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Post-Mauryan art in India – 100 BC to 300 AD

By | 2017-09-14T17:16:08+00:00 September 13th, 2017|Art, India|

Relief from Saidu Sharif I, in the Swat Valley. 50 BC - 50 AD. Now in the Swat Museum, Pakistan. The Mauryan Empire collapsed about 150 BC, but India remained a rich place thanks to Silk Road trade. Indian artists kept right on carving new sculptures. Sometime around 50 BC - 50 AD, [...]

Mauryan art in India – 300 to 100 BC

By | 2017-09-14T17:17:58+00:00 September 13th, 2017|Art, India|

Buddha comes down from heaven. Butkara I, Swat Valley, Pakistan, 100s BC. (Now in Swat Museum.) The rise of Buddhism in India during the Mauryan Empire brought with it a new interest in carving the stories of the Buddha's life. And Indian artists were now seeing scenes from Greek mythology on the metopes [...]

What is steel? Ancient and medieval steel

By | 2017-09-08T09:39:35+00:00 September 8th, 2017|India, Science|

Damascus steel sword from the 1200s AD Soon after 300 BC, with the rise of the Silk Road, people were all looking for new ideas for things they could sell. Thanks to Buddhist monks, there were big universities in Mauryan India, where people came from all over Asia to study and work, and they, or someone else in India, [...]

Rustem’s death in the Shahnameh

By | 2017-07-26T09:11:44+00:00 July 26th, 2017|India, Literature|

Rustem kills the treacherous Shaghad When he was an old, old man, Rustem really did die (according to the story in the Shahnameh). Rustem died from treachery and betrayal, by his own half-brother Shaghad. One day Rustem was riding through the forest on his horse Rakhsh, when suddenly they fell into a pit. Shaghad had dug [...]

Ghaznavid Dynasty – Medieval Islam

By | 2017-07-23T23:47:02+00:00 July 23rd, 2017|History, India, Islam, West Asia|

A minaret in Ghazni (Afghanistan), from about 1000 AD Beginning in the 850s AD, the Abbasid caliphs of the Islamic Empire were looking for soldiers they would be able to trust, who were not other Arabs who would be trying to get into power. The Abbasids thought that the Turks would be trustworthy soldiers. So they captured a [...]

History of Indian medicine

By | 2017-10-17T13:22:45+00:00 July 22nd, 2017|India, Science|

Atharva Veda manuscript: an Indian medical book Medicine got an early start in India. Even in the Stone Age, about 5000 BC, dentists at Mehrgahr were drilling people's teeth. They tried to fix people's cavities. That's in the Indus River Valley (now in Pakistan). About 1000 BC, doctors in northern India wrote the Atharva veda, a medical textbook explaining how to [...]

Invention of Zero – Indian Mathematics

By | 2017-07-22T06:32:34+00:00 July 22nd, 2017|India, Math|

Counting tokens from Mehrgarh in Late Stone Age India The first known use of numbers in India was in the late Stone Age, about 4000 BC. Around this time, people at Mehrgarh began using the counting tokens that people were already using in West Asia. Soon afterwards, people changed over to writing their numbers down, using pictographs. The Harappans in [...]

Ships and sailing in ancient India

By | 2017-07-22T06:20:41+00:00 July 22nd, 2017|India, Science|

Indus River boat (ca. 2500 BC) The first people to come to India from Africa, about 50,000 BC, may have come in boats, following schools of fish along the coasts around the Arabian Peninsula. Certainly people in India were using not only boats but sails in the Stone Age, by 3000 BC. These early boats may have been made out [...]

Science and Math in ancient India

By | 2017-07-22T06:17:16+00:00 July 22nd, 2017|India, Science|

Mohenjo Daro (ca. 2000 BC) From the time of the Harappans to the time of the Islamic conquests, Indian scientists and mathematicians were leaders. They especially stood out in mathematics and engineering. The Harappans in 2500 BC had a sewage system at their city of Mohenjo-Daro, and carefully laid out, straight streets. So even though we can't read their writing, we know that [...]

Sundial project – How to make a sundial

By | 2017-10-14T16:39:16+00:00 July 21st, 2017|How, India, Science|

Making a sundial in your yard You'll need to do this project on a sunny day. Get a wooden stick, about a meter long, and put it in a place that will be sunny all day, like a south-facing windowsill or the middle of your yard. At the midpoint of the wooden stick, [...]