AP World History Unit 0: Foundations


(Old Stone Age) a long period of human development before the development of agriculturekinsh


societies were characterized by the domestication of animals but they usually did not settle down and farm or build towns - nomadic, facilitated trade and spread technology, religions, and ideas


a means by which something is transmitted


More of something than as needed.


the science of working with metals


relating to land; relating to the management or farming of land


People of wealth and power; upper class -- did not emerge until settled societies developed


believing in the social and economic equality of all people - existing before setting societies in hunter-gatherer groups


a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father's clan or tribe.

Neolithic Revolution

(10,000 - 8,000 BCE) The development of agriculture and the domestication of animals as a food source. This led to the development of permanent settlements and the start of civilization.


The concentration of the productive efforts of individuals and firms on a limited number of activities; increases efficiency


(land between two rivers) The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; birthplace of the Sumerian and Babylonian Civilizations.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient civilization centered around the Nile River; unified by Menes around 3000 B.C.; believed in Divine Kingship.


To scatter or spread widely as in information or populations.

monumental architecture

Large structures, such as pyramids, temples, public spaces, and large statues. Used by powerful leaders to exert influence in all agrarian civilizations.

Code of Hammurabi

Credited as the first written law code; written by a Babylonian king and established the basis for law codes. Eye for an Eye.


One of the first monotheistic religions, particularly one with a wide following. It was central to the political and religious culture of ancient Persia.


A religion with a belief in one god. It originated with Abraham and the Hebrew people. Yahweh was responsible for the world and everything within it. They preserved their early history in the Old Testament.

Vedic religion

The ancient religion of the Aryan peoples who entered northwestern India from Persia c. 2000-1200 B.C.E. It was the precursor of Hinduism, and its beliefs and practices are contained in the Vedas.


Any group migration or flight from a country or region; dispersion. Particularly used in relation to Jews scattered by Romans in 70 CE or to Africans spread to new places during the Atlantic Slave Trade.


A religion and philosophy developed in ancient India, characterized by a belief in reincarnation, karma, the caste system, and a supreme being who takes many forms


A religion with origins in India where Buddha's teachings that life is full of suffering caused by desire. Suffering ceases when desire ceases. This is attained by Enlightenment.

Emperor Ashoka

Maurya empire of India (320-185 BC); greatest emperor of India; Converted to Buddhism and spread it throughout India by building shrines and pillars for Buddhists.


A philosophy that adheres to the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Stable government achieved through orderly society and stresses a moral code of conduct.

Five relationships

Confucian philosophy about social order where everyone has a place and respect is paid to elders, parents, and the government. The relationships are, ruler to ruled, father to son, older brother to younger brother, husband to wife, friend to friend.

Filial piety

In Confucian thought, one of the virtues to be cultivated, a love and respect for one's parents and ancestors.

Mandate of Heaven

A political theory developed during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China in which those in power were believed to have the the right to rule from divine authority.


An Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament. Spread through the efforts of missionaries and merchants. Eventually gained support by the time of Emperor Constantine.

Greco-Roman philosophy

Emphasized logic, empirical observation, and the nature of political power and hierarchy. Classical society.


Living in a religious community apart from secular society and adhering to a rule stipulating chastity, obedience, and poverty. (Primary Centers of Learning in Medieval Europe) - occurred in Christian and Buddhist communities


Tribal religion; involves community acceptance of a shaman, religious leader, healer, and worker of magic who can intercede with the spirit world. One of the oldest religions forms.


Belief that objects, such as plants and stones, or natural events, like thunderstorms and earthquakes, have a discrete spirit and conscious life.

Ancestor Veneration

Worship and respect for ancestors. Found it most classical societies throughout the world.

Sassanid Empire

The name of the last pre-Islamic Iranian (Persian) empire. It was one of the two main powers in Western Asia for a period of more than 400 years. Founded after defeating the last Parthian king, in Persia. Saw revival of the Zoroastrianism. Fought the Byzantines, which weakened them both.

