Both Classical China and classical India displayed similar characteristics in gender roles and family life, but the socail structures in each country differed in terms of rigidity, opportunity and organization. The caste system given the lacking ability for social mobility while China gives that opportunity. Also the merchant class in china was all the way on the bottom while in India it is the peasants who have less importance in that region. Family life was important unit for both. They both had Patriarchal system. Also women were subordinate to men They also had to worship their husbands like gods especially in India's rigid caste system. In India a lot of energy was focused on religion and the social structure. However, both civilizations shared patriarchal views and were agricultural societies. These characteristics, along with many more make these two societies unique and full of rich culture.

Classical India ESPIRIT Chart

ESPI Classical India ESPIRIT Chart
You must include main ideas and details in each category

Civili Nation/Nation/Group: India

Time Period: 4th until mid 6th century C.E._

  • In India, farmers mainly grew wheat and rice, and cotton for cloth.
  • Indian people were selling West Asian things like gold to people in China, and Chinese things like silk and pottery to people in West Asia.
  • Indian capacity in iron making outdistanced that of Europe, also in textiles.
  • Their Emphasis on trade and merchant activity was far greater of that in China.
  • Their trade with southeast Asia was very active with ivory, pottery, and dyes were a great fortune.
  • Peasant families clustered together in villages for mutual aid and protection. Most of them were farmers that had a life of producing food for their family’s survival.
  • Patriarchy said that only men could own property, women were subordinate and regarded as inferior and were often treated more as possession than as a person.
  • Village chiefs, initially drawn from the leadership of one of the Aryan tribes helped organize the village defenses and regulated property relationship among families. (Grandparents, parents, and children.)
  • Aryan social class (vernas) enforced divisions, but the Kshariyas and priestly class or Brahmins stood at the top of the pyramid, followed by the vaisyas, the traders and farmers, than the sudras the common laborers. The fifth group that gradually evolved is the untouchables who were found in few jobs such as transporting death bodies.
  • The five social groups became hereditary with marriage b/w castes divided in smaller groups called jati each having distinctive occupations and each tied to its own station.
  • Caste system and religious ceremonies encouraged promotion of faith and performance of social order.
  • The caste system gave rigid social framework and a classical India structure.
  • Slavery was on the bottom, lowest level of the caste confined to poverty and work.
  • Each person must meet the obligations of life, serving the family producing a live hood, and earning money (also serving in army when needed to.)
  • Peasants had less frequent contact with the people on the higher class putting limits on them of rising up the caste.
  • Servants were harshly treated by their masters and had few legal rights.
  • Dominance of husbands, that under law women had to worship their husbands like gods.
  • Women had few rights and were arranged marriages to spouses they never met before to promote the family’s economic well-being.
  • Head of the political power was the head of the people who owns a lot of land where peasants worked close knit with mutual cooperation.
  • Regionalism and diversity not quite solid.
  • The aristocratic kings were not the ones taking power it was the aristocratic assemblies were the one consulting and deciding on major issues.
  • There was little formal political theory and few institutions and values somewhat like the Legalism in China.
  • It was based on the caste system governing marriages, and jobs. to keep loyalty to their caste.
  • Roman trade with India started around 1 CE, during the reign of Augustus and following his conquest of Egypt, which had been India's biggest trade partner in the West.
  • Alexander the Great tried to invade India but he failed.
  • He made possible Indian contacts with the Hellenistic culture.
  • Also the Himalayas linked India to other civilizations in the Middle East leading to India's diversity.
  • Hinduism is believed to be the oldest of major religions.
  • Buddhism began in India and spread to other places in Asia.
  • Indian people were interested in some other way to get a good rebirth than through sacrifice and the priests.
  • Hinduism can encourage political and economic goals.
  • It reinforced the caste system, and was stressed on spirituality.
  • Buddhism attracted many people by divine prayers on holy places and works of charity.
  • Indian literature took many aspects and themes from the great epic poems on military adventure, Like Pocahontas, also heroic action.
  • They calculated the length of a solar year, also the circumference of the Earth.
  • Promoted high standard in medicine and hospitality, such as stressing on cleanliness and sterilization
  • Invented the concept of zero.
  • Also produced a lively art Stupas, statues honoring Buddha.
  • Irrigation was developed in the Indus Valley Civilization by around 4500 BCE.
  • The inhabitants of the Indus valley developed a system of standardization, using weights and measures, evident by the excavations made at the Indus valley sites.
  • Indian astrology and details several important aspects of the time and seasons, including lunar months, solar months, and their adjustment by a lunar leap month.
  • Metal currency was minted in India before 5th century B.C.E.

Summary for India:
India was a very prosperous nation in their economic, social and intellectual parts. Throughout the history of India religion has been an important part of the country's culture. India is the birth place of four of the world major religious traditions;namely Hinduism and, Buddhism. They had an important social structure that's known for its rigidity, the caste system which provide each class's occupation and role in the society. The highest level were the At the top of the caste system were the Brahmin – the priests, teachers, and judges. Next came the Kshatriya, the warrior caste. The Vaisya caste were the farmers and merchants, and the Sudras, were craftworkers and laborers. and on the way bottom The untouchables were the outcastes, or people beyond the caste system. A person born into one caste never changed castes or mixed with members of other castes. Caste members lived, ate, married, and worked with their own group. The economy was based on trade with the Middle east in things like rice, pottery and ivory. It had contact with many people such as the Romans and East Asia. Some of their achievemngts were Indian literature that took many aspects of great epic poems or military adventure. The calculation of the circumfernce of the Earth in Math. Also they stressed on famiy units and gender roles. Indian merchants often married into royal families in other areas. Political dominance of outside peoples was not a characteristic of Indian governments. Indian merchants played a greater society role than their Chinese counterparts. Both, however, relied on large peasant classes in agrarian settings.

Key Terms for Classical India