He omits the nations from Uttarapatha like the Kamboja and Gandhara. The more extended horizon of the Bhagvati and the omission of all countries from Uttarapatha "clearly shows that the Bhagvati list is of later origin and therefore less reliable. Anga was annexed by Magadha in the time of Bimbisara. This was the one and only conquest of Bimbisara. It included areas in present-day Andhra Pradesh , Telangana , and Maharashtra. They are placed in the north-west in the Markendeya Purana and the Brhat Samhita.
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Etymology[ edit ] The Sanskrit term janapada is a tatpurusha compound term, composed of two words: janas and pada. Jana means "people" or "subject" cf. Latin cognate genus, English cognate kin. The word pada means "foot" cf. Latin cognate pedis ;   from its earliest attestation, the word has had a double meaning of "realm, territory" and "subject population" cf. Hittite pedan, "place". For the sense of "population of the land", padasya janas, the inverted padajana would be expected. A primary meaning of "place of the people", janasya padam, would not explain why the compound is of masculine gender.
An original dvandva "land and people" is conceivable, but a dual inflection would be expected. The earliest mention of the term "janapada" occurs in the Aitareya 8. The samiti was a common assembly of the jana members, and had the power to elect or dethrone the king. The sabha was a smaller assembly of wise elders, who advised the king. Various kulas clans developed within the jana, each with its own chief. Gradually, the necessities of defence and warfare prompted the janas to form military groupings headed by janapadins Kshatriya warriors.
This model ultimately evolved into the establishment of political units known as the janapadas. According to the political scientist Sudama Misra, the name of the Panchala janapada suggests that it was a fusion of five pancha janas.
Misra theorizes that these smaller janas were conquered by and assimilated into the larger janas. Their disestablishment can be attributed to the rise of imperial powers such as Magadha within India, as well as foreign invasions such as those by the Persians and the Greeks in the north-western South Asia. The head of a kingdom was called a rajan or king.
A chief purohita or priest and a senani or commander of the army who would assist the king. There were also two other political bodies: the sabha , thought to be a council of elders and the samiti , a general assembly of the entire people.
Sometimes, large forests, which were larger than the kingdoms themselves, formed their boundaries as was the case of Naimisha Forest , the NaimishaAranyam between Panchala and Kosala kingdoms. The cities and villages[ edit ] Ahichchhatra or Ahi-Kshetra was the ancient capital of Northern Panchala. The remains of this city has been discovered in Bareilly. Some kingdoms possessed a main city that served as its capital. Ahichatra was the capital of Northern Panchala whereas Kampilya was the capital of Southern Panchala.
Kosala Kingdom had its capital at Ayodhya. Apart from the main city or capital, where the palace of the ruling king was situated, there were small towns and villages spread throughout the kingdom, from which tax was collected by officers appointed by the king. What the king offered in return was protection from attack by other kings and robber tribes, as well as from invading foreign nomadic tribes.
The king also enforced law and order in his kingdom by punishing the guilty. In the ganas or republican Janapadas called Gana-Rajya with no kings, the council of elders also handled administration. A samiti was congregated when a matter of importance had to be communicated to the entire city-state. A samiti was also held at the time of festivals to plan, raise revenue and conduct the celebrations.
Janapada The Janapada assembly represented the rest of the Janapada, possibly the villages, which were administered by a Gramini. The existence of Paura and Janapada itself is a controversial matter. Jayaswal have argued that the existence of such assemblies is evidence of prevalence of democracy in ancient India.
Misra notes that the contemporary society was divided into the four varnas besides the outcastes , and the Kshatriya ruling class had all the political rights. Altekar , this theory is based on a misunderstanding of the text: the term "Paura" in the relevant portion of the Dharmasutra refers to a resident of the city, not a member of the city assembly. Once again, Altekar argued that these conclusions are based on misinterpretations of the literary evidence.
For example, Jayaswal has wrongly translated the word "amantra" in a Ramayana verse as "to offer advice"; it actually means "to bid farewell" in proper context. There was no border security for a kingdom and border disputes were very rare. One king might conduct a military campaign often designated as Digvijaya meaning victory over all the directions and defeat another king in a battle, lasting for a day.
The defeated king might sometimes be asked to give a tribute to the victorious king. Such tribute would be collected only once, not on a periodic basis. The defeated king, in most cases, would be free to rule his own kingdom, without maintaining any contact with the victorious king. There was no annexation of one kingdom by another. Often a military general conducted these campaigns on behalf of his king. A military campaign and tribute collection was often associated with a great sacrifice like Rajasuya or Ashvamedha conducted in the kingdom of the campaigning king.
The defeated king also was invited to attend these sacrifice ceremonies, as a friend and ally. The Kuru clan of Kings was very successful in governing throughout North India with their numerous kingdoms, which were formed after each successive generation.
Similarly, the Yadava clan of kings formed numerous kingdoms in Central India. Parts of western India were dominated by tribes who had a slightly different culture, considered non-Vedic by the mainstream Vedic culture prevailing in the Kuru and Panchala kingdoms. Similarly, there were some tribes in the eastern regions of India considered to be in this category. Very little was mentioned in the ancient Indian literature about the kingdoms to the North, beyond the Himalayas. China was mentioned as a kingdom known as Cina, often grouped with Mleccha kingdoms.
Janapadas and Mahajanapadas
Etymology[ edit ] The Sanskrit term janapada is a tatpurusha compound term, composed of two words: janas and pada. Jana means "people" or "subject" cf. Latin cognate genus, English cognate kin. The word pada means "foot" cf. Latin cognate pedis ;   from its earliest attestation, the word has had a double meaning of "realm, territory" and "subject population" cf. Hittite pedan, "place". For the sense of "population of the land", padasya janas, the inverted padajana would be expected.
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