HISTORY 150 – RESPONSE PAPER EIGHT – DUE SUNDAY OCTOBER 6 The Middle Ages of global history were a time of both crisis and opportunity. Indeed, from Asia to Europe, new states and governm


            The Middle Ages of global history were a time of both crisis and opportunity.  Indeed, from Asia to Europe, new states and governments formed as older systems were overtaken by new realities in terms of religion, social cohesion, and the expansion of trade networks.  Chapters Nine and Eleven of the textbook seek to describe some of the cross-cultural exchange that took place during this age as well as the growth of a more commercial economy.  The Medieval Period would help to form the bedrock for the upcoming age of exploration within the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 

            Read Chapters Nine and Eleven in the textbook (pages 302-337 and 376-413) and answer ONE of the following questions.   

            Your response to the question you choose should be approximately 600 to 800 words in length and double-spaced.  The essay should rely on ideas from the textbook and the documents contained within Chapters Nine and Eleven.  The essay should not use direct quotations from outside sources.

            Again, please answer ONE of the following questions.

  1. In what ways did the spread of Buddhism transform the politics and societies of East Asia? Did the Tang dynasty, after the brief Sui dynasty, increase the power of China within East Asia?  How does this era of history show contours (page 319) in politics that remain to the present in terms of the differences between East Asia and South Asia?  In your essay you will wish to discuss the Mahayana school of Buddhism, Chan Buddhism, and the An Lushan rebellion.  (Pages 309-319)

2.   Why did Hinduism gain a broader following in Indian society than the ancient Vedic religion and its chief rival, Buddhism?  How did the “temple-centered economy” begin to challenge the role of towns in the economy of India?  In what ways did Brahman religious traditions challenge the formal hierarchy of the major caste groups within India?  In your essay you will wish to discuss the role of the Puranas, the rise of numerous new goddesses in India by the 7th century C. E., the concept of jati, and how the Kama sutra helps to explain the gap between cities and rural life in Ancient India (and perhaps today.  (Pages 320-327)

  1. How did the commercial revival of 900-1300 reorient international trade routes across Afro-Eurasia?  What institutions and innovations did merchants devise to overcome the risks of long-distance trade?  In your essay you will wish to discuss the use of bills of exchange, the rise of the guild system, the uses of cartels (still in existence today), and how merchants in China were viewed differently than those in the Christian and Islamic Worlds.  (Pages 385-398)


Please review the following video from the useful, often entertaining, “Crash Course” series on World History.  A link is provided below.

Int’l Commerce, Snorkeling Camels, and The Indian Ocean Trade: Crash Course World History #18 (Links to an external site.)

For a maximum of five bonus points answer the following questions in two paragraph response.

In what ways does the video reinforce the ideas from Chapter Eleven concerning trade in the Medieval World?  How were merchants described as incredibly important to the connections between civilizations from East Asia to Africa and Europe?

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