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Early Indian Civilizations. From Neolithic Origins to 300 CE. Agenda. Notes- Early India, Religion & Culture, Mauryan Empire Discussion- Laws of Manu, Hinduism & Buddhism Small Group- Networks of Exchange Quiz 4 (Qin and Han). Introduction. Israel. Mesopotamia. China. Egypt.

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early indian civilizations
Early Indian Civilizations
  • From Neolithic Origins to 300 CE
  • Notes- Early India, Religion & Culture, Mauryan Empire
  • Discussion- Laws of Manu, Hinduism & Buddhism
  • Small Group- Networks of Exchange
  • Quiz 4 (Qin and Han)





Early India

  • Indian subcontinent produced three major religious traditions
  • India retained fundamental social stability despite political upheaval
  • Functioned as matrix for networks of trade and cultural diffusion
early india
Early India
  • “India”- Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka
  • Geographic borders- Indian Ocean, Himalayas
  • River systems- Indus and Ganges Rivers
the indus civilization
The Indus Civilization
  • 2500-1500 BCE
  • Civilization appeared along Indus River
  • Repeated earlier Mesopotamian pattern (Neolithic farmers- river valley- cities)
  • Harappa/ Mohenjo-Daro
the indus civilization1
The Indus Civilization
  • Urban centers had writing system, standard weights
  • First to domesticate chickens, grow cotton for textiles
  • Used copper, bronze for tools
  • Trade established with Mesopotamia


mohenjo daro artifact
Mohenjo-Daro- Artifact
  • What inferences can be made about this artifact?
  • For what purpose was it created?
early vedic age
Early Vedic Age
  • 1900-1000 BCE
  • Arrival of the Aryans (conquerers, slow infusion)
  • Put an end to Indus civilization
  • Conquered, assimilated, or drove native Dravidians to southern India
early vedic age1
Early Vedic Age
  • Aryans were...
  • Indo-Europeans, spoke Sanskrit, used chariots
  • Pastoral people, counted wealth in cattle
  • Effective warriors , used horse-drawn chariots
early vedic age2
Early Vedic Age
  • Aryan priests- Brahmans (high place in society)
  • Gods- Indra, Agni, Varuna, Mitra
  • Varnas (social classes)- Nobles, commoners, non-Aryan conquered people
later vedic age
Later Vedic Age
  • 1000-600 BCE
  • Aryans had mastered iron metallurgy
  • Some states were oligarchic republic
  • Led by Raja (king)
  • Taxes, building projects common
later vedic age1
Later Vedic Age
  • Three pillars of society- village, caste, and family
  • Formation of the caste system (From Brahman to Untouchable)
  • Three-generation household led by patriarch (Laws of Manu)


the laws of manu
The Laws of Manu
  • Read the excerpts from the Laws of Manu.
  • Discussion- Explain the importance of social classes in early India.
religion and culture 600 320 bce
Religion and Culture 600-320 BCE
  • The Upanishads (texts that form the basis of Hinduism) introduced new concepts
  • Transmigration of the soul
  • Karma, Dharma, Samsara
  • Soul seeks union with Brahman
religion and culture 600 320 bce1
Religion and Culture 600-320 BCE
  • The Jains, defenders of all beings
  • Jainism, “most Indian” of non-Vedic religions
  • All beings have souls, jiva
  • Ahimsa, non-violence, requires respect for all forms of life
  • Small numbers, very influential
religion and culture 600 320 bce2
Religion and Culture 600-320 BCE
  • Buddhism- The Middle Way
  • Gautama Buddha- experienced the “Great Awakening”
  • Gave “Four Noble Truths”
  • Suffering dominates experience, caused by desire, ends when nirvana is achieved, path leads to nirvana
religion and culture 600 320 bce3
Religion and Culture 600-320 BCE
  • “The Noble Eightfold Path”
  • Accept and act according to the Four Noble Truths
  • Words and deeds in accordance with the Five Moral Precepts
  • Importance of meditation
religion and culture 600 320 bce4
Religion and Culture 600-320 BCE

