Foundations and
Classical Time Period
AP Review
What are the big events that take place during
the time periods 800 BCE-600CE
Neolithic Revolution, early river valley
civs form, Rise of Classical Civs in
Mediterranean, China and India
What was the Neolithic Revolution?
The discovery of domesticated plants
AND animals
What changes did the Neolithic
Revolution bring about in human life?
People become sedentary, development of
1st gov’ts, written languages, organized
religion, and social class.
Rise of cities, stratification of society,
subjugation of women, development of
technology such as metal, population
What two metals were the most important to
be discovered by early humans (name in
order of discovery)
Bronze and later Iron
What is a patriarchical system and
where do we see this?
Society dominated by men.
Everywhere civilization occurs
Why did early humans settle in river
The flooding of rivers provided fertile
soil for farming
Does change occur more through
isolation or through interaction?
Interaction, look at the Fertile
Crescent, many civs added to the mix
to create new things
What was the government of most
civilizations like in the Mesopotamia
Monarchy, usually ruled by priests or
generals. Small, ruling elite over large
peasant/commoner group
What was the government like in
Theocratic, with pharaohs considered
as divinity.
Describe the government in the
Indus Valley
Monarchy, large under class ruled by
small, elite class
How do we know this about Indus?
The scale of their planned cities
suggests that they had government
that could organize large groups of
Describe Chinese government for
the Shang Dynasty or Huang He
Rule by emperor, development of the
idea of Mandate of Heaven
Cite examples of social class
systems in river valley civs.
All had large gaps b/w wealthy and
poor. The best examples were in
China where peasants could not live
in the cities and could not build
houses out of wood or India where we
see the development of the caste
What role did nomads play with the
river valley civs?
They periodically brought destruction
and devastation but also served as
links to other areas of civilization.
Who was Hamurabbi and why was
he significant?
Ruled Babylonians. Created 1st
written law code
What was the name of the 1st
written language and who
developed it?
Cuneiform. The Sumerians
What was the world’s first great
monotheistic religion and where did
it develop?
Judaism. Mesopotamia.
Discuss the basic beliefs of
Ethical monotheism
Belief in covenant, idea that God and
the Jews have special agreement.
What marks the difference between
early river valley civs and classical
Classical civs
Created larger political structures that ruled
over larger populations (see the bureaucracy of
Han China)
Created larger philosophical/religious systems
Expanded scientific and mathematical
Improved on earlier technologies in agriculture,
manufacturing and urban life
Expanded and integrated diverse peoples.
Name the four classical civs
Rome, Greece, Han China and
Mauryan and Gupta India
Describe the political system of Han
Ruled by an emperor who had
unquestioned control. Emperor is
supported by a bureaucracy that is
trained and tested on the subjects of
Confucianism by the civil service
Describe the political system of
Rome had two distinct political systems. The first
came from 509 BCE and lasted until roughly 27
BCE. This was a republic in which the Roman
Senate, made up of 300 patricians, dominated the
political affairs of the state. During this time Rome
developed ideas about checks and balances and
law that still effect the West today. The second
political system involved the Empire where the
emperor had unlimited power and control. A
bureaucracy, though not nearly on the scale of
Han China, was instituted.
What was the major political
contribution of Classical Greece?
The Greeks, specifically the
Athenians, developed and instituted
the world’s first democracy, a direct
democracy where citizens themselves
voted on laws.
What was the government set-up
for Gupta India?
Rule by one ruler, Ashoka is the best
example of this
Describe the social institutions of
the Classical Civs.
Greece-Only citizens were allowed to vote. They
made up only 20% of the population. Foreigners,
slaves and women were excluded from the
Rome-Big divide between patrician (noble) and
plebeian (commoner). Only patricians allowed to
serve in Senate. Later in Rome, gap widens and
rich become interested only in luxury which
causes economic problems in Empire.
Han-Big gap b/w nobles and commoners. Though
all could test for civil service, only rich could afford
the schooling.
Gupta- Continued influence of caste system which
was very rigid and stratified.
Discuss gender roles in classical
Greece- women very limited. Couldn’t vote.
Were not even allowed to leave the house.
Very restricted.
Rome- Most open to women, Women could
own property and do most things except
Han China- Confucian values severely
limited women to roles. Very inferior to
Gupta India- Limited by idea of Hinduism,
seen as lesser than men.
What was trade like in classical
Although there was some trade, most
stuff is made within society. Trade is
mostly conducted through the Silk
Roads and mostly deals with luxury
items. Indians serve as middlemen on
Silk Roads
Discuss major
achievements of the classic civs.
Greece: Major works on philosophy by Socrates,
Plato, and Aristotle. Aristotle most important.
