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Ancient India

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  1. Ancient India Geography, Aryan Migration, ancient Empires, and Hinduism and Buddhism

  2. Geography of India Indus River Harappa Ganges Mohenjo-Daro

  3. Geography of India Hindu Kush Mtns. Himalaya Mtns. Indus River Harappa Ganges Mohenjo-Daro

  4. Physical barriers that protected India from invasion • The first settled communities were located along the Indus River Valley • This location also provided them with protection • To the north the Hindu Kush and Himalaya Mountains • To the south the Indian Ocean

  5. So how then did people migrate to the Indus River Valley? • Groups migrated into the Indus Valley through the Khyber Pass • A mountain pass that allowed people safe passage into the valley

  6. Origins of Indian Civilization • The earliest civilizations began along the Indus and later spread to the Ganges • The first major cities were Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro (both along the Indus)

  7. Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro • The city of Harappa (ca. 3000 BCE) and Mohenjo-Daro (ca. 2500 BCE) are located in modern-day Pakistan along the Indus River • The two cities had a combined population of nearly 70,000 • The two cities arguably had the most advanced infrastructure for the time • Example: Grid-patterned layout, standardized weights and measures, etc.

  8. Aryan Migration • The Aryans were Indo-Europeans herders • Constantly searching for water and pasture for their horse and cattle • They utilized chariots and bow and arrows • Most of what historians know of the Aryan’s comes from the Vedas (written by the Aryans and a sacred text of Hinduism)

  9. Aryan Migration • The Aryans took over the Indus Valley and instituted the Caste System • The Caste System was a rigid social structure that organized society by specific classes

  10. Aryan Migration • Each person was born into a caste which determined your job, friends, spouse, and social standing • You could not change your caste except through reincarnation (rebirth)

  11. Hinduism • Hinduism is the oldest “living” religion in the world (originated at least 3500 years ago) • It is the 3rd largest religion in the world today with over 1 billion followers • 70% of people living in India are Hindu (approx.. 700 million)

  12. Hinduism • There is no single founder or sacred text • It is also difficult to classify in that Hindus believe in many forms of one god (while there are millions of gods they are simply different manifestations of Brahman)

  13. Hinduism: Beliefs • Hindus believe in an all-powerful force known as Brahman • It is the source of all matter (everything) • It is manifested in everything

  14. Hinduism: Beliefs • While Hindus believe Brahman is the source and existence of all being they also believe is Atman • Atman is the “true self” or soul but is not distinct or separate from Brahman • The goal of Hinduism is to unite atman and brahman

  15. Hinduism: Beliefs • When you unite atman with brahman your spirit is freed, this is known as moksha • To reach moksha you must free yourself of desires and you must lose the concept of self • Moksha cannot be accomplished in one life-time

  16. Hinduism: Karma and Reincarnation • Moksha relies on both karma and reincarnation • Karma is the belief that our thoughts and actions carry consequence • One’s karma affects their reincarnation or rebirth

  17. Hinduism: Purpose of Life • The four objectives of human life according to Hinduism are known as the Purusarthas: • Dharma: religious and moral duties (includes karma) • Artha: material pursuits • Kama: pursuit of sensual please • Moksha: liberation from samsara (wheel of rebirth)

  18. Hinduism: Sacred Texts • While there are many sacred texts in Hinduism the most recognized are the Vedas and Upanishads • The Vedas were written by the Aryans and is the earliest and most sacred • It deals mostly with Hindu rituals and history • The Upanishads are later and focus on the teachings of Hinduism (brahman, atman, samsara, etc.)

  19. Hinduism: Holy Days • Diwali is the most popular Hindu holy day and the most popular festival in South Asia • It is known as the Festival of Lights • It lasts for five days and involves fireworks, lights, dancing and lots of food (particularly sweets) • It celebrates the victory of good over evil (knowledge over ignorance) and is a reaffirmation of hope

  20. Hinduism: How did the religion spread? • Hinduism unlike many other ancient religions spread for the most part peacefully, not through war, conquest or missionaries but through trading

  21. Mauryan Empire (321-185 BCE) • The Mauryan Empire developed around 322 BCE after the westward withdrawal of Alexander the Great • The Mauryan Empire is believed to be the largest empire in the history of the India (around 50-60 million)

  22. Mauryan Empire • The Mauryan’s reached their greatest height under Emperor Asoka (Ashoka) • Asoka converted to Buddhism, which was a shift away from Jainism for the Mauryans • This led to an increase in peace and prosperity

  23. Mauryan Empire • The Mauryan’s unified the people of India and were responsible for spreading Buddhism throughout South and Southeast Asia • The Mauryan’s also established free hospitals, veterinary clinics, and roads • The Mauryan Empire dissolved shortly after Asoka’s death and the rise of Shunga dynasty

  24. Gupta Empire (320-550 CE) • The Gupta Empire marks the “Golden Age” of classical Indian culture • Time of peace and prosperity in India • The Gupta Empire were also credited advancements in math, science, and the arts

  25. Gupta Empire: Contributions • Mathematic contributions included the concept of zero and Arabic numerals* • *Credited to Islam but later historians discovered derived from India • Medical advancements: re-setting and casting bones

  26. Gupta Empire: Contributions • Advancements in Science: first civilization to discover the Earth is round • Technology and Literature: created advancements in textiles and literature (erotic poetry and romantic comedies)