Human History Week 7, lecture 1 Decline and fall 2/14/11 The ancient golden age Eurasian complex societies see peak of complexity, energy use (around 30,000 kcal/cap/day) in 1st century CE Highly sophisticated organizations Begin breaking down by 100 CE The transformation of geography Success of ancient empires shrinks spaces between them Particularly across steppes Emergence of highly mobile horse-using nomadic pastoralists in 1st millennium BCE Creating nomad empires by 2nd century BCE (esp. Xiongnu) The crisis of the early 1st millennium CE Institutions, ideas, and art partially merge across Eurasia So too disease pools Terrible plagues break out in Han China and Roman Empire, 160s CE Possibly smallpox-related Rerun of earlier collapses, but on much bigger scale: migrations, disease, famine, state collapse, climate change Han dynasty China breaks down in 3rd century CE Roman Empire breaks down in 3rd century, revives in 4th century, collapses again in 5th century; invasions and partial collapses in India, Iran
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Centuries, 1st millennium, 1st century, Axial Thought, Wave Axial ideas, Wave Axial Thought