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Chapter 01. Sources Of Ancient Indian History (Indian History Notes)

Chapter 1 SOURCES OF ANCIENT INDIAN HISTORY

Introduction

Generally, Ancient History of India is divided into three periods – Palaeolithic period (pre-historic period); Mesolithic period (Prime historic period) and Neolithic period. The three stone ages (old, middle and new) are known as prehistoric period and there is no written evidence found for the study of that period. Though with the help of different sources we are able to study it in a chronological order. These sources include coins, monuments, old weapons, toys and ornaments, etc. For the study of ancient history in a good chronological order we need to divide the different sources into three broad divisions – (1) Literary sources (2) Archaeological sources (3) Accounts of foreign travellers and writers.
Literary Sources
Brahmans and Vedic literary Source
The Vedas
The word ‘veda’ originated from the root ‘vidi’, i.e. to know, signifying knowledge. It is also known as Shruti (to hear).
There are four vedas – the Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.
Rigveda
The Rigveda is the oldest one, and therefore, is also known as ‘the first testament of mankind’. It must have been composed around 1700 B.C. The first three vedas are known as ‘Trayi’.
It has 1017 hymns (Sukta) and is divided into ten mandalas.
After the addition of the eleven Bal Khilya Sutra the total no. of hymns becomes 1028. The tenth mandala, said to have added later as its language differs from the other nine mandalas, contains the famous Purushasukta explaining the four varnas (Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra) born from the mouth, arms, thighs and feet of the creator. Thus, the Rigveda has 10 Mandalas, 1028 Suktas and 10,580 Richas.
The 7th and 2nd Mandalas were the very first composition, later on the other mandalas were composed. The 7th and 2nd Mandalas are called ‘Vansha Mandal’; the handwritten script of 8th mandal is called ‘Khila’ and the 1st and 10th are known as ‘Kshepak’.
Yajurveda
It has 40 chapters and 2000 hymns. It is a ritual veda and has two main texts: Krishna Yajurveda and Shukla Yajurveda. It is also called the book of sacrificial prayers. Krishna Yajurveda contains mantras (hymns) and the Shukla has commentary in prose. Kasthak, Kapishthal, Maitrayani, Taittiriya and Vajasneyi are the five branches of Yajurveda in which the first four are related to the Krishna Yajurveda and the last one is to Shukla Yajurveda. Yajurveda is a good collection of hymns composed in both prose and poetry. Ishopanishad, the last chapter of Yajurveda, is philosophical and metaphysical whereas the rest of all parts of Yajurveda’s subject matter is the law and legislation of various yajanas.
Samaveda
The Samaveda is a collection of melodies. It has 1549 Shlokas (richas) but except 78 all the rest of the hymns have been borrowed from the Rigveda. These were meant to be sung at the time of soma sacrifice. Samaveda has two parts:
Purvarchika (having six subdivisions called ‘Apathaka) and Uttrarchika (having nine subdivisions called ‘Prapathaka). To the historical point of view the Samaveda has less importance.
Atharvaveda
It is the latest of the four. It describes the popular beliefs and superstitions of the humble folk. It is divided into 20 books volumes. It contains 731 hymns and 5,987 mantras.
About 1200 Mantras have been taken from the Rigveda. The hymns of Atharvaveda tell how to over come the evil spirit.
Shaunk and Pippalad are the two available branches of this veda. The Atharvaveda is also known as Brahmaveda or Atharvagirasveda. For a very long time it was not considered in the category of the Vedas. It is a book of magical formulae.
Points to Remember
► In Rigveda we have 40 rivers and the Saraswati river is called the mother of rivers.
The name of four oceans found in the Rigveda are Apar, Purva, Saraswat and Sharyajavat.
► 6 mandals from 2nd to 7th of Rigved are called Gotra Vamsha Mandalas (Kula Grantha).

