Classical India COT - White Plains Public Schools

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Transcript Classical India COT - White Plains Public Schools

The Fortunes of Empire in
Classical India
State, Society, & the Quest for
Do Now: Read TWEDY on India’s Geography
And evaluate its role on Classical India
Idea of empire was less prominent
Fall of Indus Valley
civilization by 1500 BCE
Creation of new
civilization along Ganges
Debate continues over
role of Aryan invaders
1500-500 BCE: Sanskrit
language, earliest
literature; caste system:
nobles, priests, poets,
warriors, workers
Foundation of Classical
Civilization by 600 BCE
Enormous political, ethnic, cultural and
linguistic diversity
Indian civilization as a whole shaped by
political fragmentation and cultural
Identity provided by distinctive religious
tradition and social organization:
Hinduism and the caste system
"The genius of India consists of
It is the combination of parts into a new whole.
India's early language, Sanskrit, is the basis for
many of modern languages such as Russian,
Slavic, Indian, Farsi, Greek, Latin and all the
Romance languages, Germanic, Scandinavian,
Its Vedic mythology is the basis for Greek and
Roman myths.
India's language was exported to the West while
part of its religious philosophy, Buddhism, was
exported to East Asia (China, Japan, SE Asia).
India Before the Mauryan Dynasty
563 - 463 BCE : Gautama Buddha
520 BCE Persian Emperor Darius conquers north-west
Introduces Persian ruling pattern
327 BCE Alexander of the Great destroys Persian
Empire in India
Troops mutiny, depart after two years , political power
New government will be influenced by Persian and
Greek penetration of northwest through Khyber Pass of
Hindu Kush Mountains
Chronology of Indian History
 400
- 100 BCE: Mauryan Age:
Emperor Asoka patronizes
 320 - 450 CE: Gupta Dynasty
- Golden Age of Indian
 450 CE: White Hun invasions
State, Society, & the Quest for Salvation in India
The Fortunes of Empire in Classical India
The Mauryan Dynasty & the Temporary Unification of India
The Mauryan & Gupta Empires, 321 B.C.E. – 550 C.E.
Hinduism predominates
Central trading location ( Maritime and
Fragmented geographically
Role of monsoon winds for trade and
Decentralized political structure due to
Dowry/child brides
Kautilya advises Chandragupta Mauryan
Buddhism state sponsored under Asoka Mauryan
Greek influence on statuary and literature(Silk
Increase in trade under Classical leadership
Rock pillar edicts establish Pax Mauryan
Division of Buddhism into Theravada and
Buddhist and Hindu monumental architecture
Gupta Golden Age: Mathematics, decimal system,
surgery techniques, treaties on smallpox,
Hindu epic literature: Mahabharata, Ramayana (
Baghavad Gita)
Code of Manu- Hindu laws including Sati ( Window
Kalidassa’s poetry
Chandragupta: 321 BCE Unified
298 BCE
northern India.
 Defeated the Persian
general Seleucus.
 Divided his empire into
provinces, then districts
for tax assessments and law
 He feared assassination [like Saddam
Hussein]  food tasters, slept in different
rooms, etc.
 301 BCE  gave up his throne & became
a Jain.
 Chandragupta’s advisor.
 Brahmin caste.
 Wrote The Treatise on
Material Gain or the
 A guide for the king and his ministers:
Supports royal power.
The great evil in society is anarchy.
Therefore, a single authority is
needed to employ force when
326 BCE – 184 BCE
The Mauryan Dynasty & the
Temporary Unification of India
Ruled all but southern tip of India
Population of about 50 million
Large military and civilian
bureaucracy: the administration of a
government chiefly through bureaus
or departments staffed with
nonelected officials
State-operated industries
Asoka (304 – 232 BCE)
§ Religious conversion to
Buddhism after the
gruesome battle of
Kalinga in 262 BCE.
§ Dedicated his life to
§ Built extensive roads.
§ Conflict: How to balance
Kautilya’s methods of keeping
power and Buddha’s demands to
become a selfless person?
Buddhist Doctrine: The Dharma
The Four Noble Truths
all life is suffering
there is an end to suffering
removing desire removes suffering
this may be done through the eight-fold path
(right views, intention, speech, action,
livelihood, effort, mindfulness,
Appeal of Buddhism
Less dependence on Brahmins for ritual
No recognition of caste, jati status
Philosophy of moderate consumption
Public service through lay teaching
Use of vernacular, not Sanskrit
r. 268 -
Asoka’s law code
§ Edicts scattered in
more than 30 places
in India, Nepal,
Pakistan, & Afghanistan.
§ Written mostly in Sanskrit,
but one was in Greek and
§ 10 rock edicts.
§ Each pillar [stupa] is 40’-50’ high.
