Chapter Learning Objectives
To explore social structures in classical Eurasia
To consider what made social structures different in different civilizations
To explore the nature of classical patriarchy and its variations
Aspasia: A foreign woman resident in Athens (ca. 470–400 b.c.e.) and partner of the statesman Pericles who was famed for her learning and wit.
Ban Zhao: A Chinese woman writer and court official (45–116 c.e.) whose work provides valuable insight on the position of women in classical China. (pron. bahn joe)
Brahmins: The Indian social class of priests. (pron. BRAH-min) caste: The system of social organization in India that has evolved over millennia; it is based on an original division of the populace into four inherited classes (varna), with the addition of thousands of social distinctions based on occupation (jatis), which became the main cell of social life in India. (pron.VAR-nah /JAH-tee) dharma: In Indian belief, performance of the duties appropriate to an individual’s caste; good performance will lead to rebirth in a higher caste.
Greek and Roman slavery: In the Greek and Roman world, slaves were captives from war and piracy (and their descendants), abandoned children, and the victims of long-distance trade; manumission was common. Among the Greeks, household service was the most common form of slavery, but in parts of the Roman state, thousands of slaves were employed under brutal conditions in the mines and on great plantations. helots: The dependent, semi-enslaved class of ancient Sparta whose social discontent prompted the militarization of Spartan society. karma: In Indian belief, the force generated by one’s behavior in a previous life that decides the level at which an individual will be reborn.
Ksatriya: The Indian social class of warriors and rulers. (pron. kshah-TREE-yah) latifundia: Huge estates operated by slave labor that flourished in parts of the Roman Empire (singular latifundium).
Pericles: A prominent and influential statesman of ancient Athens (ca. 495–429 b.c.e.), he presided over Athens’s Golden Age. (pron. PEAR-ih-klees) “ritual purity”: In Indian social practice, the idea that members of higher castes must adhere to strict regulations limiting or forbidding their contact with objects and members of lower castes to preserve their own caste standing and their relationship with the gods. scholar-gentry class: A term used to describe members of China’s landowning families, reflecting their wealth from the land and the privilege that they derived as government officials.
Spartacus: A Roman gladiator who led the most serious slave revolt in Roman history from 73 to 71 b.c.e.).
Sudra: The lowest Indian social class of varna; regarded as servants of their social betters. The Sudra varna eventually included peasant farmers. (pron. SHOOD-rah) the “three obediences”: In Chinese Confucian thought, the notion that a woman is permanently subordinate to male control: first to her father, then to her husband, and finally to her son. untouchables: An Indian social class that emerged below the Sudras and whose members performed the most unclean and polluting work.
Vaisya: The Indian social class that was originally defined as farmers but eventually comprised merchants. (pron. VIESH-yah)
Wang Mang: A Han court official who usurped the throne and ruled from 8 c.e. to 23 c.e.; noted for his reform movement that included the breakup of large estates. (pron. wahng mahng)
Wu, Empress: The only female “emperor” in Chinese history (r. 690–705 c.e.),…