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


Image of Guptas Empire

Image of 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

Image of Harshavardhana

Image of Harshavardhana

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