Yellow Turban Rebellion
A massive Chinese peasant uprising inspired by Daoist teachings that began in 184 CE with the goal of establishing a new golden age of equality and harmony.
The Chinese emperor (r. 141-87 BCE) who started the Chinese civil service system with the establishment in 124 BCE of an imperial academy for future officials.
The only female “emperor” in Chinese history (r. 690-705 CE), she patronised scholarship, worked to elevate the position of women, and provoked a backlash of Confucian misogynist invective.
A Han court official who usurped the throne and ruled from 8 CE to 23 CE; noted for his reform movement that included the breakup of large estates.
The Indian social class that was originally defined as farmers but eventually comprised merchants.
An Indian social class that emerged below the Sudras and whose members performed the most unclean and polluting work.
The “Three obediences”
In Chinese Confucian thought, the notion that a woman is permanently subordinate to male control first that of her father, then of her husband, and finally of her son.
The lowest Indian caste system of varna; regarded as servants of their social betters. It eventually included peasant farmers.
A Roman gladiator who led the most serious slave revolt in Roman history from 73 to 71 BCE.
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.
“Ritual purity” in Indian social practice
In India, 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.
A prominent and influential statesman of Ancient Athens (ca. 495-429 BCE); presided over Athen’s Golden Age.
Huge estates operated by slave labour that flourished in parts of the Roman Empire.
The Indian social class of warriors and rulers.
In Indian belief, the force generated by one’s behaviour in a previous life that decides the level at which an individual will be reborn.
The dependent, semi-enslaved class of ancient Sparta whose social discontent prompted the militarisation of Spartan society.
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.
In Indian belief, performance of the duties appropriate to an individual’s caste, good performance will lead to rebirth in a higher caste.
Caste as varna and jati
The system of social organisation 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.
The Indian social class of priests.
A Chinese woman writer and court official (45-116 C.E.) whose work provides valuable insight on the position of women in classical China.
A foreign woman resident in Athens (ca. 470-400 BCE) and partner of the statesman Pericles who was famed for her learning and wit.