By Rebecca Rowell
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Additional resources for Ancient India
Their housing reflected their nomadic lifestyle and were basic buildings constructed of mud. indd 50 10/21/14 2:17 PM WAY OF LIFE The remains of the houses and other evidence from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro suggest the Indus people in those cities lived relatively comfortably. In addition to having thoughtfully planned cities and homes, they seemed to have lived in a society of equality. Archaeologists have not found grand palaces or fancy temples—structures that might suggest a class of ruling elite.
DANCE Like other forms of expression, dance often related closely to religion. Dance in ancient India dates back at least 4,500 years. Artwork and Vedic literature, including the Mahabharata, mentions dance. Ancient Indian dance was a form of worship. indd 62 10/21/14 2:18 PM courage, disgust, fear, happiness, serenity, sorrow, and wonder. India’s classical dance styles have existed for more than 2,000 years. One of the oldest is the Bharatanatyam, which remains a popular dance. The dance is described in the Natya Shastra, “Treatise of Dance,” which was written between 100 BCE and 300 CE.
Indd 32 10/21/14 2:17 PM Several small republics stood alongside the mahajanapadas. Kings ruled the republics, but their governments also had elements of democracy, including executive, judicial, and legislative branches. As supreme leader, the king had final say in the decisions of all branches. He also appointed the officials who held positions in the kingdom’s administration. THE MAURYAN PERIOD A major shift in government highlighted the period following the Vedic era. In 321 BCE, when Chandragupta Maurya united India’s many kingdoms into an empire spanning nearly the entire subcontinent, he also created a central government.