CHAPTER 7: UNIT 2 -THE “CLASSICAL ERA” IN THE EAST INTRODUCTION In the centuries when Persia, Greece and Rome dominated the West, a different series of empires and dynasties flourished in the east, India witnessed a flowering of Hindu and Buddhist cultures, influencing all of South and Southeast Asia. China saw the emergence of great philosophers, who set the tone for much of Chinese thought and tradition. ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS What were the major accomplishments of the civilizations of India and China during the “Classical Era”? How did these civilizations compare with the civilizations of the West? What factors contributed to the rise and fall of empires and dynasties in the East? KEY VOCABULARY Aryans Hinduism Reincarnation Caste System Buddha Emperor Asoka Mauryan Empire Gupta Empire Zhou Dynasty Mandate of Heaven Confucius Qin Dynasty Shih Huang-ti Great Wall of China Han Dynasty IMPORTANT IDEAS A. B. C. The Aryans introduced Hinduism and the caste system to India, creating hereditary social classes. Although Buddhism began in India, it spread rapidly throughout South, Central and Southeast, and East Asia. Asoka, a Mauryan ruler, adopted Buddhism. The Gupta Empire was marked by a “Golden Age of Hindu Culture,” which saw growth in learning, the arts, literature, the sciences, and mathematics. IMPORTANT IDEAS D. E. China was ruled by a series of dynasties (ruling families). Confucianism became China’s dominant belief system. Based on the teachings of Confucius, it stressed kindness and following traditional ways to achieve peace and harmony. IMPORTANT IDEAS F. G. The Qin Emperor, Shih Huang-ti, united distant parts of China and built the Great Wall to protect China from foreign invaders. The fall of the Han Dynasty in the East had some similarities to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. 1. THE EMPIRES OF INDIA THE ARYAN INVASION In the last chapter, you learned how an early river valley civilization arose along the Indus River and then suddenly collapsed. The Dravidian people living in this region were then conquered by the Aryans. Many historians believe that the Aryans came from Central Asia, crossed the mountain passes through the Himalayas, and arrived in India about 1,500 B.C. Other historians believe that Aryan culture developed locally. THE ARYAN INVASION The Aryans were nomadic peoples who lived by herding cattle and by fighting. They developed iron weapons and horse-drawn chariots which enabled them to conquer their neighbors. Over the next several centuries, Aryan tribes moved into the Ganges River valley, pushing the Dravidian people farther south. THE ARYAN INVASION By 900 B.C., the Aryans have formed city-states in the major river valleys. Each citystate was ruled by its own ruler. The Aryans developed their own form of writing, known as Sanskrit. Knowledge of Sanskrit became a sign of education and wealth since it was only taught to members of the higher castes. HINDUISM The Aryans also brought a new religion to India, known as Hinduism. HINDUISM Like many religions, Hinduism provided its believers with an entire way of life. It served as a guide, explaining everything a person should do from birth to death. Hinduism had no single holy book, but various Hindu writings provided guidance. Two texts containing the major beliefs of Hinduism were the Upanishads and the Ghagavad-Gita. THE CASTE SYSTEM The mixing of Aryan and Dravidian peoples led to a new social order. To secure their status, the Aryans put into effect new social and religious rules. These rules allowed only Aryans to occupy the higher social classes – such as priests, warriors, and land-owners. Under this system, people were divided into five hereditary classes, known as castes. THE CASTE SYSTEM Caste lines were rigid and based on birth. Under the caste system, people lacked all social mobility (the ability to change social classes). People were not permitted to marry outside their caste. Untouchables performed the lowliest tasks, such as handling dead bodies or sweeping streets. They were completely outside the social order. BUDDHISM The religion of Buddhism began in India around 500 B.C. Siddhartha Guatama (563-487 B.C.) lived his youth in comfort and luxury as a wealthy prince in Nepal. One day, he looked beyond the palace walls and was shocked by all the human suffering he saw around him. This prompted him to leave his wealth, his wife, and his two children to set out in search of truth. BUDDHISM After six years of searching, he realized in a flash of insight that all suffering was caused by selfish human desires. To end this suffering, a person must come to accept the world as it is and to block out his or her own selfish desires. Gautama became known as the “Buddha” or “Enlightened One.” BUDDHISM THE SPREAD OF BUDDHISM Buddhism quickly attracted many followers. Missionaries helped spread Buddhist beliefs throughout all of India. Buddhism began to spread southwards from Northern India to Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, and other Southeast Asian countries. It moved northwards into the Himalayan Kingdoms of Bhutan and Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia and other parts of Central Asia. Buddhism also spread into China, Korea, and Japan. It was popular among many groups because it rejected the caste system. THE MAURYAN EMPIRE (321 B.C. – 232 C.E.) Shortly after Alexander the Great invaded northwestern India saw the rise of one of the greatest Hindu empires. King Chandragupta challenged the Greeks and established the powerful Mauryan Empire in India, which stretched from Afghanistan to the Ganges. His grandson Asoka (269 B.C.