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Ancient
India
Geography
Northern Mountain Region
Three Mountain rangesHimalayas (“place of the snow”)- Highest mountain
range in the world, form 1,500 mile
long wall
Indo-Gangetic
Plain
Karakoram – Join the Himalayas in current day
Pakistan
The
Indo-Gangetic
PlainHindu-Kush – Khyber pass at
border
of Afghanistan
The plain formed by the Indus and Ganges Rivers
and Pakistan
The Deccan
The Deccan –
The interior plateau separated from the Indo-Gangetic Plain
by the Vindhya Mountains (traditionally said to divide the cultures
of the North & South)
Chapter 3, Sect ion 1
Karakoram Mts
Northern Mountain Region
Indo-Gangetic Plain
Vindhya Mts
The Deccan
Climate
Seasonal Winds –
November until February or March winds blow from North
& Northwest – any moisture carried falls on North slope of
Himalayas – by the time it reaches India it is very dry
Mid-June through October winds blow from the Southwest,
bringing warm moist air from the Indian Ocean
Chapter 3, Sect ion 1
2500-1500 BC Harappan Civilization
Mohenjo Daro & Harappa – major cities
Detailed City PlanningPlanned pattern for streets (Grid-like)
Municipal water systems
Public Baths
City Sewer System w/private homes connected
Strong Central Fortress (Citadel)
Central Graineries
Buildings built w/Baked Bricks (stronger than mud bricks)
Chapter 3, Sect ion 1
Agriculture-domesticated cattle, sheep, pigs, & goats
- grew crops including cotton, wheat, & rice
- used irrigation & flood control
Industry- Artisans produced cotton cloth, pottery, bronze items, &
jewelry of gold & silver
Written Language- pictographs, as yet not translated,
unable to connect to other languages
Indo-Aryans
Nomads from the Steppes
- Called themselves Aryans
- Came through the mountain passes (Khyber)
Early Society- Formed villages, changed from Nomadic ways to farming
- Villages eventually combined to form city-states
- A “Raja” (prince or king) ruled each city-state, he was
military leader, lawmaker, & judge, he was assisted by
a royal council, friends, & relatives
- Separation in social class between Aryans & conquered
inhabitants
Indo-Aryans
The Vedic Age 1500 – 1000 B.C.
- Vedas the great literature of the Aryans, stories of their
history, religion, & customs
- History recorded by “word of Mouth” until written
language (Sanskrit) was developed
EconomyFarming – Wheat & Barley principal crops
Also rice, sugar cane, leafy vegetables,
gourds, peas, beans, & lentils
Trading - limited, barter system, poor transportation
Religion- As recorded in the Vedas, they were gods of nature
- No temples, used open spaces with altars
- Used sacrifice to honor the gods
- Over time Brahmins (priests) were needed to perform sacrifices
Indo-Aryans
Rajah
Warriors &
Brahmins (priests)
Merchants, Artisans,
& Farmers
Farm Workers & Servants
Non-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Why did this civilization decline?
Many theories, but nobody actually knows . . .
Chapter 3, Sect ion 2
Southern India
-Separated from Northern India by Vindhya Mts.
-Developed separate cultures & economies
-Even groups within the southern region were fragmented
-Coast dwellers developed a robust trading economy
-many groups developed a “Matriarchal” society
Chapter 3, Sect ion 2
Vedanta (end of the Vedas)
- started around 700 B.C.
- Questioned authority of Brahmins
- Ideas expressed in written form (Upanishads- a philosophical
explanation of the Vedic religion)
- Complex, hard for most people to understand
- Simple stories (folk tales) used to teach common man called epics
- Two epics, the Mahabharata & the Ramayana
- Mahabharata includes Bhagavad Gita, or “Song of the Lord”
- These were the bases for both Hinduism & the Caste System
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
The Caste System
-Four distinct Varmas (social classes)
-Brahmins (priests, scholars, wise men)
-Kshatriyas (Warriors)
-Vaisyas (Merchants, traders, artisans, farm owners)
-Sudras (peasants, laborers)
-Outside the Social Structure
-Pariahs, or Untouchables (those who by birth inherited
impure professions, such as skinning animals, caring for
corpses, etc.)
