Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 9 Social Science Notes Chapter 1 Ancient Civilizations of the World
India is one of the ancient nations of the world. Its history, civilization and culture is also age old. On the basis of excavations and excavators, approximately 5000-7000 years ago from today people who roamed on the banks of rivers like Indus-Saraswati started living on the banks and settled there. By living there they developed a prosperous culture and civilization.
The origin of Indus river is considered from North of Kailash-Mansarovar of Tibet. The total length of the river is 3180 km which makes it the greatest river on the western side of the subcontinent. While origin of Saraswati river is from Shivaliks, it enters in plains at Adibadri.
It enters in Nohar of Rajasthan after flowing in South-East direction draining Kurushetra from Ghagar, Hakra and Sirsi in Haryana. Here it flows through Jaisalmer, Bikaner then Kuchchh of Gujarat and empty itself at Prabhaspatan in sea.
At present, Saraswati river has no physical existence. Due to change in geological structure, it has become extinct. Due to its non-physical existence, some intellectuals consider it as imagination but pictures taken by artificial satellites of the earth prove that the drainage area of Saraswati river is found and it is flowing even today.
In holy books of Hindus like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Vedic literature, evidence of this river is quite sufficient for its authenticity. In Mahabharata war, Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna, had journeyed holy places located at the banks of Saraswati river.
In Rajasthan, remains on banks of river Saraswati can be seen today. Kalibangan is one of them. Civilization developed on vast land of Indus-Saraswati and their tributaries is known as Indus-Saraswati Civilization. This civilization was not known earlier though it was the center of India’s ancient civilization as it was buried down under sand dunes.
People do not have universal view regarding this period, its peak, prosperity and decline, because it was developed long back and it was fully developed in 3250 BC, then reached to its peak upto 2750 BC. After this, it started declining and by 1500 BC it became extinct.
In 1921, Raibahadur Dayaram Sahni discovered an ancient sand dune on the left bank of river Ravi where a town was established named Harappa in Punjab at the time of undivided or unpartitioned India. Another archaeologist of India Rakhal Das Bannerjee discovered Mohenjodaro situated at East Bank of river Indus drained in Indus region of district Larkana in unpartitioned India.
Meaning of Mohenjodaro is ‘A Mound of Deads’. Out of this mound, remains of that town indicate that it was nine times developed and nine times declined.
In series of excavations, Aurlastine discovered 11 excavations in the dry drainage area of Saraswati river in ‘Bahavalpur State (Riyasat) now in Pakistan, which was a point of dry rivers Saraswati and Hara.
Still 1500 places are discovered related to Indus- Saraswati Civilization out of them 900 are in India and 600 in Pakistan. After partition of India in 1947, the big places of this civilization Harappa, Mahenjodaro, Ganeriwala, etc. went to Pakistan while Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi, Dholavira, Lothal, Rangpur etc. are included India.
In India, historians and archaeologists started their work in a new way after Independence in 1947. In Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat many places related to Saraswati Drishdwati river valley were discovered. In 1953, Amlanand Ghosh discovered 25 places in Bikaner of Rajasthan, among them Kalibangan, is main. Other places are Ropar in Punjab, Lothal, Rangpur and Rojdi in Gujarat, Bada Sandhol, Rakhigarhi, Banwali, Meetathal in Haryana, etc.
Characteristics of Indus-Saraswati Civilization
Town Planning: On the basis of remains related to town planning of Indus-Saraswati civilization cities of Harappa, Mohenjodaro (now in Pakistan), Kalibangan (Rajasthan) Rakhigarhi (Haryana), Dholavira, Lothal (Gujarat) are important. These remains are the facts that people of India belonged to this civilization planned their town before building houses and buildings and their architecture, civil engineering knowledge were of high level.
Housing Plan: Town are divided into zones and localities. The houses were both of large and small sizes. They were either one or two story high, with rooms built around a courtyard. Generally an open courtyard was left and its surrounding rooms were built. Separate water places, toilets and bathrooms were also built. .
