If you are looking for MHI-01 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Ancient and Medieval Societies, you have come to the right place. MHI-01 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in MAH courses of IGNOU.
MHI-01 Solved Assignment Solution by Gyaniversity
Assignment Code: MHI-01/AST/TMA/2022-23
Course Code: MHI-01
Assignment Name: Ancient and Medieval Societies
Verification Status: Verified by Professor
Total Marks: 100
Note: Attempt any five questions. The assignment is divided into two Sections 'A' and 'B'. You have to attempt at least two questions from each section in about 500 words each. All questions carry equal marks.
Q1. Discuss the impact of agriculture, invention of tools and discovery of fire in the development of human society. 20
Ans) Human biology has also been impacted by fire, which helped to provide the high-quality diet that fuelled the Pleistocene-era increase in brain size. Although it is still uncommon to find direct evidence of early fire in archaeology, from 1.5 Ma onward a surprising number of sites have some traces of burnt material. Recognizable hearths from the Middle Pleistocene show that many sites had a social and economic focus. Archaeological evidence must be weighed against biological model postulates like the "cooking hypothesis" and the "social brain," as well as issues of social cohesion and the origins of language. Although there is still much to be figured out, it is obvious that fire control has had a significant influence on human evolution. The interaction of fire and mankind is the theme of this article's themed issue.
Origins of interactions with fire
Because of its own emphasis on liveable sites, archaeological research has a tendency to focus exclusively on the existence or absence of hearths . It is clear that in larger evolutionary scenarios, we must take into account at least three different but potentially overlapping types of fire use: the first is fire foraging for resources across landscapes; the second is social/domestic hearth fire, for protection and cooking; and the third is fires used as tools in technological processes, like firing pottery. Although modern fire use is extremely complex, its origins were probably quite straightforward: according to a common biological theory, there is only one main selective pressure for a new development of this kind. For humans, fire became important for a variety of reasons, such as cooking, warmth, and protection, but the majority of these require some level of control. In contrast, fire foraging only requires a desire to be near fires in the hopes of gaining access to more resources. Recovering invertebrates and small animals like rodents, lizards, and other animals could be advantageous for hominins.
Sampling the record of early fire
Although there are thousands of instances of hominin activity documented in the early archaeological record, the likelihood of fire being preserved is incredibly low. This is due in part to its "disappearing act"—there are few remnants of burning, rather than the fire itself—and in part to the generally low sampling density. Since stone tools last much longer, their record is sufficiently extensive to provide some insights into sampling.
Major biological models
Foraging for food near a fire would inevitably result in eating accidentally cooked food, including the "roots made digestible" that Darwin mentioned. The cooking hypothesis is based on the idea that hominins living in more open environments wouldn't be able to survive all year long on the same fruit and herb resources that support apes in tropical forests. They would have to switch to different foods, especially in the dry seasons.
Recognizing fire in the record
Although fire in the landscape is of great interest, it is virtually impossible to tell a wildfire from a fire that may have been started by a human. Australia provides some of our best hints as to how this might be accomplished. The Martu people of the western desert, for example, didn't stop using their traditional fire stick farming techniques until the 1960s.
Q2. Give a detailed account of the various mediums used for writing and communication in different civilizations. 20
Ans) Protowriting, ideographic systems, or early mnemonic symbols came before more advanced writing systems in the evolution of writing in human civilizations (symbols or letters that make remembering them easier). A later development is true writing, in which the content of a linguistic utterance is encoded so that another reader can reasonably reconstruct the exact utterance written down. It differs from proto writing, which frequently forgoes encoding grammatical words and affixes, making it harder or even impossible to reassemble the precise meaning intended by the writer unless a substantial amount of context is already known in advance.
Inventions of writing
Around 3200 BCE, Sumer, a historic civilization in southern Mesopotamia, is thought to have been the birthplace of written language. The idea that writing originated in a single civilization and was called "monogenesis" persisted for a long time. According to academic theory, all writing originated in Mesopotamia's ancient Sumer and spread throughout the world through a process known as cultural diffusion. This theory holds that traders or merchants travelling between geographical regions passed on the idea of representing language by written marks, though perhaps not necessarily the specifics of how such a system worked.
The discovery of ancient Mesoamerican scripts, far from Middle Eastern sources, demonstrated, however, that writing had been created more than once.
Numerous academics have argued that the earliest convincing evidence of Egyptian writing, which differs from Mesopotamian writing in both structure and style, must have emerged independently. Although "stimulus diffusion" from Mesopotamia is still a possibility, the influence could not have extended beyond the dissemination of an idea. Because there is no evidence of communication between ancient China and the Near Eastern literate civilizations, as well as because Mesopotamian and Chinese approaches to phonetic representation, it is thought that ancient Chinese characters are an independent invention.
