S: LOST MERCHANT TALES
FC: LOST MERCHANT TALES | BY Andrew McGowan, Harriet Thomas, Ben McMahon, and Jake Collins
1: Not again, I said. I was walking my dog, and he had just bolted from the trail I often used, and into the woods. I ran after him, calling his name.I couldn't see him, but I could hear the jingle of the tags on his collar. When I found him, he was digging furiously, the dirt flying in an ark behind him. “Whats he after”, I thought to myself. Then I heard a new noise, a scratching sound, and my dog stopped digging, and looked at me questioningly. I looked in the recently dug hole, and to my surprise, I saw the top to some old wooden box. I carefully pulled it out to look at it. It was defiantly some sort of chest, and there had been a lock on it, but it was rusted very badly. I broke it without a problem. I slowly lifted the lid, and gasped in surprise! In the chest was a leather-bound book, with faded writing on the cover. I opened the book and started to read.
2: Forms of Government I saw an entry on the first page. The ink was faded and stained, but still readable.The entry was tittled "Government." After reading the first sentence it was about a merchant who traveled from civilization to civilization selling goods. His first entry was about his trip to Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China. The merchant talked about how he would have to sell his goods differently in these civilizations because the whole city was under the rule of the king, the king ruled with absolute power. Where he could only sell certain items on certain days and for certain prices. Also the merchant talked about when he was selling things in the Greek city-state of Athens. He could only sell food and art, and in the Oligarchy of Sparta he could only sell weapons. His least favorite of all was when he had to go to the Rome. Rome was an direct democracy meaning he, the merchant had to vote on bills and laws everyday, but he was free to sell what he wanted. I wish I could have seen this!
5: Cultural Achivements The next page in the journal was titled "Cultural Achievements" I wondered what that meant, so I decided to read and find out. The merchant wrote that in Mesopotamia there was many cultural achievements such as Ziggurat's, the wheel, sail, they used bronze, and they had a number and irrigation system. He would also set up near the Ziggurat's because many people would go see them. He wrote that in the ancient river valley of Egypt there were many Pyramids, which were like the Ziggurat's papyrus was their form of paper, irrigation, medicine, mummification, geometry and a 365 day calendar. Were also a part of Egypt. As he was in the Indus River Valley there were grid-cities, harraipa, mohenjo dara, irrigation, oven baked bricks, plumbing systems, and a sewer system. It was not very good for selling my things as their was no big tourist attraction like there was in Mesopotamia and Egypt. In Asia, China had a River Valley their cultural achievements were, character writing based on oracle bones. China wasn't anything special so he didn't stay long.
6: As he was in India two dynasties were evolving, the Mauryas and the Guptas, since the Chinese dynasties worked so well for him, he decided to try India out. The Mauryas had some cultural achievements like, spying and political assassination. Which was good for him. He even thought of leaving, but he didn't know where else to go, so he stayed. The Guptas had much more cultural achievements beginning with Kalidasa, Golden Age, Literature, Art, Science, Mathematics, Advanced Science, Astronomy, Medicine, Doctor and Surgeons. The Golden Age during the Gupta dynasty was a big hit all around India especially for merchants. People were making extra money so they could spend more on my goods. Even he made extra money.
7: He later decided to try China out again because they had a new form of government which was the Zhou dynasty, they used bronze, jade, iron, cross bows, blast furnaces, they wrote poetry and built canals and roads. The Zhou dynasty was much more impressive than the river valley in China. He decided to stay in China and explore the Qin dynasty, since he really liked the Zhou. During the Qin many cultural achievements existed such as building roads and canals, had a standardized weights and measures, standardized writing, and the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China seemed like a good thing for the merchant, it worked for selling the things he needed to sell. The last dynasty of China was the Han. In the Han dynasty, education promoted universities, large cities were developed, the population reached 60 million, paper was invented, Chinese literature, they made and traded silk, there were also farming inventions such as the collar hamess, plow, and wheel barrow. The dynasties in China were good for him, but he had to leave and go somewhere else, so he decided to go to India.