Street System: System of well laid out streets and drains was an outstanding feature of Indus-Saraswati civilization. Streets were built North to South-East to West straight and parallel which cut each other at right angle where crossings were built.
The main roads were 10 m and small 5 m broad while lanes were 1-2 m broad to dispose waste. Dustbins were kept to throw garbage at different places.
Cleanliness of town, water drainage and their management: There was a proper management of sewerage and disposal of dirty water. Houses, lanes, streets and roads were well connected to drains. It all proves that people of this period not only lived a prosperous life but gave stress on facilities and their utilization. They were also aware of health.
Special structures: Remains of some special structures are found and among them protective wall around garhi yajana vedikas, metal smelters, furnaces, great public baths and granaries are main. These remains are evidence of scientific and developed state of this civilization.
The most attractive discovery is the Great Bath of Mohenjodaro. It was used for ritual bathing. It was lined with bricks, coated with plaster and made water-tight with a layer of natural,tar. Water was probably brought in from a well, and drained out after use. It is a remarkable specimen of architecture.
Occupation: People were very hardworking. They lived a happy life. They were engaged in different occupations according to their ability and contributed in social management. Religious, administrative, medical, security and production were main fields of work.
Family System: Family was the basic unit of society. Both men and women were equal. Women were allowed to take part in social activities. Sculptures of women found during excavation are the facts of it. Purdah system was not prevalent. Women wore ornaments made of silver, gold copper, etc. They wore cotton clothes. They have knowledge of arms and ammunition’s. Music, dance and hunting were main source of entertainment. People ate barley, wheat, rice, milk and meat.
Agriculture and animal rearing: Remains found from Kalibangan prove that people of * Indus-Saraswati civilization were farmers. Pictures of objects prove they grew wheat, barley, rice, til, etc. They grew fruits also. Animal rearing was the other main occupation. Cows were domestic animals.
Trade and Commerce: People were skilled in making utensils and tools from copper and bronze also in making earthen pots. In excavation of Chanhudaro and Kalibangan, weight and measures are found. A broken scale made of shell is found in Mohenjodaro. These things are evidence of their knowledge about arithmetic and trade.
Remains of port in excavation at Lothal in Gujarat proves that it was a great center of water transport. They had trade relations with Egypt, Sumer, Syria, etc. Similarities are found in things received between Mesopotamia and Indus-Saraswati civilizations excavations. It proves that they had good trade relations. Due to good and developed position in trade, Indus-Saraswati Civilization is also called as trade centered/dominated civilization.
Beliefs: People were mainly worshipers of natural forces. They worshiped the Earth, Peepal, Neem, Water, Sun and Agni (fire). They considered them Divine powers. They believed in magic, orthodox rituals and sacrifice of animals. Yajnas and fire worship was in trend. Scent sticks were used in worship and death ceremony was done either by funeral or by burying.
End of civilization: Script of Indus is not yet deciphered. It is imagined that natural causes were responsible for its decline. Though such a developed civilization declined but its elements did not destroy. They put an indirect impact on Indian people. Indus-Saraswati had played an important role and contributed at the initial stage in the development of Indian culture.
After the decline of Indus-Saraswati civilization, vedic civilization emerged in India. People who developed this civilization are called ‘Aryans’. They are considered as the founders and conveners of this civilization. Earlier they were considered as foreigners who came to India from Europe,Tibet, North Pole and Central Asia but current historical and architectural facts have proved that they were original habitants of India. It also proves that Vedic Civilization’s emergence was from the continuity of Indus-Saraswati Civilization.
The word ‘Arya’ is not related to any species or caste, it is an adjective or quality which means one who has good behavior or a civilized person. According to Dharma Shastra, an individual who follows the rules of the society, behaves nicely, keeps purity and morality in thought such a person of good behavior is called ‘Arya’. The father of Vedic Civilization were such Indian people.
One saying is that though the Indus-Saraswati civilization declined but values of this civilization were effective outside this river region which later developed into vedic civilization.
