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The Mauryan and Gupta empires 321 B.C.E.-550 C.E.

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Presentation on theme: "The Mauryan and Gupta empires 321 B.C.E.-550 C.E."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The Mauryan and Gupta empires 321 B.C.E.-550 C.E.

3 India Before the Mauryan Dynasty 520 BCE Persian Emperor Darius conquers north-west India520 BCE Persian Emperor Darius conquers north-west India Introduces Persian ruling patternIntroduces Persian ruling pattern 327 Alexander of Macedon destroys Persian Empire in India327 Alexander of Macedon destroys Persian Empire in India Troops mutiny, departs after 2 yearsTroops mutiny, departs after 2 years –Political power vacuum

4 Kingdom of Magadha Most significant remaining kingdom after Alexander ’ s departureMost significant remaining kingdom after Alexander ’ s departure Central Ganges plainCentral Ganges plain Economic strengthEconomic strength –Agriculture –Trade in Ganges valley, Bay of Bengal Dominated surrounding regions in north- eastern IndiaDominated surrounding regions in north- eastern India

5 Chandragupta Maurya Took advantage of power vacuum left by AlexanderTook advantage of power vacuum left by Alexander Overthrew Magadha rulersOverthrew Magadha rulers Founder of Maurya Empire - creates 1 st unified Indian empireFounder of Maurya Empire - creates 1 st unified Indian empire

6 The Maurya Empire 321 BCE – 185 BCE

7 Chandragupta: 321 BCE-298 BCE  Founder of Mauryan Empire  Unified northern India.  Defeated the Persian general Seleucus.  Divided his empire into provinces, then districts for tax assessments and law enforcement.  He feared assassination  food tasters, slept in different rooms, etc.  301 BCE  gave up his throne & became a Jain.

8 Kautilya (or Chanakya)  Chandragupta ’ s advisor.  Brahmin caste.  Wrote The Treatise on Material Gain or the Arthashastra (advice manual).  A guide for the king and his ministers:  Supports royal power.  The great evil in society is anarchy.  Therefore, a single authority is needed to employ force when necessary!

9 Chandragupta’s Government Like Persia & China, built a bureaucratic administrative system.Like Persia & China, built a bureaucratic administrative system. Domestic policiesDomestic policies –Network of spies Legend: Chandragupta retires to become a monk, starves himself to deathLegend: Chandragupta retires to become a monk, starves himself to death

10 Ashoka (304 – 232 BCE) Grandson of ChandraguptaGrandson of Chandragupta Represents high point of Mauryan Empire, r BCERepresents high point of Mauryan Empire, r BCE Expanded empire to include all of Indian subcontinent except for southExpanded empire to include all of Indian subcontinent except for south Positive leadership integrated Indian societyPositive leadership integrated Indian society Est. PataliputraEst. Pataliputra Better known as a governor than conquerorBetter known as a governor than conqueror

11 AshokaAshoka  Religious conversion after the gruesome battle of Kalinga in 262 BCE.  Dedicated his life to Buddhism.  Built extensive roads.  Conflict  how to balance Kautilya ’ s methods of keeping power and Buddha ’ s demands to become a selfless person?

12 Ashoka’s law code  Wrote law code on rocks or pillars (Stupas)  Edicts scattered in more than 30 places in India, Nepal, Pakistan, & Afghanistan.  Written mostly in Sanskrit, but one was in Greek and Aramaic.  10 rock edicts.  Buddhist principles dominate his laws.

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14 Women Under an Asoka tree

15 Decline of the Mauryan Empire Economic crisis follows death of AshokaEconomic crisis follows death of Ashoka High costs of bureaucracy, military not supported by tax revenueHigh costs of bureaucracy, military not supported by tax revenue Frequent devaluations of currency to pay salariesFrequent devaluations of currency to pay salaries Regions begin to abandon Mauryan EmpireRegions begin to abandon Mauryan Empire –Disappears by 185 BCE

16 Regional Kingdom: Bactria Northwestern IndiaNorthwestern India Ruled by Greek-speaking descendants of Alexander ’ s campaignsRuled by Greek-speaking descendants of Alexander ’ s campaigns Intense cultural activity accompanies active tradeIntense cultural activity accompanies active trade

17 Turmoil & a Power Vacuum: 220 BCE – 320 CE Tamils The Maurya Empire is divided into many kingdoms.

18 Regional Kingdom: Kush Nomads of Central AsiaNomads of Central Asia Ruled C CERuled C CE Maintained silk road trade networkMaintained silk road trade network High point under the rule of Kashika, empire expands thruout So. Asia.High point under the rule of Kashika, empire expands thruout So. Asia.

