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The Fall of the Gupta Empire
Transcript of The Fall of the Gupta Empire
What common features can you identify in other classical civilizations such as Rome, Han or Persia?
They all were attacked by different nomadic groups. They all overgrew their empires. They all had tax issues and broke up politically
What relationships between internal and external causes do you see?
Hunas and Hephthalites Invasion on Gupta Empire (External Factor)
What is left of your civilization at the end of the fall? Were there any strengths still present?
What role did belief systems play in the aftermath of the "fall" of your civilization? Why?
Huns destroyed Gupta trade routes with Rome
By Rameen Rana, Nathan Han, Nuala Conway-Pearson, Danes Matthew, Eliot Usherenko, Flora Lepeska-True, Anneli Merivaara
In what ways did your empire differ from classical civilizations such as Rome, Han or Persia?
What accounts for these differences?
Succession of weak rulers and civil strife lead to political problems (Internal Factors)
The internal and external causes were interrelated.
While foreign invasions did not completely topple the Gupta empire, they did succeed in draining the Gupta treasury of defense International Trade Shut down
What lessons for the present day does you empire hold?
The Tamil people people of the South continued their independent existence until the Harsha empire.
North India was again divided into small regional states
What area of land does the civilization cover at the end of it's fall?
Still Northern India
What economic systems are left? What is the state of trade and trade routes left in your civilization?
The Silk Road was affected because they no longer had the goods the Gupta Empire provided
What is the lasting legacy of your civilization to the world?
Art and essays like the Kamasutra left a lasting impact
Buddhism stayed in India while Hinduism spread
1.The internal and external causes of the fall of the Gupta Empire were related. The main external factor was invasion and instability caused by nomad groups like the Hunas and the Hephthalites (White Huns) from Central Asia. This resulted in a severe drain on the economy and a massive loss of territory and imperial authority. The main internal factor was civil strife caused by the gradual long-term corruption endemic to all the other classical empires, a succession of weak rulers, political infighting, economic hardship, and internal competition/rebellion between individual feudatories such as Malwa and Vakatakas. The internal and external causes were interrelated: for example while foreign invasions did not fully topple the Gupta empire, they did succeed in draining the Gupta treasury of defense spending and shutting down international trade. The political infighting, corruption, and weakness of internal rulers resulted in the inability of the government to deal with the invasions. This caused an internal economic crisis resulting in internal rebellions. It was a vicious cycle/feedback loop.
2.Once again, just like before the Gupta empire was established (c.f. fall of Mauryan Empire), North India was divided into small regional kingdoms. Gupta descendants ruled one of the small former feudal states (cf dark ages). The Tamil people of the south continued their independent existence until Harsha Empire
3.Still Northern India.
4.The Gupta empire was forced to pay tribute to their conquerors, Hunas, when they were reduced down to a small kingdom. Their money was devalued as the economy was suffering. The Hunas destroyed the trade relationship that the Gupta had with the Roman Empire. Many ports and markets were also destroyed, thus the economy suffered even more. The trading that Gupta did was through the “Indian Ocean, but was failing due to a lack of exports, because many of the provinces which declared their independence had made their trading goods and was no longer going to do so. The Silk Road was a major trade route, as well as the Indian Ocean (Bay of Bengal), Ganges River, Indus River, Africa, and Arabian Sea. They were affected by the decline of the Gupta empire because they no longer had the resources/goods available to them the Gupta empire provided like spices, precious stone, copper, horses, wood, cotton, and clothing. The Gupta empire were middlemen in the silk trade, and once they were conquered it affected everyone.
5.Gupta believed that the arts were very important. Many pieces of art and ideas of art remain from this empire. Literature also remains from this time, including essays on subjects including math, medicine, and astronomy. The most famous essay from the Gupta Empire is the Kamasutra which gives us a glimpse of what the Hindu beliefs of marriage were at the time. The culture also remained even to this day.
6.To start off, Gupta had two religion, Hinduism and Buddhism. Hinduism was considered to bring Gupta the fame it has today, while Buddhism lead to its decline. After the decline, Buddhism remained in India while Hinduism, in contrast, spread to other places. This lead to the spread of India’s caste system, as it was a main part in their religion. This was important as it lead to the development and/or changing in other places. These places included southern India and southeast Asian. All of the classical empires had similar conflicts. They all were attacked by differen
7.t nomadic groups. They all overgrew their empires. They all had tax issues, such as the Gupta running out of tax money for the military and the Han having revolts from the upper class. They all broke up politically, for example princes in India taking power or, in Rome, the Western Roman empire disappeared. They all did not have enough border protection.
8. The geography of India made unity more difficult, due to mountain ranges and rainforests, whereas in Rome, unity was more easy to attain. The Gupta’s disunity resulted in various languages being spoken, no lasting bureaucracy, like in Han China, and a disorganized government. But in Rome, Han China, and Persia, they had official languages, a well-structured and organized government, and a strong sense of political service. Also, the Gupta empire focused it’s economy on sea trade, and while Rome and Han China both traded by sea, they focused more on land trade. Most importantly, the social hierarchy was very focused, with a caste system influenced by the Hindus, with Brahmin priests at the top, while much less strict social classes were created in Persia, Han China, and Rome, with at the top, patricians in Rome, the emperor in Han China and Persia.
9.The degree of unity differed between Rome and India because the mountainous terrain of the Indian land caused there to be less communication and therefore unity. Meanwhile, in Rome, land was flat and easier to travel on so more unity was easily obtained. Due to this lack of communication on the Gupta empire’s vast land, many languages were spoken, while in Rome, Han China, and Persia, more unity and constant communication led there to be official languages. Furthermore, India’s lack of unity led to a less structured government as compared to the other empires. Also, India utilized sea trade more than Rome, Han China and Persia because of their close vicinity to the Indian Ocean. In addition, the intermingling of religion and politics caused there to be an extremely strict caste system in the Gupta empire to accommodate the Brahmin priests. However in the empires, there was not as much religious involvement in politics so caste systems and social hierarchies were not as enforced.
10.feudalism usually ends up backfiring -> strong central government, pay attention to foreign policy/what is going on around you, don’t spend too much on unnecessary wars, don’t be an idiot, don’t inflate your currency, maintain the faith of your people through strong leadership, learn from your enemies/unite against a common enemy
11.Separated geographically = internal causes. You could make an argument for external if confined to eurasia because of migration period, but not for all around the world. All the empires collapsed because of gradually growing corruption/complacency/incapability and the foreign invaders were opportunistic. They lost the faith of their people. Still happens today.
Was the fall of the classical world caused by internal or external factors?
Gupta Empire Leaders
Gupta Empire Social Structure
Unity was hard to obtain because of geography
It was a very diverse
Gupta was focused on sea trade
Geographical problems led to downfall
To many captured people to control
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