Vedic Literature: Literature created by Aryan intellectuals was famous as Vedic literature which is the main source of knowledge about Vedic Civilization. The main scriptures are Vedas, Brahamanas, Upnishadas, Arnyak, Shat, Vedang, etc. Vedas are four. They are Rig Veda, Sam Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda.
Characteristics of Vedic Civilization
Political Organization: Families were the base of political life of vedic period. Many families formed ‘Grama’ group. Many groups of grams were called ‘Jana.’ Leader of the Jana was called ‘Goprakshas’ or ‘Rajan’. He was elected by the Praja (people). The chief officer of the administration was Rajan (King). Samiti, Mantma (Council of Ministers) named democratic institutions helped the King in state activities.
In later period in place of simple republic political system India’s society moved towards monarchial political organizations and many republics (Janapadas) were established in India. In such Janapadas Kuru, Panchal, Gandhar, Kaikaiya, Madra, Kashi, Kalinga, Anga, Magadha, Lichchhavis, Malla, Avanti, Kaushal, Shivi etc. were main.
Varna System: Four Varnas emerged in Vedic period: Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra. It was not birth-based and it was based on Karma (deeds). Varnas was decided by ability and deeds of a person. Its early form was very good.
Family: It was the basic unit of the society. Joint family system prevailed. The eldest person was the head of the family. He was called Grahapati. Women had been given great respect.
Pardah System was not prevailed. Marriage was not a contract but a religious ceremony. Marriages held at mature stage. Sons and daughters had equal rights of getting education. Women education had been given great respect. In vedic literature, names of such women are given who were famous for knowledge and literacy. Intellectual women like Gargi, Matraiya, Gandharvagrihita, etc. belonged to this era.
Ashram and Sanskar System: Ashram system was there to run the society. It was divided into four Ashrams, i.e., Brahmacharya Ashram, Grahastha Ashram, Vanaprastha Ashram and Sanyasa Ashram. This system is a great system of management of life in the world.
There were 16 Sanskars to inculcate best qualities in man’s life. Among them Punsvan, Annaprashan, Mundan, Namkaran, Vidyarjan, Vivah Sanskaras are main which worked as social system.
Food, dress and amusement: People ate barley, wheat, rice, pulses, milk, curd and soma (drink). They wore clothes made of cotton, silk, wool. Male and female both wear ornaments. In ornaments, necklace, earrings, bangles were famous. Chariot race, horse races, hunting, wrestling were main means of amusement. Dance and music were loved. Main music instruments were Veena, Bansuri (flute), Shankh and Mridung were in trend.
Agriculture and Cattle rearing: Agriculture, cattle rearing, artisan industry, wood, metal, gold, cloth and leather work were in practice. Cows, elephants, horses, buffaloes, deer, sheep, goats and donkeys were domestic animals. Cow was considered pious and center of economic prosperity. Number of cows was the measure of economic progress.
Trade and Industries: Wood, metal, cloth and leather were main industries. In Rig Veda, a physician named ‘Bhishak’ is illustrated. Barter system was the system of exchange. Gold coin named Nishka was in trend. It is a sign of knowledge of advanced metallurgy and monetary system. Trade was done with remote nations through land and waterways. Cotton industry was highly developed and item of export.
Natural forces were worshipped among people. Varuna, Indra, Surya, Agni, Vayu, Usha were main. People pleased Gods with prayers and Yajnas. Upnishadas were propounded at the end of this period.
Mesopotamia is a word of Greek language which means land between two rivers. The modern name of this country is Iraq. This region is irrigated by two rivers – Dajila and Farat. It is also called fertile semi-lunar because of its semi-circular shape and fertility.
In ancient time, southern part of this region was called ‘Sumer’, it was the centre of civilization. North-eastern part of Sumer was called Babul (Babylon) and Akkad while Northern upland (Citadel) was called Aseria.
Characteristics of Mesopotamian Civilization
Code of Conduct of Hamurabi: Babylonian king Hamurabi formed a Code of Conduct for his subject which is the oldest of those times. It was engraved of 8 feet high rock. His principle of punishment was based on ‘Tit-for-Tat’ and ‘Blood against Blood’.
