Social Hierarchy in India and Greece

Since Mesopotamian times, social hierarchy has influenced the role of individuals in society. In different civilizations throughout history, social groups were used to create a division of labor with hopes of increasing productivity. In Ancient India, the community was divided using a social caste system. This social caste system was very rigid and provided little room for movement. In Ancient Greece, however, a less rigid class system was used to divide the community. In both systems, position was determined by who your parents were; however, the class system did allow some upward mobility. Although they were from different time periods and geographic locations, the social structures of Ancient India and Ancient Greece were similar because they established a system of ranking people.

The earliest mention of the Indian caste system is found in the Vedic hymns, which are believed to be from around 6000 B.C.E.  In Ancient India, people were divided into four groups, or varnas: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and the Sudras.[1] The highest caste in the Indian society was the Brahmins, who were teachers and priests. After the Brahmins came the Kshatriyas, they were the warriors and rulers in Ancient India. While the Brahmins were technically the highest group in the hierarchy, the Kshatriyas were closer in status to the Brahmins than the Vaisyas. The Vaisyas, who were the middle class, were skilled traders, merchants, and farmers. Next in the hierarchy came  the Sudras, who were the unskilled workers. They were mostly laborers and craft workers. The formation of these groups was considered decreed by Brahma, the Creator of the universe. The civilization of Ancient India believed that if one did his duty (dharma) within the caste he was born in, he would be rewarded in subsequent lives by moving to a higher caste. These beliefs led the Indians to accept their role in society without questioning or wanting to change it. [2]  Later  as time went on, a fifth group emerged who were referred to as the Untouchables, or the Outcasts. These individuals usually were responsible for jobs others didn’t want to do; they were the closest to slaves.[3]

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Lucy: Our Oldest Ancestor

"Lucy" Exhibit To Open In Houston Amid ProtestsWhat makes us human? This is a difficult question and has no correct answer. But, by studying events that happened in the past we can find answers. People like Lucy help us discover the answer to this complex question. Lucy is not a human of the 21st century. So, by now you’re wondering, who is Lucy? Lucy is the world’s most famous early human ancestor being 3.2 million years old.

Lucy was a young adult when she died. We were able to tell this from the third molars which are slightly worn. Lucy was found by Donald Johanson and Tom Gray on November 24th, 1974. They couldn’t find any fossils after a long hot day in Ethiopia so they decided to call it a day. While walking back to his vehicle, Johanson saw a bone sticking out of the sand and quickly identified it as a human bone. It was here that the team found Lucy.

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King Tut

urlTutankhamen was born in 1341 B.C.E, during the reign of Akhenaten, his probable father, and died c. 1323 B.C. At birth, he was given the name Tutankhaten (the Living Image of Aten). King Tut arrived at the throne with he was nine years old. There is not much information about King Tut’s early life because he died so suddenly. From the information on the walls of Tut’s tomb, we can tell that was forced to take over when his father died.

King Tut’s job as a pharaoh was to make laws and collect taxes. He was also considered the form of Horous, the god of the sky. The pharaoh always carried the crook and flail. The crook looked like a stick with a hook on the end, and the flail looked, somewhat, like a whip. The pharaoh also wore a uraeus which was a symbol of the goddess Wadjet, and was shown as a cobra. Tut’s father Akhenaten only wanted to worship one god. He wanted to break tradition. When he died Tut brought back the tradition of worshipping all gods.

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Nile River Valley Civilization

Nile River ValleyThe Nile River is the longest river in the world; however, it is not the length that makes it important to the region. The name Nile comes from the Greek word “neilos” which means valley. The Nile River played an important part of the civilization in the African-Egypt region. The Nile River was vital to the area of Egypt.  The river was used to transfer goods from one place to another. The river was also used for food: fishing, farming and hippo hunting are examples of this. But, out of these examples, farming was the most important to the Egyptians. Every year between June to September the river floods, and when the water recedes it creates a layer of “mineral-rich” soil called silt which allowed the Egyptians to farm.  The flooding occurred because of the melting snow and heavy summer rain in the Ethiopian Mountains.

The Egyptian farmers could not farm year round due to the land getting flooded; thus, during that period of time they would have to find another job.  They traded in their farming skills to help build the pyramids.  The pyramids were burial tombs for the pharaohs, or leaders, of Egypt and since such importance was placed on them it was essential to them to have workers.

The people of the Nile River Valley buried their people to the west of the Nile River because they believed that the “Goddess of the West”, Amentet, would receive the dead in the afterlife. The pharaoh would also be buried near the river so the river god, Hapi, could protect them.The pharaohs, because they were believed to be close to God, were the only ones buried in pyramids. It was a general belief that if the pharaohs were unhappy the Nile would not rise and there would not be a good farming season.

The Nile River Valley community consisted of a pharaoh, nobles, scribes, and villagers. Scribes were responsible for writing down the life and culture of the Egypt. The Egyptians believed that it was important for them to write down their culture and beliefs. Nobles were the wealthy Egyptians that lived in more comfortable places then the villagers. The villagers were the workers of the group. They farmed and built tombs. The pharaoh was the leader of the group. They were the ones who gave made orders and told people what to do.

The Nile River is a big part of Egypt’s past life. If the Nile River didn’t exist the people of the region would not have stayed. With rainfall being pretty much non-existent, the floods from the river were the only reason the people were able to sustain crops. Without the Nile River, Egypt would have been an endless desert. The Nile River gave the region a reason to grow and flourish. It allowed the Egyptians an opportunity to create a civilization that we look to even today.

 

 

Bibliography

Ferris, Julie, Sue Nicholson, Jonathan Stroud, and Sally Tagholm. Everyday Life in the Ancient World. New York: Kingfisher Publications, 2002. Print.

Hindley, Judy, Tony Allen, Anne Civardi, James Graham-Campbell, Heather Amery, and Patricia Vanags. The Usborne Time Traveler. Tulsa, OK: EDC Pub., 1998. Print.

Browder, Anthony T. Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization. Washington, D.C.: Institure of Karmic Guidance, 2009. Print.

Egyptian Civilization Power Point