19 The Gupta Dynasty Based in MagadhaBased in Magadha Founded by Chandra Gupta (no relation to Chandragupta Maurya), c. 320 CEFounded by Chandra Gupta (no relation to Chandragupta Maurya), c. 320 CE Slightly smaller than Mauryan EmpireSlightly smaller than Mauryan Empire Highly decentralized leadershipHighly decentralized leadership Foundations for studies in natural sciences and mathematicsFoundations for studies in natural sciences and mathematics

20 Gupta Empire: 320 CE – 647 CE

21 Gupta Rulers  Chandra Gupta I  r. 320 – 335 CE  “ Great King of Kings ”  Chandra Gupta II  r CE  Profitable trade with the Mediterranean world!  Hindu revival.  Huns invade – 450 CE

22 Fa-Hsien: Life in Gupta India  Chinese Buddhist monk traveled along the Silk Road and visited India in the 5c.  He was following the path of the Buddha.  He reported the people to be happy, relatively free of government oppression, and inclined towards courtesy and charity. Other references in the journal, however, indicate that the caste system was rapidly assuming its basic features, including "untouchability," the social isolation of a lowest class that is doomed to menial labor.

23 International Trade Routes during the Guptas

24 Extensive Trade: 4c Extensive Trade: 4c spices spices gold & ivory rice & wheat horses cotton goods silks

25 Gupta Art Greatly influenced Southeast Asian art & architecture.

26 KalidasaKalidasa  The greatest of Indian poets.  His most famous play was Shakuntala.  During the reign of Chandra Gupta II.

27 Medicine Literature Mathematics Astronomy Printed medicinal guides 1000 diseases classified Plastic Surgery C-sections performed Inoculations 500 healing plants identified Decimal System Concept of Zero PI = Kalidasa Solar Calendar The earth is round Gupta India Gupta Achievements

28 Gupta Decline Frequent invasions of White Huns, 5 th c. CEFrequent invasions of White Huns, 5 th c. CE Gupta Dynasty disintegrates along regional fault linesGupta Dynasty disintegrates along regional fault lines Smaller local kingdoms dominate until Mughal Empire founded in 16 th c.Smaller local kingdoms dominate until Mughal Empire founded in 16 th c.

29 Economy: Towns and Manufacturing Manufactured goods in big demandManufactured goods in big demand Developed in dense network of small workshopsDeveloped in dense network of small workshops Trade intense, capitalizes on trade routes across IndiaTrade intense, capitalizes on trade routes across India

30 Long-Distance Trade Persian connection since Cyrus, DariusPersian connection since Cyrus, Darius Massive road-building projects under Persian ruleMassive road-building projects under Persian rule Alexander extends trade west to MacedonAlexander extends trade west to Macedon Trade routes through Kush mountains, the silk roadsTrade routes through Kush mountains, the silk roads

31 Trade in the Indian Ocean Basin Seasonal sea trade expandsSeasonal sea trade expands –Spring/winter winds blow from south-west, fall/winter winds blow from north-west Trade from Asia to Persian Gulf and Red Sea, MediterraneanTrade from Asia to Persian Gulf and Red Sea, Mediterranean

32 Society: Gender Relations Patriarchy entrenchedPatriarchy entrenched Child marriage common (8 year old girls married to men in 20s)Child marriage common (8 year old girls married to men in 20s) Women encouraged to remain in private sphereWomen encouraged to remain in private sphere Mahabharata & Ramayana portrayed women as weak-willed and overly emotionalMahabharata & Ramayana portrayed women as weak-willed and overly emotional

33 Social Order Caste system from Aryan timesCaste system from Aryan times –Brahmins (priests) –Kshatriyas (warriors, aristocrats) –Vaishyas (Peasants, merchants) –Shudras (serfs)

34 Castes and Guilds Increasing economic diversification challenges simplistic caste systemIncreasing economic diversification challenges simplistic caste system Jatis formed: guilds that acted as sub- castesJatis formed: guilds that acted as sub- castes Enforced social orderEnforced social order –“ outcastes ” forced into low-status employment

35 Wealth and the Social Order Upward social mobility possible for Vaishyas, ShudrasUpward social mobility possible for Vaishyas, Shudras Wealth challenges varna for status as lower castes often accumulated more wealth than their brahmin & kshatriya contemporariesWealth challenges varna for status as lower castes often accumulated more wealth than their brahmin & kshatriya contemporaries

36 Religions of Salvation in Classical India Social change generated resentment of caste privilegeSocial change generated resentment of caste privilege –e.g. Brahmins free from taxation 6 th -5 th c. BCE new religions and philosophies challenge status quo6 th -5 th c. BCE new religions and philosophies challenge status quo Charvakas: atheists whose beliefs reflected the increasingly materialistic character of Indian society and economyCharvakas: atheists whose beliefs reflected the increasingly materialistic character of Indian society and economy

37 Jainism Vardhamana Mahavira, BCEVardhamana Mahavira, BCE Abandoned privileged family to lead ascetic lifeAbandoned privileged family to lead ascetic life Promotes 7 th c. movement based on UpanishadsPromotes 7 th c. movement based on Upanishads Emphasis on selfless living, concern for all beingsEmphasis on selfless living, concern for all beings

38 Ahimsa Principle of extreme non-violencePrinciple of extreme non-violence Jainists sweep earth, strain water, use slow movements to avoid killing insectsJainists sweep earth, strain water, use slow movements to avoid killing insects Ahimsa continues to inspire modern movements (Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr.)Ahimsa continues to inspire modern movements (Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr.)