Beliefs and system: King was considered the representative of God on earth. After king and his family, Purohit was the second who might be the administrator before monarchial system. In middle class, feudals, traders and shopkeepers were included, Dasas
(Slaves) held the meanest position in the society. Military got importance due to continuous war.
Agriculture and Cattle Rearing: Main occupation was agriculture. Fields were tilled with ploughers, seeds were sown with the help of a funnel. For irrigation they carry water through canals from big rivers which they collected in big dams. To improve the species of cattle, animal husbandry and breeding were in practice.
Trade and Industries: It was a commercial civilization. Bank system was first developed here. It had trade relations with Indus-Saraswati civilization. Many things related to Indus-Saraswati civilization are found in excavation of ‘UR’ town of Mesopotamia.
Religious Rituals: People believed in many gods. Every town has its own guardian God which was known as ‘Jigurat’ means ‘hill of heaven’. ‘UR’ was the largest town state. In this town Jigurat was built on an artificial hill of bricks. It had three floors. It was more than 20 m in height. People believed in world rather than heaven. They focused on the practical problems of this world. The priests were also engaged in business.
Science and Knowledge: People had significant achievements in science. They were advance in astronomy. They knew to calculate the time of rising and setting of sun and moon. They divided the day into 24 hours, minute in 60 seconds and an hour of 60 minutes. They started dividing circle of geometry in (360°) degrees.
Architecture: Mehrabs (Arch) was invented by them. It was a greatest achievement of architecture as it could hold heavy weights and looked attractive.
Keelakshar Script (Cuneiform): Its contribution goes to Sumerians. Sumerian traders formed Keela-shaped figures for their accounts which later developed into a script known as Cuneiform Keelakshar.
It was developed on the banks of river Nile. Africans considered it as pious as Ganga because it was the cause of prosperity of ancient Egypt. It was very ancient but still no evidence. According to authentic literature of Egypt, it was developed about 3400 BC. ‘Minies’ developed the political structure of Egypt in 3400 BC. People of Ethpy, Nobbi, and Nilium races made this civilization. In the history of Egyptian civilization, era of socialism, pyramid age of feudalism are the most important.
Characteristics of Egyptian Civilization
The kings were called ‘Pharaoh’. They were despotic. People considered them representatives of God. In high class feudals, priest, middle class businessmen, traders were included. In low class farmers and dases (slaves) were included. Music, dance, acrobatics, animal fights gambling, etc. were means of entertainment. Ivory worked tables and chairs and precious curtains were parts of grandeur of feudal’s houses.
Barley, onion, millet and cotton were grown. It was called the grainary of the ancient world as three crops were grown in a year. Goats, sheep, pigs, dogs, donkeys, camels, etc. were reared.
This civilization had skilled workers of metal, wood, glass, paper and cloth. People import all metals except copper. They had trade relations with Ethiopia and Arabs. Barter system prevailed.
The chief gods were Ra (Sun), Orisis (River Nile), Sin (Moon). In the beginning, they believed in many gods but in age of socialism, ‘Akhnatan Pharos’ gave birth to one god concept (Ekeshwarism) and started worshipping ‘Sun’.
People made calender based a sun and stars and calculated the 360 days in a year. Solar watch (sun dial) was discovered. Discovering their own alphabets they manufactured paper using papyrus plants.
People believed that soul resides in dead body after death, so they put special oil on dead body which preserves the body for thousand years to protect it. Samadhis (tombs) were built which were called pyramids. The dead body kept in pyramids called ‘mummy’. Pyramid of Gizeh among Egyptian pyramids is the best example of ancient architecture in the world. It is 755 feet wide and 481 feet in height.
It is built with 23 lakhs pieces of stones weighted two and a half tonnes. It has a sculpture of ‘Narsingh’ called ‘sphinx’. These pyramids are evidence of advance knowledge in mathematics and trigonometry. Still such pyramids can be seen in Egypt.
- It was developed between the valley of Hwang-Ho and Yang-Tse-Kiang rivers.
- Chinese script was picture based. Later developed their own alphabets. Mangolians gave birth to this civilization and developed it.
