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 Indian Subcontinent  To North: Impassable Himalayas  To East: Passable low hills  To Northwest: Passable Hindu Kush, Khyber Pass  To West: Arabian.

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Presentation on theme: " Indian Subcontinent  To North: Impassable Himalayas  To East: Passable low hills  To Northwest: Passable Hindu Kush, Khyber Pass  To West: Arabian."— Presentation transcript:



3  Indian Subcontinent  To North: Impassable Himalayas  To East: Passable low hills  To Northwest: Passable Hindu Kush, Khyber Pass  To West: Arabian Sea  Northern Plain of Indus, Ganges Rivers  Southern Deccan  High plateau, extremely dry  Bordered on East and West by mountains  Separated from north by river, low mountains  The Monsoon Winds  Off the land October to April: Dry Season  Off the Indian Ocean May to September: Wet Season

4 May to October November to April


6  The Indus River  Runs through north India, sources in Himalayas  Rich deposits, but less predictable than the Nile  Wheat and barley were cultivated in Indus valley  Cultivated cotton before 5000 B.C.E.  Complex society of Dravidians, 3000/2500 B.C.E.  Harappa and Mohenjo-daro  Possibly served as twin capitals  Each city had a fortified citadel and a large granary  Broad streets, market places, temples, public buildings  Standardized weights, measures, architecture, bricks  Specialized labor and trade  Domestic trade, items inc. pottery, tools, metals  Trading with Mesopotamians about 2300 to 1750 B.C.E.  Writing  Existed but has not been translated

7  Social distinctions as seen from living styles  Religious beliefs strongly emphasized fertility  Many deities were feminine  In later Hinduism, Dravidian gods are blue-faced  Harappan society declined from 2000 B.C.E. onward  Ecological degradation led to a subsistence crisis  Natural catastrophes - floods or earthquakes  Population began to abandon their cities  Began around 1700 B.C.E.  Almost entirely collapsed by about 1500 B.C.E  Evidence of warfare, invasion

8  Indo-Europeans  Linguistic similarities  Indo-European family of languages ▪ Indo-Aryans ▪ Indo-Iranian: Medes/Persians (SW Asia) ▪ Greek, Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Italic, Celtic ▪ Tocarian of Turkestan  Migrations as the key to explain linguistic similarities  Indo-European origins  North of Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Aral Sea; Ukraine, Southern Russia  Common origins established through key vocabulary, traditions, myths  Indo-European migrations  To Tarim Basin, fourth millennium B.C.E.  Shang of China appear to have been Indo-Europeans  To Anatolia (the Hittites), 3000 B.C.E.  By 2nd millennium, established communities in Europe  Around 1500 BCE, domesticated horse amongst Indo-Europeans  Often called the Chariot Peoples; introduced iron and horse technologies


10  The Early Aryans  Depended heavily on a pastoral economy  No writing system  Orally transmitted works called the Vedas  Sacred language (Sanskrit)  Daily-use language (Prakit)  The Vedic Age: 1500 to 500 B.C.E.  A boisterous period, conflict with indigenous peoples  Called indigenous people dasas - "enemies" or "subject people"  Indra, the Aryans' war god and military hero  Aryan chiefdoms fought ferociously among themselves  Aryan migrations in India  First settled in the Punjab, the upper Indus River valley  Spread east and south from their base  After 1000 B.C.E. settled between Himalayan foothills and Ganges  Used iron tools and developed agriculture  By 500 B.C.E. migrated as far south as the northern Deccan  Lost tribal organizations but established regional kingdoms


12  Caste and varna  Caste: Hereditary, unchangeable social classes  Sanskrit word varna, "color"  Designates social classes  Social distinctions based on racial skin colors  Social distinctions in the late Vedic Age  Four main varnas, recognized after 1000 B.C.E. ▪ brahmins (priests) ▪ kshatriyas (warriors and aristocrats: rulers) ▪ vaishyas (cultivators, artisans, and merchants) ▪ shudras (landless peasants and serfs)  Subcaste or jati ▪ Represents more elaborate social classification ▪ Developed after 6th c. B.C.E. ▪ Jati, or subcastes, were determined by occupations ▪ The elaborate rules of jati life  Caste and social mobility ▪ Caste system was capable of accommodating social change ▪ Social mobility was very difficult but still possible ▪ Foreign peoples could find a place in society of the castes  Later, the category of the pariah (untouchables) was added

13  Patriarchal, Patrilineal society  Original Aryan Society: women had rights, some were chiefs  Changes occurred with change to sedentary civilization  Men served as priests, warriors, and tribal chiefs  Family lines based on male descendants (the patrilinial)  Only males could inherit property  Men learned the Vedas and received formal education  Source: The Lawbook of Manu  Prepared by an anonymous sage, 1st century B.C.E.  Dealt with moral behavior and social relationships  Advised men to treat women with honor and respect  Subjected women to the control and guidance of men  Women's duties: bear children, maintain the household  Sati as a social custom  Widow burning so widows would not be a burden on family

14  The Aryan gods  The war god, Indra  The gods of the sun, sky, moon, fire, health, etc.  The god Varuna - an ethical concern  Ritual sacrifices  Importance of ritual sacrifices  Horse sacrifice originally  Priests were specialists of the ritual sacrifices  Ritual sacrifices for rewards from the divine power  Spirituality  Many Aryans dissatisfied with ritual sacrifices in late Vedic age  A shift to spiritual contemplation  Thoughtful individuals retreated to forests as hermits  Dravidian notions were coopted ▪ Transmigration of soul ▪ Reincarnation ( nirvana)

15  The Upanishads ▪ Works of religious teachings, 800 to 400 B.C.E. ▪ Dialogues between disciples and sages ▪ Discussions written down  Brahman: the universal soul ▪ Brahman was the only genuine reality ▪ Highest goal: to escape reincarnation and join with Brahman  Atman: The individual self-soul that is part of Brahman  Teachings of the Upanishads ▪ Samsara: An individual soul was born many times ▪ Dharma: Caste duties ▪ Karma: specific incarnations that a soul experienced ▪ Moksha: permanent liberation from physical incarnation  Religion and Vedic Society ▪ Samsara and karma reinforced social hierarchy ▪ Upanishads were also spiritual and intellectual contemplations ▪ Taught to observe high ethical standards ▪ Respect for all living things, a vegetarian diet

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