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Why study history at all?
Studying history provides a wide range of benefits that helps one tounderstanding how the origin of certain groups and the identity ofvarious cultures. In this case, one has the ability to benefit to alarger extent with the knowledge that History provides in thelong-run. History tends to provide cultural awareness where a personwill get a better way of understanding the origin, beliefs, andpractices too. For instance, an Egyptian might have a chance tounderstand their origin and the period of the pharaohs from 3150 BConwards. In fact, the history might reveal multiple fashion designsthat were used at that time. He or she might also understand how theancient Egyptians exchanged ideas from the Mesopotamia.The knowledge of such concepts helps one in understanding how theircultural identity was created in the long-run.
History also helps someoneunderstand various events and other issues from the past that mightbe quite important. For instance, one might be able to capture theHellenistic period that had Alexander the Great of 323 BC (Adler& Randall, 33). In fact, onewill be able to understand the various accomplishments that he madesuch as acquiring more empires and urging the Greeks to livepeacefully with the Persians. He even borrowed various elements oftheir culture such as the clothes and married Barsine, who was aPersian woman. Clearly, history ensures that a leader understandssuch issues that might touch on their background. One might evenunderstand various factors that led to human conflict at thatspecific time.
History also helps in facilitatinggood citizenship among a group of students since they understand thekind of loyalty that is expected of them. Some of the students mighteven learn how they are expected to respect their constitution, thegovernment, and leaders. In the process, they understand theirnational identity as well as the success stories involving variousheroes. In fact, most of the stories involving the heroes make thelearners understand the essence of respecting their nations and theleaders. The concepts help the students to be informed voters,petitioners and vocal citizens that will be ready to fight for theircivic rights and democracy too. The learners might also go ahead tobe responsible people in the society such as community leaders sincethey understand how the government runs.
History also helps peopleunderstand modern issues based on the distant past. For instance, theenmity between two nations might have arisen from the human conflictin the past. In the process, one will be able to understand how tolook at the issue since they grasp every concept that led to theenmity. The knowledge also helps the learners in comprehending thecurrent affairs since the distant past help in making sense ofeverything. Current fashion styles seem to borrow from the ancientEgyptian designs, and one will only understand that through history.Hence, history helps people in understanding some key concepts thatare occurring in the current society where the modern affairs arebeing influenced by the past events. The knowledge and the experiencegained from the history lessons help people in understanding variousimportant concepts happening.
What is meant by a "cultural construct"? What other examples can you think of?
A cultural construct refers to a shared understanding that a grouppeople might have or even practice. The particular ideologies thatcreate the cultural construct are evident in the groups’ beliefsand practices too. Gender is one of a cultural construct since peoplebelieve that men are more powerful than women. For instance, theancient communities did not value women in the society. In the midstof civilization in Greece and Rome, women did not get any politicalseats in the government. Instead, women were expected to undertakethe household chores as opposed to the productive activities in thesociety. In fact, they could attend the learning institutions toacquire knowledge on grammar, philosophy or even law. Women were notallowed to participate in the political activities such voting. Menwere considered to be the powerful ones, and they even took all thepolitical seats, and the women were ignored. The scenario reveals howgender was used as a cultural construct in that period and the womendid not have a voice in the society.
Race is another cultural construct that was common in that specificperiod. For instance, race divided the ancient Greek and Romecommunities into social classes. In most cases, the slaves weremainly Africans, and they only helped in the construction purposeswhere they engaged in manual labor. The slaves were also used asfighters, and they did not interact freely with the other races inthe same society. Instead, they were inferior, and they belonged tothe lower class of the social hierarchy. The same slaves wereexpected to dress in a way that showed their inferiority. They wereprohibited from wearing the same clothes that the richer people had.It showed how race determined the way that the people interacted andtheir identity too. Perhaps, the Europeans were the only ones thatwere in the higher social classes in the ancient communities.
