Fall of Rome

  • Began decline in 180 CE
  • Political confusion made leaders that took power weak/insignificant and conflicts over succession of the throne occurred.
  • Plagues traveled to Rome by international trade from southern Asia and decimated the population.
  • As the population fell, so did the economy. (No matter how much slave labor they utilize)
  • Recruiting for the army became difficult so people from Germanic tribes were hired to guard the borders of the empire.They were paying former enemies to protect them. (Would only make things worse in the end)
  • Intellectuals became less creative and important as their ideals began to slip away and the focus on preserving Rome with a militaristic discipline.
  • Internal problems with corruption grew in the government and the culture began to decline.
  • Imperial rule declined and with it, economic stability worsened. Farmers sought protection from wealthy landlords.
  • Landlords with large estates used influence to provided some stability, but in other ways it weakened the power of the emperor over time and moved the economy away from successful trade.
  • Diocletian ruled from 284 to 305 CE and tried to fix the empire- successful in getting economy back on track- pushed the worship of the emperor as god
  • Constantine ruled from 312 to 337 CE and built a second capital city, Constantinople. It helped regulate the eastern half of the empire. He also tried to use Christianity to unify the empire, but nothing could save the dying Roman empire.
  • Because the empire was split in half, the western half became even weaker- tax revenues declined, which hurt the armies
  • Germanic tribes started invading in the 400s and took over completely around 476 CE
  • The unity of Mediterranean lands was destroyed along with the Empire. Three zones of the Meditteranean region eventually became three new empires.

Decline in China
  • Hun tribes caused collapse of Han China
  • By 100 BCE, Han China was in a decline:Confucian intellectuals became less creative, control of government crumbled, bureaucrats became corrupt, local landlords took over their respective regions.
  • The Yellow Turbans (184 BCE) were Daoist leaders who thought everything would resolve itself .
  • As the economy went down, social unrest went up.
  • The decline caused China to not be able to fight back invading groups
  • Epidemics of disease spread throughout China.
  • The above factors caused about 300 years of chaos, during which many dynasties arose and fell.
  • The spread of Buddhism threatened China's cultural unity.
  • China "revived"; ousted foriegn rulers/invader around 500 CE.
  • Sui Dynasty ruled until 618 CE and then the Tang Dynasty took power. The Tang brought prosperity to China again and gained support for Confucianism and bureaucracy again.
  • Bureaucracy became less important over time, but didn't disappear.
  • Once invading tribes conquered China, they actually adopted Chinese traditions. Although the Chinese were defeated and disbanded, their civilization remained loosely intact.

Decline in India
  • The control of Gupta empire declined by 400 CE.
  • Hun tribes were invading parts of northern India around 500 CE- but destroyed Gupta Empire within the next century
  • Invaders formed a new ruling class of regional princes called Rajput: warrior princes; ruled small states and focused on military power.
  • Buddhism declined in India and Hinduism started regaining support as Hun princes were converted from Buddhism to Hinduism.
  • Islam began its spread after 600 CE and reached India around 600 CE
  • Hindus reacted to the spread by emphasizing more on religious devotion. (Texts were written in the classical language causing Sanskrit to decline) This prevented Indians from abandoning the traditional religion of Hinduism

  • Regionalism remained the primary form of government
Spread of Christianity and Buddhism
· Buddhism became a slight minority religion in India, but traveled beyond India’s borders as well.

· Buddhist expansion was largely due to Buddhist monks who also took up leadership roles.

· Most Buddhists continued to work and interact with the world and meet their spiritual obligations as best as they could.
· Small numbers separated themselves from earthly boundaries and attempted to reach Nirvana () through spiritual dedication.
· The doctrine of bodhisattvas broadened the prospects of salvation for the average people by leading them in prayers and advising them on spiritual matters.
· The religion spread into China rapidly after the fall of the Han Dynasty due to the promise of a celestial afterlife.
· From China it spread into Korea and Japan
· The East Asian form of Buddhism, Mahayana, retained the basic Buddhist beliefs but also emphasized Buddha as a divine savior.
· The religion improved its organization with priests, temples, creeds, and rituals.
· Buddhism had little effect on patriarchal power in India and China even though Buddhists believed men and women had souls. (Cultural Blending)
· Buddhism was not popular with Confucian leaders, Daoism, and imperial dynasties; suppressed.
· Buddhism had a greater and lasting influence in the religious experience of East Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, rather than China.
· Buddhism did not dominate entire civilizations, but instead lived alongside other faiths.

· Christianity spread westward from its original center in the Middle East.
· Played a direct role in the formation of two postclassical civilizations; E. and W. Europe.
· Placed more emphasis on organization and the Church; structural like the Roman Empire.
· Missionary activity was applauded because they caused widespread conversions.
· Christianity expressed that it was the only true religion and was intolerant of competition.
· Believed in the Second Coming of Jesus. (The father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost)
· Christians began to see themselves as a separate religion, not part of the Reform Jews.
· The Pope (bishop of Rome) led the central church organization; strength and independence.
· Even after Rome collapsed, Christianity had immense spiritual power that differed E. to W.
· The popular message of salvation appealed to people of all classes and social groups and provided a sort of unity to them
· Gave women more credit and said male and female souls were equal; but not that men and women were equal. Encouraged men and women to worship together.
· Would ultimately prove to be one of the two largest faiths worldwide.