8000 BCE – 600 CE
Unit 1 Section 3
Faith System Key Terms
•Quality of
in their
religious life
•The sum of
good and
bad deeds
done during
one’s life that
the outcome
of one’s path
•More good
than bad
then you can
move up in
•More bad
than good
and your
will be of
lower status
or another
•The rebirth in
new lives for
eternity unless
you reach
•Can be in
human form
or other forms
of life (animal,
•Freedom from
temporal, and
mortal world of
and a release
from life in this
•Self denial and
•Giving up
pleasures in
the pursuit of
East Asia
• Settlement of agricultural communities
began along the Yellow River in China
around 8000 BCE
• By the 2nd millennium BCE the first Chinese
dynasty emerged and foundation for 2
thousand years of Chinese history was
• Over that time, China became an
economic and political force that was
often the envy of peoples near and far
Early River Valley of China
• Like other river valley civilizations, early Chinese
settlements took advantage of the rich, fertile land
along the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers
Plants and animals were domesticated
Stone and eventually bronze tools were used
Pottery was produced on a wheel and fired in a kiln
Labor was divided (stratification of labor by class and
– Political and social structures took shape
• The geography of eastern Asia kept Chinese
civilizations isolated from those in the Middle East and
the Indus River Valley
• The climate of the southern region was well suited for
growing rice, which produces a very high yield but
requires substantial time and labor
– The population and the importance of the southern
region eventually exceeded that of the northern region
Beginnings of the Shang
• In 1750 BCE the history of China truly began
when the Shang clan rose to power
• From the Yellow River Valley, the Shang
extended their control by means of their military
strength and strategy
• The Shang were ruled by a king, who was seen
as an intermediary between the gods and the
• To expand and mange the land, the king was
aided by an aristocracy that acted as generals,
ambassadors, and public servants
• Conquered territory was governed by members
of the royal family, and far-off lands were left to
native rulers who swore their allegiance to the
• Many of the conquered peoples were taken as
prisoners of war and enslaved by the Shang
Social/ Political/ Economic
• Shang cities grew into political an
social centers
– They were surrounded by agricultural
– The cities were laid out on a grid
– Served as hubs for a far-reaching
trade network which could have
gone as far as Mesopotamia trading:
• Jade
• Ivory
• Silk
• Bronze Weapons
• Writing developed under the Shang
and facilitated administration –
even though only a small number of
the elite had time to master this skill
The Zhou
• 1027 BCE the last Shang king was defeated by
the Zhou
• They established the longest-lasting dynasty in
Chinese history
• The introduced the concept of the Mandate
of Heaven
– This was the key to the dynastic cycle that
would last nearly 3000 years
– To justify the overthrow of the Shang king, Zhou
rulers claimed that the new ruler had been
chosen by “Heaven” and should be seen as the
“Son of Heaven”
– As long as the king was a moral servant of the
people, he would retain the Mandate of
Heaven and China would prosper
– If the king became corrupt, then he would lose
the Mandate of Heaven and this would justify a
– Since the end of the Shang was marked by
corruption, violence, greed and arrogance –
the Zhou reasoning for overthrow was justified
Beginning of Warring States
• The Zhou dynasty retained many of the
traditions and rituals of the Shang and was
similarly decentralized
– The dynasty was divided into 100+ territories –
each ruled by allies or relations of the king
– Government officials were expected to rule in
a fair and moral fashion
– This system worked will for a time, but around
800 BCE territories began to compete with
one another for power until 480 BCE, when
China entered the 200 year period known as
The Warring States Period
• Many states rulers imposed an authoritarian
system known as Legalism to keep their subjects
under control and promote the state above the
– Legalism was based on the view that because human
nature is evil, order is maintained with laws and
• Though his influence would not be felt until after
his death, Confucius 551-479 BCE established his
teachings based on the culture and practices of
the Zhou dynasty
• He drew parallels between the family and state,
with the king serving as a father figure to his
people and ruling with their interests at heart.
