Kings, Farmers and Towns


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Kings, Farmers and Towns

  1. 1. KINGS, FARMERS AND TOWNS (c. 600 B.C.E. – 600 C.E.)
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Several developments too place in different parts of the subcontinent during the long span of 1,500 years following the end of the Harappan civilization. Also mentioned in Rigveda was composed by people living along the Indus and its tributaries. Agricultural settlements emerged in north India, the Deccan Plateau, and parts of Karnataka. Evidence of pastoral settlements has been found in the Deccan and further south. New modes of disposal of the dead, including the making of elaborate stone structures known as megaliths, emerged in central and south India from the first millennium BCE. In many cases, the dead were buried with a
  3. 3. PRINCEP AND PIYADASSI James Princep, an officer in the mint of East India Company. He deciphered Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts and helped us know about this period in 1830’s. In the scripts he found a mention of a king called “Piyadassi” meaning pleasant to behold . There is a perception that Piyadassi must have been used for King Asoka, grandson of Chandragupta Maurya.
  4. 4. THE EARLIEST STATES•The Sixteen Mahajanpadas•First Among Sixteen: Magadha
  5. 5. The Sixteen Mahajanpadas Mentioned in Buddhists and Jainist texts. included- Vajji, Magadha, Koshala, Kuru, Panchala, Gandhara and Avanti. Some mahajanpadas ware ruled by a group of kings deciding about utilization of resources in the kingdom- called sanghas/ganas. Each mahajanpada had its own capital.
  6. 6. First amongst the sixteen :MagadhaImportance of Magadha: Fertile Land- increased agriculture productivity Iron- for making tools Forest- provided elephants for cavalry River-water resources provided cheap transportation Ambitious Kings such as Ajatasattu, Bimbisara,
  7. 7. AN EARLY EMPIRE• Finding about the Mauryas• Administrating the empire• How important was the empire?
  8. 8. Finding about the MauryasSources: Literary: Indica by Megasthenes Arthashatra by Kautilya/Chanakya Archaeological: Sculptures Coins Inscriptions on pillars and rocks
  9. 9. Administrating the empire Five major political centres- Taxila, Tosali, Ujjayni, Suvaranagiri, Pataliputra (TTUSP) Megesthenes mentioned of a committee with six sub- committees for co-ordinating resources for military activities. Asoka spead the message of dhamma to hold the empire
  10. 10. How important was theempire? Two points- one in favor ; one against It is the first empire to be found in Indian history, so has a great importance. But it hardly lasted for 150 years. A debate still going among historians regarding the same.
  11. 11. NEW NOTIONS OFKINGSHIP•Chiefs and kings in South•Divine Kings
  12. 12. Chiefs and kings in South Chiefdoms of the Cholas Cheras and Pandyas emerged. Chiefs- received goods from the villagers Kings- collected taxes.
  13. 13. Divine Kings To present themselves as superior; need to be worshipped. First claimed by Kushanas in first century CE; claiming to be “devaputra” During 4th CE, Prashasti composed to praise king in Gupta period. Prayag Prashasti written by Harishena for Samudragupta in Sanskrit.
  14. 14. CHANGING COUNTRYSIDE•Popular perceptions of kings•Strategies for increasing production•Difference in rural society•Land grants and new rural elites
  15. 15. Popular Perceptions of Kings No accounts by people about their kings From oral folk tales such as “Panchatantra” and “Gandatindu Jataka” were lately written in Pali in first millennium CE. One story depicts about a wicked king collecting taxes; leading people to hide & live in forest.
  16. 16. Strategies for increasing production Another way to meet the growing demand of taxes was to increase crop production Iron-plough share was used to turn alluvial soil in areas with high rainfall. Semi arid Region i.e Punjab, Rajasthan- did not adopt this technique till 20th C. Hilly terrain practiced hoe agriculture. Irrigation through wells and tanks; canals were less
  17. 17. Differences in rural society Gahapati- term used in Pali texts meaning head or master of the household. In Tamil literature: Sangam texts- differences on the basis of resource accessibility. Vellalar – Land ownwers Uzahwar – Ploughman Adimai – Slaves
  18. 18. Land grants and new rural elites Land grant sources : Copper plates have been excavated, maybe a symbol certifying the details of the land. Prabhavati Gupta- daughter of Chandragupta II (Chandragupta Vikram Aditya)- married in Vakatakas. Legal texts suggest that women don’t have independent access to resources such as land, but evidences have been found that she has granted land. Other reasons for Land grants:• Strategy to increase agriculture area• Win allies- used to strengthen political power.• To project themselves as supermen; they are superior, have some authority.
  19. 19. TOWNS AND TRADE• New cities• Urban populations: Elites and craftsperson•Trade in the subcontinent and beyond•Coins and Kings
  20. 20. New cities Pataliputra- riverine route town Ujjayini- land route town Puhar- sea route town (near coast) Mathura- commercial, cultural and political activities centre
  21. 21. Urban Population: Elites and craftsperson Elites lived in fortified cities. Artefacts excavated include:Fine pottery bowls, dishes, Ornaments,Tools,Weapons,Ve ssels,Figurines, Emerging occupations included: Weavers, black/goldsmiths, merchants, traders, potters, carpenters. Role of guilds has also been
  22. 22. Trade in the subcontinent andbeyond. India had contact with countries on the eastern side along with Bay of Bengal as well as on the western side with North Africa, West Asia and some parts of Europe as well. Successful merchants were called masattuvan in Tamil and setthis and satthavahas in Prakrit. Wide range of goods was
  23. 23. Coins and Kings Exchange of goods took place through coinage. Punched mark coins of copper and silver. Coins had inscriptions, pictorial representations, etc. which was issued by kings. First gold coin were issued in first century CE by Kushanas ; vertically identical in weight to those issued by contemporary Roman emperors. Historians suggest of link with Roman Empire as well.
  24. 24. BACK TO BASICS:How Are Inscriptions Deciphered?•Deciphering Brahmi•How Kharosthi was read?•Historical evidence from inscriptions
  25. 25. Deciphering Brahmi Script was used in most of Ashokan inscriptions. From late Eighteen century, European scholars aided by Indian pandits worked backwards from contemporary Bengali and Devanagri manuscripts. Also assumed inscriptions to be in Sanskrit, although were in Prakrit. After several investigations
  26. 26. How Kharosthi was read? Script was used in north- west. Indo- Greek king’s coins have been found; inscribed in Greek and Kharosthi.
  27. 27. Historical evidence from inscriptions Ashoka mentioned with different names in inscriptions, such as- “devanampiya”- beloved of the gods, “piyadassi” – peasant behold. After examining, all these names refer to Ashoka.
  28. 28. THE LIMITATION OF INSCRIPTIONALEVIDENCE  Missing Letters  Unclear  Certain things not mentioned  Not properly deciphered
  29. 29. ThankYou!! Made By: Ekta Arora Shifa C. Nicholson