Sri Lanka
• The climate of the Indian
subcontinent is
characterized by high
temperatures and
monsoons, which are
seasonal winds.
• Nov-March is the dry
season, when the winds
blow from the northeast and
bring very little rain
- Jun-Oct. is the rainy season,
when the winds blow from
the southwest, is the rainy
• The first known civilization in
the Indian subcontinent
arose in the Indus Valley
and flourished from about
• Although the Indus Valley
civilization had a writing
system it has not been
deciphered, so all we
know about it comes from
artifacts found by
• There were many cities in
the region.
• The largest were
Harappa and Mohenjo
• The Indus Valley
civilization had 2 very
large cities, Harappa and
Mohenjo Daro, as well as
hundreds of smaller cities
and towns. It is called the
Harappan Civilization.
• Both cities were large and carefully planned
• Wide streets crossed at right angles.
• Each city had a strong fortress, or citadel, built on a
brick platform.
• What does this suggest about the civilization? What
problems might they have had?
• On the citadel were large public buildings, including
graineries for storing large amounts of grain to feed
about 35,000 people, and large baths.
Great Bath on the citadel of Mohenjo Daro
• Great Bath on the citadel of
Mohenjo Daro.
• What could its function have
been? ?
• Both cities had a water
system with wells and
brick sewers. Sewers
took waste water from
homes into drains under
the street, and out of
• This was probably the
most advanced water
system and public
drains in the world at
this time.
• As well as the citadel on a mound on the west, there was
an area lower down to the east, where people lived.
• The lower city was divided into rectangular blocks by
straight streets.
• The larger houses had wells and indoor bathrooms with
seated latrines connected to sewers under the street.
• In addition to residential areas,there were many shops
and workshops, producing wares for local consumption
and for export:
• For example: potteries, dyers’ vats, metalworkers’, shellornament makers’ and beadmakers’ shops
• Most buildings were built of mud bricks of approximately
the same proportions 1:2:4.
• Standard weights and measures were used throughout
the Indus Valley region.
Mohenjo Daro
Other artifacts
• Small objects which are probably
children’s toys have been found.
• For example this toy cart. From this toy
cart archeologists have concluded that
they probably had life size carts and
• Harappa and Mohenjo Daro were surrounded by rich
• They irrigated their fields by building canals and ditches.
• Irrigation allowed Indus Valley farmers to have a surplus
of food
• They grew wheat, barley, rice and cotton.
• They raised cattle sheep, goats and pigs
Products and trade
• City dwellers produced goods for trade.
• These included pottery, bronze items, beads skillfully
made of various materials, and gold and silver jewelry.
• They traded these goods with the people of
• The Indus Valley people
developed a writing system.
• We have pictographs dating from
about 2300BC
• Scholars have not been able to
translate this writing.
•• Most
writing iswriting
on personal
seals that
is on
may bear the names of individuals or companies who
made items for
trade.that may bear the names of
individuals or companies who made items
for trade.
Inscription on a pot
• http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1919795,0
• No Harappan temples, shrines, or
religious writings have been
• There is evidence that they
worshiped a mother goddess.
• There is evidence that they used
images of the bull, buffalo, and
• The Indus Valley Civilization flourished about 2500BC1500BC.
• It began declining about 1700BC
• By about 1500BC, it “disappeared”. The cities were
• Historians do not know why the Indus Valley Civilization
• The waters of the Indus River have changed course in
the past . . . .
• The Indus River often flooded .. …
• There is evidence of an earthquake about 1700BC ….
• About 1500BC, a new group of people came in and
began to dominate the area.
Arrival of the Indo-Aryans
• The Indo-Aryans were one of the sub-groups
of the larger group called the Indo-Europeans.
• Originally lived north of the Black and Caspian
Seas, in what is now southern Russia.
• They were nomadic herders of cattle
• About 1750BC they
began to cross the HinduKush mountains into India
• By 1500BC, they had
settled in Northern India
• Some people have disputed this arrival of the IndoEuropeans, and if you search the web you will find some
sites saying that it never happened.
