Shodasha Mahaa Janapadas 16 Great Territorial Kingdoms

Shodasha Mahaa Janapadas 16 Great Territorial Kingdoms

SHODAJA MAHAA JANAPADAS | Shodasha Mahaajanapadas | 16 Great Territorial Kingdoms

Shodaja / Shodaja=16.
Mahaa Janapada= Great territorial kingdom.
Age of second urbanization. (Indus valley civilization is the 1st urbanization)
This period is also called as the Pre-Mauryan age.
600 sites of this period have been discovered.
As there is no material change from 600B.C.-200B.C. archaeologists consider this period as a single unit. During that time there was only change in dynasties but not in material culture.
N.B.P.W=Northern Black Polished Ware.
N.B.P.W. always found with punch marked coins.
N.B.P.W- 600B.C.-200B.C.
Saurasena is in Madhura, Uttara Pradesh.

Buddha himself spoke in Pali.
Buddhist literature was composed in Pali.
Prakrit was very popular form Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
Sanskrit= Reformed.
Prakrit= Natural.
Many dialects in prakrit.
1. Magadhi- Ashokan inscriptions.
2. Arda-Magadhi- Adopted by Jains. Entire jain canonical literature was compiled in Arda Magadhi.
3. Sauraseni- Madhura region. Uttara Pradesh.
4. Maharastri Prakrit- Inscriptions of Satavaahanas. During later days Marati
Language was derived from Maharastri Prakrit.
5. Paishachi Prakrit-
6. Apasthamba- Gujarath region.
In Anguththara nikaya, one of the 5 Buddhist nikayas the list of 16 great territorial states found.
According to Huantsang, a Chinese pilgrim of 7th century A.D. Raajagriha was built by Bimbisara.

According to Anguththara Nikaya the 16 Maha Janapadas are
Anga  – Capital Champa (Eastern Bihar)
Magadha – Capital Rajagriha (other name- Girivraja) 1st fortified city in Indogangetic basin in post Harappan phase (Southern Bihar)
Kosala – It had 2 capitals.
(1) Sravasti
(2) Kushavathi both the places are in Uttarpradesh.
Kashi – Capital Varanasi (Varuna+ Asi  2 rivers)
Panchala (c) Ahichchtra- Modern Rae baraiely.  (Northern Capital)
(c) Kampilya Rohilkhand Uttarpradesh. southern capital
Kuru–              (c)Hastinapura (Uttar pradesh)
Vatsa–              (c)Kaushambi (Now Kosam)
Saurasena–       (c) Madhura (Uttar pradesh)
Vajji–               (c) Kaushambi (North Bihar)
Vajji is a confederation of 8 Kingdoms.
Vajji is known as Ashtakulika= Confederation of 8 kingdoms.
Vajji was ruled by an assembly of 8 rulers at a time.
Among the 8 kingdoms Lichchavians were powerful so they led the confederation. Lichchavian`s capital was Vajji.
Vriji, Vaideha, Jnatrika.
Mahavira belongs to Jnatrika clan and kingdom.
All the 8 kingdoms are in Bihar.
Malla–             (c) Pava puri – Mahavira`s death place.
(c) Kusinara – Buddha`s death place.
Malla was a republican state.
Matsya–           (c) Viratanagara. Bairat, near Jaipur.
Chchedi–         (c) Suktimati(also known as Trisvathirati) now in

Bundelkhand. Chchedis ruled the place between Yamuna
and Narmada.
Avanti             (c) Ujjain (Northern Capital)
(c) Mahishmati (S. Capital) on the banks of river     Narmada.
Gandhara       (c) Pushkalavathi (Peshawar)
(c) Taxila (Islamabad & Rawalpindi)
Kamboja        (c) Rajkot Pakisthan occupied Kashmir.
Asmaka          (c) Patola/Patana/Podana. Godavari basin.
Asmaka=Nanded of Maharasta+ Bodan of Nizamabad

Kingdoms are concentrated in the Ganges plains, while the republics are concentrated mainly in the Himalayan foothills.
Kingdoms occupied fertile land.
Republics were set up in less fertile and hilly areas.
Republics like kingdoms showed loyalty to territory not to tribe.

