Traditions and Encounters, AP Edition (Bentley), 5th Edition

Chapter 9: State, Society, and the Quest for Salvation in India


This chapter addresses the significant developments in classical India between about 520 B.C.E. and 550 C.E., during which two influential empires emerged in northern India: the Mauryan and the Gupta. Although these two state systems were not permanent, they contributed to the growth of long-distance trading networks, the consolidation of cultural traditions, and the promotion of several significant religions. More specifically, India, during this period of one thousand years or so, witnessed the following important developments:

  • A high volume of manufacture and trade with regions as far east as China and as far west as the Mediterranean basin
  • The consolidation of the social traditions of patriarchal families and caste distinctions, the latter becoming more elaborate with the appearance of subcastes called jati, which were usually based on occupation
  • The emergence and spread of salvation-based religions: Jainism, Buddhism, and popular Hinduism
Traditions & Encounters, 5e
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