Ancient India

Overview PowerPoint (added 6/4/10):
India is a birthplace of many aspects that influence life today. Their contributions in mathematics, science, medicine, architecture, art, and literature still impact the way we think. Many modern achievements would be impossible without their contributions.

Cultural Achievements

The Indians created great works of art. Their temples displayed great architecture and workmanship.
Indian artists created elaborately carved temples.
Indian artists created elaborately carved temples.
They contained giant towers, domes, and carvings. Some were even carved into mountains, such as the temple at Ajanta . Their paintings and sculptures were also important. Art was a respected profession in India. Artists were hired to create clear, colorful paintings and religious works. These show ceremonial and daily life. Their sculptures were intricate carved statues of kings and the Buddha or Hindu Gods.

Indian literature gave an example how life should be. These were written in Sanskrit, the language of India, but translated into other languages later on. The Mahabharata was a long story about fights to control a kingdom.
The Monkey king, named Hanuman, is a major character in the Ramayana.
The Monkey king, named Hanuman, is a major character in the Ramayana.
It included many passages about Hindu beliefs. Another story was the Ramayana . This was about a prince named Rama that was actually a god. He had to fight demons rescue his wife. This was an example for how people should behave. Writers also created plays, poetry and more literature. Some of these stories were put in a book called the Panchatantra . These stories ended with a message to improve people in India.

Scientific Achievements

Indian scientists introduced metallurgy, or the science of working with metal. They also created alloys, or mixtures of several metals, to improve workability and durability.
This coin is an example of Indian metalwork.
This coin is an example of Indian metalwork.
This allowed them to create advanced weapons and tools. Using their better weapons, the Indians could protect themselves better and conquer lands easier. Metal workers used iron to make strong products, like the iron pillar at Delphi . Indian iron is hard, strong, and resistant to rust. These iron products still help scholars learn about ancient India.

Indian scholars made important advancements in mathematics. Scholars studied fractions, counting, geometry, and other types of math. Hindu Arabic numerals , the numbers we use today, were invented in ancient India. They also invented the concept of zero. Using their new inventions Ancient India also created Algebra. Modern math would be impossible without this advancement.

Indian scientists were very skilled in medical areas.
Doctors in India learned how to perform surgery.
Doctors in India learned how to perform surgery.
Doctors wrote books of medicines made of minerals and plants used to cure various illnesses. The doctors also prevented disease. They did this by practicing inoculation , or injecting small amounts of a disease to build up a immunity towards the disease. The body could learn to protect itself by recognizing these illnesses. Indian doctors also learned how to perform surgery. They learned how to fix injuries and infections, and even lost limbs, with surgery. Despite these medical advancements they would cast magic to if nothing else worked.

These scientists also pioneered astronomy, or the study of the solar system. They discovered seven of the nine planets. This was a amazing feat do to because of the technology that was available at the time. Indians also learned that the sun was a star. They knew that the planets revolved around the sun and that the earth was round long before the Europeans. Indian scientists predicted the rotation of the earth on its axis and both solar and lunar eclipses.

Caste System:
In ancient India, there was a Caste System. The caste system was the social hierarchy. First came the priests who did not have any income, but the people donated food to them. They would spend a long time praying to the Indian gods and goddesses. Next came the military officers and aristocrats. This was the class with the most money and power (besides the priests) After the warriors came the peasants, merchants, and missionaries. They were the middle class that brought in the most money. Missionaries came and went to other countries to trade knowledge, resources, and religion. The last and bottom class was the "untouchables" these were the slaves and workers. They had to do disgusting jobs and were not even considered part of society. There were also very strict rules about the caste system. People from different classes could not interact with each other. They wouldn't talk, meet, or even eat in the same room with each other. You stay in the class you were born into, and you could only change classes on very rare occasions. If you don't follow the rules of the caste system you would be punished, usually by death.

In conclusion, India was a very important to the development of the world. Without India, many important aspects of our world wouldn’t have developed. Their scientific and cultural impacts still influence the way we live and think.

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By Mukul, February 22, 2012