8: His next stop was to the classical period of Greece. Greece had many cultural achievements in their city-states. Athens had a Golden Age which was a great achievement. There was drama: tragedy and comedy; structure of outdoor theater. Sculpture is idealistic; larger than life; shows pride, perfection; Phidias. Architecture: shows balance, order, proportion: The Parthenon Columns. The Olympics brought city-states together. Hipocratic Oath (Hippocrates). The philosophers Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato had a lot to offer. The Socratic Method: ask questions to learn. Plato wrote The Republic, which is a book about perfect government. Astronomy and Math were part of Hellenism. Aristarchus: heliocentric model of the universe. Eratosthens: calculated earth's circumference within 1% of modern calculation. Euclid=geometry. Archimedes=pi; law of the lever; compound pulley. He preferred Athens because of the Golden Age and The Olympics were good for him too.
9: After leaving Greece he decided to go to Classical Rome. The cultural achievements in Rome were, The Pax Romana: Empire is 3000 square miles: Europe, Middle East, North Africa. Strong Army (legions). They Invented the arch, dome, and concrete. (The Panthenon and The Coliseum). Aqueducts bring fresh water to cities. The Roman Roman Roads: connected the empire and liken Romans to China and India (Cultural Diffusion). Realistic Art, real life sculpture, everyday people, daily tasks. Mosaics (detailed art depicting daily life) in wealthy homes. Literature and Language, Latin; works of Virgil. Rome was also good but he liked Greece more. I couldn't believe all the cultural achievements that occurred before me. I wish I could have seen what it was like, living in that time. I think Cultural Achievements mean the important and main stuff that happened during specific times.
10: Law Codes The next entry said..."In my travels I have experienced many different laws, under many different kings. Hammurabi had his laws engraved in stone, so as no one could alter them to aid themselves over others. I had to be careful there, as his laws state that if i hurt someone, that the court will do the same to me. In many other places I have been, the only law is the word of the king, but now, in my shop in Rome, I again see the effective and strong rule of the written law, only this time under the roman Twelve Tables.”
11: Belief Systems In the journal it says that the religions and philosophies were very important to everyday life in many of the civilizations in ancient times. Most of the early religions were monotheistic, which means they believed in many gods or goddesses, but the ancient river civilizations were all polytheistic, believed in one god or goddess. Judaism was an early monotheistic religion in 2000 BCE in the Middle East. It was founded by Abraham and started from many nomadic Jewish people, who were criticized for being monotheistic, which was different at the time. The merchants then went to India and experienced the two main religions, which were Buddhism and Hinduism. Hinduism was the earlier between the two and was based on the idea that your soul can be reborn which is called reincarnation. This is based off the caste system, which is a social class system. The belief that you will come back in another life and be in another class. Buddhism is based on the belief of total enlightenment, which is also called Nirvana. To reach this state you must overcome the suffering in ones life by following the Eightfold Path,
12: and expressing it through prayer and meditation. Buddhism did not agree with the Caste System. The merchants in the book after reading for a while, I noticed that they were considered to be Vaisyas in the caste system. This ranking was around the center of the pyramid. They had some rights, but not many being merchants. The merchants also went to China where they used three main philosophies. Confucianism was their first main philosophy they followed. This was based off they idea of education helps bring order to society, and order began with the individual. Confucianism was started by confucias, who created a practical philosophy for life and government, also he based it off the five key relationships and supported the Golden Rule. The next philosophy that grew in ancient China was Daoism. Daoism was based off of the idea of
13: following the rules of nature and letting the universe take its course. Laozi the founder of Daoism and his followers were very peaceful people and used the idea of anti-war, anti-taxation, and anti-social programs. The last philosophy used in China was Lealism. This philosophy was based off of the idea that strong laws bring order and the position of the leader is more important than the position of the man. Ruled by Hanfeizi this practical period was a government run by strong laws and harsh punishments. Unlike the two philosophies before it Legalism was a hard time period to live in, who also rejected confucianism, which was a great time for the merchants, when the Leagalism was certainly not.
14: Writing Systems The book talked about how the writting would have to use different writing systems when he traveled. Whenever he was in Egypt he would have to write in hieroglyphics, when he was in Mesopotamia he would have to write in cuneiform. In India he would have to use pictographs, and in China he would have to use their current day character writing.
16: Good Things Should Never go Undiscovered The kid brought the book to his parents and they donated it to a museum. They had a ceremony honoring the kid wonderful find and for donating the book.
19: Picture Citations: http://www.celesteh.com/pics/February06/February06-Thumbnails/6.jpg http://images.cdn.fotopedia.com/flickr-2769553173-hd.jpg