- According to available historical facts and their scientific analysis, it is believed that China’s systematic and political history starts from 2852 BC with a ruler named ‘Fusi’. Among China’s dynasty, important kings were of Shang, Chou, Huan, Sui, Tang, Shung dynasties.
Characteristics of Chinese Civilization
The Great Wall of China: is the world famous architecture of China. It was built by ruler of China Shehwang to protect China from Continuous attacks of Hunas. Its is 20 feet wide, 1800 miles long and 20 feet high. On this wall forts like Burjs are constructed at small distances.
Chinese society was divided into four classes:
People who joined army were either very poor, lazy and those who had different characters. According to H.A. Davis, ‘China was the only nation in ancient period which was peacefully organized and being military man was an ‘insult’ in the society. Joint family system with eldest male member as the head. Great stress was given on high morality in life. Women had no respect in the society. Pardah system and divorse system prevailed.
- Agriculture of rice, tea in large scale.
- Irrigation by canal system.
- Rearing of sheep, pigs, cows, dogs, etc.
- Sericulture (making of silk cloth) was the main occupation. Handicraft, ceramics were also important.
- Export of silk, salt, raw iron, fur, fish, etc. to India in a large scale.
- Paper, printing, ink, Barood (Gun powder), drawing, compass were first discovered by China.
- People were worshipper of nature. King was considered the Son of God, believed in magic and animals sacrifice.
- Later religious thoughts of Chinese were greatly affected by Ekeshwarwad of Confucious and eternal soul of Laotse.
- Confucious and Laotse were philosophers.
It was the first European nation in the view of development of civilization. Born in 1500 BC
with the defeat of natives of Greece Maonium by the subclans of Aryans. Ancient Greeks could not form a vast nation due to mountains and valleys. It had two main city states:
Athens had democratic rule while Sparta had military rule. Remaining state towns were either like Athens or followed Sparta.
Characteristics of Greek Civilization
Life of Sparta:
• It had fear of attacks from neighbouring nations hence autocratic military rule was established here. To make children strong military education and training was compulsory for them to face difficulties in life. Those children who were weak thrown from the Tesitus hill to die. Sparta succeeded in preparing citizens who were blind followers, obedient, brave and warriors but its contribution in the field of science, art, philosophy, literature is negligible.
Life of Athens:
It was different from Sparta. It had democratic rule. A Code of Conduct were prepared by Justice Draco in 621 BC which was in favour of high class. Klaisthenez rooted out the democracy in Athens.
Ambitious ruler of Iran attacked over Greece. A battle was held between Greece and Iran at Marathon in which Iran was defeated. Later Greeks developed their civilization independently.
Parades was a great democratic ruler of Greece. By his reforms he made Athens democratically strong and wide. He believed in equal justice for all. In his period art, literature and music developed up to great extent.
Great people like Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were born during his reign. Mathematics, philosophy and astronomy were taught. World famous compositions Odyssey and Iliad were composed by Homer. Due to these achievements Parades era in history of Greece is called the golden period. According to Professor David, Parades era of Greece history is the golden period of Greek history.
Ancient Civilizations of Rajasthan
In North Rajasthan on the bank of river Ghaghar several of Indus-Saraswati civilization were discovered. Kalibangan was one of them. It was located in district Hanumangarh 4500 years ago at the bank of river Saraswati (Ghaghar). In Kalibangan, two mounds are found of city planning. There is a security wall around both evidence. Proof of a tilled land found in Kalibangan is the oldest.
At present, it is located in Udaipur district, which was the centre of Bronze age culture of the South-East Rajasthan. This civilization was developed in the valley of Bedach, Banas rivers. It is 5000 years old. Due to availability of copper in this area people living here made metallic tools which made it a copper-skilled centre.
Extension of this civilization is evidence from the nearby places Gilund, Balathal, Bagaur, etc. It had relations with Navadatoli, Nagda, Eran, Kaitha till Kuchchh in North Gujarat. Its connection was with 4000 years old civilizations. Black and red earthen pots found here have similarity in skill, size and manufacturing are evidence of it.