§ Buddhist principles dominate his laws
as he makes an effort to develop a moral code for his
empire. Religious tolerance, remorse for aggression
(Ahimsa), conquest through teaching, welfare for all
Decline of the Mauryan Empire
Economic crisis follows death of Ashoka
High costs of bureaucracy,
military not supported
by tax revenue
Regions begin to abandon
Mauryan Empire
 Disappears by 185 BCE
Ashoka Lion Capital ~ Legacy
Regional Kingdom: Bactria
Northwestern India
Ruled by Greek-speaking descendants of
Alexander’s campaigns
Intense cultural activity accompanies active
Turmoil & a Power Vacuum:
220 BCE – 320 CE
The Mauryan Empire is divided into many kingdoms.
The Gupta Dynasty
Based in Magadha
Founded by Chandra Gupta (no relation to
Chandragupta Maurya), c. 320 CE
Slightly smaller than Mauryan Empire
Highly decentralized leadership
Gupta Decline
Frequent invasions of White Huns, 5th c. CE
Gupta Dynasty disintegrates along regional fault lines
Smaller local kingdoms dominate until Mughal Empire
founded in 16th c.
Gupta Empire:
320 CE – 647
Society & Economy
Gender Relations
Patriarchy entrenched
Child marriage common (8 year old girls married to
men in 20s)
Women encouraged to remain in private sphere
Castes & Guilds
Wealth & the Social Order
Economy: Towns & Manufacturing
Manufactured goods in big demand
Developed in dense network of small workshops
Trade intense, capitalizes on trade routes across
Gupta Rulers
§ Chandra Gupta I
r. 320 – 335 CE
“Great King of
§ Chandra Gupta II
r. 375 - 415 CE
Profitable trade
with the
Mediterranean world
§ Hindu revival
§ Huns invade – 450 CE
Fa-Hsien: Life in Gupta India
 Chinese Buddhist monk traveled along the
Silk Road and visited India in the 5th century.
 He was following the path
of the Buddha.
 He reported the people to
be happy, relatively free of
government oppression, and
inclined towards courtesy and
charity. Other references in
the journal, however, indicate
that the caste system was
rapidly assuming its basic features, including
"untouchability," the social isolation of a lowest
class that is doomed to menial labor.
Extensive Trade
4th century
gold & ivory
International Trade Routes
during the Guptas
500 healing
plants identified
1000 diseases
medicinal guides
of Zero
PI = 3.1416
The earth
is round
The Decline of the
 Invasion of the White Huns from Central Asia in
the 4th century signaled
the end of the Gupta
Golden Age, even though at first, the Gupta
defeated them.
 After the decline of the Gupta empire, north
India broke into a number of separate Hindu
kingdoms and was not really unified again until
the coming of the Muslims in the 7th century.
 Great cultural diversity
Caste system encouraged local loyalties
Is the best literature and art written as
the civilization is on the rise, at its
height, or in its decline?
Indian trade flourished despite lack of unity
Merchants and artisans patronized public
buildings and festivals
Hinduism & Buddhism spread through much of
Asia; Indian mathematics & astronomy as well
Trade along the Silk Roads
Trade in the Indian Ocean Basin
Seasonal sea trade expands
 Spring/winter winds blow from south-west,
fall/winter winds blow from north-west
Trade from Asia to Persian Gulf and Red Sea,
Classical India COT
Classical India’s caste system regulated social order despite the fact that it would have to compete with Buddhism
in the Mauryan Empire, patriarchy through Hinduism minimized women’s roles, but eventually the increasingly
decentralized Gupta Empire would be toppled by Huns
In South Asia 600 B.C.E-600 C.E the strategic location India would generate greater interregional trade with
Indian Vaisya’s (merchant caste) being the most venturesome sailors in the Indian Ocean, Hinduism would
become increasingly more codified through the laws of Manu and epic literature like the Mahayana, however,
India’s fragmented geography would continue to contribute greatly to its diverse identification of language and
culture ( Deccan Planteau,Thar Desert, Himalayan Mountains, etc.)
Classical India (600 B.C.E-600 C.E) was dramatically altered by Asoka’s conversion in the Mauryan Empire to
Buddhism establishing a pattern of tolerance and understanding, facilitating monastic orders to spread Buddhism
and its rejection of caste, however, Hinduism would remain the majority faith based of traditions and historical
social divisions
In South Asia 600 B.C.E-600 C.E the introduction of Greco-Buddhism facilitated the spread of Buddhism across the silk road
with depictions of the Buddha in traditional Greek fashion, literature became inspired by Homeric Epics in the Baghavad
Gita, however, the role of caste and principles of Dharma (duties) and Karma( determination of future rebirths/samsara)
would continue to guide social and economic relationships