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MMW 11 Study Guide - Final Guide: Wild Grass, Staff God, Unmixed

Making of the Modern World
Course Code
MMW 11
Page Dubois
Study Guide

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MMW Lecture Notes- India
1. Indus Valley Civilization
2. Aryans
3. Vedic Culture
Important Terms
Relationship with nature- embeddedness, human beings are supposed to be a part of
nature (Asia)
India is the home of the greatest metaphysical and spiritual reflections of the ancient
Love of the body, culture of eroticism- Kamasutra came from india not from this period
of time though
Indus Valley Civilization
o 2300BCE- a civilization that was long lost and forgotten, in 19th century when
these relics were found
o Civilization near indus river and ganges
o The text has not been deciphered yet but cities have been named mohenjo-daro
and Harappa- In Punjab
Different than cities in Mesopotamia.
Didn’t have royal palaces, it was an urban setting with greeneries
Pools used for ritual bathing
Worshipped animals, made penis their god
The had seals that was marked with letters-undeciphered
This culture disappears, some people believe caused by deforestation or
change in climate or change in flow of river or too much demand on land
some people argue it was an invasion from the north
Aryans showed up
Aryans showed up in the Indus Valley Civilization
o Means noble, come from the indo-european tribes- went to Europe and india
(theory- brought their indo-european language which was Sanskrit)
o All languages from Slavic were similar to Sanskrit- may have branched out from
one language
o Came into central asia some went to iran and some went to india- Aryans-
nomadic pastorals (wandering people)

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o Around 1500 BCE,
o Avestan branch became Iranians, Persians,
o Aryans became more militaristic and led by raja and had cavalry,
o They had priests who sacrificed to the gods,
o They had assemblies that governed them, not much left because they were
pastoral, moving
o Soon became agriculturalists, enslaved people which then produces the caste
o Women were held in higher regard in this world, widows could remarry
o They kept pushing south and eastward into the ganges rivers
o 1500BCE-1000BCE moving eastward and finally founded the settlement Dehli,
blending of the indigenous culture and Aryan culture
o Tribal chiefdomships became kingships. Priests somewhat became elite because
they knew the sacred texts(not written down so sacred songs)
o Old tribal assemblies of warriors died down, no oligarchy, became monarchy,
several kingdoms
o Caste(Portuguese)=Varna(means color in Sanskrit)
Vaisya were agricultural people, farmers, common people
Sudras- landless peasants and serfs
Kshatriyas- warriors and aristocrats
Brahmins- Priests
Rules about marrying different castes and eating with them
This stabilizes with a religious doctrine
About origin of caste Passage- (rig Veda) Page 98 first sacrifice,
the gods sacrifice Purusa, justification of class system, his mouth
becomes Brahmins, arms Kshatriyas, other parts and other castes
Vedic culture
o Caste system
o Centered around the Vedas- sacred songs
o Gods of the Vedic People
Varuna=Ouranos(Greek) god of the sky, of water and of the celestial
ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld. He is the most
prominent Asura in the Rigveda, and lord of the heavens and the earth.
Indra god that fights a dragon and unleashes a great flood, war god
Agni- Fire god- sacrificed in the fire ritual
Soma another god, maybe hallucinogen
Sacrifice is seen as the making of the world
o We know this because of the collection of songs called the Rig Veda
o Rig Veda means praise knowledge
Writes down what priests were chanting, they memorized these many
songs 1028 hymns
Theme: Preciousness of animals comes up a lot in the rig veda
Indra is the king of the gods and the great soma drinker
Writings of priest chants

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Great emphasis on ritual, priests become more powerful, called in peoples
houses to perform rituals there
Microcosm- you are reflected on the universe, you are a part of the
Final will be on the second half of the course. 2 essays second essay will ask you to compare first
half and second half. Western civilization alienation from nature development of university and
individualism, questioning of authority, how to arrive at the truth, all of this is different than the
Chinese and indian civilization
Animal Seals- scripts of the indus valley civilization don’t know whether Aryan language
or Dravidian(from south india) language. There is a guy who sits in the yoga position
who may be the predecessor of practices in other religions
Male Figure in Yogic Posture, you see this later in hindu and Buddhist meditation.
Portrait of a Priest- sign of some transfer of imagery, understanding of sovereignty
Young Dancer- has a mobility than Egyptian sculptures, future nature of indian art, more
lively, ancient west had static art
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