Ancient world History Notes Questions and Answers

Ancient world History Notes Questions and Answers

Ancient world History Notes Questions and Answers

In the ancient Stone Age, humans learned to make weapons from stone, wood, and animal bones. They lived in caves and survived by hunting animals and gathering other resources. Thousands of years later, humans gained knowledge about agriculture. Around the same time, humans also began practicing animal husbandry and searching for suitable places to live. After the Stone Age came the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. These ages marked the beginning of civilizations that significantly changed human life, living methods, and daily activities.

Bronze Age civilizations included Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and India. At the end of the Neolithic period, the use of metal began. Copper was the first metal that humans used. During this period, bronze was discovered, hence it is also called the Bronze Age. In this era, humans learned to make and use both sun-dried and fire-baked bricks. During this age, the first urban-based civilizations emerged in various river valleys. These ancient civilizations developed in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China.

Mesopotamia, literally meaning “land between the rivers,” often experienced floods, presenting two challenges for the inhabitants: controlling floods and irrigating land for farming. Beautiful temples were constructed in Mesopotamia by farmers and slaves.

Egypt is often referred to as the gift of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians developed an advanced irrigation system. By 3100 BCE, Egypt had unified under one king, known as the Pharaoh. The Pharaohs built the great pyramids, which served as tombs for their mummified bodies.

Chinese civilization

Chinese civilization developed in the Huang He river valley in northern China. Artisans, especially bronze smiths, were highly skilled in their craft. The Chinese worshipped many gods and goddesses. A renowned Chinese religious teacher, Confucius, propagated the system of ‘right conduct,’ which greatly influenced Chinese society and government.

Bronze Age civilization

In India, the Bronze Age civilization emerged in the Indus Valley and surrounding areas. Known as the Harappan civilization, named after one of its cities, Harappa, it was unearthed during excavations by archaeologists in the 1920s, revealing more cities. The Harappan culture is understood to have three phases: early, mature, and declining stages. Cities had wide streets intersecting at right angles.

In the lower city of Mohenjo-Daro, besides residential areas, large halls with numerous pillars were found in the citadel area. The Harappans were skilled in agriculture, animal husbandry, craftsmanship, trade, and commerce. Mother goddesses were highly popular among the Harappans, with clay figurines found. A male deity, referred to as the early form of Pashupati, was also discovered, depicted in a seal surrounded by animals, sitting in a yogic posture.

Iron Age

The Iron Age began around three thousand years ago. The use of iron significantly impacted transportation and communication. The Iron Age was also a period of intellectual progress. The civilizations that emerged during the Iron Age were in Greece, Rome, Persia, and India. Greek civilization developed in Europe around 2000 years ago, with the most famous city-states being Athens and Sparta. Ancient Greeks excelled in art, science, literature, and sculpture, making Greece known as the birthplace of Western civilization. They were also masters of architecture.

Rome and Early Civilizations

Rome is situated on the Tiber River in central Italy. The Romans established a republic governed by the Senate, which was a group of elders. Early Roman society had three classes: Patricians (nobles), Plebeians (commoners), and slaves. The Roman economy was based on slave labor. The Roman Empire spanned three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. It was divided into several provinces, each governed by a governor. The main military strength of the Roman army was the legion.

In the Iron Age, Aryan tribes lived in Persia (modern-day Iraq). One branch, called the Medes, lived in the western part of the country, while another branch, called the Persians, lived in the southern and eastern parts. The Medes established a powerful state that included a vast region of Iran.

Vedic Age

A new phase in ancient Indian history began with the Vedic Age, marked by the arrival of the Aryans in India. This period saw numerous economic, social, and religious changes, dividing the Vedic Age into two periods: Early Vedic and Later Vedic. Knowledge of the Early Vedic period comes from the Rigveda, the first Veda. Information about the Later Vedic period is derived from the other three Vedas: Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda. Additional texts, such as the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, were written on top of these four Vedas.

During this period, the Aryan community moved eastward, settling in the Sindhu-Ganga doab and the upper Ganga plains. In the post-Vedic age, by the 6th century BCE, sixteen major states, known as Mahajanapadas, developed in northern and eastern India. These were: Anga, Magadha, Vajji, Kashi, Kosala, Malla, Kuru, Panchala, Vatsa, Avanti, Kamboja, Gandhara, Asmaka, Chedi, Matsya, and Surasena. During this period, people expressed discontent against ritualistic Brahmanism and Vedic sacrificial practices. Many sects emerged, with Jainism and Buddhism being the most prominent.

