Classical Empires in AP World History

Flashcard maker : Daphne Armenta
Persian Empire
Consisted of two empires that developed respectively: Achaemenid and Parthian. Wa so large that the king used regional leaders known as satraps to watch over portions of the empire and report back to him. Had one of the world’s first highway systems; it was used by the empire’s armies to move rapidly from place to place and by the king’s messengers. Empire overextended itself and became vulnerable to attack from the outside.
Achaemenid Empire
(Persian) The first great Persian Empire; was centered in modern Iran and was the larger of the two classical Persian Empires. It stretched from Western India across modern Turkey almost to Greece.
Parthian Empire
New Persian-based empire that arose a century after the post-world Persia after Alexander the Great’s death. It defeated what still remained of Alexander’s divided kingdom. Their biggest rival to the West was a new Mediterranean power based in Rome, with whom they had many clashes.
Qing Dynasty
Rose after the chaos of the Warring States period (500 BCE – 200 BCE) in East Asia. This dynasty believed the heavens would provide them with a ruler who could establish a ruling family line until its leaders displeased the powers in heaven (mandate of heaven). Emperor Qin Shiuangdi was its founder and utilized legalism as a Chinese political philosophy. This dynasty created a solid foundation for dynastic rule in China that endured into the early 20th century. Only lasted from 220 – 206 BCE.
Han Dynasty
(206 BCE – 220 CE). Lasted much longer than the Qin Dynasty. Existed at about the same time as the Roman Empire and exchanged trade and diplomatic ties with them along the Silk Roads. Empire was roughly as large and wealthy, but more technologically developed than Rome’s. Capital was Chang’an (modern Xi’an). Began building the Great Wall of China and canal-digging projects that linked northern and southern China.
Mauryan Empire
Arose first (c. 321- c. 185 BCE) and stretched from modern Pakistan almost to the southern end of modern India. Its most famous ruler was Ashoka, who converted to a peaceful life under Buddhism after years of empire-building. Hinduism remained the dominant religion in S. Asia during the empire’s reign.
Gupta Empire
(c. 320 CE-c. 550 CE) covered roughly the northern half of today’s India and is most notable for its cultural contributions that later found their way into Western culture. Contributed the concept of zero, an efficient numbering system (later introduced to the West as Arabic numerals); chess; and medical advances.
Phoenician city-states
Began spreading their influence from their original base on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean in modern-day Lebanon. Established colonies across the Mediterranean in Greece, Italy, Northern Africa, and Spain. Didn’t use military conquest to gain power; heavily interested in trade and specialized in luxury goods. Their colonies in Greece greatly influenced development of Greek Civilization
Greek City-States
(c. 600 BCE-c. 330 BCE). Contributed to our idea of citizen and democracy. Its early democracy consisted of only free adult men being citizens and voting on government policies, which initiated the idea that government could be influenced by the peaceful voice of its people. It shared a common language and religion, but democracy was not the only form of government in all its city-states. Ex./ Athens allowed participation by its male citizenry, but Sparta was a totalitarian oligarchy, meaning that few men made all the governmental decisions. Its city-states were united by Alexander the Great and expanded to include Egypt and Indus River region.
The blending of Greek math, science, philosophy, literature, governance, architecture, and art w/ existing forms in Egypt which was an example of cultural syncretism.
Roman Civilization
Patterned much of its politics and culture after the Greeks. Over time, its people passed those patterns to civilizations in Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. Greek gods replaced Roman gods but were given Roman names. Its classical era includes both the Republic (c. 500 BCE-c. 30 BCE) and the Empire 9c. 30 BCE-476 CE). Its civilization was dedicated to building (monuments, aqueducts, roads). Its government used its military, both land and sea forces, to protect trade routes within its borders. Its western half fell in 476 CE and the city of Rome spiraled into decay; the eastern half (Byzantine) continued for another thousand years.
Byzantine Empire
Headquartered in Constantinople, it maintained the \”glory of Rome\” over eastern Mediterranean until the mid fifteenth century CE. It influenced the social, political, and economic development of Russia, Eastern Europe and modern-day Turkey. This empire’s greatest legal contribution was its legal system, known as the Code of Justinian and cultural contribution was Hagia Sophia.
Mayan Empire
Made complex mathematical calculations, studied the stars, and developed a writing system. Built tall religious temples that looked like Mesopotamia’s ziggurats. The biggest city was Tikal. Like the Egyptians, they built large pyramids and temples. Agricultural system featured irrigation and terracing of hillsides and was very successful, supporting a population of about 5 million people w/in the empire.Obtained power through military coercion.
City-state located to the north of Maya. One of the biggest cities in the world in the Classical Era. Was a separate civilization from the Maya and had a complex government bureaucracy, reservoirs, apartment complexes made of stone, and pyramids dedicated to their gods. Traded with the Mayans.
Classical civilization of the Andean region (c. 100-c. 800 CE). Inhabited territory that stretched 250 miles along the mountains of the western coast of modern Peru. Its government was controlled by a class of warrior-priests. Much like the Maya, the Moche built pyramids and other monumental buildings, such as palaces. They traded with neighbors, created complex irrigation systems, terraced mountainsides to grow crops, and practiced human sacrifice. Its craftspeople created some of the world’s most beautiful works of art in gold, jewels, and pottery.
Important city in Mediterranean civilizations during Classical Era.
City-state in North Africa during the Classical Era.
Important city-state in Italy during the Classical Era.
Male domination of political, social, and economic life-was common to all the classical empires and was a continuity through time.
Decline of Classical Empires
All eventually over extended themselves, declined in political, social, and economic areas, and eventually fell. Internal pressures included: diseases spread by war and by transference along trade routes, peasant revolts against overbearing landlords, resistance to high taxation, a breakdown of imperial authority, failing economies. External pressures came from rival empires, local rebels, and nomadic groups (many were Huns), in Rome these included the Huns, Goths, and Vandals that attacked the Western Roman Empire and capital of the Roman Empire itself.
Fall of Han Dynasty
Fell largely because of internal clauses, including struggles for power among the dynastic family members and top generals, as well as the Yellow Turban revolt (internal pressure). Note that as this dynasty fell, many in China converted to Buddhism.

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