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Chapter 13
Question 1. Why were the Mongols able to conquer such a vast empire?
The Mongols conquered a vast empire due to several factors. Firstly, they managed to unite their forces and stopped permanent, devastating internal conflicts, at least for a significant period of time. Secondly, being Nomads, the Mongols were extremely mobile and moved faster than armies of any of their opponents, while the number of the Mongols’ army, as a rule, exceeded the number of their opponents (420). Moreover, they have advanced weapon and used tactics which brought them success.
Question 2. Why did the Mongols fail to conquer Egypt, India and Japan?
The Mongols failed to conquer Egypt, India and Japan mainly because of physical conditions of these countries. Japan was located on the island and Japanese fleet defeated Mongols while the fortifications on the coast made them unsurpassable for the Mongols who got used to war on the land but not the sea. India, in its turn, were separated from the continent by mountains which also became an unsurpassable barrier for the Mongols (423). Egypt was also geographically remote and physical conditions were unfavorable for the Mongols, who, in addition, were focused on other territories which were more prospective for their conquest.
Question 3. How did Kublai Khan’s reign blend Mongols and Chinese traditions?
Kublai Khan produced a huge impact on the development of Mongols and Chinese people. He was the emperor who the laid the foundation of the Yuan dynasty, which ruled Mongolia, China proper and some adjacent areas (429). In such a way, he created the dynasty which united Mongolia and China that naturally contributed to blending Mongols and Chinese traditions.
Chapter 14
Question1. How did the climate change in the fourteenth century?
The climate started to grow warmer in the 14th century and became more favorable for the development of agriculture across Eurasia (428). The climate change stimulated faster socioeconomic development of Euraisa.
Question 2. Which parts of the world suffered the most from the plagues of the fourteenth century?
The plagues of the 14th century brought death to a large number of people. In this respect, the most densely populated regions suffered the most from the plague. Among such regions it is possible to name western Europe where entire countries were affected by the plague and where a large part of the population lived in cities where people became victims of the plague, the disease which they did not know how to treat and cure (436. The same effect the plague had on China, especially its Eastern coast and large cities.
Question3. What were the social and political effects of the plague in China, the Islamic world and Europe?
Basically, the social and political effects of the plague in China, the Islamic world and Europe were devastating since numerous deaths undermined the demographic situation in these parts of the world (455). At the same time, the plague contributed to the social instability, while the political role of religious movements and churches grew stronger because their beliefs encouraged people to endure death and hard times.
Question 4. Why did some parts of the world not suffer from the plague?
The plague mainly affected parts of the world which were densely populated and where contacts between different regions were well-developed (468). For instance, the Islamic world was affected because of the close trade and spiritual links between different parts of the Islamic, while less populated and isolated regions, such as Japan, were unlikely to be affected consistently by the plague because the population of these regions did not get used to cultural or economic contacts with strangers that prevented them from the spread of the plague in their communities.
Question 5. How did the absence of plague affected Japan, Java, India, Mali, and the cultures around the Pacific Ocean
The absence of plague prevented these countries and cultures from huge devastations. The demographic situation in these countries remained unchanged and people were not concerned with the problem of fast and unexpected death as other cultures affected by the plague did (470). In contrast, the cultures not affected by the plague maintained their traditional lifestyle and even could benefit from the devastations in other regions since they proved to be stronger military and economically compared to countries affected by the plague.
Chapter 15
Question1. Why were African states unable to establish long-lasting empires during this period?
African states could not establish long-lasting empires because they were rather fragile state structures (483). To put it more precisely, African states often faced the problem of internal conflicts, while the ethnic and cultural diversity made the unification of peoples under one, strong empire, practically impossible. At the same time, African states needed strong armies to maintain their empires, but due to the instable socioeconomic situation affected by natural disasters leading to starvation or deaths of people, African states could not evolve into long-lasting empires. Finally, they failed to create dynasties which could normally inherit empires and maintain their existence.
Question 2. Why were the Inca and Aztec empires so fragile?
