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Classical India

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Page 1: Notes on India & China

Classical India

Page 2: Notes on India & China

Various Influences

● Aryans (1500 - 400 BCE)○ Cultural traditions laid the foundations for

Hinduism and Buddhism● Persians (400 - 327 BCE)

○ Government structure adopted by early Indian rulers● Greeks (327 BCE)

○ Alexander of Macedon○ Conquered, destroyed and then left...

Page 3: Notes on India & China

Mauryan Empire

● Gaping political hole left by the Greeks led to political quarreling and vies for power

● Chandragupta Maurya founds the first Indian empire in 324 BCE

● Divides empire into provinces, each ruled by an appointed governor (and has a secret police)

Page 4: Notes on India & China

Making Connections

Based on this knowledge, what can we assume the Persian system of government was like?

Page 5: Notes on India & China


● Grandson of Chandragupta Maurya

● Mauryan empire flourished under his reign

● Generally considered to be greatest ruler in all of India

Page 6: Notes on India & China

Asoka’s Achievements

● Contributed to the spread of Buddhism in SE Asia○ Gruesome Battle of Kalinga led him to convert○ Ruled based on Buddhist principles

■ Built roads with shelters for weary travelers■ Built hospitals

● Capitalized on India’s centralized position on the Silk Road

Page 7: Notes on India & China

Legacy - Architecture

Stone pillars, Buddhist stupas, Rock chambers

Page 8: Notes on India & China

Indians made great profits serving as middlemen along the Silk Roads

India also traded their own products along the Silk Road, primarily cotton cloth, ivory, and spices.

Page 9: Notes on India & China

End of the Empire

● Mauryan Empire declined after Asoka’s death in 232 BCE

● Empire fell in 183 BCE and India fell into a state of disunity

● Kushan Kingdom briefly ruled northern India and facilitated Silk Road trade while the rest of India fell into civil war until the rise of a new empire 500 years later

Page 10: Notes on India & China

The Gupta

● With the Kushan Kingdom gone (they were taken over by the Persians), Chandragupta created a new Indian empire in 320 CE○ Note: no relation to Chandragupta

Maurya● Later rulers expand the empire to cover

northern and central India, making this the largest unified state since the Mauryans

● Fell after invasions by the nomadic Huns

Page 11: Notes on India & China

Gupta “Golden Age”

● Literature (epic poems)○ Mahabharata and

Ramayana○ Both are filled with

religious and moral lessons that are used by Indian people today (along with the Vedas)

● Science & Mathematics○ Earth is round○ Concept of zero (first to use

algebra) ● Art

Page 12: Notes on India & China

Chinese Dynasties

Shang; 1600-1300 BCEZhou; 1029-258 BCE(Era of Warring States 402-201 BCE)Qin; 221-207 BCEHan; 206 BCE - 220 CE

Page 13: Notes on India & China


● Took over the Shang● Longest lasting dynasty in Chinese history

(almost 800 years)● Emperor divided kingdom into territories

which were controlled by appointed aristocrats

● Justified rule with Mandate of Heaven

Page 14: Notes on India & China
Page 15: Notes on India & China

Fall of the Zhou

● Territories gained power and challenged the authority of the Emperor, leading to a period known as the Warring States Period

● Different philosophies emerged during this time period. All sought to create order in the immediate world.

Page 16: Notes on India & China


● Confucius promoted the Dao (Way) which had two aspects: duty and humanity○ Duty

■ Believed that order would exist in society when everyone worked hard to fulfill their duties

■ Ethics centered around doing your duty in relationships and the concept of filial piety● filial piety - Children should respect and obey parents and

ancestors, who should be deserving of respect.○ Humanity

■ Believed that people should have compassion and empathy for others

Page 17: Notes on India & China


● Laozi● Believed that humans should not

concern themselves with things ofthis world

● Believed in the “action of non-action”○ harmony is achieved through humility,

frugality, moderation, and allowing the world to be (do not interfere)

Page 18: Notes on India & China


● Human beings are evil by nature

● Harsh punishments are necessary to achieve order

● Believed that a strong leader was necessary to impose strict laws, carry out punishments○ He did not have to have compassion on his people

Page 19: Notes on India & China


One of these philosophies will eventually lead to the unification of China and the end of the Warring States Period. Which philosophy do you think this is and why?

Page 20: Notes on India & China

Qin Dynasty

● Established by Qin Shihuangdi in 221 BCE

● Adopted legalism as the official ideology

● Changed administrative structure to a centralized government ○ Government officials were

appointed by the emperor and chosen by merit rather than birth

○ Anyone who did not follow his orders was executed

Page 21: Notes on India & China

More of Qin’s Changes

● Unified China by building roads and establishing a common currency

● Expanded the empire and built walls to keep out Xiongnu invaders○ These walls would be

the foundations for the Great Wall of China

Page 22: Notes on India & China

Fall of the Qin

● The empire crumbled when Qin died in 210 BCE○ People were sick of the harsh treatments○ China fell into another period of civil war until the

rise of the Han Dynasty in 202 BCE

Page 23: Notes on India & China

Han Dynasty

● Liu Bang● Adopted Confucian principles in

contrast to the Legalist policies of his predecessor

● Maintained the system of centralized government ○ Government officials chosen

by merit rather than birth○ Taining schools based on

Confucian principles

Page 24: Notes on India & China

Peace and Prosperity?

● Han Wudi expanded the empire and drive back the Xiongnu (150 years of peace)

● Massive increase in population○ indicative of good times○ led to peasant problems

■ More people = less land per person■ Tenant farming to survive■ Land belongs to a few landed elites who have

many poor farmers working for them

Page 25: Notes on India & China

More problems for the Han

● Rise of rich landed families weakens centralized state

● Weak rulers and corruption make state vulnerable to nomadic invasions

● Ultimately, Han will fall due to peasant rebellions

● Another dynasty will not come for 400 years

Page 26: Notes on India & China


● Qin○ Centralized rule○ Great Wall○ Iron weapons○ Terracotta Warriors

● Han○ Confucianism○ Paper○ Steel