2 Roots of Indus Valley Civilization Earliest civilizations in Indus Valley was discovered in 1856 by a railroad crew.HarappaMohenjo-Dara or “Hill of the Dead”Both cities shared urban design and architectural features.3 miles in circumference with populations of 40,000The civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt never disappeared completely. Hebrew and Greek accounts and surviving artifacts, like the pyramids kept them alive in popular imagination.The civilization of the Indus valley was lost almost entirely, so its excavation did not begin until the 1920’s.Railroad crew in 1856 discovered thousands of old fire-baked bricks in the desert and use them to lay the road bed. Scattered among the old bricks workers discovered steatite stone seals marked with artistic designs.
3 Page: 92Confined to the north and west by mountains, and to the east by desert, the Indus valley had by 2500 B.C.E. developed a sophisticated urban culture based on individual walled cities, sharing common patterns of urban design. In terms of geographical extent this civilization was the largest in the world in its time.
4 Roots of Indus Valley Civilization Roots of Indus Valley began as early as 7000 B.C.E.Possibly began as herders who moved into the river valley during colder months.Over time, they may have decided to farm – river-watered lands of the valley.They began trading by boat along the Indus down into the Arabian Sea, into the Persian Gulf, and up the Tigris and Euphrates into Mesopotamia.At first scholars thought the civilizations of the Indus Valley had developed the art of city building from the Sumerians and other people of Mesopotamia, but later scholars believed that Harappa had grown up independently.Written records, the key that re-opened the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt are scarce in the Indus valley. The only written materials so far discovered are seal inscriptions that give only limited information. Scholars have not succeeded in their attempts to decipher the script. They differ substantially in their interpretations. As a result, our understanding is limited.
5 The Artifacts: Crafts and the Arts Crafts of the Indus valley included pottery making, dyeing, metal working in bronze, and bead making.Bead materials included:jade from the Himalayas,lapis lazuli from Afghanistan,turquoise from Persia,amethyst from Mewar in India,and steatite, which was found locally.
6 The Artifacts: Crafts and the Arts Small sculptures in stone, terra cotta, and bronze appear to represent priestly or governmental officials, dancing girls, and perhaps mother goddesses.Since there are no surviving texts to explain identities, these can only be guesses.
7 The Artifacts: Crafts and the Arts Dice and small sculptures of bullock carts were probably used as toys and games.The first known use of cotton as a fiber for weaving textiles occurred in the Indus Valley.
8 Carefully Planned Cities Originating around 2500 B.C.E. the thriving civilizations survived for around 500 years.Both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, two of the largest among 500 sites, were three miles in circumference with around 40,000 people.
9 Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa To the north is a citadel or raised area.In Mohenjo-Daro, the citadel is built on an architectural platform about 45 feet above the plain.On the summit was a huge communal bath.Next to the large bath was a huge open space—a granary where food was stored from possible floods.Fortified walls mark the southeast corner.
11 Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa The lower city was laid out in a gridiron with the main streets about 45 feet wide.Private houses, almost every one with its own well, bathing space, and toilet consisting of a brick seat over a drainage area.Brick-lined drains flushed by water carried liquid and solid waste to sumps, where it was carted away, probably to fertilize nearby fields.
12 Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa The town plan was regular.Even fire-baked bricks were uniform in size and shape.The regularity of plan and construction suggests a government with organization and bureaucratic capacity.No monumental architecture clearly marks the presence of a palace or temple.There is little sign of social stratification in the plan or buildings.The city of Harappa was vandalized for thousands of years before, as well as during the railroad constructions and few artifacts remain. Mohenjo-Daro was on a high water table, and any deeper excavation threatens to flood the site. It is impossible to dig down to the foundation level of the city.Further exploration of Mohenjo-Daro’s surface, however, continues to yield fascinating results. A recent survey revealed an outlying segment of Mohenjo Daro about a mile away from the known city. Was it part of an industrial area or a residential suburb?
