I. Foundations of Indian Civilization, 1500 B.C.E. - 300 C.E.
A. The Evolution of Hinduism
1. The foundation of Hinduism is the Vedic religion of the Arya peoples of modern-day northern India.
2. Gods were altered in their identities and relationships with humanity.
3. The gods, Vishnu and Shiva, became preeminent.
4. Hindus believe that whenever demonic force3s threaten the cosmic order, Vishnu appears on Earth in one of a series of avataras, or incarnations.
5. There are 330 million gods according to one tradition.
6. All the gods and spirits are seen as manifestations of a single divine force that pervades the universe.
7. Offers the worshiper a variety of ways to approach god and obtain divine favor through the special knowledge of sacred truths, mental and physical discipline, or extraordinary devotion to the deity. A common form of worship is puja, service to deity, which can take the form of bathing, clothing, or feeding the statue.
II. Imperial Expansion and Collapse, 324 B.C.E. - 550 C.E.
A. The Mauryan Empire, 324 – 184 B.C.E
1. Around 600 B.C.E., a young man from the Vaishya or Sundra class gained control of Magadha and expanded it into the Mauryan Empire, India's first centralized empire.
2. Kautilya, an elderly Brahmin, guided Chandragupta in his quests and consolidation of power. It's said that she wrote a surviving treatise on government, the Arthashastra.
3. The capital was at Patalipura, where five tributaries join the Ganges. It's surrounded by rivers and protected by a timer wall and moat.
4. The population was estimated to be around 270 thousand, and it was governed by six committees with responsibilities for manufacturing, trade, sales, taxes, the welfare of foreigners, and the registration of births and deaths.
B. Commerce and Culture in an Era of Political Fragmentation
1. The Mauryan Empire prospered for a time after Ashoka's death in 232 B.C.E. Then, the expense of maintaining a large army and administrative bureaucracy, it collapsed from the pressure of attacks in the northwest in 184 B.C.E.
2. A series of foreign powers dominated the northwest and extended their influence east and south.
3. The eastern Ganges region reverted to a patchwork of small principalities, as it had been before the Mauryan Era.
4. In the…