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Ancient India and China


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Title: Ancient India and China

Ancient India and China
Indus Valley
  • India fertile plain between Indus and Ganges
    rivers. Area guarded by mountains and desert
  • Subject to monsoons-wet and dry seasons
  • Indus region was home to the largest of the four
    ancient urban civilizations of Egypt,
    Mesopotamia, South Asia and China. It was not
    discovered until the 1920's. Most of its ruins,
    even its major cities, remain to be excavated.
    The ancient Indus script has not been deciphered
  • 2500 B.C.-began building planned communities
    (Kalibangan, Mohenjo-Daro, and Harappa)
  • Indus valley sometimes referred to as Harappan
  • Indus Valley cities were laid out on a precise
    grid system with fortified areas called citadels.
    They had separate residential districts and
    sophisticated plumbing and swage systems
  • TAKE A LOOK http//

Harappan Religion
  • Artifacts reveal links to modern Hindu culture

Hindus are polytheistic religion Around 1750 BC
life in Indus Valley began to decline ??? (river
changed course, land worn out, catastrophe, or
The Great Bath at Mohenjo-Daro show the advanced
plumbing system. The drain in the middle would
take all unwanted water to the sewage system below
Indian Civilization
  • After the decline of the Indus River valley a new
    group migrated into the area from 2000-1500 BCE
    called the Aryans from Central Asia
  • These nomads intermarried with locals to form a
    group who called themselves Aryans. They combined
    their culture and Indian culture
  • Record from the Vedas or teachings of ancient
    India. This is known as the Vedic Age b/c how it
    was recorded
  • Mohenjo-Daro had plumbing and sewers!
  • Water came into their houses and was carried
    awayvery complex
  • Most people here were farmers. They grew wheat,
    barley, melons, and dates. They may have even
    been the first people to cultivate cotton
  • Merchants and traders-coins from Mesopotamia

  • Aryans began to settle into villages and become
  • They were led by their local chief or rajahs. The
    rajah was elected from the warriors
  • Over time some of these rajahs built control over
    many villages and became hereditary rulers
  • Created the caste system or social hierarchy in
  • Brahmins priests
  • Kshatriyas or warriors
  • Vaisyas or farmers/ artisans/ merchants
  • Sudras- people with little or no Aryan heritage
    (farm workers, servants, laborers)
  • Dalits-untouchables (performed work that made
    them contaminated like butchers or trash

  • Aryans were polytheistic
  • They worshipped gods who embodied natural forces
    like rain and fire
  • Their chief god was Indra or the god of war
  • Some Aryans began to focus on the idea of
    mysticism or direct communication with god and
    began to meditate and do yoga
  • Over time the Aryan and Indian gods melted
    together to form thousands of gods and the
    religion of Hinduism
  • Around 500 BCE India was divided into regional
  • Mahabharata-epic poem in Indian history about
    history and warfare
  • Ramayana poem to teach values and behavior

2 Hinduism and Buddhism
  • Aryan and non-Aryans blended religions
    together-resulting in thousands of gods
  • Hindus share a common view religion liberates
    the soul from everyday existence
  • One Force underlies everything God is one, but
    wise people know it by many names Brahman this
  • Therefore the religion is both polytheistic and
    technically monotheistic
  • Goal is to achieved perfect understand (moksha).
    Usually not achieved in one life-time
    (reincarnation) and souls karma determines the
    next lifes circumstances such as caste
  • Goal moksha or the union with brahman. To
    achieve the person must free themselves from self
    desires that separate them from the brahman. The
    believe in reincarnation or rebirth in order to
    continue working towards achieving moksha b/c it
    is very difficult to achieve in just one life

  • Hindus believe that you can come closer to moksha
    by obeying the law of Karma. Karma refers to all
    the actions of a persons life that affect their
    fate in the next life
  • People who live virtuously earns good karma and
    are reborn at a higher level of existence while
    those who do evil acquire bad karma and are born
    into suffering at a lower level of existence. In
    Indian art this image is made in the wheel
  • Dharma- religious and moral duties of an
    individual that helps to guide their karma. These
    duties vary according to occupation/ gender/
    class/ age
  • Hinduism also stresses non-violence or ahimsa

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The religion reinforces the caste system. You
deserve to be in your position in society because
of your past karma. The caste system becomes more
complex over time. Rules were developed on what
you could eat, where you live, dressed, job, and
who you could marry. Contact with lower castes
would pollute a high-caste Brahmin. Untouchables
had to carry a wooden instrument called a clapper
to warm of their approach!
Objects-rocks and water
  • Jainism-Mahavira the founder of Jainism
  • believed everything in the universe has a soul
    and shouldnt be harmed (doctrine of
  • Jain monks sweep the sidewalks of insects so as
    not to kill any. They carry brooms.

