Eastern Europe and Russia, AP World History p.2

Individual Descriptive Analyses of People/Trends/Events

Philip II of Macedon, by Emily A., 12/15/10

    Philip II of Macedon was an important person in the history of Eastern Europe and Russia. He paved the way for future Greek expansion and cultural diffusion. Philip II of Macedon caused progress in Greece due to his battle win during the Peloponnesian War because Macedonia took control, thus paving the way for his son to take over the Middle East, which led to the Hellenistic period.
    The Peloponnesian War was a brutal war between the two Greek city-states, Athens and Sparta. During this war, Philip II won an important battle that gave the Northern Greek state of Macedonia total control over the entire Empire of Greece. It all started when some power hungry Macedonians began to start conquering Sparta and Athens, who were weak from battling each other. Then Philip II came along at the right time and delivered the knock-out punch that allowed Macedonia to take over, making his punch the most important, which is why he gained power for his son.
    Alexander the Great was the reason the Macedonian Empire expanded. He lead the conquests through many Middle Eastern countries. These countries include Persia (to the border of India), and down into Egypt in northeastern Africa. This helped increase prosperity, opening up contact with societies, creating possibilities of trade and cultural diffusion. However, the Macedonian Empire only lasted thirteen years, due to the death of Alexander the Great. However, his legacy lasted because Greek remained in contact with these Middle Eastern societies for quite some time after his death.
    The Hellenistic period was a period of cultural diffusion between the somewhat late Macedonian Empire and the Middle East conquered by that empire.  The Hellenes were what others called the Greeks. This period of history was mostly the trade of ideas, art forms, and cultural ideas with the Middle East; there was no real political activity, due to the weakness of both Athens and Sparta and the decline of Macedon. Science was a big part of this time period, and a center was established, specifically in Alexandria, Egypt. It could be considered a collection period, where the Greeks got their acts back together, got some ideas from others (the Middle East, opened by Alexander the Great), decided what was culturally important, developed some new cultural ideas, and prepared to come back again. The Hellenistic period was an important period of history because of this exchange of ideas, shaping both Greece and the Middle East.  
    The Hellenistic period would not have been possible without Philip II. He won control for his son, who conquered almost the entire if not the entire Middle East, which then led to the Hellenistic period exchange of ideas. These ideas would allow Greece to rebound later, even if they did get conquered by the Romans before Caesar's death. This entire chain reaction is due to Philip II, and because of this his importance is validated.

The Punic Wars, by Richard C., 12/15/10

    Rome and Carthage fouth the three Punic wars from 264 B.C.E.-146 B.C.E.. Although both sides were battered down and rebulit many times over the course of the wars, Rome became an international power and Carthage was reduced to rubble. rome's great power and dominance was established over the course of three Punic wars.
    The first Punic war erupted out of competition for lands between the republic of Rome and the city-state of Carthage. Carthage was an independent state after the fall of Phoenicia, but still remained powerful and even controlled other cities. rome was afraid of Carthage's power and throughout all of the Punic wars they held onto an unchanging belief that Carthage was a threat to their entire civilization. In 241 B.C.E., Rome and Carthage made a treaty. For some time there was peace, but at the expense of Carthage being forced to give up Sicily to Rome. The entire wars were based out of the desire for expansion and conquest of new territories. Carthage was also largely devastated by many rebellions throughout its cities, which continued in the Punic War.
    The second Punic war came after both sides had time to rebuild and expand both of their territories. When both sides had acquired more land and the tension between the two had become an issue again the second Punic war began. This time the Carthaginians had Hannibal on their side. Hannibal was a young but genius strategist and military general. His tactics were harsh on the Romans in battle. His imfamous act of crossing the alps with his troops remains the highlight of his life and of the Punic wars. Despite being hurt by Hannibal and his tactics when the second Punic war ended Rome had become an international empire.
    Rome was nearly defeated after the second Punic war which meant a deep hatred had taken place inside of the people of each side by this time. The third war was the most straightforward of them all as Rome and Carthage were now battered and tired of war but also hated each other deeply. When rome finally gave the command that all residents of Carthage leave, Carthage promptly refused. Rome attacked Carthage once again and after a long siege destroyed them, burning down the city, killing all inhabitants, and salting the fields once and for all.
    The three Punic wars gave rise and fall to Rome and Carthage. Though there was much fighting there was also very many breaks giving each side time to evaluate their empires. Many times one was stronger than the other, but this power did not last long. In the end however Rome claimed the most territory and spread its empire out internationally to become the great empire that people look back on today.
Emily would like to butt in and say that we have included the Punic War because Greece was one of the first territories that Rome conquered.

