1500 BCE - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

About This Presentation

1500 BCE


Title: PowerPoint Presentation Last modified by: Tracy D. Rosselle Created Date: 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:323
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 60
Provided by: mysd180
Tags: bce | ramayana


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: 1500 BCE

1500 BCE 600 CEIndia and Southeast AsiaTracy
Rosselle, M.A.T.Newsome High School, Lithia, FL
  • Including the Vedic Age and the rise of Buddhism

Foundations of Indian civilization
  • As we have seen, the earliest Indian civilization
    one with a high degree of social organization
    and technological sophistication emerged along
    the Indus River Valley but died out around 1900
    BCE, probably due to an environmental crisis.
  • Attempts to link the characteristics of that
    ancient Harappan civilization to later Indian
    civilizations cannot be done conclusively because
    the Harappan writing has not been deciphered
    but what today is India may originally have been
    a blend of the Harappan and Aryan cultures.
  • What is clear is that India from ancient to
    modern times has been highly diverse, made up
    of many ethnic and linguistic groups and
    fragmented political structures yet with an
    overarching set of shared views and values,
    especially with regard to its relationship with

The Indiansubcontinent
  • India is called a subcontinent because it is so
    large (about 2,000 miles long and wide) and is
    set apart from the larger continent of Asia.
  • Capped in the northeast by the Himalayas, the
    worlds largest mountains, and in the northwest
    by the Hindu Kush Mountains.
  • Surrounded to the south, east and west by the
    Indian Ocean.

Monsoon mania
  • Sheltered by mountains from cold Arctic winds,
    India has a subtropical climate.
  • A major source of moisture are the monsoons
    (seasonal winds) temperature differences between
    the land (varying significantly from hot to cold)
    and the slow-to-change Indian Ocean create a
    bellows effect ? wet monsoon winds from southwest
    to northeast June to September dry monsoon
    winds from northeast to southwest October to May.
  • Indian mariners learned to ride these winds in
    carrying out trade with other regions.

Indo-Europeans group of nomadic peoples from
the dry grasslands north of the Caucasus
Mountains who spoke different forms of a language
called Indo-European.
At around the time the Harappan civilization was
crumbling, a group of Indo-Europeans called the
Aryans migrated down through the Khyber Pass of
the Hindu Kush Mountains and into the Indian
The Vedic Age
  • The Aryans left almost no archaeological record
    but brought with them (only in oral tradition
    initially) their sacred literature, the Vedas ?
    four collections of prayers, magical spells and
    instructions for performing rituals. Historians
    thus call the period from 1500 to 500 BCE the
    Vedic Age because these religious texts provide
    most of the information about this period.

Kinship groups and a move east
  • After the Harappan civilization collapsed, no
    central authority to organize irrigation projects
    ? region home now to patriarchal kinship groups
    relying on herds of cattle, small-scale
  • Warrior class relished combat, celebrated with
    lavish feasts and heavy drinking, filled free
    time with chariot racing and gambling.
  • After 1000 BCE some groups armed now with iron
    tools holding a harder edge than bronze pushed
    east into the Ganges Plain ? could fell the trees
    in this more fertile land, work it with plows
    pulled by oxen.
  • Similar thing happening in Greece ? must have led
    to major population growth.

A conflict of peoples
  • The Aryan migration into India was not an
    organized invasion.
  • Taller and lighter-skinned, the Aryans interacted
    and intermarried with the darker-skinned
    Dravidian population already there, laying the
    cultural and social foundations that would
    influence India to this day.
  • They also fought amongst themselves, and with the
    Dasas (another name for the speakers of Dravidian
    languages), pushing many into central and
    southern India, where their descendants still
    live Dravidian speech prevails in the south
    today while Indo-European languages are spoken in
    northern India.

