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Lecture 3

GS302 Lecture 3: GS302 Lesson 3 Empire

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Global Studies
John Abraham

GS302 Lesson 3: Empire Gangetic Kingdoms 600-550 BCE  Urban centers become the basis of kingdoms  16 kingdoms (maha-janapadas) mentioned in the early textual sources Maghada Kingdom  Most prominent kingdom  Expands under its ruler Ajatasatru (492-460 BCE)  Establishes the first major land-based empire in the peninsula  Possible because this kingdom produced a lot of agricultural surplus – it’s wealthy  Period in which iron technology is prominent o Basis of why agriculture is more efficient  Iron also means that you have better war implements/weapons o Conquests of other kingdoms through resource wealth and advancements in war technology  Important region geographically in South Asia  From which not only will the first empires develop, but it’s the starting point for the development of large land-based empires/kingdoms in that peninsula  When British arrive to South Asian peninsula, they begin their project of empire-building here  Includes areas of India, Bangladesh, West Bengal, and surrounding areas – eastern portion of the peninsula Alexander of Macedon (356-323 BCE)  Campaigns in the Indus (defeats Porus/Persia)  Troops mutiny and refuse to enter the Gangetic Plain o Because of the rumours of the great wealth and strength of the Gangetic kingdoms – they don’t want to fight the Gangetic people  Returns to his base in Persia, leaving behind military officers as governors in his conquered regions in the Indus Valley  No longer an Indus Valley civilization Greco-Buddhist culture  Flowering of the culture, philosophy (Skeptics, Cynics), art  Buddhist philosophy influences some of the schools of classical Greek philosophy that emerge later on Beginnings of Sanskrit textual tradition  Higher education (Taxila)  Systematization of grammar (Panini’s Grammar) o Development of educational centers and classic works on the Sanskrit language  Collection of Vedic and other sacred texts o Systemization of oral records – compiling them and collecting them into Vedas  Discussed in the early Sanskrit literature – Jain, Buddhist, etc. Mauryan Empire Chandragupt Maurya (r. 321-297 BCE)  Ruler of Maghada  Son Ashoka Ashoka (r. 268-323 BCE)  First emperor in the region  Very capable prince – trouble-shooter of his father (quells rebellions, etc. all over kingdom)  Identified as the “one who loves all people” (Piyadarshi) Conquest of Kalinga  Conquers more and more territory as he becomes king  Brutal campaign against Kalinga kingdom just south of where he is  Because of the brutality of that campaign, he undergoes a great deal of remorse and converts to Buddhism  Beginning of Buddhism having a major influence all across the peninsula  Sent his son (Mahinda) and daughter as Buddhist envoys to Sri Lanka, to establish Buddhist culture/teaching there
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