Vedas Upvedas dealing with
RigDhanurvedaArchery
SamGandharvathe art of music
AtharvaAyurvedathe medical science
YajuSthapatyavedArchitecture

The Brahmanas
The Brahmanas were composed after the vedas to explain the hymns of the vedas. Every veda has several Brahmanas attached to it. Kausitiki and Aitareya are the Brahmans books of the Rigveda composed by Hotri priests. Aitareya has 40 chapters. Kausitiki is also called Sankhyayan Brahman.
‘Taittiriya is the Brahman of Krishna Yajurveda and Shatpath is attached to shukla Yajurveda composed by Adhvaryu priest Yagyavalka. It narrates the progress of culture from Kuru- Panchal to Videha. The one hundred chapters of Shatpath are divided into 14 sections which are very exhaustive and important of all the Brahmanas. The Samaveda has three Brahmanas i.e. Tandayamaha Brahman, Khadvisha Brahmana and Jaiminiya Brahman were composed by Udgatri priests.
The Gopath Brahman is attached to the Atharvaveda.
In his Mahabhashya, Patanjali has described thousands of branches of Samveda but only three branches, i.e. Kauthum, Ranayaniya and Jaimaniya are available.
The name of Rishabha and Arishtanemi (Jaintirthankar) are found in the Rigveda environment of jungles were called Aaranyak (the word aranyak means ‘the forest’). They deal with philosophical doctrines and mysticism to answer the various complex questions, related to human life. In fact, these are the concluding portion of the Brahmanas. There are seven Aranyakas, i.e. Aitareya, Sankhyayana, Taittiriya, Maitrayani, Madhyanandin, Talvakar and Jaiminiya. These books are opposed to sacrifices and rituals and lay emphasis on meditation and moral virtues to form a bridge between the Karma Marga (way of work) and the Gyan Marga (way of knowledge).

LITERARY SOURCES

The Upanishads
The word upanishad is a combined form of the two sanskrit word, i.e. upa and nishad which means to sit down near someone (here, the Guru) and get the secret knowledge by him. There are 108 upanishads, e.g. Jesh, Kath, Ken, Mandukya, Brihadaranyka, Mundaka, Chhandogya, Taittiriya, Aitareya and Kaushitiki are some important upanishads. The Upanishads are anti-ritualistic discussing the theories of creation of the universe and defining the doctrine of action with the goal to attain salvation through meditation and self-control. The Upanishads were composed by several learned saints between 800 and 500 B.C. The famous doctrine of Adwaitavad is ascertained in the Upanishads. The famous national statement ‘Satyameva Jayate’ has been taken from the Mundaka Upanishad.
All the works referred above are known as shrutis, which means ‘revelation’. The word shruti means ‘hearing’ and refers to the rhythms of the infinite hearing by the soul.
Vedangas
The six vedangas – Shiksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chhanda and Jyotisha were composed in the later Vedic period. Shiksha deals with the appropriate pronunciation of the Mantras. Kalpa is related to rituals, duties and sanskara.
Vyakarana deals with grammar and the science of language, Nirukta with etymology. Yaskacharya’s Nirukta is very famous.
Chhanda deals with rhyming scheme. Chhandasutra was composed by Aacharya Pingle. Jyotish deals with astronomy in which we find the proper calculation of the right position of the sun and the moon and various heavenly bodies to perform rituals and ceremonies. Jyothish vedanga is a famous book for it in which we get as many as 400 slokas.
Sutrars
Kalpasutra is quite famous among Sutra Literature. It has three parts – Srauta, Grihya and Dharma. Srauta Sutra explains the subjects of rituals and various types of yajnas ceremonies.
Sankhyanan, Aashvakayan, Latkayan, Kattyayana and Bodhayan are the chief compositions of Sutra literature.
Griha Sutra deals with various sanskaras and the four Ashramas, i.e. Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanprastha and Sannyasa of human life. Dharmasutra deals with the social life of the Vedic era in which various code of conduct and religious matters are explained. Besides these we have Kaushiki sutra (Medical science and remedies) and Sulva sutra.
Smritis
Smriti means ‘remembrance’. Smiritis, the auxiliary treatises of the vedas, are regarded as a part of the revelation. There are six famous smiritis: Manu smriti (of pre-Gupta period), Yajnvalkya smriti (of Pre-Gupta period), Narad smriti (of Gupta period), Parashara smriti (Gupta period) Brihaspati smriti (Gupta period) and Katyayana smriti (Gupta period).

