Bruce Morrison » People and Ideas on the Move, 2000 B.C.–250 B.C.

People and Ideas on the Move, 2000 B.C.–250 B.C.

Migrations by Indo-Europeans lead to major changes in trade and language as well as to the foundations of three religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism.


Section 1: The Indo-Europeans

Section 2: Hinduism and Buddhism

Section 3: Seafaring Traders

Section 4: The Origins of Judasim


Section 1: The Indo-Europeans

Indo-Europeans migrate into Europe, India, and Southwest Asia and interact with peoples living there.


Indo-Europeans Migrate


Characteristics of Indo-Europeans

  • Indo-Europeans—nomadic, pastoral people; tamed horses, rode chariots
  • Came from thesteppes—dry grasslands north of the Caucasus mountains

The Indo-European Language Family

  • Language ancestral to many modern languages of Europe and Asia
  • English, Spanish, Persian, Hindu trace origins to original Indo-European
  • Language groups settled in different areas


An Unexplained Migration

  • 1700-1200 B.C. Indo-Europeans migrated, moved in all directions


The Hittite Empire


The Hittite Arrival

  • Hittites—a group of Indo-European speakers
  • Take control ofAnatolia(Asia Minor) around 2000 B.C.
  • City-states join to form empire; dominate Southwest Asia for 450 years


Hittites Adopt and Adapt

  • Borrowed ideas from Mesopotamian culture; adopted Babylonian language,

Chariots and Iron Technology

  • Hittites skilled in war; spread iron technology by trade and conquest
  • Empire falls around 1190 B.C. after attacks from northern tribes


Aryans Transform India


The Aryan People

  • Aryans—Indo-European people, enter Indus River Valley around 1500 B.C.
  • Sacred writings, the Vedas, reveal much of their culture


A Caste System Develops

  • Aryans physically distinct from people of India
  • Fourcastes, or social classes, develop:

-priests (Brahmans)                 -warriors          -peasants or traders                 -laborers

  • People are born into their caste for life
  • Hundreds of subgroups arise later

Aryan Kingdoms Arise

  • Aryans extend settlements to other river valleys
  • Small kingdoms arise
  • Magadha kingdom unites all and spreads across India by 100 B.C.
  • Epic Mahabharata reflects blending of Aryan and non-Aryan culture


Section 2: Hinduism and Buddhism Develop

The beliefs of the Vedic Age develop into Hinduism and Buddhism.


Hinduism Evolves Over Centuries



  • Collection of religious beliefs that developed slowly over time
  • No one founder with a single set of ideas


Origins and Beliefs

  • 750-500 B.C. Hindu teachers createUpanishads—texts of teachings
  • Each person has atman. soul united with all others in Brahman
  • Inreincarnation, people reborn to new lives
  • A soul’s good and bad deeds, karma, determines course of new life


Hinduism Changes and Develops

  • Over last 2,500 years different forms of gods grow in importance
  • Today, Hindus choose own path tomoksha—a state of perfect understanding


Hinduism and Society

  • Hinduism strengthened the caste system


New Religions Arise

  • Jainism, a new religion, arises in 500s B.C.
  • Jains will not harm any creature
  • They work in trade, commerce; practice religious tolerance


The Buddha Seeks Enlightenment


Siddhartha Gautama

  • Founder of Buddhism; priests prophesized his greatness


Siddhartha’s Quest

  • Raised in isolation, Siddhartha Gautama wants to learn about world
  • Seeks enlightenment (wisdom), how to escape human suffering
  • Tries many methods; gains enlightenment by meditating, becomes the Buddha, the “enlightened one”


Origins and Beliefs

  • Buddha begins to teach followers
  • PreachesFour Noble Truths.- basic philosophy of Buddhism
  • Fourth Noble Truth is to follow the Eightfold Path to achievenirvana
  • Nirvana: -a perfect state of understanding, a release from selfishness and pain, a break from the chain of reincarnations, rebirths
  • Buddha rejects caste system and multiple gods of Hinduism

The Religious Community

  • Some followers devote lives to religion, become monks and nuns
  • Three bases of Buddhism: Buddha, religious community, teachings


Buddhism and Society

  • Many followers at first among poor and lower caste
  • Monks and nuns spread Buddha’s teachings
  • Teachings written to become sacred literature


Buddhism in India

  • Spreads to other parts of Asia
  • Never gains firm hold in India; Hinduism remains strong
  • Buddhist pilgrims often visit India


Trade and the Spread of Buddhism

  • Buddhism spreads by traders to:

-Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Sumatra, China, Korea, Japan


Section 3: Seafaring Traders

Trading societies extend the development of civilizations beyond the Fertile Crescent region.


