Post classical era summary study guide



Post classical era summary study guide


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Post classical era summary study guide

                               Pages 108 – 115



The Chronology of the Post-Classical Period


The stage for the Post-Classical Era was set by the same developments that ended its predecessor – the decline and end of classical empires. Capped by invasions of nomadic peoples, the classical decline produced huge changes in the map of the world’s civilization.  The end of the Post-Classical Era was heralded by another set of invasions. Nomadic Mongol invasions poured through much of Asia and eastern Europe. Later the transcontinental epidemic called the Black Death ravaged civilizations again. Both ended governments, realigned institutions, and changed societies.

The Post-Classical Millenium


Four overreaching developments define the Post-Classical centuries. The expanding influence of the Arabs and Islam is one. Another is the spread of civilization to additional regions of the world. A widespread shift in basic belief systems from polytheism to great world religions is the third. Finally, the development of a world network with regular and influential relations among most of the individual civilizations is the fourth general theme.



This period saw no major environmental changes nor were any fundamental new technologies introduced. Change primarily reflected population increases. Nor did basic structures of social or gender inequality shift greatly, although new religions emphases focused on spiritual equality. Slavery declined in some areas but not all, and several societies introduced new constraints on women. The role of nomads peaked. Trading companies became the leading innovators in formal international relations. Expanding civilizations and new religions provided opportunities for human agency. And international exchanges grew in range and intensity.

Exchange and Imitation in the Post-Classical World

Three characteristics of the Post-Classical period highlight the importance of imitating established centers. Growing trade intensified contacts between outlying regions and the most populous established civilizations. Missionary activity did the same. Finally, the expansion of civilization as an organized form of life built on the possibility of explicit imitation.




What events began and ended this period in world history?


What developments define the Post-Classical Era?


What new civilization arose and how did it influence other, older cultures?


To what new geographic areas did civilizations and world religions spread?


What allowed civilizations to expand?


What features created a unified zone of exchange in Eurasia and Africa?




  1. Post-Classical


  1. MAP EXERCISE: The Post-Classical World (Pages 112 – 113)


Changes over Time Comparisons

  1. What states are represented on both maps? What could this mean?


  1. To what areas has civilization spread?
  1. Locations of Civilizations
  2. If the green represents states with a sophisticated level of civilization, what conclusions can you make about the beige (empty) areas on the maps?


  1. Why could you argue that the empty areas such as India and Northern Europe were likely civilized, while open areas of North and South America were still without urbanized cultures?


  1. Around what bodies of water (seas and oceans) did civilizations exist? How might bodies of water help civilizations?


  1. TIMELINES: Chronologies (Pages 110 – 111)

What three civilizations are noted at the beginning and end of the timelines?


  1. What cultures seem to be great powers during this era?



  1. Compare and contrast western Europe or one of the major medieval European monarchies and one of the African empires.


  1. Contrast the economic, social, cultural and political roles of Post-Classical cities such as Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Heian, Angkor Wat, Samarkand, Timbuktu, Baghdad, Cairo, Constantinople, Venice, and Cordoba.
  1. Compare and contrast gender systems and inequalities and their changes over time.


  1. Compare and contrast the Aztec and Inca empires.
  1. Comp


  1. are and contrast west European and Japanese feudalism.













  1. During the Post-classical Age, 450 – 1450 C.E.
  2. Europe achieved its domination of the world.
  3. the Americas established contacts with Africa and Asia.
  4. nomadic peoples dominated the great civilizations of the world.
  5. the first international, as opposed to regional, connections arose.
  6. trade was limited.


  1. The era from 450 – 1450 C.E. began with the
  2. collapse of most classical civilizations.
  3. rise of Islam.
  4. technological revolution in shipping and communication.
  5. invasion of Europe, the Middle East, and India by the Mongols.
  6. discovery of the Americas by the Europeans.
  1. The Post-classical world ended when the
  2. Black Death devastated civilizations on three continents.
  3. Ming in China, Mughals in India, and Russian tsars overthrew the Mongols.
  4. Portuguese ships rounded Africa and reached India.
  5. Mongol, Mameluk, and Turkish invasions devastated three continents.
  6. Spanish discovered the Americas.


  1. All of these developments characterize the Post-Classical Age EXCEPT the:
  2. expanding influence of the Arabs and Islam.
  3. domination of the Atlantic and Mediterranean by Christian Europeans.
  4. spread of civilization to new regions such as west Africa and southeast Asia.
  5. widespread shift in basic belief systems such as Christianity and Islam.
  6. development of a world network for trade, ideas, and diseases.
  1. The leading civilization during the Post-Classical Era (450 – 1450 C.E.) was
  2. the Christian West.
  3. the Byzantine Empire.
  4. India.
  5. sea-based trading states such as Venice and the Swahili states.
  6. Islam.


  1. During the Post Classical Era, all of these regions joined the civilized geographic cores EXCEPT:
  2. Japan.
  3. Northern Europe.
  4. Australia.
  5. Southeast Asia.
  6. Sub-Saharan Africa.
  1. During the Post-Classical Era, religions
  2. had few contacts with other world faiths.
  3. remained geographically and culturally restricted.
  4. developed rivalries with other faiths.
  5. rejected missionary activities.
  6. ended their traditional alliances with political authorities.


  1. The growing world network of the Post-Classical period possessed all of these characteristics EXCEPT:
  2. exchanges of ideas including mathematics and sciences.
  3. destructive threats to the environment due to increased populations.
  4. the expansion of trade and commerce, especially in luxuries.
  5. the spread of epidemics such as the Bubonic Plague.
  6. the spread of key technologies.
  1. The Post-Classical Era cannot be called “global” because
  2. the Americas, Polynesia, and Australia were not included in the world network.
  3. the Japanese and Europeans isolated their lands and cultures from contacts.
  4. China was excluded from the world system.
  5. only Muslim areas of the world interacted in the world system.
  6. civilization had not yet arisen in Sub-Saharan Africa.


  1. During this era, politics and related institutions
  2. were dominated by religious institutions.
  3. favored aristocratic, patriarchal rule.
  4. were dominated by commercial interests.
  5. had one predominant form of type or state or government – empire.
  6. favored smaller states especially city-states.


