InMahaJ

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥

♠ Original name ♣ ♥

♠ Alternative names ♣ ♥

♠ Peak Date ♣ ♥


Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 600-324 BCE ♥

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ ♥

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ ♥

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ ♥
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣ ♥


♠ Language ♣ ♥

General Description

The Mahajanapada era ran from 450-605 CE.

Information cannot be found in the sources consulted regarding the polity's population, however the largest settlement is estimated to have had a population of between 12,000-48,000 people (based off the number of inhabitants of Rajagriha, the old Magadhan capital.)[1]

Excavations show there may been four types of settlements during this period, ranging from less than six hectares, up to fifty hectares, and other very small sites represented by simple ceramic findings, which may have been agricultural areas or farmsteads.[2]

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Will Farrell; Alice Williams; Enrico Cioni ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ ♥ squared kilometers.

♠ Polity Population ♣ ♥

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ [12,000-48,000] ♥ Estimating 50-200 inhabitants per hectares: "No more than 240 hectares for Rajagriha, the old Magadhan capital".[3]

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ 4 ♥ levels. Erdosy "recorded the presence of four distinct tiers of settlement in the Era of Integration between 600 and 350 BCE (Erdosy 1988 : 55). These included (1) Kausambi, which increased in size to 50 hectares, (2) two sites between 10 and 49.9 hectares, (3) two between 6 and 9.99 hectares and (4) seventeen less than 5.99 hectares. The smallest category of sites was represented by simple ceramic scatters and has been interpreted as agricultural sites, as they had no evidence of craft activities. Craft activities were represented in the next category, sites between 6 and 9.99 hectares, as slag was recovered from a number of those settlements surveyed. Erdosy has termed the next category, between 10 and 49.9 hectares, towns, and the site of Kara has provided evidence of metal, semi-precious stone and shell working and coins."[4]

♠ Administrative levels ♣ 4 ♥ levels.

"Although the family books [early Vedic texts] reflect differences in rank and some inequalities in wealth, these do not add up to distinct socio-economic classes in the sense of significant differences in access and control over basic productive resources. However, the absence of a class hierarchy does not mean that Rig Vedic society was egalitarian... the rajan stood at the top of the ladder of political and social power and status, the dasi [slaves] stood at the very bottom."[5] Territorial states did emerge towards the end of this period, c.600 BCE, based on Later Vedic texts and other sources.[6]

1. Clan Chief or rajan (or king after c.600 BCE) - "The word rajan (or raja) occurs many times in the family books of the Rig Veda. Since a full-fledged monarchical state had not yet emerged, this word is best translated as 'chieftain' or 'noble', rather than as 'king'. It is not always clear from the hymns whether the rajan was the chief of a tribe, clan, clan segment or several clans." [7]
2. Community or jana (made of many clans)[8]
3. Clan (a group of villages)[9]
4. Village headman (gramani)[10] Below the village headman was the patriarch of the family (kula). [11]


♠ Religious levels ♣ 2 ♥ levels.

1 Chief priest (purohit)
2 Priest [12]


♠ Military levels ♣ 4 ♥ levels. [13]

1. King
2 Commander-in-chief (senani)
3. Chief
4. Warrior

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ present ♥ [14] "The main offices within the palace of a raja of the late Vedic period would be held by the chief priest (purohit), the commander-in-chief (senani), the treasurer (samagrahitri), the collector of taxes (bhagadugha) and the keeper of the king's household (kshata)."[15]

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ present ♥ [16] "Hymns refer to warriors, priests, cattle-rearers, farmers, hunters, barbers, and vintners."[17]

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ present ♥ There was a chief priest/priest caste.[18] "The royal priest accompanied the rajan to battle, recited prayers, and supervised the performance of rituals. The importance of royal priests such as Vasishtha and Vishvamitra is reflected in many Vedic hymns."[19]"The main offices within the palace of a raja of the late Vedic period would be held by the chief priest (purohit), the commander-in-chief (senani), the treasurer (samagrahitri), the collector of taxes (bhagadugha) and the keeper of the king's household (kshata)."[20]

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ inferred absent ♥ Although on a very small scale, later Vedic texts refer to the royal household of the king having specialist functionaries which included the chief priest (purohit), the commander in chief (senani), the treasurer, the collector of taxes and the keeper of kings household (kshata). They did not have a state apparatus under them however: “The system of administration seems to have been fairly rudimentary.” [21] In light of the lack of concrete evidence for full-time, specialist bureaucrats and the apparent 'rudimentary' character of administration, we have inferred this variable absent.