There is controversy surrounding the Rongorongo script of Easter Island, the Vina symbols from around 5500 BCE, and the Indus script of the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilisation. Since none have been deciphered, it is unclear whether they all represent real writing, protowriting, or something else entirely. The earliest coherent texts date from around 2600 BCE, and the Sumerian archaic (pre-cuneiform) writing and Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally regarded as the earliest true writing systems. Both developed out of their ancestors' proto-literate symbol systems between 3400 and 3100 BCE. The Proto-Elamite script belongs to roughly the same time frame.
Al-Hasakah, 3300-3100 BC, Uruk culture, pre-cuneiform tags with a drawing of a goat or sheep and a number (probably "10") Writing systems are distinguished from symbolic communication systems. For most writing systems, reading a text requires some knowledge of the spoken language that goes along with it. In contrast, it's not always necessary to have prior knowledge of a spoken language to use symbolic systems like information signs, paintings, maps, and mathematics.
Every human community has language, which is thought by many to be an innate and defining characteristic of humanity (see Origin of language). Writing system development has been sporadic, uneven, and slow, and traditional oral communication systems have only been partially replaced. Writing systems generally change more slowly after they are established than their spoken counterparts and frequently preserve traits and expressions that have been lost to the spoken language.
Q3. Explain the nature of conflict between aristocracy and peasantry in ancient Greece. How did this conflict culminate in the establishment of democracy? 20
Ans) Greece's landed aristocracy and peasantry engaged in a bitter conflict during the Archaic Period (c. 800–5000 BC). The beginnings of this conflict can be found in the latter half of the Dark Age when historical developments had strengthened the position of land-owning aristocrats. The landed aristocracy solidified its control over the land and the political systems of the Greek states between approximately 800 and 600 BC. Small landowners became impoverished as a result of this. The small landowners fought the aristocracy valiantly out of desperation.
On the reforms implemented in Athens, we have some information. References to other states support the evidence from Athens and demonstrate that similar historical developments were occurring throughout much of Greece. The Athenians chose the option of appointing Solon as an arbitrator in 594 BC to carry out reforms. Solon was given extensive powers for a set period of time based on a consensus.
What was emerging was a new form of government that people at the time referred to as "tyranny." Tyrants were the term used to describe rulers like Peisistratus who had seized control in this way. Greek tyranny was notable for having substantial popular support, especially from the poor peasantry and from groups who had amassed wealth through trade but had historically had no access to political power. When Peisistratus took control, he distributed the public wastelands that had been owned by the aristocracy to the poor or dispossessed peasants. Additionally, he took the assets of some wealthy landowners who had fled their homes after the tyranny was established and gave them to struggling farmers. Peisistratus's policies resulted in two outcomes. The peasantry's position was first stabilised. Second, the political system was no longer controlled by the firmly established landed aristocracy. In 527 BC, Peisistratus perished. His son Hippias took over as his successor.
The Greeks had a strong distaste for the age of tyranny during the Classical Period and after. However, it should be remembered that tyranny accelerated the shift from oligarchical to democratic rule. The institutions through which the aristocracy has up until now wielded political power were weakened by the tyrants. This phenomenon did not only occur in Athens. Around 600 BC, the tyrant Periander seized control of Corinth. Cypselus overthrew the Bacchidae, Corinth's ruling aristocratic family, just before Periander. We also know details about other despots. Around 545 BC, Polycrates took over as the ruler of Samos, and Lygdamis assumed control of Naxos around the same time.
The tyrants played a key role in eliminating the traditional hereditary foundation of political power. The hereditary elites of ancient Greece were a close-knit group. They had power not just because they were wealthy but also, and perhaps more importantly, because of their birth. All executive, judicial, and military positions were automatically filled by members of the aristocratic families. The political systems of the Greek states during the Archaic Period were therefore described as being oligarchical in nature. The tyrants attacked the source of this oligarchical rule, paving the way for democracy to take hold. Several Greek states transformed into democracies over the course of the Archaic Period. Our knowledge of the earliest democracies dates to those of Chios and Megara, where democratic institutions first appeared around 600 BC.
Q7. Write a note on the Imperial State in pre-modern Chinese civilization. 20
Ans) The Imperial State was perhaps the most remarkable by-product of traditional Chinese civilization. The iron frame that held China together as a single political entity for the majority of its recorded history up until the modern era has a tradition of more than 2000 years and has lasted in essentially unchanged form for nearly 1000 years. The emperor, known as the "Son of Heaven," presided over it, and even people living outside of China's administrative boundaries recognised his authority and prestige. However, its most defining characteristic was the use of a highly organised bureaucracy or elite corps of officials, the so-called mandarins, who were primarily chosen through a system of academically rigorous recruitment exams. When the ruler of Qin, one of the numerous feudal states vying for supremacy at the time, unified China and proclaimed himself the First Emperor in 221 B.C., this state came into existence in a form that is recognisable today.