Caste and varna
  • Aryans brought with them a class system that
    determined each persons role in society.
  • Over time, to regulate the closer contacts with
    non-Aryans, it became more strict and the basis
    of Indias caste system.
  • Based initially on varna, a Sanskrit term meaning
    color and referring to skin color (later the
    term meant something akin to class), the four
    classes were
  • Brahmins (priests)
  • Kshatriya (warriors and officials)
  • Vaishya (merchants, artisans and landowners)
  • Shudra (peasants and serfs).

Shudra and the Untouchables
  • The bottom class, Shudra, may have been reserved
    for Dasas, who were given menial jobs the Aryans
    didnt want to do (dasa, in fact, came to mean
  • A fifth group was later added the Untouchables
    people excluded from the class system and to be
    avoided because their touch endangered the ritual
    purity of others (this because of their
    occupation butchers, gravediggers, trash
    collectors, etc.).

Many birth groups emerge
  • Within broad class divisions the population was
    further subdivided into numerous birth groups
    called jati (the English term caste came from
    casta, Portuguese for breed, and was used after
    European sailors first reached India in 1498 CE).
  • Each jati had proper occupation, duties and
    rituals ? lived with, ate with, married ONLY
    members of that group.
  • Since purity became all important, elaborate
    rules governed interactions of jati ?
    higher-status individuals feared the polluting
    effects of contact with lower-status individuals,
    so the taint had to be removed ritually.

Life after life
  • The caste system connected to prevailing belief
    in reincarnation.
  • Brahmin priests said every living creature had
    the atman (breath) ? immortal essence that
    separated from body at death and later reborn in
    another body.
  • People generate good or bad karma based on their
    deeds in life (governed by the dharma, or the law
    ? good deeds are those conforming to expectations
    of ones caste) and determine whether
    reincarnation is as insect, animal or human and
    whether a higher or lower caste (or even male or
    female, which was considered evidence of bad
    karma in former life).

Vedic Age sacrifice
  • The essential ritual was sacrifice (the
    dedication to one of the many gods predominantly
    male of a valued possession, often a living
    creature ? offering meant to invigorate the gods
    and thus help their creative powers, bring
    stability to the world.
  • The priestly class, the Brahmins, played key role
    in ceremonies using their knowledge (the
    translation of the very term veda) a knowledge
    handed down orally from one generation of priests
    to the next ? their hording protection of this
    knowledge may explain why writing was not
    widespread until the Gupta period (320-550 CE).

Divisions with a purpose
  • The sharp internal divisions of Indian society
    and the conveyance of superiority from one group
    down to the next doesnt comport with modern
    notions of egalitarianism, but it did serve
    important social functions by providing
  • each person with a clear identity and role.
  • the benefits of group solidarity and support.
  • a mechanism to work out social friction.
  • This elaborate system of castes was not entirely
    static, either some evidence suggests groups
    were sometimes able to upgrade their status.

Challenging the Vedic order
  • After 700 BCE, some began to balk at Brahmin
    power and privilege and the constraints of the
    rigid class system and retreated to the forests
    surrounding a community.
  • Charismatic individuals offered alternative path
    ? individual pursuit of insight into the self,
    nature and universe through physical and mental
    discipline yoga.
  • By distancing oneself from the desires of this
    world one could achieve moksha a state of
    perfect understanding, a release from the cycle
    of reincarnations (the wheel of life) and union
    with the divine force that animates the universe
    perfect insight to how atman relates to
    Brahman, the world soul that contains and unites
    all atmans.

Challenging the Vedic orderUpanishads and Jainism
  • Upanishads a collection of more than a hundred
    mystical dialogues between teachers and disciples
    that reflect the questioning of Vedic religion
    written sometime between 750 and 550 BCE.
  • Jainism (JINE-iz-uhm) a religion established by
    Mahavira (540-468 BCE), who was known to his
    followers as Jina (the Conqueror) ? emphasized
    holiness of the life force animating all living

Challenging the Vedic orderJainism (cont.)
  • Mahavira and followers practiced strict
  • Wore masks to prevent even the accidental
    inhalation of bugs.
  • Zealous adherents practiced extreme asceticism
    (self-denial) and nudity, ate only what others
    gave them eventually died of starvation.
  • Less zealous followers, restricted from
    agriculture by the injunction against killing,
    lived in cities and engaged in commerce, banking
    ? no missionaries today, nearly all 5 million
    of the worlds Jains live in India, forming one
    of that countrys wealthiest communities.

