Chapter

State Structure and the Varna System in the Age of the Buddha

R.S. Sharma

in India’s Ancient Past

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780195687859
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080366 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.003.0017
State Structure and the Varna System in the Age of the Buddha

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The Northern Black Polished Ware phase remarked the origin of the second urbanization in India. Urbanization strengthened the state, increased trade, and promoted reading and writing. A rural base contributed to the beginning of crafts, commerce, and urbanization in the mid-Gangetic basin. Technology became central to the progress of the rural and urban economy. Koshala and Magadha became mature states ruled by the hereditary monarchs belonging to the kshatriya varna. The real increase in state power is represented by the formation of a large professional army. The republican tradition in India is as old as the age of the Buddha. Such tradition became weak from the Maurya period. On the basis of regular taxes and tributes, large states could be founded. The varna order was devised, and the functions of each varna were delimited in order to continue this polity.

Keywords: Northern Black Polished Ware; varna; second urbanization; technology; hereditary monarchs; professional army; varna; trade; commerce; tax

Chapter.  4768 words.  Illustrated.

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

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