Buddhism

Buddhism was founded by Gautama Buddha, whose teachings include the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Jainism was founded by Rishabhanatha, with Parshvanatha being the 23rd Tirthankara and Vardhamana Mahavira the 24th. Like Buddhism, Jainism opposed ritualism and Vedic Brahmanism, promoting five key principles: non-violence, truth, non-stealing, non-attachment, and celibacy.

The Magadha Empire was established under powerful rulers such as Bimbisara, Ajatashatru, and Mahapadmananda. The last king of the Nanda dynasty, Dhanananda, was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Maurya Empire. Chandragupta was trained by the famous philosopher Chanakya, also known as Kautilya.

In southern India, the Sangam Age marked the beginning of a historical period. Under the royal patronage of the Pandya kings of Madurai, a gathering of literary figures, known as Sangam, flourished. Sangam literature often describes the Pandya kings.

Kushans dynasty

The Kushans were a branch of the Yuezhi tribe from Central Asia. The first ruler of the Kushans was Kujula Kadphises, followed by Vima, and then Kanishka. Kanishka, the greatest king of the Kushan dynasty, conquered Kashmir and captured the plains of the Ganges. After Kanishka, the rulers were Vasishka, Huvishka, Kanishka II, and Vasudeva, the last ruler of the Kushan dynasty.

Gupta dynasty

The 4th century saw the rise of the Gupta dynasty, marking the beginning of a new era in Indian history. Unity replaced political fragmentation. Maharaja Sri Gupta is considered the founder of the Gupta dynasty. During the Gupta period, the primary system of administration was a monarchy, with a council of ministers and other officials assisting the king in daily administrative tasks.

The period following the decline of the Gupta Empire and the rise of Harshavardhana, the Maharaja of Thanesar, is considered a time of disintegration. During this period, India was divided into several small independent states, and political unity was somewhat strengthened. In this era, Brahmanical Hinduism gained power.

Indian civilization

Indian civilization holds a significant place in world history. Like early Greece and Rome, India had democratic and republican systems of governance. Ancient Indians excelled in art, architecture, painting, and sculpture. Centers of learning such as Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Kashi, and Kanchi educated both Indian and foreign students. Many great literary works were created in ancient India.

Ancient world History Notes Questions and Answers

1. Name two sites of the Indus-Saraswati Civilization in India.
Answer: Two sites of the Indus-Saraswati Civilization in India are Lothal (Gujarat) and Kalibangan (Rajasthan).

2. Which metal did humans first use?
Answer: Humans first used bronze.

3. What were the main occupations of the people during the Later Vedic Period?
Answer: The main occupations of the people during the Later Vedic Period were agriculture and crafts.

4. Which religion did Ashoka adopt after the Kalinga War?
Answer: Ashoka adopted Buddhism after the Kalinga War.

5. What were the four main centers of education in ancient India?
Answer: The main centers of education in ancient India were Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, and Kashi.

6. Name two prominent physicians of ancient India.
Answer: Two prominent physicians of ancient India were Charaka and Sushruta.

7. Fill in the blank: The early Tamil literature includes works such as ______.
Answer: The early Tamil literature includes works such as Tolkappiyam.

8. Name the rivers between which the Mesopotamian civilization was located.
Answer: The Mesopotamian civilization was located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

9. What was the script of ancient Egypt called?
Answer: The script of ancient Egypt was called Hieroglyphics.

10. Name four cities of the Harappan civilization.
Answer: Four cities of the Harappan civilization are Sindh, Lothal, Kalibangan, and Rakhigarhi.

11. Name two important city-states of ancient Greece.
Answer: Two important city-states of ancient Greece were Athens and Sparta.

12. On which river is the city of Rome situated?
Answer: The city of Rome is situated on the Tiber River.

13. What was the main livelihood of the people during the post-Vedic period?
Answer: The main livelihood of the people during the post-Vedic period was agriculture.

14. Name the two religions that opposed the rituals and superstitions of Vedic Brahmanism.
Answer: The two religions that opposed the rituals and superstitions of Vedic Brahmanism were Buddhism and Jainism.

15. Who was the founder of Buddhism?
Answer: The founder of Buddhism was Gautama Buddha.

16. Who is considered the founder of Jainism?
Answer: Rishabhanatha is considered the founder of Jainism.

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