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Ancient India Grade 6
Transcript of Ancient India Grade 6
Society in Ancient India
India´s First Civilization
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There are 5 nations that occupy the Indian sub-continent: India, Pakistan in the northwest, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh in the northeast.
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
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Like many early civilizations, India´s first civilization grew up near the Indus River.
The summer monsoon left land fertile and rich.
The constant food supply led to increased trade and wealth, allowing people to build larger and larger cities.
The well-planned , large cities had as many as 35,000 people.
A fortress was built to keep guard over the residents.
The Land of India
India looks like a diamond hanging from the bottom of Asia.
India is a sub-continent because even though it is part of Asia, huge mountains make a barrier between India and the rest of Asia.
These mountains are the Himalaya, the highest mountains in the world.
Social Classes of Indian Society
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There are 2 fertile river valleys.
When the snow in the Himalaya melts, water flows through the GANGES RIVER and The INDUS RIVER.
If the water is controlled, the land near these rivers can be used for farming.
The GANGES RIVER runs south of the Himalaya and flows into the Indian Ocean.
The INDUS RIVER runs into the Arabian Sea.
South of the River valleys is the DECCAN PLATEAU = dry and hilly.
The eastern and western coasts of India are lush, fertile plains.
Monsoons are an important part of Indian climate
The winter monsoon brings the cold, dry air of the mountains, the summer monsoon brings warm, wet air from the Arabian Sea producing drenching rains.
Formation of the Himalaya
The Ganges River
What two rivers are found in Northern India?
Based on the area´s geography, what parts of the Indian subcontinent do you think are best suited for settlement?
India´s first civilization in the Indus River valley began about 3000 B.C.E and lasted until 1500 B.C.E.
More than a thousand villages and towns were part of this civilization, which stretched from the Himalaya to the Arabian Sea.
Archeologists can tell us somethings about how these people lived from studying the ruins of two major cities, HARAPPA and MOHENJO-DARO.
The ruins of Mohenjo-Daro show a carefully planned city!
There were wide main streets and smaller side streets.
A wall surrounded each neighborhood, and narrow lanes separated the houses.
Most houses had flat roofs and were built with mud bricks.
Some were larger than others, but they all had a similar layout with a courtyard in the middle and smaller rooms around it.
Wells were built for water and people even had indoor bathrooms.
They even had a drainage system.
Houses had garbage chutes to a bin in the street.
These were probably provided by the city government.
There were no written records so we don´t know that much about their society or government.
From the ruins we can tell the royal palace and the temple were both enclosed in the fortress.
This reveals that religion and politics were closely connected.
Most Harappans were farmers.
They grew rice, wheat, barley, peas, and cotton.
City dwellers made copper and bronze tools, clay pottery, and cotton cloth, as well as jewellery from gold, shells, and ivory.
It is likely that the Harappans began trading with the Mesopotamians about 2300 B.C.E.
Some Harappan sailors followed the coastline and crossed the Arabian Sea, and other traveled overland.
Weapons were rarely found in the ruins suggesting a peaceful people.
wHAT WOULD YOUR LIFE BE LIKE WITHOUT CARS OR COMPUTERS?
The Harappan civilization collapsed about 1500 B.C.E for unknown reasons.
Historians think that a series of earthquakes and floods damaged the cities.
The Indus River changed its course, killing many and forcing others to flee the area.
The Aryans began settling in the area afterwards = new civilization emerges.
The Aryans lived in central Asia and herded animals.
They were part of a race called Indo-Europeans, all of which spoke similar languages.
Cattle were prized possessions because they provided meat, milk, and butter.
Cattle were so important that they were used as currency.
The Aryans were good warriors, expert horse riders and hunters.
They had metal-tipped spears and wooden chariots, which they used to invade neighbouring villages for food.
After 2000 B.C.E, the Aryans began to move through the mountain passes in the Himalaya, entering the Indus River Valley around 1500 B.C.E.
Around 1000 B.C.E the Aryans spread to all of India except the southern tip.
The Aryans Bring Change
When the Aryans arrived in India, they no longer lived as Nomads, they became farmers and raised cattle.
Eventually the Aryans declared cattle as sacred and could not be eaten.
They improved farming through their skills:
They invented the iron plow to clear India´s many jungles
They built canals to irrigate the land
They slowly turned the Ganges River valley into good farmland
The climate supported many types of crops.
In the north, farmers grew grains such as wheat, barley, and millet.
Rice was grown in the river valleys.