  • Siddhartha Gautama is the founder
  • He was born a prince about 563 BCE. It was
    predicted that he would either be a great king or
    wandering holy man
  • His father kept him in the palace in the hopes of
    him becoming a great ruler
  • At 16 Gautama married
  • At 29 Gautama left the palace and his life
    changed. He saw an old man, a sick person, and a
    dead body. He discovered human suffering so he
    set out to discover the realm of life where
    there is neither suffering or death
  • Gautama wondered for 6 years
  • He came upon a tree and began to mediate on this
    issue. He did so for 49 dayshe also fasted. It
    was set that by poking him in the stomach that
    you could touch his back!
  • After the 49 days he understood the cause and
    cure for suffering and sorrow. He then became
    known as the enlightened one or Buddha

  • Buddha then spent the rest of his life preaching
    on how to achieve enlightenment
  • Four Noble Truths state of life
  • Eight Fold Path to reach enlightenment
  • Buddha died at age 80. Afterwards the religion
    divides into various sects (Theravada
    Buddhism-original teachings of Buddhism vs.
    Mahayana Buddhism-makes gods and people worship
    to find salvation)
  • Buddhism was from Hinduism. Differed b/c instead
    of focusing on priests all could seek
    enlightenment through meditation. Also Buddhism
    rejected the caste system offering the hope of
    nirvana to all regardless of birth
  • Grew and spread across Asia, but in India
    Buddhism declined and was absorbed by Hinduism
    and Buddha became one of its many gods

Four Noble Truths
Eight Fold Path
First noble truth Everything in life is suffering and sorrow
Second noble truth The cause of all suffering is peoples selfish desire for the temporary pleasures of this world
Third noble truth The way to end all suffering is to end all desire
Fourth noble truth The way to overcome such desire and attain enlightenment is to follow the 8 fold path, which is called the Middle Way between desires and self-denial
Right Views Right Livelihood
Right aspirations Right Effort
Right Speech Right Mindfulness
Right Conduct Right Contemplation
Goal nirvana (union with the universe and
release from the cycle of life)
Indian Empires
  • 1500 BCE the Indus River Valley disappeared
    (classical age)
  • Indo-Europeans began migrations, Aryans
  • Internal fights between various Aryan kingdoms
  • In 326 BCE Alexander the Great from Macedonia
    conquers Persia and makes his way to India. He
    conquerors northern India and brings with him
    Hellenistic and Greek culture. By the time he has
    made it to India many of his men are homesick and
    force Alexander to go back home. Soon afterwards
    Alexander the Great dies.
  • His troops refused to fight the Magadha Empire in
    India along the Ganges River.

Magadha Kingdom
Indian Empires
  • The Mauryan Empire was created in the late 4th
    century (or late 300s) by Chandragupta when he
    killed the last Magadha king and took control of
    the territory. He also defeated the general left
    in charge of the northern Indian territories
    following the death of Alexander the Great. He
    and his successors expanded the empire to cover
    of Deccan. He had a well organized bureaucracy
    with royal officials overseeing projects and tax
    collection. He also encouraged trade and had
    state owned factories and shipyards. He had royal
    courts to settle disputes, but was harsh in the
    fact that he had a secret police force to report
    on corruption, crime, and dissentience. He also
    had a specially trained group of warrior women to
    protect him at his palace!
  • Ashoka (269-232 BCE) Chandraguptas grandson
    and great emperor. He continued to expanded and
    fought a very bloody battle for Kalinga where he
    slaughtered more than 100,000 people. He was so
    horrified at the seen that he converted to
    Buddhism and upheld its belief of non-violence.
    He then brought much peace and prosperity to the
    people of India.