♠ Examination system ♣ ♥ Inferred from small nature of royal household [22]. Also, we have coded full-time bureaucrats 'inferred absent'.

♠ Merit promotion ♣ ♥ Inferred from small nature of royal household and that no direct evidence for merit promotion has been found.[23] Also, we have coded full-time bureaucrats 'inferred absent'.

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ inferred absent ♥ Inferred from small nature of royal household and that no direct evidence for specialized government buildings has been found.[24]

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ inferred absent ♥ The presence of a formal legal system is not discussed in the literature, and is therefore presumed absent.[25]

♠ Judges ♣ inferred absent ♥ The presence of a formal legal system is not discussed in the literature, and is therefore presumed absent.[26]

♠ Courts ♣ inferred absent ♥ The presence of a formal legal system is not discussed in the literature, and is therefore presumed absent.[27]

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ inferred absent ♥ The presence of a formal legal system is not discussed in the literature, and is therefore presumed absent.[28]

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ present ♥ "The Rig-Veda contains much information about farming in general. There are references to ploughs and plough teams drawn by a number of oxen; to the cutting, bundling and threshing of grain; to irrigation canals and wells; and to such foods as milk, butter, rice cakes, cereals, lentils and vegetables....there is no reference to any transaction of land that can be carried out by an individual. Most probably, therefore, there was some form of common ownership of land."[29]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ present ♥ "The Rig-Veda contains much information about farming in general. There are references to ploughs and plough teams drawn by a number of oxen; to the cutting, bundling and threshing of grain; to irrigation canals and wells; and to such foods as milk, butter, rice cakes, cereals, lentils and vegetables....there is no reference to any transaction of land that can be carried out by an individual. Most probably, therefore, there was some form of common ownership of land."[30]
♠ markets ♣ ♥
♠ food storage sites ♣ ♥

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ ♥
♠ Bridges ♣ ♥
♠ Canals ♣ ♥
♠ Ports ♣ ♥

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ ♥

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ ♥ Unknown. There is no evidence to suggest the presence or absence of mnemonic devices during this time.
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ present ♥ "The earliest parts of the Rig-Veda, the oldest of the Vedas, may have been composed as early as, or even earlier than, 1700 BCE, but was written down only after 500 BC. For forty generations and more it was handed down by word of mouth by bards and poets, who chanted the sacred hymn and the ritual prayers."[31]
♠ Written records ♣ absent ♥ "The earliest parts of the Rig-Veda, the oldest of the Vedas, may have been composed as early as, or even earlier than, 1700 BCE, but was written down only after 500 BC. For forty generations and more it was handed down by word of mouth by bards and poets, who chanted the sacred hymn and the ritual prayers."[32]
♠ Script ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ inferred absent ♥ Although Sanskrit would be the text of the Rig Veda when written down after this period. [33]

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Calendar ♣ absent ♥ The Vedic Calendar existed at the time, but was not written down. [34]
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ absent ♥ "The earliest parts of the Rig-Veda, the oldest of the Vedas, may have been composed as early as, or even earlier than, 1700 BCE, but was written down only after 500 BC. For forty generations and more it was handed down by word of mouth by bards and poets, who chanted the sacred hymn and the ritual prayers."[35]
♠ Religious literature ♣ inferred absent ♥ Inferred from the fact that sacred texts had not been written down. "The earliest parts of the Rig-Veda, the oldest of the Vedas, may have been composed as early as, or even earlier than, 1700 BCE, but was written down only after 500 BC. For forty generations and more it was handed down by word of mouth by bards and poets, who chanted the sacred hymn and the ritual prayers."[36]
♠ Practical literature ♣ inferred absent ♥ Although military affairs would later be written down. [37]
♠ History ♣ inferred absent ♥ Although Chronology (nidhi) is a branch of learning later referred to in the Chandagya Upanishad (7.1.2)[38]
♠ Philosophy ♣ inferred absent ♥ Although ethics (ekayana), dialectics (vakovakya), and spiritual knowledge are all topics referred to in the Chandagya Upanishad (7.1.2), later written down [39]
♠ Scientific literature ♣ ♥
♠ Fiction ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Money