Pericles - David L. ^_^ (December 15, 2010)

         An important person in the history of Greece was Pericles. He was the most political figure during the 5th century B.C.E. Pericles didn’t rule the people as a dictator since Athens was a democracy. Instead, he used negotiation and wise influences to encourage people to select and pass laws that he wanted. During his time of rule, it was known as the Golden Age of Pericles since most of his work involved rebuilding the city from the damage during the Persian Wars. He introduced a new different way of democracy.
            He was the son of Xanthippus and Agariste. Being the son of a fleet commander, Xanthippus, Pericles had a lot of advantages during his early life including connections, wealth, a good education, and family prestige. Being in a wealthy family, he was able to use money on things like the production of Aeschylus’s play “The Persae”. Also, a philosopher named Anaxagoras taught him many skills like how to make a speech.
            Pericles changed some things in the government like making a new standard for citizenship. It required both of the person’s parents to be born in Athens. This rule helps to make sure that elements from the Athenian culture were kept and not mixed with other cultures if people want to marry foreigners. There were many consequences to this system because many people loss their citizenship, their inheritance, and family ties. On the other hand, citizens now obtained many privileges that non-citizens can’t get. Only males were allowed to get citizenship so if you’re a female, you had no chance of becoming a citizen.
            Even though he was a great ruler, Pericles couldn’t prevent the Peloponnesian War from occurring. The Peloponnesian War was a war between the Athens and its allies against Sparta and its allies which in the end depleted both sides. His strategy to wear out Sparta by evacuating and then attacking Sparta’s allies by sea failed. The reason it failed was because after evacuating into the city, there was a plague that killed many people.
            He was removed from office because people blamed him for the war but was soon re-elected. Soon after Pericles was re-elected, he died in the plaque before he could do anything else. Later on, the Spartans conquered them in 404 and Athens was never able to recover back to its glory in the past. In some ways, he made progress in Athens from his way of influencing people and starting a new way of democracy, but Pericles also caused destruction since it was partly his fault that the Peloponnesian War occurred. Pericles affected the history of the world by becoming allies with Sparta’s rival and triggering the Peloponnesian War that depleted both Athens and Sparta. After wards Philip II of the Macedonians took over the entire Greece while Athens couldn’t fight back since the Peloponnesian War weakened them. Athenian democracy is still somewhat used today in a similar form called a representative democracy which is used by the United States

Justinian the Great, by Kristina M., 12/15/10

     Justinian or commonly known as Justinian the Great, was the most important figures of Late Antiquity, a per iodization used to describe the time of transition from the classical Antiquity to the Middle ages, also the last emperor to speak Latin as a first language. Justinian was the emperor of the Byzantine empire from 527-565. His goal was to reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire. While reconquering the western half he went through many problems, in 540s Justinian was stuck with the plague, during the war with Sassanid Empire in 540-562, and the conquest of North Africa both resulted with regaining the glory of the western world.

        Justinian was struck by the plague during the 540s; this was struck during the war with Sassanid Empire. Kind Khosrau I broke “eternal peace“and invaded Roman territory, which started the war with the Sassanid Empire. Kind Khostau forced Justinian to pay in 5,000 pounds of gold, plus 500 pounds of gold more each year, he accomplished this by exacting tribute from the towns he passed along the way, and Justinian was in the area. The outbreak of the plague caused a lull in the fighting during the year 543, the following year after that Khosrau took the advantage that Justinian laid ill, from the plague though soon recovered, and defeated a Byzantine army of 30,000 men. Neither man could make a little headway, so in 545 a truce was agreed upon, this was for the southern part of Roman-Persian frontier. Another war was sought again, it wasn’t until 557 that a second truce was made, it followed by a fifty years’ peace in 562. The second truce terms were that the Persians agreed to abandon Lazica in return to get 400 or 500 pounds of gold paid by the Romans.

        The conquest of North America was the first of the western kingdoms Justinian attacked was that of the Vandals in North Africa. The King that was on good terms with Justinian was overthrown by Gelimer, this cousin, in turn Hilderic was imprisoned. Justinian traveled in a fleet containing about 15,000 men, Justinian also had a number of barbarian troops. Catching the Vandals off-guard Justinian and his large army deafened the Vandals. The area was not completely under control till about the 548s, this area still remained peaceful thereafter and enjoyed a measure of prosperity. This recovery cost Justinian’s empire about 100,000 pounds of gold.

        Both of these played a large role in the victory of gaining control of the western world. The western world had a brilliant military successes were followed by years of stagnation. The Byzantines had to place heavy taxes that would administrate the Wars in which Justinian order. Even with paying heavy taxes and many, men died, the Byzantines restored the Roman Empire to its former glory. But soon after gaining leadership in Africa, half of Africa would be forever lost for the empire to the Rashidun and Ummayyade Caliphates during the Muslim conquests. These events of the lasts years of the region showed that Constantinople itself was not a safe place from the barbaric invasions from the north. In Justinian’s attempt to renew the old Roman Empire Justinian dangerously stretched the resources of the Easter Empire, this failed to take account the change realities of 6th century Europe. 