Name of the Smritis Chief Commentators
ManuVishwarupa, Medghatithi, Govindraj
Kulluk Bhatt
Yajnavalkya, NaradVishwarupa, Vijnyaneshwar, Apararka
ParasharMadhavacharya

Puranas
The ‘Purana’ means ‘the old’. There are 18 ‘Puranas’ in which the Matsya purana is the oldest puran. These puranas describe the genealogies of various royal dynasties, i.e. Maurya, Andhra, Shishunag, Gupta, etc. The name of puranas are: Brahma, Padma, Vishnu, Shiva, Bhagvat, Narad, Markandey, Agni, Bhavishya Brahma-vaivartya, Linga Varah, Skanda, Vaman, Kurma, Matsya, Garur and Brahmand. Besides these there are 19 Upapuranas. Lomharsha or his son Ugrashrava is said to be the compiler of puranas.
Mahakavya (Epics)
There are two Mahakavyas (Epics), i.e. the Ramayana (Valmiki) and the Mahabharata (Ved Vyasa). The Ramayana the oldest epic of the world, is known as ‘Adi Kavya’. It consists of 24,000 shlokas divided into 07 Kandas (Bal Kand, Ayodhya Kand and Aranya Kand, Kishkindha Kand, Sundar Kand, Lanka Kand and Uttar Kand). The 1st and 7th Kand were the latest additions to the Ramayana. The Ramayana is said to be composed in 5th
century B.C. Originally it had only 6, 000 verses. Later on it became 12,000 and finally it has 24,000 shlokas.
The Mahabharat of Ved Vyasa is the longest epic of the world consisting of 1,00,000 shlokas in 18 parvans or chapters in which shanti parvan is the largest parvan. The Bhagavad Gita is extracted from the Bhishma Parvan of the Mahabharata.
The Mahabharata is said to be composed between 400 B.C. to A.D. 400. Originally it had only 8,800 shlokas under the name of Jay Samhita, later on it was called chaturvinshati sahastri samhita or Bharat consisting of 24,000 shlokas and finally it became Mahabharata or Shatasahastri Samhita with 1,00,000 shlokas. It is also called ‘Panchamveda’.
Darshans
Like Smritis, Vedangas and Upvedas, Darshans are also the auxiliary treaties of the vedas. There are six schools of Indian philosophy known as Shad-Darshans. These are Sankhya (Kapil), Yoga (Patanjali), Nyaya (Akshapad Gautam), Vaishesika (Uluka Kanada), Purva Mimansa (Jaimini) and Vedanta or Uttar Mimansa (Badarayana).
Buddhist Literature
Tripitaka
There are three tripitak – Vinay Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka. Pitaka means ‘basket’. The original texts were written on palm-leaves and kept in baskets. Therefore these works were called Pitaka. Sutta Pitaka is the gist of Buddha’s sayings, Vinay Pitaka explains the code and conduct of Buddhist organization. Abhidhamma Pitaka is divided into seven parts. Dighra Nikaya, Majjhim Nikaya, Samyukta Nikay, Anguttar Nikaya and Khuddaka (Kshudraka Nikaya) are the chief divisions of sutta-pitaka. Sutta Pitaka deals with the religions discourses of Buddha.
Deepvansha and Mahavansha present the chronicles of Sri Lanka dealing with the important events related to the various rulers and their administrations.
Milindapanhs (i.e. questions of Milinda, the gando-greck rules) presents dialogues between Menander and Buddhist saint Nagsen.
Sanskrit Texts
Buddha charitya, Saundarananda, Sutralankar, Sariputra Prakaran and Vajra suchi are famous books written by Ashwaghosha.
Pragyaparimita Karika are the sources of the contemporary historical materials. Visudhamagga, Atthakatha, Vasumitra’s Mahavibhasha Shastra and Nagarijuna’s Madhyamika Kuria are Sumangalvasini by Buddhaghosa supply us some important historical material with doses of religious messages.
Jatak Kathas
There are 549 or 547 tales describing the pre-birth stories of Buddha. These are the parts of art and literature and useful for the historical study of 3rd century B.C. They present a socioeconomic conditions of Mauryan Period.
Jain Literature