♠ Articles ♣ present ♥ Vedic civilization was a barter-only economy. Although gold pieces are mentioned, there is no evidence of money or coins proper being used. Cows were considered a source of value and may have been used in exchange. Kings collected 'tribute' in the form crops and cows. There was ritual gift-giving in the religious context. [40]
♠ Tokens ♣ inferred absent ♥ Presumed absent as there is no direct evidence for the use of tokens.[41]
♠ Precious metals ♣ present ♥ "Gift-giving and receiving do not rule out other kinds of exchange, but trade in the Rig Vedic context was probably minimal. Barter was the mode of exchange and cattle an important unit of value. The word nishka seems to have meant 'a piece of gold' or 'gold necklace', and there is no indication of the use of coins."[42]
♠ Foreign coins ♣ inferred absent ♥ "Gift-giving and receiving do not rule out other kinds of exchange, but trade in the Rig Vedic context was probably minimal. Barter was the mode of exchange and cattle an important unit of value. The word nishka seems to have meant 'a piece of gold' or 'gold necklace', and there is no indication of the use of coins."[43]
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ inferred absent ♥ "Gift-giving and receiving do not rule out other kinds of exchange, but trade in the Rig Vedic context was probably minimal. Barter was the mode of exchange and cattle an important unit of value. The word nishka seems to have meant 'a piece of gold' or 'gold necklace', and there is no indication of the use of coins."[44]
♠ Paper currency ♣ inferred absent ♥ "Gift-giving and receiving do not rule out other kinds of exchange, but trade in the Rig Vedic context was probably minimal. Barter was the mode of exchange and cattle an important unit of value. The word nishka seems to have meant 'a piece of gold' or 'gold necklace', and there is no indication of the use of coins."[45]

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ present ♥ Later Vedic texts mention messengers as an occupation. [46]
♠ Postal stations ♣ inferred absent ♥ Evidence for an organized postal system, and therefore postal stations, is not discussed in the literature and is therefore presumed absent. [47]
♠ General postal service ♣ inferred absent ♥ Inferred from rudimentary nature of the state. [48]

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Will Farrell; Alice Williams; Edward A L Turner ♥

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ ♥
♠ Bronze ♣ suspected unknown ♥ It is not known what material armor was made from.[49]
♠ Iron ♣ present ♥ It is not known what material armor was made from.[50] Ancient Indians used iron for armour cuirasses and breastplates but copper was also used.[51] First finds of iron weapons in northern India earlier than 1000 BCE and from at least 1000 BCE in Karnataka in south India where iron arrowheads, spears and swords have been found.[52]
♠ Steel ♣ suspected unknown: 600-451 BCE; inferred present: 450-300 BCE ♥ Steel technology was not present at this time. [53] Which time was mentioned specifically? Indian iron smiths invented the 'wootz' method of steel creation between 550-450 BCE. The Greek physician Ctesias of Cnidus commented on an Indian steel sword (or a sword of Indian steel?) in the possession of Artaxerxes II of Persia (c400 BCE).[54] At Naikund in Maharashtra: knowledge of steeling and hardening from 700 BCE.[55] Historical records show Indian steel was exported to Abyssinia in 200 BCE. (Biggs et al. 2013 citing Tripathi and Upadhyay 2009, p. 123).[56]

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ present ♥ Archaeological remains of this period (1100-500BCE) in Northwest India include iron javelin heads, along with other iron objects.[57]
♠ Atlatl ♣ absent ♥ New World weapon.
♠ Slings ♣ present ♥ Referring to Vedic texts: "Balls (guda) or metal or stone, to which the Epics refer, were hurled, presumably with the help of a sling."[58]
♠ Self bow ♣ present ♥ Inferred from mentions of bow, arrow and bow string makers in Vedic texts, in addition to the remains of arrowheads in burials in Baluchistan and in many PGW [Later Vedic] sites and levels. [59]
♠ Composite bow ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Crossbow ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later. [60]
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later. [61]
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later. [62]
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later. [63]
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later. [64]