Koliyas and Sakyas were staunch rivals. Bone of contention was the waters of the river Rohini. Once Buddha intervened and stop the war for the water.
10 Gana Raajayas in the Buddhist Literature
In the Buddhist literature 10 Gana raajayas(Republics) were mentioned.
1. Sakyas of Kapilavasthu.
2. Nayas of Jnatrika (ruling Kundagrama)
Nayas= Jnatrikas.
Mahavira is known as Nayaputha. Son of Nayas.
3. Mallas of Kusinara.
4. Vaidehas of Mithila.
5. Koliyas of Ramagrama.
6. Moriyas of Pippalivahana.Ghorakpur region, Utthar Pradesh.
Moriyas= Peacock tamers.

7. Bhaggas of Sumsuma. Foot hills of Himalayas.
8. Kalamas of Kesaputha region.
9. Bulis of Alakappa region.
10. Lichchavis of Vaishali.
Mahavastu, a Buddhist text of 75B.C. !6 states were mentioned in the text.
Mahavastu= Great subject.
16 states were mentioned in Mahaavastu with a bit variation.
Instead of Gandhara and Kambhoja 2 new kingdoms were mentioned.
Dashrna (Madhyapradesh)
Sibi (Punjab)
Bhagavathi suthra, a jain text also does not make mention of Gandhara and Kambhoja, the 2 north west states.
Vanga and Malaya are mentioned by Bhagavathi Suthra.

Gandhara and Kambhoja might have not lost for long. That must be the reason some texts did not made mention of the two kingdoms. For sometime Gandhara and Kambhoja were under the Iranian sway.
According to Jain literature….
Dadivahana- Contemporary of Mahavira and Buddha.
Chandana- Princes of Anga. Daughter of Dadivahana.
Chandana/Chandramaala is the first woman to embrace Jainism.
Buddha spent somany days in Anga. On the banks of a tank Gaggara pushkarini. Gaggara pushkarini tank was build by the princes of Anga.
Brahmadatta, king of Anga was defeated by Bimbisara and his kingdom was captured by Bimbisara.
Anga was fertile as it was situated in the heart of Indo-Gangetic basin.
Anga had got a sea port- Tamralipthi.
Through out the ancient period on the eastern coast, Tamralipthi was very important. As Magadha was a land locked state, for Magadha, the control over Tamralipthi was very essential.

During the Vedic period there were 2 independent kingdoms.
Uttara kosala-à© Sravasti.
Dakshina Kosalaà © Kushavathi.
During the 6th Century B.C. Prasenajith was the ruler of Kosala.
Prasenajith was a graduate form Taxila university.
Prasenajith united Uttara Kosala and Dakshina Kosala.
Prasenajith also conquered Kashi.
Prasenajith`s sister Kosala mahadevi married Bimbisara. Bimbisara got Kashi as dowry.
Pali literature was giving huge informations about Kosala.
Kosala Janapada was mentioned maximum number of times in pali(Buddhist) literature.
Sakya is a Samantha kingdom of Kosala.(Ikshwaku dynasty)
Mahamaaya- Mother of Buddha was a Kosalan princes and she hails form Sravasti.
During her journey form Kapilavasthu to Sravasti Mahamaaya gave birth to Siddhartha.
Buddha gave largest number of sermons in Sravasti.
In one of the Ajantha paintings, Buddha was shown in 1000 forms. This painting is called “Sravasti Chamatkara”.
Majjima nikaya calls Buddha as Kosalan.
Prasenajith was the first king to maintain standing army.
Bimbisara and prasentjith maintained standing army for the first time.

