The Nile River and Ancient Life

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The Nile River is the longest river in the world. It is 4,238 miles long. Most people lived close to the river, because the rich soil was good for growing crops. According to Britannica, the Nile river was “... a vital waterway for transport, especially at times when motor transport was not feasible…” The Nile river was a major component of Egypt’s society and way of life. It was a way for agriculture and transportation.

The Shang territorial state started to form around 1600 BCE. It was the first recorded history of China. Tang ruled after defeating Xia king. Tang ruled justly and morally. The Shang state grew from the culture of the Longshan people, who had introduced the elements of a state. The Shang Dynasty added other elements, such as written records and a centralized “government”. The state experienced a Bronze Age, where bronze became a common metal to work with. It was used to make things such as chariots and axes. 

Cyrus united Persian tribes and formed the Persian Empire. He conquered territories and introduced new innovative systems. The Persians believed that all in the empire were equal. They exploited local languages and traditions to establish a more multicultural empire. Trade was promoted throughout the empire by building roads, and using standardized currency and weights. 

Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Athens, Greece 470 BCE. He was one of the greatest philosophers, along with Plato and Aristotle. Socrates would not teach anything, but rather seek answers to human questions. He believed that “care of the human soul” was the most important human obligation. Though he wrote nothing, we know about his thoughts because of the information passed down through members of his circle. Socrates was widely hated in Athens because he would make people look stupid in public. He was said to be “...guilty of the crimes with which he was charged, impiety and corrupting the youth, because he did reject the city’s gods...” Because of this, he was sentenced to death by poison. (Kraut) Socrates was a wise philosopher, of which we have learned many things from. He questioned human virtues and made people actually think about things in a deeper sense.

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Alexander the Great was a conqueror from Macedonia. He took over after his father and defeated the Persians in 334 BCE. His armies led to a new Hellenistic world in other regions. Hellenism brought worlds together. He used speed and surprise to conquer new lands. Alexander’s conquests laid the foundation for state systems. These systems stabilized trade. His conquests also brought systems of currency and monetary exchange. After Alexander died in 323 BCE, his conquered lands began to fall apart without him to rule. 

The Roman Empire had a very powerful military, which was the reason for their increase in power as a city-state. The only military to match them was China. The Roman Emperors thought of themselves as civil rulers, and some abused their power. The entire empire had a uniform set of rules and regulations. They had a complex systems of roads, which promoted trade and made it easier. Throughout the region, there were conflicts of religion between Christianity and the Roman authority. Eventually, the Roman empire began to fall, due to Christianity, economic decline, and government corruption.

The Silk Road was established during the Han Dynasty of China.  It was a network of trade routes connecting places such as Europe, Persia, Egypt, India, and China. It was named the Silk Road by Ferdinand von Richthofen, because the silk was the main thing traded (Guide). These routes were in use from 130 BCE until 1453 BCE, when the Ottoman empire boycotted trade. Many things were traded between the regions. The goods going from West to East were horses, grapes, honey, fruits, gold and silver, camels, slaves, etc. The goods going from East to West were silk, tea, spices, ivory, rice, paper, gunpowder, dyes, etc. The Silk Road was an important way of trade and travel between the East and West.

Muhammad was born in Mecca, which was the first ‘birthplace’ of Islam. Islam began when “Muhammad had a vision commanding him to recite phrases that became the Sura 96 of the Quran.” He wanted his followers to act righteously, and submit to the one and only god. His most profound message was that there was only one true god. Muhammad had escaped from persecution and moved to Medina. That is when Medina became the new ‘birthplace’ of Islam. Islam is based on the belief of doing good. You should care for the poor, and be humble. Over time, it has spread throughout the world and many people have converted to be Muslim.

The Malian Empire came after the kingdom of Ghana. It represented triumph of horse warriors. Horses became very prestigious of the savanna people. Mali’s most famous ruler was Mansa Musa from 1312-1332. Mansa Musa was very wealthy, and impressed the people of Cairo. The empire was thriving by the 14th century. It was a very big empire, having two of the largest African cities of Jenne and Timbuktu. 

The Ming Dynasty arose because of Mongols and the Black Death. It was founded by Zhu in 1368. The Black Death diminished the economy of China, and the Mongols faced chaos. The Ming rulers had to rebuild cities and reconstructing the bureaucracy. Eventually, they established the most centralized government of that period

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