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ absent ♥ Javelins, bows and various handheld weapons made of iron are present in the Later Vedic period, as shown by textual and archaeological evidence.[65] Other weapons are not mentioned and are therefore presumed absent.
♠ Battle axes ♣ present ♥ An iron axe has been found at Gandhara Grave in Pakistan, dating to c.1000 BCE.[66]
♠ Daggers ♣ present ♥ "Most of the artefacts found at PGW levels [Later Vedic] seem to be connected with war or hunting - arrowheads, spearheads, blades, daggers, and lances."[67]
♠ Swords ♣ present ♥ "Iron objects of various types - vessels, javelin heads, sword blades, arrowheads, spearheads, a horsehoe, and fishhook - have been found in cairn burial sites in Baluchistan... It is, however, difficult to data these burials. Some scholars data them between c.1100 and 500 BCE, but they may actually be much later".[68] The presence of swords has therefore been coded here, in the absence of evidence that the burials are from a different time period.
♠ Spears ♣ present ♥ "Iron objects of various types - vessels, javelin heads, sword blades, arrowheads, spearheads, a horsehoe, and fishhook - have been found in cairn burial sites in Baluchistan... It is, however, difficult to data these burials. Some scholars data them between c.1100 and 500 BCE, but they may actually be much later".[69] The presence of spears has therefore been coded here, in the absence of evidence that the burials are from a different time period.
♠ Polearms ♣ absent ♥ Javelins, bows and various handheld weapons made of iron are present in the Later Vedic period, as shown by textual and archaeological evidence.[70] Other weapons are not mentioned and are therefore presumed absent.

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ absent ♥ Dogs are not discussed in relation to warfare at this time.[71]
♠ Donkeys ♣ absent ♥ Donkeys are not discussed in relation to warfare at this time. [72]
♠ Horses ♣ present ♥ The later Vedic texts write about the occupations of people and mention that, "Chariots (rathas) were used for war and sport, and people rode on horses and elephants." [73]
♠ Camels ♣ absent ♥ Camels are not discussed in relation to warfare at this time. [74]
♠ Elephants ♣ present ♥ The later Vedic texts write about the occupations of people and mention that, "Chariots (rathas) were used for war and sport, and people rode on horses and elephants." [75]

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ suspected unknown ♥ It is not known what material armor was made from.[76]
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ suspected unknown ♥ It is not known what material armor was made from.[77]
♠ Shields ♣ inferred present ♥ Referring to Vedic texts: "The use of shields and protective armour is throughout in evidence."[78]
♠ Helmets ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Referring to Vedic texts: "The use of shields and protective armour is throughout in evidence."[79]
♠ Breastplates ♣ inferred present ♥ Referring to Vedic texts: "The use of shields and protective armour is throughout in evidence."[80] Presence of breastplates is inferred from a mention in a hymn to arms in the Rig Veda (Samhita 6.75): "I cover with armour those places on you where a wound is mortal."[81] The hymn does not mention the material of the armor.
♠ Limb protection ♣ inferred present ♥ In a hymn to arms (in the Rigveda Samhita 6.75) the use of gauntlets is mentioned: "It wraps itself around the arm like a serpent with coils, warding off the snap of the bowstring. Let the gauntlet, knowing all the ways, protect on all sides, a man protecting a man..." [82]
♠ Chainmail ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later.
♠ Scaled armor ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later.
♠ Laminar armor ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later.
♠ Plate armor ♣ absent ♥ Introduced later.

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Boats are mentioned in the Rigveda but it is not clear if they were for rivers or the sea, or whether they were used for military activity. [83]
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Boats are mentioned in the Rigveda but it is not clear if they were for rivers or the sea, or whether they were used for military activity. [84]
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ absent ♥ There is no evidence for the large scale organization of naval technology at this time. [85]