1. Right view or understanding

5. Right livelihood- based on correct action, ideal society

2. Right attitude- acting from love and compassion

6. Right effort- complete or full effort, energy or vitality

3. Right speech- clear, truthful communication

7. Right mindfulness- complete or thorough awareness of yourself, others

4. Right action- non-exploitation of others

8. Right concentration- be fixed, absorbed in or established at one point.

religion and culture 600 320 bce5
Religion and Culture 600-320 BCE
  • Buddhists revere Buddha’s teachings
  • Monks- wear yellow or orange robes , live in monastic communities
  • Monks who reached nirvana known as arhats
  • Buddhism universal in its approach
hinduism and buddhism
Hinduism and Buddhism
  • Discussion-
  • Explain the similarities.
  • Explain the differences.
the mauryan empire
The Mauryan Empire
  • 326-184 BCE
  • Founded by Chandragupta Mauryan
  • At peak, ruled most of Indian subcontinent
  • Enlarged territory after defeating Alexander the Great’s successor
the mauryan empire2
The Mauryan Empire
  • Capital at Patna, large sophisticated city
  • Most effective government until British rule
  • Provinces, districts, villages, all under legal code
  • 700,000-man army
the mauryan empire3
The Mauryan Empire
  • Ashoka- India’s Greatest King (269-232 BCE)
  • Adopted principle of ahimsa
  • Enlightened lawgiver, convert to Buddhism
  • Helped spread Buddhism beyond India
the mauryan empire4
The Mauryan Empire
  • The fall of the empire began immediately after Ashoka’s death (5 centuries of anarchy)
  • Invaders took advantage- Bactrian Greeks, Kushans
  • Possibilities- reaction to Buddhism, nonviolence left India vulnerable
emergent hinduism
Emergent Hinduism
  • 200 BCE- 300 CE
  • Tolerant religion- cycle of birth, death, and rebirth
  • Accumulation of good actions aids in the cycle
  • Beliefs in karma, dharma, and reincarnation gave support to caste system
emergent hinduism1
Emergent Hinduism
  • Vishnu- pacific father-god, comforter, savior, appeared in human form nine times
  • Shiva- cosmic force of change that destroys to build anew (spouse- Parvati)
  • Devi- goddess, appears as tender mother, ferocious warrior
emergent hinduism2
Emergent Hinduism
  • Mahabharata- world’s longest work of literature
  • Similar to the Iliad
  • Includes the Bhagavad-Gita (stressed performance of duty)
  • Krishna reveals wisdom
buddhism after the buddha
Buddhism after the Buddha
  • Mahayana Buddhism (“Great Vehicle” Movement)
  • Began 100 BCE in response to Buddhism
  • Stressed dharma, compassion for others
  • Spread to Tibet, Korea, Japan, China
buddhism after the buddha1
Buddhism after the Buddha
  • Theravada Buddhism- older form of Buddhism
  • Stressed attainment of nirvana
  • Seeks to eliminate separate identity and attain absorption into spirit
  • Spread to Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia
networks of exchange
Networks of Exchange
  • Research and bring in an item that was traded in the Indian Ocean Trading network.
  • What is your item?
  • Where was your item produced? Where was it traded to?
  • Analyze the significance of your item in the global network.
networks of exchange1
Networks of Exchange
  • Extensive east-west trade
  • Han China, India, Roman Empire, and others
  • Trade via caravan route across Asia
  • Trade via sea route facilitated by monsoons
networks of exchange2
Networks of Exchange
  • Romans sought luxury goods- cotton, silk, ivory, pearls, spices
  • Indian built magnificent palaces
  • Middlemen (Parthians, Kushans) profited
  • Travelers, envoys, pilgrims, missionaries followed
  • Three major religions evolved in India- Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism
  • Indian philosophy tends to justify and explain social order
  • Classical Indian religion, philosophy, and traditions endure today
quiz 4
Quiz 4
  • Provide a 2-3 sentence response to each question including historical evidence and perspective.
  • 1. What are the Vedas and what do they teach us about early Indian societies?
  • 2. Define karma, dharma, and the transmigration of the soul, and explain how these concepts related to the social structure of early India.
  • 3. Compare the political, social and economic contributions of Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka.