Indian History

Ancient history

Medieval history

Modern history

 

 

A.History of ancient india

1.Sources of ancient Indian history

2. Prehistoric History

3.Indus Valley civilzation

 

1.Sources of ancient Indian history

  • Generally, information about ancient Indian history is mainly obtained from three sources which are as follows – archaeological sources, literary sources and accounts of foreign travelers.
  • Archaeological sources mainly include inscriptions, coins, monuments, buildings, statues and paintings.
  • The information obtained from inscriptions is considered to be the most important among archaeological sources.
  • Inscriptions are mostly found inscribed on pillars, stones, copper plates, coins, vessels, statues and caves.
  • The oldest inscription has been found from a place called Bogajkoi in Central Asia, which is around 1400 BC. The names of Vedic gods like Indra, Mitra, Varun and Nasatya are found in this inscription.
  • The oldest inscriptions in India are those of Ashoka which are from the 3rd century BC.
  • Ashoka’s name is clearly mentioned in the inscriptions obtained from Maski, Gurjara (M.P.), Nithar, Udegolam. These inscriptions throw light on Ashoka’s Dhamma and revenue ideals.
  • Ashoka’s inscriptions are mainly found in Brahmi, Kharosthi and Aramaic scripts, in which most of them are inscribed in Brahmi script.
  • Brahmi script is written from left to right.
  • The Kharosthi script used in the North-Western Province was written from right to left.
  • Ashoka’s inscriptions obtained from Laghman and Sherekuna are in Greek and Aramaic scripts.
  • Ashoka’s inscriptions have been found all over India. The subject of all Ashoka’s inscriptions was administrative.
  • Yes, only the subject of Khammandei inscription is economic. Ashoka’s inscriptions were made from sandstone of Chunar (Uttar Pradesh).
  • The early inscriptions (before the Gupta period) are in Prakrit language but most of the inscriptions of the Gupta and post-Gupta periods are in Sanskrit.
  • The records of Maurya and Gupta period are divided into two parts – government and personal records. Government records are either eulogies written by court poets or land-grant letters.
  • Among the inscriptions containing prashasti, there is the Prayag Prashasti inscription of Samudra Gupta. This is written on the pillar inscription of Ashoka. It mentions the victories and policies of the Gupta king Samudragupta.
  • Other similar inscriptions are – Gwalior Prashasti of Raja Bhoj, Hathi Gumpha inscription of Kharavela, Junagarh inscription of Shakkshatrapa Rudradaman, Nashik cave inscription of Satavahana king Pulumavi, Mandsaur inscription of Malava king Yashovarman, Aihole inscription of Chalukya king Pulakeshin II, Bhitari of Skandagupta. And Junagadh inscription, Devpada inscription of Bengal ruler Vijaysen etc.
  • Evidence of the development of Bhagavata religion in India in the second century BC has been found in the Garuda pillar inscription of Yavana ambassador Hessiogodorus obtained from Vesnagar (Vidisha). These are most important among non-government or personal records.
  • There is a description of the writings of Hunraj Toraman on the Varaha statue found from Eran in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Most of the inscriptions have been received from Mysore (Karnataka). It is known from the Persepolis and Behistun inscriptions that the Iranian emperor Darius (Darayvahu) had captured the Indus Valley.
  • For the first time in 1837, James Prince read the inscriptions of Ashoka written in Brahmi script.
  • Some inscriptions have been found engraved on the walls or statues of temples, which provide information about the development of sculpture and architecture. Along with this, there is also knowledge about the religious situation of that time.
  • The study of coins is called numismatics. The oldest coins in India came into circulation around 500 BC. These coins with various types of symbols were called struck coins which were mostly made of silver. The oldest hoards of struck coins have been found in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Magadha.
