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Central Asia and India

by: Desiree Notetaker

Central Asia and India History 110a

Desiree Notetaker
Cal State Fullerton
GPA 3.77

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About this Document

Chapter outline, beginning of Unit two
World Civilizations
Class Notes
Indus Valley, world civilization, Central Asia, India, Buddhism, Hinduism, Caste system, Mauryan
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Desiree Notetaker on Sunday March 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to History 110a at California State University - Fullerton taught by in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views.


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Date Created: 03/13/16
CENTRAL ASIA AND INDIA’S BEGININGS  It was discovered, India existed in the mid­300 BCE. Located in plain bordering the Indus and the  Saraswati. The Himalayas separate India and Pakistan from Tajikistan and China. Indus Valley civilization: Farming began around 6000 BCE. By 4000BCE, had a dense population and  numerous fortified farming villages. Preplanning was essential due to soil erosion and flooding. Center of  a trade network that linked with eastern Mediterranean, East Africa, Arabia and other parts of Asia.  Mohenjo,Daro and Harappa were large, carefully constructed walls and enclosed cities. Interior  dimensions of homes were identical. Small statues of gods were found in the house foundations. Some  believe it was a theocracy, explaining how it was so structured. Both cities contain monumental buildings  Declined began. Evidence indicates that landslides changed the course and shifted to drier, cooler  conditions that preventing effective farming. Or the population may have fallen victim to malaria. Or the  land became nonproductive.  Indo­Iranians: Created Persian Empire. Began migrating into the Indus Valley and surrounding areas.  Early Civilizations of Central Asia  Disputes often broke out between pastoralists and farming people. They depended on each other.  Sometimes severe wants or shifts in the balance of power occurred resulting in raiding. Nomadic Indo­ Europeans were constantly prepared for raiding and warfare.  Central Asia – domestication of horse and Bactrian camel, revolutionizing life in Central Asia. Initially  bred for meat and milk but later used for warfare. Land locked. Two major ethnic groups included Indo­ Iranian nomads and Turco­Mongolians.  Three major cities: Taxila, Balkh, and Peshawar. Comprised Bactria (commercial center that linked  caravan routes forming the Silk Road.) Bactria was a natural target of migrants and conquerors.  India’s Vedic Epoch  The Aryans and Indo­Europeans overwhelmed agrarian Indian civilizations. Used Indians as labor to farm and trade. Knowledge of the Aryans comes from ancient oral epics, Vedas. From them we know they  worshipped gods of the sky, used bronze weapons, and horse­drawn chariots for war. Rigveda –the oldest and most important. Illustrates war­loving, violent people led by their chief. Later, they settled down as  agriculturalists probably because of 1) new iron technology for tools and 2) introduction of rice.  Brahmins: the priests. Reserved for Aryans and their pureblooded descendants. One of the highest  classes, including warriors.  Third class was the Vaishya. Included freemen, farmers and traders. The lowest class were peasants.  Caste system: social unit in which individuals are born into. Dictates aspects of daily life. Status cannot  be changed. The untouchables were treated worse than animals. Limited political power to uppermost  ranks. Discouraged/prohibited cultural innovation by those in lower ranks. India was an immobile society  because of this system.  Brahmanism and Hinduism  Hinduism – fourth largest religion.  Brahmanism: earliest form of Hinduism. Brahmins were the priestly caste. More educated people  became alienated from this ritual formalism and sought other explanations for human fate.  th Three new modes of thought by 5  century:  1) Jainism: less a supernatural religion than a philosophy that emphasizes sacredness of all life.  Small number of high­caste people, perhaps 2%  2) Bhakti Hinduism: Insistence on illusory nature of tangible world and acceptance of individual’s  fate in earthly life. The nonmaterial unseen world is real and permanent. The world is a Great  Wheel with epochs, events and lives repeating through reincarnation. Karma has the notion of  order and rightness and has moral dimension. One must strive for good karma by following the  code of morals –dharma.  a. The gods include Brahman, Shiva and Vishnu. (last two are mostly worshipped) b. Moksha: release from reincarnation and final death. Achieved when a person has lived a  life in perfect accord with dharma. End of individuality.  3) Buddhism  Laws of Manu: One’s birth family determines his caste. As relationship of men to women and husbands  and wives. Established that a female’s fundamental dharma in all castes was to obey and serve her  husband and sons.  Buddhism  Began in India as intellectual and emotional revolt against emptiness of Vedic ritualism. Originated as  earthly philosophy. After Buddha’s death, it was turned into supernatural belief system.  Siddhartha Gautama: Buddha, or Enlightened One. Indian aristocrat. Came to terms of existence and  himself after meditation.  Eightfold Path: to nirvana or spiritual bliss. Demanded right ideas, right thought, right speech, right  action, right living, right effort, right consciousness, and right mediation. Released from suffering if steps  are followed.  1) Theravada: emphasizes life in a monastery for both sexes. Rigorous approach to what a good  person who weeks Nirvana must believe. “Pure” form of Buddha’s teachings. Rejects idea of  reincarnation.  2) Mahayana: more liberal in beliefs. There are many ways to salvation. There are many Buddhas.  Mauryan Dynasty  Was able to come to rule after Alexander the Great’s invasion of India. Founder was Chandragupta. The  third and greatest rule was Ashoka –help spread Buddhism. One of the subcontinent’s cultural boosts.  Trade and Spread  Lack of contact was due to high mountain ranges.  Indian merchants introduced SouthwestAsia to Buddhism


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