Mauryan Empire
Indian Empires
  • After the death of Ashoka the Mauryan Empire
    decline and fell apart
  • Soon regional kingdoms and infighting spread
    throughout India. They were then conquered by
    foreign to the north, the Kushan invaders
  • In the south on the Deccan various kingdoms
    arose Dravidians to the north who absorbed many
    nrothern ideas such as language and religion and
    were tolerant and the Tamil kingdoms to the south
    focused on trade. Tamil rulers improved the
    harbors and sent spices, fine textiles, and other
    luxuries westward to Roman! When the Roman empire
    declined they traded with China.

Gupta Empire
  • About 500 years following the fall of the Mauryan
    Empire the next strong empire arose in India, the
    Gupta Empire
  • The Gupta empire was founded by Chandra Gupta and
    lasted from 320-540. It was called the Golden Age
    of India because its rulers brought much peace
    and prosperity to the people of India. The Guptas
    supported Hinduism. Much of Indian rule was based
    on village and city governments with their local
    rulers claiming subservience to the Gupta king.
    Trade flourished and this prosperity supported
    art and learning which became very important

Gupta Empire
Achievements/ Decline of Gupta
  • Math Arabic numerals, concept of zero, decimal
  • Medicine remedies to treat illnesses, setting
    bones and simple surgery, and even some early
    version of vaccinations
  • Literature many writers in the Sanskrit
    language. Kalidasa the most famous playwright
    story of Shakuntala
  • Decline Because of weak rulers, civil wars, and
    invasion by the HUNS the Gupta Empire came to an
    end. It split again into regional kingdoms

Everyday Life (India)
  • Most people of India were poor peasant that lived
    in the countryside in villages. Their lives were
    consumed with work, caste system, family and
    village life, and their duties to each
  • The family structure was a joint family with
    parents, children, and their offspring living in
    a common dwelling. The culture was patriarchal
    with men having power. There were traditions like
    consulting the wife and family on important
    decisions. Property belonged to the family
  • Family interests came before individual
    interests! They trained children, performed their
    caste duties, and learned rituals to honor their
  • Women left the home after marriage to resident
    with their husbands family. (dowry)
  • At first women enjoyed many freedoms in India,
    but by the Gupta Empire they were restricted and
    couldnt leave the house without being covered
    from head to foot!

Culture (India)
  • Women were believed to hold and specific energy
    that needed to by channeled by her husband
  • Women were thought to only achieve a higher
    existence (reincarnation) through being devoted
    to her husband. Virtuous widows would even
    through themselves onto their dead husbands
    funeral fires to join him.
  • The village was the heart of daily life. It was
    run by a headman and council that made important
    decisions (at first women could be on the
    councils, but this changed). They organized
    projects like road and irrigation projects. The
    town was organized into a cluster of homes
    surrounded by the fields
  • Farming depended on the monsoons, too little or
    too much rain could mean famine. The farmers
    rented their lands from landlords and were
    required to pay a percentage of their crops as
    payment leaving very little for the family. They
    village people also traded some goods and
    participated in trade across the continent

  • Natural barriers isolated ancient China Pacific
    Ocean, Taklimakan desert, Plateaus of Tibet and
    Mongolia, Gobi Desert, and the Himalayan
  • Plain between Huang He (Yellow River) and Yangtze
    is China heartland-farmings
  • Silt from yellow river overflowing-loess-also
    called the River of Sorrows
  • 2000 B.C. cities arose in China
  • Xia dynasty led by Yu (flood control and
    irrigation projects)

The Yellow River gets its name because of the
yellow windborne clay dust called loess that is
blown across the north of China from the steppes
of Central Asia. The loess is blown into the
river and gives it a yellow appearance
Shang Dynasty of China
  • Shang 1766-1122 BCE. invaders, written records,
    created walled cities-protection, society sharply
    divided by class (King, warrior-nobles, and
    peasants) (118ft mounds)
  • Culture placed importance on family and loyalty
    to king/emperor
  • Local princes and nobles governed most of the
    lands controlled by the king
  • Elite women may have enjoyed high statussome
    have been found to own land and even lead armies
  • Majority of people were peasants who lived in
    small villages. They worked the fields or worked
    on public projects. There was also trade and a
    class of merchants and artisans

Shang Dynasty
  • Religion-believed spirits of family members could
    influence fortune (Chinese version of Dracula!)
  • Polytheistic-worshipped a supreme god, Shang Di,
    and many lesser ones through the spirits of their
  • Shang kings consulted the gods through oracle
    bones, which priest would break and then
  • Writing system-(pictographs) no links between
    Chinas languages and writing system