The hand with a wheel on the palm symbolizes the
Jain vow of nonviolence.
Challenging the Vedic orderBuddhism
  • Another religion that arose as a threat to Vedic
    religion and of far greater significance to
    history than Jainism was Buddhism, founded by
    Siddhartha Gautama (sihd-DAHR-tuh GOW-tuh-muh).
  • Known as the Buddha, the Enlightened One,
    Siddhartha lived from 563 to 483 BCE and
    historians struggle with separating fact from
    legend in the stories told about him.
  • Came from a Kshatriya family living in the
    foothills of the Himalayas ? eventually gave up
    princely life of his upbringing for the life of a
    wandering ascetic searching for enlightenment.

Challenging the Vedic orderBuddhism (cont.)
  • After six years of wandering, concluded ascetic
    life no more likely than a life of luxury to
    produce spiritual insight.
  • Decided to adhere to a Middle Path of
    moderation, which he set forth as Four Noble

A guide to behavior to be mastered one step at a
time, the Eightfold Path consists of right views,
aspirations, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort,
mindfulness and meditation.
Challenging the Vedic order Buddhism (cont.)
  • By following the Eightfold Path, anyone could
    reach either in this lifetime or across
    multiple lifetimes the state of nirvana, the
    Buddhas word for the release from selfishness
    and pain ? perpetual tranquility.
  • In original form, Buddhism focused on the
    individual ? some early followers took vows of
    celibacy, nonviolence and poverty.
  • Although Siddhartha accepted idea of
    reincarnation, he rejected the hierarchal Vedic
    social structure and taught that all human beings
    could aspire to nirvana in this life ? message
    likely helped Buddhism attract support among
    people at lower end of the social scale.

Challenging the Vedic order Buddhism (cont.)
  • As the Buddhas message spread by missionaries
    and by traders along the Silk Road throughout
    India and into Central, Southeast and East Asia
    following his death, its own successes began to
    subvert the individualistic and essentially
    atheistic tenets of the founder (he rejected the
    panoply of Vedic gods and forbade his followers
    to worship his person or image after his death ?
    which is why many Buddhists view Buddhism as a
    philosophy rather than a religion).
  • Buddhist monasteries were established and a
    hierarchy of Buddhist monks and nuns came into

Challenging the Vedic order Buddhism (cont.)
Great Stupa at Sanchi (3rd to 1st century BCE)
  • Springing up throughout the countryside were
    temples and stupas initially earthen mounds
    symbolizing the universe but which became over
    time stone towers housing relics of the Buddha.

Challenging the Vedic order Buddhism (cont.)
  • Buddhism soon split into two large movements
    Theravada and Mahayana.
  • Theravada Buddhism (the Way of the Elders or
    the Lesser Vehicle) Buddha himself is not
    considered a god emphasizes meditation,
    simplicity, interpretation of nirvana as the
    renunciation of human consciousness and of the
  • Mahayana Buddhism (the Greater Vehicle)
    Buddha is a godlike deity other deities appear,
    including bodhisattvas (those whove achieved
    enlightenment and are nearing nirvana but choose
    to remain on Earth to lead others) more
    complicated and ritualistic than Buddha intended
    detractors say its too much like the Hinduism
    Buddha disapproved of.

