Mauryan Empire (325 -183 BC): Capital was Taxila
Written by Chandragupta Maurya’s PM Chanakya. It had 15 books.
First five: Internal administration
Next eight: Relations with neighbouring nations. Last two: Misc.
Striking feature of Mauryan empire was huge maintenance of Army as well as Navy. State controlled most of the economic activities.
Banking was well developed; silver coins were in vogue for transactions.
Arts & Architecture
Best example is of Sarnath Pillar
It shows four lions standing back to back standing on abacus having 4 animals
(Elephant, bull, lion & horse) & Dhamma Chakra..all this on an inverted lotus. Stone masonry
Huge pillars of sandstone.
Main purpose of Stupa is to enshrine some relics of Buddha.
Eg: Sanchi Stupa
Caves were served as residence for monks & assembly halls.
After Ashoka, empire broke down & gave away quite fast.
Pushyamitra Shungu defeated Mauryan King in 185 BC & started Shungu dynasty in
Some reasons cited are: (a) Brahmanical reactions (b) Revolution by Pushymitra by
oppressiveness of Muryas (c) Over centralization of administration (d) Financial crisis.
Post Mauryan (200 BC to 300AD)
Disintegration of Mauryan empire gave rise to many centres of powers like:
|N-W India|| Indo-Greeks, Shakas, Partians, Kushans. (All foreign invaders )|
Shunglu, Kanvas (Locals)
|South||Pandyas, Chelas, Cheras (3 Sangam Kingdom)|
Fights for power amongst dynasties are the feature of Post-Mauryan period.
Gupta Period (320 AD to 550 AD)
After collapse of Kushans & Murundas in mid-3rd century, they came to power.
They rose in Magadha & establish large part of India under their control (though their
empire wasn’t as large as Mauryans)
The Gupta period is known as the Golden Age of India due to scientific and artistic
achievements made possible by the sustained peace and prosperity.
The Gupta Empire is also known for the poet Kalidasa, the writing of the Puranas and the
astronomers Varahamihira and Aryabhata.
The Empire collapsed in the 6th century CE following sustained invasions of Huns
from Central Asia.
The Chinese travellers Fa Hsien and Yijing visited India during the reign of the Guptas
Srigupta & Gatotkacha Gupta took title of Maharaja
|Chandragupta I|| -First Gupta ruler to assume title of ‘Maharajadhiraj’|
-Started Gupta Era.
| Samudragupta (Napoleon|
| -Greatest king of Gupta dynasty.|
-Believed in policy of war & quest
-Court Poet: Harisena
| Chandrahupta II|
| – Exercised indirect influence over the Central Indian|
kingdom of Prabhavati through his daughter
Position of Shudras as they were allowed to listen to epics & puranas though untouchability
became more prominent.
Arts & Archi
Buddhist university of Nalanda was built up in 4th century during this period.
Gupta period’s formative contribution to temple archi styles of Nagara & Dravida. Chaityas & Viharas
Art achieved highest level of perfection (So called golde , classical age) Art was secular, sensitive & anthropomorphic.
The iron pillar at Delhi erected by Chandra Gupta II has defied corrosion for over 1600 years
Aryabhata came up with the concept of zero, and postulated that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and determined the cause of eclipse.
The works of Kalidasa marked the highest point of Sanskrit literature Chess originated in the Gupta period
Indian numerals, the world’s first base 10 numeral system, originated in the Gupta Empire The Kama Sutra was written by Vatsayana in the Gupta period
Varahamihira postulated that moon revolves around the sun
Gupta temples were not excavated from rock but it was independent structure built up of
dressed stone blocks.
Decline of Gupta Dynasty
Huns were primitive pastoralists owning herds of cattle & horses knowing nothing of agri. White Huns came to Afghanistan, destroying Kushan power, they settled there. –
Huns then destroyed Gupta empire and occupied Central India
Arybhata (476-550 CE) was the first in a line of great mathematicians-astronomers in India His famous works are the Arbhatiyam and the Arya-Siddhanta
His discoveries in mathematics include
Value and irrationality of Pi
Area of a triangle, concept of sine Sum of series
His discoveries relating to astronomy include
Postulated Heliocentrism i.e. planets revolve around the Sun
Calculated sidereal rotation (24 hrs) and sidereal year (365 days) o Computed
Discovered cause of eclipses.