2.2.4- Urban Centers

Prompt: Detail how cities acted as centers of trade, public performance of religious rituals & public administration (Case Study may include Persepolis, Pataliputra, Athens, Carthage, Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople, or Teotihuacan)

The Basic Gist:

During the Classical era, cities began to become a viable force in the world community. As more and more people moved to urban areas, the way people thought about Religion, Public Administration, and Trade shifted enormously. Furthermore, the effects this urbanization had on society is still apparent today.


Case Studies:

Perhaps the most famous of all Greek Gods, Zuess is a figurehead for the Grecio-Roman relion

Symbol of Zoroastrianism, ancient Persian prophet and religious poet. -Ahura Mazda - Creator -


Case Study:

If one was to ask about public administration of one of the greatest empires in The Classical Era, Persia, one can look at the founder Cyrus the Great and his charter to human rights. His charter to human rights makes it obvious what he believed in. Not only does it shape who he is, but it shows what he stands for and what is going to happen. He states “I did not allow any to terrorize the land of Summer and Akkad.” This quote shows how Cyrus was just and compassionate to different cultures, a trait that most Classical civilizations embodied in their policy.


A background on the buildings of Persepolis is needed to fully grasp how great these capital cities that housed the administration were.



During the classical civilizations, empires were trading amongst each other more and more. For example, the Silk Road appeared during this time. The Silk Road was a network of interlocking trade routes, the routes connected Asia to the Mediterranean and African empires. On the silk road; China traded silk, spices, teas, and porcelain, India traded ivory, textiles, precious stones, and pepper, and the Roman Empire traded gold, silver, fine glassware, wine, carpets, and jewels.
The amount of trade grew and with the trade came the spread of religion and technology. It promoted innovations in roads and the construction of canals. Trade even allowed for more specialization, because cities could now import food from other places in exchange for other things. There were also some bad things with trade, the main one being the spread of diseases. Diseases were being brought to regions where the people didn’t have immunities to them. Trade has really shaped the world in its expansion. With all the roads and canals built, it really promoted trade. People could now easily travel and trade over longer distances with greater ease.

Case Study:


Case-study conclusions:

Over time, trade has changed a lot of things and in some cases have stayed the same. First off, trade allowed for art to travel more extensively, allowing art to influence and be influenced by a much wider intellectual sphere. Another thing is trade had many effects on geography, it caused for the building of many roads and canals that altered the landscape to make it traversable. Military technology was also traded amongst the civilizations, spreading advancements in military weapons. Trade changed social cultures in different ways, certain crops were introduced to environments in which they would thrive, and cultures spread and interacted more with other cultures. Because of trade, religion was spread amongst the routes along with intellectual knowledge, like the “Arabic” number system. Lastly technology was spread through the trade routes, spreading to other empires. Trade allowed for different civilizations to really grow in economic power. Throughout time many of these changes have proven to weather the test of time.

The silk road provided a vital connection between the east and west.


As the world became significantly more urban during the Classical era, the very foundations of human society shifted. Art, religion, and technology spread prolifically due to the increase in globalization and specialization. Military became a necessity as different superpowers began to clash and struggle over resources. Even geography was altered as humanity began to leave an imprint upon the earth like never before. Social and political values shifted as societies experienced growing pains due to the increase in urbanization, and therefore complexity. Furthermore, intellect and economics were both stimulated through mediums of transportation such as the silk road and increased sea travel. The increase in urban communities began a revolution that continues to spread today- a shift from the slow-moving life in more rural areas to the fast-paced lifestyle found in cities.

Breakdown of roles:
Nathan Starnes: Public Performance of Religious Rituals
Chehab Kaakarli: Public Administration
Tyler Cunningham: Centers of Trade
Nate Barton: Compilation, design, summary and conclusion, and cat.

"Achaemenid Empire." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaemenid_Empire>.
Bce, 546. "History of Iran: Achaemenid Empire." Iran Chamber Society. Web. 11 Nov. 2011 . <http://www.iranchamber.com/history/achaemenids/achaemenids.php>.
"Silk Road." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road>.