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Book Code: 9788121214285

G. P. Singh

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Of all the countries of the ancient world, it was India that attracted the utmost attention of ancient Greeks and Romans. The classical accounts of India is the best of all foreign accounts of ancient India that have come down to us.

This is a pioneering work in the field of the study of Greek and Roman accounts of ancient India. In this work, the author has brought to light the facts discovered by the classical writers regarding geography and ethnography of India, Indian society, economy, polity, religions and philosophies, foreign expeditions into and invasions of India, Magadha from the extinction of Nanda rule to the foundation of Maurya dynasty, accession of Candragupta called Sandrakottus and his political achievements, kingdoms and principalities of India, foreign rule and influence in India, Indian influence on Western culture and thought, relations between the East and the West-political relations between India and Persia, diplomatic and friendly relations of the Mauryas with the Hellenic rulers of Syria and Egypt, and relations between India and the Roman Empire-, towns and cities in India, artistic heritage of India, educational, paleographical and chronological systems of India, and other aspects of Indian history, culture and civilization. This work is no doubt of inestimable value.


The author, Dr. G.P. Singh, is Emeritus Professor of History. He was formerly Professor Emeritus in the Department of History, University of Manipur, Imphal. He is former Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London and former member of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. He has authored fifteen books and about a hundred research papers and essays on different aspects of Indian history and historiography.


Transliteration Chart xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgements xv

Abbreviations xvii

Book One:
1. Purpose, Scope, Method and Utility of the Work 3
2. Classical Sources and their Value: A Critical Estimate 11

Book Two:
Geography and Ethnography
1 Geographical Setting: Land and the People 71
2. Ariana – The Land of the Aryans 87
3. The Non-Aryan Races and Tribes: Their Settlement 95
Patterns, Antiquity, Ethnology and Identification

Book Three:
Society and Economy
Preliminary Remarks 113
1. Social Divisions : Classes and Castes 117
2. Social Life, Customs, Traditions and Institutions 121
3. Positions and Status of Women in the Society 135
4. Agrarian and Agricultural System 139
5. Natural, Mineral and Commercial Products 145
6. Arts, Crafts and Indigenous Industries 155
7. Trade and Commerce: Internal and External 165

Book Four:
Political System: Polity and Administration
Introductory Remarks 215
1. Monarchical and Non-Monarchical Forms of Government 225
2. Administrative System 291
Index 311

Book Five
Religions and Philosophies
1. Religious Beliefs and Practices 331
2. Brahmanism, Buddhism and Jainism 337
3. Christianity in India 355

Book Six
Foreign Expeditions and Invasions
1. Pre-Persian Foreign Expeditions: Mythical and 361
Historical Accounts
2. Persian Invasion and Domination (558 – 330 BCE) 375
3. Macedonian Invasion (327 – 325 BCE) 383

Book Seven
Kings and Kingdoms
1. The kingdom of Magadha from the Extinction of Nanda 437
Rule to the Foundation of the Maurya Dynasty with
Special Focus on the Rise of Candragupta and his Accession
2. Chandragupta Maurya and His Political Achievements 449
3. Kingdoms and Principalities 459

Book Eight
Foreign Rule and Influence
1. The Greek Rule in Bactriana, Ariana and Other Parts 477
of India
2. The Rule of the Sakas in India 487
3. The Parthian Rule in North-West India 493
4. Foreign Influence on Indian Civilization and Indian 501
Influence on Western Culture and Thought

Book Nine
Relations Between India and the West
1. Political Relations between India and Persia 523
(Sixth to Fourth Centuries BCE)
2. Diplomatic and Friendly Relations between the Maurya 529
Empire of Northern India and the Hellenic Kingdoms of
Syria and Egypt (The Fourth and Third Centuries BCE)
3. Relations between India and the Roman Empire with 537
Prime Focus on Indian Embassies to the Roman Emperors,
Augustus to Justinian (First Century BCE – Sixth
Century BCE)

Book Ten
Towns and Cities
General Remarks 549
1. Towns and Cities in North India 559
2. Towns and Cities in Eastern, Western, Central and 565
Southern India
3. Growth and Decay of Urban Centres in Northern and 585
North-Western India

Book Eleven
Splendour of Art
1. Evolution of Art 687
2. Architecture, Sculpture, Iconography and Painting 697

Book Twelve
Education, Palaeography and Chronology
1. Education and Learning 711
2. Evolution of the Art of Writing 717
3. Systems of Chronology 723

General Conclusions and Observations 727

General Bibliography 739

Index 765

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