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Kayla Verble

Professor Lark

HIST 134

June 18, 2017

Portfolio Refection

While taking the course History 134: Ancient World this semester, I have been immersed

with knowledge regarding an assortment of civilizations throughout the most primitive

and earliest of eras. Taking this course has proven true that being educated on events and

cultures from our past assists in contributing to how we presently view the world, and

how examining ancestors of our past help shape the future. Religion, morals and

traditions have ignited wars, constructed societies, and assembled people together.

Through the duration of this course we have focused on a number of civilizations and

their commonalities being a belief of something substantially larger then themselves, an

individual or higher power then their ruler. Civilizations in these eras we gained

knowledge of believe tradition to be as crucial as religion. Traditions are exhibited by the

beliefs, militaries, and class systems of the society. In this paper, I will be focusing on

how religion, morals, and tradition significantly influenced individuals in history in their

actions and their contributions towards society.

Constantine the Great came to power as the emperor of the Western Roman Empire in

306 AD, and eventually known as ruler of entire Roman Empire in 324 AD after the

event of a civil war. Around the time of Constantine approaching into power, the religion

known as Christianity was flourishing at a massive rate as well as having a compelling

amount of followers in spite of Christianity’s misfortune in regards to the terrible acts of
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persecution. Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to follow and convert to

Christianity and embarked on making an effort to expand and advocate the new faith

throughout the empire. Constantine promoted legislation in regards to freedom of religion

for Christians and demanded church sanctuaries to be reestablished that had previously

been seized during the persecutions. Perhaps the most significant rule put in to practice

through the new legislation that affected the followers living under Constantine’s power

would be the termination of the persecution of Christians. Prior to this, Christians were

constantly persecuted by anyone that believed they had a right to because up until this

point in time it was sanctioned and in some cases even advertised, to persecute. In our

text in module ten we read, “When Romans were persecuting the Jews and Christians,

this was relatively easy. Just practicing your faith while living in fear of being caught was

a struggle enough.” (History 134 e-text: Module 10; “Christian Suffering”). Constantine

created a positive effect and immensely impacted numerous lives all because he insisted

on going a different route then his society had previously been cultured to. True, during

the time of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, the population was not huge, but the

Christian people were still prosecuted based off of their faith. The result of the

conversion caused the people during this time to contribute to their society and have a

sense of responsibility.

Whenever I hear outstanding military and fighting skills I now immediately think of

Alexander the Great. Alexander became the King of the ancient Greek kingdom of

Macedon as well as a member of the Argead dynasty at a very young age. (“Alexander

the Great”). Because of his conquering and defeats a vast number of empires, he

allowed himself to construct one of the most massive empires known to the ancient world
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which happened to stretch from Greece to Egypt and even parts of northwest India (“

Alexander the Great”). As king of Macedon, Alexander did not always follow the ways

of his religion due to the countries and empires he conquered. He would adapt the beliefs

of these empires to form a connection with the people. Alexander the Great was known

for always keeping to his traditions and always did the right thing when it came to his

country. His intention for Macedon was for it to prosper and be known as a world empire

that people were intimidated by but still showed respect towards.

The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, in known in our history books as God’s last prophet.

Muhammad is the reason for Islam, which happens to be the second largest religion

today. “It is believed that an angel from heaven came down to Muhammad and told him

to recite the scripture for the Quran” (“history 134 e-text; Module 13; Muhammad,

Prophet of Islam”). After the angel appeared, Muhammad went on a journey to spread his

knowledge of Islam to the entire world. Muhammad definitely had his doubts in the

beginning; despite this he stayed true to his destiny and religion. Without the father of

Islam and remaining faithful through the duration of the adventures of spreading Islam

across the globe even when people didn’t want to hear what he had to say, Islam would

not be as largely spread and heavily influenced as it is in todays world.

In this paper, we viewed three different people who maintained their morals, religion, and

traditions and how their actions created a massive influence in their communities and

countries. Constantine, Muhammad, and Alexander the Great, shaped the world through

their morals, beliefs, and traditions. We may be faced with obstacles different then the

leaders during the ancient times and not worried about the same issues. Just like
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Muhammad though, when we are passionate about our religion and faith, we like to tell

our friends, family and peers just like Muhammad did when he was spreading Islam. In

order to better our current society, people need to have an open mind and take risks when

it comes to new ideas. Spread peace and accept everyone, even if they don’t share the

same religion as you. Nations today are driven by religion, traditions, and morals.

Learning about these three highlighted topics in our reading has definitely made an

impact on my views and contributed toward my wanting to better society.
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References

History 134 e-text Module 7; Alexander The Great

History 134 e-text Module 7; Alexander The Great Crash Course

History 134 e-text: Module 10; Christian Suffering

History 134- e-text Module 10; Crash Course: Christianity from Judaism to Constantine

History 134 e-text; Module 13; Muhammad, Prophet of Islam

History 134 e-text Module 15; Why Study History?

History 134 e-text Module 15; What Can History Teach Us Today?