chapter 8 Study Guide



Sanskrit: name of the language the Aryans spoke

Vedas: holy rituals written down by priests

Varnas: four main social classes

Dharma: duties

Mahabharata: epic poem that outlines one must do their duty no matter what

Ramayana: poem that has the struggle between good and evil

Upanishads: religious writings from 800-400 BC

Brahman Nerguna: universal spirit

Reincarnation: rebirth of the soul

Ahimsa: nonviolence towards all living things

Moksha: release from the pain of rebirth


The Aryans invaded India in 1500 BC and developed a new civilization that spread over south Asia. They were often at war, and males led the society. Their language was Sanskrit. They recited epics and read Vedas. They had four main social classes: Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Sudras, and Pariahs. India's two epics were Mahabharata and Ramayana. Aryans practices Hinduism. The three most important gods were: Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver), and Siva (destroyer). Believed in reincarnation. People tried to reach moksha. Jainism became a religiong founded in 500 BC by the teacher Mahavira.



Siddhartha Gautama: founder of Buddhism

Eightfold Path: eight things; would lead to nirvana

Nirvana: freedom from rebirth

Stupas: large stone mounds


Siddhartha Gautama founded Buddhism. preached enlightenment to the people. He discovered Four Noble Truths: all people suffer and know sorrow, people suffer because their desires bind them to the cycle of rebirth, people could end their suffering by eliminating their desires, and one could eliminate desire by following the eightfold path. He urged his followers to follow the Eightfold Path. It leads to Nirvana. He spent 40 years teaching the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Architecture and art flourished. The two divisions were Theravada (S/SE Asia, regards Buddha as a teacher) and Mahayana (China, Korea, and Japan; Buddha as a divine being and savor).



Magadha: Indian kingdom

Chandragupta Maurya: ruled the Mauryan Empire in 321 BC

Asoka: Chandragupta's grandson

Chandragupta 1: ruled the Gupta Empire in 310 AD

Chandragupta 2: ruled from 375 AD to 415 AD


321 BC, Chandragupta Maurya built the Mauryan Empire. Asoka took over in 274 BC. He had an enlightened rule that consisted of public projects and the Rock Edicts. The Hindu caste system continued in this empire. 310 AD, Chandragupta 1 ruled the Gupta Empire. Later called the Golden Age. Hinduism was the main religion. Achieved in writers, dramas, math, astronomy, and medicine. Ended in 600 AD.