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Evidence for fortifications is not discussed in the literature.[86]
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ present ♥ "Ancient Rajagriha, the first capital of Magadha, dates from the early phase of the NBP or at least the sixth century BCE ... citadel surrounded by a mud rampart and a ditch outside the hill-girt valley ... There is a core of pre-NBP BRW occupation inside the hill girt area of Rajgir, which is also defended by a cyclopaean masonry wall at least at the major entrances to the valley. A recent survey (Harding 2003) has demonstrated that the only entrances were fortified; along the hilltops the so-called fortification wall was nothing more than a kind of marker defining the limits of the settlement."[87]
♠ Ditch ♣ present ♥ "Ancient Rajagriha, the first capital of Magadha, dates from the early phase of the NBP or at least the sixth century BCE ... citadel surrounded by a mud rampart and a ditch outside the hill-girt valley ... There is a core of pre-NBP BRW occupation inside the hill girt area of Rajgir, which is also defended by a cyclopaean masonry wall at least at the major entrances to the valley. A recent survey (Harding 2003) has demonstrated that the only entrances were fortified; along the hilltops the so-called fortification wall was nothing more than a kind of marker defining the limits of the settlement."[88] NBP = Northern Black Polished Ware. "Naulagarh is an unpublished NBP-bearing site of about one sq km and with a surrounding mud fortification wall ... basically unexcavated and lies, like Sikligarh, on the route which traveled east from Pataliputra by following the northern edge of the Ganga."[89]
♠ Moat ♣ present ♥ NBP = Northern Black Polished Ware. "Also lying on this route is Jai Mangal Garh, a roughly 80-100 acre NBP-bearing site which is clearly surrounded by a moat but is perhaps without fortification."[90] Moats around defensive walls are known in the Ganga valley in India from about 500 BCE, or perhaps earlier.[91]
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ inferred present ♥ "Ancient Rajagriha, the first capital of Magadha, dates from the early phase of the NBP or at least the sixth century BCE ... There is a core of pre-NBP BRW occupation inside the hill girt area of Rajgir, which is also defended by a cyclopaean masonry wall at least at the major entrances to the valley."[92] Have no idea whether this wall was dry stone or mortared. Moats around defensive walls are known in the Ganga valley in India from about 500 BCE, or perhaps earlier.[93]
♠ Fortified camps ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ present ♥ Coningham and Young describe a settlement surrounded by concentric walls, the old Magadhan capital of Rajgir: "Measuring just more than 5 metres wide, and surviving to heights of 3.7 metres, the wall was strengthened in places with rectangular bastions (Ghosh 1989 : 363) (Figure 10.19). An inner stone wall, 8 kilometres in circuit, further differentiated the settlement area in the interior, which had access to water from springs located within this inner wall (Marshall 1960 : 84)."[94]
♠ Long walls ♣ 0 ♥ km. Sources suggest the existence of a detailed military history of the Mahajanapadas, including the construction of defense structures; the fact that the creation of a long wall goes unmentioned, when it would have been an impressive achievement, suggests that such a structure was never erected.[95]
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ absent ♥

Phase II Variables (polity-based)

1000-500 BCE IMPORTANT NOTE Note from Phase I sheets ‘As with the Early Vedic period, most of the information about the Later Vedic period comes from the Vedic texts, many of which were composed at this time (but written down after this period). The Late Vedic texts include: Books 1, 8, 9 and 10 of the Rig Veda Samhita, the Samhitas of the Sama, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas, and the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads attached to all four Vedas.[96] The same caveats apply to these texts as to the Early Vedic texts, summarised by Singh (2008): firstly, the texts are primarily hymns used by elite members of society (a section of the Brahmanas) and are therefore not representative of the daily life of the majority of people at the time. Secondly, the date of the composition of the Vedic texts is uncertain, and so cannot be tied to a certain period. Thirdly, the earliest surviving manuscripts date to the 11th century CE, hundreds (or even thousands) of years after the texts were supposedly composed, leaving much room for alterations and the culmination of mistakes from the original compositions. There is also a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the translation of the texts which have survived, not least because the original core of the texts are not available and because of difficulties in interpreting words and phrases, whose meanings vary with the context in which they were written.[97] Nonetheless, the texts do contain a lot of information about Later Vedic society. There are references that suggest the presence of a king (raja) ruling over the clans. Later texts refer to the king as a “leader in battle” and a “protector of settlement and of people”.[98]

