HIS 101 Mid Term Questions

How has geography influenced the course of history?
Geography has influenced history in many ways. Since the first people traveled the land, geography has played a major role in their survival. If even one condition of the geography was found to be too difficult to live in, a part of the population would die out. When empires began to form, geography became important for trade, military usage, and expansion. Often, the larger the empire was, the more power it held; this basic principle still more or less holds true today.
What is history?
History is learning about the present by telling about the past. History is learned through accounts of people, places, and actions recorded or told through time. Often some kind of lesson can be pulled from history, as with the legend of Babel or any of the other various stories contained within the book of Genesis or any other account. The reliability of certain sources is sometimes questioned by historians, but the important part is to learn from what various historical accounts have to offer. From them we can learn what the world was like in the past, as well as where we came from and how we developed as humans and as a civilization.
What role did technological innovation play in the development of early humankind?
Technological innovation, both then and now, allowed for advancement. As more innovation progressed, early humans were better able to develop better ways to survive, as well as ways to flourish and set up the beginnings of civilization with early developments of a hierarchy of rank and status and the first beginnings of the ability to store wealth in large quantities. Some of these early innovations include the ability to grow and store their own food, use of domesticated animals, and trade of made goods.
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What was important about the shift to the use of systematic agriculture in the Neolithic period?
It was the first major shift from food hunting and gathering to food production, which allowed the normally nomadic people to stay in one place and thrive. It also allowed for the accumulation of a greater food supply, and was aided by the use of domesticated animals. It did, however, present some new challenges including an increase in population, a wider spread of disease, and the loss of the equality among the people as men focused more on the work of growing the food while women began to focus more on raising the children.
Why did cities first form in Mesopotamia?
Because the land was between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the land was fertile along the marshlands and people were able to develop irrigation systems and canals, as well as developments to help control the normally unpredictable rivers. Also because of their location, cities within Mesopotamia were able to trade and produce surpluses of construction, pottery, weaving, and metalwork, all of which were important for life within the Neolithic Era.
What enabled ancient Egypt to exist for so long a period of time as a cultural unit?
The beneficial environment aided by the Nile played a role in the prosperity of the agricultural side of Egypt, but culturally they lasted due to the steady rule of pharaohs. Pharaohs were not often questioned or confronted because they were seen by the people as living gods. Egypt enjoyed an influence of a powerful, centralized, bureaucratic state headed by these pharaohs, and because of the steady rule, no other civilization in history has enjoyed so long a period as ancient Egypt.
What was the connection between Socrates, Plato and Aristotle?
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were all philosophers of ancient times. Socrates taught Plato who in turn taught Aristotle. Socrates taught the belief in careful examination of all inherited assumptions and opinions. Plato wrote dialogues which portrayed Socrates in the main role and examined philosophical subjects such as the idealized polis ruled by “philosopher-kings” described in the “Republic.” Aristotle focused more on the rational analysis of the material world. He often stressed the examination of real phenomena instead of the development of universal ethics.
What is ethical philosophy?
Ethical philosophy studies the proper course of action for human beings. It answers the question of “What do I do?” and examines the principles of what is right and what is wrong.
What factors contributed to the eventual destruction of the Roman empire?
The emperors of Rome had too much power and eventually became corrupt and faced antagonism with the Senate, which acted as an advising body. The rapid expansion of the empire and constant warring with others also led to the empire’s downfall. There was also a decline in morals among the higher classes of Romans, which had previously been something which was strongly upheld as an important aspect of being a Roman. Because so much was being spent on the military and on luxury items for the upper class, inflation occurred and not enough gold could be produced within the Roman empire, which caused frequent economic failure. Christianity also changed the views of the Roman empire from one of antagonism to one of pacifism. The invasion of Rome’s Barbarian enemies was the final cause of the fall of the empire.
What was the role of Saint Paul of Tarsus in shaping the early Christian church?
After his conversion to Christianity, St. Paul went from desiring to stamp out the Christian religion to becoming a missionary and spreading the word of Christ to others throughout his travels. He also wrote a large part of the New Testament in the Bible. Through his travels he sought to expand people’s knowledge of the Christian word and to convert gentiles to Christianity.
How did Islam continue the traditions of Christianity and Judaism?
All three were monotheistic religions, with the belief in one God and the word of God received and recorded by the prophets, people with a direct link to God who were able to receive and give His word. All three trace back to a covenant God made with Abraham. They share the belief that in order to be seen as a rightful worshipper and to achieve salvation, one must do good deeds and have faith in the one God. They also share the belief that the opposite of achieving salvation sends you to some form of eternal damnation and hell.
Was the Islamic world a revised version of the Roman Empire?
Muhammad focused his messages mainly on how to worship God, not necessarily on how to expand the government. Therefore, while Islam did grow under the various caliphs after Muhammad’s death and the territory that believed in Islam did expand, perhaps the only thing in common with the Roman empire is that there was no limit on power of the ruler, save for military revolt.
Why was the Roman Empire able to continue to exist in the East?
The eastern empire spoke Greek and worshipped under the eastern Orthodox Christian church. “Fall of the Roman Empire” is a bit misleading, because the eastern Roman Empire was able to continue to exist as the Byzantine Empire after the collapse of the west. Initial invasions were attracted to the wealth of Rome, leaving the eastern part of the empire relatively unbothered by them. While the western area was easier to conquer, the best invaders could do to the east was demand tribute. The walls of Constantinople were built so as to make the city impenetrable and the invading Huns were given subsidies of gold in order to stop their invasions of the eastern empire. This was a successful and later profitable trade.
What were distinctive features of Byzantine civilization?
The Byzantine civilization was viewed as a continuation of the ancient Greek civilization, with many Roman and Eastern influences. One defining feature of the Byzantine civilization, however, was the prominence of Christianity. Christianity heavily influenced and pervaded everything about Byzantine civilization, from the politics to its literature and architecture. The rulers of the Byzantine empire converted many people and ruled the area for a long time. Its strategic placement attracted invaders, but it was heavily protected to make in impenetrable to many invading forces.

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