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Ancient Indian and Roman Civilizations Essay

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Caste system in India

The caste system in India can be described as a way of dividing people through socially differentiated categories such as status, religion, and tribe. Traditionally, the system had four main categories, namely ‘Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras.’ The Brahmins (priests and teachers) were highest in the ladder of social stratification, while the Sudras (laborers) comprised the lowest group. The Kshatriyas (warriors and rulers) were respected members of society in the traditional Indian setup. Lastly, the Vaisyas (farmers, merchants, and artisans) formed the backbone of the economy owing to their involvement in various economic activities.

The caste system is grounded on religion and derives its roots from the Hindu scriptures. Traditionally, religion influenced the system by asserting that classes should be determined by behavior rather than birth. Although castes were viewed as a way of differentiating people, the overriding claim is that caste groups were the very units of Hinduism. A caste was largely viewed as a self-contained religious outfit or a separate religious community distinguished from other castes by distinctive doctrine, social obligations, philosophical orientations, ritual, and culture. Consequently, it was difficult to divorce religion from the caste system.

The demise of the Roman Republic

The demise of the Roman Republic cannot be attributed to a singular factor but to a multiplicity of factors. The foremost factor revolves around the divisions that arose within the Senate as two factions (Optimates and Populares) competed for power. Another factor revolves around the social, economic, and political discord triggered by the ensuing conflict. Poverty and disenfranchisement of the masses are also cited as having contributed to the fall. Other factors include constant wars, unequal distribution of wealth, and self-interested leadership.

The growing dissent was the first indicator of a possible fall of the Republic. The dissent was followed by the Civil War and Revolt, which served to weaken the Republic further. Afterward, the conspiracy led by Lucius Catilina presented the Republic with a ludicrous threat to survival. Having experienced political defeat, Catilina fanned discontent among the Assembly and the Senate alike by renewing calls for debt absolution. The entry of Julius Caesar and other competitors into the political fray marked the end of the Republic.

Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism

The differences between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions serve to demonstrate the existence of many variants of Buddhism. Here, the differences are discussed along with with locality, canonical texts, and doctrinal tenets. In the locality, the Theravada tradition is embraced in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma, while Mahayana tradition has a strong influence in Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Mongolia. In Canonical contexts, the Mahayana tradition has a rich spiritual literature and is convinced that it projects the right religious orientation as demonstrated in the original teaching of Buddha. The Theravada tradition, on the contrary, stresses Buddhahood rather than deep spirituality.

The differences between the two traditions are many and varied. In doctrinal tenets, the adherents of Theravada tradition associate Pragga with the realization of Nirvana while Mahayanists link it to compassion. Additionally, Mahayanists take part in the deification of Buddha, while adherents of Theravada tradition attempt to maintain an atheistic perception of Buddha as a historical human figure. Both traditions also disagree on the trikaya theory or the concept of the three bodies of Buddha, whereby Mahayana tradition overemphasizes the notion while the Theravada tradition stresses that Buddha was an actual man living in this world. Overall, although the two traditions differ in these and other aspects, their adherents are bound together in spirit.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Ancient Indian and Roman Civilizations." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ancient-indian-and-roman-civilizations/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Ancient Indian and Roman Civilizations'. 23 June.

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