The Inca and Aztec empires were fragile because they constantly faced the problem of the strong opposition from the part of conquered tribes, which attempted to rebel against their rulers. In addition, the socioeconomic basis of the Inca and Aztec empires was not very solid since the development of their economies heavily relied on the natural environment, while techniques of agriculture were poorly developed (491). Therefore, their economies could not afford the fast growth of the population, while neighboring states and tribes always attempted to undermine the power of the empires. As a result, such a combination of internal and external factors made both empires very fragile.
Question 3. What strong new empires arose on the Eurasian borderland?
The 14th century was marked by the emergence of new empires n the Eurasian borderland. In this regard, the Ottoman Empire was one of the major new empires which started to play the dominant role on the Eurasian borderland. In fact, the empire became a bridge between the Islamic world and Europe, while its economic, political and military potential made the empire the major power in the world (498). At any rate, the Ottoman Empire progressed consistently in the 14th century and managed to take the leading position in the region at the epoch.
Question 4. Why did China not establish a maritime empire in the fifteenth century?
China failed to establish a strong maritime empire in the fifteenth century because of the presence of Japan which was the major maritime power in the region and opposed to the strengthening of China as a maritime empire (503). In addition, China did not have advanced technologies in shipbuilding which could allow the empire to take the leading position as a maritime state. At the same time, the creation of the fleet needed substantial financial resources and China could not afford the building of a powerful fleet in the fifteenth century.
Question 5. Why did Europe begin to reach out across the oceans in the late 1400s?
In the late 1400s Europe needed to reach out across the oceans because it was an objective economic necessity. Europe could not develop its international contacts with Eastern world and could not develop its trade with such countries as India, for instance. As a result, Europe turned to be in the isolation from the rest of the world because the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world were quite hostile in relation to Europe (519. In such a situation, the overseas expeditions were the only alternative allowing overcoming the Ottoman and Islamic opposition to Europe.
Question 1. What can cave painting from over 30,000 years ago tell us about the people who made them? What purpose did ice age art serve?
Cave painting was the result of the creative activity of people living 30,000 years ago. Cave painting mirrors the lifestyle of people living at the epoch since they depicted their surrounding environment and elements of their daily life, for instance, the depiction of hunting scenes. The purpose of the ice age art was dubious: to convey experience to the next generations and to express their creative potential.
Question 2. Cave painting are one type of material evidence we have from prehistoric times. Why is material evidence of a culture so important?
The material evidence of a culture is extremely important because it uncovers the historical experience of the prehistoric civilization. In fact, the material evidence is the illustration of the level of the development of prehistoric people, their creativity.
Question 3. Can we speak of continuities of culture over a period of 15, 000 years - from Chuvel to Lascaux? What elements of culture might be continuous? How could they survive over such a long period?
Basically, the cultural development is unstoppable. At the same time, the culture cannot appear in a day. What is meant here is the fact that the culture of a particular epoch is created on the ground of the past cultures. This is why it is possible to speak about the continuity of the culture of a period of 15,000 years. However, it is important to underline that the culture changed and evolved in the course of time.
Question 4. If the work of individual art can be identified despite shared style and techniques, what does that imply about ice age society value?
This implies that each individual had a unique personal identity and individualism was appreciated at the epoch, but individuals were subordinated to the community.
Question 5. Why would artists choose to paint animals rather than humans? What might account for the shift to humans at the end of the ice age?
In all probability, artists did not distinguish humans from the rest of the nature and they perceived humans as a part of nature. At the same time, they felt the power of animals with whom they associated themselves and which they depicted. At the end of the ice age humans started to view themselves as superior to other animals.
Question 6. How does the half human, half animal portrayal reflect the role of the sharman in society? What does the existence of shaman tell us about magic, religion, and power in ice age society?
Magic and religion played an important role in the life of the ice age society. People believed animals are their ancestors this is why they depicted half humans half animals. Sharman were intermediates between the real world of humans and the world of spirits.
Question 7. What might the caves and the paintings have been for? Do the images support rival theories such as that the caves were used for rituals or as schools for hunters?
Basically, caves and paintings could be effectively used for both rituals and schools for hunters. In all probability, prehistoric people combined or did not distinguish rituals from learning and the learning occurred in the form of rituals.
Question 8. What might the signs be for? What kind of information might ice age people be recording in this way? Can we call it writing?
Signs could be called as first attempts of humans to create their writing because signs born certain message and had certain meaning. They were used as the written means of communication.

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