Questions about Islam Test

For how Islam was able to spread to power in Arabia, there is one part in my notes where all I wrote down was "political play" and "appeal of faith" and I have no idea what they mean, so I was wondering if you could help me find out what they are about.

-Political Play: this refers to the fact that once various clans and tribes saw that Muhammad was going to beat Mecca, they joined up with him. This was a smart "political play," in that you wanted to be on the good side of the group of people who were rising to power

-Appeal of faith: A reminder that we shouldn't just think of everything in political or economic terms. Doubtless, many people found the religious message of Muhammad spiritually appealing.

Another thing is for how many Islamic migrants move to North and East Africa. For both places, I don't know how many migrants moved in, I just know that merchants and traders were the ones who brought Islam. Would they count as Islamic migrants?

-I assume you mean West and East Africa for this. There were relatively few Arab Islamic migrants, in that it wasn't like a bunch of people came from the Middle East and settled in these places. Instead, the people already trading there and living in cities converted, as did the rulers. So while there was certainly migration to some extent, I argued that it was mainly people who were already there and converted.

For why rulers in North and East Africa converted, is it just because they wanted the support of Allah?

Again, I assume you mean West and East Africa. You could say that: they wanted the support of a powerful God. I think a related way of looking at it is that they wanted to associate their political power with a powerful God.

For pre-existing religious beliefs in Indonesia, all I could find was that they followed ancestry through the maternal path, and I'm not even sure if that counts as a religious belief. What others are there?

-Good question. First of all, I didn't talk as much about Indonesia, so there aren't as many examples. I cited the matrilineal thing as an example of a broader point: Islamic law was followed in economic transactions, but social interactions and customs were rooted in SE Asian traditions.

And you are right, it's not exactly a religious belief, but the deal is that Islam is pretty special in that it says a lot about the way you live your everyday life.

Lastly, I couldn't find anything about the political/social power converts had. Should I infer based on who converted, or is there something that happened that made political/social power increase or decrease?

Great question. You should pretty much look at who converted and go from there. Are they rulers? Are they traders? Are they peasants? Is it everyone? Are Islamic Arabs moving in and ruling? Or are local rulers converting? The answers to these questions affect the power dynamics at play.


First of all, I don't really understand what the first argument. I think mostly what I'm confused about is the part that says "it was both a continuation of certain pre-Islamic beliefs and a response to the challenges facing pre-Islamic society. Also, I don't really understand how lifestyles, fights between clans, and all that stuff can be used as evidence, so I was just wondering if you could point me in the right direction.

1) Yeah, the phrasing is complex and could arguably be simpler. Here's my idea.

a continuation of certain pre-Islamic beliefs: There were certain ways in which the same ideas that were around in pre-islamic Arabian society show up in islam. Examples: oral poetry was really important, and the whole point of the Quran is to be spoken aloud.

A response to the challenges facing pre-Islamic society: There wree also ways in that Muhammad's ideas were a response to "bad" things about Islamic society. For example, all the clan infighting and blood feud. Well, Islam says we are all equal under God, and should be part of a united religious community, the Umma. So this part of the Muslim belief can be seen as a response to a problem.

Along these lines, think about what is happening with the "crisis of urbanization" I talked about in class. Rich traders are exploiting poor people, in Muhammad's mind. How is Islam a response against that? And how is Muhammad's desire for equality similar to the values of Bedouin tribesmen who don't live in cities?

Also, I'm not sure what evidence would be used for the argument "Islam was able to rise to power in Arabia because ." Does this have to do with the Hijira or does have to do more with the doctrines that Muhammad preached that were appealing?

-I don't think the hijra is so much the point here. Historians ask, so why did Muhammad's ideas catch on and do so well in Arabia? Was it something about the society? Was it something about the belief system?

-you mentioned the doctrines. I think that's absolutely a factor. Now you have to ask yourself, what about the doctrines might have been appealing? Think about what you know about Islamic ideas and think about why those might be attractive
-However, a test would also potentially ask about the society. Why might Muhammad's unifying message be so attractive to Arabs? What role did military victory play in it?

Question About the Rome Test

What did you mean when you asked why Rome became conquerors? Is it related to the cycle of expansion at all, or am I completely off-target?

The cycle of expansion that describes them getting new neighbors and then conquering them would relate to this! But I also talked about other theories (based on the Roman political system, "dignitas," greed) that historians use to explain Rome's inclination towards conquest. Also, bear in mind that there is a difference between why Rome *pursued* conquest and why they *succeeded.* And the theories for why they succeeded are different, and interesting!

Will we be learning more material on Monday, and will there be a bigger study guide?

We will be learning more material on Monday/Tuesday. This is intended to be the final study guide, and that I put stuff on it that I will cover Mon/Tues. That said, I reserve the right to be like "oh no, I forgot to put xx on the study guide." But I hope I got it right the first time.

