By Jamie Howell
Climate Geography and Human Environment
- They migrated to the fertile plain of the Ganges and Later to the Deccan Plateau
- Iron Plows and irrigation made it easier for farmers to clear dense jungle and make the areas along the Ganges River a rich agricultural area.
- Basic crops were wheat, barely and millet
- Rice was the most common in the river valleys
- Grain and vegetable supplemented cotton and spices (Pepper Ginger and Cinnamon) were popular in the south.
Writing and Language
- Like most nomadic peoples early Aryans had no written language.
- Around 1000 B.C. they started writing in Sanskrit
- Sanskrit is an Indo-European Language
- Having a writing system made it possible for them to keep track of legends religious chants and rituals.
- Early writings known as Vedas reveal between 1500 and 400 B.C. Rajas ruled many small kingdoms that were often at war with one another.
- Brahmins were priests that preformed religious ceremonies important to Indian Society.
- Hinduism had its origins in the religious beliefs of Aryan people
- The Hindus developed yoga which goal was to leave behind earthly life and and join Brahman (Their God) in a dreamless sleep.
- In 6th Century BC Buddhism appeared and became a rival of Hinduism.
- The Founder of Buddhism was Siddhartha Gautama aka Buddha or Enlightened One
- When asked if he was a God, Angel or Saint he replied simply "I'm awake"
- Life centered around family, the most basic unit in society.
- The ideal family was three generations big all living together
- Men had superiority as they were the only ones allowed to own property, become priests and be educated.
- Children were an important part of marriage because they were expected to take care of their aging parents.
- Women's dominance by men is most noticeable in the Suttee ritual were if the husband was to die the wife was to throw herself onto his burning pyre or be disgraced.
- Aryans believed society was divided into four varnes or social groups ranking from high to low.
- Top Brahmins (Priests who preformed religious ceremonies) Kshatriyas (Warriors) Visayans (Commoners, Merchants and Farmers) and the lowest was Sudras ( peasants or servants)
- Over the centuries a Caste System evolved (Caste determined job, marriage, friends)
- They called the caste system Jati and it was based on religious purity.
- Untouchables were the lowest on the Jati system and made up 5% of the population
Accomplishments in Technology and Philosophy
- The introduction of Iron lead to the use of Iron Plows and irrigation systems
- Karma is an important part of Hindu beliefs because it is "generated" by a persons good will.
- By 6th century BC the belief of reincarnation(rebirth in another life) had taken shape
- In Buddhism it was taught that of people let go of their worldly cares pain could be forgotten
- Once pain was forgotten came bodhi or wisdom
- Achieving wisdom was a key step in obtaining Nirvana or ultimate reality.
- Buddhism was popular with the Lower Class because it taught that everyone could reach nirvana based on behavior in life.
Fall and Decline
- The decline of Aryans was caused by over-exploitation of the environment, series of floods, water-logging and increased salinity of the irrigated lands.
- Weakened cities would have become easy victims of the raiders from Central Asia