What are the characteristics of a classical period in history?

1 Answer
Jun 23, 2018

Empires begin to expand, increased contact, strong religious ties, social stratification, competition


The Classical Period had quite a few interesting empires, and these empires have shaped our government, politics, law codes, and more. Of course, I'm referring to Rome and Greece, but there was also the Mauryans and Gupta (India), The Han Dynasty in China, Persia, Macedonia, etc.
There are a LOT of characteristics here, but I'll try to list as many as I can think of:

#color(deeppink)("Law codes:")# Became more developed in this period (12 Tables), and these influence our current legal systems

#color(deeppink)("Role of women:")# More limited, but it generally depended on the region (women could own businesses in Rome and Greece), while elsewhere they were veiled. Women maintained their power in managing the house.

#color(deeppink)("An increase in philosophy, basic math, science, and medicine:")# In Greece, we had people like Socrates and Plato, who introduced the idea of questioning the world around them (which would come back to haunt the Catholic Church later, and also indirectly led to the Scientific Revolution in a subsequent time period). The Gupta developed the concept of pi and 0.

#color(deeppink)("Spread of religion along trade routes:")# Buddhism spread along the Silk Road, and especially under the rule of Ashoka, who gave state support of Buddhism in the Mauryan Empire.

#color(deeppink)("Expansion of empires:")# This is huge in this period. We had the Macedonians under Alexander the Great, the Persians, the Romans, etc. This led to the diffusion of culture (Hellenism).

#color(deeppink)("Rulers:")# consolidated their rule through divine right. Different political systems were put into place, such as satraps in the Persian Empire (local governors).

#color(deeppink)("Decline:")# The fall of empires was caused mainly because of either external invasions and insecure borders, or because the empire was too large to govern, or both.

#color(deeppink)("Public Works:")# The Great Wall of China, Greek architecture, Panthenon, Parthenon, Colosseum

#color(deeppink)("Large scale trading:")# The Silk Road was VERY important in this period. It linked China to Rome, and spread Catholicism, silk, and later, the Black Plague.

#color(deeppink)("Social Stratification:")# priests were on top, religion reinforced the social structure (ex: Hinduism in India)

Phew! Hope I helped :)