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Imperial India
Decentralization under the IndoAryans
• Kshatriya kingdoms
• Decentralized form of
government: feudalism
• Peasants (sudras) had
hard lives; princes
(Rajas) lived in luxury
• Constant warfare
Invasion by Alexander the Great
• 326 – cataclysmic invasion
of Indus valley area
• Troops turned back
• Small-pox
• Inspired the Maghada
• ruler create an empire
The Mauryan Empire
• King of Magadha conquered other nearby
kingdoms and became a Maharaja
• Spies, soldiers, and bureaucrats
numbered over 1 million (combined)
• Took large tax – 25 – 50% of all output
• Built massive capital at Pataliputra
Imperial Organization
• Divided into districts reflecting existing
tribal boundaries
• Each district run by close relative or friend
of Chandragupta Maurya
• Gigantic Army
Chandragupta’s end
• 301 BCE – stepped down
to become a monk (!)
• Son Bindusara took rule
• Bindusara’s son ASHOKA
more famous
Ashoka (r. 269-232)
• First eight years typical
• Invaded frontier area of
Kalinga; bloodiest war of era
• Renounced violence &
became Buddhist
• Ruled according to Buddhist
principles, tried to spread
The Buddha
Ashoka (cont)
• Laid out “edicts” on 18 rocks and 30 pillars
across the empire
• Sent out Buddhist missionaries to Central
Asia, SE Asia, Parthia (Greeks in
Ashoka (cont)
Pilgrimages, roads with shade trees
Hosted Great Council of Buddhism
Created 84,000 Buddhist stupas around
Gupta Rule
• Established Hinduism as religion of state
• Heavily influenced by caste system, e.g.
who got which govt jobs (ksyatriya as
warriors, Brahmans as bureaucrats)
Map 10–1 International trade routes in Gupta
and Sasanid times
• Code of Manu codified Hindu
beliefs into detailed rules
• Hinduism absorbed Buddhism
(the Buddha as avatar of
• Refocus on devotion to one of
the gods, ritual
• Preferred diplomacy
to war, esp.
• Did not have a welldeveloped
• Ultimately fell to the