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China There was a division in China between the upper class, who possessed large areas of land, as well as wealth, and the middle and lower class. The masses consisted of peasants who farmed the land, and produced only what was needed for themselves, if not only slightly more. The land owning class, however, made up only about 2% of the population, while the peasants worked both under these lords and owned their own land. In the rice-growing regions of China, property was owned and regulated by either the village or the extended family, and the Chinese peasants in these regions often relied on cooperation between individuals as a result. Agriculture improved with the invention of implements such as the ox-drawn plow, and collars that allowed draft animals to pull plows and wagons. Water powered mills were also invented during the Han dynasty, which allowed for gains in manufacturing. Trade occurred internally within the state, usually involving luxury items that were produced for the upper class, such as jewelry, silk, furniture, and leather. There was also trade that occurred between the regions of China that produced rice, and the regions that produced wheat, and the circulation of copper coins encouraged trade as well, with some merchants engaging in commercial trade with India. However, despite the significance of trade within China, Chinese society was never centered around trade, as the Confucian ideas of political service and education overshadowed that of business. Little trade occurred with other civilizations during the beginnings of the Chinese civilization. Mountains and deserts to the west of China formed natural barriers that made access difficult. However, later through the Silk Roads, a network of trade routes through the mountains and plateaus of central Asia, some contact with the western world occurred. The government had an active role in the economy. It regulated iron and salt production, as well as standardized weights, measurements, and currency.
India The Indian subcontinent, while not as isolated as China, was separated from the rest of Asia to the north by the Himalayan Mountains, though passes through the mountains allowed access to the Middle East. The two main agricultural regions of India were along the Indus and Ganges Rivers, where the first civilizations emerged, though a herding economy also emerged within the mountainous areas to the north.
at times coming later.- - - Farming in India is heavily dependent on the monsoon rains which arrive in the summer. or bringing insufficient or too much rain. slaves. as well as manufactured products. Crops such as grapes and olives were suited for the soil. dyes. - - - - Political Characteristics China . and southeast Asia. as they had the capital necessary for planting olive trees and grape vines. and silver. though they enjoyed relative high status in Rome. In Greek society. India reached a height in technological advancement. metals. as much of the land was unfitted for growing grain. though less in comparison to India. producing cotton cloth. the status of the merchant class was somewhat ambiguous. Other kinds of trade were also central to the economy. monsoons vary yearly. Greek city states and Rome participated in commercial agriculture. as well as household tutors. as a result. In addition. excelling in steel production and with a mastery of iron making. and placed a great emphasis on trade. The Tamils of southern India traded silks. and in turn they traded olive oil. As a result farmers had to adapt to the varying monsoon rains. as both laborers and household servants. harvesting two crops in years with abundant yields in preparation for possible starvation the next year. and there was a demand for goods from areas such as India and China. but required farmers to sell their crop in order to buy food they needed. However. and cashmere. calico. luxury products enhanced the lifestyle of the upper class. and gold from the Middle East and Rome. Slaves were frequently used in Greco-Roman society. Mediterranean A large percentage of the Greek and Roman population were farmers. India also had an advanced textile industry. In comparison to China. as it described the occupations that one was allowed to hold within their caste. in Greece. east Asia. or for working in the mines. leaving farmers in debt. wine. the primary staple crop. Colonies were developed in the Middle East and Sicily for access to grain. or floods. grape and olive crops didn t produce fruit for several years after planting. bringing drought. famine. wine. being the second highest social class beneath the landowning patricians. farming was complicated by the soil conditions. Large landowners. Merchants had higher status in the Mediterranean than in China. Estate owners in the Roman empire used slaves as an agricultural labor force. Economic life was mainly dictated by the caste system. Guilds consisting of artisans and who sold their goods from personal shops carried out much of the manufacturing. like spices and artistic products. Merchants traveled both overland and by sea routs to the Middle East. were given an advantage. gold and ivory and brought pottery. However. merchants were relatively high on the caste system.
