Ascetic: one who refuses comforts of life

Despot: a dictator-like ruler
Docile: easily controlled; very tame/obedient

Egalitarianism: equality
Edicts: laws/orders
Envoy: an official representative, like an ambassador
Excommunication: process where the Church does not allow one to receive sacraments

Heresy: a great sin/insult of religion/religious beliefs - one who commits heresy is a heretic

Laiety / Lay: Non-ordained. People who help run the church who are not a pastor/priest/nun

Manumission: Freeing a slave

Nomad: a wanderer, generally a herder
Nuclear Family: the most immediate family-- parents, kids, grandparents

Papacy: the office of the Pope
Pastoralism: Herding-based jobs (cows, goats, sheep)
Plunder: to take, loot

Renounce: to formally end support for something

Sanction: to support, officially authorize
Secular: not associated with a religion (generally associated with a government)
Senility: "lost one's mind"
Sinicization: To become more "Chinese" in nature or culture
Syncretism: A combination of different cultural/religious elements

Tenets: teachings/beliefs

Vernacular: Use the language of the local people