Vidudaba senani-Prasenajith`s son Vidudaka/Vidudaba was the first senapathi.
Vidudaka was the son and successor of Prasenajith.
Vidudaka fought against Skayas and occupied Kapilavastu. In pali literature vidudaka was described as a cruel king. After the battle a great flood came and submerged Kosala. Vidudaka also died due to the flood.
Ajathashatru son of Bimbisara occupied Kosala.
Deerga Charaayanaà famous and powerful prime minister of Prasenajith.
VAJJI confederation
Confederation of 8 kingdoms.
Chchethaka was the contemporary of Buddha.
Chchethaka was Mahavira`s maternal uncle.
Trishala Devi is Chchethaka`s siter.
Siddhartha- Gnatrika
Trishala- Lichchavi.
As Sakya is part of Kosala kingdom, same way Lichchavi is a part of Vajji confederation.
Bimbisara married Chellana, daughter of Chchethaka.
For 16 years Ajathashatru fought with Vajji, finally Magadha(Ajathashatru) conquered Vajji.
A branch of Kurus formed Vatsa Kingdom.
Pauravas, a branch of Kurus migrated to Indo-gangetic basin.
Buddha preached Buddhism in Vatsa kingdom.
Gosithaaraama is a Buddhist monastery in Vatsa kingdom.
Udayana was contemporary of Buddha.
Swapna vasavadatha- by Basa. (Gupthan period)
Swapna vasavadhtha is one the best Sanskrit dramas of ancient period.
Plot: Udayana`s love with Vasavadatha, the prince of Avanthi.
Vatsa X Avanthi were staunch rivals.
Harsha vardhana also dealt with the same story in his 2 dramas.
Priyadarshika- (Udayana`s love with Vasavadatha)
Ratnavali- (Udayana`s love with Vasavadatha)
After Udayin, Pallaka(Nandi Varman) became the ruler. Pallaka was a weak ruler. Vatsa was conquered by the rulers of Avanthi.
Pradyotha dynasty ruled Avanthi.
Pradyotha Mahasena, great ruler of Avanthi.
Pradyotha Mahasena was contemporary of Buddha.
There was a rivalry between Pradyotha Mahasena and Bimbisara(Magadha).
Jivaka Diplomacy: Bimbisara sent Jivaka, a physican to Pradhyotha Mahasena`s palace when Mahasena was suffering from jaundice. Jivaka cured Mahasena, as a result Mahasena and Bimbisara became good friends.
After Udayana, Pradhyotha Mahasena conquered Vatsa.
Sisunaga, King of Magadha conquered Avanthi.
GANDHARA                   © Taxila
Pukkusati was the king of Gandhara.
Panini of 6th century B.C. lived in Gandhara.
Panini was the earliest grammarian and author of Ashtadhyayi.
After Pukkusati, Gandhara was conquered by Iranians(Achmaniad dynasty)
Cyrus, the Achmaniad king, was contemporary of Buddha.
Cyrus also conquered Kamboja.
Cyrus conquered entire North West India.
Darius-I was Cyrus` grand son.
When Herodotus was writing Histories, Achmaniads of Iran and Macidonians of Greeks engaged in continuous wars.
Herodotus mentioned 28 satrapies(provinces) of Achmaniads. Gandhara was the 28th satrapy. Among the 28 satrapies Gandhara alone yielded 1/3rd income of Achmaniad empire.
Kanyakubja was the capital. In course of time Kanyakubja became Kanauj.
Kanauj became the capital of India in 606A.D., during Harsha time.
The king who ruled Kanauj was considered as the king of India.
Mahapadma Nanda, a Magadhan king conquered Panchala kingdom.
Sisupala was the king of Chchedi.
In Mahabharatha, Sisupala was the rival of Krishna.
Chchedi also was conquered by Mahapadma Nanda.
SAURASENA              © Madhura
According to Puranas Yadhu trube was ruling over Madhura region.
Lord Krishna belongs to Yadhu tribe.
When Krishna killed Kamsa, Yadavas became rulers of Madhura.
Vrishni Clan of Yadhu tribe is very important.
Sri Krishna and Balarama belong to Vrishni clan.
Vrishni clan migrated to Dwaraka and became ruler of the region.
ASSAKA  © Bodan
Two princes of Ikshwaku dynasty migrated from Kosala to south India and founded two kingdoms.
(1) Mulaka kingdom in Aurangabad.

