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Updated: Sep 4, 2022

1. Princep And Piyadassi

  • In 1830s James Princep, an officer in the the East Company mint of the India Company, deciphered Brahmi and Kharosthi, two scripts used in the earliest inscriptions and coins

  • Most of these mentioned a king referred to as Piyadassi - meaning "pleasant to behold  referred to as king Ashoka

  • Scholars began to shift their focus to the context of political history, investigating whether there were Connections between political changes and economic and Social developments.

2. The Earliest States

2.1 The Sixteen Mahajanpadas

  •  The sixth century BCE is regarded as a major turning point in early Indian History, it is an era associated with early states, cities, the growing use of iron, the development of coinage, etc.

  • It also witnessed the growth of diverse systems of thought, including Buddhism and Jainism

  • Buddhist and Jain texts mentioned the most important mahajanapadas

  • Mahajanapadas were ruled by kings, some known as ganas or sanghas 

  • Both and Mahavira the Buddha belonged to such ganas .For example In the case of the Vajji Sangha, the rajas probably controlled resources Such as land collectively. 

  • Each mahajanpadas had a capital city, which was often fortified. These mahajanpadas were Anga, kashi, kosala, Vajji, Malla, Chedi, vatsa, kuru, Panchala, Matsya, Surasena, Asvaka, Avanti, Gandhra, kamboja, and Magadha

  • Brahmanas began composing Sanskrit texts known the Dharmasutras, laid down norms for rulers, who were ideally expected to be kshatriyas 

  • Rulers were advised to collect taxes and tribute from cultivators, traders and artisans

2.2 First amongst the Sixteen:

  • Magadha Between the sixth and the fourth centuries BCE, Magadha (Bihar) became the most powerful mahajanapada. Some features of Magadha were

  • Magadha was a region where agriculture was especially productive.

  • Besides, iron mines (in present day, Jharkhand) were accessible and provided resources for tools and weapons

  • In Magadha, the Ganga and its tributaries provided a means of cheap and convient communication Buddhist and Jaina writers who wrote about Magadha 

  • Some of the best known kings of Magadha such as Bimbisara, Ajatasattu and Mahapadma Nanda

  • Intially, Rajagaha was the capital of Magadha. It was fortified Settlement, located

  • amongst hills

  • In late fourth century BCE, the capital was shifted to patliputra ,present day Patna commanding routes of communication along the ganga.

3. An Early Empire - 

  • The growth of Magadha culminated in the emergence of the Chandragupta Maurya (Maurayan) empire.

3.1 Finding out about the Mauryas.