In the south, there was a mix of crops, including spices such as pepper, ginger, and cinnamon.
The Aryans brought a new language to India called SANSKRIT, allowing them to write down songs, stories, poems, and prayers that Aryans had known for many centuries.
The Aryans were organized into tribes.
Each tribe was led by a RAJA, or prince.
The rajas ran their own small kingdoms, which often fought among themselves over cattle and treasure and over women kidnapped from other states.
The Aryans created a caste system that separated Indians into groups.
A CASTE is a social group that someone is born into and cannot change.
A caste dictates what job you will have, whom you can marry, and with whom you can socialize.
In India, the word for caste is JATI.
Thousands of JATI exist in India.
Why was a caste system created?
No one is that sure, but ideas about skin color were probably part of it.
The Aryans were a light-skinned people.
They thought they were better than the dark-skinned people they had encountered in India.
This idea was, of course, wrong, but the Aryans believed it.
Another reason the Aryans might have created the caste system was because the people they encountered outnumbered them.
The caste system set the rules for everyone's behavior which helped the Aryans stay in control.
Social Classes of Indian Society
The thousands of different JATI in Indian society were grouped together into four classes called VARNAS.
The top two varnas were BRAHMANS and Kshatriyas.
Brahmans were the priests, the only people who could perform religious ceremonies.
The Kshatriyas were warriors who ran the government and army.
On the next level down were the Vaisyas, or commoners.
Vaisyas were usually farmers and merchants.
Below the Vaisyas came the Sudras who were manual laborers and servants with few rights.
Most Indians belonged to the Sudra caste.
There was one group that did not belong to any VARNA.
Its members were called Pariahs, or the Untouchables.
They performed work other Indians thought was too dirty, such as collecting trash, skinning animals, or handling dead bodies.
Life for untouchables was very hard, they had to live apart from others.
When Untouchables traveled, they had to tap two sticks together so that everyone would hear them coming and have time to move away.
The role of men and women
In Ancient India the family was the center of life.
Grandparents, parents and children all lived together in an extended family.
The oldest man in the family was in charge.
Men had many more rights than women.
Unless there were no sons in the family, only a man could inherit property.
Only men could go to school or become priests.
In families at the top of Indian society, a boy had a GURU, or teacher, until he went to the city for more education.
Young men from these families could marry only when they had finished 12 years of schooling.
In India, parents arranged marriages for their children.
Even today the majority of parents arrange the majority of marriages in India.
Boys and girls often married in their teens, from 13 onwards.
Divorce was never allowed, but if the couple could not have children, the husband could have a second wife.
Indian men were considered more important than women.
In India, when someone died, they were CREMATED (burned).
When a prominent man died and was cremated, his wife was expected to jump into the flames.
This practice was called SUTTEE.
If she did not kill herself, it was a great shame and everyone would avoid the woman from then on.
India´s First Empires
The mauryan dynasty
India´s princes fought over their small kingdoms for centuries.
Then 2 invasions from outsiders taught the Indian´s a lesson.
1) THE PERSIANS invaded Indus Valley in 500 B.C.E and made it part of the great Persian Empire.
2) ALEXANDER THE GREAT invaded India in 327 B.C.E.
Alexander´s troops conquered northern India, but they did not stay long.
His soldiers were homesick and tired and demanded to go home.
However the invasion led to the first great Indian Empire.
Who built India´s First Empire?
India´s first empire was founded by CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA.
CHANDRAGUPTA was an Indian prince who conquered a large area in the Ganges River valley soon after Alexander invaded western India.
After Alexander left, Chandragupta seized the opportunity to conquer and unite almost all of northern India.
He founded the MAURYAN dynasty in 321 BC.E.
To run his empire, CHANDRAGUPTA set up a centralized government.
In a centralized government, rulers run everything from a capital city.
To control everything CHANDRAGUPTA had a strong army and a good spy system to make sure no one was planning to rebel.
Due to the importance of communication, he also set up a postal system.
DYNASTY: A series of rulers from the same family.
The MAURYAN DYNASTY
emperor Asoka´s Reign
Considered by historians to be the empire´s greatest king.
Ruled from 273 B.C.E to 232 B.C.E.
Asoka was an unusual ruler.
He was a strong military leader, but came to hate bloodshed.
After one bloody battle, he walked over the battlefield and saw all the dead and wounded.
He was horrified and vowed to dedicate his life to peace and follow the teachings of the Buddha.
Asoka was history´s first great Buddhist king.
