12 ORIGINS • ANCIENT INDIA: BELIEF AND SOCIETYCITIES AND KINGDOMS 12 CLASS AND HIERARCHY 14 A WORLD OF SACRIFICE 16ART AND ARCHITECTURE: ANCIENT INDIAN CITIES 18AN AGE OF INQUIRY 20PART 1 • CHAPTER 1 Todd T LewisANCIENT INDIA: BELIEF AND SOCIETY11IWIP*1101/1nomamese■sCITIES AND KINGDOMSBounded to the north by the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range, and to the south by the Indian Ocean, the Indian subcontinent has consti-tuted a distinct cultural area for several millennia. Since antiquity, the peo-ples of this region have flourished on fertile alluvial plains watered by great rivers swollen by mountain glaciers and summer monsoon rains. The region’s first urban civilization arose ca. 2500icE on the Indus River, in modern-day Pakistan. This civilization declined—apparently between 2000EcE and 17508cE—as its cities were abandoned, due perhaps to one or more factors, including climatic changes, disruption in the courses of rivers, epidemics, invasion or migration, and changing trade patterns. At about the same time, another group appeared, although whether they were migrants from outside India or are best understood as a development of the Indus Valley civilization is a matter of scholarly debate. These peoples called themselves Aryan (“Nobles”) and spoke the Indo-European language that later became Sanskrit. The dominant view has been that the Aryans were pastoral migrants who entered the subcontinent from the north or north-west, excelled in mounted warfare, and quickly dominated the local indige-nous peoples. Over the succeeding centuries, according to this view, many Aryan clans followed them. Some moved from the Indus to the Ganges plain, subjugating the non-Aryan tribes that they encountered. This sequence of events has increasingly been challenged by some scholars who believe that the language of the Indus Valley civilization was a member of the Indo-European family rather than Dravidian, which was for-merly assumed to be the indigenous linguistic family of the subcontinent, and to which many present-day southern Indian languages belong. These scholars postulate that Aryan culture actually developed among the peoples who remained in the region after the declitie of the Indus Valley cities. The old idea that the Aryans were a light-skinned race of immigrants who sub-jugated a darker-skinned indigenous population has largely been aban-doned. Other more recent theories explore the idea that, even if the Aryans were not indigenous, they migrated over a long period, beginning as early as ca. 220014(1, and became assimilated within a multi-ethnic and partly bilin-gual culture. Until the Indus Valley script is deciphered, scholarly consensus is likely to remain elusive, However, it is undisputed that Indo-Aryan cul-ture, whatever its ethnic and geographical origins, came to define the region. ID IN itgalifflt,ANCIENT INDIA’ .ti Pfiltl;TA,011 . 4444 tiSIONg Chariaddi • • SnAl ilr Linde1.(grapps Moitraja Ihto LothalARABIAN SEA CITIES AND KINGDOMS 13lie lin iiitMaglitilaFIBET Ihminapurt Uapila►ailthr Dritu I atrangi 1/4Abirchar • Isithismoder–,. %Itra va w r•.„4. …4ittandliheta .nr Kam andri Bharhnt menu* jjain • erai 11:hit U ychiINDIA■ !Liam* • I Hors,ica.\taitti ■ /Sarli Nagarjuttakonda Kanchi •authiazgAra, • ovaiihmhp aktakipotra .16404311101, Bat b Ca** fig • Rama& ■ in$ ( Palm) ■ ohMy-4 KEY ati Indus Valley sites. • Urban sifts exist. big at dic lose 14 die %MIS • Site* associated with oie kit of do Buddha III Later Buddhist tite; ■ Modem cities — Nessus-day frontiers .fitAY OF BENGAL 400 kw400…iissre eft dropwardiF 1101′ Caltakiiail iiraltaiteiginiggTextual and archaeological evidence also suggests the gradual emer-gence of stable political units and increasing urban settlement in the region. Using iron tools, the migrants cleared the dense jungle and plowed the soil, assisting intensive crop cultivation. The resulting food surpluses supported the growth of specialist groups, towns, and trade. The formation of city-states from ca. 550KE onward exerted pressure on the small-scale tribal traditions, centered on a sacrificial religious system, that had characterized generations of Indo-Aryan life in the subcontinent. It was in this era of increasing social complexity that Siddhartha Gautama—the Buddha—was born.A map of ancient India showing the main Indus Valley sites and the major Buddhist centers. The latter include those places which existed at the time of the Buddha, those which were associated with him during his lifetime, and those which have become associated with Buddhism over the centuries.
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