-System became more strict over time
-subgroups, or jati were formed
-people required to operate socially within their
own group
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
Brahmins
(priests)
Kshatriyas (warriors)
Vaisyas (merchants, artisans,
& farmers)
Sudras (farm workers & servants)
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
Pariahs or Untouchables
Hindu Beliefs –
Monism - Mind & matter are
ultimately the same
Maya – The world of our senses is
only illusion
Reincarnation – rebirth of the soul
into a different body form based on
your Karma & Dharma
Dharma – The fulfillment of moral
duty
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
Karma – Positive or Negative force
generated by a person’s actions &
attitude
Polytheistic - 3 greater gods (although Hindu’s believe that
everything is “one”)
Brahma -
The Creator
Vishnu -
The Preserver
Siva -
The Destroyer
Many lesser gods dealing with nature & human nature
They believe that all life is sacred
Both the Caste System & the Hindu Religion provided
a strict social structure which allowed society to function
more smoothly
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
Siddhartha Gautama
– born around 563 B.C., founder.
-son of a prince, grew up in luxury
-pondered why suffering exists, & what
is the value of life
-At age 29 determined to spend the rest
of his life seeking answers
-After six years believed he had found
the answers, & he became the Buddha,
(Enlightened One)
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
Buddha’s Teachings –
The Four Noble Truths
1. All human life involves suffering & sorrow
2. Desire for a life of pleasure & material gain causes
suffering & sorrow.
3. Renouncing desire frees people from suffering &
helps souls attain Nirvana
4. Eightfold Path leads to renunciation, or denial of
desire & attainment of Nirvana.
Nirvana – the perfect peace, which releases the soul
from endless reincarnation
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
Buddha’s Teachings
The Eightfold Path
1. Right views, seeing life as it is
2. Right intentions
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right living
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
After Siddhartha Gautama’s death, Buddhism split
into two major branchesTheraveda – regarded Buddha as a great spiritual teacher
Mahayana – regarded Buddha as a god or savior
developed Buddhism as a religion with Temples
& Priests
Spread throughout China, Korea, & Japan fairly quickly,
and is now worldwide (cultural diffusion).
Chapter 3, Sect ion 3
Mauryan Empire: (321 BC-232 BC)
Mauryan Empire: (321 BC-232 BC)
• Founded by Chandragupta Maurya
– Conquered most of northern India
– main rivals Nunda Family
• Grandson of Chandragupta - Asoka
– Conqueror the rest of Northern & Central India
– Treated his people with kindness after conversion to
Buddhism
Mauryan Empire: (321 BC-232 BC)
• Achievements
–
–
–
–
–
Spread Buddhism throughout India & the region
Improved roads (linked to silk roads)
Education
Built hospitals
Encouraged Science, Math, & Medicine
After Asoka died a series of weak rulers allowed
The Empire to collapse, allowing India to fall
Into a 500 year period of civil war between small
Provinces and foreign intervention.
Gupta Empire: (320-535 AD)
321-232 BC
Mauryan
Empire
Gupta Empire: (320-535 AD)
• Background
–
–
–
–
United northern India
Promoted trade with other nations
Called “Golden Age of Hinduism”
Increased influence of the Caste System on Indian
society (further dividing society)
– Empire broken up during Hun invasion
Gupta Empire: (320-535 AD)
• Achievements
– Developed the “Zero” (0), infinity, and decimal
numbers (Great mathematician – Aryabhata)
– Wrote plays & poems in Sanskrit
– Traded with Chinese, Persians, Byzantines, and
Romans
– Created vaccines for diseases (Great doctor – Susrata)
The Sciences
Math & Astronomy-understood abstract numbers, negative numbers
-used Algebra
-Identified 7 of the planets without telescope
-Understood the rotation of the Earth
Medicine-Surgeries included bone setting & plastic surgery
-developed technique of innoculation
-Built hospitals that were clean and light
-disinfected wounds
Economy:
-Agriculture basis for economy for most of India
-under the Gupta Empire trade became increasingly
important
-Southern India economy based in trade
-The wealthy rajas taxed farmers heavily to support
their lifestyle and conquests
Chapter 3, Sect ion 5
The ArtsLiterature – Mahabharata & Ramayana
Panchatantra (Five Books)- Popular fables
that influenced later Arabian works
Art & ArchitectureMurals very popular (Caves at Ajanta)
Religious sculptures (such as the Buddhas)
EducationVery advanced, but generally reserved for the
upper classes
Women in Northern India were generally subordinate to men
-laws supported this idea
-Polygyny allowed men to have more than one wife
-Suttee, voluntary death on husbands funeral pyre,
common among upper class
Women in the South fared better
-Matriarchal society
-could assume political leadership especially in the Tamil
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