13 Indus Valley Burial Sites Heads pointing to the northSome grave goods, such as pots of food and water, small amounts of jewelry, simple mirrors, and some cosmetics.Not extravagant like royal burials of Egypt or even of Mesopotamia.
14 Indus Valley Archaeological Finds Among the 20,000 artifacts uncovered, the extraordinary extremes of wealth and poverty of Egypt and Mesopotamia do not appear.Why do you think that is the case?
15 Indus Valley Archaeological Finds Questions of Interpretation:Artifacts stress the apparent classlessness of the society.Until the Harappan language is deciphered, its civilization will remain mysterious.
16 Enter: The AryansApproximately 1500 B.C.E. a nomadic and pastoral people who spoke the Indo-European language passed through the Hindu Kush mountains.They called themselves “Aryans” or “noble people.”They established small herding and agricultural communities throughout northern India.Their migrations took place over several centuries.During the 2nd millennium BCE as Harappan society declined, bands of foreigners filtered into the Indian subcontinent and settled throughout the Indus valley and beyond. Most prominent were nomadic and pastoral peoples speaking Indo European languages who called themselves Aryans. Interchange between the resident Harappans and the invading Aryans produced new, hybrid cultural forms that we know primarily from the Aryan records. Ironically, these records are almost entirely literary and artistic. Reversing the Harappan pattern, the early Aryans have left a treasure of literature, but virtually no architectural or design artifacts.
17 Aryan Influence on Harappan Society Aryan migrations took place over several centuries.Their arrival was not an invasion or organized military campaign.It is likely that Indo-European migrants clashed with Dravidians (people settled in the Harappan area.)By the time Aryans entered India, internal problems had already brought Harappan society to the point of collapse.During the centuries after 1500 B.C.E., Dravidian and Indo-European peoples intermarried and laid social and cultural foundations that influenced Indian society to present day.
18 Aryan Influence on Harappan Society The Aryans survived on pastoral economy, sheep and goats.The especially prized their horses and cattle, but horses did not breed well in India so they had to import animals from Asia.The Aryans consumed both dairy products and beef. Centuries later cattle would become sacred.
19 Aryan Influence on Harappan Religion The Vedas were collections of religious and literary poems and songs transmitted orally.There were four parts.The most important part was the Rig Veda, a collection of 1,028 hymns addressed to the Aryan gods.Aryan priests compiled the Rig Veda between 1400 and 900 B.C.E.It wasn’t put into writing until about 600 B.C.E.The Aryans did not use writing, but they composed poems and songs. They preserved extensive collections of religious and literary works by memorizing them and transmitting them orally from one generation to another in thei rsacred language, Sanskrit.The earliest of these orally transmitted works were the Vedas, which were collections of hymns, songs, prayers, and rituals honoring the various gods of the Aryans.
20 The Vedic Age 1500 to 500 B.C.E.The Vedas refer often to conflicts between Aryans and the Dravidians and other people already living in India.The Vedas refer to Indra, the Aryan war god and military hero, who would destroy parts of the city.This suggests that the Aryans clashed repeatedly with the Dravidians of the Indus valley, attacking their cities and wrecking their irrigation systems.The Vedas refer to Indra, the Aryan war god and military hero, as someone who ravaged citadels, smashed dams, destroyed forts the way age consumes cloth garments.
21 The Vedic Age 1500 to 500 B.C.E.The Aryans often had friendly relations with Dravidian peoples.They learned about the land and adopted Dravidian agricultural methods.Still there was competitions over land and resources.It appears that the Aryans did not have a formal government but they formed chiefdoms with a leader known as a raja (Sanskrit term for king.)The Vedas refer to Indra, the Aryan war god and military hero, as someone who ravaged citadels, smashed dams, destroyed forts the way age consumes cloth garments.
22 Aryan Migrations in India Aryans first settled in the Punjab, the upper Indus River valley that straddles modern-day border between northern India and Pakistan.They spread east and south and established communities throughout much of the subcontinent.They learned to make iron tools and with axes and plow they cleared forests and established agricultural communities in the Ganges valley.The Aryans gradually lost the tribal political organization they had brought into India and evolved into small kingdoms with formal governments.
