The Transition to State

Romila Thapar

in From Lineage to State

Published in print October 1991 | ISBN: 9780195626759
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080656 | DOI:
The Transition to State

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter is concerned with the transition of pastoral societies into states. It starts with a discussion of the migration from the Sarasvati to the middle Ganga valley. It goes on to describe the landscape of the middle Ganga valley, the soil, and weather conditions which made it ideal for rice cultivation. The political system in the valley, which was composed of the chiefs, is also studied. Slavery is noted to have started here, due to the settling of new lands and the processes of segmentation and fission. The social status system including terms like ‘Varna’, ‘Jati’, and ‘Nati’ along with other changes in the settlement that marked its transition into a state, are identified and discussed in detail in this chapter. Some of these changes include the rise of cities, iron technology, urbanization, introduction of coined money, and the construction of routes that led to and from the political centres. The chapter also discusses the emergence of monarchical states in Kosala and Magadha.

Keywords: transition; pastoral society; rice cultivation; migration; middle Ganga valley; slavery; coined money; urbanization; Kosala; Magadha

Chapter.  19906 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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