Notes of Chapter 10 New Empires and Kingdoms Class 6th History

Prashastis

• Prashasti is a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘in praise of’ which were composed for some of the rulers.

• In Samudragupta’s prashasti the poet praised the king in glowing terms - as a warrior, as a king who won victories in battle, who was learned and the best of poets.

• Various maps are drawn as per the information provided by prashastis.

Genealogies

• Most prashastis also mention the ancestors of the ruler.

• Inscriptions and coins provides information about Chandragupta II, son of Samudragupta.
→ He led an expedition to western India, where he overcame the last of the Shakas.

Harshavardhana and Harshacharita

• Some information are also provided from the biographies of kings.

• Banabhatta, a court poet of Harshavardhana wrote his biography, the Harshacharita, in Sanskrit.
→ This gives us the genealogy of Harsha, and ends with his becoming king.
→ Xuan Zang also spent a lot of time at Harsha’s court and left a detailed account of what he saw.

The Pallavas, Chalukyas and Pulkeshin's Prashasti

• During this period, the Pallavas and Chalukyas were the most important ruling dynasties in south India during this period.

• The kingdom of the Pallavas spread from the region around their capital, Kanchipuram, to the Kaveri delta.

• The Chalukyas was centred around the Raichur Doab, between the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra.

• Aihole, the capital of the Chalukyas, was an important trading centre.

• The Pallavas and Chalukyas frequently raided one another’s lands.

• The best-known Chalukya ruler was Pulakeshin II.
→ The information about him is provided by a prashasti, composed by his court poet Ravikirti.
→ According to Ravikirti, he led expeditions along both the west and the east coasts.
→ He defeated Harsha.

How were these Kingdoms administered?

• Land revenue remained important for these rulers.

• The village remained the basic unit of administration.

• Administrative posts became hereditary, one person held many offices and important people influenced local administration.
→ They maintained a well-organised army.
→ Military leaders, called samantas, provided troops to the king.

• Kings adopted a number of steps to win the support of men who were powerful, either economically, or socially, or because of their political and military strength.
→ For instance: some important administrative posts were now hereditary.

• Due to this, some of these powerful men grew strong enough to set up independent kingdoms.

A New Kind of Army

• Some of these kings maintained a well-organised army, with elephants, chariots, cavalry and foot soldiers.

• Also, there were military leaders who provided the king with troops whenever he needed them.
→ They collected revenue from the land and used this to maintain soldiers and horses, and provide equipment for warfare. These men were known as samantas.

Assemblies in the Southern Kingdoms

• The inscriptions of the Pallavas mention a number of local assemblies.
→ These included the sabha, which was an assembly of brahmin land owners functioned through sub-committees, which looked after irrigation, agricultural operations, making roads, local temples, etc.

• The ur was a village assembly in the areas where the land owners were not brahmins.

• The assemblies were controlled by powerful merchants and landowners.

Ordinary People in the Kingdoms

• The lives of ordinary people can be taken from plays, and other accounts.

• The plays of Kalidasa depicted life in the king’s court.

• The kings and brahmins were shown speaking Sanskrit, while ordinary men and women spoke Prakrit in these plays.

• The Chinese pilgrim Fa Xian noticed the practice of untouchability by the high and powerful people.

• Banabhatta provided an account of the marches of the large armies of the king.

NCERT Solutions of Chapter 10 New Empires and Kingdoms

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