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Indian Empires and the Steppe People
Transcript of Indian Empires and the Steppe People
Tribal republics were more common in the
Punjab & Himalayan foothills
King Bimbisara was the first king to build a centralized state strong enough for imperial expansion.
It was called the Magadha kingdom
Legend says he offered this kingdom to the Buddha
Magadha kingdom replaced by Nandas in the mid-4th c.
Started by Chandragupta Maurya (r. 321-297 BC)
Established first true Indian Empire
Gained land through absence of Alexander the Great & treaty with Seleucus.
The Nandas fell to the Mauryan Clan This started the 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 for his life, so he had food tasters, slept in different rooms, etc.
301 BCE gave up his throne & became a Jain. Chadragupta's son, Bindusara (r. 297 - 272 BC)
Conquered much of southern India (The Deccan region)
Also retained substantial contact with the Seleucid Greeks.
Practiced Ascetic Ajivika faith Pillars of the Edicts of Ashoka
Edicts scattered in more than 30 places in India, Nepal, Pakistan, & Afghanistan.
Written mostly in Sanskrit, but one was in Greek and Aramaic.
Each pillar [stupa] is 40’-50’ high.
Buddhist principles dominate his laws. Ashoka (Asoka) (r. 272-232 BC)
Religious conversion after the gruesome battle of Kalinga in 262 BCE.
Dedicated his life to Buddhism.
Built extensive roads. Ashoka sent people to spread the word of Buddhism to the North, South, East and West. Through Ashoka's efforts, Buddhism spread, eventually being adopted, but altered, in China. Inhospitable region (cold winds, little rain)
Nomadic horse people
Trained horses through fear
Traded horses since the Assyrians Note the influence of Hellenistic artistic realism. Cultural Legacy:
Language & Lit - Sanskrit
Modern Hinduism emerged in this era
Ascetic & Lay Devotion Thrived
Post-Mauryan art inspired by Buddhism Scythians were ferocious warriors, but also had a vibrant culture.
8th c. BC - 2nd c. AD Parthians were the true successors of the Achaemenid Dynasty.
They settled in Parthia in the early 3rd c. BC and begin to show as a strong independent kingdom in 247 BC Mithridates I (171 - 138 BC)
Became a force equal to the Romans
Constant pressure from all fronts seems to have weakened them.
Biased sources. Chandragupta’s advisor (Kautilya).
Attributed with writing "The Treatise on Material Gain" or the "Arthashastra".
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!