Siddhartha Historical Context

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Ancient India

In the fifth century B.C., India consisted of sixteen major states in the north. The region's southern parts remained largely undeveloped. Kings or chiefs ruled individual states and acquired income through taxation and trade. The Brahmans, or religious leaders, held a very high position in each state and often had the authority to approve of the ruling class. On some occasions they were rulers themselves. In addition to the major states, there were dozens of smaller regions comprised of various tribes organized as oligarchies, each under a single ruling family. One of these oligarchies, in what is now Nepal, was ruled by the Shakya tribe, of which Siddhartha Gotama was a prince. Control of the Ganges Valley became a major issue between the northern Indian states during the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., and wars were continually fought over the rights to the lucrative...

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This section contains 975 words
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Buy the Siddhartha Study Guide
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Siddhartha from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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