Olmec Although Scientists Found Artifacts Term Paper

Pages: 16 (5404 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Freshman  ·  Topic: Drama - World

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[. . .] Aurelian later successfully reunited the three regions into one.

"The 50 years between the death of Severus Alexander and the accession of Diocletian (235-284) witnessed the near collapse of the whole Roman way of life, from the government and military structure to the economy and the thought system that had characterized the ancient world until then." (Timothy E. Gregory, page 23) During this time no emperor had a long leadership, due to the civil rebellions. In the North and East the frontiers were invaded by the enemies of Rome. "The economy collapsed, inflation drove prices up, and the coinage became virtually worthless." (Ibidem) Also, there was a cultural crisis which contained major changes in the literature, religion and art.

This period is also called "Military Anarchy" because emperors from this period did not rule the empire for a long time. They did not have a proper preparation to rule an Empire. Most of these kings were initially soldiers. The real cause of the crisis it is not known yet, although people blamed it on the new kings. There are some individuals who believe that the crisis took place because there was not given a clear law for the leadership succession.

Due to the crisis, the Roman Empire experienced major change. Not only did the institutions or the economy suffer, but also the society, the religion and the cultural life.

6. The Sung Dynasty

The Sung Dynasty or the Song Dynasty, like the Zhou or Han Dynasty, was one of the most important periods in Chinese history. After the Tang dynasty fell in 907, a new power rose: the Sung Dynasty. "Following the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907, southern China was broken up into small "kingdoms" ruled by warlords, while northern China was controlled by a rapid succession of "dynasties," the Later periods of the Liang, Tang, Jin, Han and Zhou." (Patrick Karl O'Brien, page 86) In 960, the general Zhao Kuangyin ended this period which was named the Ten Kingdoms and Five Dynasties. The general reunified China into the Song dynasty and "reigned as Emperor Taizu until 976." (Ibidem)

The Empire during the Song dynasty was much smaller than the one in the Tang dynasty. Central Asia was lost and the north represented a continuous threat to the Sung. The first capital of the new dynasty was placed in Kaifeng, a city placed in the north. Due to the constant loss of the northern territories, the Sung moved the capital to Hangzhou, a southern city. The constant threat from the north was represented by non-Chinese people, the Khitan and the Tangut.

During the Sung dynasty both culture and economy developed rapidly. Confucianism was seen "as the native Chinese philosophy" (Ibidem). The intellectuals from this dynasty looked for answers to Confucian questions, and due to this Confucianism gained a much important place in the Sung time. Also, during the Sung, art developed new ways of expression. The Emperor Huizong (r. 1100-1126) had developed a bigger interest regarding the painting of landscapes instead of caring for the government. As a result he lost the north, and people of Sung blame him for the defeat. The population grew bigger and as a result so did the economy. In 1127 a new dynasty arose in North China: the Jin Dynasty. The Song dynasty ruled the South for two more years, when the Ming dynasty started a new chapter in Chinese History.

7. The Abbasid Decline

Until the ninth century, the Abbasid period was named The Golden Age of Islam. During this period the Islamic world saw an increase in cultural life and artistic creation. Many creations from this period stayed at the base of the development in societies near the Empire and in the Western world. The Abbasids started to decline because they were a continuous threatened to the rival dynasties. Governors started to leave Baghdad and created their own dynasties. All the provinces that were far away from Baghdad became independent.

By the tenth century the Abbasids lost their power over the Arab Empire. "One factor was that Turkish soldiers, assigned to guard the caliphs, became more powerful in the government." (Craig A. Lockard, page 281) Shi'ites also contributed to the Abbasid Decline through bloody revolts which weakened the caliphate's power. When the Abbasid decline happened, the caliphate was just a memory. "In the tenth century anti-Abbasid Shi'ites established the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt and North Africa." (Idem, page 282) They elected Cairo as capital, which soon became stronger than Baghdad. In 970, the Fatimids founded the Al-Azhar University, which became "the most influential in the Islamic world." (Ibidem) Cairo was not just a major intellectual center, but also a bigger economic power than Baghdad.

The Abbasids were continuously challenged by invasions and rebellions. The Mongols, central Asian nomad people, due to their attractions towards the wealth of the Abbasids, attacked and destroyed Baghdad in 1258. During this event, the last Abbasid caliph was killed. As a result "the symbolic unity of the Muslim world and the Islamic umma" (Ibidem) was destroyed. However, even with the Abbasids decline, the political and cultural domains were not visible affected until the sixteenth and seventeenth century. With only a few Muslim rulers the Islamic society continue to arise.

8. The Northern Renaissance

Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael were the teachers of Renaissance ideology. "All three artists demonstrated an interest in classical culture, a curiosity about the world, and a belief in human potential." (The Northern Renaissance) Their ideas impressed people who visited Italy, and by the late 1400s the Renaissance spread across North Europe. The word "renaissance" means "rebirth."

After the bubonic plague and the war between and France and England, cities in North Europe started to grow. As a result artists were once again sponsored by the wealthy. First it happened in Flanders and after that it spread to other areas. Unlike Italy, that was fragmented into city-states, France and England were strong monarchies. Francis I of France "invited Leonardo da Vinci to retire in France, and hired Italian artists and architects to rebuild his castle at Fontainebleau." (Ibidem) Due to his actions and the others like that, Renaissance was able to infiltrate the Northern Europe society. Italian Renaissance is different from Northern Renaissance due to the fusion of Italian renaissance with northern traditions. Humanists from Northern Europe were interested about religion and its ideas and the social reform they developed was based on Christian principles.

"Around 1045, Bi Sheng invented movable type, or a separate piece of type for each character in the language." (Ibidem) His invention helped Renaissance spread in Northern Europe. Also, Albrecht Durer's work remained memorable in Renaissance history. His portrait paintings were relatively similar to photography. The Flemish Painters developed the oil painting techniques that were later adopted by the Italians.

9. Humanism

The history of the word humanism is very complex. In the nineteenth century, when was first used as humanismus, had the purpose "to designate the Renaissance emphasis on classical studies in education." (Humanism) In the fifteenth century the professors and students of classical literature were called umanisti. The word comes from the studia humanitatis which refers to some classical studies from the fifteenth century which were equal to the Greek paideia. "Their name was itself based on the Latin humanitas, an educational and political ideal that was the intellectual basis of the entire movement. Renaissance humanism defined itself as an aspiration toward this ideal of virtue and wisdom." (Ibidem)

Humanitas refers to the human virtue improvement. The term refers more to prudence, judgment and love of honor. As a result, the holder of humanitas was an active citizen. Humanitas sustained the balance of action not through compromise but through complementarity. The renaissance humanism included both education of young people and adults. This education was given through philosophical poetry. The humanist current was meant to reform the culture in such a way that people who were ignorant till then will "encourage the grandest human potentialities." (Ibidem)

The humanitas spread through literature offered by the Greeks and Romans. The translated manuscripts represented the base of the current. "For Renaissance humanists, there was nothing dated or outworn about the writings of Plato, Cicero, or Livy." (Ibidem) Classical philosophy and history were seen as examples of a suitable scheme. History was providing the proper experience for humanists. Classical virtue was seen a quality which can be tested and achieved. Humanists searched for rebirth of the lost spirit and wisdom. Humanists wanted to explain that humans can express themselves freely without being condemned by religious fanatics. They sustained the idea that people can only be creative when confidence is present. Victorian humanism was largely based on humanism that emerged during the Renaissance. This new current brought in attention and influenced people in believing that people must search for their true nature.

10. The unification of Japan

In 1185 the shoguns took the emperor's power, and as a result the capital… [END OF PREVIEW]

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