Do we need to know the information in the Flowchart of 29B of Flow of History?

Good question. Basically, no. The only stuff you need to know about that period of conquest is in the "bigger" flowchart FC29.

Are magistrates generally Roman governors and officials?

Good question. So when I say magistrates, I am using it synonymously with officials. I mean people who get elected to fulfill a certain job (consul, tribune, etc). Governors is a narrower category, as it applies to people who go out to the conquered provinces and rule out there. They tend to be people who had *already* held a magistrate job (like consul)

Do we need to know how the Senate exercised control of the facets of the Roman Constitution?

Oh yes! That's a good one! The flowchart on the matter is good, as are your notes from that day in class.

Besides the fact that the gov't positions were still unpaid in the New Aristocracy, how did it benefit the wealthy plebians more than the others?

The fact that political positions were unpaid is actually pretty key. It meant that plebeians could have all the political rights in the world, but if you were a cobbler, you couldn’t afford to spend a year holding office and not getting paid for it. Additionally, people running for big offices would spend their own money campaigning and had “clients” who would campaign for them. So people who won elections tended to have the resources to help with campaigning.

Were plebians ever allowed to serve in the Senate?

Yeah, Plebeians ultimately win the right to be in the senate.

Questions about the China test

did Han Wudi start the Han Dynasty?

Nope, he ruled from the 140s to the 80s. Liu Bang started the dynasty

is Shang-di another name for Nirvana? In my notes it says that the ancestors of people of higher status could serve as superior intermediaries and access Shang-di

Shang-di is the most powerful God, so the royal ancestors were intermediaries with him, and could get him to grant them favors

Finally, for peasant burdens, what dynasty does that cover (or is it just general, as in taxes and forced labor?)?

It is in general, as there’s a lot of consistency there. However, it’s worth noting that at first they have a vassal pushing on them and later it’s the central gov’t

Could you explain Shang Ren?

Yeah, sure! Shang ren is a Chinese term translating to Sage King. So it's the idea that there is a wise king who bring rule in line with the order of heaven. The idea was influential in the Han/Qin era, and they called back to the mythical emperors of the ancient past as examples of wise kings in the past.

Questions about the India Test

What do I need to know about...

-For Indus Cities: Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Dholavira. The key here is that you know some of the things about how cities were arranged/planned/organized: street layout, house pattern, the fact that they had citadels, the water management systems. It's not important to know the differences between cities, as I didn't draw attention to that.

-Indo-Aryans. For these guys, you should know that they were nomadic invaders, that they were the people who came to power in India starting with their migration around 1500 BCE, and some of the characteristics of their civilization: values, political structure, religion. I talked about this stuff in the Vedic lesson that went from late Tuesday to early Thursday

The Vedas- You should know what the Vedas are, how they were composed (oral vs. written), and the fact that they were religiously significant. You should also be familiar with the comparison I made between Vedic poetry and Homeric poetry

Mahabharata- This was the epic poem that includes the Bhagavad Gita, which includes the story of Arjuna and Krishna. The comparison to the Iliad is most apt here, cause the Bhagavad Gita is a war story (among other things)

Arjuna and Krishna- These were the two characters in the story I told about following one's dharma. That's an important story to understand

Samsara-I didn't talk about this a lot and don't expect you to know a ton. Know that it is the "wheel of life"--the cycle of birth and rebirth. One key thing: there was a developing idea that this "wheel of life" wasn't a good thing--a bit exhausting really...

Questions about the Cosmology Paper

How do I cite the Purusa story?

Yeah, it’s brutal. Citing the Purusa story is so massively complicated (I gave you a handout from a source that cites another source that reprints from another source, the Rig Veda) that you can just do this for the purposes of this assignment.

Internal Cite: (Rig Veda, 10.90: 8-9)
This would mean you were citing verses 8 and 9 from the Rig Veda Hymn 10.90

For the Works Cited list, just do this. It’s a little “sketchy” but it’s so complicated to cite properly that you shouldn’t even worry about it.

Rig Veda. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

I was wondering what religion uses the Atra-Hasis because on my homework I said Hebrew but you crossed that out. I also was wondering what the relationship between the Genesis and the Torah is because I know they both affect christianity but I am still a little unclear on the relationship.

Awesome question. The best thing to call Atra-Hasis is “Babylonian” religion, as in, the religion of the Babylonians.

The reason I crossed out Hebrew is that: Although historians speculate that Babylonian creation stories may have influenced Jewish creation stories, Jews do not consider Atra-Hasis to be their own sacred text. On the other hand, Jews/Christians/Muslims all consider Genesis to be a text that is fundamental to their religion.

As for Genesis vs. Torah:
-So you have the Christian Bible, which includes the Old Testament (The Jewish part) and the New Test (The part that is only for Christians).
-The Old Testament includes the Torah, which is the name for the first five books.
-Genesis is the first of those five books.

