Classical India
Chapter #3
AP World History
Key Events- Ancient India
Early River Valley Civilization Approx. 5000BCE
– River & tributaries are fed by seasonal monsoon rains
– Like the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates rivers, the flooding
Indus River brought rich soil for agriculture.
By 3000BCE:
– Irrigation key technology
– Cultural Hearth develops
Rise of cities & civilizations
– Indus/Harappan 2800-1800BCE
– Mohenjo-Daro
Mauryan BCE & Gupta Empires CE
Origin of major religions, Hinduism,
Buddhism, & Jainism
Up to 100k!
“Political” : State Building ,
Expansion, & Conflict:
structures & forms of governance
Type of system
– Indus/Harappan: (Approx. 2800-1800 B.C.E.) Little
is known, but city construction points to wellorganized government.
– Aryans: (1500-500 B.C.E.) Warriors, Politically,
fragmented, separate kinship groups, independent
groups, fought native Dravidians, Had a Chief
called “Raja” military/religious structure.
P: State Building , Expansion,
& Conflict cont….
– Mauryan: (322-185 B.C.E.) Chandragupta
Maurya united most of India because of
Alexander the Great’s invasion. He was a
monarch who ruled with help of a large
imperial army, grandfather of Ashoka who
conquered more and turned to Buddhism.
Had a centralized government
– Gupta Empire: (320-480 C.E.) Samudraguptra
(ruled 335-375) and his son Chandragupta II
(375-415) Monarchy, but less centralized,
smaller regional government than Mauryan.
The Indus/Harappan Civilization
2800 BCE - 1800 BCE
Aryan Migration
 pastoral  depended on their cattle.
 warriors  horse-drawn chariots.
The Mauryan Empire
321 BCE – 185 BCE
Gupta Empire 320-480 C.E.
Creation, expansion, and interaction of
“Economic” systems
Agricultural & pastoral production
– Indus/Harappan: Advanced system of wheat, rye, peas, (rice?)
Cotton was cultivated, domesticated animals: chickens, cattle, goats,
– Aryans: Invading Greeks wrote, “good pastures & fruits.”
– Mauryan : Large state farms, granaries
– Gupta Empire: Cash Crops: sugar, cotton, pepper, & cinnamon
Trade & Commerce
– Indus/Harappan: The agricultural success allowed cities like MohenjoDaro & Harappa to develop into major trading centers, (Small carts)
Contacts in Mesopotamia, China, S.E. Asia, S. India, & Afghanistan!
Port of Lothal, important, 700 foot dock!
– Aryans: Great trade city of Taxila (As described by the Greeks)
– Mauryan: Large state farms, granaries, shipyards, and spinning and
weaving factories.
– Gupta Empire: Busy trade route between Middle East & China came
under the protection of the Gupta Empire.
Creation, expansion, and interaction
of “Economic” systems cont…
Labor system
– Indus/Harappan: Judging by the size of the cities,
jobs were extensive, but craftsman seemed inferior to
those in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
– Aryans: Non-Aryans worked similar to slaves, plus
there were slaves too.
– Indus/Harappan: Casted tools, weapons in bronze,
but lacked swords, stone for arrowheads, tips of
swords were too tin to be effective
– Aryans: Great trade city of Taxila
– Mauryan : Capital city of Pataliputra, 22 miles of
wooden walls, 570 towers, & 64 gates
Development & Interaction of
“Religions” Founder, Sacred text, Key beliefs, Sacred Place, Sacred
structure, Universal or ethnic, Diffusion/ spread, why?
– Indus/Harappan: Polytheism, Priests (ruling class) meditation btwn
people & dods. Little known about gods, but one of the gods is depicted
on seals naked with a horned head, in a posturing position (yoga) a
mother goddess also
– Aryans: (Vedic and Epic ages) brought to India distinctive religious
ideas of early Brahman, which became Hinduism/Buddhism/Jainism
– Mauryan: Buddhism became the main religion in India temporarily when
Ashoka was king. Missionaries sent to other countries.
– Gupta: Brought back Hinduism as the country’s ‘religion’ bought
tolerated all faiths.
Belief systems, Philosophies, & ideologies- Hinduism, Jainism,
Buddhism (Comparison)
Science & Key Technologies- Indus/Harappan: sophisticated sewage
system with canals,
Development & Interaction of
Science & Key Technologies- Indus/Harappan: sophisticated sewage system with
canals, house plumbing
– Aryans: Fast 2-wheeled chariots, bronze swords & spears, later iron too defeat
– Mauryan: Ashoka’s building of roads, with trees, and watering holes/wells for
humans and animals alike.
– Gupta- Arabic numerals were actually from India; “place-value” notation based on
10 system (Eurasia)
Architecture/Buildings- Indus/Harappan: 34 foot wide streets! Huge Baths, well
organized cities & Fortified granaries, bricks throughout region 4x2x1.
– Mauryan: Pillar Edicts w/ 3 Lions (Now the national symbol of India), 84, 000
stupas, huge rock edicts (billboards) along roads/trade routes
Art -Indus/Harappan: Little art except for carved figurines of people & animals
– Aryans: Mostly Religious items
– Mauryan : Pillar Edicts & Lions- 1st examples of Indian Art to survive since Indus
– Gupta- Kings were patrons of the arts, Sanskrit preserved, Famous Poet
Kalidasa (380-459), Wrote poems in verse, best works: Shakuntala and The
Cloud Messenger.