  • The early coins were mostly silver, these coins were called punch marks. Figures like tree, fish, bull, elephant, half moon etc. are engraved on these coins. Have been found from the post-Maurya period.
  • Most of the coins: Indo-Greeks first started the circulation of gold coins. He also introduced bi-lingual coins into circulation. He started using such coins which could definitely be linked to some king.
  • The largest number of copper coins were issued by the Kushans.
  • Coins with pictures were introduced by the Indo-Greeks. The Kushan kings issued gold coins similar to the dinar.
  • Kujula Kadphises I issued copper coins bearing the figure of Heracles (Krishna).
  • Kujula Kadphises II (Vima Kadphises) issued gold coins bearing the figures of Lord Shiva and Nandi.
  • The Satavahanas introduced the maximum number of lead coins.
  • The Gupta rulers introduced the maximum number of gold coins. The first gold coins with inscriptions were issued by Indo-Greek rulers.
  • • Chandragupta II issued coins bearing silver and gold lion and horseman figures.
  • Skanda Gupta (417-73 AD) issued three types of gold coins (bowman, Lakshmi and horseman).
  • The figures of Kartikeya, Peacock and Garuda were inscribed on the coins of Kumar Gupta. Karspan (hammered silver and copper) standards in the Maurya period .
  • The Satavahanas issued coins of four metals – silver, copper, lead and lead, in which lead coins were more in circulation.
  • Kanishka’s coins provide evidence of his being a follower of Buddhism.
  • Samudragupta is shown playing the veena on his coins. Some of his coins have ‘Yup’ carved on them and some have the words ‘Ashwamedha Parakram’ inscribed on them, which provides evidence of Samudra Gupta performing Ashwamedha Yagya. The emperor’s victory over the Shakas is proved by the ‘Yaghra style’ silver coin minted by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty.
  • From the shape of the ship on the coins of the Satavahana rulers, it is inferred that maritime trade was prevalent during their time.
  • After the seventh century, Gadhaiya money was prevalent in large numbers and was found in western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. From these coins it is known that there was influence of Zarathustra worship in medieval India. There is no inscription of Mother Goddess on the coins. Coins provide information about the patriarchal society.
  • Monuments and buildings
  • This includes ancient buildings, temples and statues, from which we can estimate the social, religious and economic conditions of ancient India. The religious condition of that time is known from temples, monasteries and stupas.
  • Mohenjodaro and Harappa (Indus Valley Civilization sites)
  • The remains obtained from excavation provide information about the civilization of 2500 BC.
  • Excavations in Kaushambi situated in Prayag have found the remains of Maharaj Udayan’s palace and the declared Ram Vihar. Excavations at Atranjikheda provide information about the early use of iron.
  • Excavations at Arikamedu (Pondicherry) located in South India have found remains of Roman settlement, coins, lamp fragments, utensils etc. which provide information that there was a strong trade relationship between South India and Rome in the first century BC. The temples of Devgarh (Jhansi), the temples of Bhitargaon, the paintings made in the caves of Ajanta, the copper statue of Buddha at Nalanda, etc. provide evidence of the development of the then Hindu civilization and art.
  • The best form of Dravidian style can be seen in the Brihadeshwara temple located at Tanjore.
  • The remains of temples and stupas found outside India in South-East and Central Asia indicate the widespread spread of Indian culture. ‘Boro Budur Stupa’ located in Java and ‘Ankor Wat Temple’ located in Cambodia indicate the spread of Indian religion outside India.
  • The condition of life of common people is known in the sculptures of Bharhut, Bodh Gaya and Amravati. Indian culture and architecture from temples and stupas
  • Get an introduction to the style.
  • The paintings of Ajanta reflect the life of the people of that time.
  • The religious situation of that time is known from the seals obtained from Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
  •  

