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Lecture 8

MMW 12 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Emperor Wu Of Han, Yuezhi, Kushan Empire

Making of the Modern World
Course Code
MMW 12
Alexander B Stewart

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Kushan Empire and the Universalization of Buddhism
Founded by nomads do not know a lot about them
Buddhism transforms (Mahayana Buddhism) so that one does not have to abandon everything
to achieve enlightenment one just has to donate to monks who do
Origins of Kushans
Noadi Yuezhi people defeated  Xiogu ad igrate fro Chia’s orther orderlads to
defeat Hellenistic Bactria in north India/ modern Afghanistan
Supplied jade and horses to late Zhou, Qin, and Han Dynasty
Han Wudi sends envoy to Yuezhi alliance against Xiongnu results in trade connections instead
of military alliance
Kushan Admin
Nomadic people taking over agricultural civilization on edge of Hellenistic world
o Had lots of horses and were more skilled at riding/ battling than agriculturalists
Temples receiving imperial patronage include Greek, Persian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain gods
Use aste sste, erhat’s guilds, ad religious istitutios istead of e ureaura
Use Greek, Persian, and Indian scripts
Borrowed Parthian (Persian) use of satraps
o Centrally appointed autonomous local governors who control locals and pay tribute to
Legitimizing political authority and making it seem natural/ chosen through divinity
o Usually done through religious symbols
Devakula: Temples of Divine Family
o Features statues of emperors
Could have been ancestral shrines/ temples they used and funded
Kigs alled theseles “o of Heae
Establish legitimacy by patronizing all cults of subjects, earning most merit
o Leading citizens in giving donations to monasteries
Buddhism in South Asia
Nirvana offered escape from samsara (cycle of rebirth)
o Open to all people/ castes
Based on self-cultivation and worldly renunciation
o Common aspects of South Asian religiosity
Others in diverse Central Asia and beyond used in soliciting anthropomorphic gods for
assistance in this world or rebirth in a better place
Buddhism and Trade
Buddhist preachers and merchants tend to travel
Monasteries in isolated towns along Silk Road house travelers benefit from this
Faxian and other Chinese monks travel eastward
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