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Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization

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Indus Valley Civilization

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  1. Indus Valley Civilization Ancient Roots

  2. Indus Valley Civilization • a Primary Phase Culture • little or no continuity with the following cultures • forgotten until the 19th Century • rediscovered by the British

  3. Harappan Culture • Indus valley • not desert • well-watered and heavily forested • 500 miles along the river valley • 10-20 times larger than Mesopotamia or Egypt

  4. Hydraulic Culture • like Egypt and Mesopotamia • agriculture and flood-control • significant industry and trade • cities very common

  5. Lack of Sources • literate culture • we cannot read the writing • writing on bricks and seals • did not use paper or clay tablets

  6. Reasonable generalizations • rapid development: early 2,000s B.C. • roughly contemporary with Egypt and Mesopotamia • early village culture • changing rapidly to urban civilization

  7. Generalizations, con’t • cities dominated both economic and political activity • origins of the people are unclear • similar to the Mediterranean type

  8. Major Cities • Harappa and Mohenjo-daro • surrounded by smaller cities, towns, and villages • one situated in the north • one situated in the south

  9. Cities, con’t • uniform culture over a wide area • cities built on a common plan • a grid: always NS and EW axes • with twelve smaller grids • kiln-dried bric

  10. Monumental architecture • very-large scale building • walled cites, with fortified citadels • always on the same scale • palaces, temples

  11. Architecture, con’t • large grain storage facilities near temples • a theocracy ?? • planned economy

  12. Cities • very densely populated • houses: two to three stories • every house is laid out the same

  13. Culture and Society • advanced agriculture • surplus production • textiles: wool and cotton • domesticated animals and fish

  14. Bronze Age technology • no swords • spears and bows • stone arrow heads

  15. Society • dominated by priests ? • from the fortified palaces and temples ? • power base: fertility ? • deities: male and female, both nude • bull worship and phallic symbols

  16. Trade • with lower Mesopotamia • but gradually declined

  17. Decline • domination of an indigenous people ? • who rebelled ? • foreign invasion? • gradual decline ?

  18. Combination of Changes • climate shift: the monsoon patterns • flooding • destruction of the forests • migrations of new peoples: the Aryans

  19. The Aryan Invasions • Indus civilization on the verge of collapse • about 1500 B.C. • settlement by a nomadic people • the Aryans

  20. The Aryans • not to be confused with Hitler’s “Aryans” • not a “race” • “race” is a 19th century idea • an incorrect way of thinking of people

  21. The Aryans, con’t • they called themselves “Aryans” • their land: “Aryavarta” • land of the Aryans

  22. Gradual settlement • over a long period of time • gradual infiltration • more primitive than the earlier culture

  23. Settlement, con’t • new society by 1,200 B.C. or so • little evidence • not literate • no record system

  24. Oral Tradition • passed down from priests and singers • written down in the 500’s • The Vedas • “Veda” means “knowledge”

  25. The Vedas • our primary source • early Aryan tradition • later Hindu religion • four “vedas” • the Rig Veda

  26. The Vedas • oral poetry • come to have a sacred character • provide some historical information

  27. The Aryans • restless, warlike people • tall, blue-eyed, fair-skinned • describe the indigenous population as • short, black, noseless, and slaves

  28. The Aryans, con’t • originally pastoralists • family, clan, tribe (typical Indo-Europeans) • eventually settled down to farming • living in villages

  29. The Aryans, con’t • villages and kingdoms constantly fighting • warchiefs and kings • aristocrats and freemen

  30. The Aryans, con’t • fond of fighting, drinking, chariot racing, gambling chasing women and bragging • any modern comparisons ??? • fond of taking soma • a psychedelic drug • probably psychotropic mushrooms

  31. Aryans and Hindus • Aryans give rise to Hindu society • but different characteristics • cows: they ate them • classes, but no castes • priests subordinate to the nobility • the Mahabharata

  32. The Iron Age: new sources • the Vedas: passed on orally • the Brahamanas: interpretations on the Vedas • the Upanishads: interpretations and symbolic studies • forerunners of later dissenting literature

  33. Strain of change • Iron Age change causes strain on the class system • blurring of lines between Aryans and Daas • answered with the caste system

  34. Caste System • skin color • ritual purity • “Us vs. Them” feelings • divine order of four castes

  35. Caste System (“Varnas”) • Brahmins: the priests • Kshatriyas: the warriors • Vaisyas: merchants and peasants • Sudras: non-Aryans

  36. Caste system, con’t • produced by Brahmins • literature emphasized the divine order • hierarchical relationship • inheritance and marriage

  37. Caste system in practice • warrior class did not always accept it • nor the other classes • the process of evolution is still going on • the most powerful organizer of Indian society • thousand of castes today

  38. Castes • define a person’s social universe • define a person’s standard of conduct • define a person’s expectations • define a person’s future • define how a person deals with others