literary sources

Literary sources can be divided into two categories-

(i) Religious literature

(ii) Secular literature or extra-religious literature: India being a religion-dominated country since ancient times, it was mostly influenced by three religious streams – Vedic, Jain and Buddhist. Vedic scriptures are also called Brahmin scriptures:

Brahmin scriptures

The oldest among ‘Brahmin literature’ is ‘Veda’.

• It is from the Vedas that we get initial information about the Aryans.

The total number of Vedas is four-

(i) Rigveda

(ii) Samveda

(iii) Yajurveda

(iv) Atharvaveda

The combined form of the four Vedas is called Samhita.

Rigveda is mentioned. Prominent among the 21 branches of Rigveda are Shakal, Vashkal,

Rigveda is the oldest among the four Vedas. This gives information about the political system and history of the Aryans. Composed around 1500 BC.

There are a total of 10 mandalas, 1028 suktas and 10,552 mantras in this Veda.

The verses of the second and seventh Mandal are the most ancient. The first and tenth circles have been added at the end. In the ‘Purusha Sukta’ of the tenth division, the name of Shudra is mentioned first.

Ashwalayan, Shankhayan and Mandukya. There are two Brahmin texts of Rigveda – Aitareya and Kaushitaki or Shankhayana.

The appendix of the handwritten copies found in the eighth mandala of the Rigveda has been called ‘Khil’.

The word Sam means song, that is, the mantras compiled in Samveda were sung while praising the gods. There are a total of 1549 mantras in it, out of which the remaining 75 are taken from the Rigveda.

It mainly contains mantras related to Suryastuti.

Panchvish Brahmin is the most ancient and biggest. It is also called MahaBrahmin.

yajurveda

• The word ‘Yujush’ means ‘Yajna’.

This Veda contains a collection of helpful mantras for performing Yagyas.

The mantras of this Veda were chanted by a priest named ‘Udhvaryu’.

It is divided into five branches-

(i) Kashthaka, (ii) Kapishthal, (iii) Maitrayani, (iv) Taitriya, (iv) Vajasaneyi.

This Veda has two parts – Shukla Yajurveda and Krishna Yajurveda.

There are two Brahmin texts of this Veda – Shatapatha and Taittiriya.

This Veda has been composed in both prose and poetry.

It contains 2000 hymns, many of which are from Rigveda and Samaveda. It is divided into 40 chapters.

Atharvaveda

This Veda has been composed by Atharva Rishi.

In this, the thoughts and superstitions of the common people are mentioned. In this, remedies to avoid witchcraft and many diseases have been described.

Folk tradition and Vedic soul are not reflected in the Samhitas written after Rigveda, but in Atharvaveda there is a depiction of the basic beliefs, nature, traditions and superstitions of the pre-historic era.

The four Vedas are also collectively known as ‘Samhita’ and ‘Shruti’.

The three Vedas – Rigveda, Samaveda and Yajurveda are collectively called ‘Trinity’.

Four Upvedas are also associated with these four codes-

Brahmin

It contains mantras related to religious rituals, sacrificial rituals, worship methods and interpretation of the code. These texts were composed to make the Yagya (sacrificer) aware of the rituals, propriety and importance of the Yagya. For this reason, the usefulness and systematic development of yagyas has been described in it. It is written mainly in prose style.

It is related to some code, which is as follows

Are: (i) Aitareya, Kaushitaki – Rigveda

(ii) Panchvish, Shadvish, Jaiminiya – Samveda

(iii) Taitriya, Satpath – Yajurveda (iv) Gopath – Atharvaveda

The rules for coronation and the names of the kings who conducted the coronation are mentioned in Aitareya Brahmana. In Shatapatha Brahmana, Gandhara, Kaikeya, Kuru, Panchal, Kosala,

There is mention of kings like Videha etc. Brahmin texts are also called Brahma literature.

Aranyaka

It was composed by sages living in the peaceful environment of forests, that is why it is called Aranyaka. Its main proposed subjects are mysticism, symbolism, yajna.

And priestly philosophy.

Its number is 7-

(i) Aitareya

(ii) Shankhayana (iii) Taittiriya

(iv) Maitrayani

(v) midday

(vi) Talvakar

(vii) Jaimini

Upanishad

The word ‘Upanishad’ means to acquire knowledge or discuss by staying close to the Guru.