-232 B.C.) was the next great ruler of India. THE MAURYAN EMPIRE (321 B.C. – 232 C.E.) Asoka began his reign by fighting a series of wars to enlarge his empire. After eight years of nearly constant warfare, Asoka grew horrified by the bloodshed of battle. This prompted him to renounce violence and to convert to Buddhism. THE MAURYAN EMPIRE (321 B.C. – 232 C.E.) Asoka decided to win his people’s loyalty by acts of kindness and by promoting their welfare and happiness. He decreed that people of all religions should live peacefully with one another. He improved roads, built hospitals, and sent teachers throughout the empire to encourage education. To promote Buddhism, he built Buddhist shrines throughout India and sent missionaries to other land. Despite his successes, after Asoka’s death the Mauryan Empire began to fall apart. THE GUPTA EMPIRE (320 A.D.- 535 A.D.) THE GUPTA EMPIRE (320 A.D.- 535 A.D.) In 320 A.D., a new ruling family, the Gupta, emerged. They united the territory around the Ganges River. Gupta emperors encouraged peace, prosperity, and trade with foreign lands, especially China. THE GUPTA EMPIRE (320 A.D.- 535 A.D.) The two centuries of Gupta rules are sometimes referred to as the “Golden Age of Hindu Culture.” A “golden age” is a period marked by peace and stability accompanied by strides in the arts and literature. Gupta emperors built universities and supported learning, the arts, and literature. Gupta artists painted colorful murals, while writers composed poems and plays written in Sanskrit. Nalanda University established during the Gupta Empire is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. THE GUPTA EMPIRE (320 A.D.- 535 A.D.) Indian scholars excelled at the sciences and mathematics. Gupta mathematicians developed the concept of zero, the idea of infinity, and the decimal system. Arabic numerals, used throughout the world today, were first developed in India during this period. THE GUPTA EMPIRE (320 A.D.- 535 A.D.) Gupta astronomers put forward the idea that the Earth was not flat, but round and rotated on its own axis. These astronomers calculated the solar year and the shape and movement of bodies in space with remarkable accuracy. In the field of medicine, Gupta physicians set bones and performed minor skin grafts. This prosperous period drew to a close around 500 A.D. The Huns, a warlike tribe from Central Asia, invaded northeastern India, causing the Gupta Empire to disintegrate into small states. 2. THE DYNASTIES OF CHINA Like the flowering of Greek and Roman culture in the West, China also witnessed some of its greatest cultural achievements in these centuries. Chinese history is generally divided into periods based upon the dynasty (ruling family) that governed China at that time. From 1027 B.C. to 220 A.D., China was ruled by three main dynasties. ZHOU DYNASTY (1027 B.C. – 221 B.C.) In 1027 B.C., the Shang were conquered, marking the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty. ZHOU DYNASTY (1027 B.C. – 221 B.C.) The new Zhou ruler justified his rule as the Mandate of Heaven. The Chinese believed that their ruler was chosen to rule by heaven, and that heaven would also overthrow a bad ruler. Scholars taught that if a ruler became selfish and thought of himself first, before the people, then heaven would bring floods, riots, and revolts to end his reign. Then a new ruling family would emerge. ZHOU DYNASTY (1027 B.C. – 221 B.C.) Later Chinese rulers continued to use this mandate as the basis for their authority to rule. ZHOU DYNASTY (1027 B.C. – 221 B.C.) Zhou rulers established a system in which land was given to nobles in exchange for military service. During succeeding centuries, Zhou rulers conquered neighboring peoples and made them a part of China. However, by the 6th century B.C., local nobles became too powerful for the Zhou rulers to control, and China was plunged into civil war. ZHOU DYNASTY (1027 B.C. – 221 B.C.) The greatest legacy of the Zhou dynasty was the work of two Chinese philosophers, Confucius and Lao Tzu (Laozi). These philosophers were deeply affected by the turmoil they lived through at the end of the Zhou dynasty. Confucius sought to bring order to China’s social and political life, while Lao Tzu was more interested in peace and inner stability for individuals. CONFUCIANISM Confucianism is named for its founder, Confucius, who lived during a time of great turmoil in China. Confucius established a philosophy based on what he believed was the basic order of the universe. He stressed following traditional ways, which had worked well in the past to achieve peace and harmony. Confucius taught that each person should live up to his or her name – that is, fulfill their social obligation. CONFUCIANISM Confucius placed great importance on traditional values such as obedience and order. He also stressed the importance of the family, where children should show devotion, known as filial piety, to their parents. For Confucius, the family served as a model for society, emphasizing duties, good deeds, and a civilized way of life. CONFUCIANISM DAOISM Daoism (or Taoism) is a Chinese philosophy that began in the 5th century B.C., based on the teachings of Lao Tzu. Daoists believe that nature has a “way” (the Dao) in which it moves, and that people should accept the “way” of nature rather than to try to resist it. Daoists have a deep respect for nature and harmony, and accept things rather than trying to change them. If you fight against nature, Daoists believe your action may even have results opposite to what you intended. People can achieve enlightenment only by “non-striving,” enjoying nature, and using contemplation to abandon earthly concerns. QIN DYNASTY (221 B.C. – 206 B.C.) Shih Huang-ti, the lord of Qin (pronounced Chin), was a provincial ruler who unified all of China through conquest. He began a new dynasty and became the first Chinese ruler to call himself “Emperor.” He felt that all power should rest in the hands of a single, absolute ruler. Shih believed that people were not necessarily good and that they needed a strong government to punish those who committed bad acts. His rule was very harsh. He rejected Confucianism, burnt Confucian books, and persecuted scholars. QIN DYNASTY (221 B.C. – 206 B.C.) Shih’s Accomplishments. Shih Huang-ti centralized power by dividing China into districts, each with its own military and civil administrator. Construction of a network of roads and canals was begun to unite distant parts of China. Uniform systems of writing and measurements were established throughout the empire. QIN DYNASTY (221 B.C. – 206 B.C.) Shih’s Accomplishments. Shih also joined together several existing protective walls to form the Great Wall of China, in order to protect his empire from nomadic peoples to the northwest. Stretching 1,500 miles, it stood 22 feet high and 15 feet thick, taking thousands of laborers many years to complete. Shih also had workers build an immense army of clay soldiers to surround him in his tomb. Although Shih’s rule was short, he had lasting effects in creating a unified and centralized China. HAN DYNASTY (206 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.) Following the Qin emperor’s death, the people rebelled against his harsh style of rule. After several years of civil war, a new dynasty emerged. The Han emperors kept China unified for over four hundred years. HAN DYNASTY (206 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.) The Han are credited with inventing paper and leadglazed ceramics, and with advances in silk-weaving. In addition, the Han emperors established examinations to select candidates for imperial service. Candidates were tested on their knowledge of history and Confucian philosophy. This encouraged the spread of Confucian ideas. HAN DYNASTY (206 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.) The examination system also strengthened the power of the emperor by weakening the independence of the nobles. They could no longer claim the high status and rewards of imperial service as a matter of right. Only those who passed these rigorous tests could assist the emperor in the government. Examinations provided a way for commoners to move up the social ladder. Confucian ideals came to unite all government officials and the Chinese upper classes as a whole. HAN DYNASTY (206 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.) The Han rulers established overland trade routes, such as the “Silk Road,” which connected China to the Roman Empire and other regions. Merchants carried goods by camel caravan along this route through mountains, steppes, and deserts, with resting points in new towns along the way. Over these routes, China exported its silk, iron, and bronze in exchange for gold, linen cloth, glass, ivory, animal hides, horses, and cattle. India also introduced Buddhism, which became popular in China. CHILDREN AND WOMEN IN HAN CHINA Wealthy families in early Han China had many children so that their sons could serve in the government and their daughters could marry into other wealthy families. Marriages were arranged, and families prepared their daughters to serve their future husbands. Wealthy women were generally well-treated and influential. CHILDREN AND WOMEN IN HAN CHINA Under Confucian teachings, women were subordinate to men. In childhood, a woman obeyed her father; in adulthood, she obeyed her husband; and in old age, she obeyed her son. In Han China, a system of public schools, for boys only, developed. Confucian principles, such as respect for elders and looking after one’s parents in old age, were taught. THE FALL OF THE HAN DYNASTY The Han Dynasty ruled over an immense territory for 400 years – nearly twice as long as the history of the United States from its independence to present. Towards the end of this period, the Han emperors were weakened by a series of rebellions against their authority. To crush these rebellions, the imperial government gave more power to provincial governors, including the ability to tax and raise their own local armies. Some governors used these newfound powers to become local warlords. Economic hardship from population growth led to a rise in banditry in the countryside. In 221 A.D., the last Han emperor turned his power over to an independent warlord. Han China finally collapsed into a series of civil wars, and split apart into a series of separate states. THE END OF EMPIRES Why do societies sometimes decline and fall? To find an answer, some scholars have compared the collapse of the Han Dynasty with that of Rome in the West. In both cases, an empire had gradually spread over a very large area, making it difficult to govern given the state of transportation and communication at that time. Both the Han and Roman Empires saw areas in their empire fall into the hands of generals and local warlords, weakening central control. THE END OF EMPIRES In both empires, early emperors were talented rulers but later emperors were not always equally capable. In each empire, later rulers were sometimes overthrown by their own generals or palace guards. Another similarity between the two empires was the spread of corruption, creating instability in the government and dissatisfaction with the unequal distribution of wealth. Vast differences existed between the richest and poorest social classes, leading to frequent peasant uprisings. Both empires faced growing discontent with high taxes to support the army. Finally, both empires faced the constant threat of invasion from outside “barbarian” tribes. The Huns of Central Asia pushed the Germanic tribes into the Roman Empire. The Huns also pushed eastward, causing neighboring nomadic tribes to press against China.