Undala village 42 kms in East of Udaipur city is located as Vallabhnagar. In the north of this village is Balathal village. A mound has been discovered from here. The excavation of this mound was done under the leadership of Dr. V.N. Mishra, Dr. V.S Shinde, Dr R.K. Mohanty of Duccan College, Dr. Dev Kothari, Dr. Lalit Pandey, Dr. Jeevan Kharakwal in March 1993. The work continued for 7 years. Copper tools, axes, knives, points of arrows and stone tools have been discovered from here. This civilization came into existence in 3200 BC (approx).
Characteristics of Balathal
- People living here used tools made up of copper, among them axes, knives, razors, arrows are main.
- Two types of earthen pots are found-(i) Pots of coarse wall (ii) Pots of smooth wall.
- Black, red, dark coloured pots are polished and painted with white colour pictures. These pots were exported.
A fort-like structure is found in Balallhal mound. Its wall is 5 m thick and 3.15 m high. This fort is spread in 5600 sq. m area. It is made up of soil and stones. A house is found of eleven rooms which was built in second stage of copper stone age. Copper smelting furnaces are’ found in Ahad while iron smelting furnaces are found in Balathal.
Chandravati: In Sirohi district in the foothills of Mount Abu near Abu road remains of a city named Chandravati are located. This ancient city was situated on the right bank of river Sewani. It was discovered by Col. James Todd in 1822. In 2013-14, Dr. J. Kharakwal and his team excavated this place.
Excavation revealed that remains of another ancient settlement are buried under the remains of Chandravati. Stone aged tools and rock paintings prove that human community was present in Chandravati right from stone age. It was a great centre of business in middle age or medieval period.
- 3250 BC : Complete development of Indus-Saraswati civilization.
- 3250-2750 BC : Indus-Saraswati civilization reached the extremity of development.
- 2852 BC : Systematic political history started in China by king Fusi.
- 2750 BC : Decline of the Indus-Saraswati civilization started.
- 2500 BC : Victory over Sumer by Sagan, the ruler of Akkad.
- 2100-1500 BC : Period of Ahad civilization’
- 1500 BC : Indus-Saraswati civilization declined; origin of Greek civilization :
- 1140-612 BC : Foundation of Aserian empire by the people in Mesopotamia.
- 612-539 BC : Foundation of Babylonian empire by Kaldiyai people.
- 1822 AD : Discovery of places of Chandravati civilization site by Colonel James Todd.
- 1921 AD : Raibahadur Dayaram Sahni discovered an archaeological mound named Harappa.
- 1922 AD : Rakhal Das Bannerji discovered a mound of deads named Mohenjodaro in the Larkana
- district of Sindhu Province in undivided India.
- 1947 AD : Discovery of archaeological sites in a new way.
- 1950-51 AD : Amalanand Ghose excavated Kalibangan and other places in Rajasthan.
- 1954 AD : Discovery of the sites of Aahad civilisation.
- 1993 AD : Dr. V.N. Mishra started excavation at Balathal civilization.
- 2013-14 AD : Excavation at the Chandravati civilisation site began under the leadership of Dr. J. Kharakwal.
Civilization: It is said to occur when a society is in an advanced state of social development.
Harappa: A place of Indus-Saraswati civilization in Pakistan.
Mohenjodaro : A place of Indus-Saraswati civilization in Pakistan.
Arya: It means a person who is ideal, superior, well-cultured or a person of good behavior.
Rajan: The king in the Vedic period.
Harbour: A dock or place located at a sea route where ships can stay for loading or unloading the traded goods.
Mesopotamia: Derived from Greek language which means a land between two rivers.
Jigurat: Hill of heaven.
Pharoh: In Egypt civilization the ruler was called as Pharoh.
Ra: The sun was called ‘Ra’ in the Egyptian civilization.
Osiris: Nile river in Egyptian civilization.
Sin: Moon in the Egyptian civilization.
Pyramid: Structures to protect the dead bodies in Egypt.
Mummy: The dead bodies put in the pyramids in Egypt civilization.