Religion was another cultural construct that determined how thesociety worked in the long-run. For instance, the Greeks believed inthe gods, and they knew that they influenced their lives in variousways. In fact, some myths and the stories about the Greek heroesreveal how the society believed in the gods. The gods even gave themilitary forces some supernatural powers that helped them in winningthe wars. The influence of the gods was also powerful that the Greeksbuilt temples and made sacrifices to the gods. Some of the eventslike Olympics were formed as a result of the celebration of theOlympian gods. Based on the information, it is evident that religionwas an important cultural construct in the Greek society. Besidesthat, the Greeks incorporated religion into their lifestyles sincethey practiced all those beliefs. For instance, the priests werehonored since the society believed that they were the ones allowed tocommunicate with the gods to present the concerns of the people. Allin all, the religion, race, and gender are the some of the threecultural constructs that were common in the ancient communitiesinstead.
Discuss the influence of other civilizations on the development of the Roman Republic and Empire.
The Roman Empire and the Republicwere characterized by a number of civilizations that facilitateddevelopment. The civilization was a key aspect, and the developmentof agriculture helped in ensuring that the society had enough foodsupply. For instance, the Romans focused on creating landholdings andslave-run plantations where they grew grains, olives, and vines aswell. They also kept the sheep, cattle, and goats that help infeeding the huge population in the region. The constant food supplyhelped in increasing the population in the end.
The Roman Empire also focused onfacilitating trade and industry that enhanced development in theregion. They even had the long-distance maritime trade before thenineteenth century. For instance, the well-constructed roads and thesea routes were some of the aspects that encouraged the tradeactivities between the Romans and other empires. The trade systemalso helped in moving the grains from North Africa to Rome as well.In fact, the amount of trade during the 218-202 BC was more intensethat Rome had a banking system (Adler & Randall, 54).The grain supply was critical in transforming Rome into an enormousempire with an improved commerce system. The empire was also forcedto create more ships that moved the grains and other products throughthe sea routes. Besides that, the trade activities also created taxesto the government that used the funds in other developmental projectsinstead.
The social classes in the Roman Republic werealso critical in facilitating development as well. For instance, thehighest social class that comprised of the senators, aristocrats andtheir families that initiated various projects that developed therepublic. The army that made the equitessocial class was also responsible for the expansion of the empire.Besides that, the Roman citizens also engaged in productiveactivities that helped in making the empire improve economically.Most importantly, the lower social class that has the slaves providedlabor in the plantations. For instance, the 17thcentury saw the Atlantic slavery that was critical in helped inmaking the empire develop in terms of the trade and the agriculturalactivities too.
Education was an important part of civilization since it enlightenedpeople on the philosophy, rhetoric, grammar, science and arithmetic.In fact, the higher education was critical in making the studentsunderstand more concepts that helped people in more development. Forinstance, the knowledge such as arithmetic helped in the creation ofthe stadiums and other important buildings. The education also helpedthe learners in understanding the law that urged them to maintainorder in the society. Rhetoric and law also helped the learners inmaking the government run efficiently as expected (Adler &Randall, 76). It also helped in facilitating democracy and reducingthe oppression of the poor people in the society. Grammar also helpedthe ex-slaves in fitting in the community more efficiently, and theinteraction between them led to more development. With theconstruction and with the help of geometry and improved architecturaltechnology, they were able to create more buildings in Rome.Evidently, civilization was a critical part of ensuring that theRoman Republic developed to a larger extent as well.
Outline the processes of state formation in the European national monarchies.
The European national monarchies were enhanced by the assumption ofthe absolutism. To some extent, absolutism applied to the process inwhich a ruler acquired a larger territory and ensured that it has acentralized government and the powers too. For instance, the statehad to have to control over the tax collecting machinery to make surethat they get enough income to support the sovereign (Adler &Randall, 107). Apart from that, they also had to control the army andmake sure that they have everything they might want. In fact, theyare the ones that provide the security and attack other territoriesto expand the empire. Hence, the army was clearly an important partof the territory since they were able to use it in controlling howthe empire worked. On the other hand, they had to divide the empireinto small manageable provinces that will make the governing processmuch easier. The creation of the upper nobility will be anothercrucial aspect in making sure that the state is on the right path.The nobility will be able to reduce any constraints that the royalpower might face in administering the area.
