-1,450CE, major political developments occurred and had a lasting effect on politics. In 589, with the rise of the Sui dynasty, China began to have an imperial province again. Follow by the Sui dynasty, the Tang and Song dynasty required civil service examinations in order for someone to become involve in the government. This bureaucracy based on merit was soon adapted by Korea and Japan. In addition, the equal- field system allowed peasants to have equal farm land to resolve disputes. The Chinese also began to call China the Middle Kingdom because of their great power at that time. This resulted in the making of tributary relationships with Korea and Vietnam. These are some ways East Asia had major political changes.
East Asia had social changes that did not spread but had a large impact on themselves. For instance, China began to delve further into a patriarchal society. An example of the patriarchal dominance can be seen in foot binding. This torturous process caused women to become immobile and allow the men to control every aspect of their lives. Another social change is illustrated by the philosophy of Confucius which was influenced by Buddhism. This religion affected the way the people lived their lives. These social changes still lasted up to modern times.
The major economic changes at this time were for the better and changed East Asia into a region full of trade and connections. China began to create flying cash and paper money, which increased the availability of cash. Also, in the Tang dynasty, the capital, Chang’an, became the most populous city which invited more merchants and traders into the country, also, during the Tang dynasty the emperor, Tang Taizong, created a serious of networks which increased trade. Most importantly, he urged for the construction of the Grand Canal which was still used until the time of freight trains. China also began to create a commercial agricultural economy where people began to look for higher profits rather than just farming. These economic changes influenced East Asia and the rest of the world as well.
Lastly, East Asia went through many major religious changes influenced by other regions. Before, most people were Confucian but soon, people started to become attracted to Buddhism because of its morality and promise of salvation for all. However, due to Daoism influences, Buddhism slowly adopted parts of Daoism. For example, instead of using the word, dharma, it was called “dao”. The Confucian scholars also began to blend Confucius ideas into “Neo-Confucian.” These religious changes had a permanent effect on East Asia and continue to influence the beliefs of people today.
All of these political, social, economic and religious changes were important due to tits lasting effect on East Asia and the world. Without these changes, today’s history would’ve been a very different place.

From: Lauren Eckstein <Lauren_eckstein@msn.com>
Subject: ap style essay

Over time, China has made a lot of changes. A large amount of these changes happened during China's post-classical era from 500-1450. During this time, China's expansive trade and communication network had effects on economic, political,social,and religious aspects of Chinese life.


In about 500, the Sui Dynasty was in control. They had a strong hold over the land due to their centralized imperial rule. However, after riots and corruption, the empire fell and a new one arose, the Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty established a bureaucratic government and brought in concepts such as the civil service examination. This exam awarded jobs based on merit rather than social standing.
Another aspect of China that changed over time was its economy. In the early 500's, China had a controlled commercial economy. Over time however, a free market economy was established and China began to trade with other places more extensively. An additional change to the Chinese economy was its change from coins to paper money and "flying cash". The new flying cash enabled the Chinese economy to rapidly expand, and encouraged trade. One item alone that had a large effect on the economy and this was fast ripening rice. Once the Chinese adopted the rice their population increased and as a result their economy got stronger.
For centuries China's main religion or way of life was Confucianism. The chinese believed in harmony, rules and education. Through the Chinese's strong economy and trading networks however, Buddhism came into play. Buddhism appealed to the Chinese because of its teachings, harmonious ideas, and respect for others. Even though they liked the new religion, Chinese were finding it hard to adapt, so Neo Confucianism and Zen Buddhism developed. Neo Confucianism blended Buddhist and Confucist ideas and Zen Buddhism blended Buddhism with Daoism. Over time Confucianism became less popular and Buddhism became China's main religion.
Although many aspects of Chinese lift changed, one that stayed the same for the most part was social life. China continued to stay patriarchal during this timer period. Women were dependent on men and were forced into acts such as foot binding, a painful procedure that permanently damaged women's feet and left them helpless. A change in social life was that ritual ceremonies for dead ancestors became more elaborate.
China is a large part of East Asia, but it is not the only country there. Other parts include Korea and Japan; both of these countries took Chinese ideas and used them as a model as they built up their civilizations. From China, the Koreans took aspects of Chinese government and cultural life, but kept its own ideas too. For example, Korea kept its upper-class in power and did not adopt civil service exams. Korea acted as a middle man between China and Japan and helped to transport ideas. Japan took China's form of government and even modeled its capital city after China's. Japan also took Chinese religions such as Buddhism and incorporated it with their Shinto beliefs. Lastly, Japan modeled its cultural life and writing after China.
China's trade network and productive economy allowed it to interact with many other societies and helped it to gain ideas and spread some of its own. For example, Buddhism was brought to China and then to Korea and Japan. However, China did not just take ideas, but developed its own as well, such as the civil service exam. The post- classical era was an important time for China, because it had some continuity, but more importantly it had a lot of changes to its religions, politics, social life, and economy that helped it to develop.