The rise of Hinduism
  • Challenged by new, spiritually satisfying and
    more egalitarian movements, Vedic religion
    morphed into Hinduism which today is the
    worlds third-largest religion (about 1 billion
    followers) behind Christianity and Islam.
  • Its creation cannot be linked to a specific time
    or person there was no Mr. Hindu but rather
    evolved over time by about the fourth century CE.
  • The term Hinduism was imposed by others Islamic
    invaders in the 11th century CE labeled the
    diverse range of practices they saw in India as
    Hinduism (what the Indians do).
  • Foundation was the Aryan Vedic tradition, but
    Hinduism also incorporated elements drawn from
    the Dravidian cultures of the south as well as
    elements of Buddhism.

An evolving religion
  • Much of what weve already discussed about Vedic
    religion are components of Hinduism dharma,
    karma, reincarnation, moksha, etc.
  • Closely linked with Hinduism, and reinforced by
    the ideas of karma and reincarnation, is the
    caste system.
  • The world soul, Brahman, sometimes seen as having
    the personalities of three gods Brahma, the
    creator Vishnu, the protector and Shiva, the

A multiplicity of gods
  • Reflecting the ethnic, linguistic and cultural
    diversity of India, Hinduism has a vast array of
    gods (330 million according to one tradition),
    sects and local practices.
  • Example Vishnu, the protector, also took on
    other forms or personalities (as Krishna, the
    divine cow herder as Rama, the perfect king and
    as Buddha ? a clear attempt to co-opt its rival
    religions founder!).
  • Brahma gradually faded into the background, while
    the many forms of Devi, the great Mother Goddess,
    grew in importance.

Shiva is often represented performing dance steps
symbolizing the acts of creation and destruction
both part of a single, cyclical process.
Hinduism reigns in India
  • Hindus today are free to choose the deity they
    worship (interestingly, Vishnu and its Aryan
    pedigree is more popular in the north while Shiva
    is dominant in the Dravidian south) or choose
    none at all most follow a family tradition that
    may go back centuries.
  • They are also free to choose among three
    different paths for achieving moksha, though with
    some exceptions only men of top varnas can expect
    to achieve it in their present life.
  • Buddhism in its austere, most authentic form may
    have demanded too much from most people and the
    features that made Mahayana Buddhism more
    accessible (gods, saints, myths) also made it
    easier to be absorbed by Hinduism.
  • Thus, Buddhism was driven from the land of its
    birth though well see that it firmly took root
    elsewhere in Asia.

Imperial expansion and collapse
  • Indias habitual political fragmentation can be
    explained by two things
  • geographically diverse zones (mountains,
    foothills, forests, steppes, deserts) on the
    subcontinent led to divergent forms of
    organization because of differences in economic
    activity and those same zones featured
    different languages and cultural practices.
  • people identified themselves primarily in terms
    of their caste so allegiance to a higher,
    central political authority wasnt called for.
  • Despite this, two empires arose in the Ganges
    Plain to unite much of the subcontinent between
    324 BCE and 650 CE.

(324-184 BCE)The Mauryan Empire
Not until the 17th century CE would a single
government rule so much of India.
Winter monsoon
  • Indias first centralized empire was founded by
    Chandragupta Maurya when he conquered then
    expanded the kingdom of Magadha, which had a
    wealth derived from agriculture, iron mines and
    its strategic location astride trade routes of
    the eastern Ganges Basin.
  • Chandragupta may have been inspired by Alexander
    the Greats foray into the Punjab in 326 BCE.

Summer monsoon
Mauryan EmpirePragmatic means to an end
  • Chandragupta (r. 324-301 BCE) and his successors
    Bindusara (r. 301-269 BCE) and Ashoka (r. 269-232
    BCE) extended Mauryan control over the entire
    subcontinent except for the Tamil kingdoms of the
    extreme south.
  • Chandragupta was guided by a crafty, elderly
    Brahmin named Kautilya, who may be the initial
    source of the Arthashastra, a coldly pragmatic
    treatise on government that
  • advocates the so-called mandala theory of foreign
    policy (My enemys enemy is my friend.).
  • relates a long list of schemes for enforcing and
    increasing the collection of tax revenues.
  • prescribes the use of spies to keep watch on
    everyone in the kingdom.

