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Unformatted text preview: Iran, India, and Inner Asia to 200 C.E. Mr. Bsharah Iran – Ancient Background Geography of Iran Boundaries Iranian plateau Iran as center of east-west trade Elamites Non-Semitic speaking peoples At war with Mesopotamian dynasties “Middle Elamite” period in 12th century B.C.E. Destroyed by Assyrians in 639 B.C.E. Iranians Aryan ancestors around 1100 B.C.E. Pastoralists Medes and Persians Religion – similar to Vedic Aryans Importance of fire, water, sacrifice and cow Importance of moral order Ahura Mazda The “Wise Lord” Similar to Vedic Varuna Zoroaster Zarathustra – 628-551 B.C.E. or 1000 B.C.E.? Gathas Message of moral reform Turn from Lie (druj) to Truth (asha) Warned of a Final Reckoning Good – “future glory” Wicked – “long-lasting darkness” Quasi-monotheistic worship of Ahura Mazda Magi Zoroastrian Influence Zoroastrianism probably influenced Jewish, Zoroastrianism Christian and Muslim ideas of Christian Angels Devils Messiah Last judgment Afterlife Also influence on Buddhist concepts Wiped out as major force in Iran by Islam Parsis in western India today Achaemenids 550-330 B.C.E. Cyrus the Great - r. 559-530 B.C.E. Military career Extraordinary expansion Conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C.E. Symbolic beginning of Achaemenid empire Mesopotamia and Iran under one rule Toleration Enlightened view of empire Allowed Jews to return to homeland Later Achaemenid Rulers
Cambyses – r. 529-522 B.C.E. Conquered Egypt Darius I – 521-486 Empire at its peak Egypt to Sogdiana to Indus valley Susa and Persepolis as capitals Artaxerxes III – r. 359-338 Achaemenid State Tremendous stability Shahanshah – “king of kings” Ahura Mazda’s trust through justice Cultural and religious toleration Powerful army Administrative brilliance Highways Trade, communication and propaganda King’s road – Sardis to Susa Achaemenid Economy Coin-based economy on Lydian model Banking operations Taxation Wages regulated Money-goods equivalences published Agricultural foundation Unprecedented volume of trade Prosperous era marked by expanding markets Pax Achaemenica Indian Political Background Rise of regional states and commercial towns Between 7th-4th centuries Magadha was strongest regional state Bimbisara – d. 493 B.C.E. Centralized state – Achaemenid model? Good roads Able administrators Fair agricultural taxes Bimbisara’s son annexed Kosala Mauryans Chandragupta Maurya – r. 321-297 B.C.E. First Indian unification Took advantage of Alexander’s invasion Treaty with Seleucus Pataliputra as capital Kautilya (Chanakya)– Chandragupta’s advisor “Indian Machiavelli” and Arthashastra? Indian Arthashastra Bindusara – r. 297-272 Conquered Deccan plateau Ashoka – r. 272-232 B.C.E. Grandson of Chandragupta Maurya Bloody conquest of Kalinga Religious conversion Buddhist Middle Path Championed nonviolence – ahimsa Warfare only through righteousness – dharma Dharma officials Concept of Chakravartin Concept Chakravartin Universal monarch who rules with Universal righteousness, justice and wisdom, environmentalist? environmentalist? Mauryan State Mauryan bureaucracy was marked by Centralization, standardization and efficiency Long-distance trade and communication Effective civil and military organization Information gathering Great Mauryan kings associated with new Great religious movements religious Chandragupta and Jains Bindusara and ascetic Ajivikas Ashoka and Buddhism Mauryan Legacy Imperial ideal Strengthened Buddhist movement Strong central administration Cosmopolitan traditions Excellent road system Facilitated internal and external contacts Urbanization Pataliputra, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Prayag Consolidation of Indian Civilization 200 B.C.E.-300 C.E. Economic Base Rise of merchant class and world trade High Culture Marriage of Indian and Hellenistic influences Buddhist stupas of Bharhut and Sanchi Mahabharata and Ramayana in final forms Ramayana Bhagavad Gita Religion and Society Popular devotional cults of Shiva and Vishnu Hindu Tradition Hinduism emerged in this era Three major developments Consolidation of caste system, Branhman Consolidation ascendance, and “high” culture of Sanskrit ascendance, Increasing dominance of theistic devotionalism Increasing – Vishnu and Shiva Vishnu Intellectual reconciliation of new developments Intellectual with older ascetic and speculative traditions from Upanishadic age from Buddhist Tradition Buddhist monastic communities prospered Supported by mercantile and royal patronage Buddhist lay devotion Buddha identified with Indian deities Buddhist worship assimilated into common Buddhist Indian patterns of theistic piety Indian Absorbed into religious variety of Hinduism Buddhism remained only one of many paths Mahayana and Theravada Traditions Seleucids Seleucus – Seleucus Alexander’s general Ruled most of Achaemenid realm New cities – really military colonies Bases for Seleucid control Also cultural exchange Antiochus the Great – r. 311-281 Seleucus’ greatest successor Seleucids never equaled scale of Achaemenid rule Graeco-Persian Fusion Alexander’s dream Linking of Hellenes with Iranians outlasted the Linking political unification of the empire political Hellenistic culture and laws dominated Zoroastrian religious tradition declined Loss of imperial-cult status New Hellenistic influence on individual Less interest in traditions More interest in personal salvation Indo-Greeks Bactria – farthest reach of Hellenization in East Euthydemus – independence from Seleucids Demetrius pushed into Indian Gandhara Gandhara Graeco-Buddhist art Spread of Buddhism into Central Asia Menander or Milinda – r. 155-130 B.C.E. Buddhist convert Buddhist text – The Questions of King Milinda Buddhist The Parthian Culture Empire from Mesopotamia to Arochosia Major Eurasian power alongside Rome Dominated Trade: silk road and monsoon route on Indian Dominated Ocean Ocean Initially Hellenistic Iranian revival in 1st century C.E. Replaced Greek on coins with Parthian and Aramaic Cities reverted to Iranian names Return to Iranian motifs in art Hunt, battle, feast Magi preserved worship of Ahura Mazda Tolerated religious plurality Kushans Kushans led Yueh Chih out of western China Drove Sakas out of Bactria Ended Pahlava rule in northwest India Beginning of long-lasting Indian Kushan dynasty Kanishka – c. 100-150 C.E. Greatest patron of Buddhism since Ashoka Missionary activity - Buddhism into China Graeco-Buddhist art in Ghandara ...
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