I. Early China, ca. 2000–221 b.c.e.
A. Geography and Resources
1. China is divided into two major geographical regions: the steppe, desert, and high plateau west and northwest; and the eastern zone, more suitable for settled agriculture.
2. The eastern zone is subdivided into two areas: north and south. The northern area includes the Yellow River Valley and has a dry, cold climate; the southern area includes the Yangzi Valley, has plentiful rainfall, and is relatively warm.
3. China’s natural resources include timber, stone, and metals. The loess soil and cool climate of the north are suitable for growing millet; rice may be cultivated in the warmer and rainier south.
4. Agriculture in this region required the coordinated effort of large numbers of people.
B. The Shang Period, ca. 1750–1027 b.c.e.
1. Pre-Shang China was a land of Neolithic communities. Pigs, chickens, and millet were domesticated, silk textiles developed, and bronze metallurgy begun (ca. 2000 b.c.e.)
2. There are no contemporary documents to confirm the existence of the legendary Xia dynasty. Later documents concerning the Xia may be referring to one of the late Neolithic societies of the Yellow River Valley.
3. The Shang dynasty had its origins in the Yellow River Valley and later expanded to include territory from Mongolia to Gansu and south to the Yangzi Valley. The Shang kings ruled directly over the core area of their kingdom and exercised indirect rule over peripheral areas.
4. Shang kings carried out military campaigns against nomadic enemies and engaged in a far-flung commerce that may even have included some indirect trade with Mesopotamia. The kings worshiped the spirits of male ancestors, practiced divination and sacrifice, and presented themselves as intermediaries between the gods and the human world.
5. Shang technology included the use of bronze for weapons and ceremonial vessels. Other technological advances include the horse-drawn chariot, the use of water buffalo as draft animals, and extensive civil engineering projects.
6. The Chinese writing system (Chinese characters) developed during the Shang period. The Chinese writing system of today is directly related to the writing of the Shang dynasty. The chief written remains are oracle bones used in divination.
C. The Zhou period, 1027–221 b.c.e.
1. The Zhou territory was a dependent state of the Shang. They defeated the Shang in the eleventh century b.c.e. and invented the concept of the “Mandate of Heaven” in order to justify their actions. The Zhou dynasty is subdivided into two periods: the Western Zhou and the Eastern Zhou periods.
2. During the Zhou period, the priestly power of the elite faded, resulting in the separation of religion and government. The Zhou period saw the development of a number of important secular philosophies.
3. During the Western Zhou period (eleventh–ninth centuries b.c.e.), the Chinese developed a model of government that defined kingship in moral terms. Like the Shang, the Zhou exercised direct control over their core territory and administered the peripheral areas indirectly.
4. The Eastern Zhou period was characterized by a decline in the strength of the central government as regional elites began to rule their territories as independent states, often fighting with each other. The Eastern Zhou period is further sub-divided into two periods: the Spring and Autumn Period (771–481 b.c.e.) and the Warring States Period (480–221 b.c.e.).
5. Technological innovations of the Eastern Zhou include the construction of long walls for defense, iron and steel metallurgy, and horse riding.
6. The Eastern Zhou is particularly known as the era in which influential political philosophies were developed. The most significant of these schools of philosophy were Legalism, Confucianism, and Daoism.
7. Legalism assumes that human nature is essentially wicked and selfish, and that people will only behave if they are ruled by strict laws and harsh punishments. Legalism functioned as the ideological basis of the various independent states as they expanded their bureaucracies, strengthened the power of the state, and issued written codes of law.
D. Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese Society
1. Confucianism was founded by Confucius and assumes that human nature is essentially good, has a hierarchical view of the universe, society, and the family, and is concerned with establishing the moral foundations of government. Confucius was not influential in his own time, but Confucianism later became the dominant political philosophy of imperial China.
2. Daoism is said to have been founded by Laozi. Daoism assumes that the universe is in constant flux, that there are no absolute moral standards, and that people should take the world as they find it. Daoism developed into a complex system of popular beliefs and magic and offered the Chinese an alternative to Legalism and Confucianism.
3. In society, the Eastern Zhou period saw the development of the three-generation family and the development of the concept of private property, including privately owned land. Women were more firmly subordinated to the patriarchal hierarchy; their subordinate position was justified by the concepts of yin and yang.
