Chapter Questions

Unit 1

Chapter 1
  1. How did the physical and cultural characteristics of hominids change over time, and how do scientists document and explain these changes
  2. How have changes in the environment influenced the physical development of the human species? What is culture?
  3. Do environmental conditions and changes in the techniques of production have an effect on culture? If so, how?
  4. What effects did the agricultural revolutions have on Neolithic societies?
  5. What were women’s roles in the first 4 million years of human history? What evidence can we find that might give us some indications of what women’s roles may have been? Does the evidence indicate how women’s roles may have changed over time? How and why might such change have occurred?
  6. How did differences in the environment and geographical location affect the development of these three early civilizations?
  7. What evidence do you see here of interaction between these civilizations and other peoples (including interaction between the three civilizations themselves)? How important do you think that interaction with other people was for the development of these three civilizations?
  8. Why might slavery not have been so important in the river-valley civilizations?
  9. What factors might explain the rise and decline of civilizations in general? Of these particular civilization?
  10. How do the religious beliefs and world-views in Mesopotamian and Egypt reflect the relationships between the environment and the people of these civilizations?
  11. What is the connection between knowledge and power? How did writing play into this relationship

Chapter 2

  1. Compare the political system and the political philosophies of China to those of Egypt and Mesopotamia.  How does ideology develop in response to political and social crises?  
  2. How did trade and other peaceful cultural interaction influence the cultural development of the civilizations discussed in this chapter? How important are trade and the influence of other cultures to the development of these various civilizations?
  3. How did war and imperial expansion influence the development of the civilizations discussed in this chapter?
  4. How did elites in Nubia, Mesoamerica, and China gain access to and maintain control over essential raw materials? What factors might account for the different strategies adopted by elites in different times and places?
  5. Discuss the problem of sources? What sources do historians use in order to understand the history of the civilizations of the Late Bronze Age? What are the advantages and limitations of the available sources? How do the available sources and the lack of sources shape our understanding of this period of history?

Chapter 3

  1. Compare the development of complex civilizations in the Western Hemisphere with those of the Eastern Hemisphere.  What differences do you notice? What factors might account for those differences?
  2. Compare the Assyrian and Phoenician/Carthaginian empires and explain the differences in their institutions, goals and values.
  3. How were the Mycenaeans influenced by the Minoans? What motives underlay their expansionist policies?

  4. What were the motives behind migration of peoples in antiquity? Compare the work involved with migrations today. How would you compare the reason for migrating then with the reasons for migrating today?