The governors also placed other officials in charge of smaller regions. While the Guptas did develop a taxation system. The Han dynasty was the first to employ civil service tests in order to ensure that those working in government offices were capable of effectively carrying out their duties. Ministers were appointed by the emperor to deal with matters of finance. The Han dynasty also attacked local landlords. This system established a value on scholars. A school was established in order to train men with talent and ability for these examinations. and military operations. - - - Mediterranean . and priests were often seen as sources of authority. with local rulers maintaining regional control as long as they acknowledged the dominance of the ruler. justice. though theoretically the system was inclusive to members of any social class. played an active role in the economy. Governors were also appointed to different areas of the state in order to carry out legal and military duties in his name.- - - - - China stressed a strong. The government was active in sponsoring research and record keeping. as they were able to afford an education. centralized government in keeping unity within the state. India Unity within the Indian subcontinent itself was difficult to achieve. such as in the building of public roads. they did not create a bureaucracy. especially placed an emphasis on central authority. looking upon local rulers with suspicion. influencing art and literature. India s most prominent political feature was regionalism. which enforced obedience and virtue within the state. The Chinese justice system employed a strict law code involving torture and execution. while the Gupta rulers claimed that they were appointed by the gods to consolidate support. The Qin emperor Shi HuangDi developed a single law code and a uniform system of taxation. which became a vital part of China s political tradition. The Qin dynasty. creating a model of centralized government that would shape those of other societies. Government also had an involvement in cultural life. allowing for local governments instead. The early Mauryan rulers depended on their armies. Uniform law codes were developed during the Gupta dynasty. with no single official language. and sponsored public works such as the construction of irrigation systems and canals. further improving upon the effectiveness and efficiency of central government. though most bureaucrats came from the upper classes. and also created a skilled bureaucracy in order to manage the affairs of the state. and loose government structures. Little attention was paid to politics in comparison to China and the Mediterranean civilizations. and government sponsored public works did take place.
in which the wealthy led the state. Loyalty to one s community was stressed. were chosen by lot. and many Greeks believed that political virtue was found within the upper class. Cultural Characteristics China Cultural values in China emphasized loyalty to the state. He spent his life teaching. Primary executive power was shared between two consuls. deriving from the Greek word meaning the people. from which derived his five basic human relationships. - - . citizens could gather in assemblies. as well as to stress that they weren t exempt from certain legal principles. Citizens of city-states felt an obligation towards the government of their state. though only a minority was active citizens and women could not participate in politics. The respected life led by an upper class Athenian or Roman citizen would involve participation in politics and discussions regarding state affairs. was a form of government that made an appearance. with its members holding a large percentage of the executive offices. which participated in a direct democracy. and were subject to review by the assembly.- - - - - Politics played a major role in Mediterranean civilization. though a dictator could be chosen by the Senate in times of crisis. Democracy. and composed almost entirely of aristocrats. Confucian thought was a major part of Chinese culture. state decisions were carried through by general assemblies that met every ten days. However. The Roman Republic introduced the Twelve Tables of Law around 450 BCE. and a harmonious existence on earth. It was most evident in the Greek city-state of Athens. This included respect for superiors. Here. were aristocrats. and education and intellectual thinking were strongly encouraged. In the Roman republic. up through the early Roman empire. he also believed that leaders should be modest. and sharing his ideas for political virtue and a solid government. in which every citizen could participate. and that leaders should be men possessing ability and wisdom. Confucius believed that this began with a veneration for traditional values and virtuous conduct. even in Athens. and placed emphasis on a proper social hierarchy. Many leaders. with little thought paid to a defined deity. The Senate was the presiding legislative body. A code of politeness was encouraged following the use of chopsticks. followed by the introduction of tea. a unified law code that served to limit the power of the upper class. The principle was that every citizen could serve as an executive official. which began during the reign of the Zhou dynasty. Executive officers served only brief terms. Other Greek city states were governed by an aristocracy. accounting for the stress placed on the importance of politics. some of which represent the interests of the common people. which served for the purpose of electing officials. leading into elaborate rituals later on. Chinese culture differed from that of the other classical civilizations in its secularism.