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ Greine Jordan ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ inferred present ♥ ‘In the later Vedic period groups of communities became part of a region or a state (janapada). The idea of kingship evolved gradually from clan chieftainship, but there was at first a control exercised on the king (raja) by assemblies (vidatha, parishad, sabha, samiti). By the end of the Vedic period the king’s authority was beginning to derive less from the support of such assemblies than from his own success in the struggle for power among his warrior-nobles. The hereditary element crept in with the further consolidation of power by the rajas, and from that point onwards the role of the courtiers or officers became critical. The main offices within the palace of a raja of the late Vedic period would be held by the chief priest (purohit), the commander-in-chief (senani), the treasurer (samagrahitri), the collector of taxes (bhagadugha) and the keeper of the king’s household (kshata).’ [99]
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Impeachment ♣ inferred present ♥ this is pretty tenuous but there is some evidence ‘The rajan of later Vedic texts is, like his Rig Vedic counterpart, a leader in battle. but he is also a protector of settlements and of people, especially Brahmanas. He is a custodian of the social order and sustainer of the rashtra (this term does not necessarily refer to a well-defined territory). Hereditary kingship was emerging. The Shatapatha and Aitareya Brahmanas refer to a kingdom of 10 generations (dasha-purusham rajyam). There are a few references (e.g. Atharva Veda 1.0:3.4) to the election of the king, but these probably amounted to a ratification of hereditary succession. There is an interesting reference to the Srinjayas expelling their king Dushtaritu Paumsayana from the kingdom, in spite of his 10 generations of royal descent. This was no doubt an exception to the rule. Later Vedic rituals exalted the supremacy of the king, both over his kinsmen and over his people. [100]

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ present ♥ By this period, "“the structural elements of the caste system were in place”. [101]

Religion and Normative Ideology

We are interested here in any systems of thought and behavior that can influence people's actions, which we term a Normative Ideology. Normative ideologies are thought-systems concerned with the correct behavior of people, governments/leaders, and other groups (and particularly the relationships between these groups).

Mainly, this will be a religious or ritual system. As usual, when we mention Religious or Ritual System our focus is on the 'official cult', defined the same way as in the Rituals section:

With the official cult we refer to the set of collective religious practices that are most closely associated with legitimation of the power structure (including elites, if any).

However, Normative Ideologies are not restricted to religious/ritual systems. They include other thought systems, such as philosophy or anything that prescribes a particular pattern of behaviour. An example is classical Greek philosophy, such as the works of Plato and Aristotle, who were concerned with correct or moral behaviour and whose thoughts influenced the actual practice of several societies (the empire of Alexander the Great, notably).

♠ RA ♣ Enrico Cioni ♥ The name of the research assistant or associate who coded the data. If more than one RA made a substantial contribution, list all.

Deification of Rulers

(‘gods’ is a shorthand for ‘supernatural agents’)

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. For example, rulers are blessed by gods; the institution of kingship is ordained by heaven

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ absent ♥ Vedic literature talks about the relationship between kings and gods, but they were not worshipped by their subjects as divine. [102]

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

These codes refer to acts undertaken without direct compulsion from or out of adherence to a religious system (religious aspects of prosociality are coded below)

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ absent ♥ "The [Rgvedic] poets frequently speak of violent conflicts and volatile political environments. Warfare and shifting alliances appear to have marked the successive waves of migration, and the Rgvedic hymns indicate that the tribes seek to unite under a powerful chieftain or sovereign ruler. The tribes also struggled with one another and with indigenous peoples, whom they ostracize—ritually, poetically, and martially—as the enemy other; that is, as snakes or literally “obstacles, ensnarers” (vRtra-) and “barbarians” (dasa-, dasyu-)." [103] "Females are defined by a patriarchal and misogynist tradition that characterizes them as fickle or even dangerous and values them for their subservience, sexuality, and reproductivity. Ritual participants reinforce such values as men can fulfill their ritual and social responsibilities only by being married and having sons. In addition, although some hymns are attributed to female poets, women are given little or no ritual responsibilities. Only two female figures have developed characters and receive any real attention in the Rgveda. The first, the motherly goddess PRthivi (“Earth”), is defined primarily by her role as the wife of Father Sky (Dyaus PitR). The second, the youthful goddess Uṣas (“Dawn”), drives away the darkness of the night when she entices the god Sun to rise. Her role is heavily ritualized as she may represent the first dawn of the New Year, and she also receives hymns and offerings in the early morning session of the sóma rite. While these two venerated females are generally presented in a positive light, there are many examples of Indra’s subjugation of heavenly and earthly realms, and an early poet praises Indra’s violence against the goddess Dawn as a “virile/manly act” (virya) and also a “masculine” one at that (paumsya)." [104]

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown
♠ production of public goods ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Public Goods refer to anything that incurs cost to an individual or group of individuals, but that can be used or enjoyed by others who did not incur any of the cost, namely the public at large. They are non-excludable and non-rivalrous goods. Examples are roads, public drinking fountains, public parks or theatres, temples open to the public, etc.

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ absent ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ absent ♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ absent_to_present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ inferred present ♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [105] [106] [107]

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