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Unit 2: Classical Period 600 BCE – 600 CE

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1 Unit 2: Classical Period 600 BCE – 600 CE
The Classical Empires Unit 2: Classical Period 600 BCE – 600 CE

2 Learning Targets/Key Themes
Students will be able to: Define an empire and explain why empires rise and fall Describe the basic features of the earliest empires Analyze the key interactions between Classical Empires These themes, along with the key vocabulary (See handout) will be the basis for your test at the end of this unit

3 Answer the following questions in your notebook:
How would you define the term “empire”? What are the reasons an empire is created?

4 What is an Empire? A state with political control of people and regions with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds

5 Why Are Empires Created?
Strong sense of Patriotism Extreme pride in one’s country Expansion To benefit the regions being conquered To eliminate threats Economic gain To create a buffer zone (protection) To spread religious beliefs To gain political power

6 Characteristics of an Empire
Diverse population Strong government Strong military Strong diplomacy Peaceful negotiations between two countries or regions

7 The Classical Period (600 BCE – 600 CE)
Main Characteristics: Growth of Empires Growth of Trade Cultural Diffusion Spreading of cultural ideas and traditions from one region to another

8 Review: What is an empire? Why are empires created?
What is cultural diffusion?

9 Major Classical Civilizations
Persia China (Zhou, Qin, Han dynasties) India (Gupta dynasty) Greece Rome Mayans (Americas)

10 The Persian Empire (558-332 BCE)
Founded by Cyrus the Great Darius I ( BCE) Balanced central government and local leaders Divided government into 3 districts to make it easier to control Built Royal Road Fought in many wars that lead to the decline of the empire


12 Persian Empire Persian Society Persian Economy Persian Religion
Women worked in textile manufacturing Government used slaves to complete public works projects Persian Economy Government coined money Traded with Greeks and Indians Main City: Persepolis Persian Religion Zoroastrianism

13 Classical China Zhou Dynasty (1029- 258 BCE) Mandate of Heaven
Rulers are given the right to rule by the gods Strong landowners and weak emperor Ends in civil war for two hundred years Leads to development of major philosophies

14 Chinese Philosophies Confucianism Daoism Legalism Founded by Confucius
Relationships create an orderly society Family is foundation of society Daoism “Dao” – the way Look to nature for order Legalism Humans are naturally evil and will only obey authority through force

15 Qin Dynasty (221-202 BCE) Used Legalism to restore order
Took away power from aristocracy Strong centralized government Unified China Standard language and writing system Uniform laws throughout empire

16 Shi Huangdi Proclaimed himself “First Emperor”
Centralized power by banning local militaries Built roads to improve communications Started building the Great Wall of China Forced labor Also built his own tomb with the Terracotta Army

17 Terracotta Army


19 Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE) Founded by a peasant
Longest Chinese dynasty Conquered Vietnam, Korea and parts of Central Asia Traded with India, Rome, Persia Continued building Great Wall of China Reformed government Promoted Confucianism

20 Ancient Greece Geography prevented political unification Main Problems
Developed strong city- states instead  Athens and Sparta Main Problems Wars with Persia Wars between city-states Peloponnesian Wars ( BCE) Athens vs. Sparta Leads to downfall of Greek city-states

21 Alexander the Great (332-323 BCE)
Alex’s father, Philip II, conquered most of Greece Built a massive empire, including Greece, Egypt, and Persia Tries to invade India, but his military refuses After death, empire divided in three parts Main Contribution: Hellenism Blending of Greek and Middle Eastern/Asian cultures

22 Roman Republic (509-44 BCE) Political System
Consuls Senate (patricians  upper class) Tribunes (plebians  lower class) Focused on military expansion Laws  Twelve Tables Created laws that everyone must follow Protected the lower classes

23 End of the Roman Republic
Growing Tensions between the rich and poor Food shortages, not enough opportunities to own land or get certain jobs Julius Caesar General in Roman Army 44 BCE: Invades Rome with his own military and declares himself “dictator for life” Assassinated by upper- class senators

24 The Roman Empire (31 BCE – 476 CE)
Established by Augustus Caesar Continued military expansion First true emperor of Rome “Pax Romana” (Roman Peace) Height of Roman Empire; Great cultural and political achievements NOT a dynasty (Unlike China and India) Succession based on military strength Tolerated local customs and religions Laws and Nationalism held empire together

25 Expansion of the Roman Republic

26 The Decline of the Roman Empire
1). How did the geography of Greece impact its political development? 2). Describe the City-State of Sparta. (culture, lifestyle, economy) 3). Describe the City-State of Athens. (culture, lifestyle, economy) 4). Which city-state would you wish to live in back in Ancient Greece? Explain why in complete sentences. 5). Why was Alexander the Great able to conquer Greece so easily? 6). What is Hellenism and how is Alexander the Great connected to it? 7). Describe the Structure of the Roman Republic. 8). Why is Augustus Caesar considered the 1st Emperor of Rome? 9). What is the difference between Plebeians and Patricians? 10). Thoroughly explain 1 reason why the Roman Empire fell in 476c.e.

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