The literature of the Swetambaras is written in Ardhamagadhi Prakrit including 12 Angas, 12 Upangas, 10 Prakirnakas, 06 Chhedasutras, 04 Mulasutras and 02 Sutra Granthas. All the Jain granthas were compiled in the Council of Vallabhi in A.D. 516 in which we can find the exposition of about Prasenjit, Ajatshatru, Vimbishar etc. Parishtaparvan and Bhadrabahucharit supply the descriptions about Chandragupta Maurya. Parishistaparvan, Trishishta Shalaka, Purusham Choritra, Dwayashray Mahakavya, Mahaveer Charit, Kumarpal Charit are the important religious books helpful for the study of ancient history.
Secular Literature
Non-historical Sources
Arthashastra: It was composed by Kautilya (Chanakya). It gives a methodological analysis of political and economic conditions of the Mauryan period.
Mudra-rakshasa: It was written by Vishakh Dutt during Gupta Period. It explains the destruction of the Nandas by Chandra Gupta Maurya with the help of Chanakya.
Astadhyayee composed by Panini, is a grammar on which Patanjali has written annotation. Its name is Mahabhashya.
This book explains the conditions of Mauryan Period. Gargi Samhita describes the onset of the yavanas in India. Similarly, Kalidash’s Abhijnayan Shakuntalam and Malvikagnimitram explain the conditions of society and culture of the Gupta’s period. The fight between the Yavan and Pushyamitra Sunga is also mentioned in it. The Swapnavasvadutta of Bhasa throws light on the various events of the Gupta period. Buddha swami’s,‘Vrihadkata’, ‘Kshemendra’s. Vrihatkathamanjari, Somdeva’s, ‘Kathasaritsagar’ are the important books describing the ancient society and culture of India.
Mudrarakshasa and Devichandraguptam are the compositions of the Gupta period. The establishment of the Maurya dynasty, the fall of the Nanda Vansha, Ramgupta as well as Dhruvadevi’s story, all are explained by Vishakhadutta. King Harshavardhana of 7th century A.D. wrote Naganand, Priyadarshika and Ratnavali. In the very period his courtier poet Banabhatta wrote ‘Harshacharita’.
In all these compositions we gain the knowledge of Harsha’s kingship and administration.
Gaudvaho by Vakpatiraj explains the victory of king Yashovarman of Kannauj and the subjugation of Gauda.
Padmagupta Parimal wrote Navsahsanka Charit. It describes the various events of the Parmara of Malva. Vilhana in his epic Vikramank dev charitam has described the achievements of the King of Chalukya Vikramaditya (VI). Chand Bardai’s
(Prithviraj Raso), Jayanak’s Prithviraj Vijay and Kumarparpal Charit, Jaganakas’ Parmal Raso are some important compositions through which we understand the various events of Rajputana Period.
Historical Literature
In 12th century A.D Kalhana wrote ‘Rajtarangini’ describing about the rulers of Kashmir. Rajtarangini is considered to be the first historical book of India. Sandhyakar Nandi’s Ramcharit is also a historical creation describing the works and achievements of Rampal, the pal ruler of Bengal.
Sangam Literature
Sangam was a college or assembly of Tamil poets held under Royal patronage of Pandayan Kings in Madurai. It is said that the assembly lasted for 9,990 years and was attended by 8,598 poets and 197 pandyas. The narrative texts are called Melkannakku (consisting of 18 major works and 10 idylls) show that the early Tamil people were pastoral. These are heroic poetry giving ideas of the state formation in which the army consisted of the groups of warriors, and the taxation system and judiciary.
The didactic texts cover the early centuries of the Christian era.
Padnekilkanakku is called Kilakanakku (18 minor works) describes the code of conduct and occupations of various social groups. Kural or Muppal, a part of Padnekilkanakku, was written by Tiruvalluvar is called ‘The Bible of Tamil Land’.
The Three Sangam at a glance

Sl. No Venue Chairmanship Available texts No. of patron
I SangamTen-Mudurai (South)
(Old-Capital) of Pandayas
Agattiyar×89
II SangamKapatapuram/Alvai
(engulfed in sea)
Agastaya Tolakapiyyar
(grammar & poetics)
Tolkappiyam59
III SangamNorth MaduraiNakkirarEttutogai, Pattu-Pattu*
Patinenkanakku
49
*Ettutogai and Pattu-Pattu are called Melakanakku.

