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The Aryans and the Vedic Age. Decline of the Indus River Valley civilizations. Harappa and Mohenjo-daro were the largest cities Civilizations participated in long-distance trade Possible causes: Monsoons destroyed irrigation and farming prospects Invasions Long distance trade collapsed.

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The Aryans and the Vedic Age

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The aryans and the vedic age l.jpg

The Aryans and the Vedic Age


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Decline of the Indus River Valley civilizations

  • Harappa and Mohenjo-daro were the largest cities

  • Civilizations participated in long-distance trade

  • Possible causes:

    • Monsoons destroyed irrigation and farming prospects

    • Invasions

    • Long distance trade collapsed


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Aryans

  • Root of the word is arya meaning “noble” or “pure”

  • Spoke an early form of Sanskrit

    • This Indo-European language is closely related to Persian, Latin, Greek and modern Romance languages

    • Nazis glorified Aryans as a superior race because they were credited with this important language development


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Aryans

  • Where did they come from?

    • Most scholars argue that the Aryans descended upon North India through the Hindu Kush around 1500 BC

    • Some scholars now think that they arrived much earlier, and perhaps descended from the Harappan


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Aryans and Vedas

  • Vedas

    • A collection, in multiple volumes, of hymns, rituals, and philosophies

    • The vedas include stories that attempt to explain how the world was created, who the gods are, etc.

    • Thought to be the earliest written texts


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Aryans and Vedas

  • Rig Veda

    • The earliest Veda

    • Originally was recited orally and passed down generation to generation

    • Children began learning the Rig Veda at an early age, would learn to chant each syllable in perfect order


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Aryans and Vedas

  • Portrays Aryans as fierce warriors with military skill

  • Aryans did not spread through India quickly, did not carry out well organized military campaigns

  • Aryans were a collection of tribes who gradually, over generations of warring with each other came to power in North India


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Aryans and Social Order

  • Each tribe was headed by a raja, or chief

  • Priests were next in importance

    • They learned complicated rituals

    • Rituals typically focused on honoring or appeasing the gods


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Aryans and Social Order

  • Warrior class

  • Farmers

  • Non-Aryans made up the lowest class

    • They were not slaves

    • They were only allowed to perform the most menial tasks


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Early Indian Society

  • 1000-500 BC

  • Tribal rajas were no longer necessary because tribal life was in decline

  • Kings controlled large pieces of territory

  • The Aryan-influenced areas extended all the way to the Ganges River


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Caste System

  • The system of dividing society into hereditary groups that limited interaction with each other, especially marriage between castes

  • The hierarchical strata into which Indian society was divided is called varna


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Caste System

  • Brahmans (priests)

  • Kshatriya (warriors and officials)

  • Vaishya (merchants and artisans)

  • Shudra (peasants and laborers)

  • Dalit, or untouchables – outside the caste system


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Caste System

  • Brahman

    • Aryan priests who supported the growth of royal power

    • The only caste that was permitted to perform important, sacred, daily religious rituals


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Caste System

  • Untouchables

    • Were not permitted to participate in or be near religious rituals

    • It is believed that people ended up in this caste as a result of bad karma that accumulated in previous lifetimes

    • Perform(ed) the most menial jobs


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