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Compare and Contrast Religions of the Mauryan, Gupta, Roman and Han Empires

An evaluation of the impact of religion on the Mauryan, Gupta, Roman and Han Empires and how they aligned or caused disruption to their government and society.

Laura Schulz

on 12 September 2012

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Transcript of Compare and Contrast Religions of the Mauryan, Gupta, Roman and Han Empires

Women began to lose their rights and status in the Gupta Empire. They lost marital rights and were subjected to one man as early as 6 years of age. They lost the ability to own and inherit property and also didn't have administrative say. Women escaped male control and earned more freedom by entering the Jainist or Buddhist religion. Women in Society Influence Society was influenced by Brahmin Priests through cast systems, social status and class. The Gupta gave the priests large amounts of money and property in return for their service. As a result, the Brahmin Priests became very powerful and wealthy and were able to gain administrative and judicial authority. Unification of Gupta The kings of Gupta supported the Buddhist, Jain and Hindu religions. In the cities there were several Buddhist monasteries, monks and nuns. As a result, the Buddhist University was built to support the large population of religious leaders. There were several rituals and dramatic ceremonies that were used as advertisements. These were beneficial to socializing within the empire and essentially kept everyone unified and connected with each other. This made the Gupta Empire a good example of a "theater state." The Gupta Empire The Han Empire The Mauryan Empire The Roman Empire The Impact of Religion on the
Gupta, Han, Mauryan and Roman Empires
* Solidified social hierarchy
* 3 main ideals for rulers
* Benevolance towards others
* A general sense of moral action
* Whole-heartedness and loyalty in serving those of higher status
* Li (ritual) was an important concept in Confucianism and applied to family customs but also on how to act in social situations
* The spread of Confucian ideas to other scholars can be acredited to the Classical Texts, Classic of Poetry (Shijing), Classic of History (Shujing), Classic of Changes (Yijing), Record of Rites (Liji), and Chronicles of the Spring and Autumn Period (Zuozhuan) which were only partially written by Kong Qiu.
* Was sponsored by the government, and they created temples and universities to promote Confucian values.
* Cosmological Framework, writings left by Dong Zhongshu, was literature that would spread Confucian ideas to officials such as the government and head scholars. Confucian Tradition * Buddhist monks were encouraged the rejection of earthly possessions and to depend solely on the community to provide for them. Because of this, places such as Buddhist universities and temples required a large surplus of food in the surrounding community to support the institution.
* By donating to Buddhist monks and monastaries, punya, religious merit, was awarded to them for their service to the Buddhists.
* The donations were expanded to more realistic return gifts for the wealthy who could offer more, such as blessings of protection and refuge on their travels.
* The divine gifts attracted more people to the religion, which would create a more dedicated base in Chinese society who were glad to recieve the blessings of the monks.
* The Silk Road, a major trade route, opened up the spread of Buddhism from India to China and also allowed for cultural interaction as well.
* Buddhism and Taoism were very connected in Chinese religion.
* The adoption of Taoism into government quickly followed with the extension of adding Buddhism to sponsored beliefs as well.
* Chinese translations of Buddhist sutras incorporated Taoist phrases to help their understanding of complex Buddhist concepts. Buddhism and Daoism in China Sources 1) http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=mauryan_empire
2) The Earth and Its Peoples - AP Edition (Chapter 6)
4) http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/maur/hd_maur.htm http://www.mahavidya.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Relke-Nathan-The-Mauryan-Dynasty.pdf
5) http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/religion.html
6) http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/main_pop/kpct/kp_qinhan.htm
7) http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/Buddhism/Buddhism%20in%20China.htm
8) http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/exhibit/religion/buddhism/buddhism.html
9) http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/cosmos/ort/confucianism.htm Jainism
Chandragupta, the founder of the empire was known for being a Jain and leaving his throne to starve himself to death in a Jain monastery. Another emperor named Samprati was a follower of Jainism and built Jain temples throughout the country. Hinduism
Ashoka, the third ruler of the Mauryan Empire was noted for converting to Buddhism. This occurred after he won a war against the Southern empire of Kalinga and was shocked by the horrors of war. Based on Buddhism, he began ruling the empire in a more moral way. There were no soldiers in the country and Ashoka had good relations with all of the religious groups. He mostly ignored the castes. Additionally, Buddhism led him to have enormous edicts carved into caves and rocks throughout the empire. He also created enormous edicts carved into sandstone pillars as tall as 32 feet. He may have commissioned the building of thousands of stupas to house Buddhist relics and commemorate the life of Siddhartha Gautama. Hinduism
During the rule of Chandragupta, sects of Hinduism focused on specific deities sprung up, including Vaisnavism and Saivism. During this period, a work called the Arthasastra was written and told how a king should rule as well as enforcing Hinduism in the kingdom. For example, it stated that the most powerful minister in the kingdom would be a Brahmin priest.

Early Religion-
The word religion comes from the Latin word “Religio” which means “to bind”. Early Roman civilization used religion as a way to explain why things occur in the world. They would often use this to identify something that you need to pray to in order to make the current situation better. An example would be Demeter when the crops are failing. Polytheistic. Roman religion adopted lots of other culture’s deities such as Isis in Egypt. Divine right was a claim to power by Augustus. The Emperors were seen as and worshiped as Gods. Jews were often banned from and then accepted back into Rome depending on the ruler at that time.

Later Religion-
The death of Jesus created the new religion of Christianity which taught of monotheism. Romans didn’t like this because it meant that they wouldn’t worship the emperor as a God. Christians were used as an escape goat by Nero in the Great Fire of Rome in 64 A.D. Many were prosecuted and condemned to death by crucifixion or torture. This ended when Constantine rose to power in 313 A.D. and made Christianity the national religion of Rome. Religion
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