Ancient (Classical) India

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					   Chapter 3: Classical Civilization—India
                                            AP World History
                                               Mira Kaif

I. Introduction—difference vs. China
         A. China focus on politics/related philosophies vs. India focus on religion/social structure
         B. Less cohesive political structure
         C. Both were agricultural societies, localist flavor, male ownership, patriarchal, trade

II. The Framework for Indian History: Geography and a Formative Period
         A. Closer to other civilizations
                  1. Influenced by Middle East/Mediterranean
                  2. Persian empires spilled over/Alexander also
                  3. Forced to react and adapt
         B. Topography
                  1. Passes through Himalayas linked India
                  2. Somewhat set apart
                  3. Political unity difficult—greater diversity than middle kingdom
         C. River civilizations—Indus and Ganges
         D. Mountainous north—herding society
         E. Separate regions contributed to:
                  1. Economic Diversity
                  2. Racial differences
                  3. Language differences
         F. Unstable, monsoon climate—but helped with agriculture
                  1. Harvest two crops in a year, help support large population
         G. Formative period—Vedic and Epic ages—Aryan migrants—hunting and herding peoples
                  1. Knowledge passed down through epics written in Sanskrit—Vedas
                            a. Mahabharata
                            b. Ramayana
                            c. Upanishads
                  2. Aryans settled, made tight-knit villages
                            a. Families patriarchal, connected across generation
                            b. Aryans created social classes
                                      i. Warrior/governing—Kshatriyas
                                      ii. Priests—Brahmins
                                      iii. Traders/farmers—Vaisyas
                                      iv. Common laborers—Sudras
                                      v. Untouchables—lovely jobs like refuse, carting dead bodies, etc.
                  3. Social groups became hereditary
                            a. Can’t marry between castes—punishable by death
                            b. Broken into smaller subgroups
                  4. Aryans brought polytheistic religion—similar to Greek myth, Scandinavians
                            a. One of the few polytheistic religions to survive
                                      i. Hymns/sacrifice
                  5. Upanishads—Epic poems
                            a. Sacred animals—monkeys/cattle
                            b. Rituals and sacrifice
                            c. Brahmin class enforced rituals
                            d. Unifying divine force, seek union with this force

III. Patterns in Classical India—end of 600 BCE—formative phase
          A. 16 major states existed—some monarchies, some republics, dominated by warriors/priests
          B. Eras were often created as reaction to invaders
          C. Mauryan Dynasty—Chandragupta Maurya 322 BCE—unified subcontinent
                  1. Maintained large armies
                  2. Developed bureaucracy
                  3. Highly autocratic—rely on ruler’s power
                 4. Style of government
                          a. Autocratic—based on ruler’s personal/military power
                 5. Ashoka—grandson—lavish lifestyle
                          a. Influenced by nature/spiritualism
                          b. Bloodthirsty means of expansionism
                          c. Converted to Buddhism (Think of Constantine)
                                   i. Spread Buddhism throughout empire
                                   ii. Honored Hinduism
                                   iii. Precedent
                          d. Improved trade/road network
                 6. Kushans—outside invaders—converted to Buddhism
                          a. Bad for Buddhism to be connected to outsiders
        D. Guptas—320 CE
                 1. No powerful individual leaders, but greater impact
                 2. Negotiate w/ local princes
                          a. Expanded influence w/o fighting—diff. than above
                 3. Two generations of political stability (Think of Pax Romana)
        E. Shifted between empires and network of smaller kingdoms

IV. Political Institutions
         A. Regionalism—diversity
                   1. Autocratic kings once in a while, but also aristocratic assemblies
         B. How did they maintain power?
                   1. Mauryan—military power
                   2. Gupta
                              a. Negotiation
                              b. Appointed by gods
                              c. Allowed local rulers to have autonomy—think Rome
                                        i. No single language imposed; promoted Sanskrit, but…
                              d. Golden Age
                                        i. Spread laws
                                        ii. Supported university, arts, literature
         C. However, not an elaborate political culture
                   1. Little political theory, not like Greeks
                   2. Kautiliya—how to maintain power—like Legalism in China
                   3. Political service not valued as important
                   4. Buddhist leaders not interested in political affairs
         D. Why the limitations?
                   1. Local governments
                   2. Caste system already regulated life—social behaviour—political laws unnecessary
                              a. Subcastes, hereditary—can’t marry outside
                                        i. But…marry below or lower job and you could lose caste
                                        ii. Rarely move up in caste—did well economically
                              b. Most rigid social structure of all classic civilizations
                                        i. Method of conquerors and conquered to live together in peace
                                        ii. Not necessary to totally blend cultures
                                        iii. Promoted tolerance
                                        iv. Slavery avoided—untouchables not owned
         E. Qualities of civilization based on cultural values
                   1. Hindu/Buddhism clearest cement
                   2. Remarkable ability to survive
                   3. Means so many different things to so many different people
                   4. Can evolve
                   5. Indian children could indulge imaginations
                              a. Imaginative links with higher power
                              b. Clear continuity though rarely under one political power