Minoans Trade in the Mediterranean


The Minoan People

  • The Minoans, powerful seafaring people, live on Crete in Aegean Sea
  • Dominate trade in eastern Mediterranean from 2000 to 1400 B.C.
  • Culture influences others, especially Greeks


Unearthing a Brilliant Civilization

  • Excavations of Knossos, capital city of Minoan civilization, revealed:

-Minoans were peaceful, athletic, lovers of nature and beauty

-Women had major role, especially in religion

-Sacrificed animals, and sometimes people, to gods

  • Archaelogists name civilization Minoa afterKing Minos— legendary king who owned a minotaur


Minoan Culture’s Mysterious End

  • Earthquakes in 1700 B.C. cause damage, but Minoans rebuild
  • In 1470 B.C. major earthquakes and volcanic eruption
  • Minoans never recover from disasters
  • Invaders from Greece take Minoan lands


Phoenicians Spread Trade and Civilization


The Phoenician People

  • Phoenicians—powerful traders in wealthy city-states along Mediterranean
  • Skilled shipbuilders, seafarers; sailed around continent of Africa


Commercial Outposts Around the Mediterranean

  • Phoenicians set up colonies in western and central Mediterranean
  • Famous for red-purple dye produced from snail

Phoenicia’s Great Legacy: The Alphabet

  • Developed system of writing to record trade deals
  • Later developed into western alphabet


Ancient Trade Routes


Trade Links Peoples

  • Land routes link Mediterranean world and Asia
  • Indian traders sail to Southeast Asia and Indonesia
  • Trade helps spread culture, ideas, religion


Section 4: The Origins of Judaism

The Hebrews maintain monotheistic religious beliefs that were unique in the ancient world.


The Search for a Promised Land


Ancient Palestine

  • Palestine was region on eastern shores of Mediterranean
  • Hebrewpeople settled in Canaan, land promised to them by God

From Ur to Egypt

  • Torah, first five books of Hebrew Bible, tells early history of Hebrews
  • In Torah, God chose Abraham, a shepherd, to be father of Hebrew people
  • Abraham moves family and herds from Ur to Canaan around 1800 B.C.
  • Around 1650 B.C. Abraham’s descendants move to Egypt


The God of Abraham

  • Hebrews aremonotheists, believing in one God only,Yahweh
  • Yahweh is all powerful, not a physical being
  • A mutual promise,covenant, is made between God and Abraham
  • Abraham promises to obey God, Yahweh promises protection


Moses and the Exodus


Hebrews Migrate to Egypt

  • At first Hebrews are honored in Egyptian kingdom; later become slaves - “Let My People Go”
  • Hebrews flee Egypt between 1300 and 1200 B.C.
  • Bible tells of God’s command that Moses lead this “Exodus”


A New Covenant

  • Moses receives Ten Commandments - becomes basis of Hebrew law


The Land and People of the Bible

  • Torah tells of Hebrews wandering Sinai Desert for 40 years
  • Arrive in Canaan, form twelve tribes; judges provide leadership


Hebrew Law

  • Women and men have separate roles, responsibilities
  • Law includes strict justice softened by mercy
  • Prophets arise later to interpret the law
  • They teach people to live moral lives

The Kingdom of Israel



  • Land that Hebrews believe God promised them
  • Canaan land is harsh; Hebrews expand south and north


Saul and David Establish a Kingdom

  • Hebrews threatened by Philistines to the north
  • Only one tribe remains,Judah; Hebrew religion called Judaism
  • From 1020 to 922 B.C. Hebrews (Jews) unite; new kingdom calledIsrael
  • King Davidestablishes Jerusalem as capital


Solomon Builds the Kingdom

  • David’s sonSolomonbecomes king; makes Israel a trading empire
  • He builds a magnificent temple and royal palace in Jerusalem


The Kingdom Divides

  • High taxes and forced labor lead Jews in north to revolt
  • By 922 B.C. kingdom divides in two—Israel in north, Judah in south
  • 200 years of conflict follow


The Babylonian Captivity


A Conquered People

  • In 738 B.C. Israel and Judah paytribute(money for peace) to Assyria
  • By 722 B.C. Assyrians conquer Israel
  • In 586 B.C. Babylonians conquer Judah, destroy Solomon’s Temple
  • Many surviving Jews exiled to Babylon
  • In 539 B.C Persians conquer Babylon; 40,000 Jews return to Jerusalem
  • Temple and walls rebuilt; land later ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans