ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL SOCITIES
IGNOU MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment
MPS MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Define pastoral nomadism. Analyze society and economy of pastoral nomads.
Ans. The evidence regarding pastoral nomadism after Paleolithic phase is scanty. It can be said that nomadic hunting and gathering, following seasonally available wild plants and animals, was the oldest human subsistence method.
However, on the basis of archeological findings, anthropological studies conducted among the present pastoral nomadic groups and the accounts sedentary civilizations for first millennium B.C., it seems that pastoralism was derived directly from hunting and gathering.
The hunters of wild goats and sheep had knowledge of herd dynamics and the ecological needs of the herd animals, they followed wild herds on their seasonal round. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
In this way, wild herds were selected to become more manageable for the proto-pastoralist nomadic hunter and gatherer groups.
Pastoralism takes place mainly in marginal areas, where cultivation is not possible. Animals feed on the forage of these lands which humans cannot directly utilize.
The herds convert them into milk and meat for human consumption. Five essential features of pastoral nomadism are regarded as pastoralism being the predominant form of economic activity, maintenance of herds on a system of free-range grazing without stables, periodic mobility within the boundaries of specific grazing territories, participation in pastoral mobility of all or the majority of the population and orientation of production towards the requirements of subsistence.
Two important aspects relating to the growth of nomadic pastoralism are regional and periodic variations. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
The studies taken up on nomadic pastoralism and settled agriculturists indicate several resemblances in cultural peculiarities of both the groups in specific regions.
These regional linkages are stronger in comparison to the resemblances among the nomads from distant regions. Further, in different regions the nomadic pastoralism emerged at different periods of time.
Bearing in mind regional and periodic variations, it is difficult to identify the circumstances under which pastoral nomadism began.
However, the number of pastoral nomadic communities is decreasing throughout the historical times. It seems that numerous pastoral nomadic groups during different periods in the past opted for sedentary mode of life giving up their nomadic ways.
A general perception of nomads has been as barbaric and savage clans who disrupted settled societies and civilizations.
This image is reinforced by periodic raids of the Mongol and Huns during middle ages through the towns of Asia and Europe, destroying cities and civilizations.
The recent studies by archaeologists, anthropologists, pre-historians and scholars have established that there was a society with a way of life, social and political structures and economy of pastoral nomads.
As each pastoralist nomadic set up occurred in specific conditions and contexts, generalizations about them are difficult.
These pastoralist societies were often organized in tribes, in which with the household was a basic unit and lineages were the basis for property rights.
The tribes had a customary claim over a specific territory. Tribal elders control the access to common assets like water, pasture and wild foodstuffs.
Strong tribal identities were required by pastoral nomads for banding together to defend their livestock against theft by their neighbours.
The matrimonial relations among members of tribes were governed by customary laws. Monogamy was dominant but polygamy and polyandry were also prevalent in some tribes.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Cattle played an important role in their customs and rites including ritual sacrifice of cattle in religious ceremonies.
Though the tribal communities were generally self-sufficient but they had regular interactions with neighbouring sedentary communities and engaged in barter exchanges with them.
Q. 3. Explain the political structure of the early Roman Empire.
Ans. After abolition of monarchy when a republican state was established the power came to be exercised in the name of the people, though Roman aristocrats had complete control over political power.
The republic lasted for around five hundred years, from 510 to 27 B.C. The early Romans had both the senate and the assembly during the period of kingship.
The senate was powerful in that period also and frequently asserted itself before the monarch. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Social Orders and the Senate
The society during the period of Roman Empire had two apparent parts: the patricians and the plebeians.
This was a characteristic feature of the social structure. Though both the classes were citizens of the Empire, the plebeians were the common people, the patricians were small but close-knit elite.
These aristocratic families were hereditary wealthy and powerful.
After the establishment of the republican state, the senate became increasingly powerful and gradually asserted itself over all other organs of state. With the expansion of the Republic, the senate became the centre of power.
Senate was an oligarchic council as the Roman aristocracy had complete control over it and, in turn, over the State. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
The membership of the senate was totally hereditary and limited to the patricians or the aristocratic families who had enormous wealth and influence.
