Chapter Notes and Summary
• Iron Tools and Agriculture : Iron came into use around 3000 years ago. About 2500 years ago, use of iron tools increased. These included axes for clearing forests and expanding land, and iron plough share in increasing production.
• Increased Production and Irrigation : Apart from new tools and system of transplantation which increased production, irrigation was also used. For this purpose, canals, wells, tanks, and artificial lakes were built.
• Landowners and Labourers : In south, large landowners (vellalar), ploughmen (uzhavar), landless labourers and slaves (kadaisiyar and adimai) were amongst main community members. In northern parts, village headman (grama bhojaka) was hereditary, who was biggest landowner and used to collect taxes for King.
• Earliest Tamil Compositions : Sangam literature was composed 2300 years ago. It was called as Sangam because it was written and compiled in Assemblies known as Sangams of Poets which were held in city of Madurai.
• Meaning of Sangam : word Sangam refers to an ‘academy’. Sangam age is regarded as Golden Age of Tamil Literature. Sangam literature consists of two thousand three hundred and seventy one poems.
• Findings About Cities : Jatakas were stories composed by ordinary people, but written and preserved by Buddhist monks. Other kinds of evidences to find out about life in some of early cities are sculptors’ carved scenes depicting people’s lives.
• Cities and Travel Accounts : Another way of finding out about early cities is from accounts of sailors and travellers who visited these cities and kingdoms.
• Coins : Punch marked coins, which were in use for about 500 years, were called so because designs were punched on to metal- silver or copper.
• Cities and its Functions : Mathura was important because it was located on crossroads of two major routes of travel and trade from North-West to East and from North to South. Mathura was also a production centre of fine sculptures.
• Crafts and Craftspersons : Extremely fine potteries known as Northern Black Polished ware were produced.
There were famous centres such as Varanasi in North, and Madurai in South.
• Arikamedu : Between 2200 and 1900 years ago, Arikamedu was a coastal settlement where ships unloaded goods from distant lands. A massive brick structure, which may have been a warehouse, was found at site.
• Elsewhere in World : Rome, a city of Italy was developed around same time as Mahajanapadas. Rome was capital of one of largest empires of that period. It spread across Europe, North Africa, and West Asia.
Chapter Notes and Summary