World History
Chapter Three:
Section Three
Powerful Empires of India
• Northern India was a battleground for rival
rajahs fighting to control the Ganges Valley
• Chandragupta Maurya – created first Indian
• Gained control of the Ganges Valley, then
northern India
• Son and grandson went south and captured
land in the Deccan
• Maurya Dynasty – ruled most of India
• Order was maintained in bureaucracy
• Built roads, harbors, collected taxes, royal
• Used secret police force to control crime and
• Used specially trained women warriors to
guard his palace
• Asoka – Chandragupta’s grandson and the
most honored Maurya emperor
• Fought bloody battle to conquer the rest of
the Deccan – over 100,000 people died
• Turned his back on war, accepted Buddhism
and ruled by moral example
• Stopped eating most meats and limited Hindu
• Sent missionaries across India to spread
• Preached tolerance for other religions
• Set up stone pillars that offered advice and
moral guidance to those reading them
• Peace and prosperity – built hospitals and
• Asoka died – Maurya power declined
• Unity of empire broken as princes fought for
• India often remained divided due to the
numerous ethnic groups in the area trying to
take control
• Gupta Empire – India enjoyed a golden age or a
period of great cultural achievement
• Gupta vs. Maurya Empire
• Gupta was more relaxed and let villages rule
• Trade and farming flourished
• Farmers harvested: wheat, rice, sugar cane
• Artisans produced: cotton cloth, pottery, metal
Advances in learning
• Students educated in religious schools
• Taught religion, mathematics, medicine,
physics, languages, literature and other
• Gupta mathematics – created system of
writing numbers that we use today
• Created concept of zero
• Developed decimal system based on ten
• Folklores collected and written in Sanskrit –
language of the area
• Indian stories went to Egypt, Persia, and
Gupta Decline
• Gutpa declined due to weak rulers, civil war,
and foreign invaders
• Invaders from Central Asia – the Huns –
nomadic people who overran the Gupta
• Now India was again split up into many
smaller kingdoms
Family Life
• Most Indians were peasants
• Life revolved around the caste system, rules,
duties and family
• Joint family – parents, children, and offspring
shared a home – this was considered ideal
• Oldest male was in charge
• Usually only made decisions after consulting his
• Property belonged to the entire family
• Family trained children to perform the duties of their
• Family interest came before individual interests
• Daughter learned that she would serve husband and
• Son learned rituals to honor ancestors
• Arranged marriages based on caste and family interests
• Brides family often provided a dowry – payment to the
bridegroom and financed the wedding
• Daughter would go live with husband after marriage
• Early Aryan society – women enjoyed higher
status than in later times
• Women restricted to the home, when they went
outside they had to cover from head to toe
• Lower class women were outside in the fields or
weaved cloth
• Women believed to have shakti – creative energy
– completed her husband
• Few rights in family or society – they were simply
supposed to marry and raise children
Village Structure
• Homes made of dirt and stone
• Surrounded by fields of wheat, sugar, cotton,
• Village council made decisions for village
• Women used to be allowed in it but Hindu
teachings eventually led to women having less
rights and freedom
• Farming relied on rains from the summer
monsoons – winds
• Too much or too little meant famine
• Landlords often owned the land that was
• They were paid part of the harvest by farmers
• What was left was barely enough to feed
farmer and his family

World History