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Indus Valley Civilization

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  • 1. Indus Valley Civilization
    • a Primary Phase Culture
    • little or no continuity with the following cultures
    • forgotten until the 19th Century
      • rediscovered by the British, while building railroads
  • 2. Harappan society and its neighbors, ca. 2000 B.C.E.
  • 3. Harappan Culture
    • Indus valley
      • not desert
      • well-watered and heavily forested
    • 500 miles along the river valley
      • 10-20 times larger than Mesopotamia or Egypt
  • 4. 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 River)
      • 70 smaller sites excavated (total 1,500)
  • 5. India
  • 6. Harappan culture sites
  • 7. Hydraulic Culture
    • like Egypt and Mesopotamia
    • agriculture and flood-control
    • significant industry and trade
    • cities very common
  • 8. Lack of Sources
    • literate culture
      • we cannot read the writing
      • writing on bricks and seals
      • did not use paper or clay tablets
  • 9. “ Unicorn” seal + writing
  • 10. More seals
  • 11. … and more seals...
  • 12. Seated “yogi” : early Shiva?
  • 13. Reasonable generalizations
    • rapid development: early 2,000s B.C.
    • roughly contemporary with Egypt and Mesopotamia
    • early village culture
    • changing rapidly to urban civilization
  • 14. Generalizations, con’t
    • cities dominated both economic and political activity
    • origins of the people are unclear
      • similar to the Mediterranean type
  • 15. Major Cities
    • Harappa and Mohenjo-daro
      • surrounded by smaller cities, towns, and villages
    • one situated in the north
    • one situated in the south
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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
  • 18. Grid map of Mohenjo-daro
  • 19. Mohenjo-daro : aerial view
  • 20. Mohenjo-daro view of the “Citadel”
  • 21. The “Great Bath”
  • 22. another view of the “Great Bath”
  • 23. view of a small, side street
  • 24. looks like a small tower, but actually it is a neighborhood well
  • 25. A bathroom on a private residence
  • 26. A public well in Harappa, or perhaps an ancient laundromat...
  • 27. A large drain or sewer
  • 28. Monumental architecture
    • very-large scale building
    • walled cites, with fortified citadels
    • always on the same scale
    • palaces, temples
  • 29. Architecture, con’t
    • large grain storage facilities near temples
    • a theocracy ??
    • planned economy
  • 30. Harappan granary
  • 31. Cities
    • very densely populated
    • houses: two to three stories
    • every house is laid out the same
  • 32. Culture and Society
    • advanced agriculture
    • surplus production
    • textiles: wool and cotton
    • domesticated animals and fish
  • 33. Bronze Age technology
    • no swords
    • spears and bows
    • stone arrow heads
  • 34. Society
    • dominated by priests ?
    • from the fortified palaces and temples ?
    • power base: fertility ?
    • deities: male and female, both nude
    • bull worship and phallic symbols
  • 35. A priest? A bull
  • 36. Trade
    • with lower Mesopotamia
    • but gradually declined
  • 37. Decline
    • domination of an indigenous people ?
      • who rebelled ?
    • foreign invasion?
    • gradual decline ?
  • 38. Combination of Changes
    • climate shift: the monsoon patterns
    • flooding
    • destruction of the forests
    • migrations of new peoples: the Aryans
  • 39. 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
  • 40. Possible route of the Aryan invasions
  • 41. The Aryans
    • not to be confused with Hitler’s “Aryans”
    • these Aryans speak an Indo-European dialect
    • related to other languages like Greek and Latin
  • 42. The Aryans, con’t
    • they called themselves “Aryans”
    • their land: “Aryavarta”
      • land of the Aryans
  • 43. The Early Aryans
    • Pastoral economy: sheep, goats, horses, cattle
      • Vegetarianism not widespread until many centuries later
    • Religious and Literary works: The Vedas
      • Sanskrit: sacred tongue
      • Prakrit: everyday language, evolved into Hindi, Urdu, Bengali
      • Four Vedas, most important Rig Veda
        • 1,028 hymms to gods
  • 44. Gradual settlement
    • over a long period of time
    • gradual infiltration
    • more primitive than the earlier culture
  • 45. Settlement, con’t
    • new society by 1,200 B.C. or so
    • little evidence
    • not literate
    • no record system
  • 46. Oral Tradition
    • passed down from priests and singers
    • written down in the 500’s
    • The Vedas
      • “ Veda” means “knowledge”
  • 47. The Vedas
    • our primary source
      • early Aryan tradition
      • later Hindu religion
    • four “vedas”
      • the Rig Veda is the oldest
  • 48. Krishna with Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksketra 2 points to the first person who can tell whether this is a modern or ancient painting and why?
  • 49. Krishna reveals himself to Arjuna in his manifold aspects
  • 50. The Vedas
    • oral poetry
    • come to have a sacred character
    • provide some historical information
  • 51. The Aryans
    • restless, warlike people
    • tall, blue-eyed, fair-skinned
    • describe the indigenous population as
      • short, “black”, noseless, and slaves
  • 52. The Aryans, con’t
    • villages and kingdoms constantly fighting
    • warchiefs and kings
    • aristocrats and freemen
  • 53. 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
  • 54. 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
  • 55. The Iron Age: new sources
    • the Vedas : passed on orally
    • the Brahamanas: interpretations on the Vedas
    • the Upanishads: interpretations and symbolic studies
      • forerunners of later dissenting literature
  • 56. Strain of change
    • Iron Age change causes strain on the class system
    • blurring of lines between Aryans and Daas
      • answered with the caste system
  • 57. Caste System, 1000 BC
    • skin color
    • ritual purity
    • “ Us--Them” feelings
    • divine order of four castes
  • 58. Caste System (“Varnas”)
    • Brahmins : the priests
    • Kshatriyas : the warriors
    • Vaisyas : merchants and peasants
    • Sudras : non-Aryans
  • 59. Caste system, con’t
    • produced by Brahmins
    • literature emphasized the divine order
    • hierarchical relationship
    • inheritance and marriage
  • 60. 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 society
      • thousand of castes today
  • 61. Castes
    • 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
  • 62. 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 History

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