This is the main philosophical text of the Vedic period, in which mainly details of the mystical principles related to the eternal soul, omnipotent Brahma, the relationship between the soul and the Supreme Soul and the origin of the world are given. In this, violence based on Vedic rituals and yagya has been criticized, while emphasis has been placed on right faith and right knowledge.

Being the last part of Vedic literature, it is also called ‘Vedanta’.

The total number of Upanishads is 108, but there are 12 major ones-

(i) Aitareya

(ii) Kaushitaki

(iii) Chhandogya

(iv) Ken

(v) Taitriya

(vi) hard

(vii) White and white

(viii) Brihadaranyaka

(ix) Ish

(x) Mundak

(xi) question

(xii) Mandukya

In this, 1 and 2 are related to Rigveda, 3 and 4 are related to Samaveda, 5 to 9 are related to Yajurveda and 10 to 12 are related to Atharvaveda. • According to Upanishads, there are two types of knowledge – higher knowledge and lower knowledge. Higher knowledge helps us to understand Akshay Brahmans and lower knowledge can be obtained through four Vedas and six Vedangas.

Vedanga

It was composed to understand the Vedas thoroughly. The meaning of Vedanga is to understand the nature of any thing very well.

The number of Vedangas is six-

(i) education

(ii) Kalpa

(iii) Grammar

(iv) Nirukta

(v) verse

(vi) Astrology

Four kalpasutras (Composed between 600 BC and 300 AD)

Sutra is a literary discipline in which an attempt has been made to convey more facts in fewer words. Despite being boring, it is easy to memorize.

Sutra literature helps in the study of Samhitas.

Laws and rules have been mentioned in Kalpasutra. It has been divided into Shrauta Sutra, Grihya Sutra and Dharmasutra. The word sutra means hint, clue, guide, rule, short saying etc.

The Yagya rituals are discussed in detail in the Shrauta Sutra. Under the Shrauta Sutra, the Shulva Sutra has been composed, which contains rules for the measurement and construction of sacrificial places and fire altars. This is an ancient book of Indian geometry.

Grihya Sutra mentions the worldly and supernatural activities of human beings. The most important composition of education is ‘Pratishakhya-Sutra’, which contains such rules with the help of which Samhita-Padpatha is made.

Politics, social and religious subjects are mentioned in ‘Dharmasutra’. Its time is considered to be around 500 to 200 BC. Among the Dharmasutras, Apastamba and Baudhayana are considered to be the most ancient. Dharmasutras are written in prose. The first detailed mention of caste system is found in Dharmasutra itself. In this, there is mention of eight types of marriages and first of all the mixed caste named ‘Antyaj’.

The supplementary booklets of Kalpasutra are called ‘Appendices’. Grammar, Nirukta and Chhanda are the great texts of Panini, Yasaka and Pingal respectively.

• Dharmasutra, Smriti, commentary and essay together are called Dharmashastra. • Smriti texts developed from Dharmasutras.

The major Smriti texts are

Manusmriti, Yajnavalkya Smriti, Parashar Smriti, Narada Smriti, Brihaspati Smriti, Katyayana Smriti, Gautam Smriti.

Manusmriti (200 BC to 200 AD) is considered to be the most ancient. It provides political, social and religious information about India of that time.

During the Gupta period, Smritis were composed by Yajnavalkya, Narada, Brihaspati and Katyayana. Meghatithi, Bharuchi, Kulluk Bhatt, Govind Rai etc.

  • Apart from Vishnu Smriti, the remaining Smritis are written in verses and their language is secular Sanskrit.

Epic

Ramayana and Mahabharata are the most important historical sources among the epics.

These epics throw light on the political, economic, social and religious life of that time. Ramayana Ramayana was composed in Sanskrit language by Valmiki during the first and second century. Initially it had 12,000 verses but currently it has 24,000 verses.

Mahabharata

• Composed by Maharishi Vyas.

The initial mention of this book is found in ‘Ashvalayana Grihasutra’. • Initially it was called Jai, then Bharat and finally Mahabharata.