The Vedas
 1200 BCE-600 BCE.
 written in SANSKRIT.
 Hindu core of
Rig Veda  oldest work
hymns and poems.
religious prayers.
magical spells.
lists of the gods
and goddesses.
Theravada Buddhism
Religion in India Today
Development & transformation
of social structures “Culture”
Gender Roles and relations (Women’s roles, status of Elite,
non elites)
– Dravidian: Appeared to have a Matrilineal society
– Aryans: A lot to do with social status, (early tribes shared
leadership), seemed to have been treated favorably than
later Indian society. When line of succession started to go
throw the male line, women began losing their status.
– Mauryan: Government controlled prostitution
Family & kinship (Clans) & Racial & Ethic
constructions/Ethnic classes
– Later Code of Manu & Hindu Caste system
Social & Economics classes
– Indus/Harappan: Evidence points to the existence of social
classes (Houses different sizes, stories, larger had brick
ovens, courtyard & a well)
A priestly class ruled cities,
Development & transformation
of social structures “Culture” cont..
Social & Economics classes
– Aryans: 1st came – 1) Raja, 2) Priest, 3) warrior
nobility, 4) common tribesman, then 5) non-aryans
worked like slaves
2nd came the (Caste system, hereditary,
unchangeable) “Varna” (color) describes classes
(See diagram) “Jati” further division in groups
Purpose: to enforce rules about social behavior.
– Mauryan : Under Buddhism, caste system wavered,
King and some officials, but after Mauryan failedCode of Manu: laid down Family Caste system (150
– Gupta: Caste System returned with Hinduism & Code
of Manu
Varna (Social Hierarchy)
Highest- Priests &
Thighs, landOwners, _______
– Purusha’s armsWarriors & gov’t
Pariahs [Harijan]  Untouchables
Development & transformation
of social structures “Culture”
– Language: Indus??, Native Dravidian;
Aryans: spoke an early version of Sanskrit
– Writing system:
Indus/Harappan: (400+ symbols) Writing still
Aryans: Sanskrit writing, (Rigveda) earliest Indian
Literature, consisted of epics and religious texts.
– Some Arabic writing came into India via Persian invasion
513 BCE.
Mauryan: Ashoka’s Rock & Pillar Edicts
Harappan Writing
Undecipherable to date.
“Interactions” between
Humans and environment
Population Change (Demography) – Huge population increase over the
Aryan, Mauryan, & Gupta civilizations.
Diseases- None noted, but possibly, something brought down the
– Indus/Harappan: Came from? Went?
– Aryans: Came from north of the Black Sea area around 1000BCE, by
500BCE they were Deccan Plateau at first were herders, farmers,
warriors, priests
– Mauryan: This empire came about because of the Alexander the
Great’s invasion/migration, and setting up a country in Bactria,
Chandragupta defeated Seleucus one Alexander’s Lieutenants!
– Gupta Empire- started to fail because of the migration of central
Asian nomads called the (White) Huns (starting about 450 C.E.) into
the area.
Settlement patterns: Native Dravidians
Technology (impact on environment) – Irrigation, building of cities and
roads. Smelting of metals etc..
Continuity & Change-over-Time(C.C.O.T)
– Early Cultural Hearth
– Irrigation based
advanced, settled urban
– Conflict between settled
and nomadic cultures
– Aryan and later slavery
similar to Egypt, but
could become free
Comparisons and AnalysisChanges:
– Increased % of people living in settled, agricultural,
– Increased population in advanced, urban cultures
– Migrations of Aryans,
– Diffusion of universalizing & ethnic religions
– Decline in status of women, increased patriarchy in
agricultural based societies
– Increased local and later regional trade routes
Gupta’s protection of Middle East/China Trade routes
Indian Ocean Trade
– Rise and fall of empires
Comparison Essay
Compare the social and family structures of India
and China in the classical period. What are the
main differences? The main similarities?
A comparison of classical China and India
exposes the cultural variety of the era.
– Political - Both societies had radically different
organizing forces
In India, it was the caste system
– India's more varied and diverse political experience.
In China it was Confucianism-influenced political
– China's greater emphasis on political structures
Comparison Essay
– Religion and Culture
Hinduism produced a sensual, otherworldly(ghostly,
eerie), & monolithic (colossal) religious atmosphere in
While the more secular Confucianism and Daoism
competed for the attention in China
– Economy- Though each had an agriculturallybased economy
Merchants were valued in India
Merchants were looked down on in China
Comparison Essay
– Science and Mathematics
Indians were more theoretical
China emphasized practical findings
The greatest similarity between the two
– Culture- The civilizations were similar in their
extensive inequality and patriarchy;
Both cultures had the dominance of men.
Differences existed in the tone of patriarchal culture
– In India showed more emphasis on beauty, cleverness, and
sexuality in women,
– While China displayed a more stereotypical (an oversimplified
standardized image of a person or group)emphasis on female
deference (polite respect, especially putting another person's
interests first).

Classical Indian Societyto 300CE