(2) Assaka kingdom in Nizamabad and Nanded.
Both the kingdoms situated in Godavari region.
Mahapadma Nanda was the first king to invade on south India.
In 350B.C. when Brahmadatta was ruling over Assaka, Mahapadma Nanda invaded on it. Mahapadma Nanda also conquered Kalinga.
In Kalinga Mahapadma Nanda built many irrigarional canals. In later period, Kharavela, a Kalinga king, in his Hathgumpa inscription mentioned that he got repaired the canals got dug by Mahapadma Nanda.
Nava Nandas= Mahapadma Nanda+ his 8 sons.
From the word Nava Nanda dera the word Nanded originated.
Nava Nanda dera= the barracks of nine Nandas.
During later Vedic period magadha was very insignificant.
Barvadrada/Brihadrada dynasty:
Brihadrada was the first king of Magadha.
Bimmbisara of Haryanka dynasty ended Barvadrada/Brihadrada dynasty.
Magadha came into limelight during the Haryanka dynasty.
Bimbisara took up 3 strategies to extend his empire.
(1)Matrimonial alliance (2) Diplocmacy (3) Conquests.
(1) Matrimonial alliance
(a) Kosala Mahadevi, sister of Prasenajith of Kosala.
(b) Chellana, Lichchavian princes, daughter of Chchethaka.
(c) Khema, Princes of Madhura, Punjab region.
(2) Diplomatic and friendly relations
Jivaka Diplomacy: Bimbisara sent Jivaka, a physican to Pradhyotha Mahasena`s palace when Mahasena was suffering from jaundice. Jivaka cured Mahasena, as a result Mahasena and Bimbisara became good friends.
(3) Conquests
As Magadha was a land locked state, for Magadha, the control over Tamralipthi was very essential. Anga was fertile as it was situated in the heart of Indo-Gangetic basin. Anga had got a sea port- Tamralipthi.
Through out the ancient period on the eastern coast, Tamralipthi was very important.
Senika was Bimbisara`s title.
Senika= maker of army.
Prasenajith(Kosala) was the first king to maintain standing army.
Bimbisara and prasentjith maintained standing army for the first time.
According to Huan Tsang(7th century A.D.) Rajagriha(Girivraja) was built by Bimbisara.
According to Plai texts Bimbisara conducted a meeting for which 84,000 Gramikas/Gramabhojakas/Gramanis attended.
IInd king of Haryanka dynasty.
Accoring to Buddhist literature, Ajathashatru is a patricide(1st patricide).
Though Bimbisara was ready to renounce the throne in favour of Ajathashatru, he killed his father. After killing his father, Ajathashatru grew repentant and he did Uposatha.
Uposatha= Buddhist confession.
Jainists and Buddhist claim that Bimbisara and Ajathashatru followed their way.
Jain literature gives information about “Meeting of lions”.
According to Jain tradition, Bimbisara committed suicide in prison.
When Bimbisara was murdered Kosalans took back Kashi from Haryanka.
Ajathashatru had only one strategy. That is conquest. War was his only strategy.
Vajjira, daughter of Prasenajitha married Ajathashatru.
For Kashi, Ajathashatru invaded on Vajji.
Ajathashtru conquered Malla also.
According to Jain tradition Udayana was immediate successor of Ajathashatru.
Buddhist text Mahavamsha also attests that Udayana was the successor of Ajathashtru. According to Mahavamsha the geneology is…..
According to Puranas the successor of Ajathashatru is Dassaka.
Basa, the writer of Swapna Vasavadatta also mentioned that Dassaka was the immediate successor of Ajathashatru.
Pataliputhra was built by Udayana.
Greeks called Pataliputhra as Palibothra.
Sisunaga, a military commander killed Udayin and ended Haryanka dynasty.
Sisunaga worked as a viceroy of Kashi,
Ruled form Vaishali instead of Pataliputhra. (Sisunaga shifted capital to Vaishali)
Sisunaga conquered Avanthi.
Son and successor of Sisunaga.
Shifted the capital from Vaishali to pataliputhra. From here onwards Pataliputhra became the permanent capital.
Kalasoka`s military commander Mahapadma Nanda killed him and ended Sisunaga dynasty.
1ST Non-Kshatriya dynasty.
Nandas are Sudras.
According to Jain literature Mahapadma Nanda was born to a prostitute through a barber. The Greek scholars mentioned Nandas.
