India After the Guptas

The Impact of Religion; Indian Society and Culture

Government and Economy of Ancient India

Ancient India had strong governments with powerful leaders who controlled the different nations. India had a monarchy with many different kings of different provinces. India was divided into about 70 different states, which fought constantly. Muslim began to become a growing power in the north and extended its power onto the Deccan Plateau until it was stopped by the Mongols.

Between 500 and 1500, most Indians lived on the land and farmed their own tiny plots. These peasants paid a share of their harvest each year to a landlord, who gave most of it to the king. These rents paid by farmers gfunded the sumptuous lifestyle, the wars, and the grand temples of the rich and high born. Many people also lived in the cities. It was here that the landed elites and wealthy merchants lived; often in conditions of considerable wealth.

Agriculture was nit the only source of wealth in India. India's location makes it a center for trade with Southwest and East Asia. Internal trade within the country at the time probably decreased because of the wars. Wealthy Hindu merchants with close ties to royal courts carried on most of the foreign trade. The Muslims also contributed to this trade. Sometimes traders from other lands settled in India and other times Indian traders tavelled elsewhere.

Significant Leaders and Accomplishments

Leaders:

  • Harsha a great ruler of India from 606 to 647
  • Prithvi Raj a ruler of the Chauan dynasty in 1192

Accomplishments:

  • Made precise astronomical calculations
  • Invented chess
  • Invented kashmir wool
  • Ludo called Pachisi originated in India

Culture

Between 500 and 1500, Indian artists and writers built on the achievements of their predecessors while making innovations in all fields of creative endeavor, both secular and religious. The use of prose is first seen in India in the sixth or seventh century. It was not seen in other cultures until the tenth century.