From: Daniel Fagan <fagan.dannnnnnnnnn@gmail.com>
Subject: Post- Classical Era essay

Daniel Fagan - Period 9 May 1, 2009


When Muhammad underwent his unique spiritual experience, he left a deep mark on the world. Through its trade and communication networks, the dar-al-Islam became one of the most cosmopolitan and influential realms of the Post-Classical Era.

Muhammad had visions of one true God, Allah. He spread his visions and was soon followed by a group of believers. However, this new monotheistic religion posed a threat and was offensive to polytheistic pagans. As a result, Muhammad and his followers were exiled, and moved to Medina. This journey, known as the hijira, is a very important part of Muslim culture. Eventually, Muhammad came back and took over. He transformed pagan shrines into Muslim mosques and expanded his beliefs. Islamic forces pushed their way into societies that were struggling from internal conflict. They fought exceptionally well because of their devotion of Allah. Using this method, Muslims conquered the Byzantine Empire, the Sasanid Empire, the Hindu Dynasty of Sind, and most of the Iberian Peninsula. They were a force to be reckoned with.

After the death of Muhammad, the Islamic community needed a new ruler. These leaders, caliphs, soon began to struggle for power and leadership. The formation of the Umayyad Dynasty temporarily solved problems of succession. The Umayyads established their capital in Damascus, Syria. This was a great location for trade and made communication easier in the growing empire. This dynasty was very religiously diverse. They allowed non-Muslims to live there but imposed a special tax, the jizya. This dynasty was constantly warring with other civilizations. Leaders distributed wealth with the upper class, causing discontent among the lower social classes. Eventually, the Umayyad Dynasty fell into decline because of corrupt caliphs and peasant warfare,. When this dynasty fell into decline, Abu-al-Abbas noticed. He took over the Umayyads and began the Abbasid Dynasty after a huge battle. This dynasty was far more cosmopolitan and interested in the welfare of its people. Non-Muslims were allowed to rise to lofty positions. This dynasty was much more peaceful, as they were satisfied with the land they inherited. Aside from occasional clashes with Byzantines and Asian nomads, one fight even stopped the Kang expansion into Central Asia, the Abbasid Dynasty was much more peaceful.

Muslims were influenced by three very unique cultures: Persia, India, and Greece. Persian systems of leadership were evident in both the Umayaad and Abbasid Dynasties. Persian literary techniques were also seen in political documents and education. Indians introduced Hindi numerals, algebra and astronomy to Muslims. Astronomy was an extremely important part of the Islamic faith. Greek philosophy was also visible in the dar-al-Islam. In fact, the teachings of Plato was mixed with the teachings of Islam. Ibn Rushd’s philosophy found its way into Muslim schools.

The dar-al-Islam benefited from trade and cultural diffusion. Muslim trade helped revive Silk Road trade, where ideas and goods flowed from China to the Western Mediterranean for centuries. Merchants encountered new crops on their journeys and brought them home. This resulted in a more varied diet and healthier lifestyles for Muslims. Muslims adopted the compass from China and created new sail technology. This resulted in increased accuracy and maneuverability in maritime trade.

Popular in some cultures, but rejected in others, Islam played a vital role in change and continuity in Southwest Asia. From its origin on the Arabian Peninsula, Islam radiated to all over Eurasia, influencing cultures all around it and accepting new ideas into its own unique lifestyle. Because of the constantly changing cultures surrounding it, the Islamic empire gradually took root in its neighboring societies and was extremely influential in the Post-Classical Era.

From: Paulina Gawor <plina808@aim.com>
Subject: AP GLobal Period 4 Extra credit Essay

The Byzantine Empire went through a time of rapid development during the post-classical era, including its schism from the Roman Church, a result of cultural, economic and political differences. In Byzantium, particularly Constantinople, trade flourished, while in the Holy Roman Empire, the economy was much slower. Differences in rituals of churches led to the separation of religion. Politically, Byzantium and Rome functioned as two different kingdoms with different forms of government. However, Byzantium was the only stable state during the Middle Ages.

