Unit 5 Key Concepts

  • Tang Dynasty


    Location: China

    Technology—During this time period the Chinese developed the notion of paper money and created beautiful porcelain. 

    Silk Road—Trade along the silk road expanded as Chinese porcelain became a signal of great wealth in European households.

    Selective Borrowing—The Tang dynasty expanded Chinese influence to Korea and Vietnam, making them tributary states (they had to pay for "protection"). Through Chinese expansion to Korea the ideas of the Japanese adopted some Chinese ideas, such as civil service exams and agricultural methods. (The Regents likes to put maps on the exam showing the Japanese borrowing ideas, technologies, and goods from the Chinese).


    Byzantine Empire

    (306–1453—Eastern half of Rome until 476)

    Location: Eastern Mediterranean

    Constantinople—The city of Constantinople was named after Emperor Constantine, who built the city to serve as the capital of Eastern Rome.

    Justinian—Emperor Justinian ruled the Byzantine Empire from 527-565.  Emperor Justinian is probably best known for his Code of Laws, Justinian's Code. The law code was based largely on the ancient laws of Rome, but also included updated laws and a student handbook. 

    Hagia Sophia—A large, beautiful church built by Justinian as part of his program to build a dazzling city. The Hagia Sophia is a symbol not only of the power of the Byzantine Empire, but also of the mixed culture that called Constantinople home. It includes elements of Greek, Roman, Persian, and other Middle Eastern architecture.


    Influence on Russia—Through the Ukranian city of Kiev, the Byzantine ideas flowed into Russia. The Russian adopted Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Cyrillic alphabet, art, and architecture from the Byzantine Empire.


    Islamic Empires


    Location: Middle East, North Africa, Spain

    Empires—There were many different Islamic Empires that rose to power in different regions throughout this time period. Two of the more famous were the Ummayad and Abbasid.

    Golden Age—The Muslims experienced a Golden Age during the Abbasid rule, which began in 850. During this time period the Muslims made tremendous advances in astronomy, math, and medicine. 

    Greco-Roman Culture—The Muslims played an integral role in the preservation of Greek and Roman culture following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476.


    • Calligraphy
    • Adopted Byzantine domes and arches


    • Qu'ran is most important Islamic book
    • Sharia—Islamic law code

    Muslim Civilization


    • Algebra                                 
    • Astronomy


    • Examinations for doctors
    • Hospitals with emergency rooms
    • Wrote medical encyclopedia


    Gupta Empire


    Location: India

    Caste System—The Caste System had originated in ancient times, but by the time of the Gupta Empire it had expanded beyond the four original castes to include thousands of subcastes (Jati). This social structure offered no social mobility and reinforced Hinduism.

    Mathematics—The Gupta were famous for their advances in Math. They created the decimal system, the concept of zero, and, incorrectly named, Arabic numbers (0–9). 

    Math, Math, Math, Math…are you getting the idea? The Regents asks about the Gupta Empire and Math quite often.