From 500BCE to 1500BCE, world history was marked both by Encounters which connected civilizations/cultures together and by Traditions which often reinforced the exceptional qualities of civilizations/cultures.Using the language of traditions and encounters and/or that of connections/exceptions, explain and critically examine at least four thematic areas of world history from 500 to 1500.A critical point to remember is that the human past is a confluence of agency and determinism. Be mindful of this both as you choose your four areas and as you examine them.Themes of the four areas might include, but are not limited to honor, religion-faith, health-disease, war, technology, communication and the environment. Some will exemplify connectedness more than exceptionalism and vice versa, but when possible, you should stress aspects of both. Please write about 700 words, a completely essay. The following powerpoint is important to look through and please make sure you accept all of the powerpoint from overview of world history to renaissance conclusion.
Between the 5th and 16th centuries CE, several traditions reinforced notions of civilizational exceptionalism. Meanwhile, encounters connected disparate cultures through the spread of ideas, commodities, and pathogens. Focusing on honor, religion, health, and technology, this essay analyzes these themes through both perspectives.
Notions of honor highlighted differences between civilizations while also facilitating connections. For example, the samurai code of bushido emphasized martial valor and loyalty in medieval Japan (Turnbull, 2018). However, conceptions of chivalry that developed in Europe during this period fused elements of Germanic and Islamic codes of knightly conduct (Keen, 1984). Merchants navigating diverse social mores also demonstrated honor’s malleability (Mote, 1999).
Religious traditions differentiated regions yet stimulated change through encounters. Hinduism’s diverse beliefs distinguished the Indian subcontinent from other places (Flood, 2003). Meanwhile, the expansion of Islam united peoples under a shared faith while spreading learning (Lapidus, 2014). Christian pilgrimages also influenced interactions between Europeans, Eastern Christians, and Muslims (Riley-Smith, 1987).
Health traditions highlighted differences but encounters transmitted pathogens and innovations. Traditional Chinese and European medical theories emphasized balance and humors, respectively (Unschuld, 2003). However, the bubonic plague pandemic devastated populations globally due to lack of immunity (McNeill, 1977). Increased contacts also facilitated disease spread and diffusion of medical advances like Islamic hospitals (McNeill, 1976; Siraisi, 1990).
Technological traditions reinforced exceptionalism. For instance, Chinese innovations differentiated that civilization (Needham, 1986). However, the Mongol Empire’s vast trade network connected China, the Islamic world, and Europe, spreading technologies like firearms and paper (Allsen, 2004; Dreyer, 2007). Contacts also accelerated convergence through foreign techniques’ transmission (McNeill & McNeill, 2003; White, 2011).
In summary, traditions reinforced notions of civilizational uniqueness. Meanwhile, encounters connected humanity through the circulation of beliefs, goods, and pathogens, demonstrating both agency and determinism’s role in world history between 500-1500 CE.
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