Sangam Literature earliest Tamil text Kings and chiefs patronized poets. These poets assembled in collages and compiled poems over a period of 3 to 4 centuries. This is Sangam literature. Describes many kings and dynasties of south India. This literature generally describes events upto the fourth century. Total 30,000 lines of poetry arranged in eight Anthologies called Ettuttokai two main groups, patinenkilkanakku (18 lower collections) and the pattupattu (ten songs). The former is older than the latter.
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Atula mushika vamsha- this dynasty ruled in Northern Kerala. Kumarapalacharita of jayasimha, kumarapatacharita or duayashraya mahakauya of Hemachandra, harnmirakavya of nayachandra, navasahasankacharita of Padmagupta, bhojaprabandha of Billal, Prithuirajacharit of Chandbardai. Limitations: These writers made lot of exaggerations to please their patron kings. Limitations of indian literary sources printing was not known. Everything was written on soft materials like birch bark, palm leaf, paper etc. Since the old manuscripts become fragile in course of time, they shot had to be manually copied. But At the time of copying, some errors tend to creep in or sometimes even additions are made. Alexanders Invasion finds no mention in Indian sources. Weve to reconstruct his exploits entirely on basis of Greek sources. Many of them religious in nature- while they give some idea on prevailing social conditions but hard to put it in context of time and place.
Notable writers Kalidasa malavikagnimitram is based on some events of the for reign of Pusyamitra sunga, dynasty which followed the mauryas. Abhgyanshakuntalam: glimpse of Guptas. Bhasa and Sudraka written plays based on historical events. Banabhatta harshacharita throws light on many historical facts vakpati wrote gaudauaho, based on the exploits of Yasovarman of Kanauj Bilhana vikramankadevachnrita describes the victories of the later Chalukya king vikramaditya. Kalhana his book rajatarangini. Biographical Writings Banabhattas Harshacharita 7th ad describes the early career of Harshavardhana- courtlife and social life in his age. 12th ad conflict between kaivarta peasants and Pala prince ramapala. Bilhanas vikramanakadevacharita vikramadity, the sixth.
These were compiled between 600 and 200. Manusmriti and Arthashastra are prominent among them. Kautilyas Arthashastra a book on statecraft was written in the maurya period. The text is divided into 15 chapters known as books. Different books deal with different subject matter concerning polity, economy and society. Even before plan the final version of Arthashastra was written in the fourth century. By kautilya, there appeared a tradition of writing on and teaching of statecrafts because kautilya acknowledges his debt to his predecessors in the field. Mudrarakshusha, a play written by vishakhadatta, also gives a glimpse of society and culture.
Provides details of contempary kings in Magadha, har and East. Ashokan edicts are also in this language. Since the modern historians have discarded most of the dynasties mentioned in the puranas and Mahavira and Buddha are considered historical personalities, only those portions of the puranic dynastic lists have been accepted which are supplemented and supported by the buddhist and jaina literature. Jataka stories These are buddhist books Before he was born as gautama, the buhddha passed through more than 550 births, in many cases in animal-form. Each birth story is called Jataka. There are more than 550 such stories. Throw light on socio-economic conditions between 5BC to 2BC. Dhamasutras and the Smritis these are rules and regulations for the general public and the rulers It can be termed in the modern concept as the constitution and the law books for the ancient Indian polity and society. These are also called Dharmashastras.
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Because of these pathas, no interpolations in the vedas are possible. Vedanga six vedangas (limbs of Vedas) were evolved for the proper understanding of the vedas. Siksha (phonetics) Kalpa (rituals) vyakarna (grammar) Nirukta (etymology) Chhanda (metrics) jyotisha (astronomy) Sutra each vedanga has developed a best credible literature around it which are in the sutra form. This is a very precise and exact form of expression in prose which was developed by the ancient Indians. Paninis Ashtadhyayi, book on grammar in eight chapters is the final culmination of this excellent art of writing in sutra (precepts) in which every chapter is precisely interwoven. Later Vedic Literature Brahmanas elaborate on vedic rituals Aranyakas give discourses on different spiritual and philosophical problems. Upanishads Sulvasutra prescribe measurements for sacrificial altars.
Mark the beginning of study of geometry and maths. Srautasutra account of royal coronation ceremonies Grihyasutra domestic rituals with birth, naming, marriage, funeral etc. Jain and Buddhist Literature literature written in notes jain Prakrit was a form of Sanskrit language buddhist Pali as the form of Prakrit language which was in vogue in Magadha/South Bihar. Most of the early buddhist literature is written in this language. With the buddhist monks it reached Sri lanka, where patient it is a living language.
