Aryan Dynasty - Indian History for AP World History
The Aryan people of India
The ancient Aryan dynasty began in 1200 BC when the Indo-Europeans migrated from central Asia into upper India, Iran, Russia, and parts of Europe. The Aryans brought new technology and innovations into India. This is important because it increased trade. They used a barter system rather than a monetary system. They also brought new gods and scriptures called Vedas which led to Hinduism. The new technology, gods, and Vedas in the Aryan dynasty led to more trade and a new religion and social structure.
In 1200 BC the Aryans invade and merge with the Indus Valley peoples. They were central Asian nomadic tribes that were great warriors. They traded along the Kyber Pass, which is the only land route between the Middle East and India. The Kyber Pass was not only used for trade, but also invasion. The Aryan dynasty was the Iron Age of India. Iron technology was used in many ways to benefit the economy. It increased production of farm tools; therefore, there was more food production like rice and millet. They also used the barter system, increasing trade along the Kyber Pass. They traded items like iron weapons, domesticated horses, and food. The iron technology led to more trade along the Kyber Pass and the use of the barter system.
The first traceable roots of Hinduism lie with the invading Aryans, who move into the northwest of the Indian subcontinent from about 1500 BC (see the history of India for recent archaeological arguments against the concept of an Aryan invasion). The Aryans' priestly caste, the Brahmans, is responsible for the sacrificial rites (the most solemn, among this nomadic people, being the sacrifice of a horse). The ritual hymns which they chant, passed down orally for many centuries, are gathered in the Rigveda, the earliest of all religious texts. The hymns of the Rigveda reveal that the foremost god of the Aryans is Indra, a war god and a great slayer of demons and animals. He is possibly based on a historical leader of the Aryans in their advance into India, for one of his titles is 'city-breaker'. The two other main gods of the Aryans are Agni, the god of fire; and Soma, a god associated with a drink (also called soma and probably hallucinogenic) which plays a major part in the priests' rituals. In the long term none of these gods feature prominently in Hinduism. But two minor characters are waiting in the wings for a major role. Vishnu appears in the Rigveda as a sun god who occasionally helps Indra to slay demons. And Shiva (under the name of Rudra) has a small and sinister part, prowling in the mountains, shooting humans and animals with his arrows, and both causing and curing disease.
The Aryans also brought new scriptures, called Vedas, and new gods into India. The previous Indian gods continued to be worshipped, but the new gods were added to create Hinduism. Hindus believe in concepts like Karma, which is action and subsequent reaction, and Samsara, which is the continuous cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. The Aryans also brought Vedas to India. “Veda” means knowledge in Sanskrit; therefore, Vedas inform and guide Hindus like the Bible guides Christians. The Upanishads, which were later Vedas, were often poetic, and they taught the metaphysical foundations of the Hindu faith. There were also Ancient Vedic Hymns that talked about the knowledge of many different items and ideas. The Vedas and gods were important to the Aryans because they were they birth of the Hindu religion.
Aryan Caste System
The Vedas also brought about a new social structure. At the top of the Vedic civilization were the Brahmins, or priests and warriors. Next were the Kshatriyas (rulers and warriors) and Uaishyas (farmers, merchants, and artisans). These three groups were the twice born groups, meaning that no matter what kind of a person they were, they would be reborn into the same social status as their previous life at least once. After them, came the Sudras and Dalits, which were the laborers and untouchables. This caste system limited social opportunities and determined who people could marry. The Vedas, brought by the Aryans, resulted in a new caste system in India.
Aryan Dynasty in India 1500-500bce
Central Asian tribes
Domesticated the horse
Early iron workers
Aryan (Indo European) Migration 1800BCE from Turkinistan through Kyber pass to India
Only land route between middle east and India for trade and invasion
Still important today – India and Pakistan both trying to control it
Aryan Political System
Ruled by a king and local rulers
Many City states
Brought Horses and advanced weapons to India (conquered India)
duty of the king was the protection of his subjects, property, defense and maintenance of peace
culture spreads from the Indus to the Ganges River
Economy – Iron Age begins
Small self-sufficient agricultural communities
Iron Technology used for
increased food production (rice)
Barter system common
Indian gods continue to be worshipped
Aryans bring new gods and Scriptures called Vedas
Combine to create Hinduism
Ayran/Hindu Social Structure
Aryan/Vedic Civilization 1500-500BCE
Hindu Vedic Philosophy
oldest written texts in India
Veda means “Knowledge” in Sanskrit.
Vedas inform and guide Hindus like the Bible guides Christians and the Koran guides Muslims
Upanishads: literally means sitting in front of
later Hindu Vedas (often poetic) that teach the metaphysical foundations of the Hindu faith
Hare (ha-ray) Krishna’s war poem is the most important of the Upanishads
The Ancient Vedic Hymns
Rig Veda - Knowledge of Hymns, almost 11,000 verses
“There is only one truth, only men describe it in different ways.“
Ayur Veda - Knowledge of Medicine, over 100,000 verses
Yajur Veda - Knowledge of Liturgy, 3,988 verses
Sama Veda - Knowledge of Classical Music, 1,549 verses
Jyotisha – Astrology and Astronomy.
Kalpa – Rituals and Legal matters.
Siksha – Phonetics.
Aitareya – Creation of the Universe, Man and Evolution.
Kama Sutra - Knowledge of Love and Sex
Chandogya – Reincarnation, Soul.
Kaushitaki – Karma.
Kena – Austerity, Work, and Restraint.
Dharnur Veda – Science of Archery and War.
Mundaka – Discipline, Faith and warning of Ignorance.
Sulba Sutra – Knowledge of Mathematics
Yoga Sutra - Knowledge of Meditation
The Aryan/Vedic Age ends with Invasions of Darius and Alexander