Unit 2
Chapter 4
  1. Compare the political systems of the Persian Empire and of Greece.  What factors best explain the differences between Persian and Greek political culture?
  2. How and why did the government of Greek city-states develop and change from the Archaic through the Classical periods?
  3. Why did the Persians and the Greeks come into conflict? What factors might explain the outcome of the Persian Wars and Alexander’s conquest of the Persian Empire?
  4. Why did Athens and Sparta come into conflict? What factors might explain the outcome of the Peloponnesian War, and what were the consequences of the war fo the city-states?
  5. How would you describe and explain the influence of the Persian and of the Greeks on western Asia and Egypt?
  6. What was the relationship between power and artistic and literary culture in the Greek world?
Chapter 5
  1. In what ways were the economic foundations of the Roman and the Han empires similar? How do you account for the similarity? How were they different? What were the consequences of the differences?
  2. Why did Christianity develop when and as it did? Who would you say is the founder of the Christian religion? Why did it ultimately survive and succeed?
  3. How might environmental or geographical factors help to explain the different long-term effects of the Roman and Han empires? Where they more important than religious and ideological factors?
  4. How has the material in this chapter contributed to your understanding of the relationship between technology an the development of governments?
  5. Why should the Han have been more successful then the Qin in establishing long-lasting dynastic rule?
  6. How did the institutions of imperial government in Han China differ from those established in Rome after Augustus? What might explain the differences?
Chapter 6
  1. How have geographical features influenced the political, social and cultural development of India?
  2. What factors made it possible for the Mauryan and Gupta empires to unite substantial parts of the subcontinent?
  3. What do the textbook authors mean by theater-state and how do they use this concept?
  4. What are the origins of the concepts of varna and jati, and why has the varna-jati system of social organization lasted so long? What social needs did they serve and how are these social functions addressed in our culture?
  5. What are the similarities and the differences among Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism?
  6. What factors might explain the ability of the Srivijaya to organize a number of ecological zones into a single kingdom?
Chapter 7
  1. Are there substantial similarities between the origins and the development of the Silk Road and the trans-Saharan trade?
  2. What effects did the Indian Ocean trade have on the societies who took part in it?  What factors determine the extent or significance of the effects of the trade on society?
  3. How is trade related to the dissemination of technology?
  4. How did geography affect the trade patterns of Africa and of Asia during the period of time covered in this chapter?
  5. Why did Buddhism and Christianity spread when and as they did?
  6. At the beginning of he chapter, the authors state, “Travelers and traders seldom owned much land or wielded much political power.  Socially isolated (sometimes by law) and secretive because any talk about markets, products, routes and travel conditions could help their competitors, they nevertheless contributed more to drawing the world together than did all but a few kings and emperors.”  If this is the case, then what role did trade play in their various societies between 300 B.C.E and 1100 C.E.?
Unit 3
Chapter 8
  1. Before reading this chapter, what did you think were the fundamental characteristic of the Islamic religion and society? After reading this chapter, what appear to be the fundamental characteristic of Islamic society? To what extent are you able to indentify the historical sources of those characteristics?
  2. What reasons might there be for the timing, rapidity and direction of Muslim territorial expansion? What ore do you need to know to gain an understanding of the expansion of Islam?
  3. What were the causes of the decline of the caliphate?
  4. Read the description of the development of Zoroastrianism and Christianity of pages 232-233 and then the descriptions of the development of Islam on pages 244-245 and 249-250. On the basis of this reading, what conclusions might you draw about the relations between religion and the state in the Islamic caliphate, the Byzantine Empire, and the Sassanid Empire?
  5. What does “Secretaries, Turks, and Beggars: in the Diversity and Dominance section indicate about Islamic society and its values?
Chapter 9
  1. How and why did the effects of Christianity on society and government differ in the west and the Byzantine Empire?
  2. How did the difference in the environment affect the development of the civilizations of Western Europe and Russia?
  3. Why should women have taken refuge in nunneries in the west but not in the Byzantine Empire?
  4. How and why does the role of religion in the history of the medieval Christian west differ from (or resemble) the role of religion in the history of India?
  5. Which do you think is more significant in the European recovery, technology or self-governing cities? What other factors might have contributed to the recovery?
  6. Why were the Crusades more important for Europe then the Muslim world?
Chapter 10
  1. What roles did geography and the environment play in the development of state in and around China during this period
  2. How and why did the roles and status of women vary over time and space in East Asia?
  3. How and why does the culture of Song China differ from the Chinese culture of the Tang period? What elements of continuity or shared characteristics justify calling the cultures of both tang and Song variants of a single “Chinese” culture?
  4. Why do some historians call the Song modern? What doe this indicate about their definition of the word modern?
  5. Compare the relationships between China and its Central Asian neighbors (Tibet, Uighur Empire, Liao Empire, and Jin Empire) on the one hand and its East Asian neighbors (Japan, Korea, and Vietnam) on the other.  How do the relationships differ and why?
  6. In what ways did China’s neighbors adapt the elements of Chinese culture for their own uses?
Chapter 11
  1. How did the different environments of Mesoamerica and the Andean region affect the development of civilizations?
  2. How did daily life for the common Amerindian of North America compare to that of a common Amerindian of Mesoamerica in the postclassical period?
  3. As you read this chapter, which things seems to confirm your previous ideas about Native American peoples and civilizations?  Did the authors challenge or contradict your previous views?
  4. How does technological development differ among the American peoples and societies discussed? What factors might explain the differences in technological development?
  5. How does technological development in Mesoamerica and Andean civilizations differ from technological development in the Eastern Hemisphere societies that you have studied thus far?  What factors might explain the differences in technological development?
  6. How does writing affect those civilizations that develop it?