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Unit 1: Redefining World Society and Culture

Lesson D: Life and Times in the Pre-Modern World

Key Terms

Key Term Definition
artistic creative in a field of art, such as painting, sculpting or drawing; performed, made, or arranged decoratively and tastefully; aesthetically pleasing
culture a learned behavior of a group of people, which includes their belief systems and languages, their social relationships, institutions or organizations, and their material goods - food, clothing, buildings, tools, and machines
daimyo ruling lords who commanded private armies in pre-Meiji Japan
dynastic cycle the historical pattern of the rise, decline, and replacement of dynasties
economic system the institutions, laws, activities, controlling values, and human motivations that collectively provide a framework for economic decision-making of individuals and groups in a society; the organizing structure a society chooses to answer the basic economic questions of what to produce, how (and how much) to organize resources to produce goods and services, and for whom to produce (who gets the goods and services); all modern economic systems are a mix of traditional, command, and market decision-making
feudalism a system for organizing and governing society based on land and service (obligation); found in Europe and Japan
figurehead a person who is head of a group, company, etc., in title, but actually has no real authority or responsibility; most modern kings and queens are figureheads
intellectual a person who places a high value on or pursues things of interest to the intellect or the more complex forms and fields of knowledge, as aesthetic or philosophical matters, especially on an abstract and general level
Mandate of Heaven Chinese belief that royal authority is the result of divine approval; it was responsible for the dynastic cycle, because if something bad ever happened under an emperor's rule, the explanation was that he had fallen out of divine favor
political system the set of formal legal institutions that constitute a "government" or a "state"
religion a system of beliefs and practices that include one or more gods
shogun military leaders in Japan in late 1300s
social structure the way in which societies, and institutions within them, exhibit predictable patterns of organization, activity, and social interaction
samurai warrior class during Japan's feudal age who served in the lords' armies; followed the code of Bushido


Directions: Practice using these key terms.


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