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Patterns of World History, Volume One: To 1600

Brief Fourth Edition

Author Peter von Sivers, Charles A. Desnoyers, and George B. Stow

Publication Date - 20 October 2020

ISBN: 9780197517031

544 pages
7 1/2 x 10 inches

In Stock


Presented in two volumes for maximum flexibility, Patterns of World History, Brief Fourth Edition, offers a distinct framework for understanding the global past through the study of origins, interactions, and adaptations. The authors examine the full range of human ingenuity over time and space in a comprehensive, evenhanded, and critical fashion. They offer a distinct intellectual framework for the role of innovation and historical change through patterns of origins, interactions, and adaptations. The Brief Edition offers a streamlined narrative and the lowest price points of any full-color world history textbook currently available.

Visit www.oup.com/he/vonsivers4e for a wealth of digital resources for students and instructors, including an enhanced eBook with embedded learning tools and the Oxford Insight Study Guide, which delivers custom-built adaptive practice sessions based on students' performance.

New to this Edition

  • An Enhanced eBook: Every new copy of the fourth edition comes with an access code that provides students with engaging resources, including an eBook enhanced with these embedded learning tools: "Closer Look" videos that analyze selected artworks, accompanied by narration and self-assessments; interactive maps and timelines; flashcards; section quizzes; chapter quizzes; matching activities; primary sources; and note-taking guides.
  • The Oxford Insight Study Guide: This adaptive digital study guide increases student understanding of core course material by engaging them in the process of actively reading, validating their understanding, and delivering tailored practice. In-depth data on student performance powers a rich suite of reporting tools that inform instructors of their students' proficiency across learning objectives. All new copies of the Fourth Edition come with access to the adaptive digital study guide.
  • An interoperable course cartridge that integrates seamlessly into most course-management systems is available to adopters. The cartridge includes a test-item file, PowerPoint slides, videos, and primary sources.
  • Updated scholarship: All chapters have been revised and updated in accordance with recent developments and new scholarship.
  • Integrated World Period and Chapter Overviews: The authors have eliminated separate world period introductions in favor of including their key points on the opening left-hand page of each chapter, with their relationship to specific origins, interactions, and adaptations highlighted, along with the uniqueness and similarities these share with the other chapters in that world period. This integration gives students a reference guide as they read each chapter.


  • Offers a distinct intellectual framework for the role of innovation and historical change through patterns of origins, interactions, and adaptations
  • The patterns approach helps students gain a deeper appreciation of the unfolding of global history from its origins in small, isolated areas to the vast networks of global interconnectedness in our present world
  • The patterns approach also provides a framework for seeing differences or commonalities among cultures that other approaches to world history tend to obscure
  • The text includes carefully calibrated learning features, including:
  • a) "Seeing Patterns" and "Thinking Through Patterns" that use a question-discussion format in each chapter to pose several broad questions ("Seeing Patterns") as advance organizers for key themes, which are then matched up with short essays at the end ("Thinking Through Patterns") which examine these same questions in a sophisticated yet student-friendly fashion
  • b) "Patterns Up Close" essays in each chapter highlight a particular innovation that demonstrates origins, interactions, and adaptations in action. Spanning technological, social, political, intellectual, economic, and environmental developments, the "Patterns Up Close" essays combine text, visuals, and graphics to consider everything from the pepper trade to cartography.
  • c) "Against the Grain": These brief essays consider counterpoints to the main patterns examined in each chapter. Topics range from visionaries who challenged dominant religious patterns, to women who resisted various forms of patriarchy, to agitators who fought for social and economic justice.
  • d) "Marginal Glossary": To avoid the necessity of having to flip pages back and forth, definitions of key terms are set directly in the margin at the point where they are first introduced.
  • The Brief Edition offers a streamlined narrative and the lowest price points of of any full-color world history textbook currently available.

About the Author(s)

Peter von Sivers is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Utah.

Charles A. Desnoyers is Professor of History at La Salle University.

George B. Stow is Professor of History and Director of the Graduate Program in History at La Salle University.


"Patterns of World History is a solid textbook that utilizes patterns of civilization instead of a massive scatter shot of information, which helps students to learn concepts instead of extraneous detailed information."--Joshua Shriver, Auburn University

"Patterns of World History is truly a global history. Its overall organization combines both thematic and regional elements flexibly, allowng some chapters to cover broad swaths of cultures in comparison while other chapters delve deeply into only one or two. Each chapter includes multiple supports to student learning, including broad comparative questions, maps, timelines, bold vocabulary terms with definitions in the margins, and a mix of textual and visual primary sources."--Lore Kuehnert, Hagerstown Community College

