DSMA04 History of India in Antiquity

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2019
Extent and Intensity
2/2/0. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Mgr. Zuzana Špicová (lecturer), Mgr. et Mgr. Markéta Melounová, Ph.D. (deputy)
doc. PhDr. Jarmila Bednaříková, CSc. (alternate examiner)
Guaranteed by
doc. PhDr. Jarmila Bednaříková, CSc.
Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Jitka Erlebachová
Supplier department: Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
each odd Friday 10:00–13:40 J22
Prerequisites (in Czech)
!( OBOR ( DST ) && TYP_STUDIA ( B ))
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is offered to students of any study field.
The capacity limit for the course is 60 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 7/60, only registered: 0/60, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/60
Course objectives
The course offers an overview of ancient Indian history for students of non-Indology majors. The respective expositions of classes mostly follow the chronological line of political history and its significant periods, however, the development of culture and religion in ancient India is also presented.
Learning outcomes
The student
- will be able to compare the development of India in Antiquity with the development of other ancient states and empires in other regions
- he/she will be capable of evaluating the merits of Indian civilization in the field of thinking, literature, science and religion
  • 1. Historiography of ancient India; the Aryan migration and characteristics of the Vedic period.
  • 2. The riddle of the term “Hinduism”; the Vedic religion – mythology and ritual in the world of the Aryans.
  • 3. Early states – mahajanapadas, the age of Buddha.
  • 4. The thrive of religious heterodoxy, the crucial concepts of Upanishads – karman, samsara, atman.
  • 5. The birth and development of Buddhism and Jainism.
  • 6. The expedition of Alexander the Great, ancient Greece discovers India, later development of mutual relations.
  • 7. The first Indian empire under the Mauryas, emperor Ashoka and the idea of Indian secularism.
  • 8. Two great Hindu Epics – Mahabharata and Ramayana, their significance for later development.
  • 9. The turn of the era – arrival of new ethnic groups (Sakas, Parthians, Kushanas) and birth of new states (Satavahanas, Kalinga, Western Kshatrapas).
  • 10. Sanskrit – its significance for Indian culture and civilization; classical literature of ancient India.
  • 11. Development of politics, culture and society under the Guptas – “Golden Age” of Indian civilization.
  • 12. Religious turn to theism – victory of bhakti, Puranic Hinduism and the world of its mythology.
    required literature
  • ZBAVITEL, Dušan. Starověká Indie. 1. vyd. Praha: Panorama, 1985. 292 s. info
  • STRNAD, Jaroslav. Dějiny Indie. Vyd. 1., dopl. [i.e. 2. vyd. Praha: NLN, Nakladatelství Lidové noviny, 2008. 1187 s. ISBN 9788071066309. info
  • ZBAVITEL, Dušan and Jaroslav VACEK. Průvodce dějinami staroindické literatury. Vydání první. Třebíč: Arca JiMfa, 1996. 537 stran. ISBN 8085766345. info
    recommended literature
  • BASHAM, A.L., The Wonder that was India. Lightning Source Incorporated, New York 1959.
  • THAPAR, R., The Penguin History of Early India. Penguin Books, New Delhi 2001.
  • FILIPSKÝ, Jan and Jaroslav VACEK. Ašóka. Praha: Svoboda, 1970. info
  • KNIPE, David M. Hinduismus : experimenty s posvátnem. Vyd. 1. Praha: Prostor, 1997. 228 s. ISBN 8085190575. info
  • ZBAVITEL, Dušan. Bohové s lotosovýma očima : hinduistické mýty v indické kultuře tří tisíciletí. Praha: Vyšehrad, 1986. info
  • HALBFASS, W., India and Europe, An Essay in Philosophical Understanding. State University of New York Press, Albany 1988, kap. 1.
Teaching methods
Assessment methods
written test
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught once in two years.

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