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Ancient India

by: Myrissa Webb

Ancient India HIST 1010

Myrissa Webb
GPA 4.0

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Lecture on 8/31/16
World history 1
Dr. Bohannan
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Myrissa Webb on Wednesday August 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1010 at Auburn University taught by Dr. Bohannan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views.


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Date Created: 08/31/16
Ancient India The cradle of Ancient India is where modern Pakistan is. Also located on the Indus R. Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are early Neolithic archaeological cities in Ancient India that have given historian a wealth of knowledge. Around 2000 BCE they Davidians had a thriving civilization. They lived in cities and farmed. They had a system of writing but we don’t know how to read it yet. Then a little after 2000 BCE they started to fall into decline. It seems there was a climate change with resulted in massive rains and floods. It destroyed their pattern of living and dispersed their population. Shortly after, we see the migration of the Aryans. They are migrating in around 1500 BCE. Aryans are a group of people of Indo-Europeans. They experienced widespread migration (some are Greek, Roman, Persian, etc..) Their language was Sanskrit. It was both oral and written. It is related to Greek, Latin, and Farsee. They were pastoralist, not farmers, so they had a lot of livestock and horses. They were intimidating militarily, because of their horseman skills and chariots. Their whole culture was more warlike. This gave them an advantage to the land. They didn’t hesitate to use force. After they migrated fully they pushed farther and farther south. As they migrate in they preserve their culture and religion preferences. They pass them down orally from generation to generation. Eventually around 800 BCE it was written down in to 4 books know as the Vadas. They were know as sacred. The Vedic period belonged to the period when the Vadas were being written. The first and most known one is called Raja. They eventually occupy the whole Indian subcontinent. They don’t come in as one authority. They don’t live under one ruler. They live in tribes, so they split land and occupy it tribally under Raja (the local prince). You don’t have on monarch, you have local princes. They are not united for a long time. They bring in their hierarchy society know as the Caste. This is your social group you are born in. It is different than "class". Class is dependent on income, and is very fluid. You can move up and down the class ladder. Caste, however, is based on economic position and it is not fluid at all. You are born in, live in, marry in, socialize in, and die in the same caste. One interesting fact is that the word for caste, Varna, is also the word for color. They Aryans were light skinned and the Davidians were dark skinned. The higher the cast the more Aryans and the lighter the skin. The lower the caste the more Davidians and the darker the skin. Castes: 1 Brahmin: Priests 2 Kshatriyas: Warriors 3 Vaishya: merchants, artisans 4 Shudras: ordinary laborers, peasants, town workers Another caste that was not officially a part of the caste system was the Untouchables. I t was not really in the caste system, but was definitely an unspoken level. These included the people who had the jobs no one wanted to do such as butcher meat and bury the dead. There is a small possibility in mobility in the caste system: Jati. This was a sub category in the caste system and it acted as a portal to a different caste. However, this was rare. The society was a Patriarchy. Where fathers and husbands controlled daughters and wives. Woman were not educated nor did they own anything. The tradition of Sati was when a man died his wife was expected (especially in the higher castes) to commit suicide by laying herself on her husbands funeral burning pile. Aryan Religion. Their cultures and traditions, along with the Davidians, created the religion Hinduism. They were polytheistic. They worshiped 2 main gods. The god of Indra, which is the god of war. This is obvious because one of the Aryan's main focus was war. The other god was the god of Varma. They believed this god was watching over them all the time and if there was anything that was morally wrong he would punish the using natural disasters. Obviously, right and wrong mattered to them to a degree. There was a lot of ritual sacrifice in the early years. However this died down later and was removed. They started drifting towards Mysticism. This involves a mystic who tries to communicate with god through prayer, meditation, etc. They wanted to achieve a direct relationship with god. This is the main idea that drives Hinduism. Another component is reincarnation. This is a Dravidian belief that they introduced. When a person dies his or her soul would be reborn into another life. If you lived your life right you would be reborn into a higher caste. This involved the law of Karma, which is the law that your deeds of your previous life affected your next life. The cycle consisted of Birth->Death- >Rebirth. This cycle went on and on. The main goal of the cycle was to get out of the cycle and be one with Brahman. Brahman was the universe soul, the ultimate reality. It is what unites the whole universe. The goal of Hinduism is to live a good enough life each time so that you can be reborn into a higher caste and eventually be permanently one with Brahman. Atman is what links us to Brahman.


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