Mauryan EmpireTrade and government
  • Mauryan India was characterized by a strong
    military with infantry, cavalry, chariot and
    elephant divisions and royal control of mines,
    shipbuilding and arms manufacturing.
  • An extensive trade network anchored by cotton,
    a key Indian export stretched all the way to
    Mesopotamia and the eastern parts of the Roman
  • Taxes equal to one-fourth of the value of an
    annual harvest funded Mauryan kings and
    government, administrated by relatives and
    associates in districts based on traditional
    ethnic boundaries.
  • Standard coinage fostered support for the
    government and military throughout the empire and
    promoted trade.

Mauryan EmpireAshoka promotes Buddhism
  • Best known of the Mauryan emperors was Ashoka,
    who led the empire to its greatest heights.
  • Ashoka was a great warrior as a young man but
    later became sickened by the brutality of war.
  • After hundreds of thousands of people were
    killed, wounded or deported during his conquest
    of Kalinga, Ashoka converted to Buddhism and
    preached nonviolence, morality, moderation and
    religious tolerance.
  • He wasnt naïve, however to wit The king,
    remorseful as he is, has the strength to punish
    the wrongdoers who do not repent.

Mauryan Empire Carve it in stone
  • Until the time of the Mauryans, Aryan buildings
    were made of wood but stone artisans arriving
    from the defeated Persian Empire were put to work
    by Ashoka in building three main types of
    religious structures the pillar, the stupa and
    the rock chamber (carved out of mountainside
    cliffs and resembling Roman basilicas in the

Ten polished sandstone pillars remain standing
today from the many erected during Ashokas
reign. Erected alongside roads to commemorate the
events in the Buddhas life and mark pilgrim
routes to holy places, they weighed up to 50 tons
and rose more than 30 feet, topped with a carved
capital, usually depicting lions uttering the
Buddhas message.
Mauryan EmpireRock and pillar
Mahabodhi Temple
  • The inscriptions on Ashokas so-called Rock and
    Pillar Edicts constitute the earliest
    decipherable Indian writing
  • Now with the practice of morality by King
    (Ashoka), the sound of war drums has become the
    call to morality. King (Ashoka) desires that
    there should be the growth of the essential
    spirit of morality or holiness among all sects.
  • Bulliet, p. 161

Site of the first temple built by Ashoka in the
third century BCE, on the site of Buddhas
enlightenment Bihar, India.
After Ashoka
  • In the half century following Ashokas death, the
    Mauryan Empire weakened and collapsed, giving way
    to a succession of dominant foreign powers ruling
    in the northwest (present-day Pakistan,
    Afghanistan, Uzbekistan), who extended some
    influence east and south
  • the Greco-Bactrian kingdom (180-50 BCE) descended
    from troops and settlers left in Alexanders
  • the Shakas (50 BCE to 50 CE), an Iranian people
    known as Scythians in the Mediterranean world.
  • the Kushans (50-240 CE), originally from
    Xianjiang in northwest China.

Fragmented but not floundering
  • Despite political fragmentation during the five
    centuries following the Mauryan era (the eastern
    Ganges reverted back to a hodgepodge of small
    principalities), economic, cultural and
    intellectual development remained dynamic, just
    as in archaic Greece and Warring States China
  • Economic
  • the network of roads and towns that had sprung up
    under the Mauryans fostered trade ? Indians
    became middlemen in the international trade
    routes (over land and, increasingly, by sea)
    linking China, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the
    Middle East, East Africa and the Mediterranean.
  • with no central government authority, merchant
    and artisan guilds became politically powerful
    and patrons of culture.

