|Burstein, Stanley M
|Oxford University Press, USA
This process began with the collapse of the Bronze Age empires in the east and west, widespread population movements, and almost chronic warfare throughout Afro-Eurasia, while the cavalry revolution transformed the nomads of the central Asian steppes into founders of tribal confederations assembled by charismatic leaders and covering huge territories. At the same time, new artistic and intellectual movements appeared, including the teachings of Socrates, Confucius, the Buddha, and Laozi. Increased literacy also allowed people from a wide range of social classes such as the Greek soldier Xenophon, the Indian Buddhist emperor Ashoka, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, and elite women such as the poetess Sappho, the Christian martyr Perpetua, and the scholar Ban Zhao to create literary works. When the period ended in 300 CE, conditions had changed dramatically. Temperate Afro-Eurasia from the Atlantic to the Pacific was dominated by a handful of empires--Rome, Sassanid Persia, and Jin Empire-that ruled more than half the world's population, while an extensive network of trade routes bound them to Southeast and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and made possible the spread of new book based religions including Christianity, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism, thereby setting the stage for the next millennium of Afro-Eurasian history.