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1. The African Origins of Humanity, Prehistory-10,000 BCE
    The Origins of Humanity
    Hominins: No Longer Chimpanzees, but Not Yet Human
    Human Adaptations: From Africa to Eurasia and Australia
    The African Origins of Human Culture
    Migration from South Asia to Australia
    Migration from Asia to Europe
    The Ice Age Crisis and Human Migration to the Americas
    The Ice Age
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 2. Agrarian-Urban Centers of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, 11,500-600 BCE
    Agrarian Origins in the Fertile Crescent,
    ca. 11,500-1500 BCE
    Sedentary Foragers and Foraging Farmers
    The Origin of Urban Centers in Mesopotamia and Egypt
    Interactions among Multiethnic and Multireligious Empires, ca. 1500-600 BCE
    The Hittite and Assyrian Empires, 1600-600 BCE
    Small Kingdoms on the Imperial Margins, 1600-600 BCE
    Religious Experience and Cultural Achievements
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 3. Shifting Agrarian Centers in India, 3000-600 BCE
    The Vanished Origins of Harappa, 3000-1500 BCE

    The Region and People
    Adapting to Urban Life in the Indus Valley
    The Collapse of the Cities
    Interactions in Northern India, 1500-600 BCE
    The Vedic World, 1750-800 BCE
    Statecraft and the Ideology of Power, 800-600 BCE
    Indian Society, Culture, and Religion, 1500-600 BCE
    Society and Family in Ancient India
    Cultural Interactions to 600 BCE
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 4. Agrarian Centers and the Mandate of Heaven in Ancient China, 5000-481 BCE
    The Origins of Yellow River Cultures, 5000-1766 BCE
    Geography and Climate
    The Origins of Neolithic Cultures
    The Age of Myth and the Xia Dynasty, 2852-1766 BCE
    The Interactions of Shang and Zhou History and Politics, 1766-481 BCE
    The Shang Dynasty, 1766-1122 BCE
    The Mandate of Heaven: The Zhou Dynasty to 481 BCE
    Economy, Society, and Family Adaptation in Ancient China
    Shang Society
    Interactions of Zhou Economy and Society
    Gender and the Family
    Interactions of Religion, Culture, and Intellectual Life in Ancient China
    Oracle Bones and Early Chinese Writing
    Adaptations of Zhou Religion, Technology, and Culture
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 5. Origins Apart: The Americas and Oceania, 16,000-600 BCE
    The Americas: Hunters and Foragers, 16,000-600 BCE
    The Environment
    Human Migrations
    Agriculture, Villages, and Urban Life
    The Neolithic Revolution in the New World
    The Origins of Urban Life
    The First Mesoamerican Settlements
    The Origins of Pacific Island Migrations
    Lapita and Cultural Origins
    Creating Polynesia
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 6. Chiefdoms and Early States in Africa and the Americas, 600 BCE-600 CE
    Agriculture and Early
    African Kingdoms
    Saharan Villages, Towns, and Kingdoms
    The Kingdom of Aksum
    The Spread of Villages in Sub-Saharan Africa
    West African Savanna and Rain-Forest Agriculture
    The Spread of Village Life to East and South Africa
    Patterns of African History, 600 BCE-600 CE
    Early States in Mesoamerica: Maya Kingdoms and Teotihuacan
    The Maya Kingdoms in Southern Mesoamerica
    The Kingdom of Teotihuacan in the Mexican Basin
    The Andes: Moche and Nazca
    The Moche in Northern Peru
    Paracas and the Nazca in Southern Peru
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 7. Interaction and Adaptation in Western Eurasia: Persia, Greece, and Rome, 550 BCE-600 CE
    Interactions between Persia and Greece

    The Origins of the Achaemenid Persian Empire
    Greek City-States in the Persian Shadow
    Alexander's Empire and Its Successor Kingdoms
    Interactions between the Persian and Roman Empires
    Parthian Persia and Rome
    The Sasanid Persian and Late Roman Empires
    Adaptations to Monotheism and Monism in the Middle East
    Challenge to Polytheism: The Origins of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Greek Philosophy
    Toward Religious Communities and Philosophical Schools
    The Beginnings of Science and the Cultures of Kings and Citizens
    The Sciences at the Library of Alexandria
    Royal Persian Culture and Arts
    Greek and Roman Civic Culture and Arts
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 8. Empires and Visionaries in India, 600 BCE-600 CE
    Patterns of State Formation in India: Republics,
    Kingdoms, and Empires
    The Road to Empire: The Mauryas
    The Classical Age: The Gupta Empire
    The Southern Kingdoms, ca. 300-600 CE
    The Vedic Tradition and Its Visionary Reformers
    Reforming the Vedic Tradition
    The Maturity of Hinduism: From the Abstract to the Devotional
    Stability amid Disorder: Economy, Family, and Society
    Tax and Spend: Economy and Society
    Caste, Family Life, and Gender
    Strength in Numbers: Art, Literature, and Science
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 9. China: Imperial Unification and Perfecting the Moral Order, 722 BCE-618 CE
    Visionaries and Empire
    Confucianism, Legalism, and Daoism
    The Qin Dynasty
    The Han Dynasty
    The Domestic Economy: Society, Family, and Gender
    Industry and Commerce
    Gender Roles
    Intellectual Trends, Aesthetics, Science, and Technology
    Confucianism, Education, and History during the Han
    Buddhism in China
    Intellectual Life
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 10. Islamic Civilization and Byzantium, 600-1300 CE
    The Formation of Islamic Religious Civilization

