Ancient Indian Civilization Facts, Information, Culture, History: Indus Valley, Maury Dynasty, Aryans, Taj Mahal

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Indus Valley Civilization 3200-1600 BC

The Indus Valley Civilization was the earliest civilization in the region. It was located in the Indus river of south-central Asia rising in southwest Xizang (Tibet) and flowing about 3,057 km (1,900 mi) northwest through northern India and southwest through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea including the area of modern day Pakistan and Afghanistan. The region relied on agriculture for subsistence cities was highly fortified against continuous threat of attacks. The region made both copper and bronze vessels as well as gold and silver ornaments. Traded with Mesopotamia by boat. The region the civilization fell is unknown. Cattle was used for currency. Gambling was a major pastime for its people. Each community within this region had a warlord. The justice system was based on vengeance.  Today there are 3000 castes with rules governing behavior for its members. Religion was primarly polytheistic. The sacred books were the Vedas.

Caste system developed which included priests, warriors, herdsmen, artisans merchants, servants and menial laborers. Overtime the caste system expanded and thus became a part of Indian society. Members of each caste believed that they should be diligent in performing the duties of their caste so they could be reborn into a higher caste.

The language was Sanskrit. It has 14 vowels and 37 consonants. Around 400 BC, 400 rules of grammar were written. It was the language of the epics, derived from but different from that of the Vedas. Some say it is the most flexible and responsive to fine shades of meaning of all indo-European languages.

Timeline of Indian Civilization

  • Prior to 320 BC - Warlords Ruled region
  • 320 BC - earliest Indian empire
  • 500 BC, Persian invaded the Indus Valley
  • 327 BC - Alexander of Macedonia invaded Punjab. Alexander ruled for 2 years.
  • 329 BC -The first Indian Dynasty (Maury) was founded by Chandragupta Maurys.

Maurys used military techniques learned from the Macedonians to conquer the warlords after Alexander's death. Maury controlled all the mines, fisheries and forests. He demanded taxes to be paid. Maury employed a system of spies and secret police to maintain order and stop any kind of subversion against his rule. He also improved irrigation works and roads.

Ashoka was a successor to the Maury Dynasty ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE. His rule extend from Afghanistan and Kashmir in the north to Mysore in the southern Deccan. He was a royal patron of Buddhism although he preached religious tolerance. Ashoka expanded the territory of the dynasty. He established rest houses along routes for travelers as well as wells dug and watering holes along highways to aide travelers in their journeys. He planted trees and improved the treatment of the sick. At the council of Patna (250 BCE), the authentic books of Buddhism were established.

The Maury Dynasty ended in 184 BCE with the assassination of the emperior.

Harappan:

  • Located by the Great rivers of northern India

  • Writing has never been deciphered up until now

  • They had highly organized cities, which featured nice public baths

  • Gone from history by 1600 B.C

The Aryans

  • People called themselves Arya (meaning noble)

  • Simple, largely pastoral, economy

  • Legal and political institutions were in early development

  • Injured party or his family was expected to take initiative in prosecuting an offender

  • Aryan gods- deva, or “shining ones” were forces of nature or personification of these forces

  • From their base in northwestern India, they gradually took over eastward into the Ganges valley by the slash and burn technique.

  •  form the Vedic age

Varna

  • Early tradition postulates a division of society into 4 broad classes

  • Assigning color to each group

  • Brahman (priest), Kshatriy (warrior), Vaishaya (herdsman, Artisan, Merchant), Shudra ( servant, Menial laborer),

Taj Mahal

  • Shah jahans most celebrated monument

  • Designed as a memorial to his favorite wife

  • Engaged the labor of 20000 workmen and was some twenty years in construction

Akbar the Great

  • Remembered as the Great Mughal

  • Position in northern and central India, holding Kabul in the northwest and securing Gujarat on the Kathiwar Peninsula

  • He established an effective judicious administration

The Mughals

  • “Peacock Throne”

  • Last major rulers India before the British takeover

  • One of the more productive periods of Indian civilization

  • Reached it height in the 17th century

  • Found by, “Babur the tiger”

Gupta Dynasty

  • Golden age of Indian civilization

  • A Hindu dynasty that ruled most of northern India from 320?-520?, under which the arts flourished and a unified code of laws was promulgated

The Deccan

  • A plateau of south-central India between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats. The name is also used for the entire Indian peninsula south of the Narmada River.

Hindustan

  • Northern half of India

The Ganges

  • A river of northern India and Bangladesh rising in the Himalaya Mountains
  • flows about 2,510 km (1,560 mi) generally eastward through a vast plain to the Bay of Bengal.
  • The river is sacred to Hindus

 

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