The Scope of the Chinese Empire
The conflict between the Chinese Empire's universalist self-image and the actual geographic boundaries of its administrative power was one of the fundamental tensions in that empire. Being the dominant power in East Asia and being cut off from any other power of comparable size and strength by formidable mountains, desert wastelands, and seas, it was only natural for the Chinese to view their Empire as encompassing "all under Heaven" (Tian Xia).
The end result was that the line dividing what was inside of China from what was outside of China was never as distinct as it would have been, say, in Europe or in contemporary times. The general pattern was that the emperor administered a central region of roughly 18 provinces through a bureaucracy.
In ancient China, the Emperor's primary role and duty was to preserve order, including the natural order of things as well as the political-social order. The emperor was the highest civil and military authority in the traditional sense. He was the head of the government, not just a figurehead, unlike the Emperor of Japan, for instance. He personally appointed every official, and he was the only one who could remove them. Officials who lost the emperor’s favour could and were frequently subjected to harsh punishments throughout history. He was expected to personally review the voluminous documents and proposals on every aspect of government that were presented to him and make decisions on them. He served as both the highest court of appeals and the supreme legislator. He oversaw the military as well.
China experienced as much warfare, internal uprising, foreign invasions, and changes in the ruling house during its lengthy history as any other society. So how can one explain the unusual stability of the institutions that made up its unified imperial state? Undoubtedly, a significant contributing factor was the long-standing, centrally directed bureaucratic tradition of rule that endured even the most violent upheavals. The Chinese bureaucracy developed its own unique way of operating over the course of 2000 years, as well as a complex set of regulations governing hiring, promotion, transfer, and even appearance and behaviour.
Q8. Discuss the overseas trade of Indian merchants in the 15th century. What was the impact of Portuguese on Indian overseas trade? 20
Ans) When it comes to the foreign trade of Indian merchants, the waning Portuguese sea power in the western Indian Ocean at the turn of the 17th century gave Indian maritime trade an initial boost. The amount of trade going to southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf increased as a result of this. The Indian ships could travel directly to Gulf ports like Basra or Bandar Abbas without passing through Hormuz in the Persian Gulf (Gombroon). Then, after the Portuguese lost Hormuz in 1622, the traffic to the Persian Gulf was entirely free, and the Gujaratis made the most of this opportunity. The entry of the Dutch and English businesses into this trade was also made easier by the fall of Hormuz. In the 17th century, their active participation in local trade helped to spur the expansion of commerce in the western Indian Ocean. The emergence of the Dutch and English companies in the Indian Ocean further altered the maritime trade in India during the 17th century.
The primary aspect of this restructuring was the heavy emphasis placed on trade with west Asia at the expense of trade with Southeast Asia, which had been the primary feature of Indian overseas trade in the previous century. While the Portuguese expulsion liberated trade in the western Indian Ocean, the situation in the east was entirely different. The Dutch, who were more effective and ruthless than the Portuguese, continued the Portuguese tradition of imposing a monopoly on the spice trade. By the middle of the 17th century, the Dutch monopoly was very real and almost completely functional. As a result, the Indian merchants experienced intense pressure, which led to the Gujaratis almost abandoning trade with Southeast Asia as evidenced by the fact that fewer ships were sailing to Sumatra after 1618.
There is little doubt that Gujarat's maritime trade was reoriented in the 16th century as a result of Portuguese control of the Indian overseas trade in Gujarat. As we have already seen, the Red Sea and Malacca were the two main destinations for Gujarati exports at the turn of the century. But over the next century, the Red Sea overtook Southeast Asia in importance. Thus, the increasing dominance of the Gujaratis in the Red Sea region, while their trade in southeast Asia experienced a decline over the period, was one of the major changes in the Indian Ocean in the 16th century. Furthermore, it is difficult to ignore the Portuguese contribution to these changes.
In reality, the Portuguese were unable to make any kind of significant changes to trade routes, goods, or production methods. They were limited to diverting trade in a few goods and making the Indian traders pay higher customs duties. The Portuguese system could only manipulate, not change. The powerful Chettiyar merchants of Coromandel were hardly impacted at all because Portuguese control was much less obvious in most of India than it was in Gujarat. Even in Malabar, where Portuguese rule was strict and obtrusive, their control was frequently overthrown.
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