SOCIAL FORMATIONS AND CULTURAL PATTERNS OF THE MEDIEVAL WORLD
IGNOU BHIC 104 Solved Free Assignment
BHIC 104 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Discuss briefly the political structure of the Roman Republic.
Ans. The Constitution of the Roman Republic was a set of guidelines and principles passed down, mainly through precedent. The constitution was largely unwritten and uncodified and evolved over time.
Rather than creating a government that was primarily a democracy (as was ancient Athens), an aristocracy (as was ancient Sparta), or a monarchy (as was Rome before, and in many respects after, the Republic), the Roman constitution mixed these three elements of governance into their overall political system.
The democratic element took the form of legislative assemblies; the aristocratic element took the form of the Senate; and the monarchical element took the form of the many term-limited consuls.
The Roman Senate: The Senate’s ultimate authority derived from the esteem and prestige of the senators, and was based on both precedent and custom.
The Senate passed decrees, which were called senatus consulta, ostensibly “advice” handed down from the senate to a magistrate. In practice, the magistrates usually followed the senatus consult.
The focus of the Roman Senate was usually foreign policy. However, the power of the Senate expanded over time as the power of the legislative assemblies declined, and eventually the Senate took a greater role in civil law-making.
Senators were usually appointed by Roman censors, but during times of military emergency, such as the civil wars of the 1st century BCE, this practice became less prevalent, and the Roman dictator, triumvir, or the Senate itself would select its members.
Legislative Assemblies: Roman citizenship was a vital prerequisite to possessing many important legal rights, such as the rights to trial and appeal, marriage, suffrage, to hold office, to enter binding contracts, and to enjoy special tax exemptions.
An adult male citizen with full legal and political rights was called optimo jure. The optimo jure elected assemblies, and the assem- blies elected magistrates, enacted legislation, presided over trials in capital cases, declared war and peace, and forged or dissolved treaties.
There were two types of legislative assemblies. The first was the comitia (“committees”), which were assemblies of all optimo jure.
The second was the concilia (“councils”), which were assemblies of specific groups of optimo jure.
Citizens on these assemblies were organized further on the basis of curiae (familial groupings), centuries (for military purposes), and tribes (for civil purposes), and each would each gather into their own assemblies.
The Curiate Assembly served only a symbolic purpose in the late Republic, though the assembly was used to ratify the powers of newly elected magistrates by passing laws known as leges curiatae.
The comitia centuriata was the assembly of the centuries (soldiers). The president of the comitia centuriata was usually a consul, and the comitia centuriata would elect magistrates who had imperium powers (consuls and praetors).
It also elected censors. Only the comitia centuriata could declare war and ratify the results of a census. It also served as the highest court of appeal in certain judicial cases.
The assembly of the tribes, the comitia tributa, was presided over by a consul, and was composed of 35 tribes. The tribes were not ethnic or kinship groups, but rather geographical sub-divisions.
While it did not pass many laws, the comitia tributa did elect quaestors, curule aediles, and military tribunes. The Plebeian Council was identical to the assembly of the tribes, but excluded the patricians.
They elected their own officers, plebeian tribunes, and plebeian aediles. Usually a plebeian tribune would preside over the assembly. This assembly passed most laws, and could also act as a court of appeal.
Executive Magistrates: Magistrates were the elected officials of the Roman republic. Each magistrate was vested with a degree of power, and the dictator, when there was one, had the highest level of power.
Below the dictator was the censor (when they existed), and the consuls, the highest ranking ordinary magistrates. Two were elected every year and wielded supreme power in both civil and military powers.
The ranking among both consuls flipped every month, with one outranking the other. Below the consuls were the praetors, who administered civil law, presided over the courts, and commanded provincial armies.
Censors conducted the Roman census, during which time they could appoint people to the Senate.
Curule aediles were officers elected to conduct domestic affairs in Rome, who were vested with powers over the markets, public games, and shows.
Finally, at the bottom of magistrate rankings were the quaestors, who usually assisted the consuls in Rome and the governors in the provinces with financial tasks.
Plebeian tribunes and plebeian aediles were considered representatives of the people, and acted as a popular check over the Senate through use of their veto powers, thus safeguarding the civil liberties of a Roman citizens.
Each magistrate could only veto an action that was taken by an equal or lower ranked magistrate.
The most significant constitutional power a magistrate could hold was that of imperium or command, which was held only by consuls and praetors.
This gave the magistrate in question the constitutional authority to issue commands, military or otherwise.
Election to a magisterial office resulted in automatic membership in the Senate for life, unless impeached.
Once a magistrate’s annual term in office expired, he had to wait at least ten years before serving in that office again.
Occasionally, however, a magistrate would have his command powers extended through prorogation, which effectively allowed him to retain the powers of his office as a promagistrate.