Throughout its existence of many centuries the most powerful landowners, whose number was one hundred in the beginning, exercised control over the senate. Common man, plebeians, could not become a member of the senate.
Thus, the division between patricians and plebeians had many comparable features with the Indian caste system. One, as a patrician was always a born patrician and a plebeian too was condemned to live in the order of his birth.
Two, a plebeian could never become a patrician even if he had earned a lot of money. Further, akin to caste system in India, marriages between the two were prohibited by the law.
Officials of the Republic
The senate had enormous control over the civil government as it could direct the Consuls, head of the Roman government.
As the Roman Empire grew, the senate also supervised the administration of the provinces, which were governed by former consuls and praetors, in that it decided which magistrate should govern which province.
The membership of the senate was honorary, as its members were not paid any emoluments. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Evidently, only those from wealthy families could accept its membership. The head of the Roman government were two chief magistrates, or Consuls who were elected annually.
After nomination from the senate they were elected by an assembly whose membership included all citizens, including plebeians. The Consuls used to preside over the senate and could seek re-election.
Earlier, before 367 B.C., only patricians were eligible to be a Consul but later one of them could be from plebeians.
There were several other elected officials. Two powerful magistrates used to be elected as Censors for a five-year term for carrying out a census of the citizens.
There were Courts of Magistrate for administration of justice. All magistrates served in an honorary capacity as they were not given any salary from the state.
Struggle between Patricians and Plebeians
The patricians of ancient Rome were the rich aristocrats who dominated the society and economy and tried to have complete monopoly over the affairs of the state. The plebeians, or common people, had little influence in government.
The only difference between the slaves and the plebeians was that the plebeians were citizens and could not be compelled into forced labour.
The history of the Roman republic is marked by constant struggle between the patricians and the plebeians. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
As the plebeians had a great role in the Roman Army, they could organise themselves and struggle for their rights.
With the expansion of Roman Empire, the necessity to have the support of the peasant soldiers grew.
In the beginning the peasantry received some minor benefits from the growth of the empire, though the patricians were the major recipients of the benefits.
The patricians could not antagonize the plebeians beyond a point because they were the huge majority and patricians required their help to defend the state and later for expansion of the Roman rule.
The Roman army consisted of plebeian soldiers. Without the loyalty of the army, no Roman government could stay in power very long.
With the growth of the Roman Empire, through for ruling aristocracy continued to amass wealth and became more prosperous, the condition of plebeians did not improve in proportionate manner despite the fact that they played an important role in the Roman army. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
In the early phase of expansion the peasantry, the plebeians, could get some political favours like a little share in political power for a small section of it.
As the plebeians were the citizens and in theory all citizens were deemed to be equal, there was an assembly since the time of monarchy, called Comitia Curiata. The curiae were based on the three tribes which inhabited Rome.
They were: Ramnes, Tities and Luceres. All adult male members of three tribes were its members, but it did not follow ‘one member-one vote’ principle. It had thirty members as each tribe contained ten curiae.
Each curia had one vote based on the majority of the votes of its members. This system helped patrician aristocracy to control the proceedings of the Comitia Curiata.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Growing pressure of the plebeians led to the formation of another assembly: Comitia Centuriata. It was also, like Comitia Curiata, an assembly of all Roman citizens.
While in the earlier assembly the membership was curiae based on their tribes, in Comitia Centuriata the membership of all the citizens was based on centuries which were the smallest unit of Roman army consisting of one hundred men.
The number of centuries was grouped into five classes in such a manner that the wealthiest few got more and the huge majority of have-nots, proletariat, got just one.
The Comitia Centuriata was the main assembly during most of the republican period. It used to elect Consuls and Censors.
Besides Comitia Curiata and Comitia Centuriata which were assemblies of all Roman citizens, there was another assembly Concilium Plebis consisting only of plebeians and meant to discuss issues related to them.
In 494 B.C. plebeians demanded that two officials elected by Concilium Plebis, known as Tribunes, should be recognized as their spokesman.