23 The Caste SystemOriginally based on color: Aryans were “wheat-colored” and Dravidians were darker skinned.Four Main Varnas or Castes:Priests (brahmins)Warriors and Aristocrats (Kshatriyas)Cultivators, artisans, and merchants (vsaishyas)Landless peasants and serfs ( shudras)Untouchables (people who performed dirty tasks) added much laterCaste comes the Portuguese word casta which refers to a social class of herditary and unchangeable status. When Portuguese merchants visited India during 16th century, they noticed the sharp, inherited distinctiosn between different social groups, which they referred to as castes. Scholars have employed the term caste ever since in reference to the Indian social order.When Aryans first entered India, they probably had a fairly simple society consisting of herders and cultivators led by warrior chiefs and preists. As they settled in India, however, growing social complexity and interaction with Dravidian peoples promted them to refine their social distincitions. The Aryans used the term varna, a Sanskrit word meaning color to refer to the major social classes. This terminology suggests that social distinctions arose partly from differences in complexion between the Aryans who referred to themselves as wheat colored and the darker skinned Dravidians. Over time Aryans and Dravidian mixed, mingled, interacted, and intermarried to the point that distinguishing between them was impossible. Nevertheless in early Vedic times differences between the two peoples probably prompted Aryans to ase social distinctions on Aryan or Dravidian ancestry.After about 1000 BCE the Aryan increasingly recognized four main varns.
24 Jati (Subcastes)As Vedic Society became more complex and specialized, the caste system changed to include specialized occupations.Occupation determined an individuals jati (subcaste).By the 18th and 19th centuries C.E., the system featured several thousand jati.Brahmins alone have some 1,800 jati.
25 The Development of a Patriarch Society Aryan Society had a strong patriarchal social order at the time of their migration into India.All priests, warriors and tribal chiefs were men.Women influenced affairs within their families but had no public authority.Women rarely learned the Vedas and were denied formal education.Sati, the practice of a wife sacrificing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre, was considered noble.
26 Religion in Vedic Age The Rig Veda sheds light on religious practices. The chief deity was Indra, a war god, who was partial to fighting and drink.Varuna was a god who presided over the sky from his heavenly palace. He oversaw behavior of morals and preserved order.Cattle, sheep, goats, and horses from Aryan herds were sacrificed to gain divine support, large families, long life, and abundant herds.
27 Religion in Vedic AgeAround 800 B.C.E. some individuals withdrew into the forest of the Ganges valley and lived as hermits.They drew inspiration from religious beliefs of Dravidian people who worshipped nature spirits.Dravidians also believed that human souls took on new physical forms after the deaths of their bodies.The idea of reincarnation was born.
28 The Upanishads Appeared late in Vedic Age, around 800 to 400 B.C.E. Upanishad means “sitting in front of” and refers to practice of disciples gathering before a sage for discussion of religious issues.The Upanishads were dialogues that explored the Vedas.
29 The UpanishadsEach person is part of a large, cosmic order and forms a small part of a universal soul known as Brahman.Brahman is an eternal, unchanging foundation for all things.Individual souls were born into physical world many times.Their souls were most often humans but sometimes animals, and even occasionally plants.The highest goal of the individual soul is to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth to enter into permanent union with Brahmin.
30 Doctrines of the Upanishads Samsara – Upon death, individuals go temporarily to the World of the Fathers and then return to earth in a new form.Karma – “…a man of good acts will become good, a man of bad acts, bad. He becomes pure by pure deeds, bad by bad deeds.”Suffering – A certain amount of pain and suffering is inevitable in human existence.Moksha is a deep endless sleep that comes with permanent liberation from physical incarnation.Brahmin – You can achieve Brahmin through meditation and asceticism, leading extremely simple lives and denying all pleasure.
31 Religion and Vedic AgeModern historians have often interpreted the Upanishads as a way to justify social inequalities imposed by the Caste System.The doctrines of Samsara and karma have reinforced the Vedic social order.
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.