Chapter 4 Big Picture Questions

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• Athens required that women be represented by a guardian in legal matters, and women were not even referred to by name in court proceedings.

• Athens restricted women to the home, where they lived separately from men.

• In Athens, marriage customarily saw a woman in her mid-teens marry a man ten to fifteen years her senior.

• In Athens, land passed through male heirs.

• Spartan women possessed more freedom.

• Sparta’s fear of helot rebellion meant that great value was placed on male warriors.

• In this context, the central task for women in Spartan society was reproduction—specifically, the bearing of strong healthy sons.

• To secure strong sons, women were encouraged to strengthen their bodies, and they even participated in public sporting events.

• Spartan women were not secluded or segregated like their Athenian counterparts.

• Spartan women married men about their own age, putting the new couple on a more equal basis.

• Men were often engaged in or preparing for war, so women in Sparta had more authority in the household.

• However, as in Athens, women in Sparta lacked any formal public role.
Ch 7 Big Picture and Margin Answers

Big Picture Questions

1. “The histories of Africa and the Americas during the classical era largely resemble those of Eurasia.” Do you agree with this statement? Explain why or why not.

• There is evidence to support both a yes or no answer to this question.

• In support of the statement, students could point to the emergence of powerful states, especially in Axum and Teotihuacán, which sought to create empires.

• Students could also point to the parallels between the Maya civilization and classical Greece.

• Students could cite the spread of the Chavín cult as being in some ways a parallel development to the emergence of widespread religious traditions in Eurasia.

• However, the Ancestral Pueblo and mound-building societies of North America and regional civilizations such as the Moche of South America more closely resemble the Neolithic villages and First Civilizations of Eurasia than they do their classical counterparts.

2. “The particular cultures and societies of Africa and of the Americas discussed in this chapter developed largely in isolation from one another.” What evidence would support this statement, and what might challenge it?

• Evidence in support of this statement includes the complete physical separation and lack of contact between the African and American cultures and societies discussed in this chapter;

• The geographic and cultural separation between Meroë and Axum on the one hand and the Niger Valley civilization on the other also provides support.

• So too does the significant physical distances that separated Andean, North American, and Mesoamerican civilizations, along with the lack of sustained contact between these three regions.

• Evidence to challenge this statement includes the extensive interaction between the Maya and Teotihuacán civilizations; the conquest of Meroë by Axum; and the encounters between Bantu-speaking peoples and gathering and hunting groups, including the Batwa, as the Bantu-speaking peoples migrated into Africa south of the equator.

• The Chavín religious cult, which provided for the first time and for several centuries a measure of economic and cultural integration to much of the Peruvian Andes, also challenges the statement.

• Additional challenging evidence is the critical arrival of maize from Mesoamerica into the Ancestral Pueblo and mound-building societies.

3. What generated change in the histories of Africa and the Americas during the classical era?

In Africa, driving forces of change included the migration of the Bantu peoples into Africa south of the equator, the emergence of Niger Valley urban centers, and the rise and fall of both Axum and Meroë.

• Contact with the trade networks of Eurasia also generated change in Africa. Through contact along these networks, Christianity arrived in northeastern Africa, including Axum. Axum derived its written script from South Arabia. The Bantu-speaking peoples adopted new crops, including

coconuts, sugarcane, and especially bananas, which Indonesian sailors and immigrants brought to East Africa early in the first millennium c.e.

• In the Americas, the emergence of the Maya and Teotihuacán civilizations pushed Mesoamerican civilization toward new levels of complexity.

• The Chavín religious cult provided for the first time and for several centuries a measure of economic and cultural integration to much of the Peruvian Andes.

• The spread of maize into North America made it possible for the Ancestral Pueblo society to take shape and allowed Cahokia to achieve a higher degree of sophistication than did the mound-building societies that preceded it.

Margin Review Questions

Q. How did the history of Meroë and Axum reflect interaction with neighboring civilizations?

• Both Meroë and Axum traded extensively with neighboring civilizations. Meroë’s wealth and military power were in part derived from this trade. The formation of a substantial state in Axum was at least in part stimulated by Axum’s participation in Red Sea and Indian Ocean commerce and the taxes that flowed from this commerce.

• Both Meroë and Axum developed their own distinct writing scripts. A Meroitic script eventually took the place of Egyptian-style writing, while Axum’s script, Geez, was derived from South Arabian models.

• Axum adopted Christianity from the Roman world in the fourth century c.e., primarily through Egyptian influence, and the region once controlled by Meroë also adopted Christianity in the 340s c.e. following Meroë’s decline.

