What interactions led to the collapse of classical empires?
Among the forces that caused classical empires to collapse was the need to maintain the empire over a large area. This made the empire difficult to govern. The military and political strength of the empire were centralized. It was difficult to control the peripheral areas because of limited technology. Other elements that contributed to collapse were the demands of limited resources, judgment of the rulers, and corruption.
What were the important developments and cultural changes in Europe?
As the empires of Eastern Europe were in decline, there emerged in Western and Northern Europe a new system of political control called feudalism. Feudalism was a class system based on the control of land. A hierarchical system of land ownership had the king at the apex of power. Central to the system were the castles of the nobles located in militarily defensible positions.
Manor lands were expanded and their productivity improved by two technological innovations. First, the moldboard plow permitted efficient, deep turning of the soil. Second, the horse collar was developed and permitted horses to be used for faster cultivation compared to the use of oxen. Agricultural innovation increased trade and led to the growth of towns and cities. Wealth from trade was used to develop a patronage system of merchants and noblemen who sponsored and supported the artistic and cultural activities of the Renaissance.
The relationship between land ownership and power was a contributing factor to conflict such as the 100 Years War. The feudal system that supported a class of nobles with independent wealth contributed to the Crusades. The concentration of people in cities provided a suitable environment for the spread of disease. The Bubonic Plague was a human disaster for much of the Eastern Hemisphere and was particularly devastating to Europe.
What interactions led to the spread of religions?
Religion was spread by the forces of cultural diffusion, including military power, trade, missionary conversions, and migrations. Encounters between different religious groups led to conflict, such as the Crusades and tensions within the Christian Church. At other times the spread of religions went unchallenged, such as the spread of Buddhist philosophy and the Hindu religion.
What were the important developments and cultural changes in Eastern Europe?
The evolution of the classical world began a power shift from East to West. The unique location of the Byzantine Empire led to its prominence in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Byzantine Empire was located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe which promoted Constantinople as the center for culture and trade. Over time the religious, economic, and political conflict between East and West caused the decline of the Byzantine Empire. One example of this conflict was the division of the Christian church between the Eastern Orthodox center in Constantinople and the Roman Catholic church in Rome. Eastern Europe remained dominated by empires and Western and Northern Europe developed independent monarchies and political units.
What were the causes and consequences of the Plague?
When people in this era began living in larger settlements and cities, they were in close proximity to one another. Public health and sanitation were poor. Disease was spread by animals such as rats, insects, and fleas. The Plague followed the major trade routes of Eurasia and North Africa. Increased trade between regions led to the rapid and disastrous spread of the epidemics. The Plague, Black Death, was one of the most serious epidemics. People from all social and economic strata were affected by pandemics. The effects were a dramatic decrease in population and disruption of economic activities such as farming and trade. Xenophobic behaviors and the identification of minority groups as scapegoats by leaders and communities often occurred.