Q. 2. Examine the chief features of Inca civilization.
Ans. Inca, also spelled Inka, South American Indians who, at the time of the Spanish conquest in 1532, ruled an empire that extended along the Pacific-coast and Andean highlands from the northern border of modern Ecuador to the Maule River in central Chile.
Inka empire or the territory of four regions Tawantinsuyu or Tahuantinsuyu. Incas included a large and diverse set of cultural groups as the Mayas and Aztecs of Mexico and Central America, the Carib of the Caribean Islands, the Inca of Andes, the Araucanian of Chile, the Guarani of Paraguay and the Tupi of Brazil and the indigenous people of Andes.) Inca State and the Empire
The Inca Empire, known in Quechua as the Tawantinsuyu, is estimated to have reached a population somewhere between 6 and 14 million people.
It is remarkable that an ancient people who developed neither a written language nor use of the wheel were able to reach a relatively advanced state of economic and political cohesion. The Inca Empire had its capital or seat of power at Cuzco/Cusco.
They built cities and road networks, conquered and assimilated nearby tribes and kingdoms, and were able to expand and prosper, until becoming the largest unified empire in the world of that era.
The Inca king was an all-powerful monarch, considered a sacred descendant of the sun God, Inti.
He, with support of his religious and military leaders, had hegemonic power to gather armies, as well as to control and administer a huge and highly skilled labour force of farmers and craftspersons.
The land was rich in food and material resources.
And very importantly, complex systems of organizing labour at the local level had been in existence for hundreds of years.
Farm work was largely based on an ancient system called the ayllu, in which extended family groups with common ancestors worked the land together. In each valley or community, relatives gathered and distributed farming tasks.
Society and Economy
The Inca social structure seems to be less about class structure and more about creating an atmosphere of physical well- being with no interest in equality.
This system seemed to be universally tolerated and was fairly common in many societies. At the top was the Emperor and his family, descendants of the original Inca and founders of Cuzco.
They lived in luxury and their offspring held the best positions in government.
Next came the nobles, or public administrators. They ran the government at the lower level, collecting taxes, keeping records and leading their tribes. If they were loyal, they kept their jobs.
The Inca economy was simple and based upon the strict control of natural resources through a tax called a mita.
Agricultural land and labour, as well as gold, silver and copper mines were carefully managed so that the Inca rulers could keep things moving the way they wanted.
The mita played a critical role in maintaining the empire by pressurizing its subjects into massive building and irrigation projects.
Water Management System
During the late pre-columbian era, the attention lavished on waterworks and features by the Inca emphasizes a clear concern with control over water and its movement.
The Inca built such structures to increase arable land and provide drinking water and baths to the population.
Due to water scarcity in the Andean region, advanced water management allowed the Inca to thrive and expand along much of the coast of Peru.
The Inca architecture also seems to have given sufficient importance to water, it’s distribution and management.
Whether it is in Machu Picchu (the largest Inca Archaeological site) or in Cusco (their capital), the built-structures to channelize water for different purposes or for different sets of people is amazing.
Inca architecture is the most significant pre-Columbian architecture in South America. The Incas inherited an architectural legacy from Tiwanaku, founded in the 2nd century B.C.E. in present-day Bolivia.
Inca architecture was inherited from pre-Inca civilizations. Archeological studies show that the Incas reproduced and updated many buildings, especially those in the Middle Horizon period.
In newly conquered territories the Incas built administrative centers using pre-existing buildings and adding new elements, such as in the Sanctuary of Pachacamac located south of Lima.
Machupicchu, the royal estate is one of the finest surviving site reflecting on Inca architecture.
Q. 3. Discuss briefly chief components of feudalism.
Ans. Starting from the King was at the top of a hierarchical structure of the feudal society in which individuals had their designated positions, this structure who bestowed fiefs or estates on a number of lords.
Further the Lord’s distributed fiefs to a number of vassals who had their specified duties and obligations. The knights were at the bottom of this hierarchy were the knights who performed military duties.
Lords, Vassals and Homage
Before a lord could grant land (a fief) to someone, he had to make that person a vassal.
This was done at a formal and symbolic ceremony called a commen-dation ceremony, which was composed of the two-part act of homage and oath of fealty.
During homage, the lord and vassal entered into a contract in which the vassal promised to fight for the lord at his command, while the lord agreed to protect the vassal from external forces.
Once the commendation ceremony was complete, the lord and vassal were in a feudal relationship with agreed obligations to one another. The vassal’s principal obligation to the lord was “aid,” or military service.
Using whatever equipment the vassal could obtain by virtue of the revenues from the fief, he was responsible for answering calls to military service on behalf of the
lord. This security of military help was the primary reason the lord entered into the feudal relationship. In addition, the vassal could have other obligations to his lord, such as attendance at his court, whether manorial or baronial, or at the king’s court.