With increase in their responsibilities the number of these officials gradually increased and by 448 B.C. there were ten officials acting as Tribunes.
Q. 5. Write short notes on any two of the following in 250 words each:
(i) Origins of humans.
Ans. There has been a long process of evolution of modern humans (Homo Sapiens Sapiens). Many species of genus Homo evolved from the Hominids (two-legged primates having all forms of humans).
The significant fact is that Hominids were two- legged which means their forelimbs were free for other activities as legs bore the weight of the body.
The study of human evolution usually includes other Hominids. The period of evolution from 3.5 million years to 1.5 million years was marked by dichotomy between Australopithecines and Homo from which the genus Homo had diverged.
These include Homo erectus, which lived from one and a half million years to around three hundred thousands years ago when Homo Sapiens began to emerge.
Unlike Homo habilis whose bones have been found only in Africa, the evidence for the presence of Homo erectus has been found in Europe and various parts of Asia.
The characteristics include backwards sloped forehead, prominent brow-ridges, and brain smaller than the size of a Homo sapiens brain but larger than Homo habilis.
The evolution of Homo sapiens again was by way of a slow process in different periods in various parts of the world.
The process of evolution was not linear but complex and variegated. A number of sub-species emerged in various parts of different continents.
They were: (i) Homo habilis, (ii) Homo erectus, (iii) Homo sapiens Neanderthalensis, (iv) Homo sapiens sapiens.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
All through the long periods when Homo erectus inhabited various pockets, a number of species of Homo sapiens also evolved. One of the most extensive was Homo Neanderthalensis.
They were discovered in all parts of Europe. There were many like them which existed around 400000 years.
In actual fact, numerous variations among species occurred between 400000 to 100000 years ago.
In some of them the distinctiveness of Homo erectus were more pronounced, while some other were akin to Neanderthals and some others were mixed which could be grouped in either of the two species.
Later, around 100000 years ago in Middle Paleolithic Period in all the regions they came to acquire peculiar resemblance with Neanderthals.
This means they had a short and stout body, absent chin, protruding brow-ridges, and a narrow forehead.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
The disappearance of Neanderthals marks the last phase of Paleolithic Age. The following phase is known as Upper paleolithic period.
This period is marked by emergence of various cultures in different times with distinct regional and geographical characteristics.
They include: (i) Aurignacian which emerged from 34000 to 30000 years ago; (ii) Solutrean which lasted from 22000 to 18000 years ago; and (iii) Magdalenian which appeared around 18000 years ago and existed up to 11000 years ago.
Among them many changes in physical features and biological form, mention can be made of increase in the size of cranial capacity or volume of brain.
While in Australopithecus it was around 400-500 cc, it increased to 700 cc in Homo habilis and 900 to 1100 cc in Homo erectus. The brain volume of modern humans is between 1250-1450 cc.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
(iv) Economic life of the Inkas.
Ans. The Inkas lived in mountainous terrain, which was not good for farming. To resolve this problem, terraces were cut into steep slopes to plant crops. They practiced developed agricultural methods.
The Inkas were the first civilization to use the freeze- dry method of storage. They would leave potatoes outside in the cold during nights and then next morning stomp on them in order to push out the water, and allow them to dry in the sun until the dried potatoes were ready for storage.
The foods dried in this way were known as ch’unu and charki.
They developed drainage systems and canals to expand their crop resources. Potatoes, tomatoes, cotton, peanuts and coca were among the many crops grown by them and farming was practiced with common land holdings.
Llamas were used for meat and transportation. There were more than enough resources available for everyone. Increased subsistence levels led to the growth of the Inka population.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
The Inka rulers evolved a peculiar method to increase their hold in far-flung areas. It was the practice of relocating the people from one place to another.
These people were known as mitmaq or mitima. According to some scholars these colonists or mitmaq were loyal communities which were used to colonize newly acquired regions and the local people of that regions, who could create problems, were sent off to distant places.
These shifted people were asked to produce and procure for themselves. The mitmaq could be sent to places which were at a distance of ‘a day’s walk’ from their original place.