Han Dynasty

(202 BCE-220 CE) This dynasty continued the centralization of the Qin Dynasty, but focused on Confucianism and education instead of Legalism.

Mauryan Empire

The first state to unify most of the Indian subcontinent. It was founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 324 B.C.E. and survived until 184 B.C.E. From its capital at Pataliputra in the Ganges Valley it grew wealthy from taxes.

Hellenistic Empire

The spread of Greek culture by Alexander the Great. During this period Greek culture flourished, spreading through the Mediterranean and into the Near East and Asia and centering on Alexandria in Egypt and Turkey.


1500 B.C. to 900 A.D. This is the most advanced civilization of the time in the Western Hemisphere. Famous for its awe-inspiring temples, pyramids and cities. A complex social and political order.

Greek city-states

Farmer-warriors; culturally unified language but politically diverse (kingship and democracy)

centralized government

A government in which power is concentrated in a central authority to which local governments are subject (ex: China, Rome, Byzantines, etc)

qanat system

a traditional system of gravity-fed irrigation that uses gently sloping tunnels to capture groundwater and direct it to low-lying fields

champa rice

Quick-maturing rice that can allow two harvests in one growing season. Originally introduced into Champa from India, it was later sent to China as a tribute gift by the Champa state (as part of the tributary system.)


device for securing a horseman's feet, enabling him to wield weapons more effectively. First evidence of the use of stirrups was among the Kushan people of northern Afghanistan in approximately the first century C.E.

lateen sail

triangular sail that made it possible to sail against the wind; used in the Indian Ocean trade

dhow ship

emerged in middle east; sturdy enough to carry a lateen sail to cross open water; vessel of commerce and used in the Indian Ocean


Social or subclasses of traditional Hindu society, such as the Brahman or Sudra castes; a social class distinct from others and characterized by hereditary rank, profession or wealth.

Silk Road

An ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean Sea extending some 6,440 km (4,000 mi) and linking China with the Roman Empire. Other info: facilitated by pastoral groups, trade of luxury goods, use of camel caravans


Fortified inns that were built along trade routes in Central and Western Asia in the twelfth century to provide food, lodging, and protection for merchants traveling with camels, donkeys, and horses.

Trans-Saharan trade

route across the sahara desert. Major trade route that traded for gold and salt, created caravan routes, economic benefit for controlling dessert, camels played a huge role in the trading

Indian Ocean trade

Connected to Europe, Africa, and China. Worlds richest maritime trading network and an area of rapid Muslim expansion. Spices, slaves, silk, ivory, gold, and many other items crossed through the Indian Ocean, and the spread of Islam owed much to the trade network.


Powerful Indian state based in the Ganges Valley. It controlled most of the Indian subcontinent through a combination of military force and its prestige as a center of sophisticated culture. Often associated with a Golden Age of classical India.


located on eastern Mediterranean coast; invented the alphabet which used sounds rather than symbols like cuneiform


Chinese philosophy developed by Hanfeizi; taught that humans are naturally evil and therefore need to be ruled by harsh laws; embraced by the Qin Dynasty


Chinese religion that believes the world is always changing and is devoid of absolute morality or meaning. They accept the world as they find it, avoid futile struggles, and deviate as little as possible from "the Tao/Dao" also known as "the way" or "path" of nature; emphasized living in harmony with nature; ying and yang


a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.

tribute system

A system in which defeated peoples were forced to pay a tax in the form of goods and labor. This forced transfer of food, cloth, and other goods subsidized the development of large cities.


Concerned with worldly rather than spiritual matters

Hellenic culture

the specific artifacts of the ancients as well as the ideas and ideals of democracy, beauty and balance.


A system of writing in which wedge-shaped symbols represented words or syllables. It originated in Mesopotamia and was used initially for Sumerian and Akkadian but later was adapted to represent other languages of western Asia.


A religion based on the teachings of the prophet Mohammed which stresses belief in one God (Allah), Paradise and Hell, and a body of law written in the Quran. Followers are called Muslims.