World History AP

Topics: Ancient Rome, Roman Empire, Sociology Pages: 30 (8777 words) Published: September 22, 2013
Chapter 4 Big Picture Questions
1.What common features can you identify in the empires described in this chapter?
All empires controlled large areas and populations.
All empires were brought together by conquest and funded in part by extracting wealth from conquered peoples.
All empires stimulated the exchange of ideas, cultures, and values among the peoples they conquered.
All empires sought to foster an imperial identity that transcended more local identities and loyalties.
All empires ultimately collapsed.
2.In what ways did these empires differ from one another? What accounts for those differences?
Some empires sought to rule through local elites; other empires sought to rule with a more centralized power structure.
Some empires were new; others drew on older traditions.
Some empires lasted for considerably longer periods than others.
Some empires assimilated conquered peoples more quickly and completely than others.
3.Are you more impressed with the “greatness” of empires or with their destructive and oppressive features? Why? This question can reasonably be answered either way:
Empires were impressive because of the impact they had on regions that they conquered; their sheer size and the number of subjects over which they ruled; their military conquests; and their monumental architecture, often associated with the promotion of political authority.

Their use of force in the creation of empires and their use of coercion to extract resources, particularly from conquered peoples, offer a strong argument that they were destructive and oppressive.

4.Do you think that the classical empires hold “lessons” for the present, or are contemporary circumstances sufficiently unique as to render the distant past irrelevant?
This question can be answered successfully from several perspectives, although in order to argue that the classical empires are irrelevant a student would have to address the arguments made in the Reflections section of the text.

A student might focus on the cultural memory of empires being used in the modern world. The Reflections section offers examples of Mao Zedong, the modern Indian nonviolence movement, the British imperial education system, and Mussolini all using the examples of previous empires as models for their own societies.

As prompted by the opening and closing sections of the chapter, a student might draw potential lessons for the United States today, especially from the model of Rome, whose conquests led to a political shift from a republican to an imperial political system.

A student could also argue that basic problems of classical empires, such as overextension and the creation of a unified identity that redefines conquered peoples, are timeless issues still relevant today. Margin Review Questions

Q.How did Persian and Greek civilizations differ in their political organization and values?
The Persians built an imperial political system that drew upon previous Mesopotamian polities, including the Babylonian and Assyrian empires. The Persian Empire was far larger than its predecessors, stretching from Egypt to India, and ruled over some 35 million subjects.

The Persian system was centered on an elaborate cult of kingship in which the emperor was secluded in royal magnificence and was approachable only through an elaborate ritual.
Persian emperors were considered absolute in their power and possessed a divine right to rule by the will of the Persian god Ahura Mazda.
The Persian Empire was ruled through an effective administrative system that placed Persian governors, called satraps, in each of twenty-three provinces, while lower-level officials were drawn from local authorities. This system was monitored by imperial spies.

Persia’s rule of its many conquered peoples was strengthened by a policy of respect for the empire’s non-Persian cultural traditions.
In contrast, Greek political organization...
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