Alexander the Great: King of the World

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The Impact of Culture

A major component of a civilization's success is its culture. One way that a civilization can improve its culture, is by interacting with neighboring civilizations and mixing cultures with them. The interaction of cultures between Ancient civilizations had both positive and negative effects. All of these effects, have changed the world.

One of the many positive outcomes of cultural diffusion is the spread of religion. In document #5, we see how quickly Islam spread due to cultural diffusion. Islam spread thousands of squad miles in about 100 years. The only way that this would have been possible, would be if cultures were spread. The rapid spread of Islam still has effects on the world today. Islam is still a major religion in Europe and is practiced by millions of people worldwide.

Another great effect of the spread of cultures is the ability to trade with allies.

Many things can come from trading and spreading culture with allies. Document #6 shows us the effects of the early trade with Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, and Indians. The immediate effects were the thriving commerce in Mogadishu, Kilwu, the rise of strong East African city-states, introduction of new crops, and the rise of slave trade. This cultural trade changed dramatically after the Crusades. As we can see in document #3, wealth was based on land ownership before the Crusades and based on land and money after the Crusades. Before the crusades linen, fish, wool, wheat, and a barter system were used, however spices, silk, cotton, pocelin, and coin exchange were used after the Crusades. These things all made Europe a much wealthier place. All of these effects of trade would not be possible if it were not for the cultural diffusion that took place in this time period.

Although the good effects outweigh the negative ones, cultural diffusion can be a bad thing. One example of this was the spread of plague. In document #2, we see how rapidly Europe was infected with the plague. After five years of spreading, all of Europe, China, Asia, and Mongolia were infected. The plague was probably spread when Mongol raiders carried infected rats and fleas in their supplies when they invaded China. The plague killed a large chunk of the population and was a reason why Europe was in a Dark age. Unfortunately, this too was an effect of cultural diffusion.

In addition to the spread of a plague, war and prejudice are other negative effects of cultural diffusion. If two cultures disagreed with each others beliefs strongly enough, they could go to war over it. After this war had ended, there would be a strong hatred and prejudice towards that culture and everyone in this. A modern day example of this is terrorism. The terrorists try to justify killing by claiming that they are in a holy war or jihad. They are basically just trying to say that they can kill whoever they want because there victims are not Islamic. After this war ends, Americans and most people in the world will hate Arabs because the terrorists are Arab.

Cultural diffusion had a huge impact on Europe, Asia, China, Mongolia, and India during this period in the world's history. Cultural diffusion helped to spread Islam and it improved trade in most areas of the world. However, cultural diffusion also helped to spread the plague, war, and prejudice. In conclusion, cultural diffusion was a great thing and greatly helped the entire world. Without it, our entire world would not be the same.