Fiefs, Tenements and Allods
Fief, in European feudal society, a vassal’s source of income, held from his lord in exchange for services.
The fief constituted the central institution of feudal society. The fief normally consisted of land to which a number of unfree peasants were attached and was supposed to be sufficient to support the vassal and to secure his knight service for the lord.
Its size varied greatly, according to the income it could provide. It has been calculated that a fief needed 15 to 30 peasant families to maintain one knightly household.
Fief sizes varied widely, ranging from huge estates and whole provinces to a plot of a few acres. Besides land, dignities and offices and money rents were also given in fief.
Allods as per English Law is an estate held in absolute ownership, without acknowledgement to a superior.
The Manor System (Manorialism) was a key feature of society in the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages (or Medieval Period) in Europe extended from approxi-mately 500 CE after the fall of the Roman Empire to 1500 CE with the start of the Renaissance.
Throughout the timeframe of the Middle Ages, European society was primarily based on the social structure of feudalism.
The Manor System in Europe was very significant to the overall Feudal System, especially in Western Europe where it is best associated.
the Manor System was essentially a landholding system in which feudal lords controlled large sections of agricultural land.
As such, the lands of a manor consisted of several main features, including: demesne, dependent, and free peasant land.
Dependent refers to the obligation that peasants (serfs) were required to provide the lord of the manor with services or cash in exchange for the land in which they lived and worked.
Knights, Tournaments and Chivalry
Knights were medieval gentleman-soldiers, usually high-born, raised by a sovereign to privileged military status after training as a page and squire.
Originally knights were attendants or specialized foot-soldiers, but the status of knights was elevated around 800 A.D.
Q. 4. Give a brief account of the relations between Christian and non-Christians in parts of medieval Europe.
Ans. Before the late Middle Ages were north-eastern Europe (parts of Scandinavia and the Baltic region) and Iberia (Spain and Portugal) were the special cases to the pattern of dominance by the Church.
In the western Islamic lands of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, Jews, Christians, and Muslims com-bined in a society that is often described by later historians with the adjective “golden.”
The areas of poetry, music, art, architecture, theology, exegesis, law, philosophy, medicine, pharmacology, and mysticism were shared among all the inhabitants of the Islamic courts and city-states at the same time that Muslim armies were locked in a losing struggle with the Christian armies of the Reconquista.
In the eastern Mediterranean, similar symbiotic societies could be found.
The universities of al-Azhar in Cairo and Cordoba in Spain, both founded in the tenth century, followed the older model of the Bayt al-Hikma in Baghdad, as places of shared learning among scholars from the three traditions.
Both the concept of these types of institutions of learning, as well as the learning itself they produced, had profound influence on European institutions of higher education and European scientific advancement.
Within the intellectual circles of the Islamic world, Jews contributed and participated in this civilization through contact with Muslim philosophers and theologians, just as Muslims had from contact with Christians earlier.
In the areas of commerce, world trade was dominated by trading associations made up of Muslims, Jews, and Christians from Islamic land.
The twin attacks on the Islamic world in the Middle Ages by the Crusaders from the West and the Mongols from the East transformed Muslim attitudes toward the Dhimmi, and also the attitudes of the Jews and Christians in Islamic lands toward their relations with Muslim polity.
Many Islamic areas develop in accordance with an already existing tendency to organize society along military lines.
This becomes particularly true in areas where Turkic peoples take over the leading governmental and military roles.
Converted by Sunni merchants and organised as military brother-hoods imbued with the spirit of military jihad, the Turks became the defenders of the Islamic lands.
In their vision of society, the influence of Christians, Jews, and non-Sunni Muslim groups was circumscribed and made more rigid, but it was not eliminated.
Muslim religious scholars used depictions of Jews and Christians found in the foundation texts as cautionary models for Muslims, but actual communities of Jews and Christians were treated with strict adherence to legal precedent.
When Jews and Muslims were expelled from Spain in 1492 CE, the majority of Jews chose to move to Islamic lands, the area of the Ottoman Empire in particular.
Under the Ottomans, Jewish and Christian communities achieved the greatest degree of autonomy.
Through the millet system, each community was distinct and responsible directly to the Sultan.
Q. 5. Construct the medieval history of Great Zimbabwe.
Ans. The hallmark of medieval Zimbabwe is the remains of Great Zimbabwe, a city that appears to have been inhabited continuously from c. 11th century to c. 1600 CE. However, it reached its peak during c. 1300-1450 CE.
The Archaeological Site of Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe is the ruins of a city located in the southeastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe. Great Zimbabwe was a city that existed approximately between the 12th and 15th AD. It acted as the capital of the kingdom of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe civilization was one of the most significant civilizations that existed during the medieval period.
Great Zimbabwe was largely abandoned during the 15th century. With the city’s decline, its stone-working and pottery- making techniques seem to have transferred southward to Khami (now also in ruins).
