ISSN No : 2319-7935 (Print)
2319-7943 (Online)

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Ashok Yakkaldevi
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Ancient times as Metallurgy. Mining of metals was known even in pre-Vedic period and during the Harappa period various metals like cop-per, lead, silver were in use. During Vedic period, metal (ayas) was chiefly of two kinds—krishna ayas (black metal or iron) used during later Vedic period and loh ayas (copper). The Jatakas refer to eighteen import handicraftsand industries. The Vaishyas developed institu-tions like Sreni, Nigama and Puga to regu-late trade and avoid intrusion by other varnas and develop monopoly.Proper rules of conduct of trade were laid by the head of trade guilds, known as Sarthavaha or Srenipramukha. The rules were called Samay and Srenidharma. Taxila, Pushkalavati, Kapisa and Vidisha prospered as trade centres, under the Indo-Greek rulers. Kautilya asked the king to develop measures to stop obstruction of the trade routes by his favourite men (vallabhas). Frontier guards (Antapalas) were also appointed. The close contacts between the commercial classes and the king's court is very clear from the rules of the settlement layout of the historic city of Patliputra. Here, people lived in various parts, according to their social status. Kautilya looked upon artisans and traders as big thieves and held them under suspect. He demanded strict con-trol over them, as also with the often indisciplined frontier guards (antapalas). Guilds of merchants were proper-ly registered and even served as banks. During Mauryas, most important trade route was from Taxila to Patliputra. Ships in ancient period were usually of the two-masted type. In the 2nd century A.D., a regular sea-route was in operation for the quest for gold (swarna). Monsoons (Arabic: Mausam) were discovered by Hippalus (Greek captain) and this discovery in 45 A.D. that mon-soons could sail ships from Alexandria to Western India in just a 40-days period, tremendously increased the Roman sea-trade, due to shortening of trade-route. Muziris (Cranganore, Kerala) and Puhar (in Cholamandalam) were major sea-ports and foreign settlements. Among land-routes, the silk-route was very often in use till Kushan period.
Keywords :
  • location of cities
  • weight and measures
  • import and export
  • manufactures goods and transport.
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