This method was used both to reward the loyal groups and to scatter the trouble-makers.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Moreover, it increased communication and dealing among various regions of the Empire. This also led to crafts specialization.
Many settlements became centres of crafts as there are examples where the state encouraged the development of various crafts.
For instance, one comes across a state-run manufacturing centre of ‘a thousand weavers’ and ‘a hundred potters’.
In addition to being cost-effective, these settlements also became artisan specific. The Inkas had developed a calendar and a decimal number system. They did not have any script and kept records in the form of knotted strings.
Q. 7. Write a note on the textile manufacture during the medieval period.
Ans. The textile production is possibly the oldest expertise man learnt. The textile production was the most widespread craft as clothes were produced for domestic consumption in all regions of the world.
The requirement of clothing for wearing was different in all parts of the world as it depended upon the climate of the regions and accordingly diverse kinds of clothes were produced. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
In the medieval period woollen clothes of Europe were famous for their quality, the Chinese were known for their silk, India and some other regions of Asia and Africa excelled in the production of cotton textiles.
Though cotton textiles were also produced in various other regions, but India was the largest producer of cotton textiles and more than hundred types of fabrics were produced here.
Indian clothes were famous for their durable bright colours. Colouring of clothes was done by two methods: batik and patola.
In the former method wax was used to keep the design intact before dipping the fabric into the dye bath, in the later method the yarn was dyed before weaving and weaving was done as per the requirements of the design.
Extensive trade in textiles contributed in the increase in quantities produced.
Egypt, Senegal and other regions of Africa also had quite advanced weaving industry. In fact, the Egypt was on of the earliest regions of the world to develop the skill of the trade. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
The Central Asia and parts of Arabia were known for their outstanding carpet weaving.
In Arab world cotton was carded through a kind of bow and weaving was done on a loom and for weaving wool the combing method was used.
But, the carpet weaving was the noteworthy craft of the Arab world as well as the Central Asian and Islamic region.
The children in large number were employed in the making of carpets. While children worked at great speed, a veteran supervisor monitored them and provided guidance to get the desired design.
In China, production of silk was quite labour-intensive work and craftsmen were involved in various stages of sericulture. However, the work of spinning and weaving were done by the women generally.
In the medieval period the silk production reached its zenith with large demand in Europe and other parts of world.
The Chinese contact with Iran led to numerous changes in woven patterns and designs. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
For instance, Sassanid motifs like pearl entrusting medallions appeared in the T’ang patterns woven on the weft. Later, brocaded silk designed with threads made of gold were produced during Sung dynasty.
The woollen textiles manufactured in Europe were known for their high quality and sheep were reared in many parts of the continent.
Though woollen textiles were produced in every region as people everywhere required them, but big production centres were located in England and Italy.
The manufacturing process consisted of many stages and each of them underwent vast technological changes with time.
The best wool came from shearing the mature sheep. After shearing came cleaning, the wool was put into large tubs containing hot alkaline water. 15-25% of the weight of the wool was removed by this process, as dirt and oils were washed away.
The wool was next rinsed in cool water and then set in the sun to dry. After drying, the wool was put on tables and beaten with sticks to separate the fibres and remove any remaining dirt. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
The fine short-haired fibres destined for cloth-making were then oiled or greased.
This served to protect them from any damage which might occur during the later harsher stages of production.
Combing and carding processes were done by women at home. The carding and combing was to remove imperfect fibers and dirt, and also to straighten the threads.
Combing is the older process, used for all types of wool fibres. Carding was introduced later for the shorter fibres.
Spinning was the process of making long threads or yarns out of the combed or carded wool.
Several methods existed over time, but they all involved separating out fibres, twisting them together to make a long thread, and winding the thread onto a spindle or bobbin.
The process of spinning was eased by the introduction of the spinning wheel to Europe in the 13th century.
The process of weaving required a lot of strength to maneuver some of the looms. In families making cloth for their own use, women typically did the spinning and men the weaving. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Fulling was an important stage as it improved the density of the material by shrinking loose fibres and causing them to twist together, and it removed any remaining oils that might be present.
