- The Expansive Realm of Islam
- The Resurgence of Empire in East Asia
- India and the Indian Ocean Basin
- Nomadic Empires and Eurasian Integration
- States and Societies of Sub-Saharan Africa
- Christian Western Europe during the Middle Ages
- Worlds Apart: Beyond the Eastern Hemisphere
- Reaching Out: Cross-Cultural Interactions
- Works Cited
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The Byzantine Empire was dominating the eastern Mediterranean region during ten centuries. The success of the Roman Empire’s eastern half depended on such aspects as the strategic geographical position of Constantinople as the capital city, the centralized authority based on the principle of caesaropapism, the power of the emperor, and the focus on the reorganization of the social and administrative system following the idea of the imperial provinces’ system (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 190).
Much attention was paid to the promotion of the Christian tradition and the active political, economic, and cultural cooperation with the Slavic people from the Eastern Europe and Russia. Therefore, strong governmental structure and the progress of the Christian church contributed to Byzantine’s survival during many centuries.
The Expansive Realm of Islam
The teachings of Muhammad as the God’s prophet began to spread in the Arabian states during the seventh century C.E. The followers of Muhammad’s message became focused on living according to the Five Pillars of Islam which are the acknowledgement of Allah as the only God; the obligatory daily praying; the fast during the month of Ramadan; the necessity to support the poor; and the hajj and the pilgrimage to Mecca (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 209).
The Muslims’ faith made them to spread Islam over the world, and the expansion of Islam resulted in the active development of societies and overland and maritime trade. The dissemination of Islam also led to the progress of communication between societies, and the Arabs’ inventions contributed to the progress of many cultures in the world.
The Resurgence of Empire in East Asia
China became the prosperous empire during the period of the 6th-13th centuries because of the effective rule of such dynasties as the Sui, Tang, and Song. The centralization of power and the focus on economy during the rule of the Sui dynasty led to the construction of the Grand Canal (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 225).
The rulers from the Tang dynasty focused on supporting trade relations and on the development of the communication networks as well as on developing the bureaucracy of merit (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 225). The rulers from the Song dynasty improved the approaches to organizing the civil administration and military affairs (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 228).
The use of advanced agricultural practices with the focus on irrigation systems and such inventions as printing, gunpowder, compass, and naval technologies improved the Chinese economic status. The economic progress and the promotion of Buddhism contributed to the spread of the Chinese influence in Korea and Vietnam.
India and the Indian Ocean Basin
In India, the postclassical period was characterized by many wars between small kingdoms. The characteristic features of the Indian kingdoms were the developed caste system, the agricultural growth, the development of the irrigation system, the extensive trade, the population growth, and the active urbanization.
The maritime trade and the development of the communication systems in the Indian Ocean basin contributed to the economic progress of the Indian territories. One of the most interesting features of the cultural development in India was the spread of Buddhism and Hinduism along with Islam. The Arab conquerors and merchants contributed to the spread of Islam among the part of the Indian population significantly (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 245).
Nomadic Empires and Eurasian Integration
Living in the steppes of Asia, nomadic herders built specific trans-regional empires. The empires of the Turks and Mongols were most influential. The main feature of these empires was the focus on the military affairs and conquests. Having the developed skills in fighting on horseback, nomadic warriors tried to conquer vast Asian and European territories contributing to the significant territorial integration. The developed army was the main force in the empires of the Turks and Mongols, and the conquests of nomadic herders were numerous (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 260). The results of these conquests were the spread of Turks and Mongols’ rules and trade connections.
States and Societies of Sub-Saharan Africa
States of the sub-Saharan Africa developed according to the principles of the specific kin-based societies. These small states were known as chiefdoms, and their cores were the extended families (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 285). As a result, the trade between states began to develop only with the spread of Islam in the African states.
The progress of iron metallurgy and the production of gold and ivory also contributed to the development of the camel caravan trade and long-distance trade. The important feature of the African people’s cultural life was the spread of Islam in states along with the support of the specific African religions and cults popular in tribes (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 288).
Christian Western Europe during the Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, the states of the Western Europe developed with the focus on consolidation and centralization. Much attention was paid to supporting the role of the Roman church with the help of emphasizing the role of Papacy and meaning of crusades. The period was characterized by the economic growth of the European cities where manufactures, textile production, and guilds developed as well as trade and international connections.
The specific feature of the period was the chivalry as a unique code of nobles’ ethics (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 309). The progress of the Roman church and monasticism also contributed to the development of schools, universities, and scholasticism.
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Worlds Apart: Beyond the Eastern Hemisphere
The societies of the Americas and the Pacific Islands were primarily agricultural. The Indigenous people focused on agricultural production, hunting, gathering, and fishing in order to support their small societies. Such urban societies as the empires of Aztecs and the Incas were the most powerful political and social constructions in these isolated lands.
Thus, the population of these lands was focused on the agricultural production, military affairs, and the development of the religious life (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 320). As a result, the Aztecs and the Incas built many temples and concentrated on educating future warriors. The representatives of the other isolated lands developed unique religious cults where human victims and other striking rituals were used.
Reaching Out: Cross-Cultural Interactions
Europe and Asia developed strong economic and cultural relations during the period of the 11th-15th centuries. Missionary campaigns contributed to the spread of different religious ideals over the world. The Islamic and Christian values were disseminated among various societies. The focus on the support of diplomatic connections and the European exploration contributed to the active trade between the Asian and European states.
New trade routes were important for the exchange of goods, knowledge, technologies, and philosophical views (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 349). One more important feature of the period was the progress of the European culture during the period of the Renaissance.
Bentley, Jerry, Herbert Ziegler, Heather Streets-Salter. Traditions and Encounters: A Brief Global History, Vol. 1: To 1500. New York, NY: McGraw–Hill Publishing, 2010. Print.