Thursday, September 9, 2010

Early History, Mahajanapadas

In the later Vedic age, a number of  small kingdoms or city states had covered the subcontinent , many mentioned in Vedic, early Budhist and Jaina literature as far back as 1000 BCE. By 500 BCE, 16 monarchies and "republics " known as the Mahajanapadas - Kasi, Kosala, Anga, Magadha, Vajji, Malla, Chedi, Vatsa, Kuru, Panchala, Matsya, Surasena, Assaka, Avanti, Gandhara, and Kamboja - stretched across the Indo-Gangetic Plain from modern day Afghanistan to Bengal and Maharastra. This period saw the second major rise of urbanism in India after the Indus-valley Civilization.Some of these kings were hereditary ; other states elected their rulers.Sanskrit was the written language where as Prakritis were the speaking language. Many of the 16 kingdoms had coalesced to four major ones by 500/400 BCE,by the time of Sidhartha Gautam.These four were Vatsa, Avanti, Kosala, and Magadha.. The Upanishads had a great influence during the days of expansion of Budhism and Jainism which came into   being due to the comlicated rituals conducted by the Hindu priests.Budhism and Jainism spread .The teachings of Budha spread to Central Asia, east Asia, Tibet, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.