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Ch 6: Early Indian Civilizations & Empires

About This Chapter

Watch these entertaining video lessons to learn about the development of early Indian civilizations. Take the short self-assessment quizzes that follow to test your understanding of the Eightfold Path, King Ashoka's reign, the rock and pillar edicts, the Hindu caste system and more.

Early Indian Civilizations & Empires - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

If you're curious about the religion and culture of ancient Indian civilizations, check out the lessons in this chapter. Our experienced instructors can help you examine the concept of Brahman, the four goals of Hindu life and the teachings of Buddha. You'll also study early Indian society under the rule of its most powerful leaders. Listed below are just some of the topics of discussion:

  • Origins and defining features of Hinduism
  • Buddhism's origins and central tenets
  • Achievements of the Mauryan Empire
  • Characteristics of the Gupta Dynasty

Video Objective
The Origins of Hinduism: the Indus River Valley & the Harappa Culture Discover the origins of Hinduism and explore the influences of the Aryans on this religion.
The Four Goals of Hindu Life: Kama, Artha, Dharma & Moksha Examine each of Hinduism's four permissible goals.
Gautama Buddha: The Founding of Buddhism Get a brief biography of Siddhartha Gautama and learn how his teachings spread through Asia.
Buddhism: The Middle Way to Enlightenment Take a closer look at the Eightfold Path and the Dark Peer Discourse.
The Mauryan Empire in India: Rulers & Edicts Recognize the civil, economic and religious achievements of this empire's three major rulers: Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara and Ashoka.
King Ashoka & the First Unification of India Examine the spread of Buddhism and the unification of the Mauryan Empire during King Ashoka's reign.
The Gupta Dynasty in India: Leaders & Arabic Numerals Explore the history of the Gupta Empire, beginning with the reign of Chandra Gupta, and identify some of this empire's accomplishments.
Indian Religions, Culture, Science & Trade Follow the spread of Indian literature and science, as well as Hinduism and Buddhism, over the silk roads.
Hindu Castes and the Laws of Manu Study the origins of the caste system in the Laws of Manu. Identify members making up the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra and Untouchable castes.

9 Lessons in Chapter 6: Early Indian Civilizations & Empires
The Origins of Hinduism: the Indus River Valley & the Harappa Culture

1. The Origins of Hinduism: the Indus River Valley & the Harappa Culture

This lesson will seek to explain the origins of Hinduism. Highlighting the Harappa culture and the Vedic period, it will also explore the Hindu beliefs in Moksha and Brahman.

The Four Goals of Hindu Life: Kama, Artha, Dharma & Moksha

2. The Four Goals of Hindu Life: Kama, Artha, Dharma & Moksha

This lesson will seek to explain the four permissible goals of Hindu life. In doing so, it will define the ancient concepts of kama, artha, dharma and moksha.

Gautama Buddha: The Founding of Buddhism

3. Gautama Buddha: The Founding of Buddhism

This lesson will explore the founding of Buddhism and the life of Siddhartha Gautama. It will also highlight nirvana, asceticism, the concept of a bodhisattva, and the Bodhi tree.

Buddhism: The Middle Way to Enlightenment

4. Buddhism: The Middle Way to Enlightenment

This lesson will explore the term 'Middle Way' as an alternate name for Buddhism. In doing so, it will highlight Siddhartha Gautama as the founder of Buddhism, while also detailing his belief in the Eightfold Path.

The Mauryan Empire in India: Rulers & Edicts

5. The Mauryan Empire in India: Rulers & Edicts

In this lesson, we will study India's Mauryan Empire. We will learn about its rulers, explore its government and economy, delve into its religious life, and examine its decline and disappearance.

King Ashoka & the First Unification of India

6. King Ashoka & the First Unification of India

While often thought of as one of the most peaceful kings in history, Ashoka had a bloodthirsty past and a family heritage to match. Learn more about this king and his influence on Buddhism.

The Gupta Dynasty in India: Leaders & Arabic Numerals

7. The Gupta Dynasty in India: Leaders & Arabic Numerals

In this lesson, we will explore India's Gupta dynasty. We will learn about its founding and expansion, discover the achievements of its people, and examine its decline and disappearance.

Indian Religions, Culture, Science & Trade

8. Indian Religions, Culture, Science & Trade

India has had a massive impact on the world, from being the birthplace of two popular religions to being the origin for many of the most important scientific discoveries in history.

Hindu Castes and the Laws of Manu

9. Hindu Castes and the Laws of Manu

This lesson will seek to explain the complex Hindu castes of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, and the Untouchables. It will also highlight the Laws of Manu.

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