Declines of the Classical Civilizations (#6)

Declines of the Classical
Civilizations (#6)
Explain reasons for the decline of classical
China. (p.106)
◦ 1) Centralized government became weaker
and regional landlords corrupted the political
stability of the empire.
◦ 2) Increased taxes were far too burdensome
on the peasantry, which led to social unrest
and disdain of rulers.
◦ 3) Revolutions by Daoist forces in 184 C.E.
Declines of the Classical
Civilizations (#6)
◦ 4) The decline of government
◦ 5) Civil wars throughout empire.
◦ 6) Frequent invasions from
borderland nomadic groups (Huns)
◦ 7) Plagues which may have killed up
to half of the population.
Declines of the Classical
Civilizations (#7)
Explain reasons for the decline of classical
India. (p.107)
◦ 1) The inability of the Gupta emperors to control
regional princes.
◦ 2) Invasions by nomadic Hun tribes, especially in
the more well developed northern regions.
◦ 3) The introduction of Islam competed with
Hinduism strong religious hold on the
◦ 4) Arab traders took control of the majority of
trade routes throughout the Indian Ocean region
and hurt India’s economic prosperity.
Declines of the Classical
Civilizations (#8)
Explain reasons for the decline of classical
Rome. (p.107-109)
◦ 1) Declining population
◦ 2) Difficulty in recruiting effective
armies (Disloyal mercenaries)
◦ 3) Weak emperors
Declines of the Classical
Civilizations (#8)
◦ 4) Declining tax revenues due to
economic downturn
◦ 5) Citizens saw life as futile and
therefore their participation in
politics and their state declined.
◦ 6) A series of plagues that wiped
out a large part of the population
Declines of the Classical
Civilizations (#8)
◦ 7)Rome’s upper classes became more
pleasure seeking and stopped producing many
offspring, because raising children seemed
counter to the pleasure seeking nature of
their lives.
◦ 8)Rome had growing difficulty protecting its
borders and farmers began to look for
protection from landlords. (Beginning of
manorial system)
◦ 9)Invasions from Germanic tribes.
Roman Empire Splits (#10)
1) The Byzantine Empire (aka the eastern
portion of the old Roman Empire)
Centered on Constantinople.
 2) North African zone
 3) Western part of the former empire.
(Included Italy, Spain, and parts of
northern Europe)
Roman Empire Splits (#10)
The Growth and Spread of Religion
◦ Devastating plagues and growing political
instability caused many to seek comfort in
growing belief systems.
◦ Christianity became a widespread religion
throughout the Mediterranean.
◦ Buddhism surged into eastern Asia as classical
China collapsed.
◦ Finally, shortly after 600 C.E., a new faith,
Islam, surfaced to become a dynamic force.
The Spread of Christianity
The Spread of Buddhism
Monks and
missionaries were
the main method by
which the faith
 Buddhism mainly
spread east towards
China, Japan, Korea,
and Vietnam .
Buddhist monks in front
of the Angkor Wat
Buddhism’s Evolution
Over the centuries, like most religions,
Buddhism evolved.
 Buddhism aimed to make it easier for
ordinary citizens to gain salvation while
continuing to work and meet their
spiritual obligations.
 A prime example of this evolution is that
of bodhisattvas, which were followers
that could maintain salvation through
prayer and meditation for others.
Buddhism’s Evolution (#14)
As the religion spread to China, it took
on Chinese cultural elements.
 In the east Asian form of Buddhism,
known as Mahayana Buddhism, more
emphasis was placed on Buddha as a
divine savior or god. The religion also
became more organized with more
monks, priests, temples, creeds, and
rituals. (Kinda like the Chinese political
structure, very organized)
Chinese culture alters Buddhism
Chinese influences affected Buddhism’s
stance on most issues, but especially
women’s role in society.
 It did not improve women’s status in
China as was to be expected. Instead, the
Chinese altered some of the Buddhist
doctrines to reflect their strict patriarchal
system. Ex. “ Husband supports wife” was
changed to “Husband controls wife”.
Christianity compared to Buddhism
Christianity placed more emphasis on
church organization and structure (which
it borrowed from the political structure
of the Roman Empire)
 More emphasis placed on missionary
activities in Christianity.
 Stressed its exclusive nature of truth and
was more intolerant of changes to its
origins and beliefs.
Reasons for Christianity’s Spread
The opportunity for spiritual equality
Fervor of early Christians
The Roman extent and road system helped the
faith to spread.
The organization and structure of the church
Christian doctrine became organized through the
writings of the New Testament.
Constantine’s conversion made it much easier to
spread the faith that was not viewed as a threat
Let’s Read p. 115
“The Spread of Major World Religions”
Religious Geography (p.116)
Where are the greatest concentrations of
the four major religions today?
 Which aspects of modern religious
geography follow from the patterns of
religious dissemination under way by the
end of the classical period?
 Which cannot be explained by these lateclassical developments?

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