Constantine established the capital of Constanintople. Its location was advantageous—a natural harbor known as the Golden Horn was the ideal place for ships, and the city itself was in the middle of the known world; a crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa. It was one of the most important destinations on the Silk Roads. Their coin, the bezant, became the preferred currency in the civilized world for over two hundred years. Prices were kept artificially low to keep the rich happy. Only China could compare to Byzantium’s economic success. At one point, two Persian monks smuggled over silkworm eggs to Constantinople from China, and soon silk production took hold there. People were only allowed to work at a small part of the silk making process so that no one person would learn the entire process and create a monopoly. Unlike the Roman Empire, Byzantium became an extremely wealthy center for trade.

The government in Byzantium had similarities to China’s. Well educated bureaucrats ruled—they were taught Ancient Greek philosophy, classics and more. In theory, any one could rise to this position, but aristocrats dominated. Emperor Justinian codified Roman law (Justinian’s Code—Corpus ilius civilius), simplifying it, and getting rid of repetitive laws. Justinian’s Code became the foundation for many modern day systems of law. Justinian also tried to regain the territory of the old Roman Empire and conquered many areas, including the Balkans and Northern Africa, but failed to take Italy. The new land could not be controlled or administrated properly; it put a great strain on the treasury to control such a large amount of land, and the peasants had to be further taxed.

In Byzantium merchants were not high in society despite economic success. A theme system was in place; peasants that served in the military could gain their own land. Immigrants, like Slavs had the same opportunity. Eventually, citizens used only Greek and considered themselves to be direct heirs of Ancient Greece.

The schism between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church officially occurred in 1054—the mutually excommunicated each other. In Byzantium, caeseropapism was present, and the emperor was believed to have divine approval. He also had control of both church and state—they gave no authority to the pope. The two churches disagreed on certain points including priest’s celibacy, priest shaving their beards, using leavened vs. unleavened bread, service being held in local languages opposed to Latin and the relationship of the holy trinity. Missionaries, including Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius traveled to Slavic areas including Russia. Saint Cyril developed the Cyrillic alphabet, which compelled many Slavs to convert. Justinian built the Hagia Sophia which was turned into a mosque after Ottoman Turks conquered Byzantium.



From: Chae Jeong <chaeie1194@gmail.com>
Subject: Essay

In Southwest Asia, during 500 CE-1450 CE, a reigning empire was the Islamic Empire. This empire was based off of a religious lifestyle, started by Muhammad the Prophet from Mecca. Starting from the rise of Muhammad's army and even after Muhammad's death there were changes and continuity of the political, social, economic, and religion aspects of this empire.


The Islamic Empire started with Muhammad, a prophet from Mecca. Muhammad was a great political and religious leader. He was a successful merchant and started a strong military. With this military, he conquered a large span of lands. Later on, the amount of land under the Islamic Empire spanned over three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa. After the death of Muhammad, followers of Muhammad took the ruling spot and were know as caliphs. There were major disagreements. Two significant dynasties during the reign of the Islamic Empire were the Ummayads and Abbasids. During these dynasties, the captails changed. Ummayads favored conquering land while the Abbasids did not. Through all this change, however, one thing did stay the same: the use of the Quran as the laws of the empire
Throughout the reign of the empire, trade was a major aspect of the economy. Through trade, the empire was able to interact with other regions such as East Asia (China) through the Silk Road. Trade also helped spread the Islamic faith. The economy strived with the exchanging of many exotic goods such as spices and silk and with the ideas of many other nations. For example, the Muslims adapted algebra from the Arabs which helped the development of banks.
Because trade was such an important aspect of the empire's economy, merchants were well respected. Muhammad's role as a merchant also helped his role as a leader. Merchants were considered high class and as trade expanded, there were classes within the merchant class. Social structure was a continuity of the Islamic Empire. If there was a specific change to pinpoint, it would be the addition of the non-Muslims that were conquered. Those that were not of the Islamic faith had to pay taxes.
The Islamic Empire's prominent religion was the Islamic faith. Muhammad was a prophet that spread this faith. Muhammad wrote the Quran and it was used as a set of laws for the empire. People also lived by the five pillars of Islam: the hajj, alms giving, praying five times a day toward Mecca, accepting Allah as god, and accepting Muhammad as prophet. The Quran was only in Arabic and this meant that all Muslims had to know ARabic. This provided a sense of unity. Islam was spread through trade and conquering. After Muhammad died, there was a disagreement in the ruling spot. There was a split in the religion. There were the Sunnis and the Shiites. There was another group called the Sufis, who were tolerant of other religions and therefore appealed to the non-believers.
The Islamic world went through many changes throughout the postclassical era. The empire started to decline with the revolting of conquered lands. However, the Islamic faith still lived. People still believe in Allad and Muhammad. The Islamic Empire made major contributions to the world today.

