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Ancient India


Ancient History 10 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ancient India

Ancient India
  • Ancient History 10

Daily Life in Ancient India
Indus Period
  • Not a lot is know about the civilization.
  • Over 4,000 years ago, in the Indus Valley, people
    built huge, planned cities, with straight
    streets, and brick homes with private baths!  
  • In 1922, archaeologists found the remains of an
    ancient city called Harappa.
  • They found another city, located 400 miles
    southwest of Harappa, called Mohenjo-Daro.
  • Civilization is referred to as the Indus Valley
  • They existed from about 3000-2,500 BCE to about
    1500 BCE, which means it existed at about the
    same time as the Egyptian and Sumerian

  • This ancient civilization must have had marvelous
    craftsmen, skilled in pottery, weaving, and metal
  • The pottery that has been found is of very high
    quality, with unusually beautiful designs.
  • Several small figures of animals, such as
    monkeys, have been found. These small figures
    could be objects of art or toys. 

  • There are also small statues of what they think
    are female gods.
  • They have found bowls made of bronze and silver,
    and many beads and ornaments.
  • Imported metals.
  • Foreign to the in Indus Valley.

  • Some of the toys found were
  • small carts
  • whistles shaped like birds
  • toy monkeys which could slide down a string

  • A beautiful small bronze statue of a dancer was
    found, which tells us that they enjoyed dance and
    had great skill working with metals.
  • In the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro, scientists
    have found the remains of a large central pool,
    with steps leading down at both ends. This could
    have been a public swimming pool, or perhaps have
    been used for religious ceremonies. 
  • Around this large central pool were smaller
    rooms, that might have dressing rooms, and
    smaller pools that might have been private baths.

  • Dinner might have been warm tasty wheat bread
    served with barley or rice.
  • They grew barley, peas, melons, wheat, and dates.
  • Farms raised cotton and kept herds of sheep,
    pigs, zebus (a kind of cow), and water buffalo.
  • Fish were caught in the river with fish hooks!
  •  Each town had a large central storage building
    for grain. Crops were grown, and the harvest
    stored centrally, for all in the town to enjoy.  

  • Houses were one or two stories high, made of
    baked brick, with flat roofs, and were just about
  • Each was built around a courtyard, with windows
    overlooking the courtyard.
  • The outside walls had no windows. Each home had
    its own private drinking well and its own private
  • Clay pipes led from the bathrooms to sewers
    located under the streets.
  • These sewers drained into nearly rivers and
    streams. This was a very advanced civilization!

  • Men and women dressed in colorful robes. 
  • Women wore jewelry of gold and precious stone,
    and even wore lipstick!
  • Among the treasures found was a statue of a women
    wearing a bracelet. (Bracelets with similar
    designs are worn today in India.)

  • The people used camels, oxen and elephants to
    travel over land.
  • They had carts with wooden wheels.
  • They had ships, with one mast, probably used to
    sail around the Arabian Sea.
  • Seals with a pictographic script, which has not
    as yet been deciphered, were found at the Indus
    Valley sites.
  • Similar seals were found in Mesopotamia, which
    seems to indicate possible trade between these
    two civilizations.

  • The writing of the Indus people is preserved on
    square/rectangular seals cut out of a soft stone
    called steatite (soap stone). These seals would
    be stamped on clay.
  • Indus script has yet to be deciphered.
  • Bison Seal Unicorn Seal Bull Seal

Harappan Writing
Undecipherable to date.
  • Herders, who came to India as conquerors and
  • Destroyed the city of Harappa and the Harappans
    became slaves
  • Tribes formed small kingdoms, which were led by a
    rajah (king)
  • Family wealth depended on the of cows owned
  • The cow became a sacred animal because it was
    both a beast of burden and food.

Caste System
  • A system of social order divided into 4 groups
    according to occupation
  • 1. Brahmans (Priests Scholars)
  • 2. Kshatriyas (Nobles Fighters)
  • 3. Vaisayas (Merchants, farmers)
  • 4. Sudras (Servants Manual Workers
  • Pariahs (Dalits) Untouchables or outcasts that
    did jobs that were believed to be unclean

Varna (Social Hierarchy)
Pariahs Harijan ? Untouchables
The Caste System
  • The mouth?
  • The arms?
  • The legs?
  • The feet?

