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Portfolio Reflection

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Luke Yakuber

Professor Thomson

History 134

30 April 2017

Portfolio Reflection

History is often thought of as a boring and pointless to be studied. Many college students

think how can something that happened so long ago help me now? Although I, myself, may

have thought that before, I think that history is very important. It is crucial to understand the

mistakes from the past in order to not repeat them again. In addition, you want to be able to see

the different military tactics or leadership tactics that worked, so that you can repeat those. As I

think about my future and what I want to do with my life, I asked myself this question at the end

of this history course: What can I, as an historian of the ancient world, learn and apply from the

history of my ancient ancestors to my own role in contributing to and acting responsibly for the

betterment of society? After much reflection, I have found that religion was used very well by

many rulers as a unification method. Through Constantine with the Roman Empire, Muhammad

with Islam, and Mesopotamians it is clear that they used religion as a device to make their

leadership and empires stronger.

Constantine was the ruler of the Roman Empire from 306-337 AD and he began the

transition of the empire to Christianity. Before his ruling, the Roman Empire was very harsh to

Christians as they persecuted and killed the Christians just for their beliefs. But after Constantine
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got into power, things changed. He was the beginning of that change and the eventual change to

making Christianity the official religion. He said that he wanted to be the ruler of the Christian

people not the Romans. What did this do for the Roman Empire? Many people believe that this

helped keep the fall of Rome off. The empire lost its bad reputation for being so brutal and it was

given a warmer reputation. The spread of the religion was really fascinating as it was something

that went from forbidden to the normal. The tactics to spread the religion were mainly word of

mouth but also the ruler had great influence as well. Constantine passed out Bibles a few times

and when more people were conquered, the religion was spread. Constantine was not the only to

have huge religious influences on his empire.

Muhammad the Prophet brought great religious influence to the Muslims. Muhammad

showed how to be fully in on something. After the conversion to Islam, Muhammad devoted

himself to the religion. He brought peace to his people and a religion in which could be followed.

He was a great example of what it means to follow Islam as he was a religious leader from 609-

632 BC. He followed the 5 pillars of Islam better than anyone else could and I think that example

is what made him such a great figure. Although I do not agree with this religion, I think that he

was a phenomenal leader and showed how any religion should be followed. He gave great

passion, devotion, his life, and love to what he believed in and did not let anyone else influence

him on that. He faced criticism at an early stage in his teachings and was even kicked out from

Mecca but he did not let that stop him. He used great perseverance and fought through and

continued to spread and share what he believed to be true. That is what a true leader should do

and needs to do.

The Mesopotamians were found in Egypt and were believers in a polytheistic religion.

They believed in seven different gods. They had worship for all these different gods and
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followed them with great passion and devotion. The system of religion that they had was very

complex as there were many gods and different tardyons that were followed. Nonetheless, the

Mesopotamians were very diligent in their followings of the gods and their divine spirits.

Another civilization that had great passion and desire that led to a successful religion.

These three civilizations or rulers have shown me what I need to do in my life. I want to

own my own financial firm one day. I need to have the passion and devotion that these three

groups did in order to find success. They were able to spread whatever they believed across the

world and their beliefs are still alive today. I need to have that same passion, energy, and

devotion in order to be successful. If I carry those things into my business I know that I can be

successful. This class and history has made this very thing clear to me and I am glad that I was

able to learn something from the past that can help me in the future. It is not just about not

repeating mistakes but doing what others did that they found success in.