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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Ancient India

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York University
HUMA 1770
William Gleberzon

Lecture 4 1 May 11th, 2011 Video: The Story of India (Volume 1)  Pakistan = used to be part of India, but now an independent country  India’s first city grew from a river (Indus)  Harappa: 300-500BC o Height of civilization 900-1900BC with 200000 population  Sailed to Persian Gulf to trade  Indus city died, left urban, went back to the city Ancient India  India is the first area to be settled after the migration of Africa  Human there for 7000 years (Neolithic revolution happened here)  The Indus Valley Civilization o 2 of the greatest city = Harappa, Mohenjodaro  The Aryan Age o Outside invaders took over the area  The Age of the Rajas (in the classical periods) Gateway at Harappa / Mohenjodaro  Along Indus river  Plants-city  Right angled streets  Citied out for defence  Public pools/baths = central eating place for poor people o Had a religious function  Mohenjodaro had the first sanitary system The Indus Valley Civilization Mode of Production  Large area of land for cultivation  Excess of grain in-stored  Complex merchandise trade system  Craft making  Use of boats and carts, and wheels  Cultivated wheat and barley  Populated by Azans and traders Cities  Systematically planned ahead of time and then built (architecture)  Wide spread of arts and crafts industry o Sculptures, potteries – traded along the river Map  A period of decline after 1500 BCE, why?  Wide-spread drought lasted for years from rain (depended on for agriculture)  City couldn’t sustain themselves Lecture 4 2 May 11th, 2011  No direct connection of that language because no point to pass on for successor since city is gone The Aryan Age  Invaded from the North  Along Ganges Valley, flows to the East (where Bangladesh is)  Lush area, but needed to be clear  Aryans established iron, used to clear jungle/vegetation to create arable land  Migrated eastward along Ganges Valley and established agriculture  Vedic age = form the basis of Hindu religion The Original Caste System  Rigid hierarchy of castes where people are assigned position of status based on their occupation  1 = kshatriyas (warrior)  2 = Brahmans (priests) o Most important  Born into a particular place and pursue one of the occupation, you will continue that occupation  Castes add on with new forms of occupation/labour  Very welcoming to newcomers  Caste division = social class institutionalize, not racial Hinduism  Hymphs passed down as scriptures  Emerges as dominant religion – incorporating and putting into the practices  Life is one, all others have soul  Reincarnation = after life  In sin = live as a worm crushed by sandals  Central to consequence of human behaviour  Karma (western conceptual of sin)  Rewarded in after life if behaviour on earth is nice The Maurya Empire  Along Gange river  King Chandragupta = unifier of India o Defeated one of Alexander’s general o Had further expansion to Greek o Military leader  Alexander’s empire fell, divided into 4 parts  Unify economy with single currency o Time period in which unified unit of exchange  Had self-control, conquered self senses, respect elders, use spies  Golden age in India  King Asoka o Converted to new religion Buddhism o A military leader o Horrified by violence in warfare  4 noble truths of Buddha o Life as we know it leads to suffering o Life is pain Lecture 4 3 May 11th, 2011 o Reaches enlightenment is to follow what Buddha lays out  Speak well, choose life that doesn’t harm others  Will lead you out of suffering o A moral code designed to regulate human behaviour Asoka’s Pillars  Communicate the idea of Buddhism  Buddhism existed 400-500 years before he reigned in India  High level of tolerance of religion in India at this period Map  Large empire Ancient China: Dynasties  Similar to river-based civilization  The Mythic Xia o A myth, legend, very little known about o No written record at this time o First record appears 2000 years after  The Shang o Written history began in China, have some account in details o Very sketchy, not know a lot of time o Kings were military leader o Very fragmented at this period in China o Polytheistic = believe in diff number of gods o Have diff ancestors worship  The Zhou o Long lived, lasted 800 years with interruption in the middle o Closer to modern era o A break in the middle o Western Zhou o Eastern Zhou o Empire is a feudalistic state o More centralized form of political government o Powerful centralized state = key principle of dynasties o Large centralized empire decline over time, but hold on until they collapse  The Qin o Short lived, but very influential o Founder = China’s first emperor, most powerful o First to unify modern day China into 1 single empire o Ended decentralized feudal system o Controlled 36 district o Unified coinage o Standardized written Chinese language o Major building project  Constant characteristic of Chinese history = unify area of China Lecture 4 4 May 11th, 2011 Characteristics of Chinese Dynasties  Centralized state led by emperor, supported by nobilities (become less important) replaced by bureaucracies who advise the emperor to carry out policies of state  Large peasantry of agricultural workforce to produce surplus  Artisans merchants – craft producing, trading civilization  The Mandate of Heaven = how emperor gains support/trust of people o Emperor is semi-divine, provide to the needs of people
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