During the Post-Classical Era the areas of civilization spread to all continents except Australia and the Antarctic. Areas, which had never known civilization, especially the lands and islands on the periphery of older civilizations, were settled and brought into contact with the core centers of civilizations. Use map in chapters of Unit III.


Rivers and Bodies of Water

  1. North Sea
  2. Baltic Sea
  3. Adriatic Sea
  4. Sea of Japan
  5. Java Sea
  6. Lake Victoria
  7. Congo River
  8. Mekong River
  9. Volga
  10. Dnieper


Physical Geography

  1. Rift Valley
  2. Namibian, Kalahari Deserts
  3. Alps
  4. Urals
  5. Italian Peninsula
  6. Iberian Peninsula
  7. Northern European Plain
  1. Madagascar
  2. Java
  3. Sumatra
  4. Hawaiian Islands
  5. North, South Zealand
  6. Bosporus, Dardanelles



  1. Deccan
  2. Sudan (West Africa)
  3. El-Zanj (East Africa)
  4. Catholic West Europe
  5. Orthodox Europe
  6. Muslim world


  1. Song China
  2. Mongol Empire
  3. Zimbabwe
  4. Frankish Empire
  5. Holy Roman Empire
  6. Kievan Rus
  7. Byzantine Empire
  8. Mali, Songhay
  9. Aztec Empire
  10. Incan Empire
  11. Khmer Empire
  12. Srivijava
  13. Chinese Empires
  14. Arabic Caliphates



  1. Constantinople
  2. Cairo
  3. Venice
  4. Cordoba
  5. Timbuktu
  6. Guangzhou
  7. Samarkand
  8. Baghdad
  9. Hangzhou
  10. Tenochtitlan
  11. Heian


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Post classical era summary study guide

600 C.E.–1450

I. Questions of periodization
A. Nature and causes of changes in the world history framework leading up to 600 C.E. – 1450 as a period
B. Emergence of new empires and political systems
C. Continuities and breaks within the period (e.g., the impact of the Mongols on international contacts and on specific societies)

The Islamic world
II. The rise and role of Dar al-Islam as a unifying cultural and economic force in Eurasia and Africa
A. The Rise
1. Arab Region Before
a. Vast, dry area
b. Nomadic Bedouin tribes
c. Criss-crossed by trade routes
d. Mecca
1. Trading crossroads
2. center for Arab tribal religious worship
3. Ka’aba – fallen from heaven and has special powers
4. Mechants made money selling goods/religious artifacts to travelers
2. Muhammad/Mohammed
a. 610  - Gabriel – one true God – Allah
b. Preached monotheism in Meeca
1. Posed a threat to social and economic order
a. Many of the merchant class hostile
b. Make money from pilgrimages
c. 622 – Travelled/flight to Yahtrib – Medina
1. Hijra – flight – marks beginning of Islamic era
a. Beginning of calendar
d. Preached in Medina
1. Last of long line of prophets – Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus
a. Shares common history with Judaism and Christianity
b. Does not accept Jesus as son of God
c. Mohammad the last great prophet
2. Teachings written down as Quran (Koran) – recitation
3. Community of believers – Muslims
e. 630 – returned to Mecca to conquer it
f. 632 – death – most of Arabia under Musilm Control
3. Beliefs
a. Islam – “submit” to God’s will
b. Five duties “Pillars”
1. Faith – one true God Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet
2. Prayer – five times a day facing Mecca
3. Fasting – daylight hours of Ramadan
4. Alms – money to the poor/needy
5. Hajj – pilgrimage to Mecca if able
c. All people equal before God
d. All should be converted to the faith
4. Early leadership under caliphs
a. Expanded aggressively to the north
b. Within 300 years, Middle East, N. Africa, and S. Asia – fell to armies of Islam
c. Weaknesses/decline of Persian/Byzantine Empire helped in spread
5. Empire grows as religion splits
a. Conflict – Shia vs. Sunni – who should succeed Mohammad
1. Shia – only family member of Muhammad – descendants of Ali
2. Sunni – chosen from among Umma – Muslim community
a. Earliest caliphs legitimate rulers
b. Early death – Abu Bakr becomes caliph – head of state, military, judge, religion
1. Caliph unique position – emperor + pope + chief justice
2. Ruled empire, but made important doctrinal decisions
3. Caliphate – theocratic Islamic Empire
4. Abu Bakr ideal
a. Conflict upon death – family members or outside family
b. Abu Bakr – best of both words – not in family, but one of first                                                            followers
c. Later religion spread alone, initially spread simultaneously with politics
d. Caliphs began to behave like monarchs
1. Problem – who will rule next
2. Abu Bakr > Umar > Uthman assassinated
a. Back to family >  Ali (cousin/son-in-law) assassinated
a. Son Hasan takes over – but relinquishes title
b. Mecca – Umayyads take over
e. *** Notice huge irony – people that wanted to kill him are now running his empire
6. Expansion
a. Conquering of regions – due to jihad – holy war?
b. or…Arabs were nomads, Bedouins, and were used to fighting for territory
1. More interested in riches than converts
2. Many not even converted – wanted head tax

              B. Role in unifying culture – another Golden Age
1. Education
a. More educational opportunities, career advancement
b. Institutions of higher learning
a. Cairo, Baghdad and Cordoba arose by 12th century
c. Muhammad al-Razi – massive encyclopedia
2. Learning of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians preserved
a. Key, significant role in preserving western culture
1. Byzantines did this also
2. Western cultures decentralized/dismissive of past
b. Translated writings of Plato/Aristotle to Arabic
c. Europeans found saved classic civilization treasures in libraries/museums
1. Positive cultural exchange
3. Language
a. Umayyads – Arabic became official language
b. Persian language and literary style blended with Arabic
4. Flowering of culture pronounced in al-Andalus – Islamic Spain
a. 711 Berbers from North Africa conquered Iberian peninsula
b. Preserved Greco-Roman culture
c. Enhancing it with scientific and mathematical developments of Muslim world
d. Caliphate of Cordoba boasted magnificent library
e. Free education in Muslim schools
f. Interregional commerce thrived
g. Introduction of language – alcohol, algebra, sofa
h. Architecture – minarets, arches and arabesques used in Spanish art/architecture
5. Religion
a. at first – didn’t want conversions – taxes
b. later -  those conquered “encouraged” to convert – create common faith
c. Suffis – Islamic mystics
1. Stressed personal relationship with Allah
2. Highly adaptable
a. Can practice revering Allah in own ways
b. Can place Allah in framework of own beliefs (is this true?)
d. Respect for Jews/Christians “People of the Book”
1. Required to pay taxes for charity on property
2. Allowed freedom to worship and self-rule within their communities
6. Women in Islam
a. Better
1. Qur’an changed much of negative treatment
2. Treated with more dignity
3. Equal before Allah
4. Would have to return dowry to wife after divorce
5. Infanticide forbidden
6. Gained power within home
7. In early stages, women had power outside of home
a. Muhammad’s wife Khadija – also his boss, businesswoman
b. Worse
1. Before Islam
a. Viewed as property
b. man could divorce woman and keep dowry
c. Infanticide
2. After Islam
a. Up to four wives, but must be able to support
b. Man have one wife
1. Land passed through males, must know father
c. Testimony in court half weight of man
d. Veiled in Persia/Mesopotamia
1. Later spread to Islamic society
e. Over time, changed – more structure, patriarchal
1. Highly protected, more respected than before
C. Role in unifying economic
1. Trade heightened from Western Mediterranean world to China

