Third essay - 1 Global History I Derlugian/Ragazzi 1800 Years in 10 Pages The Road to Globalization The transitions from classical antiquity to

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1 Global History I Derlugian/Ragazzi 1800 Years in 10 Pages: The Road to Globalization The transitions from classical antiquity to feudalism and finally to the globalization of the 13 th and 14 th centuries did not occur because of one traumatic event. Rather, the connections between a series of events eventually culminated in the collapse of one system into the next. To analyze these connections, we must first start with the classic polis of ancient Greece. The peninsular geography of arid Greece, with its easy access to the surrounding waterways and rocky terrain, greatly affected the outcome of the developing Greek civilization. The Greeks were able to utilize accessible bodies of water to facilitate communication and trade with the adjacent civilizations, increasing the “urban growth of concentration and sophistication far in advance of the rural interior behind it” (Anderson 20). Furthermore, their location was far more defendable than that of the unluckier Hebrews and Phoenicians. Whereas the lands of these two societies were directly attached to the lands of the Persians, the Aegean Sea acted as a Persian deterrent. Thus, although the Persians quickly conquered both Aramaic and Phoenician lands, the Aegean kept them from following to conquer the still developing Greeks, an important factor in the continued existence of the Greek civilization. When the Persians finally started their military campaigns against Greece, the main Greek military unit standing against them was the phalanx, composed of heavily armed and armored civilian infantry units called hoplites. The phalanx was “the school that made the Greek polis” (McNeill 198). Though many other civilizations had infantry fighting units, the phalanx was unique in many aspects. It “checked incipient growth of an aristocratic luxury and substituted an ideal of moderation in all outward things” (McNeill 200). A phalanx succeeded through the cooperative efforts of all
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2 involved—one’s life directly depended upon the shield hand of the man next to him. The hoplites, unconsciously fostering a sense of civic spirit and equality, looked down on men who exhibited aristocratic behavior. Thus, the divisions between those of aristocratic backgrounds and non-aristocratic backgrounds were blurred—on the battlefield, all men were equal. Furthermore, the Greek emphasis on community activities—the Olympics, theaters, the Gymnasium—promoted an “ideal of self-identification with and dedication to the polis (McNeill 200). Likewise, the constant drilling, marching, and singing in hoplite formations added to the unity of the phalanx. All these were examples of how the “rhythmic movement of coordinated bodies in a ritualistic setting generates a very strong sense of social solidarity” (Lecture). Because the hoplites were self-armed and armored, Greek society slowly evolved to one
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course POLI_SCI 201 taught by Professor Derluguian during the Fall '07 term at Northwestern.

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Third essay - 1 Global History I Derlugian/Ragazzi 1800 Years in 10 Pages The Road to Globalization The transitions from classical antiquity to

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