• But there are written records of the language that these
Indo-European people brought with them to India,
pitar (Sanskrit)
pater (Latin)
pater (Greek)
padre (Spanish)
pere (French)
father (English)
fadar (Gothic)
fa∂ir (Old Norse)
vader (German
• We can read Sanskrit, and we can easily see that many
words in Sanskrit are basically the same as in other
Indo-European languages. In addition, recent genetic
evidence supports the arrival of the Indo-Europeans.
• Lived by herding cattle.
• Cattle were so important
to them that their word
for war was “desire for
more cattle”.
• As they came into India,
sometimes they were
able to move into an
area without conflict, but
sometimes they fought
the people already there.
• .
• The Indo-Aryans were
good fighters and had
skilled archers and war
chariots, so they were able
to conquer the people
already living in Northern
• The Indo Aryans had hymns and
prayers called the Vedas, that
were passed down orally from
generation to generation.
• Eventually the Vedas were written
down in the Indo-Aryan language,
which was Sanskrit
• The Vedas made up 4 collections
of hymns. The oldest is called the
Rig Veda
• Most of what we know about the
period 1500-1000BC comes from
the Vedas, so we called this the
Vedic Age
Indo-Aryan Religion
• Indo-Aryan Religion evolved into Hinduism
• They were polytheistic, with many individual
gods drawn from nature.
• Including Indra, the god of storms, Agni, the
god of fire, and Varuna, the god of the
cosmic order.
• However, the Vedas also refer to one
supreme god of divine spirit, which is called
“The One”.
• Later, these gods, Indra, Agni and Varuna, became less
• The Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva became
more important, and are the most important gods today.
Early Religious Practices
• No temples. Worship was out of doors.
• Fires were lit on altars, and offerings of butter, milk and barley
cakes were made.
• The juice of the Soma plant was poured into the fire as a
special offering
• Soma juice was regarded as the drink of the Gods.
• Priests called Brahmins carried out the rituals, which
became more complex over time.
• Only the Brahmins knew the proper rituals.
• Gradually a form of social organization called the Caste
System emerged.
Caste System, or Varnas
• Four distinct varnas, or social classes,
appeared in Indian society.
• Brahmins-priests
• Kshatryas-warriors
• Vaisyas (Vaishyas)-merchants and
artisans; farmers who owned their own
• Sudras (Shudras)-farm laborers and
• According to a myth, the four
varnas were made from the body
parts of Purusa, a god.
• Brahmins-from head
• Kshatryas-from the arms
• Vaishyas-from the legs
• Sudras-from the feet.
• Later, a lower group, called the
Untouchables, or Pariahs,
• Later, a lower group,
called the Pariahs, or
• People married, and
had close social
relationships, within
their caste, or varna.
• The language of the Indo-Aryans, Sanskrit, was
gradually no longer used in everyday speech.
• Sanskrit became the special language used by Brahmins
in their religious rituals
Political organization
• Gradually the Indo-Aryans settled in villages & planted
crops as well as herded cattle.
• Small independent states grew up, each with a leader
called a raja.
• Rajas were military leaders, lawmakers and judges.
• Rajas governed with the help of a council.
• People generally, married, and
had close social relationships,
with people of their own caste,
or varna.
• Gradually, complicated rules
for marriage emerged.
• Parents usually arranged
• The Indo Aryans, who were
originally nomadic herders, settled
and grew wheat, barley, and rice,
as well as vegetables.
• Villages traded with nearby villages, but transportation
was difficult. Usually, only cities on the coasts traded
with distant areas.
• Trade was carried out mainly by barter. Coins began to
be used about 500BC.
• The Indo-Aryans had a big impact on
Northern India. Most of what we
have just described applied to
Northern India.
• Early cultures in Southern India
followed their own patterns.
• The hilly landscape of Southern India
made unification difficult, and people
remained divided into separate
communities and social groups.
• People who lived in the interior parts of Southern India,
were farmers, or hunter-gatherers.
• Some people who lived on the coasts of Southern India
became traders, and some became wealthy trading
cotton, spices and ivory with people of other civilizations.
• The people of Southern India came to be called
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