Q. How does the experience of the Niger Valley challenge conventional notions of “civilization”?

• The Niger River region witnessed the creation of large cities with the apparent absence of a corresponding state structure. These cities were not like the city-states of ancient Mesopotamia, nor were they encompassed within some larger imperial system.

• Instead, they resemble most closely the early cities of the Indus Valley civilization, where complex urban centers also apparently operated without the coercive authority of a centralized

Q. In what ways did the arrival of Bantu-speaking peoples stimulate cross-cultural interaction?

• The Bantu-speaking peoples brought agriculture to regions of Africa south of the equator, enabling larger numbers of people to live in a smaller area than was possible before their arrival.

• They brought parasitic and infectious diseases, to which the gathering and hunting peoples had little immunity.

• They also brought iron.

• Many Bantu languages of southern Africa retain to this day distinctive “clicks” in their local dialects that they adopted from the now vanished gathering and hunting peoples that preceded them in the region.

• Bantu-speaking peoples participated in networks of exchange with forest-dwelling Batwa (Pygmy) peoples. The Batwa adopted Bantu languages, while maintaining a nonagricultural lifestyle and a separate identity. The Bantu farmers regarded their Batwa neighbors as first-comers to the region and therefore closest to the ancestral and territorial spirits that determined the fertility of the land and the people. As forest-dwelling Bantu peoples grew in numbers and created chiefdoms, those chiefs appropriated the Batwa title of “owners of the land” for themselves, claimed Batwa ancestry, and portrayed the Batwa as the original “civilizers” of the earth.

• Bantu farmers in East Africa increasingly adopted grains as well as domesticated sheep and cattle from the already-established people of the region.

• They also acquired a variety of food crops from Southeast Asia, including coconuts, sugarcane, and especially bananas, which were brought to East Africa by Indonesian sailors and immigrants early in the first millennium c.e.

Q. With what Eurasian civilizations might the Maya be compared?

• Because of its fragmented political structure, classical Maya civilization more closely resembled the competing city-states of Mesopotamia or classical Greece than the imperial structures of Rome, Persia, or China.

Q. In what ways did Teotihuacán shape the history of Mesoamerica?

• Its military conquests brought many regions into its political orbit and made Teotihuacán a presence in the Maya civilization.

• Teotihuacán was at the center of a large trade network.

• The architectural and artistic styles of the city were imitated across Mesoamerica.

Q. What kind of influence did Chavín exert in the Andes region?

• Chavín-style architecture, sculpture, pottery, religious images, and painted textiles were widely imitated in the region.

• Chavín became a pilgrimage site and perhaps a training center for initiates from distant corners of the region.

• At locations three weeks or more away by llama caravan, temples were remodeled to resemble that of Chavín, although in many cases with locally inspired variations.

• The Chavín religious cult provided for the first time and for several centuries a measure of economic and cultural integration to much of the Peruvian Andes.

Q. What features of Moche life characterize it as a civilization?

• The Moche civilization dominated a 250-mile stretch of Peru’s northern coast, incorporated thirteen river valleys, and flourished for seven hundred years beginning in 100 c.e.

• The Moche economy was rooted in a complex irrigation system that required constant maintenance.

• Politically, the civilization was governed by warrior-priests, who sometimes lived atop huge pyramids, the largest of which was constructed out of 143 million sun-dried bricks.

• The wealth of the warrior-priest elite and the remarkable artistic skills of Moche craftspeople are reflected in the elaborate burials accorded the rulers. The Moche craftspeople are renowned for their metalworking, pottery, weaving, and painting.

Q. In what ways were the histories of the Ancestral Pueblo and the Mound Builders similar to each other, and how did they differ?

• The Ancestral Pueblo and Mound Builders were similar in a number of ways.

• Their settlements were linked into trading networks, and they also participated in long-distance exchange.

• Both groups created structures to track the heavens.

• Both ultimately adopted maize from Mesoamerica.

• They also differed in a number of ways.

• The Mound Builders participated in an independent Agricultural Revolution and continued to supplement their diets by gathering and hunting until maize arrived from Mesoamerica after 800 c.e. The Ancestral Pueblo peoples acquired maize from Mesoamerica much earlier and settled into a more fulltime agricultural culture earlier in their development.

• The Mound Builders created larger monumental architecture both in their burial mounds and in their geometrical earthworks than did Ancestral Pueblo peoples, although the Ancestral Pueblo people did create kivas as ceremonial centers and networks of roads that may have had religious significance.

• The largest mound-building settlements, like Cahokia, were far larger urban centers than those of the Ancestral Pueblo.

• In comparison to the mound-building cultures, the Ancestral Pueblo society started later and did not last as long.
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