39 Appeal of Jainism Rejected caste, jati distinctionsRejected caste, jati distinctions Obvious appeal to underprivileged groupsObvious appeal to underprivileged groups But asceticism too extreme to become a mass movementBut asceticism too extreme to become a mass movement 2 million Jainist Indians today2 million Jainist Indians today

40 Early Buddhism Siddhartha Gautama, c BCESiddhartha Gautama, c BCE Encountered age, sickness, death, then monastic lifeEncountered age, sickness, death, then monastic life Abandoned comfortable life to become a monkAbandoned comfortable life to become a monk

41 Gautama’s Search for Enlightenment Intense meditation, extreme asceticismIntense meditation, extreme asceticism 49 days of meditation under bo tree to finally achieve enlightenment49 days of meditation under bo tree to finally achieve enlightenment Attained title Buddha: “ the enlightened one ”Attained title Buddha: “ the enlightened one ”

42 The Buddha and his Followers Begins teaching new doctrine c. 528 BCEBegins teaching new doctrine c. 528 BCE Followers owned only robes, food bowlsFollowers owned only robes, food bowls Life of wandering, begging, meditationLife of wandering, begging, meditation Establishment of monastic communitiesEstablishment of monastic communities

43 Buddha and his Disciples

44 Buddhist Doctrine: The Dharma The Four Noble TruthsThe Four Noble Truths –all life is suffering –there is an end to suffering –removing desire removes suffering –this may be done through the eight-fold path –(right views, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, concentration)

45 The Eightfold Path Right viewsRight views Right intentionRight intention Right speechRight speech Right conductRight conduct Right livelihoodRight livelihood Right effortRight effort Right mindfulnessRight mindfulness Right meditationRight meditation

46 Appeal of Buddhism Less dependence on Brahmins for ritual activitiesLess dependence on Brahmins for ritual activities No recognition of caste, jati statusNo recognition of caste, jati status Philosophy of moderate consumptionPhilosophy of moderate consumption Public service through lay teachingPublic service through lay teaching Use of vernacular, not SanskritUse of vernacular, not Sanskrit Monasteries became important institutions in Indian society.Monasteries became important institutions in Indian society.

47 A Buddhist Monastery

48 Stupas A stupa (from Sanskrit literally meaning "heap") is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of a Buddha or saint.A stupa (from Sanskrit literally meaning "heap") is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of a Buddha or saint.

49 Ashoka’s Support of Buddhism Personal conversion to BuddhismPersonal conversion to Buddhism Saddened after violent war with KalingaSaddened after violent war with Kalinga Banned animal sacrifices, mandated vegetarianism in courtBanned animal sacrifices, mandated vegetarianism in court Material support for Buddhist institutions, missionary activitiesMaterial support for Buddhist institutions, missionary activities

50 Changes in Buddhist thought 3 rd c. BCE – 1 st c. CE3 rd c. BCE – 1 st c. CE –Buddha considered divine –Institution of Boddhisatvas ( “ saints ” ) –Charitable donations to monasteries regarded as pious activity

51 Spread of Mahayana Buddhism Mahayana ( “ greater vehicle ” ), newer developmentMahayana ( “ greater vehicle ” ), newer development –India, China, Japan, Korea, central Asia Hinayana ( “ lesser vehicle, ” also Theravada), earlier versionHinayana ( “ lesser vehicle, ” also Theravada), earlier version –Ceylon, Burma, Thailand

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53 Nalanda Buddhist MonasteryBuddhist Monastery Quasi-university: Buddhism, Hindu texts, philosophy, astronomy, medicineQuasi-university: Buddhism, Hindu texts, philosophy, astronomy, medicine Peak at end of Gupta dynastyPeak at end of Gupta dynasty Helped spread Indian thoughtHelped spread Indian thought –e.g. mathematical number zero

54 Emergence of Popular Hinduism Composition of epics from older oral traditionsComposition of epics from older oral traditions –Mahabharata –Ramayana Promotes Rama and Sita as the ideal Hindu couple, devoted to each other though hardshipPromotes Rama and Sita as the ideal Hindu couple, devoted to each other though hardship Emphasis on god Vishnu and his incarnationsEmphasis on god Vishnu and his incarnations

55 The Bhagavad Gita “ Song of the Lord ”“ Song of the Lord ” Centuries of revisions, final form c. 400 CECenturies of revisions, final form c. 400 CE Dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna during civil warDialogue between Arjuna and Krishna during civil war

56 Hindu Ethics Emphasis on meeting class obligations (dharma)Emphasis on meeting class obligations (dharma) Pursuit of economic well-being and honesty (artha)Pursuit of economic well-being and honesty (artha) Enjoyment of social, physical and sexual pleasure (kama)Enjoyment of social, physical and sexual pleasure (kama) Salvation of the soul (moksha)Salvation of the soul (moksha)

57 Popularity of Hinduism Gradually replaced Buddhism in IndiaGradually replaced Buddhism in India Gupta dynastic leaders extend considerable supportGupta dynastic leaders extend considerable support


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