The Caste System
  • The caste system began because priests wanted to
    protect their high position in society
  • Castes became stricter as there were differences
    in jobs, cultural groups and skin colour
  • One could not marry, eat with of work with
    someone from another caste
  • One could not move of the caste that they were
    born in.
  • Indo-Aryans believed that a persons caste was
    the reward or punishment for Karma (the good or
    bad deeds committed in a previous life that will
    determine their future life).
  • The caste system prevents individuals from
    developing using their abilities and talents.
    This hurts society by limiting the talent
    available to develop trades, sciences, arts and

  • The Indu-Aryan language is called Sanskrit.
  • In Sanskrit, the term arya means relatives,
    nobles or honorable persons.
  • Among the Aryans were Brahmins, members of the
    higher class in Hindu society.

Aryan Civilization
  • The Red Dot on Foreheads Have you ever wondered
    why Indian women place a red dot on their
    foreheads, between their eyes? We did, so we
    asked a few people what the red dot meant. Here
    are two replies
  • "This goes back to Aryan days! In ancient times,
    a groom used to apply a spot of his blood on his
    bride's forehead, in recognition of wedlock!
    Today, married Indian women may choose to wear
    this mark. A married woman does not have to do
    this, but she can if she wants. However, if a
    woman is single, divorced or a widow, she can not
    wear this mark. It's a sign of marriage!(Sudheer
  • "At one time, the tilak or bindi as it is called,
    was a sign of a happily married woman. Today, it
    is much more a fashion accessory--it can be any
    colour, any shape or size, and women often wear
    more than one." (Gerald L Harrison Adult
    educator Asian Studies Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Aryan Civilization
  • Indus Valley changed a lot when a new group
    arrived, called the Aryans. The Aryans came from
    (modern day Russia). Came through the Khyber
  • The Aryans were nomads. They raised livestock,
    rode chariots, and loved to gamble.
  • No form of government.
  • They grouped in clans, and were ruled by warrior
    chiefs called rajas. (Clan conflict)

Aryan Civilzation
  • The Aryan beliefs and daily life are described in
    the four Vedas, a collection of poems and sacred
    hymns, composed in about 1500 BCE.
  •  Veda means knowledge.
  • The Vedas are composed of the Rig, Sama, Yajur,
    and Atharva Vedas.
  • 1500 BCE to 1000 BCE is called the Vedic Period.

How did the Aryans live?  
  • The Aryans clans, or tribes, settled in different
    regions of northwestern India.
  • The tribes were called Gana "collection" - of
  • The chief of each tribe was an hereditary job.
  • The chief made decisions, after listening to a
    committee, or perhaps even to the entire tribe.
    People had a voice, but the chief was the boss.

Yagna (central fire-place)
  • The life of the tribal Aryans was focused around
    the central fireplace called the Yagna.  
  • The tribe would gather around the central
    fireplace, and share news, and the days
    happenings.. These fire tenders, formed the caste
    of priests.
  • The Aryans ate meat, vegetables, fruit, bread,
    milk, and fish. 

What did they do when they were not working or
fighting each other?
  • The Aryans loved to gamble. They introduced the
    horse to ancient India and raced chariots.
  • They played fighting games. They loved to tell
  • The ancient Aryans were proud and fierce, and
    deeply religious. They had many gods and

  • As the Aryans settled in and began to grow crops,
    people started to have occupations.
  • Social Hierarchy the Brahmana (priests),
    Kshatriya (warriors), Vaishya (traders and
    agriculturists), and Shudra (workers).
  •  In the beginning, these were just occupations.
    You could move from group to group. This changed
    over time, until a person's occupation or group
    depended upon birth.

  • Teacher a guru.
  • Even chiefs sons had to obey the guru.
  • All students followed a rigorous course of
    studies which were imparted orally.
  • Writing was done on bark and leaves, and hence
    was perishable, so we have very few rock edicts
    to tell us what they studied or what they wrote.
  • Clothing was initially made of animal skins. As
    the Aryans settled down, clothing began to be
    made of cotton.  

  • The next thousand years saw a great many kings
    and emperors! Some did fabulous things, like
    plant trees along the roads and built rest houses
    for travelers. Other started great public works
    programs. Let's take a closer look at just one of
    the empires - my favorite - the Gupta Empire.
  • The Gupta Empire (320 CE to about 500 CE). The
    Gupta Empire existed at about the same time as
    the Roman Empire. It dominated northern
    India. The Gupta Empire was neat. Villages were
    protected from bandits and raids with local
    military squads. Each squad was made up of one
    elephant, one chariot, three armored cavalrymen
    and five foot soldiers. In times of war, all the
    squads were brought together to form the royal
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