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Ancient and Classical India

Ancient and Classical IndiaIndias Geography

Indus River flows across northwest edge of Indiansubcontinentlarge landmass, part of a continent Home of one of ancient worlds great river valleycivilizations Indian subcontinent includes three major geographic zones:

-Far north: Himalaya, Hindu Kush mountain systems, separatingIndia from rest of Asia

South: Deccan Plateau, high plateau receiving less rain thanother parts of subcontinent

Between mountains (Valley), plateau are Northern Plains, where society first developed in IndiaGeography of the Indian subcontinentThree RegionsMonsoonsCultural diversity

Water Critical FactorMonsoon Winds Summer Monsoons broughtrain that flooded rivers; riversdeposited fertile silt in whichfarmers could grow crops Winter Monsoons brought cool, dry air to the region. Lack of rain during this period.Devastating Effects Monsoon rains too heavycrops, homes, lives could belost Monsoon rains too late, didnot last long enoughpeoplecould not grow crops; faminebecame dangerThe people of Indias first civilizations depended upon the monsoons to bring the water that their crops needed.

Indus Valley Civilization cont.

Farming and tradeMost people were farmersCreated dams and used irrigation Traded with Sumer (Mesopotamia) Used record keeping but we are unable to decipher Harappan WritingIndus Valley Civilization cont. Religious BeliefsPolytheisticMay have worshipped sacred animals

Sanskrit writing

The Vedas

1200 BCE-600 BCE. written in SANSKRIT. Hindu core of beliefs: hymns and poems. religious prayers. magical spells. lists of the gods and goddesses.Rig Veda oldest work.Decline and Disappearance of I.R.V.C.Evidence of decline by 1750 B.C.E.Cities no longer kept upPottery became more crudeExplanations for declineEnvironmental damageVolcano or earthquakes

Gupta Rulers

Chandra Gupta Ir. 320 335 CE Great King of Kings Chandra Gupta II r. 375 - 415 CE Profitable trade with the Mediterranean world! Hindu revival. Huns invade 450 CEGupta Empire: 320 CE 647 CE

Fa-Hsien: Life in Gupta India Chinese Buddhist monk traveled along the Silk Road and visited India in the 5c. 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.

Chandra Gupta 11

International Trade Routes during the Guptas

Extensive Trade:4c

spicesspicesgold & ivorygold & ivoryrice & wheathorsescotton goodscotton goodssilks


Greatly influenced Southeast Asian art & architecture.

MedicineLiteratureMathematicsAstronomyPrintedmedicinal guides1000 diseasesclassifiedPlasticSurgeryC-sectionsperformedInoculations500 healingplants identifiedDecimalSystemConceptof ZeroPI = 3.1416KalidasaSolarCalendarThe earthis roundGuptaIndiaGupta AchievementsThe Decline of the Guptas Invasion of the White Huns in the 4c signaled the end of the Gupta Golden Age, even though at first, the Guptas 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 7c.


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