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n East Asia, the first millennium BCE saw the development of several important and influential political systems. In China, the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE) implemented a feudal system of government based on ancestral clans and powerful hereditary aristocrats. This ushered in an era of stability as well as a wide range of philosophical reflection about power, society, leadership, nature-culture relationships, and cosmic order. Similarly in India, during this period the Mauryan Empire (322–185 BCE) emerged to unify much of South Asia into one state for the first time. The rulers of this empire promoted their own version of Hinduism and Buddhist beliefs which became widely accepted throughout their empire. This encouraged reflection on issues such as reincarnation, karma and nonviolence – concepts that remain central to Indian culture today.

The Mediterranean basin also underwent major changes during this period with the rise of various city-states such as Athens in Greece or Carthage in North Africa. These new societies were characterized by a more structured form government including written laws which citizens were expected to follow – something rarely seen prior to this period in history. They also developed legal systems meant to protect citizens from arbitrary rule while giving them rights they previously lacked under monarchical forms governance prevalent at the time. Such developments led thinkers like Socrates to question traditional conventions and explore alternative forms social organization based on reason rather than tradition or force alone .

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