He built hospitals for people and for animals.
He built new roads so it was easier to trade and put shelters and shade trees along the roads where travelers could rest.
Asoka asked Buddhist teachers to carry the religion to new believers throughout Asia.
Buddhist teachings were carved onto stone pillars for people to read.
Thousands of STUPAS (Buddhist shrines shaped like a do) were built.
Asoka allowed his Hindu subjects to practice their religion (unusually tolerant).
India became the centre of a huge trade network that stretched to the Mediterranean Sea.
This STUPA IS ONE OF THE BEST PRESERVED SHRINES FROM THE 200´S b.c.e
The Fall of the Mauryan Empire
Asoka died in 232 B.C.E.
Unfortunately his successors were not very good leaders and the empire grew weak.
These kings made bad decisions that turned people against them.
They forced merchants to pay heavy taxes and seized peasants´crops for themselves.
In 183 B.C.E the last Mauryan ruler was killed by one of his own generals.
For 500 years, India had no strong ruler.
Small kingdoms fought with one another and made life miserable for their subjects.
In 320 C.E., one prince in the Ganges River valley grew more powerful than others.
His name was Chandragupta also.
Chandragupta founded the Gupta dynasty.
When he died, his son, Samudragupta, took over the throne and expanded the Gupta empire in northern India.
The new kingdom dominated almost all of the northern India.
The Guptas ruled for about 200 years.
Gupta rulers had one advantage over the earlier Mauryan kings.
The empire was smaller and that made is easier to manage.
The Gupta empire grew wealthy from trade.
Salt, cloth, and iron were common goods traded in India.
Trade created jobs for people in India and made many people and cities prosperous.
Cities grew up along the trade routes, and many people traveled.
Some people called PILGRIMS, often used the trade routes to travel to a religious shrine or site.
Although Asoka had converted to Buddhism, but the Guptas were Hindus like many of their subjects.
They made Hinduism the official religion and gave money to support Hindu scholars and shrines.
During the Gupta empire, art and science also began to develop and began the ´Golden Age´in India.
The Gupta Empire
Indian Literature and science
Artists, builders, scientists, and writers produced many works while the Mauryan and Gupta kings ruled.
India's most Famous Poems
The Vedas of India are ancient hymns and prayers for religious ceremonies.
No one is certain how old they are because for a long time they were only recited, not written down.
Once Aryan people came to India and developed Sanskrit, then the Vedas were recorded.
Two epics are very famous in India, and Indians today still love to read them.
The first is the MAHABHARATA and the second is the RAMAYANA.
Both tell of brave warriors and their heroic deeds.
The mahabharata is the longest poem in any written language , about 88,000 verses.
Historians think several different authors wrote it and that it was written down around 100 b.c.e. It describes a great war for control over a kingdom for 1000 years.
The best-known section is the BHAGAVAD GITA, or "Song of the Lord."
It is very important in Hindu writings.
In it, the god Krishna preaches a sermon before a battle.
He tells his listeners how noble it is to do one's duty even when it is difficult and painful.
Indian Literature and science
Is a long poem telling the story of a great king Rama and his queen Sita.
Rama's enemies have him banished from the kingdom.
He is forced to live as a hermit in the forest.
Later he fights and defeats the demon Ravana, who had kidnapped Sita, rescues her and they live happily ever after.
The story includes many moral lessons.
Rama is the perfect hero, kin, and son whilst Sita is the perfect, faithful wife.
These poems also told thrilling stories about great heroes.
Most Indian literature stresses the importance of DHARMA.
Each person, regardless of social status, must do his or her duty.
Indian Math and Science
Aryabhata was the leading mathematician of the Gupta empire.
He was one of the first scientists known to have used algebra.
Indian mathematicians developed the idea of zero and a symbol to represent it.
They also explained the concept of infinity.
Gupta mathematicians created the symbols for the numbers 1 to 9 that we use today.
These number symbols were adopted by Arab traders in 700 C.E.
European traders borrowed them from the Arabs.
Use of these numbers spread through Europe and replaced Roman numerals around 1200 C.E.
THE INVENTION OF 0
Early humans understood the idea of nothing, but they did not have a symbol to represent the idea.
During the Gupta dynasty, Indian mathematicians invented the symbol "0" and connected it with the idea of nothing.
Without the concept of zero, modern technology, such as computers would not be possible.
Compare and Contrast
Explain some of the key similarities and differences between the Mauryan and Gupta Dynasties.