Fragmented but not floundering (cont.)
  • Cultural
  • during the last two centuries BCE the two
    greatest Indian epics the Ramayana and the
    Mahabharata (containing the renowned
    Bhagavad-Gita, which is self-contained and
    perhaps originally separate) achieved final
    form ? based on oral tradition, supposedly
    describing events millions of years in the past,
    probably reflect conditions of the early Vedic
    period when Aryan warrior societies were moving
    onto the Ganges Plain.
  • Mahabharata eight times longer than Greek Iliad
    and Odyssey, tells the story of a cataclysmic
    battle between two sets of cousins quarreling
    over succession to the throne.
  • Bhagavad-Gita god Krishna tutors hero Arjuna
    (who is reluctant to fight own kinsmen) on the
    necessity of fulfilling his duty.

Fragmented but not floundering (cont.)
  • Intellectual
  • era saw significant advances in science and
  • doctors had knowledge of herbal remedies.
  • following Panini, who had earlier analyzed
    Sanskrit word forms and grammar, Indian scholars
    standardized the language ? paved way for
    Prakrits (popular dialects), the ancestors of
    modern Indo-European languages of northern and
    central India.
  • In the turbulent Tamil kingdoms of the south, a
    classical period of literary and artistic
    productivity ? music, dance, drama as well as
    grammatical treatises, collections of ethical
    proverbs, poems about love, war, wealth and

(320-550 CE)The Gupta Empire
  • More than 500 years after the fall of the Mauryan
    Empire, another power ushered in a golden age.
  • The Gupta Empire was founded by a man who called
    himself Chandra Gupta (no relation to the
    Mauryans, but he was clearly modeling himself
    after them) he and successors took title of
    Great King of Kings.
  • More decentralized and smaller than Mauryan

The Gupta EmpireA good example of a
  • Also headquartered in the northeast, the Guptas
    were similar to their Mauryan predecessors (25
    tax on agriculture, monopolies on mining of iron
    and salt) but not nearly as capable of imposing
    their will on people outside the empires core.
  • Gupta administrative bureaucracy and intelligence
    network was smaller, less pervasive.
  • Governors of outlying areas free to exploit
  • The Guptas maintained power by producing a
    so-called theater-state they persuaded others
    to follow its lead through the splendor and
    ritualistic ceremony of its capital and royal
    court ? advertisement for the benefits of

The Gupta EmpireRuler and subjects
  • In the Gupta theater-state
  • distant subordinate kingdoms (and areas made up
    predominantly of kinship groups) were expected to
    make annual tribute donations.
  • the empire set up garrisons at key frontier
    points to keep open the avenues of trade and help
    with the collection of customs duties (taxes on
  • the empire then redistributed some of the profit
    from trade as gifts to its dependents.
  • subordinate princes gained prestige by emulating
    the Gupta center on whatever scale they were
    capable of pulling off, and benefited by visits,
    gifts and marriages to the royal family.

The Gupta EmpireMathematical minds
  • Gupta rulers supported astronomers, scientists
    and mathematicians and Indian mathematicians
    around this time came up with one of the worlds
    great intellectual achievements the concept of
    zero and the place-value system.
  • The Indian method of arithmetic notation using a
    base-10 system (with separate columns for ones,
    tens, hundreds, etc.) was much more efficient
    than the numerical systems of the Egyptians,
    Greeks and Romans and has come to be more
    widely used than even the alphabet derived from
    the Phoenicians.

The Gupta EmpireMathematical minds (cont.)
  • The power of this new Indian math was immediately
    recognized in other lands when it spread through
    cultural diffusion.
  • Muslim Arabs and Persians adopted the Hindi
    numerals in the eighth century, and Europeans
    later learned of it from them hence, the
    misnomer Arabic numerals.
  • Some scholars in trying to answer why it was
    the Indians who came up with this system argue
    that it may align with Indian religion and
    cosmology ? they conceived of innumerable
    universes being created and destroyed across
    immense spans of time (trillions of years, which
    is far longer than the estimated age of the
    universe 14 billion years) so the Indian
    number system may have emerged from a desire to
    express concepts of this magnitude.

