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History 381: Asian Experience Ancient India. Key terms Harappa Harappa Aryans Aryans Raja/Maharaja Raja/Maharaja Dharma Dharma Arthasastra Arthasastra.

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Presentation on theme: "History 381: Asian Experience Ancient India. Key terms Harappa Harappa Aryans Aryans Raja/Maharaja Raja/Maharaja Dharma Dharma Arthasastra Arthasastra."— Presentation transcript:

1 History 381: Asian Experience Ancient India

2 Key terms Harappa Harappa Aryans Aryans Raja/Maharaja Raja/Maharaja Dharma Dharma Arthasastra Arthasastra Mauryan empire Mauryan empire Vedas Vedas Varna Varna Jati Jati Caste system Caste system Hindu Hindu Sidhartha Gautama Sidhartha Gautama Nirvana Nirvana Bodhi Bodhi Asoka Asoka Stupa Stupa

3 The Indian Subcontinent ©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning ™ is a trademark used herein under license.

4 Indus River Valley Supported agricultural settlements as much as 6,000 years ago Supported agricultural settlements as much as 6,000 years ago River runs through modern Pakistan River runs through modern Pakistan In ancient times was a lush and fertile plain with abundant rainfall, today it is mostly arid In ancient times was a lush and fertile plain with abundant rainfall, today it is mostly arid Harappan name given to civilization in this ancient area Harappan name given to civilization in this ancient area

5 The Harappan Civilization ©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning ™ is a trademark used herein under license.

6 The Early Inhabitants Dravidians are descendents of Indus River valley culture Dravidians are descendents of Indus River valley culture Hill peoples were probably the original inhabitants of much of the subcontinent Hill peoples were probably the original inhabitants of much of the subcontinent ©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning ™ is a trademark used herein under license.

7 Harappa and Mohenjo-daro No evidence for political system No evidence for political system Language probably belonged to the Dravidian family related to the modern tongues of southern India Language probably belonged to the Dravidian family related to the modern tongues of southern India Each city had a fortified citadel and a large granary Each city had a fortified citadel and a large granary Broad streets, marketplaces, temples, public buildings Broad streets, marketplaces, temples, public buildings Standardized weights, measures, architectural styles, and brick sizes Standardized weights, measures, architectural styles, and brick sizes ©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning ™ is a trademark used herein under license.

8 Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro Two great walled cities that dominated Harappan civilization Two great walled cities that dominated Harappan civilization Harappa surrounded by a brick wall 40 feet thick Harappa surrounded by a brick wall 40 feet thick Laid out in a grid pattern with wide streets Laid out in a grid pattern with wide streets Maybe 80,000 inhabitants Maybe 80,000 inhabitants Contained advanced drainage and water systems Contained advanced drainage and water systems

9 Narrow mud brick streets Harappan site

10 THE “ ARYAN INVASION ” From about 1500 – 1000 BCE, “Aryan” peoples from southern Russia enter Indus region From about 1500 – 1000 BCE, “Aryan” peoples from southern Russia enter Indus region Aryan society Aryan society –Pastoral –Nomadic –Equestrian –Patriarchal Aryan religion Aryan religion –Warrior –Polytheistic Aryan language was ancestral to Sanskrit, oldest known in Indo-European family Aryan language was ancestral to Sanskrit, oldest known in Indo-European family

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12 Aryan Invasions Aryan culture had long been subdivided into distinct classes with warriors at the top, and this system was superimposed upon Indian society. Aryan culture had long been subdivided into distinct classes with warriors at the top, and this system was superimposed upon Indian society. The warrior and priestly caste (or kshatriya and Brahmins respectively) dominated, and there existed a small class of commoners or vaisya. The warrior and priestly caste (or kshatriya and Brahmins respectively) dominated, and there existed a small class of commoners or vaisya. The vast majority of the Indian population, however, fell into the bottom of society The vast majority of the Indian population, however, fell into the bottom of society –the sudras and pariahs or untouchables.

