The Classical Period, 1000 B.C.E-450 C.E.
Highlights. After the disruption of several of the river-valley civilizations, another set of civilizations arose that expanded into much larger territories and developed a variety of new devices to integrate these territories. These processes of durable civilization building dominated the classical period, as China, India, and the Mediterranean created cultural, political, and commercial systems of lasting importance. Other societies developed on the borders of these major systems, and several new international linkages arose as well. The classical period drew to a close after about 200 C.E., as the great empires began to falter.
Key Developments. The expansion of major civilizations after about 1000 B.C.E. resulted from several factors. New invaders brought energy and aggression; Indo-European nomads from Central Asia poured into India and, later, southern Europe and the Middle East, combining with local populations. The achievements of the river-valley centers provided experience in setting up bureaucracies and trade routes. The use of iron provided advantages in weapons and agricultural production. Growing populations surged into adjacent regions—for example, the northern Chinese who entered southern, rice-growing areas and the Greek colonists who spread through the Black Sea borders and westward to Italy.
New size meant new demands on coherence. The expanding civilizations formalized cultural systems, creating basic statements of political and social values—such as Confucianism in China—or of religion—as with what became Hinduism in India. Spreading, coherent cultures helped link diverse peoples together, often providing common languages at least for elites, for instance, Mandarin in China. The new civilizations developed greater political capacities, linking diverse regions into solid empires.
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Publication information: Book title: Experiencing World History. Contributors: Paul V. Adams - Author, Erick D. Langer - Author, Lily Hwa - Author, Peter N. Stearns - Author, Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks - Author. Publisher: New York University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 91.
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