2. Urban centers
a. Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba
b. Baghdad – great cultural centers of the world
3. Taxes
a. Paid head tax for each person not Muslim
4. Money system
a. Gold and silver coins standard monetary unit
b. Introduced idea of credit
1. Free from burden/danger of carrying coins
c. Itemized receipts/bills – innovations later used elsewhere
5. Manufacturing
a. Steel for swords
D. Islamic political structures, notably the caliphate
1. Umayyad caliphate - Sunnis
a. Moved capital to Damascus
b. Theocratic rulers
1. Established cardinal tenets of faith
2. codified Islamic law
c. Muawiyah – set up central government + allowed provincial leaders
1. provincial leaders appointed officials
a. Diluted authority of caliphs
d. 750 Shi’ite Muslims in Iraq/Iran rebelled – drove out Umayyad, installed Abbasid
e. Negatives
1. Lived in luxury – prompted revolts
2. “People of the Book”
a. Allowed Christians and Jews to rule selves
b. But…inferior status still assigned to non-converts
2. Abassids - Shia
a. Early Phase – Expansion and consolidation
1. Though a theocracy, tolerant of local customs
a. Though Christians/Jews sometimes persecuted in Levant

b. Struggles of the Abassids
1. Too large to govern
2. Failed to address the problems of succession
3. High taxes made leaders less and less popular
c. Fall of the Abassids
1. Local kingdoms began to arise
2. Persian leaders – sultans – took control of Baghdad in 945
3. Persians challenged by Seljuk Turks
a. Eventually unite with Turks
4. Mongol invaders in 13th century
3. Islamic Empire
a. Regular civil wars, internal struggles
1. Often caused by Sunni – Shi’ite conflict
b. 1258 Mongols overran Islamic Empire – destroyed Baghdad
1. People flee to Egypt
c. Eventully Ottoman Turks reunite until 1918
4. Role of sacred law – Sharia
a. Body of Muhammad’s teachings = Quran + interpretations by ulama – holy men
b. Sacred law immutable
c. Model for every Muslim to live life and how state should govern
d. Previously secular considerations became religious concerns

E. Arts, sciences and technologies
1. Art
a. Calligraphy
b. Designs
1. arabesques adorned writing and program
c. Architecture
1. Buildings commonly centered around a patio area
2. Minarets – towers in which faithful received call to prayer
3. Mosques – Muslims place of worship
d. Great literature
1. Poetic works
a. Arabian Nights

2. Science
a. First stage – preservation of classical learning
1. Greek logic, particularly Aristotle penetrated Muslim thought
2. Mathematics from Indcia
a. Zero as place value
b. Carried by caravan to Europe – misnomer as Arabic
b. Improvement, clarification, correction and new theories
1. Mathematics
a. algebra, geometry, and trigonometry refined
2. Science
a. Navigation
1. Astrolabe improved
2. cartographers most detailed maps in the world
b. Astronomy
1. maps of the stars
c. Medicine
1. Optic surgery as specialty
2. Human anatomy studied in detail
3. Hospitals best in the world
a. Charlemagne from Europe chose Arab doctors
c. Non-Arabic Sephardim – Jews in Spain
1. Writing and working in Arabic
2. Cultural bridge between Middle East and Europe
3. Christian monks converted these texts to Latin    
3. Technology

III. Interregional networks and contacts

    1. Development and shifts in interregional trade, technology, and cultural exchange
  1. Buying/trading goods big incentive for interactions
  2. If self-sufficient, you can life in isolation
  3. If you lack a resource, two options

             a. Take or trade
3. Major trade routes
a. Mediterranean – western Europe, Byzantine Empire, Islamic Empire
b. Hanseatic League
1. Baltic/North Sea Regions
2. 1241 banded together
a. Common trade practices
b. Fight off pirates/foreign governments
c. Establish a trade monopoly
3. 100 cities joined league
4. Impact
a. substantial middle class in Northern Europe
1. Drive changes in future centuries
b. Precedent for large, European trading operations
1. Affected Dutch/English
c. Silk Road
d. Land routes of Mongols
e. Trade between China/Japan
f. Trade between India/Persia
g. Trans-Sharan routes – west Africa/Islamic Empire
4. Trade aided by
a. better boats/roads
b. monetary systems
c. lines of credit
d. accounting – record keeping, money management key
i. Keeping records establishes business relationship
ii. Once you have relationship, you can consider investment
iii. International business the next step

  1. Role in cultural diffusion      

             a. Religions and languages spred
b. Literature and art spread
c. Plague spread
i. Bubonic plague – Black Death – Asia 14th century
ii. Eventually 1 out of 3 in Europe
iii. Led to decline of feudal society

  1. Global Trade Network

             a. Global Network not controlled by one entity
1. Interconnected, highly-independent parts
2. Managers at each site
3. No one managing it, but everyone (accept Americas) involved
b. After 1200 – world interconnected
1. Europe to Islamic World/Russia
2. Islamic World > India, Africa, China
3. India > China/East Africa