The Gupta EmpireThe role of women
  • Evidence suggests that the status of women
    deteriorated during the Gupta era.
  • Originally, Indian women were in a subordinate
    situation common among agricultural societies
    (men did most of the work in the fields females
    viewed as economic burden because of need to
    supply a dowry to acquire a husband family unit
    wasnt maintained after wife joined family of
    husband following marriage).
  • But in some ways before the Gupta era women
    came to play an influential role in Indian

The Gupta EmpireThe role of women (cont.)
  • Hindu code stressed that women should be treated
    with respect.
  • Indians appeared to be fascinated by female
    sexuality, and tradition held that women often
    used their sexual powers to achieve domination
    over men (the tradition of the henpecked
    husband is as prevalent in India as in many
    Western societies).
  • Paintings and sculptures often showed women in a
    role equal to that of men.

The Gupta EmpireThe role of women (cont.)
  • But over time women in India lost ground.
  • With the rise of increasingly complex social
    structures and the emergence of a nonagricultural
    (i.e., merchant or artisan) middle class that
    placed high value on the acquisition and
    inheritance of property ? women lost rights
    (e.g., the right to own or inherit property) as
    males gained greater control over their behavior.
    Women were
  • barred from reading sacred texts and
    participating in the sacrificial ritual.
  • treated equal to the lowest class, the Shudra.
  • expected, as in China, to obey first her father,
    then husband, then sons.

The Gupta EmpireThe role of women (cont.)
  • Men came to marry girls as young as 6 so that his
    wifes virginity was ensured, and he could raise
    her to suit his purposes.

The most extreme form of subjugation a widow was
expected to cremate herself on her husbands
funeral pyre to keep her pure in a ritual
called sati (suh-TEE). Women who refused were
shunned, forbidden to remarry and given little
opportunity to earn a living.
The Gupta EmpireThe role of women (cont.)
  • Not all women found themselves dominated by men.
  • Women could retain social status if they
  • belonged to a powerful family.
  • joined a Jainist or Buddhist religious community
    as a nun.
  • became courtesans trained in poetry and music.

Gupta dancing girl
The Gupta EmpireOdds and ends
  • Whereas the Mauryans had been Buddhists, the
    Gupta monarchs were Hindus though religiously
    tolerant, allowing Buddhist pilgrims from
    Southeast and East Asia to visit the birthplace
    of their faith.
  • Coined money served as medium of exchange.
  • Artisan guilds played important role in economic,
    political and religious life of towns.
  • Because of the Indian conception of time (the
    particulars of a given moment were unimportant),
    historiographic texts werent written.

The classic architectural form of the Hindu
temple evolved during the Gupta era.
The Gupta Empire and the final end
  • Trade with the merchants and societies to the
    west declined as the Roman Empire weakened but
    commerce increasingly turned to the sea routes of
    the east ? sailors reached the Malay Peninsula
    and islands of Indonesia to exchange Indian
    cloth, ivory, metalwork, exotic animals for
    Chinese silk, Indonesian spices.
  • By the late fifth century, the Guptas were under
    increased pressure on the northwestern frontier
    from invading White Huns.
  • Although a lack of tax revenue to pay its army
    and the rising power of its regional governors
    may have contributed to the fall of the empire,
    the White Hun invasion was the main reason for
    the final collapse of the Gupta Empire in 550.

