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Introduction Iran Sasanids – 224-651 C.E. Revival of Zoroastrian traditions Competition with Byzantines India Guptas – ca. 320-450 C.E. Extraordinary.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction Iran Sasanids – 224-651 C.E. Revival of Zoroastrian traditions Competition with Byzantines India Guptas – ca. 320-450 C.E. Extraordinary."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Introduction Iran Sasanids – C.E. Revival of Zoroastrian traditions Competition with Byzantines India Guptas – ca C.E. Extraordinary cultural flowering Both eventually weakened or defeated by Arabic expansion Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

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4 Parthians 247 B.C.E. – 223 C.E. Dominated Iranian heartlands of Achaemenids Extinguished eastern Seleucid power Continued Achaemenid imperial and cultural traditions Tolerance of religious diversity Upheld Zoroastrian traditions Increased emphasis on Iranian traditions Warfare with Romans and Kushans Christian and Buddhist threats Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

5 Sasanids – C.E. Claimed to be rightful Achaemenid heirs Shapur I – r Strong internal administration Territorial expansion Defeated Romans 3 times Captured Roman emperor Valerian Could claim to be shahanshah “king of kings” Centralized and rationalized Taxation, civil ministries, military Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

6 Sasanids vs. Byzantines Conflict of 350 years Two mightiest thrones in Eurasia Each championed a different religion Neither could vanquish the other Chosroes Anosharvan – r Greatest Sasanid ruler Contemporary of Byzantine Justinian Model of greatness for Persians and Arabs Both sides eventually lose out to Arabs Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

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8 Sasanid Society and Economy Similar to earlier Persian models Extended family was basic social unit Recognition of four classes Priests, warriors, scribes, peasants Growing divide between top three and peasants Land concentrated in wealthy minority Small farmers driven into serfdom Oversaw and taxed the caravan trade Bills of exchange – origin of word “check” Indian, Roman, Hellenistic Bactrian influences Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

9 Zoroastrian Revival Zoroastrianism as state orthodoxy Tosar (Tansar) First chief priest (mobad) of empire Instituted a state church Written canon of the Avesta Kartir (Kirdir) – chief priest to Shapur I Firmly grounded Zoroastrian orthodoxy Conversion of pagans, Christians, Buddhists Powerful priesthood Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

10 Manichaeism Mani – C.E. Dualistic and moralistic view of reality Constant warfare between good and evil Spirit and matter Saw his view as culmination and restoration of original unity of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Buddhism Called his new system “Justice” Kirdir had Mani executed in 277 Faith still challenged Christianity and Islam Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

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13 Later Sasanid Developments Radical inequality brought tensions Mazdakite movement – 5 th century Mazdak Preached asceticism Vegetarianism Virtues of tolerance and brotherly love More equal distribution of society’s goods Mazdak slaughtered in 528 Inspiration for later revolts Sasanid kings supported Nestorian Christians Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

14 Golden Age of the Guptas Gupta age as high point of Indian civilization Source of “classical” norms of Hindu religion and Indian culture Symbolic equivalent of Periclean Athens Augustan Rome Han China Recognizable patterns of a single civilization Relative peace and stability Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

15 Gupta Rule Chandragupta – r C.E. First Gupta ruler – from Magadha Chandragupta II – r Turned kingdom into an empire Presided over “golden age” Most civilized and peaceful country in the world at that time Hun invasion – eventual collapse in 550 Harsha – r Brief reunification Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

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18 Gupta Culture Golden Age Architecture and sculpture Wall paintings of Ajanta caves Kalidasa – drama and verse “Shakespeare” of Sanskrit verse Strong emphasis on education in Jain and Buddhist monasteries, Brahmanical schools Rhetoric, prose, poetry, grammar, logic, medicine, metaphysics, mathematics Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

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20 Indian Traditions Development of hierarchical character of Hindu/Indian society Manu Dharmashastra – oldest manual of legal and ethical theory – around 200 C.E. Dharma appropriate for one’s class Rules for rites and study of the Veda Pollution and purification measures Dietary restrictions Royal duties and prerogatives Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

21 Manu and Caste System Classic statement of four class theory Each person born into a particular station Karma from earlier lives Station has its particular dharma Brahman – priest Kshatriya – noble/warrior Vaishya – tradesperson Shudra – servant Suppression of shudras and “outcasts” Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

22 Jatis Smaller and more numerous subgroups Caste from word casta Divisions usually represent occupational groups Jati groups are hereditary Distinguished on principles of purity/pollution Three kinds of regulation Commensality Endogamy Trade or craft limitation Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

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24 Bhakti Tradition of ardent theism Bhakti or “loving devotion” Seen in Krishna in Bhagavad Gita Tamil-speaking southern schools of Bhakhi poetry and worship Remnant of pre-Aryan religious sensibilities Puranas – epic, mythological, devotional texts Ramanuja – d – same tradition Theologian of devotional Hinduism Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

25 Hindu Religious Life Growth of devotional cults Vishnu – especially in form of Krishna Shiva – originally a fertility god Goddess in one of her many forms Parvati, Shakti, Durga, Kali Vishnu, Shiva, Parvati have many forms and names Identified with other deities and worshipped as one form of the Supreme Lord or Goddess Ahimsa Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

26 Hindu Polytheism? Appropriate to pay homage on proper occasions to other deities Hindus view one deity as Supreme Lord But see others as manifestations of the Ultimate at lower levels Hindu polytheism – affirmation of the infinite forms that transcendence takes Vedanta – “the end of the Veda” Shankara – d. 820 Brahman as only reality behind illusion (maya) Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

27 Buddhist Religious Life Two major developments in relation to Buddhism in India during these centuries Solidification of the two main strands of Buddhism Mahayana  “Great Vehicle” Theravada  “Little Vehicle” Spread of Buddhism beyond India Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

28 Mahayana Buddhism Different than older, more conservative Hinayana Buddhas seen as manifestations of a single principle of “Ultimate” Reality Siddharta Gautama one Buddha among many Highest goal not nirvana Highest goal was status of Bodhisattva Self-sacrifice leading to infinite merit Buddha Amitabha – Pure Land Personified infinite compassion Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

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31 Theravada Buddhism Theravada – “Way of the Elders” Individual path to enlightenment Focused on monastic community Gaining merit for a better rebirth through High standards of conduct Lay devotion to Buddha Pilgrimage to relics at various stupas Traditional texts of the Buddha Rejected Mahayana tie to later texts Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

32 Spread of Buddhism Theravada Buddhism spread to Ceylon Burma Southeast Asia Mahayana Buddhism spread to China Korea Japan Central Asia Tantric Buddhism - Tibet Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.


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