From: Eleanor McCabe <Mittenz4ever@aol.com>
Subject: AP Essay

During the time period of 500-1400 C.E East Asia and especially China advanced/changed in the areas of politics, social matters, economy, and religion. these changes were mostly due to their interactions with with other nearby nations, who through the process of cultral diffusion blended their beliefs or ideas with those of China. Therefore, without these interactions the following changes in the Chinese soceity would not have existed.

China advanced/changed a great deal in the 900 year period, however, most of the major ones were in political, social, economical, and in religion. For political China established a beuracracy and began to use civil service examinations. These two changes gave politics an uncorrupted law system and gave out jobs based on merit and nothing else. Another political change for China was the idea of the "equal field system". In this change peasants would be granted a certain portion of land for their services. This was very important because before than peasants could not afford land. In social changes for China footbinding was probably had the most impact. It restricted women from ever being equal to men in China. It also was a very painful procedure done to only those of the upper class, for poorer women needed their feet to support their families in the field. One of the most important changes in China was due to the booming economy. All the new inventions like the south pointing needle, block printing, gunpowder, and many other ones, led to sucess in trade and allowed them to find new lands to trade with. As a result of this economy two things called paper money and flying cash were invented to keep the economy rising. Lastly, one of the biggest changes in the East Asia region was in religion. Buddhism became the main religion of China and was brought over to it from the Indian merchants. Other religions like Daoism and Confucism were brought into some of the Chinese version of Buddhism but were no longer as popular. In fact, this was an example of continuity in China because some stil followed Daoism and Confuscism. Another major example of continuity in China was in politics where they kept emperors and civil service examinations for both dynasties.

During the time period of the 500's to the 1400's China interacted with a vast number of different regions. This was most of the reason they changed so much during this time. By usage of the silk roads,the Indian Ocean Basin, the Pacific Ocean, China was a perfect spot for trade with Japan, Korea, Byzantium, India, Arabia, Persia, and many other regions. As a result, it went through a Golden Age and was able to exapnd greatly.

China changed quite a bit during this era due to its interactions with neighboring countries and waterways. Changes in political, social, economical, and religious factors China was able to become one of the most prosperous nations of the Ancient World. Buddhism became the main religon and many other changes in family life, way of life, and even in Chinese soceity as whole occured. Without any of these advances/changes China would have never been as sucessful as it was during the 500-1400 time period and the world today would never have been the same.

From: Thomas Stilwell <ididntdoit994@aol.com>
Subject: Test Essay

Sothwest Asia


Between 500 C.E. and 1450 C.E. there was much change in political, social, economic, and religious aspects of Southwest Asia as well as much continuity. Southwest Asia is mainly comprised of the Middle East and the dar-al-Islam. Islam was not just a religion, but a stimulus of political, social, and economic growth. When people of the time were asked what they were, they would not say “Southwest Asian”; they would say “Muslim.”
In terms of politics, the dar-al-Islam experienced many changes that were both helpful and harmful. After the death of Muhammad, the Islamic civilization grew into a dynasty. First, they were ruled under the Umayyads. The Umayyad Dynasty was a time of military expansion. They invaded the Byzantine Empire in hopes of gaining land, which eventually led to Byzantium’s downfall. Pretty soon, certain Muslims grew tired of living under the tyranny of emperor Harun-al-Rashid and began to rebel. These rebels, led by Abu Abbasid, soon overthrew the Umayyads and formed the Abbasid Dynasty. The Abbasids established their capital at Baghdad and ruled peacefully for many years. These political changes greatly affected the social structure of the dar-al-Islam.
In terms of social structure in the dar-al-Islam, the lifestyle of Muslims changed drastically since Islam’s conception. Muslims are governed by their set of laws: the five pillars of Islam. These include that Allah is the only god, which expresses Islam’s monotheistic beliefs. There is also the need to pray five times a day and the rule to fast during Ramadan, which shows the rigid ways of Islam. Also, there is the need to give charity, which shows Islam’s code of helping fellow man, and the pilgrimage to Mecca, a holy journey known as the hajj. This is how Muslims were taught to live their lives. A major change of Islam’s social structure was the changing role of women. Originally, Muhammad put women up high in the rankings, due to his supportive first wife Khadija, but their freedom gradually dwindled.
In terms of economics, the dar-al-Islam prospered. They developed maritime trade, which included the introduction of new vessels, such as dhows and junks. They also adopted the use of the Hindu Numerals, which are how they came to be known by the Europeans as Arabic Numerals. This aided in their monetary system and in trade.
In terms of religion, Southwest Asia changed a great deal. The first major change was the split of Islam into Sunni and Shiite sects. These groups fought over whether a blood relative of Muhammad should rule the religion after his death. Another development of Islam was the growth of scholars and judges, such as the Qadis. Islam was spread through the “Rightly Guided Caliphs” who showed kindness and toleration toward Christianity and Judaism. They had this in common with the spiritual Sufis.
Although there were many changed throughout Southwest Asia and the dar-al-Islam, there was also continuity. The monotheistic beliefs of Islam did not sway because they were carefully recorded in the holy book of Islam: the Quran. Muslims used the Quran as a basis for all things that they did. Southwest Asia was a place of political, social, economic, and especially religious development, where change, as well as continuity, helped it to grow into what it is today.
From: Daniel Capic <dcapic@aol.com >
Subject: Extra Credit Essay