The same state will be forced to extend the extraction of themanpower as well as the funds to support its operation. For instance,the state needed an increase in the royal revenues to make sure thatthey were not relying on debts to run the kingdom. In fact, theincreased taxation also needed closer supervision to make sure thatall the funds were sent back to the monarch. The failure to implementthe closer supervision meant that the state would lose a lot ofrevenue through the corrupt dealings. Besides that, the force neededto increase the recruitment of the army and the navy as well. In mostcases, a stronger army meant that they had total control over themonarchy and the people. The royal authority also had to integrate afew privileged groups in the regime and make sure that they have afew special seats. In this case, some privileged groups tend to havethe power and knowledge to oppose the royalty. Hence, it is oftenadvisable that the religious leaders, merchants, and other wealthypeople have various political seats to win their trust.
An important part of the state creation was the justification of themonarchy and seeks loyalty from the citizens. For instance, moststates often claimed that the royal authority had the divine right tobe the rulers. Hence, the religious argument scared most of theordinary citizens to oppose the royal authority. Instead, theyrespected the monarchy believing that it is the will of God to beruled with that particular royal authority. Often, the process ofstate formation started with the acquisition of more territories tohelp the state to acquire more powers. After that, the state had toextend its control over the other available territories and ensurethat they were strong enough. More territories meant that the royaltywould receive more revenue and the slaves too. In conclusion, theprocess of state formation needed specific changes that will win thetrust of the army, citizens, and wealthy people and acquire morerevenues to fund the sovereign.
What cultural, political, and economic impacts did the Islamic world have on the development of European civilization?
The interaction between the European powers and the Islamic worldbegan in around 1615 when the Europeans started trading with theOttoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was composed of Muslim followers,and they tried to convert the Christians to Islam after they haveconquered them. The Islamic world helped in improving various aspectsin terms of the cultural, economic and the political factors in theEuropean nations. First, the Islamic world had the cultural impact onthe European civilization through the spread of the hate against thenon-Islamic people. In fact, the Muslims referred to the non-Islamicpeople as he infidels since they did not support their religiousideologies. They have even focused more on spreading the wave of theMuslim banditry and piracy that were against the other religiousgroups in the Mediterranean region. However, the ideologies of thewar against the non-believers led to Byzantine Emperor Leo III duringthe period of 726-730BC to initiate the Iconoclasm ((Adler &Randall, 203). Even if it seemed like the emperor was against thepresence of the statues and idols, it is clear that he was influencedby the Islamic ideologies that are against the infidels. Hence,Byzantine Emperor Leo III was launching a perpetual war against allthe non-believers just like the Muslim did. Clearly, the inspirationwas from the Islam and not the Old Testament that had denounced theidol-worship just like Byzantine Emperor Leo III suggested.
The Islamic world also influenced the economic aspects in theEuropean nations. For instance, they influenced the commerce and theseafaring since they were able to borrow some of the aspects. Moreimportantly, the Arabs were good in shipbuilding, and they introduceda number of techniques to improve seafaring. They even invented thelateen sail that the European shipbuilders borrowed and changed it tothe lateen caravel. In fact, it enabled the creation of the largerships that helped in the movement of the people in the Atlantic andengaged in more trade activities. The Muslims also inspired theEuropean agricultural revolution since they are the ones that firstembraced the activities. For instance, the Arabs in Spain inventedvarious irrigation techniques such as the aljibe, irrigating wheel,water conduit, atanor, and some of them are also being used today.The scenario proves that the Islamic world was focused on improvingagriculture and cotton, rice, oranges, lemons and sugarcane are justsome of the crops they grew.
The Arabs also influenced the political powers of the Europeannations through a number of approaches. For instance, the common lawthat was critical in creating peace and order in the European nationsborrowed a number of elements from the Islamic law. In fact, theNormans borrowed the idea of the Islamic Istihqaq and they went tocreate the English jury while the European commenda is also same asthe Islamic Qirad (Adler & Randall, 215). The Qirad and Mudarabain Islamic law were also borrowed in creating the European civil law.In this case, the scenario shows how the Islamic world had asignificant impact on the European nations and the law helped instrengthening the political environment since it created law andorder.
Adler, Philip J., and Randall L. Pouwels. World Civilizations:Volume II: Since 1500. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2011.