Ancient India

The Indus River was not as predictable and tended to have major changes in how deep the river was and its course when compared to the Ganges River. The Indus River was the river that gave the India its name. Along the Indus River is were India’s initial intricate societies arose (Judge, 45).
The Harappan society had a brick wall that was over 3 miles around and whose walls were 40-feet-thick. The inhabitants of Harappan were 30,000 or more, they were mainly a farming community. Harappan was at its greatest between 2500 and 2000 B.C.E., they made seals which were made of either soapstone or clay and carved with symbols. It is debated whether theses seals were used as a writing system or symbols of religion (Judge, 46-47).
The clay seals of Harappan have been excavated in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, and items made in Mesopotamia have been found in India. Sculptures of Sumerian champions such as Gilgamesh and Enkidu have been found in India, meaning the Indians had to have learned about from people in West Asia. India traded spices and tea with Greece for wine and olive oil (Judge, 47, Video Lecture).
It is believed that the decline of the Harappan civilization may have been due to climate change, diseases, deforestation and/or soil exhaustion. The movement of Earth’s tectonic plates leading to floods and earthquakes which may have changed the course of the Indus River and may have dried up other surrounding rivers disrupted the farming and city patterns. Therefore without the extra food farming suppled it was not possible to sustain the amount of people in the city causing some to move on to other established cities (Judge, 47).
6. Aryan migrated into northern India around 1500 B.C.E. they brought horses and weapons to India. The Aryans were warriors, their raiding herds, conflict, and political discord became a trademark of India (Judge, 48).
The Aryans were responsible for the Caste system although they called it varnas (a division of classes in society based on the tasks performed by the members in that class) in India. They moved to northern India in 1500 B.C.E. The Vedas were sacred hymns that were composed by Aryan priests. The Vedas were oral hymns because the Aryan’s didn’t have a written language until after 800 B.C.E. Although the Vedas were religious they provide a wealth of information on Aryan culture (Judge, 48-49).
The Caste structure was like a pyramid. Priests otherwise known as Brahmins were at the top with warriors or Kshatriya below them. Commoner or Vaishya where below the warriors they did basic jobs, such as farming, herding, and trading. Servants otherwise known as Shudra which were originally conquered people. The bottom of the pyramid consisted of the untouchables they were people who dealt with human and animal waste and the dead. They were considered impure because of their jobs it was believed that touching them could lead to pollution or spiritual contamination touching them was avoided (Judge, 49).
Samsara also known as reincarnation or the belief that a soul also known as Atman is reborn after death. Dharma is the faithfulness to one’s duties in life. Karma is a person’s fate after being reborn which is established on a person’s dharma in this life. People who good dharma in this life had believed that they could move up a caste through samsara, and people who didn’t achieve good karma could through samsara likely receive a lower caste (Judge, 50).
The Buddha known as Siddhartha Gautama was born into a wealthy family in the Himalayan slopes which is known today as Nepal, Gautama, he was believed to have lived from 563-483 B.C.E. It is believed that he was sheltered by his parents from suffering. When he ventured out of his palace at age 29 he come upon an old man, a sick man, and a dead man. Wanting to find the reason for aging, illness, and death, he left his family and wife for an ascetic (renounce possessions and exercise extreme self-denial, and encouraging pacifism and vegetarianism) life for six years, he didn’t find this life fulfilling either. So near the Ganges River while meditating under a tree he experienced illumination allowing him to see the secrets of deliverance from human suffering. He spent the rest of his life traveling throughout northeastern India gathering followers and imparting the knowledge he learned. Buddhism differs from Hinduism in that Buddhism discard the cast inequalities. Whereas Hinduism accepts the caste system. Buddhism had a founder, whereas Hinduism developed naturally with Indian society. Buddhist’s believe in only the Budd or “enlightened one”, whereas Hinduist’s believe in a multiple of different gods and goddesses, although they also believe all those gods and goddesses were an expression of a single god called Brahma “the god of creation” (Judge, 51-52).
Ashoka become a Buddhist after conquering the east coast of Kalinga. He then abandoned violence and was dedicated to his subject’s welfare. He spread Buddhism from northern India throughout the subcontinent and beyond. It is believed he sent his daughter and son to what is now known as Sri Lanka to teach Buddhism. He sent people out into his territory to learn what his people needed and make sure officials were treating people with kindness and respect. To increase business and pilgrimages he built many roads with houses, shade trees, and watering spots to rest along the way. He also built hospitals, water wells, and irrigation systems (Judge, 54).
Created By
Mariah Folk


Created with images by “Ancient India map of 600 BC”. mckaysavage - "India - Ladakh - Travel - 015 - The Indus River" • “gateway and drain at Harappa. By Chris Sloan”. srqpix - "spice_1" • waitscm - "My buddy and me" • Archbob - "jug bellarmine relics" • Fæ - "Seal Impression with Human Depictions LACMA M.80.202.891" • Emmanuel Dyan - "Lothal - Gujarat, India" • “Gradual Aryan Migration”. “Sama-Veda”. “Caste system”. - "Unwrapping the body" • feserc - "Budda" • Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) - "King-Ashoka"

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