Quintus Curtius, a Greek author, also mentioned that Mahapadma Nanda belongs to a Sudra community.
“Mahapadma Nanda had an extra marital affair with a queen of Kalasoka, he hatched a plan and killed Kalashoka.”-Quintus Curtius.
Mahapadma Nanda was a greatest king and conquered many kingdoms. Mahapadma Nanda conquered Asmaka rajya, Panchala, Saurasena, Kuru rajya, Kalinga etc. Kingdoms.
Mahapadma Nanda is the first king to invade south India. Nava Nandas= Mahapadma Nanda+ his 8 sons.
From the word Nava Nanda dera the word Nanded originated.
Nava Nanda dera= the barracks of nine Nandas.
Except North-west India, Mahapadma Nanda extended his empire beyond Vindya River.
Mahapadma Nanda`s titles are:
(T) Sarvakshatrantaka- The slayer of all Kshatriyas.
(T) Ekarat
(T) Mahapadmapathi
(T) Parasurama.
Mahapadma Nanda always ran his army in “Lotus Fashion”. His Padmavyuha technique facilitated his victory in wars.
According to tradition his eight sons came to power one after the other.
His 8th son was Dhana Nanda.
Last king of Nanda dynasty.
Ugrasena Nanda- Original name of Dhana Nanda.
In Greek literature he was referred as “Agrams”/ “Xandrames” (Ugrasena).
Alexander was contemporary of Dhana Nanda.
Quintus Curtius gave information of Dhana Nanda`s army.
2 Lakh infantry
3000 elephants
2000 chariots.
As Dhana Nanda`s kingdom lies east to the river Bias, Alexander`s soldiers refused to cross Bias.
Chandraguptha Maurya dethroned Dhana Nanda in 321B.C. and ended Nanda dynasty.
Ugrasena Dhana Nanda was pardoned by Chandraguptha Maurya and was allowed to leave Magadha with a chariot full of gold.
Q: How/ why Magadha became powerful?
1) Natural resources, mineral resources especially Iron ore.
Singbhum mines- Bihar
Mayurbhunj- Orissa.
2) Dense forests of Magadha. (Bihar, Orissa.) Good numbers of elephants were available. Elephants play vital role in the army and good quality of timber was available in the forests.
3) Strategic location of the capital
Capital was inaccessible to the enemies. Girivraja was a hill fort.
(Girivraja- Rajagriha-Giridurga)
Pataliputhra is a strategic Jaladurga.(Ganga, Soan, Gandak)
4) Trade routesà and high ways run through Magadha.
Vanikpatha= trade route.
Most of the ancient trade routes were going through the Magadha. Transit duty was imposed on the goods. Though Anga also had all these geographical advantages, it could not become so powerful like Magadha. It was the  powerful personalities of the great rulers of Magadha, made Magadha powerful by rightly  exploiting the natural resources of the region.
Republican     Monarchies
King/Head is elected    Hereditary
Parliament (shanthagara)    Autocrats
Democratic    Dictators
Not war thirsty. They did not aim at expanding the territory. So they did not maintained standing army.    War thirsty. Expansionists. Maintained standing army and maximum income was spent on Army.
Decentralisation    Centralization
Social stratification was absent.
Social and gender equality.    Intense social stratification. No traces of equality.
Brahmin domination was strongly rejected and they were always against Brahmin domination. Entry of Brahmin into Sharthagara was not allowed, but Sudras were allowed into Shanthagaras.    Brahmins dominated at every rung of life. Even king obeyed Brahmins. Women had no respectable position.
Republican economies were weak due to geographical reasons.     Monarchies were established at prosperous places and had prosperous economies.
Religion-Heterodox. Mahavira and Buddha were born and died in republics.    Orthodox. More ritualistic religion.
Intensified agriculture.
Ashtadhyayi talking about the extensive cultivation of Sugarcane and transplantation of paddy.
Inhabitants of Koldihwa(UttarPradesh) were the first people to cultivate in the world.
Seeds are sown in dense. When plants grow they collect the plants and replant them in the agriculture field. This process is called as transplantation system.
Mustard and Paddy were grown by 5th century A.D.
Indtroduction of metal currency and monetization of economy.
Later Vedicà suvarna niska, cow.

