AP World History – Chapter 6 <Study Guide>

1. How would you describe the social hierarchy of classical China? (officials, landlords, peasants, merchants)
At the top were the emperor’s officials who were in large part drawn from the wealthy landowning
families. Despite the efforts of Chinese emperors, landowners remained a central feature of Chinese
society. Peasants made up the largest part of the Chinese population. There was significant
differentiation between peasant families; some worked or owned enough land to feed themselves and
perhaps sell something at the local market, while others could barely survive. Merchants were seen in
a negative light. They were viewed as unproductive people who made a shameful profit by selling the
work of others. (Original: pp. 156-160; With Sources: pp. 238-242)

2. What reforms were instituted under Emperor Wang Mang?
He ordered the great private estates to be nationalized and divided up among the landless.
Government loans were available to peasant families.
Limits were placed on the amount of land a family might own.
He ended private slavery. (Original: p. 158; With Sources: p. 240)

3. How did the scholar gentry view the peasants?
Peasants were the solid productive backbone of the country, and their hard work and endurance in the
face of difficulties were worthy of praise. (Original: p. 160; With Sources:)

4. What are the origins of classical India’s caste system?
This grew out of the interaction of many culturally different peoples on the South Asian peninsula
together with the development of economic and social differences among these peoples as the
inequalities of civilization spread in the Ganges River valley and beyond. (Original: p. 161; With
Sources: p. 243)

5. How was Indian society divided? How did the Vaisya and Sudra classes change? What class ranked lower than the Sudras?
It was divided into four great classes known as varna. Everyone was born into and remained
within one of these classes for life. At the top of this hierarchical system were the Brahmins—
priests whose rituals and sacrifices alone could ensure the proper functioning of the world.
Next was the Ksatriya class—warriors and rulers charged with protecting and governing
society. This was followed by the Vaisya class—originally commoners who cultivated the
land. These three classes came to be regarded as pure Aryans and were called the “twice born,”
for they experienced not only a physical birth but also a formal initiation into their respective
varnas and status as people of Aryan descent. The fourth group was the Sudras—native
peoples incorporated into the margins of Aryan society in very subordinate positions.
Regarded as servants of their social betters, they were not allowed to her or repeat the Vedas or
to take part in Aryan rituals.
Vaisya—originally cultivators—evolved into a business class that included merchants. Sudras
became the domain of peasant farmers.
The lowest class was the Untouchables—these people did the work considered most unclean
and polluting, such as cremating corpses, dealing with the skin of dead animals, and serving as
executioners. (Original: pp. 161-162; With Sources: pp. 243-244)

6. What is the difference between varna and jati as expressions of classical India’s caste system?
The varna system was older and provided broad categories in a social hierarchy that explained social
inequality. The jatis were occupationally based groups that split the varnas and the untouchables into
thousands of smaller social groupings based on occupation. Jatis became the primary cells of social
life beyond the family or household. Each jati was associated with one of the great classes or with the
untouchables. Marriage and eating together were permitted only within one’s own jati, which had its
own duties, rules, and obligations. (Original: pp. 163-164; With Sources: pp. 245-246)

7. How did India’s caste system differ from China’s class system?
India’s caste system gave priority to religious status and ritual purity (the Brahmins), whereas China
elevated political officials to the highest of elite positions. The caste system divided Indian society
into vast numbers of distinct social groups; China had fewer, but broader categories of society—
scholar-gentry, landlords, peasants, merchants. India’s caste society defined these social groups far
more rigidly and with even less opportunity for social mobility than in China. (Original: p. 164; With
Sources: p. 246)

8. What is one reason that India seldom experienced an empire that encompassed the entire subcontinent?
Because caste (jati) was a very local phenomenon, rooted in particular regions or villages, it focused
the loyalties of most people on a quite restricted territory and weakened the appeal or authority of
larger all-Indian states. (Original: p. 164; With Sources: p. 246)

