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Ancient India Review Sheet
Indian Geography
 India is called a sub-continent because it is part of Asia, but it is still somewhat separate
 The Himalayan mountains that form the northern border of India includes Mount Everest, the
tallest mountain in the world
 The Indus and Ganges rivers form that area called the Indus River Valley, where the first Aryans settled
Arrival of the Aryans
 The Aryans most likely migrated from the grasslands of Eastern Europe
 The Aryans wrote and spoke in a language called Sanskrit
 The early Aryans first migrated in around 2000 BC
The Vedas and the Indian Caste System
 The Vedas are a collection of ancient hymns and poems
 The Indian social system is divided into four groups called castes
 The most powerful caste called the Brahmins were the priests and church leaders, next came the warrior
class, than the merchant class, and finally came the ‘untouchables’ who were the lowest on the social ladder
 The Aryans felt like this well defined caste system brought order and harmony to society
 Indians are required to stay their lifetime within the caste they are born into
 Only by being reincarnated into a new caste can you move up and down the social ladder
 Reincarnation is the belief that when you die your spirit is brought to life in a new body
Buddhism in India
 The founder of Buddhism was a man named Siddhartha Gautama
 Siddhartha was a prince of India who gave up all worldly possessions after seeing a sick man, an
old man, and a dead man and wondering what it would take to end suffering in the world
 Buddha means ‘enlightened one’ and was the name given Siddhartha after discovering life’s meaning
 Many Buddhist meditate as a way to clear the mind and focus on thinking
A Great Buddhist Ruler
 Asoka was a faithful follower of Buddhism and an emperor of India
 Asoka ruled a people called the Mauryas who built the first empire of India
 Asoka converted to Buddhism and sent people around India and Asia to spread word about the religion
 An edict is a public announcement used to inform people about rules
 Asoka had rock pillars placed around the empire with different edicts about Buddhism
 The major religion in India today is Hinduism
 Hinduism takes its roots in the Vedic religion of the early Aryan people
 Dharma means duty, justice, and social obligation
 Karma is the belief that your actions in this life will be considered when your soul is reborn in the next life
 Hindu boys study with teachers called a guru