Lesson 4 (Aryans)

India and China
3000 BC – AD 500
Chapter Objectives
 Explain how geography influenced the development of
civilizations in India and China
Identify characteristics of these civilizations
Explain political and social structures in these countries
Describe the role of religion
List the contributions of each civilization
Early Civilization in India
The Land of India
India’s First Civilization
The Arrival of the Aryans
Society in India
Lesson Essential Question
What were the main
characteristics of Aryan
civilization in India?
Graphic Organizer
The Land of India
 The Indian subcontinent is composed of a number of core regions
Mountain ranges
River valleys
Dry interior plateau
Fertile coastal plains
 The Himalayas, in the far north, are the highest mountains in the
 The Ganges River Valley, directly south of the Himalayas, if one of
the chief regions of Indian culture
 The Indus River Valley to the west is a relatively dry plateau that
forms the backbone of modern day Pakistan
 In ancient times, it enjoyed a more moderate climate and served as
the cradle of Indian civilization
The Land of India (Cont)
 The Deccan plateau lies south of India’s two main rivers, and
extends from the Ganges Valley to the tip of India
 The interior of the plateau is relatively hilly and dry
 East and West Coast are lush plains
 Most densely populated regions of India
 Primary feature of India’s climate is the monsoon- a seasonal
wind pattern in southern Asia
 Warm, moist air from southwest during the summer
 Brings heavy rains which farmers depend on to grow crops
 If rains come early or late, or too much or too little rain falls, crops are
destroyed and thousands starve
 Cold, dry air from northeast during the winter
India’s First Civilization
 Emerged in river valleys between 3000 BC and 1500 BC
 The valleys of the Indus River supported a flourishing
civilization that extended from the Himalayas to the coast of
the Arabian Sea
 Advanced civilization flourished in two major cities for
hundreds of years
 Harappa
 Mohenjo-Daro
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
 Both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro had around 35,000-40,000
inhabitants at their heights
 Well organized governments
 Both cities were carefully planned
 Main broad streets ran in a north-south direction
 Crossed by smaller east-west roads
 Large walled neighborhoods with narrow lanes separating the rows of
 Buildings built of square mud bricks forming a mud pattern
 Public works provided a regular supply of water
 Bathrooms- advanced drainage system
 Wastewater flowed out to drains located under the streets; carried to sewers
outside city walls
 Trash collected in bins
 What evidence leads us to conclude there must have been
well organized governments in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro?
 They are carefully structured cities, with public water supplies,
advanced drainage systems, wastewater carried to sewer pits,
trash collected in garbage bins, planned neighborhoods, and
buildings made from oven-baked bricks
Rulers and the Economy
 Harappan rulers based their power on a belief in divine
 Religion and political power were closely linked
 Royal palace and holy temple combined in the fortress
 Economy based primarily on farming
 Flooding of the Indus River every year provided rich soil
 Also carried on extensive trading with Mesopotamian city-
 Much of trading was carried out by ship via the Persian Gulf
The Arrival of the Aryans
 Arrived around 1500 BC from their original homeland of
central Asia
 Moved south across the Hindu Kush mountain range into the
plains of northern India
 They conquered the Harappans and created a new Indian
society based on Aryan culture and institutions
 Nomadic people who excelled at the art of war
 Moved throughout India until they controlled most of India
The Aryan Way of Life
 Pastoral people with a strong warrior tradition
 Gave up pastoral life for regular farming
 Introduction of iron
 Iron plow made it possible to clear the dense jungle
 Irrigation
 Developed first writing system, Sanskrit, by 1000 BC
 Wrote down legends and religious chants and rituals
 Early writing reveal India was a world of warring kingdoms and
shifting alliances
 Aryan leaders, rajas, carved out small states and fought each other
 Seized women, cattle, and treasure
Society in Ancient India
 The conquest by the Aryans had a lasting impact on Indian
 A set of social institutions and class divisions that has lasted to
the present day, with minor changes, arose during this time
The Caste System- Reading Activity
 Read the section titled The Caste System on pages 75-76
 After reading, make a graphic organizer identifying and
describing the different castes in Indian society.
The Family In Ancient India
 Life was centered on family
 3 generations lived in same household- grandparents, parents,
 Patriarchal- oldest male held legal authority over entire
 Males superior- allowed to inherit property, serve as priests,
 Divorce was usually not allowed
 Man could take second wife if first not able to bear children
 Children were important
 Expected to take care of parents as they aged
The Family Life in Ancient India (Cont)
 Marriages were arranged and common for young girls
 Daughters were seen as an economic drain on their parents
 The ritual of suttee is perhaps the best visual symbol of man’s
dominance over women
 Women required to throw themselves on the pyre of her
burning husband
 One of the most complex religions in the world
 Developed over 3500 years ago (around 1500 BC)
 No one founder
 Told people to live moral lives
 Many followers avoided violence
 Many sacred texts
 Believed in the existence of a single force in the universe,
ultimate reality or God, Brahman
 Duty of the individual self, to seek and know ultimate reality
 Merge with Brahman after death
Hinduism (Cont)
 Reincarnation- belief that the individual soul is reborn in a
different form after death
 After many reincarnations, the soul reaches its final goal in a union
with the Brahman
 Karma- force generated by a person’s actions
 Determines how the person will be reborn in the next life
 What people do in their current lives determines what they will be in
their next life
 Also, a person’s current status is a result of that person’s actions in a
past existence
 The concept of karma is ruled by the dharma-divine law
 Requires all people to do their duty
 Duties vary depending on their societal status
Hinduism (Cont)
 System of reincarnation provided a religious basis for the
rigid class divisions in India
 People on higher end of society would not have those
priviledges if they were not deserving
 Gave hope to those on the lower end of the scale
 Developed the practice of yoga
 Designed to lead to the union with the Brahman
 Hundreds of deities in Hindu religion- 3 chief ones
 Brahma- Creator
 Vishnu- Preserver
 Siva- Destroyer
Hinduism (Cont)
 Many Hindu regard the multitude of gods simply as a
different expression of the Brahman
 However, the various gods and goddesses gave ordinary
Indians a way to express their religious feelings
 Hinduism is still the religion of the vast majority of Indian
 Founded in late 500’s BC by Siddhartha Gautama- the Buddha
(“Enlightened One”)
 Denied the reality of the material world
 Believed physical surroundings were simply illusions
 Pain, poverty, and sorrow caused by people’s attachment to material items
 Achieving wisdom is a key step to achieving nirvana- or ultimate reality
 Achieving nirvana led to a reunion with the Great World Soul
 Based on the Four Noble Truths
 Ordinary life is full of suffering
 This suffering is caused by our desire to satisfy ourselves
 The way to end suffering is to end desire for selfish goals and to see others as
extensions of ourselves
 The way to end desire is to follow the Middle Path
Buddhism (Cont)
 The Middle Path- Eightfold Path
 Right view
 Right intention
 Right speech
 Right action
 Right livelihood
 Right effort
 Right mindfulness
 Right concentration
Buddhism (Cont)
 Accepted the idea of reincarnation, but rejected the caste
 All humans could reach nirvana as a result of their behavior in
this life
 Rejected the multitude of gods that had become identified
with Hinduism
 Spread throughout India after the Buddha’s death
 Built monasteries to promote his teaching and provide housing
and training for monks
 As Buddhism’s roots spread through Asia, it slowly declined
in India
Exit Ticket
 Using your notes and book, answer the following question.
What were the main characteristics
of Aryan civilization in India?
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