c4india - Classical India After the Harappans • Sometime...

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Unformatted text preview: Classical India After the Harappans • Sometime after 2000, new‐comers, Indo‐Aryan tribes established themselves in India. • Aryan from Arya = ‘noble.” • Indo‐Aryan conquest of India took a long time and never resulted in the complete subjugation of all of its peoples. • By first part of 1st millennium BC, Indo‐Aryans had colonized the Ganges basin. After about 800, they began to occupy the Deccan (the triangular peninsula). Early Indo‐Aryan Society • Early Indo—Aryans were pastoral and apparently patriarchal. • Each tribe led by a Raj or Raja (related to the Celtic Rig and Latin Rex). • Compensation for offenses. • Responsible for Sanskrit, the first written language of India that we can read. Society (continued) • Early traditions suggest that a ordered division of society into 4 classes began at this time. • Brahman — priests • kshatriya — warriors • vaishya — artisan/merchant! Herdsman • shudra — servant/peasant • Slavery was not important in early India, although a type of dependency akin to serfdom was widely practiced. • The full emergence of a caste system, with its untouchables is, however, much later—medieval rather than ancient. Some Early Indian (Hindi) gods • • • • • • Dyaus: the shining sky Varuna: the sky or heavens (holding all) Asura (Ahura—Mazda) Mitra (Mithras) Surya: the sun’s golden disk Indra: a warrior god. Early Hindu Religious Texts • Yajurveda: a sacrificial manual for priests. • Atharvaveda: a collection of charms and spells for healing, arousing passion, etc. • Rigveda: a collection of poems to the gods. • Samaveda: a collection of poems and hymns, many taken from the Samaveda. The Epics • Two historical epics were compiled about the time of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and written in Sanskrit. • The Mahabharata: a tale of rivalry and marriage ending in a large battle in which almost everyone is killed. • The Ramayana: a love story. The Upanishids • The Upanishids, a series of dialogues between student and teacher about the meaning of life. The basic ideas expressed are: • • • • Absolute being of the World soul. Impermanence of material life. Cycle of rebirth of individual souls. Chance of escape form this cycle though union with the World soul (Nirvana). Buddhism • Gautama (c. 563—483), the founder of Buddhism, was the son of a minor king or chief. • After studying for years in frustration, he had a revelation: all idea of self is an illusion. There is no world soul, all of the universe is in a state of flux. The universe is becoming, never being. • Doctrine of Karma maintained, one’s actions can affect others not yet born. • Buddhism later divided into two schools, the greater and lesser vehicles, Mahayana and Hinayana, respectively. Jainism • The founder, Mahavira (c. 540‐468), or “great hero” was a younger contemporary of the Buddha. • Like Buddha, he rejected the concept of the World Soul: individual souls are held in bondage in matter. • The only way out of the cycle of birth and death is utter passivity: take no action at all. Earliest Indian Empire • Indus valley became part of Persian empire. • After the death of Alexander the Great, an Indian leader named Chandragupta Maurya emerged as the ruler of northern India. • The Mauryan dynasty he founded would endure until 183 BCE. The Mauryan Dynasty (322‐184) • A real empire with bureaucracy and well— trained standing army trained after the Macedonian fashion. • Under Chandragupta’sgrandson, Ashoka, (273—232), most of India was united for the first time in its history. He patronized and hence was responsible for the export of Buddhism to Ceylon, Burma, Nepal. • The last Maurya ruler was assassinated in 184. ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/07/2010 for the course HIS 1000 taught by Professor Anderson during the Winter '10 term at Wayne State University.

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