(Notes) Civil Services (Prelims) Examination : Indian History (The Maurya Empire) - Quick Revision Notes (III)

Civil Services (Prelims) Examination Special
Quick Revision Notes


The Maurya Empire (Indian History)

51. The most famous of the irrigation works of the early Maurya period is the Sudarshan lake of Kathiawar, constructed by Pushyagupta the Vaisya, an officer of Chandragupta Maurya, and provided with supplemental channels by the Yavanaraja Tushaspha in the days of Ashoka.

52. The Mauryas divided  their dominions into provinces subdivided into districts called ahara, vishya and pardesh.

53. The secret emissaries who enquired into and superintended all that went in the empire were called pativedakas.

54. Varna (caste) and ashram (periods of stages of religious discipline), the two characteristic institutions of the Hindu social polity, reached a definite stage in the Maurya period.

55. The philosophers, the husbandmen, the herdsmen and hunters, the traders and artisans, the soldiers, the overseers and the councillors constituted the seven castes into which the population of India was divided in the days of Megasthenes.

56. Slavery was an established institution during the Maurya period.

57. Broach was a major port during the Mauryan period.

58. The copper coin of eighty ratis (146.4 grs) was known as Karshapana. The name was also applied to silver and gold coins, particularly in south.

59. Three works, the Kautiliya Arthshastra, the Kalpasutra of Bhadrabahu and the Buddhist Katha vatthu, are attributed to personages who are said to have flourished in the Maurya period.

60. With the fall of the Mauryas, Indian history lost its unity for sometime. Hordes of foreign barbarians poured through the northwestern gates of the country and established powerful kingdoms in Gandhara (north-west Frontier), Sakala (north-central Punjab) and other places.

61. In the south, the Satavahanas came to power. The founder of the family was Simuka, but the man who raised it to eminence was his son Satakarni-I. 62. Sometimes after the death of Satakarni-I, the Satavahana power submerged beneath a wave of Scythian invasion. But, the lost glory was restored by Gautamiputra Satkarni, who built an empire that extended from Malwa in the north to the Kanarese country in south.

63. Two cities of Vaijayanti (in north Kanara) and Amaravati (in the Guntur district) attained eminence in the Satavahana period.

64. Sri Yajana Satkarni was the last great prince of the line and after him the empire fell to pieces.

65. The earlier Satavahana empire had a formidable rival in the kingdom of Kalinga, which became independent after the death of Ashoka and rose to greatness under Kharavela.

66. In the far south of India, beyond the Venkata Hills, known as Dravida or Tamil country, three important States that came into being were Chola, Pandya and Kerala.

67. The Cholas occupied the present Tanjore and Trichinopoly districts and showed great military activity.

68. The Pandyas occupied the districts of Madura and Tinnevelly with portions of South Travancore. They excelled in trade and learning.

69. A Pandya king is said to have sent an embassy to the Roman empire in the first century B.C.

70. The Kerala country embraced Malabar, Cochin and North Travancore.

71. The political disintegration of India after the fall of Maurya empire renewed warlike activities on the part of the Greeks of Syria and Bactria.

72. The last known Greek king to rule any part of India was Hermaicos.

73. The foreign conquerors who supplanted the Greeks in north-west India belong to three main groups, namely, Saka, Pahlava or Parthian and Yue-chi or Kushan.

74. The Sakas were displaced from their home in Central Asia by the Yue-chi and were forced to migrate south. The territory they occupied came to be known as Sakasthana, modern  Sistan.

75. Kanishka is attributed by many scholars to have founded the Saka era in A.D. 78. He is the only Scythian king known to have established an era. Strictly speaking, though, he was a Kushan and not a Saka.

76. According to Hiuen Tsang, the great empire over which Kanishka exercised his sway had its capital at Purushapura or Peshawar. His territory extended from Gandhara to Oudh and Benaras.

77. Kanishka is known for his patronage to the religion of Sakya-muni and his monuments.

78. In Buddhist history, Kanishka’s name is honoured as that of a prince who summoned a great council (fourth Buddhist Council in Srinagar) to examine the Buddhist scriptures and prepare commentaries on them.

79. Among the celebrities who graced Kanishka’s court was Asvaghosha, a philosopher, poet and dramatist, who wrote the Buddha Charita.

80. Kanishka’s rule lasted 23 years. His immediate successor was Vasishka, followed by Huvishka.

81. Mathura became the great centre of Kushan power under Huvishka.

82. Huvishka’s empire was spread further west, till Wardak to the west of Kabul.

83. The last great Kushan king was Vasudeva- I.

84. The decline of Kushan power in the northwest was hastened by the rise of the Sassanian dynasty in Persi a.


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