Sangam Epics: Silappadikaram, Manimekalai, Sivaga Sindamani, etc. Around the 6th century A.D. the two epics, i.e.
Silappadikaram (the story of the Anklet) and Manimekalai were composed. The first was written by Ilango Adigal which deals with the story of Kovalan and Madhavi of Kaveripattinam. Kovalan falls in love with Madhavi and forgets his noble wedded wife Kannagi. This epic is called ‘Illiad of Tamil poetry’. The Manimekalai, written by a grain merchant named Sittalai Sattanar, deals with the adventures of Manimekala, the daughter born of Kovalan and Madhavi. The authors of the two epics were friends who were the contemporaries of the Chera King Senguttuvan, who ruled in the 2nd century A.D. These epics reflects the social and economic life of the Tamils upto about the 6th century A.D. The Manimekalai is strongly tinged with Buddhism whereas the Sivaga Sindamani (Jivaka Chintamani), written by Jain Tiruttakradevas, is tinged with Jainism. Sivaga Sindamani shows the dominance of Sanskrit style over the indigenous style of the previous epics. Bharatam, a Tamil epic, was composed of Perudevanar. It also has great importance in Tamil literature.
Sangam Literature and their authors

Literature Authors Subject/nature/Hint
AgattiyamAgastyaA work on grammar of letters
Tolkappiyam (Tamil grammar)TolakapiyyarA treatise on grammar & poetry
Ettutogai (8 anthologies)– –Melkannakku combined form.
Pattu Pattu (10 idyls)– –Melkannakku combined form.
Patinenkilakanakku (18 minor works)– –A didactic work.
Kural (Muppal)TiruvalluvarA treatise on polity, ethics, social norms.
SilappadikaramIlango AdigalA love story of Kovalan Smadhavi
ManimekalaiSittalai SattanarThe adventures of Manimekalai
Sivaga SindamaniTiruttakadevarA sanskrit treatise
BharatamPerudevanarThe last epic
Pannirupadalam (grammar)12 disciples of AgastyaA grammatical work on puram literature
Kakkipadiniyam (Prosody)– –A work on prosody

KadambariBanbhatta
Ballal CharitAnand Bhatt
Katha Sarit SagarSomadeva
Kavya DarshaDandin
KirartarjuniyamBharavi
NitishatakmaBhartahari
VikramovarshiyamKalidas
CharudattaBhasa
Pratigya Yaugan dharayanaBhasa
Prayag PrasastiHarisena
Sankhya AkarikaIshwar krishna
Padartha DharmaSangraha
Vyasa Bhasya (A yogophi)Acharya Vyasa
Know more about Literature
Some important Literature/Books Writer
Anekant VijayHaribhadra Suri
KuvalaymalaUdyaodan Souri
KalpasutraBhadrabahu
Nyaya BhasyaVatsyayana
Mudra RakshasVishakha Dutt
MalvikagnimitramKalidas
RaghuvamsamKalidas
MeghdootamKalidas
RitusamaharKalidas
Mrichcha katikamShudrak
Kam SutraVatsyayana

