Ancient India
AP World History
Indus River Valley
 Located on the Indian Subcontinent (India,
Pakistan, and Bangladesh)
 Geographic Factors:
Bodies of Water: Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and
Indian Ocean
Mountains: Himalayas, Hindu Kush, and Karakorum
Important Rivers: Indus and Ganges
Monsoons can cause crop failure and famine
Ancient India
 Indus River fostered the development of
 Major cities of ancient India
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
Harappan Civilization
Well-planned cities
Extensive drainage systems and brick buildings with
Highly productive farms with irrigation canals and
domesticated animals
 System of writing on clay seals (not deciphered)
 Animals were important – presence of animals on
 Pottery and implements show similarities to Sumerians
 Indus River Valley Civilization ended by invading
Aryans & the Caste System
AP World History
Excelled at the art of war
 Used iron (for plow &
 Developed Sanskrit
(language) and Maharajas
 Conquered the Dravidians
 Introduced the Caste System
 Were pastoralists/herders
Social system that people are born into and
there is no way to move into a higher caste
Four (4) main castes based
loosely on occupation
Brahmin - priests (highest)
Kshatriya - warriors and
political leaders
Vaishya - merchants and
Sudra - laborers and
 Members of what can be called the “5th Caste”
 Perform jobs such as cleaning the streets,
transporting dead bodies, and slaughtering
 Also called “outcasts”
Mauryan & Gupta Dynasties
AP World History
Rulers: Chandragupta (Maurya) & Chandra Gupta
 Centralized governments
 Wars-violence
 Declines perpetuated because of invasions
 Patriarchal
 Literature
 Tamil people in southern India
 Advances: math - value of pi
Maurya Empire
 Chandragupta Maurya (1st ruler)
Fierce warrior
Fought Seleucus (Greek General) and won
321 B.C. claimed throne – united north India for the
first time by 303 B.C.
Relied on advisor named Kautilya (priest who
advocated tough minded policies); divided empire into
four (4) provinces
Maintained large armies
Levied high taxes
Developed a large bureaucracy (w/a postal service)
Highly autocratic – relied on personal & military power
“No, I’m not a girl!”
Maurya Dynasty
 Ashoka
 Grandson of Chandragupta who converted to
 Became king in 301 B.C.
 Tolerant of non-Buddhists; urged religious
 Extended Maurya rule & created extensive road
 Power vacuum created after his death
Gupta Empire (320-535 C.E.)
Established by Chandra Gupta
Large empire
Uniform law code
Influence w/o constant fighting (through
Greatest period of political stability and
flowering of Indian civilization
(astronomy, mathematics, literature,
medicine, and trade)
Trade expanded to distant regions (Silk
Was patriarchal (north) and matriarchal
(south – Tamil groups)
Overturned by the Huns
Literature – Panchantanta (Sinbad & Jack the Giant
Killer), Mahabharata & Ramayana (Aryan epic poems
composed in Sanskrit which include myths, legends,
philosophy, and moral stories) & Upanishads (poems
with mystical themes that inspired Hindu ideas of divine
forces and how they formed the universe)
 Tamils – Southern Indians who traded cotton, silks, and
many other materials with the Middle East and with
Rome. Reflected strong merchant spirit in classical
Miscellaneous (cont.)
 Yoga – Hindu practice of meditation and self-
discipline which has the goal to free the mind to
concentrate on the divine spirit