World History Chapter 6 Notes - A.P World History Chapter...

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A.P. World History: Chapter Six Foundations of Indian Civilization, 1500 B.C.E. 300 C.E. I.The Indian Subcontinent A.India is called a subcontinentbecause it is a large and physically isolated landmass within the continent of Asia. 1.It is set off from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas in the north and the Indian Ocean in the east, west, and south. 2.India can be divided into three topographical zones. a.The mountainous northern zone has forests and meadows on the edge of the Hindu Kush and Himalaya ranges. b.The next zone is the great basins of the Indus and Ganges Rivers, whose floods overflow banks and create plains. c.The third zone is divided from northern India by the Vindhya Range and the Duncan, an arid, rocky plateau. 3.The rim of mountains protects India from cold Arctic winds and gives the subcontinent a subtropical climate. a.The most dramatic source of moisture is the monsoon(seasonal wind). 4.The ocean surrounding the peninsula has not been a barrier to travel and trade. 5.Because writing from the time of the Indus Valley civilization has not been deciphered, it’s impossible to trace Indian civilization to it. II.The Vedic Age A.Historians call the period from 1500 or 500 B.C.E. the “Vedic Age,” after the Vedas, religious texts that are our main source of information about the period. 1.The foundations for Indian civilization were laid in the Vedic Age.
2.During this age, small patriarchal societies lived depending on cattle and gardening. a.After 1000 B.C.E., some of these groups pushed east into the Ganges Plain. 3.There was a bitter rivalry between two groups of people: the Aryas (light-skinned and of Indo-European languages) and the Dasas (dark-skinned and of Dravidian languages). a.The Aryas pushed the Dasas south into central and southern India, where their descendants still live. B.Over time, a system of varna (literally “color,” though eventually meant “class”) was created.1.Individuals were born into one of four classes: a.Brahmin: the group comprising of priests and scholars b.Kshatriya: warriors and officials c.Vaishya: merchants, artisans, and landowners d.Shudra: peasants and laborors (may have been reserved for the Dasas) 2.A fifth group was added called the Untouchables, which were excluded from the class system and avoided. 3.The Brahmin could explain why the hierarchy existed. a.They believed a primordial creature named Purusha allowed itself to be sacrificed. b.From its mouth came the Brahmin priests. c.From its arms came the Kshatriya warriors. d.From its thighs came the Vaishya landowners and merchants. e.From its feet came the Shudra workers. 4.Within the class divisions were subdivisions called jati, or birth groups. a.These are sometimes called castes. b.Each jati had its proper occupation, duties, and rituals, and only had interactions with their own group.

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