The process had several steps. First the cloth was scoured in water with a cleaning agent. The cloth was beaten and walked on to aid the cleaning process.
It was then rinsed in cool water and burling was done to remove any knots. Now the cloth was again put into hot water and walked upon, in order to remove wrinkles and untwist the fibres.
At the end of fulling, the fibres were more closely wound together, making for a stronger fabric. After another round of washing, the still wet cloth was stretched to dry on tenters in fields.
Tenters were wood frames with hooks on the ends. The loose threads of the cloth were cut. As the cloth dried, it shrank. The cloth was not to be stretched too far on the tenters lest it weakened.
The dyeing of cloths was a specialized process in which Kermes was used to give red dye. This mineral was imported from Asia Minor, Spain and Portugal.
For blue dye, indigo was imported from India. Finally, the material was brushed and folded. Any loose threads were then cut off by the shearer.
The shearer was a specialist who took proper care to ensure the look and feel of the final product.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Q. 8. Discuss the changes in trading activities during the period of transition to Modern World.
Ans. The growth in trading activities was one of the important factors of societal changes which accompanied the decline of feudalism.
In the period of transition to modern world the trading activities multiplied manifold. Europe, East Asia and the Arab regions contributed and participated in this growth which largely took place by Oceanic routes.
Emergence of Europe as the Centre of World Trade
The credit for discovering sea-routes to Asia and the New World across Atlantic goes to Europeans explorers.
Finally, it was Magellan who first circum-navigated the earth and underlined the fact that far from being an obstacle to trades the oceans were capable of facilitating it in a big way. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Hence, it was natural that Europeans emerged as main traders and Europe as the centre of emerging world economy.
While the oceanic trade turned out to be the most effective way of carrying goods across continents, the Europe became the centre of the emerging world economy and the sea routes due to its geographical location and trade linkages.
The nature of trade between Europe and the New World changed as new agricultural products like potatoes, tomatoes, cocoa, tobacco, maize, peanuts and vanilla, etc., were brought to Europe.
Similarly, Asian rice, tea, coffee, ginger and pepper were introduced in the New World. In order to take advantage of huge lands available in Americas, a large number of slaves were forcibly taken from Africa and parts of Asia.
They were often kidnapped and beaten up and taken to unknown lands forever. Many of them died in the course of sea passage in subhuman conditions.
It is estimated that between 1500 and 1800 nearly 11 million slaves were taken to trans-Atlantic continents.MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
Trade Structure in East Asia
Though government in China strictly controlled foreign trade, the Chinese goods were reaching Europe via Levant.
In the 13th century, Marco Polo described the wealth and luxuries of China in such glowing terms that it drew the attention of merchants and sea voyagers including Columbus.
However, the Ming rulers imposed curbs on foreign trade and regarded it merely as a source of taxation.
The Chinese goods were extremely valued in Europe but China insisted on payment of silver as a medium of exchange since it had no interest in the European goods.
While the population of China was rising, its domestic production declined notably. Hence, China was particular on payment of silver from the west for its goods.
Trading Activities of the Arabs
The Arab regions served as a link between east and west trade. The spices and cotton fabrics from India to Europe had to pass through the Arab region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Most of the sea-borne trade used either the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea for transit to the Mediterranean from the Indian Ocean.
Owing to internal political conditions of the region the trade belt shifted alternately between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.
The Arabs dominated sea-borne trade in the Indian Ocean, later the Portuguese became active in the area but the Arab maritime activities continued till the beginning of the 18th century. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
The Portuguese tried to take advantage of the religious differences between Persia and the Ottoman Empire by forging an alliance with the former.
Unlike the British, the Portuguese did not adopt a policy of territorial conquests but established naval bases and tried to build a network of them.
In fact, the Portuguese were the first European power who dominated the Asian oceanic trade. MHI 01 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
After the advent of the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean, the Arab maritime activities declined as the Arabs could not rival the Portuguese naval power.
In the nineteenth century, the Arab region lost its importance with the construction of Suez Canal. Later, the discovery of the oil wealth in Arab region changed the entire strategic scenario.