In the puranas and epics, we find genealogies of kings and sometimes their achievements. But it is difficult to arrange them in chronological order. Puranic literature helps tracing Lord Ram of ayodhya around 2000B.C. But the extensive exploration in ayodhya donot show any settlement around that date. Similarly, lord Krishna can be traced to 200 bc-300AD.
But excavations in Mathura, donot attest his presence. Counter argument: The epics Ramayana and Mahabharata have undergone several editions through ages, hence difficult to tie up with specific era. Vedic Literature The four Vedas: we cannot find much trace of political history in the vedas, but can have reliable glimpses of the culture and civilization of the vedic period. Vedic literature are entirely in a different language, which can be called the vedic language. Its vocabulary contains a wide range of meaning and at times different in grammatical usages. It has a definite mode of pronunciation in which emphasis changes the meaning entirely. This is the reason why an elaborate means to protect and preserve the mode of pronunciation of the vedas have been devised. By the means of Ghana, jata and other types of pathas we can not only determine the meaning of the mantras but also can hear the original tone on which these were sung thousands of years ago.
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Fifth stage in 12AD 6000 verses 12000 verses and fuller finally 24000 verses. As a whole, this text seems to have been composed later than Mahabharata. Mahabharata, vyas reflects the state of affairs between 70BC to 4ad originally 8800 verses, collection dealing with victory. Later raised to 24000 verses- came to be known as Bharata after Bharat tribe final compilation: 1 lakh verses and came to be known as Mahabharata or Satasahasri samhita. Didactic portion from Post maurya, gupta times. Puranic Literature: Limitations Most of the ancient literature is religious in nature, and those which are claimed to be history by Indians,. E., puranic and epic literature, contain no definite dates for events and kings.
Many scholars think that this also points to the fact that perhaps the puranas were completed during the reign of pool Parikshit. In the context of the puranas it may be remembered that in ancient India, itihas was looked upon as a means to illuminate the present and future in the light of the past. The purpose of history was to understand and inculcate a sense of duty and sacrifice by individuals to their families, by the families to their clans, by the clans to their villages and by the villages to janapada and Rashtra and ultimately to the whole. History was not meant to be an exhaustive compendium of the names of the kings and dynasties and their achievements etc. The two great epics, the ramayana and the mahabharata, may also be used as a source. It is generally held that there have been constant interpolations in these works. The puranas may not satisfy the modern definition of historiography or those who wrote it may not have been awe of the historians crafts, but they seem fully aware of the purpose of their work and the purpose of history itself. Ramayana, valmiki composition started in 5BC. Passed through five stage.
of time vamsa genealogical list of kings and sages vamsanucharita life stories of some selected characters Later on description of the tirthas (sacred places. They speak of four ages Krita Treta dvapara kali each succeeding age is depicted worse than the preceding- show decline in the moral values and social institutions. They speak about several eras: era starts in vikrama samvat 57bc shaka samvat 78ad gupta era 319ad narration of Puranas were a part of the annual ritual in every village and town during the rainy season and at the time of festivals. It was treated as a powerful vehicle of awakening of cultural and social consciousness. In all the puranas royal genealogies are dealt with the reign of Parikshit, the grandson of Arjun, as a benchmark. All the earlier dynasties and kings have been mentioned in past tense. While the latter kings and dynasties have been narrated in future tense. This may be because of the fact that the coronation of Parikshit marks the beginning of Kali Age.
Study of coins: numismatics study of monuments, material remains : Archeology, indian Tradition of History Writing, many foreign scholars opined that Indians had no sense of history golf writing and whatever was written in the name of history is nothing more than a story without any. But this appears to be a very harsh judgment. Because the knowledge of history was given a very high place in ancient India. It was accorded sanctity equal to a veda. Atharvaveda, brahmans and Upanishads include Itihas-Purana as one of the branches of knowledge. Kautilya in his Arthashastra (fourth century. C.) advises the king to devote a part of his time every day for hearing the narrations of history.
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Sources of Ancient History 1: Literary sources: Puranic Literature, vedic Literature, later Vedic Literature, jain and Buddhist Literature. Kautilyas Arthashastra, limitations of indian literary sources, sangam Literature. Foreign Accounts, greek writers, chinese Travelers, arab Historian: Al-Beruni 2: Archaeological sources. Carbon-Dating principle, inscriptions, ashokan Inscription, coins/numismatics, excavations. This Ancient India article series is based on: Old ncert class 11: Ancient India by arma (1990). Old ncert class 11: Medieval India by meenaxi jain (2002). Sources of Ancient History literary sources, vedic, sanskrit, pali, prakrit and other literature and foreign accounts. Archaeological epigraphic, numismatic and architectural remains, archaeological explorations and excavations friend study of development of scripts: palaeography. Study of inscriptions: epigraphy.