INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION AND EARLY ARYAN SOCIETY

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1 INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION AND EARLY ARYAN SOCIETY

2 THE GEOGRAPHIC SETTING Indian Subcontinent To North: Impassable Himalayas To East: Passable low hills To Northwest: Passable Hindu Kush, Khyber Pass To West: Arabian Sea Northern Plain of Indus, Ganges Rivers Southern Deccan High plateau, extremely dry Bordered on East and West by mountains Separated from north by river, low mountains The Monsoon Winds Off the land October to April: Dry Season Off the Indian Ocean May to September: Wet Season

3 THE INDUS RIVER CIVILIZATION

4 The Indus River HARAPPAN SOCIETY Runs through north India, sources at Hindu Kush, Himalayas Rich deposits, but less predictable than the Nile Wheat and barley were cultivated in Indus valley Cultivated cotton before 5000 B.C.E. Complex society of Dravidians, 3000/2500 B.C.E. Harappa and Mohenjo-daro Possibly served as twin capitals Each city had a fortified citadel and a large granary Broad streets, market places, temples, public buildings Standardized weights, measures, architecture, bricks Specialized labor and trade Domestic trade, items inc. pottery, tools, metals Trading with Mesopotamians about 2300 to 1750 B.C.E.

5 HARAPPAN SOCIETY/CULTURE Religious beliefs strongly emphasized fertility Many deities were feminine Harappan society declined from 2000 B.C.E. onward Natural catastrophes - floods or earthquakes Population began to abandon their cities by about 1700 B.C.E. Almost entirely collapsed by about 1500 B.C.E Evidence of warfare, invasion

6 The early Aryans ARYANS IN INDIA Pastoral economy (rural life farming, herding) No writing system, but orally transmitted texts called the Vedas Sacred language (Sanskrit) The Vedic Age: 1500 to 500 B.C.E. A fighting period, conflict with indigenous peoples Called indigenous (native) people dasas Indra, the Aryans' war god and military hero Aryan chiefdoms fought ferociously among themselves Aryan migrations in India First settled in the Punjab, the upper Indus River valley Spread east and south from their base After 1000 B.C.E. settled between Himalayan foothills and Ganges Used iron tools and developed agriculture By 500 B.C.E. migrated as far south as the northern Deccan Lost tribal organizations but established regional kingdoms

7 THE CASTE SYSTEM Caste and varna Caste: Hereditary, unchangeable social classes Sanskrit word varna, "color," referring to social classes Social distinctions based on racial skin colors Social distinctions in the late Vedic Age Four main varnas,(colors) recognized after 1000 B.C.E. brahmins (priests) kshatriyas (warriors and aristocrats: rulers) vaishyas (cultivators, artisans, and merchants) shudras (landless peasants and serfs) Later, the (untouchables) was added Caste and social mobility Caste system was capable of accommodating social change Social mobility difficult but still possible Foreign peoples could find a place in society of the castes

8 RISE OF PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY Patriarchal, Patrilineal society Original Aryan Society: women had rights, some were chiefs Changes occurred with change to civilization Men served as priests, warriors, and tribal chiefs Family lines based on male descendants Only males inherit property Men learned the Vedas and received formal education Source: The Lawbook of Manu Prepared 1st century B.C.E. Dealt with moral behavior and social relationships Advised men to treat women with honor and respect Subjected women to the control and guidance of men Women's duties: bear children, maintain the household

9 ARYAN RELIGION The Aryan gods The war god, Indra The gods of the sun, sky, moon, fire, health, etc. The god Varuna - ethical Ritual sacrifices Important Horse sacrifice originally Priests were specialists of ritual sacrifices Ritual sacrifices for rewards from the divine power Spirituality Many Aryans dissatisfied with ritual sacrifices in late Vedic age A shift to spiritual contemplation Thoughtful individuals retreated to forests as hermits Dravidian notions were coopted Transmigration of soul Reincarnation (nirvana)

10 THE RISE OF HINDUISM The Upanishads Works of religious teachings, 800 to 400 B.C.E. The religious forums: dialogues between disciples and sages Brahman: the universal soul Brahman was the only genuine reality Highest goal: to escape reincarnation and join with Brahman Atman: The individual self-soul that is part of Brahman Teachings of the Upanishads Samsara: An individual soul was born many times Dharma: Caste duties Karma: specific incarnations that a soul experienced Moksha: permanent liberation from physical incarnation Religion and Vedic Society Samsara and karma reinforced social hierarchy Upanishads were also spiritual and intellectual contemplations Taught to observe high ethical standards Respect for all living things, a vegetarian diet

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