Indus Valley Civilization, Mauryan Officers, Guptas, Harshavardhana

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Mauryan Officers

Rajukas – a class of officers appointed by Ashoka for administration of justice

Dhammamahamatras – officers of Ashoka for propagating dharma among various social groups

Tirthas – important functionaries

Samaharta – highest officer for tax assessment

Sannidhata – chief custodian of the state treasury

Sangam literature

  • Sangam was an assembly of Tamil poets held under royal patronage in Madurai
  • Compiled around 300 - 600 AD
  • Can be divided into two groups: narrative and didactic
  • Narrative: Melkanakku (or Eighteen Major Works)
  • Didactic: Kilkanakku (Eighteen minor works)
  • Silappadikaram and Manimekalai are Tamil epics


  • Shataka was a special type of cloth made at Mathura
  • Artisan guilds were called shrents
  • Uttarapatha was a sea route most frequently in use
  • Gomat – wealthy person


Guptas Empire
  • After the fall of Kushans and Satavahana in mid-3rd century AD
  • Perhaps of Vaishya origin
  • Chandragupta I- Samudragupta – Chandragupta II – Kumargupta - Skandagupta
  • Capital: Patliputra
  • Chandragupta I
    • Started the Gupta era in AD 319 - 20
  • Samudragupta (aka Napoleon of India)
    • Delighted in violence and conquest
    • Court poet: Harishena
  • Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya) [375 - 415 AD]
    • Exercised indirect influence over the Central Indian kingdom of Prabhavati through his daughter
    • Ujjain was his second capital
    • Navratnas
    • Kalidasa, Varahmira and Amarsimha were at his court
    • Fa-hsien visited India
  • Royal seal: Garuda
  • Decline in long distance trade
  • Emergence of priestly landlords
  • Position of shudras improved
  • Subordination of women
  • Buddhism did not receive royal patronage
  • Golden age of ancient India
    • Ajanta Paintings not by Guptas but mostly during their period
    • Nalanda university flourished
    • 13 plays written by Bhasa
    • Mrichchhakatika – Shudraka
    • Kalidasa
    • Plays were mostly comic
    • Ramayana and Mahabharata compiled
    • Development of Sanskrit Grammar
    • Aryabhatiya – Aryabhatta
    • Romaka Sidhanta – book on astronomy
  • Was poor in architecture
  • Huna invasion made the empire weak

Vishti – forced labour by peasants for the army officials


  • After the fall of Guptas
  • Capital: Kanauj
  • Banbhatta: court poet (wrote Harshacharita)
  • Ran the administration on similar lines as Guptas
  • Law and order: not well maintained
  • Nalanda flourished as a centre of Buddhist learning
  • Became a great parton of Buddhism (was a Shaiva earlier)
  • Convened a grand assembly as Kanauj to widely publicise the doctrines of Mahayana
  • Authored three dramas: Priyadarshika, Ratnavali and Nagananda

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