The First Orbits—the Dominance of the Gangetic India

Dilip K. Chakrabarti

in The Geopolitical Orbits of Ancient India

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780198069898
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080052 | DOI:
The First Orbits—the Dominance of the Gangetic India

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


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The period of the ‘sixteen Mahajanapadas’ around the period of the Buddha is said to mark the first distinct historical phase of the political history of ancient India. By the time India's political history assumes a concrete shape, there is a variety of clearly defined political units in India extending from the Indo-Gangetic plain to the rest of northern India and also covering large parts of the Deccan. The Oxus-Indus orbit rose to prominence after Alexander invaded the Indus valley and inherited the Achaemenid power in the east. Two geopolitical orbits — the one highlighted by the Achaemenid and Macedonian invasions and the one consolidated by the Magadhan expansion — coalesced under the Maurya dynasty and led to the creation of an overarching orbit from the Hindukush to Karnataka. These two orbits are the earliest major geographical foci of state power that can be discerned in ancient India.

Keywords: ancient India; political history; Mahajanapadas; geopolitical orbits; Maurya dynasty; Indo-Gangetic plain; Alexander; Oxus-Indus orbit

Chapter.  13119 words.  Illustrated.

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

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