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The Indus and Ganges River Valleys
Transcript of The Indus and Ganges River Valleys
The Aryans came to Ancient India from central Asia (Russia today).
From the pictures we looked at, what can we tell about the physical features of Ancient India?
Life in the Indus River Valley
How does a surplus of food lead to civilizations forming?
Everyday life in Mohenjo-Daro was similar to life today. Merchants and artisans sold their goods in shops, children played, traders came from far distances, and they had their own language.
India is considered a
What physical features prevented contact with other civilizations?
Why does India depend on the
was an ancient city along the banks of
the Indus River. The city was built on higher ground to keep flood waters away from the city.
Citadel of Mohenjo-Daro
Mohenjo-Daro suddenly went into decline around 2000 BC. Before long, invaders came in and took over.
What are some causes for a prosperous city to decline?
The Aryans entered the Indus Valley through the fabled Khyber pass.
The Aryans were nomads. They raised livestock, rode chariots, and loved to gamble.
They had no sophisticated government. They grouped in clans, and were ruled by warrior chiefs called rajas. Their history is one of constant war amongst themselves, between the various clans.
The Aryans clans, or tribes, settled in different regions of northwestern India. The tribes were called Gana (literally a "collection" - of people). The chief of each tribe was an hereditary job. If your father was the chief, someday, you would be chief. It was the only way to become a chief. The chief made decisions, after listening to a committee, or perhaps even to the entire tribe. People had a voice, but the chief was the boss.
The VEDAS: The Aryan beliefs and daily life are described in the four Vedas,
a collection of poems and sacred hymns
, composed in about 1500 BCE.
Veda means knowledge
. The Vedas are composed of the Rig, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas. This is why the period from roughly 1500 BCE to 1000 BCE is called the Vedic Period.
The Ramayana & the Mahabharata: Around 1000 BCE, the Aryans started to create two marvelous epics. We know about daily life during this period from these famous epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These epics are stories about Aryans life, wars, and accomplishments.
We have little archaeological evidence from the Aryans, but have something else we can use to learn about them. The Aryans created marvelous stories, stories they told or sang for centuries.
Aryan Houses: The people in the Vedic period lived in straw and wooden huts. Some homes were made of wood, but not until later, during the Epics Period.
Yagna (central fire-place): The life of the tribal Aryans was focused around the central fireplace called the Yagna. Dinner time was social time. The tribe would gather around the central fireplace, and share news, and the days happenings. Those who tended the central fireplace also cooked for the rest of the tribe. This was a very special job. The fire tenders were the go-between between the fire god and the people. These fire tenders, later on, formed the caste of priests. The Aryans ate meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, milk, and fish. The word for guest was Go-Ghna or eater of beef.
The Aryans loved to gamble. They introduced the horse to ancient India and raced chariots. They played fighting games. They loved to tell stories. The ancient Aryans were proud and fierce, and deeply religious. They had many gods and goddesses.
Jobs: As the Aryans settled in and began to grow crops, people started to have occupations. In each tribe, people began to belong to one of four groups, or castes: the Brahmana (priests), Kshatriya (warriors), Vaishya (traders and agriculturists), and Shudra (workers). In the beginning, these were just occupations. You could move from group to group. This changed over time, until a person's occupation or group depended upon birth. If your father was a farmer, you had to be farmer. Change from one caste to another became very difficult.
Education Kids were taught by a guru (a teacher). Even chiefs sons had to obey the guru. All students followed a rigorous course of studies which were imparted orally. Writing was done on bark and leaves, and hence was perishable, so we have very few rock edicts to tell us what they studied or what they wrote.
Clothing was initially made of animal skins. As the Aryans settled down, clothing began to be made of cotton.