Like China and the Mediterranean.- - The social hierarchy consisted of the emperor at the top of the social pyramid. Below them were the middle class. It was founded by an Indian prince. but rejects others. and in which every living creature participates. where they worked in the fields alongside their husbands. including the assignment of jobs. Hinduism was the main religion of the Indian civilization. Buddhism incorporates several ideas from Hinduism. the preserver. Confucian thinkers stated that women should be subordinate to men. consisting of merchants and artisans. no single holy figure. After many lives. Indian society was patriarchal. beginning with the Aryan religion. and contributed to the overall crop yield. that the soul is born again after the body dies. At the top were the warrior and governing class. It has no known founder. with men holding important jobs and government offices. At the bottom of the social pyramid were the Untouchables. Like in the other civilizations. and the priests. though. but that men should nevertheless treat women decently. Hindus believe that a proper life is one that is devoted to seeking a holy union with this soul. followed by Vaisyas. One s caste was hereditary. The essence of brahma forms a triad with the gods Vishnu. who were taught to revere and obey their parents without question. women played an important role in farming communities. While slaves were used. and generally people stayed in the caste they were born in for their entire lives. and Shiva. Chinese society was patriarchal. with the husband and father having authority in a household. an individual is capable of moving higher up within their own caste. Buddhism was another religion that arose in India. followed by the government officials and wealthy landowners. Women also held power within their household when presiding over the children. and is freed from worldly suffering. In addition. Hinduism includes the principle of reincarnation. However. and developed over many centuries. who later became known as the Buddha. to achieve true enlightenment. or laborers. through the accumulation of wealth and through success in one s job. or Brahmins. India Indian society was greatly influenced by the caste system. the destroyer. and were excluded from normal society. such as the concept of reincarnation. Buddhism stressed selfcontrol. women did make - - - . a journey that may take more than one lifetime. and the Sudras. and leading a holy life without excess. the importance of their role was acknowledged. though where the soul goes depends on the life that has just been led. and finally the peasants. the traders and farmers. the Kshatriyas. As a result. a union with the soul of brahma is finally reached. which formed a part of everything in this world. who were confined to a few jobs. or nirvana. and changes with the needs of a group. and although peasants were at the bottom of the social pyramid. or Enlightened One. like the caste system. Buddhism teaches that the ultimate goal is to reach a realm where suffering no longer exists. Each caste had separate rules for the member of the caste. as mobility between castes was essentially impossible. The belief of Hinduism incorporates a holy essence known as the brahma. The nature of Hinduism is fluid and adaptable. they weren t central to overall production. Siddhartha Gautama.
and literary works were constructed and written in honor of the gods. and had the most influence in matters of politics. especially. Indian art was lively and colorful. Patricians made up only about 2% of the Roman population. and calculations of the value of Pi. Men held jobs and government offices. The husband and father was the clear ruler of the household. As a result. and had access to an education. Greco-Roman civilization was patriarchal. and the emotions and beauty of women were also celebrated in literature. More limits were imposed on women than on men.- economic contributions. Women did have status as wives and mothers in Indian society and this was acknowledged in Indian culture. as well as scientific discoveries. though upper class women had significant power in managing the household. - - - - - - . such as the Arabic numbering system. The Greek and Roman gods were featured in stories and literary works. While mythology provided explanation for how the world came to be. with yet controlled much of the wealth. which played a frontline role in the culture. The Greeks were also known for their dramas. however. artists also sought to portray realistically the human form. The Romans made remarkable feats in engineering. They created an extensive road system that linked the state. a separate model of ethical conduct was sought and created by philosophers. as well as a system of aqueducts to carry water. such as Aristotle and Cicero. and did not provide a basis for thinking. while women had no rights in political participation. often illustrating the flawed nature of humans. and the gods and goddesses represented characters for poets to question and describe human nature. Social inequalities presented themselves in the ratio of the patricians to the plebeians. as well as taking care of the children. Like the Chinese and Indian civilizations. they left little room for inquiry. temples. Representations of humans were more stylized as opposed to realistic. The religion lacked spiritual involvement. and knowledge of the importance of sterilizing wounds. Marriages were arranged. daughters. as is characteristic of agricultural civilizations. The famous epics of Homer. In addition. statues. and the land. as well as Vergil s Aeneid were written during this time period. The Romans were also known for their use of the arch in order to support structures of immense weight. Mediterranean The Greeks and Romans practiced a polytheistic religion involving humanoid gods and goddess which regulated aspects of human life as well as forces of nature. Greco-Roman civilization was well known for its artistic and literary achievements. and common workers and peasants found it difficult to hold on to in times of distress. Inspired by the official religion. The Indians also produced discoveries in mathematics. including research into inoculation. and showed an appreciation of nature. were entered into contracts at early ages in order to ensure economic ties. the Iliad and Odyssey.
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