    1. Trans-Sahara trade

      1. Ghana – “land of gold”
a. Dry savannah grasslands
b. Arab traders
1. Helped spread Islamic faith
2. Expanded knowledge of Africa
c. Economy regulated by monarchy
1. Gold production controlled
a. Overproduction caused value to decline
2. Exports
a. salt
b. gold
1. After 1200, Europe mints gold coins – value increases
2. Primary supplier of gold to world
c. honey
d. slaves
e. ivory
3. Imports – more useful metals
a. copper
b. horses
c. textiles
d. figs
e. iron
d. Absorbed by Mali
2. Mali
a. Dominant empire until 1350 CE
b. Already nominally Muslim, now greater numbers converted
c. Mansa Musa
a. Greatest of the Malian kings
b. Libraries and Islamic schools throughout kingdom
c. Mosques
d. Timbuktu – regional cultural center for West Africa, capital
e. 1324 Pilgrimage to Mecca
1. Entourage of 50,000, many adorned with gold
2. Wealth paraded fro thousands of miles
f. After 1350 provinces began to proclaim power, split up

    1. Indian Ocean trade
  1. Persians and Arabs dominated
    1. Arabs controlled west
    2. Middle zone controlled by various Indian kingdoms
    3. East zone controlled by China
  2. Trade routes connected ports in western India to Persian Gulf

             a. Then connected to East Africa
b. 6000 miles
3. Travel
a. Resilient to larger waves
b. Understand the monsoon season/direction of winds
c. Routes relatively safe
1. Mediterranean always had to worry about warfare
4. Marrige
a. Sailors married local women at end of routes
1. Cultures intermix
2. Foreign wives created bilingual/bicultural families            
5. Goods
a. From Africa – ivory, animal hides, forest-related goods, gold, slaves
b. From Middle East – textiles, carpets, glass, Arabian horses
c. From India – gems, elephants, salt, cotton cloth, cinnamon
d. From China – silk, porcelain, paper – Japan – silver
6. China during Ming Dynasty
a. Refocused trade in early 15th century on Indian Ocean trade
1. Display glories of Middle Kingdom
b. Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf/Red Sea
c. Expeditions led by Zheng He – Chinese general of Muslim faith
1. Forced to return – jealous of notoriety of Zheng He
2. Wanted to use money to protect against nomadic invasions
3. Chinese junks – huge boats
d. Focused from then on regional trade

    1. Silk routes
  1. Connected China to Mediterranean since era of Roman Empire
  2. Used heavily 1200-1600 – reign of the Mongols
  3. Products
    1. Much more than silk
    2. Porcelain
    3. Paper
    4. Military technology
    5. Buddhism, Islam, Christianity
    6. Food

                           4. East met West via Silk Road
5. Any discussion about international trade must include Silk Road
6. Marco Polo
a. Went with Venetian dad and brother to Asia
b. Returned home and wrote book
c. Noticed fascinating topics
1. banking system – paper money/letters of credit
2. black rock (coal) for fuel
3. highways linking cities
4. Express messengers to carry news throughout empire

    1. Missionary outreach of major religions
      1. Christianity
        1. Remained in Africa – Ethiopia and Egypt
          1. Egypt allowed to exist under Islamic empire
          2. Myth of Ethiopian wealth led to Prestor John myth

i. Led to exploration later on

    1. Contacts between major religions, e.g., Islam and Buddhism, Christianity and Islam

      1. North and East Africa
a. Christianity
1. In spite of Muslim influence
2. Ethiopia
a. St. Mark preached to East Africans during Roman period
b. Strong Christian traditions
c. Coptic monasticism
3. Egypt
4. Allowed by Muslims to worship freely
a. Many preferred rule under Muslims to former Christians
1. Cheaper and more religious tolerance
5. Unique linguistic, architectural and artistic version of Christianity
2. Holy Land – The Crusades
f. Reasons for crusades
1. convert nonbelievers
2. crush Christian movements Church deemed heretical
3. protect against attacks by foreigners
g. Reasons for Crusades
1. Genuine religious fervor
2. Geopolitical conflict between Europe and Middle East
3. Europeans desire to become more involved in trade
4. Personal ambitions – gain wealth and land
5. Racial and religious prejudice
a. Period of stability after 1000 CE led to increased trade/higher agricultural output
1. Population boom tripled number
b. Pope encouraged military expeditions to reclaim Holy Land
1. 1059-1212 – take control from Muslims
2. First Crusade – Jerusalem taken, but then lost
c. Muslims agreed to allow Christians to journey to holy sites
d. Ripple effects through Europe
1. Luxury items created demand for Asian goods
2. Italian city-states grew wealthy
3. Merchant class arost that supported stable monarchies – wanted trade protected
4. Church in Rome became more politically involved/powerful
5. Europe stimulated by technology/prosperity of Middle East
6. Women given more influence – cared for estates
a. Some even went on Crusades
e. Some of the Crusades merely huge migration of people

    1. Impact of the Mongol empires
  1. Rise
    1. Mongols – epitome of nomadic culture
    2. Superb horsemen and archers
    3. Could have been a world power earlier

             i. Rivalries between tribes/clans prevent unification
ii. Remained isolated

    1. Genghis Khan – Chingiss Khan – “Limitless strength” + “ruler”

             i. military/organizational skills
ii. largest empire ever
iii. Mongol invasion 1234
iv. Spanned Pacific Ocean to eastern Europe

    1. Military Ogranization
      1. Organization based on decimal system

         1. Tjumen (Division) – 10,000, Mingghan (Regiment) – 1,000
a. Leaders appointed by khan
2. Jaghun (Company) – 100 men, Arben (Squad) – 10 men
a. elected by men

      1. Efficient/meritocratic approach

         1. Leaders chosen for ability/not family relations

    1. Why successful?

             i. Choices – die in fight, house burned down, burn religious buildings – or give in
ii. Ruthless warriors, highly organized, highly mobile
iii. 90 miles a day vs. Roman 25 miles a day
iv. Bows range of 300 yards
v. Armies divided into organized units – light, heavy cavalry + scouts
vi. Motivated
a. Genghis punished traitors
b. Rewarded courage generously
vii. Stealthy – network of spies
viii. Goals clear – surrender or entire village destroyed
ix. Adept at cultural borrowing

    1. Military innovations
      1. armor made of lacquered wood and silk
      2. use of feints and flanking maneuvers
      3. concentrated light rations for troops on horseback
    2. Strategy

             i. When coming up to city, promised to spare inhabitants
ii. If they disagreed, they’d slaughter every human and animal – destruction total
iii. Rapid success and brutality spread quickly
iv. Unparalleled military achievements and ruthlessness