13 INDO-ARYAN SOCIETY Divided into 4 hereditary occupational divisions or castes (varņas = colors): Divided into 4 hereditary occupational divisions or castes (varņas = colors): –Brāhman (priest) –Kşatriya (warrior) –Vaiśya (merchant/artisan) –Śūdra (peasant) On margins of society are Dalits (so-called “untouchables”), who perform menial and polluting tasks: On margins of society are Dalits (so-called “untouchables”), who perform menial and polluting tasks: –Corpse handlers –Executioners –Hunters and fishermen –Butchers –Leatherworkers

14 Caste System Aryan system of castes superimposed upon Indian subcontinent Aryan system of castes superimposed upon Indian subcontinent Based on warrior class as head Based on warrior class as head Allows for keeping indigenous peoples subjugated Allows for keeping indigenous peoples subjugated Color part of division as Aryans were lighter skinned than native Indians Color part of division as Aryans were lighter skinned than native Indians Not permitted to eat or marry outside of caste Not permitted to eat or marry outside of caste Basic social organization by which Indian society was divided even today Basic social organization by which Indian society was divided even today

15 Role of women Women were subordinate to men— father, husband, sons Women were subordinate to men— father, husband, sons Men did most of the work in fields agricultural societies Men did most of the work in fields agricultural societies Women seen as an economic burden since did not have much roles outside of the home Women seen as an economic burden since did not have much roles outside of the home Parents must provide dowry to obtain husband Parents must provide dowry to obtain husband Female children joined families of husband once married, so provided no real advantage to having daughters Female children joined families of husband once married, so provided no real advantage to having daughters Still, Hindu code of behavior ordered women to be treated with respect Still, Hindu code of behavior ordered women to be treated with respect Women viewed as very sexual beings who could use sexuality to dominate men Women viewed as very sexual beings who could use sexuality to dominate men

16 The Vedas Concerned with orthopraxy (proper action) in ritual Concerned with orthopraxy (proper action) in ritual Brāhman authors edit oral liturgical traditions, producing Vedas ( “ knowledges ” ), c BCE Brāhman authors edit oral liturgical traditions, producing Vedas ( “ knowledges ” ), c BCE By 600 BCE, sūtras ( “ threads, ” commentaries), or summaries of Vedas, become popular By 600 BCE, sūtras ( “ threads, ” commentaries), or summaries of Vedas, become popular 4 collections (samhitās) of Vedas: 4 collections (samhitās) of Vedas: Ŗigveda were praise stanzas sung by priests in ritual Sāmaveda were songs sung by priestly entourage Yajurveda were the short incantations uttered by priests ’ assistants in ritual Atharvaveda were the therapeutic spells and hymns used by atharvans = healers

17 The Rig veda Ancient Sanskrit work of early Aryans Ancient Sanskrit work of early Aryans One of several collections of “verses of knowledge” One of several collections of “verses of knowledge” Collection of Aryan traditions that had previously been passed down through oral storytelling Collection of Aryan traditions that had previously been passed down through oral storytelling

18 The Upanishads A set of commentaries (explanations and elaborations) on the Vedas compiled in the sixth century B.C.E.

19 dharma Set of societal laws that set standards of behavior and obligations for each caste in Indian society

20 karma The key element in reincarnation The key element in reincarnation Dictates that one’s rebirth in a next life is determined by one’s actions in this life Dictates that one’s rebirth in a next life is determined by one’s actions in this life Governed by the dharma, which imposes different requirements depending on a person’s social status Governed by the dharma, which imposes different requirements depending on a person’s social status

21 Reincarnation The individual soul is reborn in a different form after death –The soul progresses through these lives until it reaches union with the Great Soul, or Brahman, the final objective of all living souls –Reflects the social caste system with the brahmins closest to ultimate release and the untouchables furthest away –Provides hope to lowest classes that they can achieve a higher class through good actions

22 Pantheon of gods Originally based on the idea of gods and goddesses representing forces of nature Originally based on the idea of gods and goddesses representing forces of nature Most of the gods adopted human characteristics and frailties Most of the gods adopted human characteristics and frailties Centered around the most powerful gods: Centered around the most powerful gods: –Brahman the Creator –Vishnu the Protector –Shiva the Destroyer

23 The Empire of Asoka ©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning ™ is a trademark used herein under license.

24 Stupa at Sarnath, where Siddhartha Gautama preached his first sermon ©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning ™ is a trademark used herein under license.


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