Summarized all the knowledge of his time. Big
proponent of reason and logic. Ideas considered
scientific truth for over 2000 years. Also developed
drama and columns
Rome: Not a lot of innovation b/c of reliance on
slaves. Did create the arch and aqueducts
Han China: Very innovative, came up with paper,
wheelbarrow, ox-drawn plows, choke less collar,
production in textiles and ceramics, water powered
mills. Most innovative of the classical civs.
Gupta India: Great manufacturing of cotton
textiles, iron making, chemistry, and math
What major world religion develops
in the Roman Empire?
Describe the main beliefs of
Believe that Jesus Christ was the Son
of God who came down to forgive
human’s sins. Christians believe that
Jesus was crucified, died and then
rose from the dead. They are
monotheistic and dogmatic. Salvation
only gained through faith in JC. First
organized into the Roman Catholic
Church, headquartered at Rome and
led by Pope
What were the major religions
developed in Han China?
Confucianism and Daoism
What are the major beliefs of these
Confucianism: Goal is to achieve an orderly
society. Breaks society down into 5 relationships
(ruler/subject, husband/wife, father/son, old
bro/young bro, old friend/young friend). Follow
these relationships and civility ensues. Big on
respect for elders, subjugation of women and
reinforcing social class positions. Non-theistic
Daoism: Belief in escaping society because it is
corrupt. Find happiness in nature. The Dao is an
invisible force that guides all things; follow this and
find happiness, don’t and find despair
What are the major religions
developed in Classical India?
Hinduism and Buddhism
What are the major beliefs in these
Hinduism: Tied to caste system. Belief in karma
and reincarnation which determines one’s spot in
life. Brahmins at the top. Some see it as
polytheistic, some as monotheism. Goal is
liberation from pain and suffering of life.
Buddhism: Closely related to Hinduism. Started by
Siddhartha Guatama. Unlike Hinduism, taught that
anyone could achieve Nirvana and not just those
on top of Caste system. Rejects caste system and
yoga. Shares ideas of reincarnation and karma.
How do the great religions spread
during this time?
Mostly by trade. Christianity spreads
throughout Roman Empire along
Roman roads. Hinduism travels to SE
Asia by trade, best seen in Cambodia
and the building Angkor Wat.
Buddhism travels to China along
trade routes but undergoes changes
like divinity of Buddha and role of
What are factors in leading to the
collapse of Rome?
Barbarian invasions recur with great
frequency weakening Rome. No law
for succession of emperor causes civil
war. Gap b/w rich and poor causes
economic problems. Plagues kill large
parts of population. Loss of patriotism
amongst the masses.
What are the factors that lead to the
collapse of Han China?
Much like Rome, plagues and
barbarian invasion bring about down
fall. Also gap between rich and poor
How is the decline of Rome and
China different?
The decline of Rome is much more
destructive and longer lasting. Roman
ideas and institutions disappear for nearly
1000 years and the level of civilization
drops in Europe. The Germanic Barbarians
are not equipped to rule over the area of
the Romans. Han China’s fall is much
shorter. Institutions developed by the Han,
specifically the bureaucracy and civil
service exams will be re-instituted by the
Tang within 300 years or so.
What major movements of peoples
do we see in the late Classical
Germanic barbarians move into
Western part of Roman Empire. They
are pushed by Central Asian nomads
the Huns. Also this is the time of the
Bantu migration in Africa in which they
spread their spoken language.
Major Snapshots and Comparisons:
Compare major religious and philosophical systems including some
underlying similarities in cementing social hierarchy, e.g., Hinduism
contrasted with Confucianism
Compare the role of women in different belief systems: Buddhism,
Christianity, Confucianism and Hinduism
Understand how and why the collapse of empire was more severe in
western Europe than it was in the eastern Mediterranean and China
Compare the caste system to other systems of social inequality devised by
early and Classical civilizations, including slavery.
Compare societies and cultures that include cities with pastoral and
nomadic societies.
Compare the development of traditions and institutions in major civilizations
like Indian, Greek and Chinese
Describe the interregional trading systems, e.g., the Indian Ocean trade.
Compare the political and social structures of two early civilizations using
any two of the following: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus Valley, Shang Dynasty,
and Mesoamerica
Important People
Han emperor: ruled Han at it’s height,
expanded to largest
1st emperor of Rome, started Pax
Ruler of Huns that pushed into Europe
and caused waves of Barbarian
His ideas became the basis for
bureaucratic rule in China
Jesus Christ
His teachings on his divinity and his
role in salvation spread through
out Roman Empire at the end
Siddhartha Guatama:
His teachings became the basis for
Gupta ruler that expanded territory and
then called for peace and religious
one of the fathers of modern science.
Pushed reason and logic
Alexander the Great:
Spreads Greek ideas into Middle East
and China; creates Hellenistic Culture
that leads to great advances in math
and science
founder (maybe mythical) of Daoism

Foundations and Classical Time Period