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HUMA 1770 Lecture Notes - Stupa, Mahayana, Rigveda

Course Code
HUMA 1770
Leo Stan

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-Mountainous north (the Himalayas);
-Fertile river plains (Indus and Ganges)
-Tropical Rainforest
Indus Valley/Harappan Civilization
-Remarkable complexity (the way the city was layed out)
-Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro;
-System of Writing: 400 Distinct Symbols, still undeciphered;
-Daily Life: Farming villages + cities
-Politics: a form of Oligarchy (Rich)
-Religion: Fertility Deity;
-Economy: Agriculture + Extensive Trading;
-Art: Pottery, sculpture, clay seals.
The Aryans and the Vedic Era
1500 to 500 BCE
-Aryans: South-Central Asia; early vision of Sanskrit;
-Aryan Culture: Imperialistic; Patriarchal; Deeply Religious
-Warrior Mentality: (maha)raja & council of elders.
Caste System
-Castes (varnas) ridgidly defined social classes;
-Four Castes
1. Brahmins (Priests, Scholars, Philosophers (Intelectuals))
2.Kshatriyas (Warriors, Politicians)
3.Vaisyas; (Merchants, Farmers that own some land) “Commoners”
4.Sudras; (Servants in the House) “Outsiders”
+”the untouchables.”
-Castes’ religious ideological foundation;
-Advantages: Social Stability + clearly assigned roles + caste related
-Disadvantages: no social mobility + discrimination + no reforms + tyranny
of the few + limited innovation;
Position of Women
-Initial period of quasi-equality (matriarchy?);
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