 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOURCES

The systematic study of ancient buildings, monuments and work of art present evidences and knowledge about the ancient world. Coins, Inscriptions, Monuments and Material from excavations are the great sources through which we study about the old civilization and culture of ancient time.
Excavations
The credit for excavating the Pre-Aryan past goes to Sir William Jones of Asiatic Bengal Society (established on 1st Jan 1784). James Prinsep, the Secretary of ABS succeeded for the first time in deciphering the Brahmi script. Sir Alexander Cunninghum, the father of Indian archaeology, arrived India in 1831. He judged out the ruins of ancient site of Pre-Aryan Civilization. He judged out the ruins of ancient side of pre- Aryan culture. He was appointed Archaeological surveyor by the Indian Government.
Later on, in 1901, Lord Curzon revived this work and John Marshall was appointed as its director general and he discovered the cities Harappa and Mohenjodara. Rakhal Das Banerji, in 1922, found seals at Mohenjodaro. It was the remains of pre- Aryan civilization. Later on the sites were excavated under the direction of Marshall from 1924 to 1931.
Sir R.E. Mortimer Wheeler made important discoveries at Harappa after the Second World War. Indian epigraphists as Bhanu Daji, Bhagavanlal Indraji, Rajendralal Mitra and R.G.
Bahndarkar contributed in the excavations of new sites.
12 Angas – (Acharang Sutta, Suyagandang Sutta, Thanang, Samvayang Sutta, Bhagvati Sutta, Nayadhammakaha Sutta, Uvasagdasao Sutta,) etc. 11 Upangas – (Aupapatik, Rajprashniya, Jeevabhigam, Pushya Chulika, etc). 10 Prakirnanas-(Bhati Pariksha, Sanstar, Tandul Vaitalik, etc.) 06 Chhed Sutras– (Nisheeth, Mahanisheeth, Vyavahar, Panchkalpa, etc.) 04 Mula Sutras Uttradhyayan, Khadavshyak, Dashvaikali, Pakshik, Sutta, etc.).
Coins
The study of coins is called numismatics. Important historical facts are obtained through it. Samudragupta’s Aswameda coins, lion slayer coins reflect his ambitions and love of hunting. He has been seen playing on a lyre in a coin that gives an idea of his love of music. The Punch Mark Coins (of silver and copper) are the earliest coins of India. The Kushanas issued Gold coins depicting many deities on their coins. The coins of Vima Kadphises bear the figure of Lord Shiva. Thus, coins are helpful in discovering ideas about the complementary economic condition and provide facts with date that help us in fixing chronology. In Panini’s Astadhyayee, Brahmin literature and Upanishadas we find the descriptions of Vedic coins or currency named Nishka, Shatman, Suvarna, and Panishka. The Gold coins of Gupta’s period are quite important in this context.
Inscriptions: Inscriptions are the words cut on stone or metals. The study of inscriptions is called epigraphy.
Inscriptions are the most reliable evidence and are free from interpolations. Ashokas’s rock-cut edicts, pillar edicts, inscriptions of Kharvela and Allahabad Prasasti by Harisena and the inscriptions found at Khalimpur and Bhagalpur of the Gupta Age are important evidences.
Important Inscriptions
Samundragupta
► Prayag Prasasti Eran Prasasti Nalanda Copper Plate.
Chandragupta II
► Mehrauli Iron pillar Skandagupta
► Junagarh Prasasti • Bhitari Prasasti • Indore Royal Charter Buddhagupta Paharpur
► Copper Plate (R.C.) Bagaz Kui ins.
► Rigvedic Indian Gods, i.e. Indra, Varun, Mitra, etc.
Monuments
Monuments and buildings reflect the growth of material prosperity and the development of culture. The ancient monuments of Taxshila provide information about the Kushanas and its sculpture imparts the knowledge of Gandhar Kala. The Mauryan history is known by the Stupas, Chaityas and Vihars.
Famous Ancient Monuments (Indian and Foreign)

Monument Place
SarnathVaranasi
Ajant-AloraAurangabad
Dashavatar MandirDevgarh, Lalitpur
Bhitargaon’s brick templeKanpur
Parvati MandirNachan Kuthar
Shiva MandirDonda Platue, Java
Angakorvat MandirCambodia
BorobudoorJava
Bogajkoi and PercipolusTurkey
Vaishnan MandirKano Mountain Malaya