9. What are the three functions of caste?
Caste, together with the shared culture of Hinduism, provided a substitute for the state as an
integrative mechanism for Indian civilization.
It offered a distinct and socially recognized place for almost everyone.
India’s caste system facilitated the exploitation of the poor by the wealthy and powerful.
(Original: p. 164; With Sources: p. 246)

10. What does one scholar suggest as a model for enslaving people?
He suggested that the early domestication of animals provided the model for enslaving people.
(Original: p. 165; With Sources: p. 247)

11. How did the inequalities of slavery differ from those of caste? (Think status, work, rights, and opportunities.)
Slaves possessed the status of outsiders, whereas each jati possessed a recognized position in
the social hierarchy.
Slaves worked without pay, unlike the individuals in the caste system.
Slaves lacked any rights or independent personal identity, unlike caste members
In some traditions, children of slaves were free at birth which offered more opportunities for
social mobility than did the caste system. (Original: pp. 165-167; With Sources: pp. 247-249)

12. How did Greco-Roman slavery differ from that of other classical civilizations?
Greco-Roman society depended more on slaves than did other classical civilizations.
There were more slaves in the Greco-Roman world than in other classical civilizations.
Slaves participated in a greater number and range of occupations than in the other civilizations,
from the highest and most prestigious positions to the lowest and most degraded. Slaves were
excluded only from military service. (Original: pp. 167-169; With Sources: pp. 249-251)

13. In what ways did the expression of Chinese patriarchy change over time, and why did it change in the first place?
Emerging Confucian ideology during the Han Dynasty played an important role in the evolving
ideas about patriarchy in Chinese society.
Long established patterns of thinking in terms of pairs of opposites wer now described in
gendered and unequal terms, with the superior symbol of yang (associated with heaven, rulers,
strength, rationality, and light) viewed as masculine and yin (associated with the earth, subjects,
weakness, emotion, and darkness) viewed as feminine.
Confucian thinkers emphasized the public and political roles of men in contrast to the domestic
and private domain of women.
The idea of the “three obediences” was also emphasized: it described a woman’ subordination
first to her father, then to her husband, and finally to her son.
The Chinese woman writer Ban Zhao recorded how women were taught from birth that they
were inferior and subordinated to men and should be passive and subservient in their relations
with men. (Original: pp. 171-173; With Sources: pp. 253-255)

14. Following the collapse of the Han Dynasty in the third century, what were the signs of a weakening patriarchy? Did patriarchy end in China?
Confucianism was discredited, while Daoism and Buddhism attracted a growing following.
Pastoral and nomadic people invaded northern China and ruled a number of the small states
that had replaced the Han government. The cultural influence of nomadic peoples, whose
women were far less restricted than those of China, was noticed.
Confucian-minded males criticized the adoption of nomadic styles of dress, makeup, and
music. By the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), writers and artists depicted elite women as
capable of handling legal and business affairs on their own and on occasion riding horses and
playing polo, bareheaded and wearing men’s clothing. Tang legal codes even recognized a
married daughter’s right to inherit property from her family of birth.
A further sign of a weakening patriarchy that caused great distress to advocates of Confucian
doctrine lay in the reign of Empress Wu, who was the first and only woman ever to rule China.
With the support of Buddhism, Empress Wu governed despotically, but she consolidated
China’s civil service examination system for the selection of public officials and actively
patronized scholarship and the arts, decreed that the mourning period for mothers be made
equal to that of fathers, and ordered the creation of Chinese character for “human beings” that
suggested the process of birth flowing from one woman without a prominent male role.
The growing popularity of Daoism (and Buddhism) provided new images of the feminine and
new roles for women. Daoist sects often featured women as priests, nuns, or reclusive
mediators, able to receive cosmic truth and to use it for the benefit of others.
Nevertheless, none of this meant an end to patriarchy, but it does suggest some change in tone
and expression of that patriarchy. (Original: pp. 172-173; With Sources: pp. 254-255)