II. Nubia, ca. 3100 b.c.e.–ca. 350 c.e.
A. Early Cultures and Egyptian Domination, ca. 2300–ca. 1100 b.c.e.
1. Nubia is located in the Nile valley from Aswan south to Khartoum and forms a link between tropical Africa and the Mediterranean world. Nubia’s natural resources included gold, semi-precious stones, and copper.
2. The development of civilization in Nubia was spurred by the need for irrigated agriculture and by its trading relationship with Egypt. Nubian culture and Egyptian culture developed through a process of mutual influence and borrowing.
3. Early Nubia carried out trade with Old Kingdom Egypt, and the northern part of Nubia was occupied by Egypt during the Middle Kingdom period.
4. In the southern part of Nubia, the Kingdom of Kush developed by 1750 b.c.e. Kush was noted for its metalworking and construction.
5. Egypt invaded Kush during the New Kingdom period. The results of Egyptian occupation included the brutal exploitation of Nubian laborers and the imposition of Egyptian culture on the Nubian people.
B. The Kingdom of Meroë, 800 b.c.e–350 c.e.
1. A Nubian kingdom arose in the eight century b.c.e., and for a time the Nubians ruled Egypt as the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty (712–660 b.c.e.)
2. The Nubian kingdom had its capital at Napata from 660 b.c.e. to the fourth century. The Napata period is characterized by continued Egyptian cultural influence, including the use of Egyptian hieroglyphs and pyramids.
3. In the fourth century b.c.e. the kingdom moved its capital to Meroë, which was better located for both agriculture and trade. Egyptian cultural influence waned during the Meroitic era.
4. The ruling dynasty of Meroë practiced a matrilineal family system, and queens often were influential.
5. The city of Meroë dominated trade routes, used reservoirs to catch rainfall, and became an important center of iron smelting.
6. Meroë declined due to a combination of factors: a shift in trade routes, the rise of the kingdom of Aksum, and the depredations of camel-riding nomads.
III. Celtic Europe, ca. 1000– 50 b.c.e.
A. The Spread of the Celts
1. Celtic civilization originated in Central Europe in the first millennium b.c.e.
2. Around 500 b.c.e., the Celtic groups began a rapid expansion in several directions.
3. The Celts shared cultural traits, but there was no Celtic “state.”
B. Celtic Society
1. Celtic society was divided into an elite class of warriors, professional groups of priests and bards, and the common people.
2. The warriors owned land and livestock and monopolized wealth and power.
3. The priests, called Druids, were teachers and judges as well as religious leaders.
4. Celts were successful farmers and engaged in trade, shipbuilding, and metallurgy.
5. Celtic women were involved primarily in child rearing, food production, and some crafts.
6. Celtic women, particularly elite women, enjoyed more freedom than their Middle Eastern, Greek, and Roman counterparts.
C. Belief and Knowledge
1. The Celts worshiped a large number of gods and goddesses.
2. In Celtic mythology, the barrier between the natural and the supernatural world was quite permeable.
3. In the first three centuries c.e., Roman conquest and Germanic invasion halted the development of Celtic society.
IV. First Civilizations of the Americas: The Olmec and Chavin, 1200–250 b.c.e.
A. The Mesoamerican Olmecs, 1200-400 b.c.e.
1. The Olmecs, the most important Mesoamerican preclassic civilization, were at their strongest between about 1200 and 400 b.c.e.
2. Major centers of Olmec civilization were located along the coast of Mexico.
3. The use of raised fields provided the agricultural surpluses the Olmec needed to sustain urban centers.
4. The center of early Olmec civilization was located at San Lorenzo. San Lorenzo was surpassed by La Venta around 900 b.c.e., which, in turn, gave way to Tres Zapotes around 600 b.c.e.
5. Large earthen mounds dominated Olmec urban centers.
6. It is likely that Olmec political structures were built around some form of kingship.
7. Olmec power rested on the control of certain commodities and the popularity of their religious practices.
8. Given their limited technology, Olmec architecture was very impressive.
9. The Olmec played a role in the early development of writing and astronomy.
B. Early South American Civilization: Chavín, 900—250 b.c.e.
1. Chavín was the first major urban civilization in South America.
2. Chavín was politically and economically dominant between 900 and 250 b.c.e.
3. A combination of military strength and the appeal of its religious system explains Chavín’s influence and control over its territory.
4. Chavín possessed all the essential characteristics of later Andean civilizations, including a clan-based system of labor.
5. The evidence suggests that increased warfare led to the fall of Chavín around 200 b.c.e.