Known by all three names. Initially this epic with 24 thousand verses was called ‘Jai’. After the addition of anecdotes, this epic came to be known as ‘Mahabharata’.

At present there is a collection of about one lakh verses in this epic.

It is divided into 18 festivals.

Purana

Its literal meaning is ancient narrative. • This gives information about the genealogy of the kings and about the then society, religion, pilgrimage, geography etc.

Is available. Probably the Puranas had come into existence from the 5th to the 4th century BC.

Mainly five characteristics have been mentioned, which are as follows – Sarga, Pratisarga, Vansh, Manvantar and Vanshanucharit. • The total number of Puranas is 18, in which Vishnu, Brahma, Bhagwat, Vayu, Matsya and Bhavishya Purana are the most ancient.

Vishnu, Matsya, Vayu and Bhagwat Puranas are of greatest historical importance, because genealogies of kings are found in them. Matsya Purana is the most ancient and authentic. Its

Special information is available about the Satavahana dynasty.

Vishnu Purana gives special information about the Maurya dynasty and the Gupta dynasty.

Vayu Purana gives special information about the Sunga dynasty and the Gupta dynasty. Vayu Purana is considered to be the most authentic for information about the boundaries of the Gupta Empire.

Thus, from the Puranas we get knowledge about Shishunag, Nand, Maurya, Shunga, Satavahana and Gupta dynasty. The creators of the Puranas are considered to be Lomaharsha and his son Ugrashrava.

Those who compiled the Puranas have described four eras – Krita, Treta, Dwapar and Kali. It has been said about each era that the next era will follow the one behind it.

Buddhist literature 

The Tripitaka is probably the most ancient scriptures compiled by Buddhist authors.

Historians Wooler and Reese David Mahadey have said that the literal meaning of ‘Pitak’ is basket.

Tripitaka provides information about the social and religious life of India before BC.

• These Pitakas have been composed in Pali language.

Tripitaka are as follows-

(i) Sutapitaka (ii) Vinayapitaka

(iii) Abhighamma Pitaka

(i) Sutapitaka

It contains a collection of teachings of Gautam Buddha. The literal meaning of Sut here is sermon.

This Pitaka, containing the collection of religious thoughts and teachings of Buddha, is probably the largest and best among the Tripitakas.

(ii) Vinayapitaka

It contains rules of conduct for Buddhist monks and nuns.Rules are mentioned. There are three sections of Vinayapitaka

• In Khandhaka, the prohibitions and restrictions regarding the life of the residents of a monastery or sangha have been explained in detail. The two other parts of Khandhaka are Mahavagga and Chullavaga. • The family is in question-and-answer mode.

(iii) Abhidhamma Pitaka

In this, philosophical explanation of Buddhist beliefs has been given. According to Buddhist tradition, this Pitaka was compiled by Moggaliput Tissa in the Third Buddhist Sangiti (time of Ashoka).

There are seven sub-scriptures of this Pitaka – Dhammasangani, Vibhang, Dhatukatha, Puggalpanchati, Kathavatthu, Yamak, Pathaan. Apart from the Tripitakas, some other important texts written in Pali language are Milindapanho, Deepavansh and Mahavansh.

‘Milindapanho’ is a text related to the philosophical debate between the Greek king Minander and the Buddhist monk Nagasena. This text in Pali language gives mention about Indian life in the first two centuries of Christ.

The history of Sinhala island comes from Deepavansh. This gives information about the history of the Maurya period. It was written in Lanka in the fourth century.

Sanskrit language Buddhist texts ‘Mahavastu’ and ‘Lalit Vistar’ provide information about Mahatma Buddha and ‘Divyavadana’ provides information about the kings of the post-Maurya period. From ‘Arya Manjushri Mulakalp’ we get information about the Gupta rulers and from ‘Anguttarnikaya’ we get information about sixteen Mahajanapadas. In the works of Ashvaghosha, who was a contemporary of Emperor Kanishka, Buddhacharita, Saundranand and Sariputra episode, the first two are epics and the third is a drama.