Zhou Dynasty
  • Zhou overthrow Shang around 1122 BCE
  • Justified by Mandate of Heaven (bad rulers could
    lose gods support and others could then overthrow
  • This began a patter of rise and fall in dynasties
    in China-dynastic cycle. Floods, famine, and
    other problems were sign that a dynasty had lost
    the mandate
  • Zhou began feudalism to control lands (nobles can
    use kings land in return for loyalty and service)
  • Technology-roads, coined money, government
    workers, and iron
  • Zhou lost power 256 BC and nobles began fighting

Zhou Dynasty
  • By 771 BCE the Zhou was very weak and the monarch
    was killed in an invasion into the city he lived
    in (nomadic invaders). Family moved to another
    city and pretended to rule for the next 500
    years. This was a chaotic time and much fighting
    occurred between powerful vassal. The time of the
    called the period of the warring states
  • Extended land, banned human sacrifice, began to
    standardize language
  • By 256 BCE Zhou fell apart and a warlord took
    control of the China and trimphed over the other
    war lords, his name Qin Shi Huangdi. He started
    the Qin Dynasty
  • Confucius also lived during this time period

  • Believed in many gods, but believed that humans
    could not speak with them
  • Only the ancestors of great people could speak to
    the gods on behalf of people
  • So Ancestor worship-people prayed to their
    ancestors to help them with the harvest and even
    war. The ancestor would then speak with the God.
    At first only royal family and nobility were
    thought of as having ancestors of enough power.
    Over time this began to change and many prayed to
    their ancestors for things like good fortune

Confucius 551BCE
  • Ancient belief of peace and harmony nature yin/
    yang. Confucius created a philosophy or system of
    ideas that was concerned with worldly matters,
    especially good government. He thought that the
    government needed to be centralized and that
    peace needed to be restored to China. His local
    leaders refused to allow him to work for them b/c
    he was too opinionated and so he traveled around
    looking to be a chief advisor. Didnt have much
    success, but had disciples who wrote his idea in
    the Analects.
  • He then became a very famous teacher. He had a
    strong focus on patriarchy and respect for elders
    and country. Know and accept your role/ position
    in society. Relationships were to reflect this
    position (ruler to subject, parent to child, and
    even husband to wife). Correct behavior would
    bring stability and order. The most important
    duty was respect to parents. Do not do to
    otherwhat you would not wish yourself

  • Laozi founded around the same time as Confucius
  • Concerned with living in harmony with nature
  • You should look beyond everyday cares and focus
    on the Dao or the way of the universe
  • Believed that one who truly understood the Dao
    wouldnt speak of it!
  • Rejection of conflict and strife (water does not
    resist, but yields to outside pressure, yet is an
    unstoppable force)
  • Believed that government was unnatural and cause
    many problems. The best government was one that
    governed the least!

  • Daoism changed and evolved into a popular
    religion with gods, goddesses, and magical
    practices. People turned to priests for good luck
    and cures
  • Over time many Chinese mixed Daoist and Confucian
    ideas because Confucianism taught them how to
    behave while Daoism influenced their view of the
    natural world

  • Shang astronomers studied the movement of the
    planets and recorded eclipses. This helped them
    to make an accurate calendar with 365 ¼ days
  • Technology for bronze making weapons
  • 2640 BCE learned how to make silk. This became
    Chinas most valuable export and kept the
    technology secret for many years
  • Writing system people across China spoke various
    languages and dialects. Therefore having one
    language was important for Chinese unification.
  • Language characters that represent words. Must
    memorize thousands of characters in order to be
    successful reading or writing. As you can imagine
    only the most wealthy could afford tutors.
  • Calligraphy became popular
  • Zhou first book written book of songs

Strong Rulers section 5
  • Qin dynasty rose up from the Zhou and the time of
    the warring states
  • Shi Huangdi or the First Emperor proclaimed
    himself emperor after the fight for power in 221
  • He spent 20 years conquering most of the warring
    states and then needed to unify them
  • He created a centralized government that was
  • Legalism is based on the teachings of Hanfeizi
    who died in 233 BCE. He believed that the nature
    of man was evil and that goodness was something
    acquired. Therefore, the only way to achieve
    order was to pass very strict laws and impose
    harsh consequences for crimes
  • Shi Huangdi tortured, enslaved, or killed his
    critics many whom were nobles and Confucian
  • In order to root out dissent, Shi Huangdi, also
    approved the burning of books (exception was
    medicine and agriculture)

