Trade from the End of the Axial Age to 1500 C.E. Essay

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Introduction



Trade and imperialism brought all the societies of the Near East into contact with one another during the Axial Age so that networks were established and goods and services flowed from society to the other. These networks also facilitated the dispersal of ideas, both religious and philosophical. By the end of the Axial Age, the foundations of Western thought had been laid by the classical philosophers in Greece: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle—and their ideas rooted in the observance of Transcendentals, or ideals, that individuals pursued through the cultivation of good or virtuous habits in their daily lives, spread to the next dominant empire in the West—the Roman Empire. This paper will discuss the transmission of technology, ideas (religious and philosophical), consumer goods, and germs from the end of the Axial Age to 1500 CE. It will also examine the treatment of indigenous people by expanding empires and conquerors as well as factors that inhabited the development of long-distance exchange networks in the Americas and dynamics of cultural exchange.

Transmission



With the rise of the Roman Empire, which stretched from central Europe out across Spain, up to England, down across northern Africa and all the way to Egypt and Persia, was considered the greatest Empire of all time when it existed. It connected so many diverse peoples and populations that it was inevitable that the ideas developed by the beloved classical philosophers should spread and take root wherever wisdom was loved by societies. Moreover, ideas about religion spread via the conquering of lands by the Roman army. The Roman religion, however, incorporated the gods and goddesses of the Greek religion—and so this too was transmitted from an earlier age, given a new understanding (new names) and passed on to new people.



The Jewish people maintained their own belief system during this era and though they experienced captivity in Egypt as well as exile during the rule of Babylonian times, they were given their freedom by Cyrus, who allowed them to rebuild their sacred temple, which they held until it was destroyed by the Roman emperor around the year 80 CE. The Jews were then dispersed and the Jewish diaspora contributed to the spread of Jewish beliefs across the globe.

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Prior to that, however, the Christian religion had formed and taken root not only in Rome but through the Middle East and other parts of the world, as Christian missionaries and the early Church Fathers went about to preach the gospel of the New Testament. When Constantine came to power in Rome in the 4th century CE, he facilitated the strengthening of Christianity as a major religion and walked back the spread of the pagan Roman belief system. Christianity continued to flourish after the fall of the Roman Empire, as Christian missionaries, monks and priests continued to preach the gospel, Christina communities developed, and new converts were won like the King of the Franks—Clovis, who converted after marrying a Christian woman and who obliged his followers to convert as well. With the crowning of Charlegmagne as Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day in the year 800 CE by the Roman Catholic Pope in Rome, a new era and empire was born—the rule of Charlemagne, which helped to unite the parts of Europe and put an end to the Dark Ages ushered in the new Middle Ages, which saw a rise in Christian prominence, Christian art, Christian architecture, and Christian nations (Tomek).



Technology developed during this time as well with the Romans spreading their great road-building abilities throughout Europe and advancing the art of stone masonry. During the Dark Ages, there was not much development, but the Christian monks cultivated the earth and developed sustainable lifestyles that helped to restore order in communities that were ravaged by the threat of barbarian invasions. Technology in the Middle Ages developed with scientific processes, as people began rediscovering the old works by the scholastics. Ship-building also facilitated trade and new ships were sent out around the world by the year 1500 CE. Columbus had already discovered the Americas for Spain, and gold and silver were commodities that were much in demand (as was silk). The Protestant Reformation was on the horizon and civil war in Europe fast approaching, but by….....

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Works Cited

Tomek, Vladimir. “Axial Age.” Religious Tolerance, 2007. http://www.religioustolerance.org/tomek26.htm

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