Territorial States and the Rise of Magadha

R.S. Sharma

in India’s Ancient Past

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780195687859
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080366 | DOI:
Territorial States and the Rise of Magadha

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


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The rise of large states with towns as their base of operations strengthened the territorial idea. People owed strong allegiance to the janapada or the territory to which they belonged rather than to their jana or tribe. The Pali texts reveal that the janapadas grew into mahajanapadas. Gandhara and Kamboja were important mahajanapadas. Kamboja is called a janapada in Panini and a mahajanapada in the Pali texts. The Magadhan Empire was enlarged with the addition of Kashi and Vaishali. The reasons for the expansion of Magadha are reported. The two capitals of Magadha, the first at Rajgir and the second at Pataliputra, were situated at very strategic points. The princes of Magadha benefited from the rise of towns and use of metal money. It also savored a special advantage in military organization. Finally, it succeeded in defeating the other kingdoms and in founding the first empire in India.

Keywords: Magadhan Empire; mahajanapadas; janapada; Rajgir; Pataliputra; metal money; rise of towns; military organization

Chapter.  3037 words. 

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

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