Discuss the new ideas that emerged from the Great Schools of the Axial Age. Compare and contrast the ideas of China’s sages with the ideas emerging in the same period in India and Greece. Why do we tend to divide the new philosophies between “natural philosophy” and “moral” or “political” philosophy? Give an example of each. Why do we tend to call the teachings of Chinese and Greek scholars “philosophy” whereas we tend to think of the teachings emerging in India as “religious”? (Hint: To answer this question, you will have to read the Armesto chapter posted on the website AS WELL AS the textbook chapters.)
650-900 words – 50% of your grade.
Section II: Answer one of the questions below in 650 -900 words:
1. From 3500-2000 BCE, as civilizations developed in the river basins of Mesopotamia, Egypt, South Asia and East Asia, more intensive cultivation brought agricultural surpluses that ushered in a wide range of impacts. Explain with examples from at least two of the river-basin civilziations how food surpluses led to the rise of complex societies and states. (To answer this question, you must define “complex society” and discuss the types of states developed in the societies you are discussing.)
2. The second millennium BCE witnessed large-scale migrations of nomadic peoples who brought with them their domesticated horses and their chariot technology. These people are referred to by scholars as Indo-Europeans, largely on the basis of their languages (see Current Trends in World History: How Languages Spread). Contrast the impact of migrations into Southwest Asia(Anatolia and Mesopotamia), Egypt, South Asia, and East Asia. To what extent did conflict play a role in the impact of Indo-European language speakers on the formation of territorial states?
3. From the mid-second through the mid-first millennium BCE, “second-generation” societies developed in Easter Zhou China, the Ganges plain of South Asia, and the Mediterranean, while parts of South America, Mesoamerica, and sub-Saharan Africa birthed their first complex societies. What are the differences between the second-generation societies of Afro-Eurasia and the first complex societies elsewhere, and what might account for these very different, yet contemporary developments across the globe?
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