Jain literature

From Jain literature the ancient caste system, economic activities,

Information about city and sea trade etc. is available. The religious texts of Jains were written in Ardhamagadhi language. These religious texts were located in Gujarat around the sixth century.

• Jains abandoned Sanskrit language and gave their sermons in Prakrit, a language understandable to the common people.

The teachings of Jainism have been compiled in a scripture called ‘Aagam’.

Information about early Jain history is available from ‘Kalpasutra’ written by Bhadrabahu in the sixth to fourth century BC. Something related to the life of Mahavir Swami from ‘Bhagwati Sutra’

Information is available. Rules of conduct of Jain monks from ‘Acharanga Sutra’

Information about sixteen Mahajanapadas is also available from ‘Bhagwati Sutra‘.

The early and later events of Chandragupta Maurya’s life are mentioned in the Jain texts ‘Parishistha Parva’ and ‘Bhadrabahu Charita’. ‘Parishistha Parva’ written by Hemchandra was composed around the twelfth century AD.

Early medieval Jain texts include Haribhadra Suri’s ‘Samaraditya Katha’ (705-775), Udyotan Suri’s ‘Kuvalaya Mala’ (778 AD), Jineshwar Suri’s ‘Kathakosh Episode’, Jinasena’s ‘Adi Purana’ (9th century), etc. One gets knowledge of the social and religious condition of the then Indian society.

Secular literature

Ashtadhyayi written by Panini and Mahabhashya written by Maharishi Patanjali are considered to be grammar texts, but at some places in these texts, details of the events of kings, emperors and democracies are found.

Gargi Samhita

This refers to the Greek invasion which was written around the first century.

Malavikagnimitram

This Sanskrit text, written by Kalidas in the latter part of the fourth century and the first half of the fifth century, mentions the political events of the time of Pushyamitra Sunga and his son Agnimitra and the conflict between Sunga and Yavana.

Information about Harsha’s life and the history of then India is obtained from Harshacharita Vanbhatta and ‘Harsha Charitam’.

ethics Written in 7th, 8th century

Swapnavasavadatta

This work, written by the great poet Bhasa in the third century AD, mentions the relationship between Vatsaraja Udayan and Chand Pradyota.

Mrichchakatikam

This play written by Shudraka gives information about the cultural history of the Gupta period. Rajtarangini, a book written by Kalhan in the 12th century, gives detailed information about the history of contemporary Kashmir.

Manjushri Moolakalpa This text also belongs to the Mahayana branch of Buddhism.
Navsahasancharita •

Parmar dynasty from this book written by Padmagupta Parimal
Information is available about the history of Sindhuraj Navsahasanka. It was composed in the eleventh century AD.

  • Chintamani, a treatise written by Merutungacharya, which was composed in 1305 AD, provides information about Vikramank, Satavahana, Mulraj, Munj, Nripati Bhoj, Lakshmansen, Jayachandra etc.

Kirti Kaumudi- This poem written by Someshwar gives information about the history of Chalukya dynasty.

Mattavilas Prahasana – This book, written by Pallava king Mahendra Vikram in the 7th century, gives details about the social and religious life of that time.

  • Gaudavaho text written in Prakrit language gives information about the victories of Kannauj King Yashovarman.

Prithviraj Vijay- This book was composed by Kashmiri Pandit Jayanak between 1191 and 1193. Information about Prithviraj III is available from this book.

  • Of Kalidasa (Abhigyanashankutalam, Malavikagnimitram, Raghuvansham, Meghdootam), Shudraka (Mrichchakatikam), Vatsyayana (Kamasutram), Dandi (Dashkumarcharitam) etc.

Information about Harshvardhan’s reign and his times is available from Bana’s Harshacharita and Kadambari. Harshavardhan himself composed three plays – Nagananda, Ratnavali and Priyadarshika. These plays give a glimpse of the civilization, culture and political life of the Harsha period.