Portuguese explorers probably encountered the ruins in the 16th century, but it was not until the late 19th century that the existence of the ruins was confirmed, generating much archaeological research.
In 1905 the English archaeologist David Randall-MacIver concluded that the ruins were medieval and of exclusively African origin; his findings were confirmed by the English archaeologist Gertrude Caton-Thompson in 1929.
Socio- Economic Life
The people at Great Zimbabwe engaged in a variety of economic activities including: hunting; gathering; mining; the paying and receiving of tribute; pottery making; blacksmithing (ironworks) trade (both domestic trade and with other tribes.
Cattle bones have been found only in the enclosure area. The Shonas used iron tools and gongs. Remnants of copper and gold wire jewellery have also been found.
But the Karangas and their descendants, the Shonas, were largely cattle breeders. That may have helped them move away from subsistence farming towards transportation, trade and mining.
Q. 6. Roman Art.
Ans. The art of Ancient Rome, its Republic and later Empire includes architecture, painting, sculpture and mosaic work.
Luxury objects in metal-work, gem engraving, ivory carvings, and glass are sometimes considered to be minor forms of Roman art, although they were not considered as such at the time.
Sculpture was perhaps considered as the highest form of art by Romans, but figure painting was also highly regarded.
Ancient Roman pottery was not a luxury product, but a vast production of “fine wares” in terra sigillata were decorated with reliefs that reflected the latest taste, and provided a large group in society with stylish objects at what was evidently an affordable price.
Roman coins were an important means of propaganda, and have survived in enormous numbers.
Roman painting provides a wide variety of themes: animals, still life, scenes from everyday life, portraits, and some mythological subjects.
During the Hellenistic period, it evoked the pleasures of the countryside and represented scenes of shepherds, herds, rustic temples, rural mountainous landscapes and country houses. Erotic scenes are also relatively common.
Q. 7. Textile Production in medieval Europe.
Ans. Certain industries that were small at the outset of the Middle Ages grew to be quite large in scale, and this growth influenced changes in the organization of work.
The most important of these was the wool-cloth industry, which was required due to the weather condition. Renaissance Italy developed skills in the field of dyeing and had an expertise in finishing of clothes.
In Low countries, initially textiles were produced from the native raw material. This raw material was sourced from pastures of Artois, French Flanders and Hainault where sheep were reared.
For dyeing, madder was obtained from France. Imported wool from England was also utilized in this textile industry. It also remains a fact that textile industry had its low and high phases.
Q. 8. Armenians.
Ans. Of all the trading networks in the early modern period, the Armenian network was in many ways the most successful.
The Armenians probably were the only group of traders who, in an age of great landed empires like Persia and Russia and seafaring powers like Venice and the European East India Companies, could simultaneously do business with all the important trading hubs on the Eurasian land mass.
All the major European trading ports had their own Armenian community, from Livorno in the Mediterranean as far up north as London and Amsterdam.
They traded in Astrakhan, Russia, where they got special rights from the local government, they kept alive a large community in Madras, India, and when they traded in the Levant they could often easily pass for Ottoman subjects.
Q. 9. Medieval Empires of Morocco.
Ans. Morocco, a modern nation state located in the northwestern corner of Africa, was largely known as a former French colony.
In the Classical Antiquity era, Morocco experienced waves of invaders included Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals and Byzantines, but with the arrival of Islam, Morocco developed independent states that kept powerful invaders at bay.
The large area was commonly known as Maghrib, divided into eastern and western Maghribs.
In 702 the Berbers submitted to the armies of Islam and adopted Islam. The first Moroccan states formed during these years, but many were still ruled by outsiders, some of whom were part of the Umayyad Caliphate that controlled most of northern Africa c. 700 CE.
In 1056, a Berber empire arose, however, under the Almoravid Dynasty, and for the next five hundred years, Morocco was governed by Berber dynasties: the Almoravids (from 1056), Almohads (from 1174), Marinid (from 1296), and Wattasid (from 1465). Berber was the name given to them by Greeks and Arabs.
Q. 10. Religious and Ritual Practices of the Meccans.
Ans. Gods and Goddesses were worshipped at local shrines, such as the Kaaba in Mecca.
Some scholars postulate that Allah may have been one of the Gods of the Meccan religion to whom the shrine was dedicated, although it seems he had little relevance in the religion.
Many of the physical descriptions of the pre-Islamic gods are traced to idols, especially near the Kaaba, which is believed to have contained up to 360 of them.
Since the people of Mecca were idol worshippers, they created idols of every shape and size. The most common deity was the household idol.
The great God of Mecca was Hubal, an idol made of red carnelian. The early pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House of Allah or Ka’aba (Arabic for cube), a rectangular building, was the most predominant ritual which helped in maintaining solidarity among the tribes of Mecca.