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Harrapa and the Arayan "Invasion" - Ancient India
I. Geography of India, its importance
  1. Highly diverse and large--a subcontinent rather than a "national" area
  2. Northern mountains
    1.  Provide some isolation, but doesn't cut off everyone
      1. traders
      2. pilgrims
      3. armies
II. Indus Valley -- Harappan Civilization
  1. very old--flourished between 3300-1900 BC
  2. Writing remains undeciphered -- much still unknown
  3. City based culture spread out over area larger than modern Pakistan  - Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa the most important
  4. Develops along the Indus river, fed from the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush
  5. Nature of society
    1. highly conservative - little change over time
    2. all cities laid out in similar patterns
    3. art, weights and measures, money, architecture, all highly uniform across space and time
    4. Resistant to outside influences
    5. This suggests a central government, probably by a theocracy
  6. Cites centered on large citadels, probably inhabited by priest-nobles
    1. complex system of drainage and sewers
    2. city laid out along careful plan
      1. Mohenjo-Daro and Harrap, the largest cities, had walls, large granaries
      2. probably served as political centers
    3. divided into compounds
    4. Most people lived in one room tenements
    5. houses of the wealthy centered around courtyard, blank wall to the outside
  7. Economy
  8. Little known about religion
    1. some evidence of precursors to Hinduism
      1. pantheon of deities, many nature related
      2. featured what may be a mother goddess and a horned fertility god
    2. Strong evidence of importance of bull, fertility
    3. Evidence for meditation and exercise as part of religion
  9. Collapse seems to have been brought by environmental changes after 1900 BC
    1. deforestation by the Harappans led to soil erosion, desertification
    2. this resulted in a decline in agricultural production
    3. Cities declined after 1900 BC, largely gone by 1500 BC

III. Aryan "Invasion"

  1. Migration from the north, coming from area around Caspian and Black Seas - begins c. 1500BC
  2. Not a distinct ethnic group, but various groups united by family of languages, nomadic warrior culture
  3. Moves into area around time of Harappan collapse
  4. Over next 500 years, Aryans would establish dominance over much of India. particularly in the north
    1. settle along northern Indus initially
    2. establish communities along the Ganges after 1000 BC

IV. Mixing cultures

  1. A. Aryans nomadic, not as urbanized as the Dravidans (non-Aryans who were probably descendents of Harappans)
  2. B. Yet extremely good at fighting, able to dominate India
  3. C. Therefore a mingling of cultures
  4. D. Aryan Religion
  5. E. Rise of the Brahmans
IV. Social system Back to Index of Lecture Notes