    1. Split into hordes – independent empires

             i. Golden Horde – conquered Russia
ii. Kublai Khan ruled China
iii. Destroyed cities, ruthless warriors

  1. Largest single empire in human history

             a. Period of peace – Pax Mongolia

  1. Conquered Areas
    1. Once settled developed
      1. Law code
        1. Yasa – borrowed from several cultures
      2. Written language
        1. Turkik language of Uighur
      3. New religious practices
        1. Sometimes adopted religions of those they conquered
          1. Buddhism and Islam
      4. Better technology – social and cultural advancements
        1. Used paper currency taken from China
        2. Postal system – message carried on horseback – yam – Pony Express

b. After death of Genghis Khan – brief period of calm while sons organized holdings
c. Under Ogodei – son – extended into China/Korea and then to Eastern Europe
d. Failure in Eastern Europe – Ogodei’s nephew Batu led
i. overextended – too far from home
ii. unfamiliar terrain – forests, mountains
iii. fortresses/castles slowed advance
iv. Batu forced to return after Ogodei’s death
v. Did conquer Russia and parts of Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania
a. Called Golden Horde – “orda” = “camp”
e. Failure in Japan – 1274/1281
i. Violent storms
f. Khubilai Khan – shifted power from Domain of the Great Khan to Yuan Empire – China
i. New Dynasty called Yuan – 1278-1369
a. Policy of segregation between Mongols and Chinese
1. Marriage forbidden
b. Abolishing examination system for choosing government officials
1. Often appointed non-Chinese for posts
c. Extended the Grand Canal linking cities

  1. Fall
    1. Hardly lasted 3 to 4 generations
    2. Not able administrators
    3. Overspending led to inflation
    4. “One can conquer an empire on horseback, but one cannot govern that empire from horseback.”
    5. After Kublai Khan died, leadership weak/ineffective

i. Rivalry among successors destabilized – who would be successor?             
ii. empire divided among generals
f. Russia overthrown by rise of Russia
g. Ottoman Turks replaced them in Asia
4. Impact
a. Once domain established – relative peace – Pax Mongolica
i. notion of peacefulness an exaggeration
b. Allowed for exchange of goods, ideas, culture from different regions
i. Biggest impact – conduit for cultural exchange
c. Civilization based on territory and conquest, not culture
i. culture of killing, maiming, destroying
ii. Mongol Empire, not Mongol Civilization
iii. In many cases, stifled growth
iv. Illiterate – no need for arts/sciences
v. Mongol religion – no place among great faiths
d. Silk Road flourished
i. Cities like Samarkand, with oases, bazaars, markets became commercial centers
a. Merchants, travelers, pilgrims, missionaries all passed through
d.  Some assimilated
i. Persia became Muslim
e. China – Kublia Khan
i. dismissed Confucian scholars
ii. forbade marriage between Mongols and Chinese
iii. Wouldn’t allow Chinese to learn Mongol language
iv. Key…not allowed to Mongolize – kept own culture
1. 1368 – kicked out – Ming Dynasty under traditional Chinese                                                  practices
f. Major consequences
1. Russia – conquered by illiterate Mongols – didn’t unify, develop like                                     European neighbors
2. World trade, cultural diffusion, awareness
a. Touched nearly all major civilizations
b. World would never again be disconnected
g. Summary effects
1. nations formed and destroyed
2. nations had social, cultural and political characteristics shaped by decades of rule
3. much of Eurasian landmass united/connected by political, economic, cultural links
4. Contrasted with other civilizations
a. No Golden Age, but larger
b. Usually slowed cultural developments
c. Culture shared…but it wasn’t their culture