The early history of South India is known from ‘Sangam literature’. The history of the Pallava and Chola rulers of the far south is obtained from Nandikambakam, Kalingatruparni, Chola Charitra etc.

Although the achievements of a particular king have been shown in the chronicles in an exaggerated manner, yet they throw important light on the subject of that time. For example, in Ramcharit, there is mention of the Kaivartta rebellion in Bengal during the time of Pala ruler Rampal and Rampal’s victory in it.

Atul’s treatise titled Mushik Vansh, written in the 11th century, throws light on the history of the Mushik dynasty of Kerala.

Biographies of many businessmen in Gujarat were also written.

  • Nandikkambakam gives information about the attack on Kalinga by Pallava king Nandi Varman III and Kalingatuparani gives information about the attack on Kalinga by Chola king Kulotrung I.

Rasmala, Prabandhakosh, Chachnama and Itikrit written in Nepal throw light on the history of Gujarat, Sindh and Nepal respectively.

Details of foreign travelers

Among the foreigners who have written about India, the accounts of Iranian, Greek, Roman, Chinese, Tibetan, Arab and Muslim travelers and writers are important. These can be divided into three parts-

(A) Greco-Roman writer

(B) Chinese writer

(C) Arabic writer

Greek writers can be divided into three groups-

(i) Greek writers before Alexander

(ii) Contemporary writers of Alexander

(iii) Writers after Alexander

Among the Greek writers before Alexander are Hecataeus Miletus, Cassius, Tesius, Herodotus etc.

Herodotus is called the ‘Father of History’. He composed a book named ‘Historica’ in the 5th century BC, in which the relations between India and Persia are described.

During Alexander’s invasion of India, many Greek writers came to India and wrote about the situation here. Among such writers, Aristobulus, Nearchus, Charas, Eumenes, Onesicritus etc. are famous. Aristobulus wrote a book named ‘History of the War’.

Onesicritus wrote the biography of Sikdar. Important among the writers after Alexander was Megasthenes who was the ambassador of the Greek king Seleucus. He spent about 14 years in the court of Chandragupta Maurya. This ‘indica’

Wrote a book named ‘Maurayan’ in which details of the then Maurya dynasty society and culture have been given. Dymachus was the ambassador of Syrian king Antiochus who stayed in the court of Bindusara for a long time.

Dionysius had stayed in the court of Emperor Ashoka for a long time as the ambassador of the friendly king Ptolemy Philadelphus.

Some books written in Greek and Latin in the first and second centuries AD provide information about the then Indian ports and the trade between India and Rome.

Ptolemy’s Geography, written in Alexandria around 140 AD, provides information about the principles of map making, information about India and its neighboring areas, and the cities located from the Indus to the mouth of the Ganges.

  • Another book in Greek language, Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, which was composed by an unknown Greek sailor around 100 AD, is considered as a ‘guide to maritime trade’. This book contains details of goods shipped out of Indian ports.
  •  

‘Natural Historica’ written in Latin by Pliny, which was composed in the first century, mentions the trade between India and Rome.

Chinese writer

The descriptions of Chinese writers also have a great influence on Indian history. All the Chinese travelers were Buddhist followers. He came to India only to get some specific information about this religion.

Prominent among the Chinese Buddhist travelers were Fa-Hien, Hiuen Tsang, Huili, Itsing, Matwanlin, Chou-Ju-Kua etc. Fa-hien came to India during the reign of the Gupta emperor Chandragupta Vikramaditya II (375-415 AD). He stayed in India for about 14 years.

Hiuen Tsang came to India during the reign of King Harshavardhana of Kannauj (606-647 AD). It toured India for about 10 years.

  • Heuli was a friend of Hiuen Tsang, who wrote the biography of Hiuen Tsang. In this biography he also threw light on the then India.
  • Itsing came to India at the end of the seventh century. He studied at Vikramshila and Nalanda Universities.
    details of arab travelers

We first get information about Indian society and culture from Arab traders and writers. The main ones among these businessmen and writers are Alberuni, Suleiman, Almasudi.

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