• Coincidentally, social structure of the later Zhou
period moved from the clan-based system to the
smaller family model that included grandparents,
parents and children
• Confucianism would eventually become the
philosophy that future dynasties embraced as a
means to establish clear social structure
• Another philosopher was
also inspired during the
Warring States Period –
Laozi or Lao Tzu
• Taoism or ‘the way’ was to
be an alternative to the
authoritarian nature of
Legalism and the rigid
hierarchy of Confucianism
• Taoism promoted an end
to conflict by teaching
people to follow the path
(tao) and to accept the
world instead of seeking
to change it
Social Structure &
Gender Roles
• Through both the Shang and Zhou
dynasties, China’s patriarchal
nature resembles that of many
other early civilizations
– The father was the head of the
– Women were expected to tend to
the household
– Marriage was often an economic
and political tool to promote power
among elite families
– Any land the family owned
belonged to the father and was
divided among his sons upon his
Rise of Shi Huangdi
& the Qin
• The end of the Warring States Period came in the 3rd
Century BCE when the Qin, led by Shi Huangdi,
defeated their rivals and created China’s 1st empire
– The Qin was a totalitarian regime that promoted Legalism
and enacted laws to prevent the rise of a rival power that
might challenge Shi Huangdi’s authority
– Examples:
• Upon the death of an owner, land was divided among several
• Slavery was abolished to create a free labor force that would
pay taxes and provide labor and military service
– Shi Huangdi standardized coinage and laws
– He built thousands of miles of roads, canals and walls to
secure China
– Upon Shi Huangdi’s death people rose up against the
oppressive rule
Han Dynasty
• The rebellion upon the death of Shi Huangdi finally
ended with the establishment of the Han dynasty
• Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) is the classical
period in Chinese history
– Its cultural and political characteristics greatly
influenced all subsequent dynasties
– Centered on the river valleys in the eastern portion of
the country
• This fertile region produced crops that supported the
population and was the basis of the tax system
– To build up the infrastructure, the government
required able-bodied men to donate 1 month’s worth
of labor each year for the construction of palaces,
temples, and roads
• They were also required to donate 2 years of military
Han Dynasty
• With the expansion of the Han, Chinese culture and social
structure spread
– The tenets of Confucianism established a clear hierarchy in which
individuals saw themselves as having a particular role in the family
and society
• Fathers were the head of the family
• A woman was to submit to her parents while she was young, her husband
while married and her son if widowed
• The emperor was the “Son of Heaven’ who was to rule in a paternal fashion
so as to retain the Mandate of Heaven
• Throughout the empire, peasants, soldiers, and administrators had their
own particular role under the rule of the emperor & they followed his word
as law
Han Government
• To administer the vast empire, Han
emperors relied on local leaders to collect
taxes, organize labor, & defend the empire
• To get prestigious government positions,
young men attended universities located
around the country
– Theoretically, this was a meritocracy that
provided an opportunity for anyone to rise
through the hierarchy,
• In reality it was the sons of the wealthy and
privileged classes who had the time and resources
to study the Confucian classics and attend the
• In part because of this, a large number of peasants
turned to Taoism – which questioned the hierarchy,
rules, and rituals of Confucianism that kept most
peasants on the bottom rung of the social ladder
Han Advancements
• Han dynasty achieved many advances in technology that
sustained the empire and eventually reached Europe
– The crossbow and the use of cavalry helped the Han withstand
challenges from nomadic people of Central Asia.
– Military forces, people, and goods traveled the extensive road
system begun under the Qin and expanded by Han rulers
– The watermill harnessed the power of running water to turn a
– The Han developed a horse collar that improved the use of
animals in agriculture
• These developments, along with paper, eventually made their
way to Europe and the Middle East.
• China’s most valuable innovation was the production of silk
– Silk was in high demand elsewhere in the world, and China
maintained a monopoly on its production for centuries
Downfall of the Han
• Unable to maintain a large empire over vast
territories, the Han dynasty ended in 220 CE:
– The cost of maintaining a military presence on the
– Coupled with corruption within the government
– Peasant rebellions
– The rise of regional warlords
• Returned China to a period of political, economic,
and cultural fragmentation that lasted until the Sui
unification of the late 6th Century CE.