    The Beginnings of Islam
    Islamic Theology, Law, and Politics
    Eastern Christian Civilization in Byzantium
    Byzantium's Difficult Beginnings
    The Seljuk Invasion and the Crusades
    Islamic and Eastern Christian Civilizations at Their Height
    State and Society in Mamluk Egypt
    Byzantine Provincial and Central Organization
    Commercial Relations from the Atlantic to the South China Sea
    Religion, Sciences, and the Arts in Two Religious Civilizations
    Islamic Culture: Intellectual and Scientific Expressions
    Artistic Expressions in Islamic Civilization
    Learning and the Arts in Byzantium
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 11. Innovation and Adaptation in the Western Christian World, 600-1450 CE
    The Formation of Christian Europe, 600-1000

    Frankish Gaul and Latin Christianity
    Recovery, Reform, and Innovation, 1000-1300
    The Political Recovery of Europe
    The Economic and Social Recovery of Europe
    Religious Reform and Expansion
    Intellectual and Cultural Developments
    Crisis and Creativity, 1300-1415
    The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
    Signs of a New Era in the Fifteenth Century
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 12. Sultanates, Tang to Ming, and The Mongol Superpower, 600-1600 CE
    India: The Clash of Cultures
    Buddhist and Hindu India after the Guptas
    Islam in India, 711-1398
    Toward the Mughal Era, 1398-1450
    Interactions and Adaptations: From Buddhism to Neo-Confucian Synthesis in China
    Creating a Religious Civilization under the Tang
    The Song and Yuan Dynasties, 960-1368
    The Ming to 1450: The Quest for Stability
    Society, Family, and Gender
    Perceptions of Perfection: Intellectual, Scientific, and Cultural Life
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 13. Religious Civilizations Interacting: Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, 550-1500 CE
    Korea to 1450: Innovation from Above

    People and Place: The Korean Environment
    Conquest and Competition: History and Politics to 1450
    Economy, Society, and Family
    Religion, Culture, and Intellectual Life
    Japan to 1450: Selective Interaction and Adaptation
    The Island Refuge
    Adaptation at Arm's Length: History and Politics
    Economy, Society, and Family
    Religion, Culture, and Intellectual Life
    Vietnam: Human Agency and State Building
    The Setting and Neolithic Cultures
    Economy, Society, and Family
    Religion, Culture, and Intellectual Life
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 14. Patterns of State Formation in Africa, 600-1450 CE
    Christians and Muslims in the Northeast

    Nubia in the Middle Nile Valley
    Ethiopia in the Eastern Highlands
    Adaptation to Islam: City-States and Kingdoms in East and Southern Africa
    The Swahili City-States on the East African Coast
    Traditional Kingdoms in Southern and Central Africa
    Central African Chiefdoms and Kingdoms
    Cultural Encounters: West African Traditions and Islam
    The Kingdom of Ancient Ghana
    The Empire of Mali
    Rain-Forest Kingdoms
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 15. The Rise of Empires in the Americas, 600-1550 CE
    The Legacy of Teotihuacan and the Toltecs in Mesoamerica

    Militarism in the Mexican Basin
    Late Maya States in Yucatan
    The Legacy of Tiwanaku and Wari in the Andes
    The Expanding State of Tiwanaku
    The Expanding City-State of Wari
    American Empires: Aztec and Inca Origins and Dominance
    The Aztec Empire of Mesoamerica
    The Inca Empire of the Andes
    Imperial Society and Culture
    Imperial Capitals: Tenochtitlan and Cuzco
    Power and Its Cultural Expressions
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 16. The Western European Overseas Expansion and the Ottoman-Habsburg Struggle, 1450-1650

    The Muslim-Christian Competition in the East and West, 1450-1600
    Iberian Christian Expansion, 1415-1498
    Rise of the Ottomans and Struggle with the Habsburgs for Dominance, 1300-1609
    The Centralizing State: Origins and Interactions
    State Transformation, Money, and Firearms
    Imperial Courts, Urban Festivities, and the Arts
    The Ottoman Empire: Palaces, Festivities, and the Arts
    The Spanish Habsburg Empire: Popular Festivities and the Arts
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 17. The Renaissance, New Sciences, and Religious Wars in Europe, 1450-1750
    Cultural Transformations: Renaissance, Baroque, and New Sciences

    The Renaissance and Baroque Arts
    The New Sciences
    The New Sciences and Their Social Impact
    The New Sciences: Philosophical Interpretations
    Centralizing States and Religious Upheavals
    The Rise of Centralized Kingdoms
    The Protestant Reformation, State Churches, and Independent Congregations
    Religious Wars and Political Restoration
    Putting It All Together

    Chapter 18. New Patterns in New Worlds: Colonialism and Indigenous Responses in the Americas, 1500-1800
    The Colonial
    Americas: Europe's Warm-Weather Extension
    The Conquest of Mexico and Peru
    The Establishment of Colonial Institutions
    The Making of American Societies: Origins and Transformations
    Exploitation of Mineral and Tropical Resources
    Social Strata, Castes, and Ethnic Groups
    The Adaptation of the Americas to European Culture
    Putting It All Together