V. Religion and Culture
A. Hinduism—origins in Vedic and Epic ages
        1. Rig-Veda—Creation hymn
        2. Different—not single founder—not central holy figure
                  a. Grew gradually, sometimes in reaction to other religions—Buddhism/Islam
        3. Religious approaches
                  a. Ritualistic ceremonies performed by Brahmins
                  b. Mysticism—unite humans w/ divine
                  c. Promote political and economic goals, artha, and worldly pleasures, karma
                  d. Fluidity; adaptable; tolerant—many suitable paths of worship; Christianity?
        4. Brahmanism (scholar name)—Dharma
                  a. Brahman leadership elaborate
                  b. Gods of nature altered—represent abstract
                            i. Varuna—god of sky to guardian of right and wrong
                  c. Epic poems—gentle/generous behavior
        5. Upanishads—shallowness of worldly concerns—wealth/health
        6. Each person’s soul part of universe
        7. Religion of rituals vs. religion of mystics
                  a. Mystics—gurus and Brahmins agreed to
                            i. existence of divine essence—several gods; seek union w/ this soul
                                      -Vishnu—preserver
                                      -Shiva—destroyer
                                      -Brahma—creator
                            ii. Takes many lifetimes—Reincarnation
                            iii. Where the soul goes depends on the actions in incarnation

         8. Options for good life
                   a. Meditation/self-discipline-yoga
                   b. Others wanted rituals—cremation, prayers, sacred cows, refrain from beef
                   c. Some believed in lesser nature gods
                   d. Symbolic sacrifices might assist in reincarnation
         9. Life Obligations
                   a. Serve family
                   b. Earn money
                   c. Serve in army when necessary
        10. Bhagavad-Gita—classic hymn—OK to kill family, duty, plus they’re reincarnated
        11. No strict ethical codes, like 10 Commandments
        12. Why did it spread?
                   a. Satisfying rules of conduct for life
                   b. Incorporated previous religion
                   c. Caste system—better time in future life
B. Buddhism—563 BCE—Siddhartha Gautama—Buddha—enlightened one
         1. Searched for truth, found it, accepted many elements of Hinduism, but…
                   a. Disagreed with caste system
                   b. All worldly desires hurt you
                   c. If you destroy self, can reach nirvana—self-control—regulate life
                   d. Denied importance of rituals/priests
         2. Spread by group of monks—prayer/charity/piety helped spread message
         3. Hinduism still attractive due to mysticism
C. Literature
         1. Political theory sparse, but wrote about human life
         2. “Laws of Love”—Kama Sutra—male/female relationships
         3. Recorded epics—lively stoires
         4. Romantic adventure—separated/returned—romantic/adventure
D. Science
         1. Supported university—astronomy and medicine
                   a. Religion prevented dissection
                   b. Bone setting, plastic surgery, sterilization—reached West much later
E. Mathematics—imported through Arabs to West—but Indian
         1. Concept of zero and decimal system
                 2. Negative numbers
                 3. Square roots
                 4. Pi
        F. Art—lively, but much perished
                 1. Stupas—spherical shrines to Buddha
                 2. Not realistic like Greeks, but stylized
                 3. Appreciation of nature
                 4. Joy of life themes + celebrate religion
        G. Tone was not rational like the west or politically-centered like China

VI. Economy and Society
        A. Caste system
                 1. Different punishment for different crimes—Brahmin killed servant, same as dog
                 2. Villagers rarely had contact with higher caste
        B. Family life based on hierarchy
                 1. Wife worship husband as god
                 2. Women lost power as male power expanded—common of agricultural societies
                 3. Could women advance spiritually if not reincarnated as a man?
                 4. Arranged marriages—solid economic links
                 5. Emphasis on loving relations/sexual pleasure
                 6. Children indulged and then expected to work hard
                 7. Clever strong-willed women as goddesses
        C. Economy
                 1. Chemistry, strongest steel—better than West until recently
                 2. Textiles—cotton cloth, calico, cashmere
                 3. Emphasis on trade far greater than in China
                           a. Tamil traders—cotton, silks, dyes, drugs, gold, ivory
                 4. Most people lived subsistence lives
In Depth: Inequality as the Social Norm

VII. Indian Influence
         A. Indian Ocean—most active linkage point among cultures
                  1. No civilization to compete with India—but India was not an empire builder
         B. Effect on other areas
                  1. Married into royal families
                  2. Temples and Indian art constructed
                  3. Buddhism spread throughout—Hinduism to upper class Indonesian families
                  4. Affected China  Buddhism and art
         C. Started after Aryan invasion, but classical period lasted longer than China/Rome
                  1. Foundation of religion, art, literary tradition, social & family network

VIII. China and India—borrowed from each other, but didn’t change
         A. India vs. China—Differences
                  1. Art—lively vs. restrained
                  2. Primary religion vs. separate religion/philosophies to fit needs
                            a. Religion more otherworldly vs. practical findings
                            b. Emphasis on caste vs. political structure
                            c. Different emotional reactions vs. restrained behavior
                            d. Expanded cultural influence through trade vs. new territory/emissaries
                            e. Land ownership consistent vs. trying to get more land/take over power
         B. India vs. China—Similarities
                  1. Large peasant class
                  2. Close-knit villages
                  3. Mutual cooperation
                  4. Cities/merchants took on a secondary role
                            a. But…more sea trade in India
                  5. Owners of land had power, could tax
                  6. Patriarchy
IX. Global Connections
        A. There has been no other civilization more open to others in all of world history
        B. None more central to cultural exchanges
        C. New civilizations
                1. Trade influences grew
                2. Religion, epics, art, architecture led to new civilizations—Angkor Wat, Majapahit
        D. Trading network
                1. Coveted cotton textiles and bronze statuaries
                2. Epic literature




Derived from www.course-notes.org

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Basic notes about Classic India (end 600 BCE); mentions Mauryan and Gupta empires; extensive over Hinduism and Buddhism, comparison with China, and lifestyles of the time.