Shi Huangdi
  • His Tomb

Shi Huangdi (tomb)
Qin Dynasty
  • He started to standardize Chinese and created
    weights and measurements to use throughout the
    country. He even required all cart axles be the
    same size so that wheels could run through the
    same ruts on Chinese roads!
  • He abolished feudalism and replaced the various
    states with 36 military districts with loyal
    officials in charge
  • He force noble families to move to the capital at
    Xianyang in order to closely watch them
  • He gave some of the lands taken from nobles to
    the peasants to work
  • He also built the Great Wall of China. This took
    the conscripted labor of peasants and it took
    them toiling constantly for 25 years to build the
    wall to protect the Chinese for northern
    invaders. The wall took on the nickname longest
    graveyard due to all the peasants that died
    building it.
  • Shi Huangdi died in 210 BCE and after his death
    the empire fell. People revolted due to high
    taxes, conscripted labor, and cruel policies. In
    206 BCE Gao Zu (a illiterate peasant leader)
    defeated rival armies to find the next dynasty,
    the Han

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Han Dynasty 202 BCE-220 CE
  • Gao Zu restored order and justice. He lowered
    taxes and ended curtailed Legalist policies. He
    also restored Confucian scholars as government
  • Wudi (141-87 BCE) was a famous Han emperor who
    strengthened the government by choosing Confucian
    scholars and he even set up an imperial
    university. He built roads and canals and set up
    granaries across China. He also created a
    government monopoly on iron and salt thereby
    creating an income for the government so they
    wouldnt have to increase taxes.
  • Wudi was an expansionist and expanded the
    territory of China. In doing this he also opened
    up a network of trade routes called the Silk
    Roads that linked China eventually all the way to
    the West! New foods and products flowed into
    China and China exported much silk. The road was
    eventually about 4,000 miles long (relay trade)

Han Dynasty
  • Under the Han dynasty, Confucianism became the
    official belief of the state
  • The state relied on well-educated Confucian
    bureaucrats to run the government
  • These Confucian scholars were civil servants or
    officials of the government. They believed that
    someone should gain their position by merit and
    not family ties. If someone proved themselves
    then they were promoted through the government
    ranks. Eventually, they might be recruited to
    take a civil service exam to test their knowledge
    of government and history (Five Classics). Later
    under the Sui dynasty a formal civil service exam
    was established. Only men from wealthy families
    could afford the training needed in order to pass
    the test. Sometimes brilliant peasant boys were
    paid for but that was unusual. Women were
    excluded from this system due to the patriarchal
    nature of the country.
  • The test remained in use until 1912 in China!

Han Fall
  • Court intrigues undermined powers of the emperor
    and powerful warlords emerged
  • Weak emperors let canals and roads fall into
    disrepair while they increased taxes
  • Taxes became so high that they send out tax
    collectors. Peasants revolted by abandoning
    villages and fleeing to the mountains where they
    joined bandit groups with colorful names like the
    Red Eyebrows or Green Woodsmen
  • In 220 powerful warlords overthrew the last Han
    emperor and China broke up into regional
    kingdoms. Additionally, northern invaders purged
    into the country (Huns)!

Achievements/ Golden Age
  • Han dynasty chemistry, zoology, botany, and
    astronomy. Developed calendars, timekeeping
    devices, seismographs to detect earthquakes, moon
    eclipses, acupuncture, diagnosed diseases, and
    developed anesthetics and remedies (drugs)
  • China was the most advanced civilization in the
    world at the time
  • Cai Lun invented a method for making paper of
    out of wood pulp
  • Ship building rudder to steer
  • Bronze and iron stirrups, fishing reel,
    wheelbarrows, and suspension bridges
  • Art expanded during this time, palaces and
    temples were built, and large parks
  • Silk makers improved, jade and ivory cravings

  • By 100 missionaries and merchants from India
    spread Buddhism to China
  • Spread during times of trouble and did oppose
    basic traditional Confucian Chinese values of the
    family, hierarchy, and the patriarchy
  • Personal salvation and hope to end suffering were
    appeal Neither Daoism or Confucianism emphasized
    the idea of personal salvation
  • By 400 Buddhism had spread throughout the
    country and became somewhat popular
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