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Question: Compare the role and function of cities in major societies.

First of all, the 600 – 1450 CE time period had a significant pattern: collapse of the ancient civilizations then the interactions among the societies within the fallen empire which led to TRADE and INTERACTION!! Therefore… societies became very much influenced and dependant on trade. Major cities began to develop near the trade routes, just like how ancient civilizations developed near rivers and water.
  • For example, Baghdad, Merv and Chang’an were one of the most successful cities during this time! Common theme: All three cities they were part of the huge Silk Road.
  • In Western Europe, especially in northern Germany, the Hanseatic League was formed. These cities relied on each other for resources. With the rise of merchants and trade networks, many towns began to form relationships and networks. This interdependency among different cities led to a step closer to the idea of nation states. More interestingly, the active participation of different classes led to a more flexible social hierarchy.

Don't forget to HIT THEM POINTS
Writes a thesis that clearly states the question.

Addresses all parts of the question.
Support your thesis with appropriate historical evidence.
Include a similarity or difference in your comparisons.
Makes direct, relevant comparisons

There are three main roles of cities!
  • New residential areas for the increased population
    • As population grew from increased resources from trade and cultural interactions, people were physically running out of places to live. This naturally led people to migrate to different areas.
    • For example, the Germanic tribes such as the Vikings and Magyars, traveled and settled in foreign societies.
    • People from the smaller cities traveled to developing cities. This physical gathering led to an expansion of cities and an intentional migration of people from the country side.
  • For a rich culture to grow, intentioned by the ruler
    • the-ruins-of-machu-picchu_peru.jpg
      For example, the eastern Roman Empire, or the Byzantine Empire, with the famous capital, Constantinople. The newly established city allowed better political innovations and independent religious identity. The Incan capital, Cuzco had temples of Manchu Pichu for sacrifices. Mansa Musa in Mali, built the capital Timbuktu.
    • Capitals were also frequently replaced as new dynasties and rulers came in.
      • Baghdad: during the Abbasid Dynasty
      • Heian: Japan, by the Fujiwara
      • Tikal: Maya

  • Religious purposes.
    • A similarity that could be found in the major cities was that it contains religious components, such as cathedrals in Rome.
    • One of the five pillars in Islam is a required pilgrimage to Mecca before death. Mansa Musa practiced the pilgrimage during his reign.


  • China and Rome. Chinese cities weren’t very religious compared to cities in Rome and Middle East. (Examples are provided above!) Although Buddhism spread to China, Neo- Confucianism was a basis of Chinese society, it was not necessarily concentrated in one particular place.