2Early India Preview Starting Points Map: Eastern Asia Main Idea / Reading FocusIndia’s GeographyIndus Valley CivilizationThe Vedic PeriodQuick Facts: The Varnas
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4Early India Main Idea Reading Focus Early civilization arose in the Indus River Valley, flourished, and then mysteriously died out. Later India’s Vedic civilization developed a culture based on old and new beliefs.Reading FocusHow did India’s geography affect the development of civilization there?What were the defining features of the Indus Valley Civilization?What do we know about life in India’s Vedic period?
5India’s GeographyIndus River flows across northwest edge of Indian subcontinent—large landmass, part of a continentHome of one of ancient world’s great river valley civilizationsIndian subcontinent includes three major geographic zonesFar north: Himalaya, Hindu Kush mountain systems, separating India from rest of AsiaSouth: Deccan Plateau, high plateau receiving less rain than other parts of subcontinentBetween mountains, plateau are Northern Plains, where society first developed in India
6Floods and Annual Rainfall Flood deposits from Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra rivers enrich soil of Northern Plains, make it very fertileHeavy rains also add to fertility of plainsMuch of rain brought to India by seasonal winds, monsoonsFertile RegionSummer, monsoon winds from southwest bring warm air, heavy rains from Indian Ocean; most of annual rainfall at this timeWinter, northeast monsoons blow cool, dry air from Central Asia, drier monthsMonsoon Winds
7Water Critical Factor Monsoon Rains Devastating Effects The people of India’s first civilizations depended upon the monsoons to bring the water that their crops needed.Monsoon rains flooded rivers; rivers deposited fertile silt in which farmers could grow cropsWith abundance of rainfall came threat of devastationMonsoon RainsMonsoon rains too heavy— crops, homes, lives could be lostMonsoon rains too late, did not last long enough—people could not grow crops; famine became dangerDevastating Effects
8What problems could monsoons cause for early Indians? DescribeWhat problems could monsoons cause for early Indians?Answer(s): flooding or drought
9Indus Valley Civilization People have lived in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years. At first people lived as hunter-gatherers, but slowly people began to settle down in farming communities.Farm communities gave rise to India’s first civilizationDeveloped in valley of Indus RiverBegan 2500 BC, when people first developed writing systemFirst Civilization1920s,remains of two large cities first ruins foundHarappaMohenjo DaroCivilization called HarappanOther cities, towns since uncoveredCities, SettlementsSettlements well planned, carefully laid outStreets ran in grid pattern; major avenues twice as wide as minor streetsIndus Society
10Life in Towns and Cities Water came from community wells, smaller wells in courtyards of homesPublic drainage systems carried away wastewaterWalled, elevated citadel—fortress—enclosed buildings like granaries, warehousesHomes, workshops, shrines built outside citadelUniformity suggests central authority in powerEconomyEconomy likely based on agriculture, tradeMost probably farmed, herded livestockIn cities, many specialized in crafts like pottery, metalwork, jewelryIndus traded goods with people nearby, distant civilizationsTraders from Indus Valley brought goods to locations as distant as Central Asia, Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia
11Society Few Details Similarities Decline Archaeologists, historians not able to learn many details about Indus societyHad writing system, but historians not able to read itSome say Indus civilization single society, rather than collection of city-statesSimilaritiesPeople shared common tool designs, standard set of weights, measuresSuggest single authority in controlCivilization thrived from about 2500 BC to 2000 BC, then began to declineDeclineNo one knows what led to decline, or if single causeEnvironmental damage suspected; flooding, disappearance of Sarasvati riverInvasion, disease may also have helped end civilization
12Why do historians know relatively little about Indus society? AnalyzeWhy do historians know relatively little about Indus society?Answer(s): have not deciphered Indus writing
13Archaeological Evidence The Vedic PeriodSometime after 2000 BC, a new people took control of India. Historians often refer to this group as the Aryans, from a Sanskrit word meaning “noble.” Eventually the Aryans ruled over most of India, except for the far south.Historians not sure when Aryans arrived, where they came fromSome assume they moved from area between Caspian, Black seasOthers argue Aryans developed in northern India, did not move into areaOrigin of AryansLittle archaeological evidence remains to document early Aryan period in IndiaMost comes from sacred writings called the VedasInclude many details about Aryan history, societyArchaeological EvidenceThis period in Indian history is often called the Vedic period.
14Vedic Society Social Structure Varnas According to the Vedas, people settled in villages smaller than cities of Indus ValleyLater groups of villages banded together under regional leaders known as rajasRaja primarily war leader responsible for protecting people; received payments of food, money in returnAccording to oldest of the Vedas, the Rigveda, Vedic society divided into four social classes, varnasEach played particular role in societyPeople of four varnas created from body of single beingSocial StructurePart of body from which each varna created tied to its dutiesBrahmins came from mouth, source of speech, wisdom; were priestsKshatriyas: warriors, rulersVaisyas: common people, farmersSudras: servantsVarnas
16Jobs and Privileges Castes Social Hierarchy Over centuries, four varnas of Vedic period divided into hundreds of smaller castesMembership in caste determined what jobs one could hold, whom one could marryCastesSocial hierarchy developed, some castes had more privileges than othersNot everyone belonged to a casteUntouchables had no protection of caste law, could perform only jobs that other castes did notSocial Hierarchy
17Vedic Religion Vedic Religion Prayer Fire Sacrifices Complex Vedas consist mostly of hymns in praiseWe know much about Vedic religion as resultPrayerPeople prayed to many aspects of single eternal spiritOne aspect was Indra, who ruled over heavenFire SacrificesPeople worshipped gods through fire sacrifices, chanting sacred hymnsPriests offered food, drink by placing on roaring fireComplexRituals grew more complexPriests said order in universe maintained only through ritualsBrahmin varna gained more influence in society
18How was Vedic society organized? SummarizeHow was Vedic society organized?Answer(s): into four social classes called varnas