Dynasty Video
South Asia
• The diversity and culture of the
Indian subcontinent developed
because of its geographic isolation
from the rest of Asia, as well as a
combination of political forces
– The Himalayas act as a barrier
between India and the rest of Asia
to the north
– The Indian Ocean is a barrier to
outside influence on the other 3
– Access is really only available by
passing over the Hindu Kush
Mountains and traversing the Thar
• Despite its diversity and relative
isolation, the region would achieve
cultural and economic influence
throughout Asia
Indus River Valley
• Shortly after Mesopotamia and Egypt
developed civilization, the Indus River Valley
became the next settled civilization
• Limited archeological excavation of the
majority of Indus sites due to the high water
table leaves much knowledge of the Indus
– Two sites have been excavated:
• Harappa
• Mohenjo-Daro
• What we have been able to determine from
these sites:
– Extensive urban planning
– Strong central authority ruled
– High level of knowledge and skills of population:
Potter’s Wheel
Vedic Age
Mahabharata Video:
• Approximately 1900 BCE the cities were
abandoned perhaps because of:
– Political, Economic, and social failures brought on
by natural disasters such as earthquake or flood
• They were replaced with smaller patriarchal villages that
relied on herds of animals and limited farming
• Around 1500 BCE nomadic warriors from the
northwest migrated to India
– These warriors were the Aryas or Aryans and their
religious texts were the Vedas, hence the reason
this age is referred to as the Vedic Age
– They were lighter skinned and spoke Indo-European
• After 1000 BCE the Aryas competed with the
darker-skinned Dasas who spoke Dravidian
– The Dasas were pushed south and VARNAS, skin
color, became the basis for making sharp social
divisions known as Castes
Brahmins • priests and scholars
• Work is supposed to be peaceful and pure
Kshatriyas • rulers, military and government officials
Vaishyas –
• farmers, landlords, artisans and merchants
Sudras • peasants, servants, and workers in non-polluting
Not mentioned in the Vedas
Slaves or dasas –
• not very many in number and acted as personal servants to
the upper classes
Dalit –
• known as the untouchables and called by some as the
Harijan or “children of God” since no one else would have
• Worked polluting jobs such as:
• Dealing with the bodies of the dead, gravediggers – animals
or humans
• Tanning leather and leather manufacturing
• Butchers or slaughterhouse workers
• Cleaning human and animal waste in places with no sewer
• Untouchable by the other castes – literally and in some
regions of India contact with the shadow of a Dalit left a
person polluted or tainted.
Rules of the Caste
• Your caste was established at birth Castes
determined occupation, marriage and
– Endogamy was practiced – this is marriage within
one’s social category
• People from different castes did not intermingle
if it could be avoided.
• Intermarriage was not permitted and working to
move up in class did not occur.
• Those that did not comply with the society rules
were severely punished, deemed as a shame
upon the whole family and in very severe
circumstances were ejected from their caste to
make their lot among the Dalit.
• Escape from this was through reincarnation in
the next life if you had built up enough good
• Because of Varnas and belief in reincarnation
the caste system became an ingrained part of
Indian society
• Founder – Mahavira “The Great
• Everything has a soul and
therefore should not be harmed
• Complete Nonviolence
• Belief in Asceticism – complete
renunciation of personal needs
and possessions
• This concept was in
competitions with the Vedic
religion and its tenants
the ideal of
and respect
for all life
by an open
palm of
• More competition for
the Vedic Religion was
• Rejected the Caste
• Founder Siddhartha
– An Indian prince who
sought enlightenment.