        Justinian faced many wars and many battles within himself the gain the western world. During one war he feels ill this killed many Byzantine soldiers, but once he recover from the deadly plague he still could not get headway. Finally truces were made twice and they gained the land. Then another war, that could have been avoided, was easily won by the Byzantines defeating the Vandals. These wars were large aspects in the gaining the western world, but lead to resources of the eastern empire to be stretched and high taxes that ran through the Byzantine Empire. Without the loyalty of the Byzantines Justinian would never be able to gain the control over the Western world in Roman Empire.

Mariana A-Z.   12/17/10

                 Rome was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world. Those who stood in its path suffered the brutal and bloody consequences and were shown little, to no mercy at all. From the very beginning of its history to the chaos of civil war, the Roman Empire would rise stronger than any other; embrace hundred of cultures, and till the soil from which western civilization would grow.
                After Rome established itself, they were determined to never again be ruled by a monarch. The Roman setup a new government called a republic. Romans thought a republic would keep any individuals from gaining too much power. Later Romans looked back with enormous pride on the achievements of the early republic. Between 509 B.C. and 133 B.C., Rome adapted the government to fit the need of the people it served. It also developed the military power to not only conqueror not only Italy, but also the entire Mediterranean world. In the early republic power was controlled by the patricians, the land holding upper class. 
                Julius Caesar emerged and was the commander who led many conquests for Rome. In 59 B.C. Caesar set out for a new conquest. After nine years of constant fighting, he finally conquered Gaul. Pompey grew jealous of his achievement and had the senate order him to disband his forces and return to Rome. Caesar secretly crossed the Rubicon and killed Pompey then entered Rome. After crushing many rebellions, Caesar forced the senate to make him a dictator. Caesar launched many reforms such as public work programs and giving land to the poor.
                With the death of Julius Caesar, Rome's civilization ended with a domino effect due to the contributions he made during his life and the chaos that occurred after his death. His strength in both military eminence and political strength made Rome prosper into one of the greatest civilizations in history. With the violent way his life ended, his death was the key stone for the end of the Roman civilization.
                With the fall of Rome and the lasting impact of Julius Caesar, many leaders of today follow his path of prosperity throughout their own lives. The assassination of Caesar proved to be a tragedy and was one of the biggest losses of Rome, but none the less his death remains a significant mark of the Roman Civilization.


Justinian the Great - Kevin G. 12/15/10


Justinian the Great was the emperor for the Byzantine Empire from 527-565 CE. The empire sought to establish their original roots and bring back the once lost Roman Empire, and Justinian was a leader who set his goals and followed them. The impact he put on not only the Byzantine Empire, but the whole world still is shown to this day. Justinian’s revival of the Roman Empire through law is still the basis legislative code for many modern-day societies.
For once, a person had attempted to bring back all of the Roman law, and Justinian did this with the Corpus Juris Civilis. Translated as the “Body of Civil Law”, this code that Justinian had compiled had an authoritative establishment.  Through the ideals of the old law, and the enthusiasm of the new empire, more and more legal codes were becoming predominant in their society, which was typically the East. As time passed by, the large amount of codes were shortened, but the ideas never drastically changed. all later legislative civil codes were still based on the Corpus Juris Civilis. Examples of these direct continuations of the law include Serbia and Austria in the East, and Italy and France in the West.
The creation of legislation about religion was a relatively new idea at the time, but Justinian the Great saw this as a very beneficial provision. Orthodox Christianity was the state religion of the Byzantine Empire, and Justinian felt that it needed to be always present. Thus he created the Codex Justinianus, and the first order requires all citizens to be of the holy orthodox faith. This meant that those who didn’t follow the religion, was now a non-citizen. This is later represented as ethnocentrism, and even racism, but that was taken to the extreme by other beliefs. Such as the Nazis with Hitler, but again this was the extreme of it. The idea of church under state came into play as Justinian was under power of Byzantium.
The laws created did not only ensure the survival of the laws Rome had, but also provided very valuable resources into how they affected the Byzantine Empire under Justinian. Through these new laws, the economy flourished. Justinian knew the importance that trade played to the overall wealth of their empire. By establishing friendly relationships with the other societies nearby, Justinian was able to open up new products and innovations to become readily available to the Byzantine Empire. The most important of these new products was silk, which was imported and later made in the empire. This later became an indigenous Byzantine product. Tax collection became for efficient, and just like Justinian had imagined, the overall wealth increased for them.
All in all, the impact that legislation had through the Byzantine Empire was very large. Under Justinian, they were able to bring back an almost lost civilization, and make it into something that the world will come to use and learn from. Laws and codes were thought thoroughly through , which made them so very useful when controlling such a vast empire. With Justinian in power, they changed the foundation of what law is all about.