East Asia



During the period between 500 and 1450 C.E., East Asia (specifically China) went through many political, social, economic and religious changes, while also showing continuity in these same areas. Furthermore, these changes in China would go on to influence the neighboring lands of Korea, Vietnam and Japan. These changes helped to shape China into a powerful land after a period of turmoil.
China underwent many political changes. Prior to the Sui Dynasty, the lands were disunified. The Sui united the lands once again by instituting a centralized imperial government as well as the Grand Canal, which linked north and south China. The Tang Dynasty would strengthen their bureaucracy with the civil service examinations, leading to an empire led by a single emperor with the help of scholar bureaucrats However, there were changes in the different dynasties that led over the course of several hundred years. The end of the Tang Dynasty in particular left the empire in turmoil until the Song Dynasty gained power.
China also went through several social changes. China was a patriarchal society. This is exemplified by the process known as foot binding, which was the tight wrapping of the feet of privileged girls, leading to small, malformed feet. This gave husbands dominion over their wives. In order to help unify the empire, Tang Taizong started the equal field system. Under this, one fifth of the land became a hereditary right of the family. The rest was rotated to another family to distribute land.
China underwent a great amount of economic changes. They discovered fast-ripening rice, which led to crops a year and used inventions like the iron plow and manure in agricultural practices. This led to a surplus of food which in turn led to rapid urbanization. In these new cities, markets developed that sold things like specialized crops. They also invented paper money and flying cash, which were letter of credit. They also traded along the revived Silk Roads. They also had a great naval trade that was helped with the invention of the “south-pointing needle” (compass).
Lastly, China underwent a major religious change. Buddhist merchants had traded with China as early as the 1st or 2nd century B.C.E. However, Buddhists did not become prominent until much later, after having built monasteries and temples in Dunhuang. However, Buddhist ideals conflicted with other Chinese religions and culture, particularly the practice of celibacy. To adapt to Chinese culture, Chan Buddhism (or syncretic Buddhism) was developed, which used Chinese words to describe Buddhist terms and allowed the sending of one child to become a monk for the rest of the family so they would not have to be celibate. Confucians adapted Buddhism to their own religion after studying Buddhist texts, leading to the birth of neo-Confucianism.
The changes China underwent were passed down to neighboring lands. China believed in a tributary relationship. They considered themselves as the Middle Kingdom, in charge of bringing order to subordinate lands. So, they went into the countries of Korea, “Nam Viet” (Vietnam) and Japan. They passed on their idea of their bureaucracy and court to the Koreans, along with their Confucian texts. To the Nam Viets, they gave administrative, education and agricultural techniques. Lastly, Japan also adopted their idea of government, the equal field system, and a system of writing.
Despite these changes, China also showed continuity. Even though new dynasties would arise in place of old ones, they instituted the same government. China also remained fairly constant. Women’s roles also remained fairly constant. They were subordinate to men throughout this time period. China continued its use of paper money and Buddhism remains a popular religion there, to this day.
During the post-classical era and beyond (500-1450), China underwent many changes. These changes were political, social, economic and religious and affected neighboring lands. Paradoxically, these changes also show continuity in that after the change occurred, it became a facet of the empire for many years.


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