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Philosophic and Cultural Timeline of Ancient Times Essay

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Updated: Jul 14th, 2021

Major Political Events

Wars for Liberation

The first part of the 5th B.C.E. century in Asia Minor is marked by Greek revolts and the struggle against the reign of Persian rulers in the region. Major Greek cities united to fight against Darius the Great and his successors, and those attempts proved to be successful (Lockard, 2010). However, those victories were also associated with another considerable period of Peloponnesian wars. In the middle of the century, Sparta became fearful of the empowerment of Athens and formed various coalitions with other Greek city-states (for example, Thebes) to start wars, in which Athens and the allies were defeated.

Circa 460 B.C.E., the Delian League assisted Egyptians to rebel against the Persian rule, and their attempt was also successful. The wars could be regarded as a potent factor that contributed to the decline of the empire that took place in the 4th B.C.E. century. Those wars led to the liberation of Greek city-states and Egypt, which boosted their further growth. The political alliances also had a positive impact on the development of trade in the region, with the particular empowerment of Athens in the middle of the 5th-century B.C.E.

The Rise of Democracy

One of the most significant events in history was the introduction of democracy in Athens. In 463 B.C.E., Pericles created a truly democratic society where all citizens of Athens had the right to vote and affect the major decisions (Lockard, 2010). That political form of governance was a favorable ground for the development of philosophy, art, and science since people had considerable freedom of thought and felt empowered. The birth of democracy had a substantial effect on the evolvement of western civilization and the eventual rise of such democracies as France and the U.S.A.

Major Philosophic Events

Confucianism

The 5th century can be regarded as a remarkable period within the Axial Age. Black (2008) notes that the Axial Period was characterized by considerable shifts in the philosophic and religious domains. Confucius died in the first part of the 5th century, but his teachings persisted (Lockard, 2010). Confucianism was developed and became the primary ideology in the 5th century B.C.E. The philosophical teachings addressed the relationship between the individual and the state, as well as the major principles of a righteous person’s life. Patriarchal values became dominant, and the authority of the government was unquestionable.

The individual was to focus on the needs of the society in the first place, while personal needs and desires were not as important. Knowledge was regarded as one of the most valuable riches. The principles of Yin and Yang were also developed during that time.

Greek Philosophy

As mentioned above, during that period, democracy arose as a form of state governance, which was facilitated by the economic growth of some Greek cities. Philosophers made outstanding discoveries concerning the universe and the human’s place in it (Lockard, 2010). The idea that the planet revolved on a particular axis appeared at that time. This important discovery, as well as many others, paved the way for the burst of scientific thought during the Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Socrates developed his ideas that later became the basis of Platonian and Aristotle’s teachings. Knowledge was most valued, but it was believed that people could hardly know everything or rather anything at all. Such virtues as fairness, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, courage, and flexibility were regarded as essential for the development of the perfect society. These principles became the foundation of the further rise of western civilization.

Major Religious Events

Buddhism

In the 5th century B.C.E., Buddhism emerged and started acquiring popularity in South Asia. In the first part of that century, Gautama abandoned his previous life and started his way to enlightenment (Lockard, 2010). When he became enlightened, Gautama became Buddha, whose teachings are still followed in the region and far beyond. For Buddhists, life is their way to enlightenment to a certain extent. They try to live a virtuous life that is characterized by living in harmony with the universe and the self. Asceticism is an important feature of this religious paradigm. Buddhism is still one of the major religions in the world.

Hinduism and Jainism

Hinduism became a prominent religion in the region far earlier than the 5th-century B.C.E. However, it was the time when some Upanishads came into existence. The major principles of the religion included the search for harmony with the universe through reincarnation, living a righteous life, and a plethora of deities who were worshiped in different territories (Lockard, 2010). Hinduism was characterized by certain stratification as there were major gods and minor deities. This structure may be associated with the social structure of India, where castes are still present in modern society.

Jainism emerged as a response to Hinduism in the 5th century B.C.E. This religion was developed by Mahavira, who was a son of the chief but left his home to live an ascetic life (Lockard, 2010). He tried to reach salvation through starvation and self-torture, which led to his death. This religious framework exists in modern society, and it has had a considerable impact on the development of India and many other countries. Gandhi developed his own philosophy of non-violence based on the principles of Jainism (Lockard, 2010). In its turn, the teachings of Gandhi had a substantial effect on Martin Luther King’s ideas of non-violent resistance to fight for people’s Civil Rights in the U.S.A. in the 1960s.

Impact on the Global Culture

To sum up, it is possible to note that the 5th century B.C.E. can be seen as a period of wars, liberation, and the rise of certain morals in different parts of the world. The wars led to the decline of one of the most powerful empires of its time, although Persians still had a considerable influence on the areas that had been conquered and lost. At the same time, wars contributed to the liberation of some nations and the beginning of effective collaboration between states. The autocratic rule of Persians could make Greeks committed to the creation of a new form of governance that resulted in the rise of democracy.

This event can hardly be overestimated as many countries followed the example of Ancient Greeks, and modern democracies flourished. As for religions and philosophies, one trend can be traced in different areas. Confucianism, Hinduism, Jainism, as well as Greek philosophy tried to define the role people played in the universe. These religious teachings described proper ways to behave and contribute to the development of their country or community. These ideas are still present in the modern world in many forms.

References

Black, A. (2008). The axial period: What was it, and what does it signify? Review of Politics, 70(1), 23-39.

Lockard, C. A. (2010). World. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Philosophic and Cultural Timeline of Ancient Times." July 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/philosophic-and-cultural-timeline-of-ancient-times/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Philosophic and Cultural Timeline of Ancient Times'. 14 July.

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