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Ancient India ( Social Studies 8th Grade )

Terms in this set (24)

The caste system was the order of social hierarchy. Hidus believed that some people were more important than others. Brahmins were the highest caste and considered very important in India. They typically have the most advantages and the most riches. Warriors were second highest. The Warrior's job was to protect the community. Warriors had to be willing to give their lives to protect the Brahmans in case of danger. Since they were warriors they were allowed to kill animals (except cows) in order to eat. Warriors were very respected and honored by the people of India. Third highest was Merchants and farmers. The farmers and traders were responsible for buying and trading goods, as well as growing crops and providing food for the people of India. They had very tough jobs, but the economy of India truly depended on them. If they failed at the job, the people of India would not be able to survive. Second lowest was the Skilled and Unskilled Laborers . They were responsible to the building and construction of everything (baskets, roads, temples, etc.). They took orders from the higher three castes, and took orders from them as to what to build. Lowest were The Untouchables. They were responsible for doing all of the jobs that were considered dirty, undesirable, including street sweeper, cleaner, fishermen and many others. They were not allowed to own land or to build houses. They lived in miserable, horrible conditions. Untouchables did most of their work at nighttime, because people in the other castes to did not want to seen or be around them.
Math: One of the most important contributions to Gupta Mathematicians was the 'Arabis' numerals ( 1-9 ).
There was also an introduction of and the use of ( 0 ). The Gupta created the zero as a placeholder that represented no units.
Aryabhata was one of the most famous scientists and mathematicians. He was able to calculate the length of a solar year to be 365.35 days. This was amazing considering the limited technology they had. However, even with limited technology he calculations were nearly perfect. Today we use a similar figure for our year.
Science: Aryabhata was able to figure out that the earth turned on its axis and revolved around the sun.
He also believed that the earth and other planets were round. This lead him to calculate the circumference of the Earth. Surprisingly his calculations were pretty accurate. He missed the correct circumference of the earth by .2%.
Lastly he speculated that the moon and other planets would shine at night because of reflected sunlight.
Society: Society in the Gupta Empire was based on Hindu culture, because of this the Gupta Empire ran along the caste lines.
In the Gupta Empire the family was the core of Gupta society. The father was the head of the family. The sons married and continued to live in the house of their father.
In the Gupta society women were not viewed as the same as man. The social role had started to decline. During this time women lost many legal rights. This included the right to participate in religious rituals and were treated like "shudras" .
Economic: The Gupta Empire coined more than a dozen different coins to create common currency. When the Gupta Empire did this they established trade within the Empire. This trade helped to drive their economy and prosperity.
Soldiers had discovered how to ride seasonal monsoons from the middle east and Eastern Africa to India. From there they could also travel to Southeast Asia and China.
The silk roads were a huge part in the Empire's success. A southern route ran through the middle of India and into the Gupta Empire.
Culture: The Gupta Empire was considered to be a true " Golden Age" of Hindu literature. Gupat people created plays, poetry, fables, and significant religions and legal texts.
The Gupta also created sculptures and other forms of art. They were made for buddhist or hindu temples and depicted gods and goddesses. They also may have included the buddha.
The Ajanta Caves were a group of 30 caves carved into a sone hill side. They were used as temples, monasteries, and places to live. The caves had paintings and sculptures on the walls and around the ground.