IV. China's internal and external expansion
A.  The importance of the Tang and Song economic revolutions and the initiatives of the early Ming dynasty
1. Sui kingdom
a. Brief – 581-618
1. Ended civil war era
2. Buddhism aggressively patronized by rulers
a. Building of pagodas, temples, artwork Buddhist influence
3. Natural disasters led to famine, unrest - rebellion
1. Political Changes
a. 618-907 – Tang
1. Expanded territory to Tibet, part of Korea
b. 960-1279 – Song
1. Always at conflict/on the defensive with Northern neighbors
c. 1279-1368 – Mongols
d. 1368 – Ming
e. Tang/Song - Relatively peaceful
1. Stable bureaucratic system based on civil service exam (started in Han)
a. Focused on Confucian principles
b. Large core of educated, talented, loyal government workers
c. Stable regardless of who was in charge
i. even Mongols kept bureaucrats
d. meritocracy not aristocracy
e. Similar to America today – leaders change, bureaucrats remain
f. scholar-gentry
2. Built extensive infrastructure
a. Transportation/communication networks
i. Tang – network of roads, inns, postal stations
b. Canals
f. Constant military threat from the North
g. Tributary system – neighboring regions sent delegations
1. Show deference to Chinese emperor – kowtow
2. Chinese perception as superior to foreigners                     
2. Economic Changes
a. Tang/Song new business practices
1. Paper money
2. Letters of credit – flying money
b. New Technologies
1. Gunpowder for military
2. Boats – junks
a. best of their time
b. magnetic compass
c. watertight bulkheads
d. sternpost rudders
3. Practical inventions for navigation/economy
a. Astronomy, compass, water-powered clock
b. Abacus
c. block printing             
c.  Trade
1. increasingly involved with elaborate commercial network Pacific Coast/Southeast Asia
a. Port of Canton – became one of world’s busiest trading centers
b. Goods, merchants, ideas, and money from all over China
c. Large trading vessels – junks – cruised Eastern seas – silk/manufactured
d. Extensive network of roads to bind empire together
1. Network of inns/postal stations for communication
d.  Iron production
1. Increased tenfold
2. Rivaled British production during Industrial Revolution
d. Agriculture
1. Champa rice from Vietnam – fast ripening rice
2. New agricultural techniques
3. Population increases from 45>115 million
4. Large estates broken up/land redistributed
a. Threat of power from regional lords
e. High taxation often leads to peasant revolts – downfall of dynasty
f. population growth – ten cities with more than a million people – South faster than North
1. new strains of rice
2. opening of new land to agriculture – draining swamps/terracing hillsides
3. end of government-controlled markets/ started privately owned shops
4. currency based economy
5. iron manufacturing
6. development of oceangoing vessels
g. protected trade on Silk Road
3. Social Changes
a. Accomplished in all categories
1. art, science, philosophy, porcelain making, silk weaving, transportation systems
a. Tang – poetry most significant
b. Song – printing process – expanded literacy
b. Women
1. Wu Zhao – first empress of China
a. Ruthless to adversaries
b. Compassionate to peasants
2. Majority stayed inferior
a. Like European Middle Ages, women’s beauty and femininity key
1. Song – foot binding
a. Bound since birth – wouldn’t grow with body
b. Large feet considered manly/ugly
c. Painful, crippling
d. Accepted by wealthy first, poor later – practicality
3. Marriages set up to benefit groom
4. Women of lower classes freer from strictures
5. Had inheritance and property rights, retained dowry after divorce/death
c. Religion
1. Following Han – many religions influenced
a. Nestorians, Manicheans, Zoroastrians, Islam
2. Buddhism greatest influence – state-sponsored during Sui
a. Mahayana
1. Emphasis on peaceful, quiet existence
2. Life apart from worldy values
b. Chan/Zen Buddhism   
1. Educated classes – worked with Confucianism
2. Meditation/appreciation of beauty
c. Confucian/Daoist reaction
1. Seen as drain on treasury/labor pool
a. Buddhism dismissed importance of wealth
b. Imperial tax exemptions/private gifts of property
2. Daoists saw as thrat
3. Mid-800s – Emperor Wuzong persecutions
a. Destroyed thousands of monasteries
d. Art
1. Stylized and symbolic landscape painting
e. Philosophy
1. Neo-confucian thought
a. Looked at ancient text
b. Codified traditional Chinese philosophy
c. Blended Confucianism with Daoism
d. Attractive to leaders – apply rules to all elements of life
e. Chinese elite classes withdraw from contact with other people
f. Reinforced gender/class distinctions
f. Growth of cities
1. urbanization – some cities exceeded one billion people
B.  Chinese influence on surrounding areas and its limits
1. Overall
a. Neighboring peoples became tributary states
1. Forced to kow-tow – prostrate self
2. Intensified Chinese perception as superior to all foreigners
b. Rural populations attracted to China’s system
1. Japan
a. Geography
1. Four main islands
2. Relatively isolated
a. Rate of exchange limited
b. Only in recent centuries has it allowed Western influence
b. Political
1. Yamato clan – first, only dynasty to rule
a. Current emperor descendant of original
2. 7th Century – Prince Shotoku
a. Borrowed bureaucratic legal reforms from China
b. Called Taika Reforms – enacted after death – borrowed from China
1. Chinese characters in written language
a. but…did not work with Japanese language
2. Buddhism
3. Court etiquette from the Tang dynasty
4. Chinese architecture
5. Confucian literary classics
6. Organization of government into departments/ministries
7. law codes
8. tax system
9. calendar
10. art, literature, music
c. Modeled new capital after Tang capital
d. *** adopted Chinese beliefs, but rejected
1. Confucianism
2. civil service examination
3. In Japan, education not nearly as important as birth
a. Nobility hereditary, not earned
e. Buddhism threatened provincial leaders
3. After 794 – capital moved – power of aristocratic families increased
a. Emperor became figurehead, power with Fujiwara family
1. Unlike Mandate of Heaven – emperor can’t be overthrown
b. Eventually power spread, fighting over control of small territories
c. Heian Period – “city of peace”
1. Further isolation of emperor – kept in seclusion
2. Regional clansmen vie for kwampaku = ruler for emperoro
3. Rise of powerful clans/families with private armies
4. 1192 – power goes to Shogun – chief general
a. After Gempei Wars – peasants vs. Samurai
b. Military state established
c. Daimyo – huge landowner – samurai – part warrior/part nobility
d. Divided land to lesser vassals/samurai
e. Construction of fortresses - protection
c. Economic
1. Peasants/artistans exist to serve the samurai
a. Gradually became serfs– bound to the land
2. Hierarchy based on a land for loyalty exchange
d. Social
1. Early on – Shinto religion
a. “way of the gods”
b. kami – nature and all the forces of nature
c. goal – become part of kami by following rituals/customs
d. encourages obedience/proper behavior
e. Yamato claimed descendant from sun goddess


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Post classical era summary study guide

WHAP: Post Classical Review

  1. Which global force was the first to consistently integrate sub-Saharan Africa into a global network of exchange and ideas?
    1. Globalization
    2. Transatlantic slave trade
    3. Roman Empire
    4. Islamic civilization
    5. Conquests of Alexander


  1. Which of the following was a common unifying feature of sub-Saharan African societies in the post-classical era?
    1. Adoption of Islam by elites
    2. Broad-based expansion of literacy among the masses
    3. Common Bantu linguistic roots
    4. Matriarchal political power
    5. Stateless societies
  1. North Africa served as a bridge for Muslim influence to reach which area?
    1. Persia
    2. Central Asia
    3. Anatolia
    4. Spain
    5. Scandinavia


  1. Which indigenous African ethnic group adopted and vigorously spread Islam?
    1. Khoisan
    2. Zulu
    3. Berber
    4. Ethiopian
    5. Bedouin
  1. Which African society held on most fiercely to Christianity in the period of Islamic expansion in Africa?
    1. Mali
    2. Ghana
    3. Ethiopia
    4. Tunisia
    5. Swahili Coast


  1. Which of the following does not belong in a list of similarities in the process of how Islam spread to South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa?
    1. Islam arrived with traders and took root first in urban areas
    2. The spread of Islam was mainly peaceful
    3. Political power remained in the hands of non urban elites
    4. Considerable syncretism was involved
    5. A majority of the population in all three areas converted to Islam.
  1. Which postclassical civilization was most famous for its extensive and centrally planned imperial road network?
    1. Roman
    2. Aztec
    3. Incan
    4. Mongol
    5. Mali


  1. Which of the following organizations group people according to occupation, regulated apprenticeships and upheld standards of workmanship?
    1. Communes
    2. Monasteries
    3. Guilds
    4. Parliaments
    5. Unions
  1. Of those listed, which civilization existed in the most complete state of isolation between 600-1450?
    1. Ming china
    2. Delhi sultanate
    3. Aztec empire
    4. Carolingian France
    5. Kievan Rus