15. How did the patriarchies of Athens and Sparta differ from each other?
Athens: placed increasing limitations on women between 700 and 400 B.C.E. Athens completely
excluded women from public life. It required that women be represented by a guardian in legal
matters, and women were not even referred to by name in court proceedings. Athens restricted women
to the home, where they lived separately form men. Marriage customarily saw a woman in her midteens
marry a man ten to fifteen years her senior. Land passed through male heirs.
Sparta: Women in Sparta lacked any forma public role, as in Athens. Spartan women possessed
more freedom, but greater value was placed on male warriors. In this context, the central task for
Spartan women was reproduction—specifically the bearing of strong healthy sons. To secure strong
sons, women were encouraged to strengthen their bodies, and they even participated in public sporting
events. Spartan women were not secluded for segregated like Athenian women. Spartan women
married men about their own age, putting the couple on a more equal basis. Men were often engaged
in preparing for war, so Spartan women had more authority in the household. (Original: pp. 173-177;
With Sources: pp. 255-259)

16. How did Spartan society solve the problem of a permanent threat from the helots?
Sparta’s answer was a militaristic regime that was constantly ready for war. To maintain such a
system, all boys were removed from their families at the age of seven to be trained by the state in
military camps, where they learned the ways of war. There they remained until the age of thirty. The
ideal Spartan male was a warrior, skilled in battle, able to endure hardships, and willing to die for his
city. (Original: p. 175; With Sources: p. 257)#

17. List the changes and continuities of the classical era.
(Original: pp. 177-178; With Sources: pp. 259-260)

▪The Greek conquest of the Persian Empire under
the leadership of Alexander the Great was both
novel and unexpected.
▪The Roman Empire encompassed the entire
Mediterranean basin in a single political system
for the first time.
▪Buddhism and Christianity emerged as new,
distinct, and universal religious traditions,
although both bore the marks of their origin in
Hindu and Jewish religions
▪The collapse of dynasties, empires, and
civilizations, while seemingly solidly entrenched,
were seen as something new

▪China’s scholar-gentry class retained its
prominence throughout the ups and downs of
changing dynasties and into the 20th century.
▪India’s caste-based social structure still endures
as a way of thinking and behaving for hundreds of
millions of people on the South Asian peninsula.
▪Slavery remained an important and largely
unquestioned part of civilization until the 19th
▪Patriarchy has been the most fundamental, longlasting,
and taken-for-granted feature of all

Scholar-gentry class
a term used to describe members of China’s landowning families, reflecting their wealth from the land and the privilege that they derived as government officials Original: (p. 158; With Sources: p. 240)

Yellow Turban Rebellion
a massive Chinese peasant uprising inspired by Daoist teachings that began in 184 C.E., with the goal of establishing a new golden age of equality and harmony. (Original: p. 159; With Sources: p. 241)

the system of social organization in India that has evolved over a thousand years; It’s based on an original division of the populace into four inherited classes (varnas), with the addition of thousands of social distinctions based on occupation (jatis), which became the main cell of social life in India. (Original: pp. 160-161; With Sources: pp. 242-243)

In Indian belief, this is the performance of the duties appropriate to an individual’s caste. Good performance will lead to rebirth in a higher caste. (Original: p. 163; With Sources: p. 245)

is the force generated by one’s behavior in a previous life that decides the caste level at which an individual will be reborn. (Original: p. 163; With Sources: p. 245)

huge estates operated by slave labor that flourished in parts of the Roman Empire (Original: p. 168; With Sources: p. 250)

a roman gladiator who led the most serious slave revolt in Roman history from 73-71 B.C.E. (Original: p. 169; With Sources: p. 251)

the dependent, semi-enslaved class of ancient Sparta whose social discontent prompted the militarization of Spartan society (Original: p. 175; With Sources: p. 257)

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