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					Indus Valley Civilization

   a Primary Phase Culture
   little or no continuity with the following
   forgotten until the 19th Century
    – rediscovered by the British, while building
Harappan society and its
neighbors, ca. 2000 B.C.E.
Harappan Culture

   Indus valley
    – not desert
    – well-watered and heavily forested
   500 miles along the river valley
    – 10-20 times larger than Mesopotamia or
Foundations of Harappan Society
   The Indus River
    – Silt-enriched water from mountain ranges
   Major society built by Dravidian
    peoples, 3000-2500 BCE
    – Cultivation of cotton before 5000 BCE, early
      cultivation of poultry
    – Decline after 1900 BCE
   Major cities: Harrapa (Punjab region
    and Mohenjo-Daro (mouth of Indus
    – 70 smaller sites excavated (total 1,500)
Harappan culture sites
Hydraulic Culture

   like Egypt and Mesopotamia
   agriculture and flood-control
   significant industry and trade
   cities very common
Lack of Sources

   literate culture
    – we cannot read the writing
    – writing on bricks and seals
    – did not use paper or clay tablets
“Unicorn” seal + writing
More seals
…and more seals...
Seated “yogi” : early Shiva?
Reasonable generalizations

   rapid development: early 2,000s B.C.
   roughly contemporary with Egypt and
   early village culture
   changing rapidly to urban civilization
Generalizations, con’t

   cities dominated both economic and
    political activity
   origins of the people are unclear
    – similar to the Mediterranean type
Major Cities

   Harappa and Mohenjo-daro
    – surrounded by smaller cities, towns, and
   one situated in the north
   one situated in the south
Mohenjo-Daro Ruins

   Population c. 40,000
   Regional center
    – Layout, architecture suggests public purpose
    – Broad streets, citadel, pool, sewage
   Standardized weights evident
    throughout region
   Specialized labor
   Trade
Cities, con’t

   uniform culture over a wide area
   cities built on a common plan
    – a grid: always NS and EW axes
       • with twelve smaller grids
    – kiln-dried brick
Grid map of
Mohenjo-daro : aerial view
Mohenjo-daro       view
of the “Citadel”
The “Great Bath”
another view of the “Great Bath”
view of a small, side street
looks like a small
tower, but actually it
is a neighborhood
A bathroom on a private residence
A public well in Harappa, or perhaps an
ancient laundromat...
A large drain or sewer
Monumental architecture

   very-large scale building
   walled cites, with fortified citadels
   always on the same scale
   palaces, temples
Architecture, con’t

   large grain storage facilities near
   a theocracy ??
   planned economy
Harappan granary

   very densely populated
   houses: two to three stories
   every house is laid out the same
Culture and Society

   advanced agriculture
   surplus production
   textiles: wool and cotton
   domesticated animals and fish
Bronze Age technology

   no swords
   spears and bows
   stone arrow heads

   dominated by priests ?
   from the fortified palaces and temples ?
   power base: fertility ?
   deities: male and female, both nude
   bull worship and phallic symbols
A priest?   A bull

   with lower Mesopotamia
   but gradually declined

   domination of an indigenous people ?
    – who rebelled ?
   foreign invasion?
   gradual decline ?
Combination of Changes

   climate shift: the monsoon patterns
   flooding
   destruction of the forests
   migrations of new peoples: the Aryans
The Aryan “Invasion”
   Aryans, lighter-skinned invaders from
    the north
   Dravidians, darker-skinned sedentary
    inhabitants of Harappa
   Color Bias
   Socio-Economic Implications
   Difficulty of theory: no evidence of
    large-scale military conquest
Possible route of the Aryan invasions
The Aryans

   not to be confused with Hitler’s “Aryans”
   these Aryans speak an Indo-European
   related to other languages like Greek
    and Latin
The Aryans, con’t

   they called themselves “Aryans”
   their land: “Aryavarta”
    – land of the Aryans
The Early Aryans
   Pastoral economy: sheep, goats,
    horses, cattle
    – Vegetarianism not widespread until many
      centuries later
   Religious and Literary works: The
    – Sanskrit: sacred tongue
    – Prakrit: everyday language, evolved into
      Hindi, Urdu, Bengali
    – Four Vedas, most important Rig Veda
      • 1,028 hymms to gods
Gradual settlement

   over a long period of time
   gradual infiltration
   more primitive than the earlier culture
Settlement, con’t

   new society by 1,200 B.C. or so
   little evidence
   not literate
   no record system
Oral Tradition

   passed down from priests and singers
   written down in the 500’s
   The Vedas
    – “Veda” means “knowledge”
The Vedas

   our primary source
    – early Aryan tradition
    – later Hindu religion
   four “vedas”
    – the Rig Veda is the oldest
Krishna with
Arjuna on the
battlefield of

2 points to the first
person who can tell
whether this is a
modern or ancient
painting and why?
Krishna reveals
himself to Arjuna
in his manifold
The Vedas

   oral poetry
   come to have a sacred character
   provide some historical information
The Aryans

   restless, warlike people
   tall, blue-eyed, fair-skinned
   describe the indigenous population as
    – short, “black”, noseless, and slaves
The Aryans, con’t

   villages and kingdoms constantly
   warchiefs and kings
   aristocrats and freemen
The Aryans, con’t

   fond of fighting, drinking, chariot racing,
    gambling chasing women and bragging
    about their spears
    – any modern comparisons ???
   fond of taking soma
    – a psychedelic drug
    – probably psychotropic mushrooms
Aryans and Hindus

   Aryans give rise to Hindu society
   but different characteristics
    – cows: they ate them
    – classes, but no castes
    – priests subordinate to the nobility
   the Mahabharata
The Iron Age: new sources

   the Vedas: passed on orally
   the Brahamanas: interpretations on the
   the Upanishads: interpretations and
    symbolic studies
    – forerunners of later dissenting literature
Strain of change

   Iron Age change causes strain on the
    class system
   blurring of lines between Aryans and
    – answered with the caste system
Caste System, 1000 BC

   skin color
   ritual purity
   “Us--Them” feelings
   divine order of four castes
Caste System (“Varnas”)

   Brahmins: the priests
   Kshatriyas: the warriors
   Vaisyas: merchants and peasants
   Sudras: non-Aryans
Caste system, con’t

   produced by Brahmins
   literature emphasized the divine order
   hierarchical relationship
   inheritance and marriage
Caste system in practice

   warrior class did not always accept it
   nor the other classes
   the process of evolution is still going on
   the most powerful organizer of Indian
    – thousand of castes today

   define a person’s social universe
   define a person’s standard of conduct
   define a person’s expectations
   define a person’s future
   define how a person deals with others
Books you can read, if you read
   Bridget and Raymond Allchin. The Rise of
    Civilization in India and Pakistan.
   A.L. Basham. The Wonder That Was India.
   Walter A. Fairservis. The Roots of Indian Tradition
   Jonathana Mark Kenoyer. Ancient Cities of the Indus
    Valley Civilization
   Juan Mascaro, trans. The Upanishads
   Stuart Piggott. Prehistoric India
   Romila Thapar. A History of India
   Romila Thapar. Recent Perspectives of Early Indian

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