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Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

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Page 1: Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

Belief Systems in the Classical AgeThe comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

Page 2: Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

Comparing Classical Empires

From 600 B.C.E-600 C.E. both the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty controlled large territorial boundaries maintaining most of the global population, both utilized extensive infrastructure projects, however, Rome would rely more heavily on imports whilst the Han would dominate a vast favorable balance of trade through tribute.

From 600 B.C.E-600 C.E both the Greek poleis and Mauryan and Gupta empires would rely heavily on revenue derived from their location along trade routes as well as the development of dynamic military prowess. The Greeks, however, were far more decentralized politically while the Mauryan were solidified under the edicts of Asoka

Page 3: Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

What is so unique about belief systems in the classical period? The intensive interactions through empire, trade and transportation increased

populations and the need through governments to maintain social order. The continuation of the need for meaning, explanation, purpose and a search for

something better would permeate through religion and philosophy. As writing became more prolific, new versions of the old belief systems will gradually develop.

As merchants, missionaries(monks) and military spread these belief systems through overland and maritime routes, new adherents (believers) will embrace and alter these ideas.

Newer belief systems will become universalized as they appeal to the masses

instead of the old elite belief systems.

Page 4: Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

Political Religion gave the Greeks, Macedonians and Romans a universalizing ideology (many leaders were

considered Gods) and, therefore, had a state-sponsored religion/philosophy Legalism served the Chin Dynasty’s Chin Shi Huang Ti consolidation of authority Confucianism reinforced the Mandate of Heaven providing social order, regulating the

meritocracy(qualified bureaucrats passed the rigorous civil service exam focusing on the analects) Priests regulated rituals, traditions and sacrifices to help regulate society. Tolerance became a policy of Mauryan ruler Ashoka while intolerance led to the discrimination and

division in Rome( Christianity and Judaism) China (Buddhism). Religions and philosophies regulated social order(Rome’s “Bead and Circuses” Han’s 5

relationships , Asoka Maurya’s rock pillar edicts)and Hellenistic philosophies contributed technological innovations and facilitate political pragmatic decisions (Roman Emperors)

Page 5: Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

Economic Belief systems spread along overland and maritime trade routes (Zoroastrianism, Christianity,

Buddhism) through monastic orders, empires, and merchants The caste system in India created a caste specifically for merchants Religious or philosophical zeal led to economic innovations including banking(India), numerical

systems(Maya, India, Rome, Chin) and systems of weights and measurements(Chin). Buddhism and Christianity (and Taoism in China) appealed to peasants, farmers, and nomads and

women because it was not elitist and did not discriminate (anyone could attain salvation or nirvana) Great sums of wealth will be spent on the building of religious monumental architecture (coliseum, Parthenon, stupas, statuary, temples, sacred texts, monasteries, etc.) Many religious orders will be taxed or not have to pay taxes (even be exempt from military service)

Page 6: Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

Cultural Many belief systems will reinforce patriarchal systems ( Confucianism’s subservience of women,

Hindu’s dowry and child brides and sati) Many of the achievements of “Golden Ages” were religiously inspired ( Gupta’s Golden age of

Hinduism. Periclean Hellenic Golden Age) Architecture religiously inspired (Mayas Chichen Itza, Great Wall, Acropolis, Rock Pillar Edicts) Important religious literature developed in the classical age(Baghavad Gita, Gospels of Matthew, Mark

Luke and John, the Tripitaka, the Iliad and Odyssey, Popol Vuh, etc.) Sects (branches and divisions) of other religions will develop(Mahayana Buddhism from Theravada

Buddhism, Hellenistic from Hellenic) and universal religions from regional or ethnic( Christianity out of Judaism, Buddhism out of Hinduism) and philosophies from chaos (Confucianism, Legalism and Taoism).

Zoroastrianism and Hellenistic philosophies will have significant influence on other religions ( good and evil for Christianity and anthropomorphic deities for Hinduism)

Page 7: Belief Systems in the Classical Age The comparative regional impacts of philosophy and/or religion 600 B.C.E-600 C.E

Comparing Classical Belief Systems In both South Asia(Mauryan under Asoka) and Western Europe(Christianity under

Rome’s Constantine), political leaders embracing of new belief systems led to their rise and spread, Christianity and Buddhism would inspire building projects and the embracing of peaceful ideology, however, Buddhism would all but disappear in India (being assumed into the pantheon of Hinduism) while Christianity would serve as the glue to hold Europe together long after the fall of Rome

While in Eastern Asia philosophies would served to cement the social order, in Classical India however, it would be the religiously rigid caste system which would serve the same purpose. In Han China , Confucianism, Legalism and Taoism would be embraced by many, in Gupta India, Hinduism would serve as the monolith applying to all people. Their worldview, however, would prove similar in the cyclical view of political authority and life