Some important literature/Books Writer

Some important literature/Books Writer
Amarkosha
Chandravyakarana
Panchatantra
Hitopadesha
Aryabhattiya
Dasajitika Sutra
Aryashtashata
Brihatsamhita
Panchasidhantika
Laghu and Brihat Jataka
Nitisastra
Natya Darpan
Kavyalankara
Dashpadarthashastra
Brahma Sidhanta
Charak Samhita
Astanga hridaya
Shalya Shastra
Ashwashastra
Nayayavatar
Visuddim agga
Praman samuchchay
Nyayapranesh
Bhattikavya
Tatvarthadhigam sutra
Mitakshara
Setubandh
Abhinav bharti
Shringar Prakash
Amarsimha
Chandragomin
Vishnu Sharma
Narayan Bhatta
Aryabhatta
Aryabhatta
Varahmihira
Varahmihira
Varahmihira
Varahmihira
Kamandaka
Ramchandra
Bhamaha
Dignaga
Brahmagupta
Charak
Vagbhata
Sushruta
Shalihotra
Sudhasena
Buddhaghosa
Ignaga
Dingnath
Bhatti
Umashwati
Vigyaneshwar
Pravarsen
Abhinv Gupt a
Bhoj

ACCOUNTS OF FOREIGN TRAVELLERS AND WRITERS

Before the arrival of Alexander, some Greek authors like Herodotus, Ktesia, Hiketious and Skylaix wrote some scripts of information about India. With the expedition of Alexander the great some men of letters came to India and took interest in Indian philosophy and culture. Among them Aristobulous, Aunesicritous and Neorkous are very famous. Megasthenes, the ambassador of Seleukos Nikator to Chandragupta Maurya, wrote a highly valuable account of India, in his book ‘INDICA’.
This book was translated by Maicrindal.
Tsumachin (100 B.C.) , the father of the history of China, was the first Chinese historian describing about India. Tibetian writer Lama Taranath wrote Kangyur and Tangyur through which we know about Shaka, Kushan and Parthians. In about 8th century A.D. close relationship sprouted between India and Arab countries. Arab writers and travellers started taking interest in writing about Indian society and its code and conducts which became a source of knowledge through which a datewise history could be constructed. Let us study the following chart.
Books of Foreign Travellers
Author Book Subject Greek Mega sthenese Ptolemy 2nd cent A.D.

AuthorBookSubject
Greek
Mega sthenese
Ptolemy 2nd cent A. D.
Ariens 2nd cent A.D.
Pliny 1st cent A.D.
Anonymous (A.D. 80)
. ..
. … ..
. … ..
. ..
Indica
Geography
Indica, Invasion of Alexander
Natural historia
Per iplus of the Erythreans Sea
Information of Mauryan India.
Geographical treatise on India.
Based on the contemporary
authors of Alexander
Trade relation between Rome and
India, Indian animal and plants.
Personal Voyage of Indian Coasts.
Chinese
Tsumachi n 1st cent. B.C.
. ..
Recor dofthe Buddhist Countries
Buddhi st record of the western
world
Ar ecord of Buddhistic religion
Life of HieunTsang
Personal opinion about India.
The Gupta Emperor – the 5th
cent .A.D.
Condition of India in the period
of Harshavardhan.
The Guptas under Sri Gupta in
the 7th Cent .A.D.
Accounts of Hiuen Tsang’s travel
in India.
Mohammadan
Writer
Ibne Khurdadab
9th Cent.A.D.
Suleiman
Almasudi
Albiruni
Ibna-Batuta
. ..
. ..
. ..
. ..
. ..
Kita bul Masalak wal Mamalik
Silsija-ul -Tavarish
Muruj-ul-Jahan
Rihla
Tarikh-ul-Hind
Indian society and trade ways.
Indian sea coast, conventions,
culture.
Indian society.
Contemporary Indian history.
India under the Kingship of
Muhammad Tughlaq

Some Remarkable Facts
1. Beal and waters translated the work of Hiuen-Tsang.
2. Herodotus is regarded as the father of History wrote ‘Historica’.
3. Hieun-Tsang is called the King of travellers who wrote ‘Si-Eu-Ki’
4. Takkusu translated ‘Si-Eu-Ki’ under the name of A record of the Buddhist region.

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