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Black Death Essay, Research Paper

Group A: Black Death

Increasing travel between Europe and Asia led to the spread of many different diseases, one of which wiped out a forth of the population of Europe. Black Death, which is a form of the Bubonic Plague, is one of the worst epidemic disease in history. This disease started as early as the Tang period and lasted through the 1300’s. The plague traveled through flea infested rats from central China to northwestern China and soon enough across Eurasia. The caravan traffic contributed to the spread of the plague by carrying the disease across the continent, infected marmots and other desert rodents which later passed it to dogs and humans. The result of black death, which was carried across to Europe by the crusades, was an increased death rate and the unleashing of new waves of latent illnesses, particularly in urban populations.

Group B: Banu Sasan

Banu Sasan, also known as Tribe of Sasan was a fraternity of beggars, tricksters and street performers. At those times the scholars and the beggars were the most mobile people of the population. The Banu Sasan’s, with their “lofty pride”, traveled from China to Egypt and were remembered for their tales and exploits.

Group C: Mansa Musa

Mansa Musa was the ruler of the Mali empire in Africa from 1312 to 1337. He greatly expanded the empire and made it the political and cultural leader of Africa. He brought the trading cities of Gao and Timbuktu under his rule and made Timbuktu the center of learning. Mansa Musa spread Islam throughout the empire. In 1324, he traveled to Mecca, the holy city of the Muslims, to fulfill his personal duty as a Muslim. Mansa Musa traveled to Mecca with thousands of people and hundreds of camels carrying gold and gifts. On the return from his pilgrimage he promoted religion and cultural influences of Islam in his empire. He built new mosques and opened Quranic schools in the cities along the Niger bend. After his death his son Mansa Maghan I became the ruler of the empire.

II. Gothic Style & Zoroastrian Fire Temple

The Gothic style of architecture became famous chiefly because of many magnificent cathedrals built in this style. In Gothic style of architecture, cathedrals were built to give the impression of soaring height that drew worshipers eyes up toward heaven. Gothic style cathedrals differed from Zoroastrian fire temples in appearance and structure. Gothic architects developed the ribbed vault, which was a type of ceiling supported by pointed arches while the Zoroastrians used a domed ceiling. Another distinction between the two is the walls that surrounded the buildings. The use of the flying buttress and ribbed vault in gothic cathedrals reduced the amount of wall space needed for support, allowing openings in the walls that were lined with brightly colored stained-glass windows that portrayed religious scenes. The Zoroastrian fire temples were enclosed by large walls that led to limited natural light. There was also a large size difference between the Gothic style and the Zoroastrian fire temples. Zoroastrian fire temples can be seen as complexes that consisted of several different buildings and courtyards, each having its own significance, while gothic cathedrals had a one room layout. In Gothic style cathedrals paintings and stained glass windows were used to portray religious scenes while the Zoroastrians used carved geometrical ornament and inscriptions and splendid masonry to portray scenes. Both forms of architecture are admired until today for their beauty.

III. The Nature Of Feudalism

Feudalism was the political and military system of government in western Europe during the Middle Ages. The nature of feudalism comes from a system for making a living from land called Manorialism. Manorialism came around in the 800’s when western Europe was divided into large estates called manors. The manors were ruled by a few wealthy lords while most of the people, who were poor peasants, worked on the land to earn a living. During this time the ancient skills of literature, architecture, painting and sculpting were forgotten. The decline of manorialism led to the rise of the Carolingian empire which also contributed to the nature of feudalism. Charles Martel and Charlemagne united Europe by conquering the powerful lords’ estates. To control their empire the Frankish rulers depended on the assistance of loyal noblemen called vassals. A noblemen became a vassal when he pledged his loyalty to the king and promised to serve him. The king then became a lord to his vassal. Most vassals held important positions in the king’s army, where they served as knights. The Carolingians rewarded their vassals by granting them estates called fiefs. A fief included the manors of land, the buildings and villages of each manor and the peasants who farmed the manors. The death of Charlemangne led to the fall of the Carolingian empire and the rise of feudalism. The kings lost control of their fiefs to the vassals who became independent rulers. The independence of each manor is known as feudalism.

IV Mansa Suleiman and Muhammad Ibn-Tugluq Styles of Rule

Mansa Suleiman’s style of rule differed from Muhammad Ibn-Tugluq’s style in many ways. Mansa Suleiman spread Islam south of the Sahara through gradual and peaceful conversion, while Muhammad used force to spread his beliefs. The style of rule between the Islamic empire in Africa and the empire in India also differed because of the location and natural resources. Mali rested on a well-developed agricultural base which also had control of lucrative regional and trans-Saharan trade. Mali also controlled the gold fields of the Niger headwaters. The wealth of the Malinke rulers contributed to the generous treatment of its people. On the other hand the people living under Muhammad were subject to high taxes, wage and price control in order to keep their treasury full. There were also constant raids of neighbor frontiers to raise money. Both empires were approved by the world traveler, Ibn Battuta, for their accomplishments with the exception that the rulers in India didn’t need to use force.

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