– Through a 49 day
meditation he achieved
understanding and
became the Buddha
Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
1. Life is filled with suffering and sorrow
2. The cause of suffering is people’s
selfish desires and the temporary
pleasures of this world
3. The way to end all suffering is to end
all desires
4. The way to overcome desires is via
the 8-fold path
The 8 Fold Path
(pre-step) Right
Association –
associate with
others on the
path to Nirvana
Right Views –
seeing the world
through 4 Noble
Concentration –
meditating as
Buddha did to
reach Nirvana
Right Resolve –
wanting to behave
correctly and justly
Right Mindfulness –
paying attention to
what you think and
Right Speech –
telling the truth,
speaking kindly
Right Effort – trying
to keep your mind
focused on the
Right Conduct –
being good
Right Livelihood –
having a job that
supports a moral
Buddhism Evolves
• Buddhism was more popular than Jainism and
gained in influence throughout Asia as it was
carried on the trade routes to the rest of Asia
• The religion did evolve as it spread and there
were two main groups of followers:
Mahayana Buddhists
• Worshipped Buddha as a god
• Revered Bodhisattvas, who
were enlightened men and
women who forsook nirvana to
help others lead a proper life
Theravada Buddhists
• Followed the original
• Prohibited the worship of a
divine Buddha or pictures of
Competition formalizes
• Due to the competition of Buddhism and Jainism,
the Vedic Religion evolves into what is known
today as Hinduism
• Hinduism still retains the caste system but the
Brahmin caste is not the only class that can have
access to interaction with the gods
• Hinduism emphasized that individuals should have
a personal relationship with one god which would
be a manifestation of the same universal force
• Adopting many aspects of Buddhism to build off
of its popularity, Hinduism was able to push
Buddhism out of its land of origin – India
– The only exception to this was the brief resurgence
during the reign of Asoka during the Mauryan Empire
Disconnected India
• The diversity, geography, and social structure of
the subcontinent made political unification rare in
its early history
• Language & customs differed across India, as did
the organization and economic nature of each
• A stronger deterrent to political unity was the
complicated social hierarchy and its promotion of
caste identification over loyalty to a centralized
political power
• In spite these factors promoting decentralization,
the Mauryan and Gupta Empires emerged and
helped create a unified civilization in India
Mauryan Empire
• In 324 BCE the Mauryan Empire rose out
of a landscape of competing kinship
groups and independent states
• ¼ of agricultural production was paid to
the king who also controlled mines, issued
coinage and oversaw a large and
powerful army
• The king also appointed relatives and
allies in each district to tend to
administrative affairs
Mauryan Contributions
and Collapse
• Mauryan King Asoka , the founder’s grandson
– After a brutal military campaign across most of
the subcontinent he was able to extend the
borders of the empire
– He converted to Buddhism and began
preaching nonviolence and tolerance
– He inscribed his moral codes in large pillars
throughout the empire
• During Mauryan reign there was road
construction and development of towns
which increased the presence in land and
sea trade networks that connected East and
Southeast Asia with the Middle East and
Europe which continued even after the
Mauryan Empire was attacked by outsiders
and fell in 184 BCE
Gupta Empire
• After about 500 years of political rivalry and upheaval,
the Gupta Empire came to power in much the same way
the Mauryan Empire had
• Gupta leaders controlled both agriculture and mining
• They required that their subjects donate labor to
construction projects
• However the Gupta Empire was not as centralized as the
Mauryan Empire
– A strong army helped the Gupta retain control – but as
distance from the center increased so too did the
autonomy of the local leaders
– Gupta kings were able to increase loyalty amongst the
more autonomous by offering them incentives for their
• The Gupta Empire collapsed in 550 CE when it was
attacked by the Huns of Central Asia
Advances under the Gupta
• Influential role in regional trade
• Interest in the arts and sciences
• Mathematicians invented the
concept of zero and developed
“Arabic” numerals that are used
in much of the world today
Role of Women
• The role of women changed as the economy of South Asia
– Increased trade created an urban middle class that valued
property and undermined women’s rights to own or inherit it
– Opportunities for influence outside of the home were limited
and women in India, like their counterparts in China under
Confucianism, were expected to obey their fathers, husbands
and sons
• In parts of India (more rural) women were expected to
commit sati
– This meant throwing herself on the funeral pyre of her husband
or else be shunned by the community (many were “helped”
onto the fire or were forced into prostitution)
• Buddhism and Jainism did provide women with some
freedom from male domination in the Hindu empire
• Upper-class women had access to education and enjoyed
more freedom than the poor
Southeast Asia
• Including Indochina, Malaysia, and the many islands
extending out into the Pacific Ocean
• Vast amounts of fertile land a climate that enables multiple
growing seasons promoted population growth and
produced plants and animals that would eventually be
exported to other regions
Wet rice
• Periodic disruptions of overland trade across Asia increased
the role and power of Southeast Asia as sea trade
• Trade routes also brought Buddhism to the area as Indian
missionaries and East Asian pilgrims passed through on their
way to and from India

ASIA: 8000 BCE – 600 CE - Hinzman's AP World History