  1. Which of the following is most closely associated with postclassical Western Europe?
    1. Sudra
    2. Slave
    3. Proletarian
    4. Plebeian
    5. Serf



  1. What was the title earned by students who passed the most difficult battery of Chinese civil service examinations?
    1. Gentry
    2. Sensei
    3. Eunuch
    4. Jinshi
    5. vizier
  1. Russian civilization emerged nearest to what city?
    1. St.Petersburg
    2. Kiev
    3. Moscow
    4. Leningrad
    5. Warsaw


  1. Which dynasty built the largest land empire?
    1. Zhou
    2. Han
    3. Tang
    4. Song
    5. Ming
  1. The Byzantine Empire flourished as a crossroads of trade from which regions?
    1. Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia
    2. India, Mediterranean and Asia
    3. Sub Saharan Africa, India and the Middle East
    4. Middle East, Asia and Scandinavia
    5. Scandinavia, Mediterranean and India


  1. Which region, while under Muslim control, remained the least converted and integrated into the empire constructed in the era of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates?
    1. South Asia
    2. East Asia
    3. Anatolian Peninsula
    4. Egypt
    5. Morocco
  1. Who would not have qualified as a ‘dhimmi’ in the Abbasid caliphate?
    1. Jews
    2. Catholics
    3. Hindu
    4. Greek/Russian Orthodox
    5. African animist


  1. Which of the following was the most decisive change Mongol rule brought to Russia?
    1. Emancipation of the serfs
    2. Migration of the center of power from Kiev to Moscow
    3. Permanent separation of Russian culture from that of the West
    4. Abandonment of the Cyrillic alphabet
    5. Incorporation of animism into Russian Orthodoxy
  1. Pre-Islamic Arab society is best characterized as:
    1. Pastoral nomadic
    2. Sedentary agricultural
    3. Highly urbanized
    4. Maritime trade based
    5. Hunter gatherer


  1. What ideology gained influence in the period of disorder that followed the collapse of the Han dynasty?
    1. Buddhism
    2. Legalism
    3. Taoism
    4. Neo-Confucianism
    5. Communism
  1. Which of the following was the great infrastructural achievement of postclassical China during the Tang-Song era?
    1. Great Wall
    2. Forbidden City
    3. Port at Canton
    4. Grand Canal
    5. Port of Macao


  1. Which postclassical societies most closely mirrored the same political patterns for most of the period?
    1. Mongol-Chinese
    2. Japanese-Chinese
    3. Japanese-Western Europe
    4. Mongol-Russian
    5. Japanese-Russian
  1. Maya, Aztec and Inca civilization managed to construct monumental structures without what of the following?
    1. Writing systems
    2. State authority
    3. Draft animals
    4. Slave labor
    5. Stone tools


  1. By which route would medieval women have been most likely to find an alterative path in life outside of marriage?
    1. Joining a crusade
    2. Entering a guild
    3. Witchcraft
    4. Entering a convent
    5. Entering banking
  1. Which two Muslim cities served as political and administrative centers of Muslim empires during the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates?
    1. Baghdad and Istanbul
    2. Mecca and Medina
    3. Mecca and Baghdad
    4. Baghdad and Damascus
    5. Mecca and Damascus


  1. In which postclassical civilization did women enjoy the highest status, in general?
    1. Tang China
    2. Islamic
    3. Carolingian
    4. Heian Japan
    5. Aztec
  1. Which of the following best describes the status of the Buddhist faith in China after the persecutions of the Tang era?
    1. Chinese emperors continued to practice Buddhism
    2. Buddhism grew rapidly as a form of rebellion against the emperor
    3. Buddhism disappeared completely from China
    4. The presence of Buddhism remained largely unchanged
    5. Buddhism continued to exist but on a much smaller scale


  1. Which of the following regions of Western Europe remained the most insulated from the general trend toward disorder following the fall of the Roman Empire?
    1. France
    2. England
    3. Germany
    4. Spain
    5. Italy
  1. Which body of water was the scene of trade involving merchant ships from the most diverse collection of civilizations in the postclassical era?
    1. Atlantic Ocean
    2. Pacific Ocean
    3. Baltic Sea
    4. Indian Ocean
    5. Sea of Japan


  1. Which best characterizes the impact of the Magna Carta?
    1. The principle of representative government and limited monarchy was established
    2. More accurate maps were produced
    3. Universal manhood suffrage became the norm for feudal societies
    4. Parliamentary rule replaced monarchy across Western Europe
    5. Increasingly, females came to have a place in politics
  1. What is the name of the family units into which Aztec society was organized?
    1. Calpulli
    2. Ayullu
    3. Quipu
    4. Clans
    5. Tribes


  1. Which group benefited from newfound higher status in the period of Mongol rule in China?
    1. Scholar-gentry
    2. Aristocracy
    3. Peasantry
    4. Merchants
    5. Buddhist monks
  1. As Islam spread, which of the following proved most durable across sub-Saharan Africa?
    1. Ancestor worship
    2. Roman Catholicism
    3. Zen Buddhism
    4. Coptic Christianity
    5. Roman polytheism


  1. The leader most closely associated with Islam in Africa is:
    1. Sundiata Keita
    2. Sunni Ali
    3. Mansa Musa
    4. Ibn Batutta
    5. Kwame Nkrumah
  1. Which of the following does not belong on a list of characteristics common to the decline of both the Roman and the Abbasid empires?
    1. Succession fights for the imperial throne
    2. Frequent interference of military commanders in politics
    3. Growing dependence on nomadic warriors as mercenaries
    4. Decline in agricultural productivity
    5. Imperial conversion to a new religion


  1. Which of the following does not belong in a list of similarities between Byzantine and dynastic political rule in the Tang era?
    1. An imperial bureaucracy that is based in meritocracy but generally staffed by members of the upper class
    2. A throne occasionally held by women
    3. An emperor whose rule has God’s approval
    4. Focused initiatives to expand imperial boundaries
    5. Centralized government that oversees most aspects of life
  1. Merchants played a central role and were given high social status in all of the following areas except:
    1. Aztec Empire
    2. Swahili Coast
    3. Song Dynasty
    4. Bedouin Arabia
    5. Indian Ocean