Southeast Asia, 50 600 CE
  • Southeast Asia comprises three geographic zones
    1) the Indochina mainland 2) the Malay
    Peninsula and 3) thousands of islands extending
    east to west into the Pacific Ocean.
  • Present day countries Myanmar (myahn-MAH) a.k.a.
    Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam,
    Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei (broo-NIE)
    and the Philippines.
  • This region situated between India and China
    was greatly influenced by the ancient
    civilizations and cultures of those two big
    neighbors and it first rose to prominence and
    prosperity thanks to its intermediary role in

Southeast AsiaGeography
  • The region lies along the equator, which gives it
    consistent year-round temperatures around 80
    degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).
  • Rainforest covers much of the land.
  • Monsoon winds provide predictable rainfall.
  • Islands are the tops of a chain of volcanoes ?
    volcanic soil, and the floodplains of
    silt-bearing rivers, provides fertile
    agricultural potential.
  • Add several growing seasons annually and you get
    an area of the world capable of supporting a
    large population.

Southeast AsiaThe local foods
  • A number of plant and animal species native to
    this region spread elsewhere, which significantly
    transformed societies and economies around the
    world wet rice (grown in flooded fields),
    soybeans, sugar cane, yams, coconuts, bananas,
    chickens and pigs.

A wet-rice field in Bali, Indonesia.
The labor-intensive crop of rice was the staple
food of the region.
Southeast AsiaMalay migrations
  • Scholars believe that the Malay peoples came to
    dominate the region following several waves of
    Chinese migration south beginning around five
    thousand years ago.
  • Indigenous peoples sometimes merged with the
    Malay newcomers, sometimes retreated to mountain
    and forest zones.
  • Population pressures coupled with disputes within
    and among communities ? the longest colonization
    movement in history, as Malay peoples in large,
    double outrigger canoes spread across half the
    circumference of the world to settle thousands of
    islands across several millennia, from the Indian
    Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Southeast AsiaPolitics, commerce and culture
  • First political units were organized water
    boards, which met to allocate and schedule the
    use of common sources of water a critical
  • China exerted political control over northern
    Indochina from the late second century BCE to the
    tenth century CE.
  • Farther south, in the early centuries CE, larger
    states emerged thanks to commerce and the
    influence of Hindu-Buddhist culture

Southeast AsiaSilk by way of the sea
  • When nomadic migrations destabilized the politics
    of Central Asia and compromised the overland
    trade route that merchants used to bring silk
    from China to India, demand was still strong in
    India both for domestic use and transshipment
    to the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea to satisfy the
    seemingly insatiable luxury market in the Roman
  • So much of the trade shipments now including
    Southeast Asian goods such as aromatic woods,
    resins, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, nutmeg and
    other spices shifted to the south across the
    South China Sea, by land over an isthmus on the
    Malay Peninsula, and across the Bay of Bengal.

Southeast AsiaReligion and trade
  • The rising numbers of merchants in the area meant
    a rising awareness of Buddhism ? Southeast Asia
    became a way station for Indian missionaries and
    East Asian pilgrims heading east and west,
  • First major Southeast Asian center called Funan
    (FOO-nahn) by the Chinese and centered in the
    delta of the Mekong River in southern Vietnam
    flourished from the first to sixth centuries CE,
    extending control over most of southern Indochina
    and the Malay Peninsula.
  • Chinese visitors observed that Funan was
    prosperous and sophisticated, with walled cities
    and palaces, and supported by systems of taxation
    and state-organized agriculture.

Southeast AsiaCatering to trade
Portage carrying small quantities of goods and
sometimes the boat itself across an isthmus was
common in early seafaring trade. But larger
cargoes later on made the overland shortcut less
  • For a price, Funan stockpiled food and provided
    security to merchants choosing the portage across
    the Malay Peninsula (instead of the longer, more
    treacherous sea route around it).
  • Probably when international trade routes finally
    changed and it no longer held a strategic
    location, Funan declined in the 500s CE.

  • The Earth and Its Peoples A Global History
    (Bulliet et al.)
  • Traditions Encounters A Global Perspective on
    the Past (Bentley Ziegler)
  • World History (Duiker Spielvogel)
  • Patterns of Interaction (McDougal Littell,
  • AP World History review guides The Princeton
    Review, Kaplan and Barrons
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
About PowerShow.com