6th century B.C. Punch marked coins. (Maximum Silver coins, few copper coins, Hoard of silver coins and gold was never used).
Punch marked coins had punch only on one side and they are un-insccribed. Only birds, tree and symbols were represented. During Mauryan Period also punch marked coins were used. Maurayans got inscribed peacock symbol on their coins.
Double sided coins can be seen only after 2nd century B.C.
Peacock symbol- Mauryan
Crescent symbol- Chandra Guptha Maurya.
Sun symbol- Bindhusara.
Ahsoka tree- Ashoka.
Numismatic information was scarce for Mauryan period. Coins were available in huge number but they are not much useful to construct history.
Other than kings some private persons and institutions also allowed to mint coins. Guilds had got such right.
Coins got the actual value based on the metal used.
Today we are using token currency. our coins has token value but not actual value. As the coins of ancient and medieval period got actual value, even the private persons and institutions also were allowed to mint coins.
Paanini mentions various types of punch marked coins.
Pana, Rupya and Niska(not suvarna niska) are the punch marked coins mentioned by Paanini.
Some coins had 3-4 punches.
Capitalistic mode of production.
According to Pali literature- Saddalaputta, native of Vaishali was a capitalist. He owns 500 pottery industries. Maximum production and maximum profits.
Suddalaputtha was a Gahapathi.
Gahapathi= Capitalist.
Kutumbika= Capitalist.
Guilds= Association of merchants or artisans.
18 guilds were there during post Mauryan period.
Number of guilds depends on the specialization of   crafts.
Most important benefit being a member of guild is investment is available without much risk.
Healthy competition.
Guilds take investments/ deposits form the people and pay interest to the people.
Nasik inscription mentioned guilds paying 12% interest to the depositors and 18% is collected if someone borrows money form them.
Jettaka/Jestaka= head of a guild. Elder.
Kolika sreni= weaver`s guild.
Gandhika sreni= perfume makers` guild.
Malakara sreni= Garlanders` guild.
Kulala sreni= potters` guild.
Telika sreni= oil manufacturers` guild.
Rigid varna system. Incourse of time number of Jathis emerged. Jathis turned in to caste. Jathi people were kept outside  the varna.
Slowly members of one guild emerged into a caste.
Guilds are responsible for the emergence of castes.
Guild is an intermediary state between a tribe and a caste.
Endogamy= Marriages with in a group.
Commansality= having similar customs.
Interdinig was banned.
1st cities of Indo-gangetic basin emerged during the period of…..
1)     Rg Veda
2)    Later Veda
3)    Pre-Mauryan
4)    Mauryan (ans)
Location of the first urbanization-Indus valley.
Location of 2nd urbanization- Gangetic basin.
Grid system is absent in second urbanization.
Not a single city on the grid system in 2nd urbanization.
Ananda, Buddha`s most favourite disciple mentioned 60 cities of his period. Ananda was not happy when his master died in a small town like Kusinara. He preferred 60 cities for his master`s demise. Rajagriha , Champa, Saketha, varanasi, sankista, Kausjambi…..
Later Vedic social institutions were further intensified during 6th century B.C. Barahmin was considered as the Bhusura(God On the earth).
Ban on inter-dining etc., came into force. Resent of Kshatriyas against Brahminical domination was raised. Mainly in republics this type of tendency was apparent. Reason was the republican states were heterodox.
In Pali literature in the caste swquence Kshatriya comes first and Brahmin comes next to Kshatriya. Kshatriya-Brahmin-Vaishya-Sudra.
Money lending was banned by Vedic religion.
Kshaytriyas opposed Brahmins with the support of Vaishyas and Sudras.
Buddhism and Jainism supported money lending on reasonable interest. Viashyas made huge donations to the heterodox religions. Brahmanical religion imposed ban on trade in food grains, liquids, animals, metals, over sea trade.
Jainism gave huge encouragement to trade and commerce.
Dharma suthras condemned the urban life.
“No urban dweller is eligible for salvation”.-Baudayana Smriti ( 5th century. B.C.)
In 6th century B.C. in Indo-Gangetic basin there was agrarian crisis due to indiscriminate killing of cattle for rituals.
Sutthanipata, a pali text, describes cow as Annada, Vannada, Sukhada.
Annada= Giver of food.
Vannada= Giver of beauty.
Sukhada= Giver of happiness.
Ekajas= Sudras. Moksha is denied to Sudras. They were not eligible to worship Thri-Murthis.
Pushan is Sudras` God.
“Sudras are eligible to be beaten like anything”.-Aithareya Brahmana.(Rg Veda)
600B.C. to 200B.C. is a decline period of Vedic religion.
Sramanas= Heterodox.  There were 62 heterodox sects at that time. World wide also, so many philosophers born during this period.

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