  1. Which of the following rulers is not correctly paired with the empire they ruled?
    1. Justinian-Byzantine
    2. Mansa Musa-Mali
    3. Charlemagne—Carolingian
    4. Muhammad—Umayyad
    5. Kublai Khan—Yuan
  1. Which religious schism stemmed from disputes over legitimate succession of leadership?
    1. Eastern Orthodox and Catholic
    2. Mahayana and Theravada
    3. Coptic and Orthodox
    4. Mahayana and Zen
    5. Sunni and Shia


  1. Neo Confucianism is a movement from which dynasty?
    1. Han
    2. Tang
    3. Song
    4. Yuan
    5. Ming
  1. Which of the following does not belong on a list of features of a stateless society?
    1. Delayed ability to respond to external threats
    2. Limited ability to mobilize for war
    3. Mass slave revolts
    4. Difficulty undertaking large construction projects
    5. Lack of stability required for consistent and growing long-distance trade


  1. By 1450, Islam had spread to all of the following regions EXCEPT
    1. Western Europe.
    2. East Asia.
    3. the Middle East.
    4. India.
    5. East Africa.


  1. The reasons for the Arabs’ (Muslim) successful conquest of the Middle East and north Africa was most likely due to
    1. the promise of booty to be won.
    2. overpopulation in the Arabian peninsula.
    3. the desire to convert others to Islam.
    4. the weaknesses caused by their long wars of Islam’s two main adversaries, Persia and the Byzantine Empire.
    5.  the unity provided by their faith in Islam.



  1.  The decline of women’s position within Islamic civilization was due to
  2. Islamic dogma.
  3. contacts with older sedentary cultures and their highly stratified urban systems.
  4. the necessities of war and holy war.
  5. the high death rates of males & the increased number of women in Islamic society “decreased the value” of women
  6. bedouin traditions.


  1. The Sufis
    1. condemned scientific and cultural borrowing from non-Muslim sources.
    2. helped spread Islam.
    3. objected to the violence and social strife, which befell the Abbasid world.
    4. led religious wars against Christians in Europe and the Middle East.
    5. attempted to blend Islam with Judaism and Christianity.
  1. Sub-Saharan African societies are similar to Latin American Indian societies in that both
    1. built classical civilizations without cultural diffusion from other civilizations.
    2. developed in mountainous environments.
    3. originated complex mathematics and scientific traditions.
    4. had numerous similarities making it impossible to generalize about them.
    5. were devastated by contacts with Europeans and Arabs, which led to mass epidemics and the death of whole indigenous populations.


  1. After the arrival of Islam, societies in west Africa
    1. became largely patrilineal.
    2. implemented Islamic law regarding the seclusion of women.
    3. often continued to recognize traditions granting women extensive rights.
    4. abandoned the tradition of polygamy.
    5. abolished slavery.
  2. Serfs differed from slaves in that
    1. serfs were largely commercialized artisans while slaves were agricultural.
    2. serfs were ethnically Europeans while slaves were Muslims, pagans, and Africans.
    3. they could not be bought or sold, and owned some of the land they farmed.
    4. serfs could serve in the military, while slaves could not.
    5. slaves frequently were better educated and lived in towns.
  1. Although later civilizations in Mesoamerica borrowed and built on the previous accomplishments of the Olmecs and Maya, later civilizations
    1. were not as war-like as their predecessors had been.
    2. rarely surpassed their intellectual predecessors.
    3. failed to improve on the political institutions and types of Olmec and Maya states.
    4. abandoned polytheism in favor of monotheism.
    5. abandoned trade.


  1. One reason offered for the expansion of the Inca state was
    1. a need for humans to sacrifice to the state gods.
    2. overpopulation and the need for new crop land.
    3. each new Inca ruler had to secure new land and wealth for himself.
    4. changing environment and climate that drove the Incas from their homeland.
    5. superior technologies made it easy for the Incas to conquer other peoples.





50. The major barrier to west European expansion prior to the 15th century was
a. the low level of European technology.
b.  the lack of interest by western European rulers for acquiring territory.
c. the overwhelming power of Muslim and Mongol states.
d. religious civil wars that divided western Europe and made overseas expansion
e.  the lack of popular interest and public funds to support expansion.

51. Which of the following belief systems emerged from political disorder, did not worship a deity, and remained primarily regional beliefs?

  1. Buddhism and Confucianism.
  2. Buddhism and Hinduism.
  3. Confucianism and Islam.
  4. Judaism and Islam.
  5. Confucianism and Daoism.

52. Which of the following concepts was introduced after the other four?

  1. The Four Noble Truths.
  2. The Way
  3. The Holy Trinity.
  4. The Five Pillars.
  5. The forgiveness of sins.

53. Which of the following is true of Pacific Ocean trade during the period 600 to 1450?
a.  European traders carried on active trade with Pacific islanders.
b.  It was dominated by Malay sailors.
c.  Pacific islanders concentrated on regional trade.
d.  It included active trade between Mongol China and Japan.
e.  Pacific islanders carried on trade with East Asia.

54. Japanese and European feudalism were similar in that
a.   bushido and chivalry involved reciprocal relationships.
b. both were based on group loyalties.
c. neither emphasized personal ties in political relationships.
d. both involved the receipt of contracts.
e. both ended as their respective regions developed centralized governments.

55. In the period between 600 and 1450
a. agriculture increased the aboriginal population of Australia.
b.North American nations north of Mexico were more settled than the natives of Mesoamerica.
c. North American and Mesoamerican societies were connected by trade.
d.Asian trade networks reached to the islands of Oceania.
e. metallurgy was more advanced in Polynesia than in Mesoamerica and South America.

  1. D
  2. C
  3. D
  4. D
  5. C
  6. E
  7. C
  8. C
  9. C
  10. E


  1. D
  2. B
  3. C
  4. A
  5. A
  6. E
  7. B
  8. A
  9. A
  10. D


  1. C
  2. C
  3. D
  4. D
  5. B
  6. E
  7. D
  8. D
  9. A
  10. A


  1. D
  2. A
  3. C
  4. E
  5. D
  6. C
  7. D
  8. E
  9. C
  10. C


  1. B
  2. D
  3. B
  4. B
  5. A
  6. C
  7. C
  8. B
  9. C
  10. C


  1. E
  2. D
  3. E
  4. E
  5. D


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