Friday, September 11, 2009

Before European Hegemony

In Before European Hegemony, a book written by Janet L. Abu- Lughod, three major areas of the world at discussed. It focuses on Europe, the Middle East and the Orient, mainly on a time frame of the 13th and 16th centuries. During the 16th century, Europe would definitely be characterized as a core country. Although, by the 16th century, Europe grew to be a key player in the world, the country was still very immature during the 13th century while other countries flourished. was As the author she strives not to take sides on the development of history, but to merely state facts on how it evolved.

It starts off with saying  that during the 13th century Europe was not the dominant or "core" power of the time. In actuality, the three major parties worked in a some what homogenous matter. The Middle East, Europe and Asia all coincided together and traded together to better help one another and push along their advancement. During the Pax Mongolica, between 1200 CE and 1300 CE, Europe gained its strength. Europe was weak after the fall of the Roman Empire and needed a way to build up its power after their down fall. Because of Europe's easy access to water and neighboring countries, they were able to join a trade system that had been around for many previous years. This was a trade system between that extended across the Middle East to the coast of China. At this time Europe was no where as powerful as its contenders in the trade market but it allowed for periphery cities at the time to flourish into core areas. Cities along the coast line especially did well do to their easy access of water and their area on the map. As the trade continued all over the continents a mass variety of goods were being distributed. Not only did the trade help the economy and growth of each individual country but it also caused a lot of learning. Cultural diffusion was being displayed at its best while paintings and art, food and tradition, and the life style and good of others were being traded. 
With this spread of ideas and goods religion was also being moved around. I found it very interesting that religion was also spread through Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Its interesting to look at because religion it a very tough thing to grasp and would be extremely difficult to teach to another person with such a language barrier. Not only was religion interesting but the fact that power between each area was never completely gained by one specific region of the time. Until the 16th century, when Europe took its place as a core country, the three regions were working and trading together in harmony, and equally, in order to flourish and further advance as a whole. 

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