So, Genesis is part of the Torah
Torah is a part of the Old Testament
The Old Testament is part of the Bible

You referenced the "Synthesis Worksheet" when talking about what to do "if you are freaking out." Was that a homework assignment (if so, what assignment number?), handout in class, ... ?

It *will* be a homework assignment Wednesday night. If you are aching to see it, you can find it online on the homework page. There are actually two parts to that assignment, one due Thursday and one due Friday. They are assignments 10 and 11.

The movie we watched in class is really great for this assignment and I didn't take good notes. Is it available online?

It is!
That's the link for the first 15 minutes, and you can find the other parts from there

Also, I noticed the essay question was not the same as the thesis you want us to write ("in a complex, interesting way"). Does that mean we should use big words to sophisticate our answer, or that our answer should be narrower than the question and therefore complex?

So your thesis should be an answer to the essay question. But you should answer that question in an interesting way. Most decidedly, that does NOT mean you should use fancy words. It does mean that your answer should be specific, or “narrower” as you put it. Remember that the question isn’t just “Are creation stories related to culture?” The question is “HOW are creation stories related to the culture.” So you need to articulate the nature of that relationship. WHAT does a creation story tell us about a culture?

So, boring thesis statement: “Creation stories reveal much about a culture.” This is boring cause it just tells us that creation stories tell us about a culture, not WHAT they tell us or HOW they do it.

More exciting thesis statement: “By reading creation stories and understanding the historical context in which the stories were written, historians can develop a deeper understanding of the nature of political power in ancient societies.”

It’s not just that this thesis is more complexly written. First, it explains a bit of the “how”—you read the stories AND understand historical context. Presumably, this reveals that whoever writes this paper will consider both the stories themselves AND the context in which they were written. Second, it indicates the “what.” This essay will focus on political power.

Questions about the Later Greek Test

How do you describe Schole and Autarchy?

Schole and Autarchy are both from the slavery lesson, and both have to do with citizenship. Schole means “leisure time” but it’s time to pursue “high-minded” pursuits like studying philosophy or participating in the assembly. Autarchy means “self-rule.” It’s usually used to mean a government ruled by one person, but I used it to mean that a person has rule over himself (and in the Greek context, it was himself not herself). Think about how this relates to citizenship and slavery.

What do you mean by historical narrative?

Consider the following statements about Uni

“We get free periods during the day and can go out on campus during the day. And the teachers are really great

“There is a lot of homework and the classes are hard.”

Now, assume that all of the statements are true (including “the teachers are really great”…humor me J ). Depending on which “narrative” you put together, which facts you choose, you are telling a very different story about Uni. So by choosing certain details, your story has a different message.

This applies to history of course! By choosing certain details, historians tell different stories about the past. That’s what that first argument is about!

We are having trouble understanding what you mean by: Traits of Hellenistic Kingdoms, By this are you referring to common characteristics like the Greek-i-fied cities and very limited spread of culture or their accomplishments like number 7 on the Hellenistic outline?

There, I mean the Greek-i-fied cities...part 6 of the outline, the stuff that is basically in the flowchart about the limited spread of culture, large scale, et cetera et cetera

  • But the stuff in part 7 is still important for supporting this argument: Hellenistic Culture’s focus on the individual and the private sphere reflected the decline of the Polis and the weakened power of democracies. (Think about Philosophy, Art/Sculpture, Theater)

Who is Menander?

Menander was a playwright, and I talked about him in the Theater Lesson and the Hellenistic Culture lesson. Think about: Is he a New Comedy or Old Comedy Playwright? What are the differences?

Who is Cleon?

Cleon-I talked about him in the Peloponnesian War and Theater lessons. He was an Athenian political figure. I am interested in what kind of political leader he was, and how he was depicted in plays of the time

What are Eramenos and Erastes?

The Eramenos and Erastes are the two "roles" played by men in same-sex relationships. Think about how these roles related to power and how homosexuality worked differently in Greek culture than in modern culture.

The Aeropagus is just the aristocratic council correct?

The Areopagus is indeed the Aristocratic Council. What happened to its power in the time period we covered? How was it depicted in Oresteia?

Do we need to know about the kingdoms after King Philip? What do you mean by "traits of Hellenistic kingdoms"

In terms of the kingdoms after Philip, I assume you mean the Hellenistic Kingdoms: e.g. Antigonid Macedon, Ptolemaic Egypt, etc. In terms of what you need to know about them, I am interested in:

-The traits of Hellenistic Kingdoms. This one is right in the flowchart. What were those 3 common trends we could note about Hellenistic Kingdoms

-The culture that emerged in these kingdoms. Think about what I said about philosophy, math, comedy, sculpture, and medicine of the time. What themes about Hellenistic culture did those developments show?

What are Eramenos and Erastes?

The Aeropagus is just the aristocratic council correct?

Do we need to know about the kingdoms after King Philip?

What do you mean by "traits of Hellenistic kingdoms"