A People’s History of India 4
The Age of Iron and the Religious Revolution c. 700 – c. 350 BC
This monograph deals with a very important phase of Indian history, spanning c. 700 and c. 350 BC. During the period iron technology diffused, transforming and multiplying tools; cities arose and commerce spread; the caste system assumed practically all its essential features; powerful states were formed, with armies and bureaucracies; and, finally, Jainism and Buddhism brought about a veritable Religious Revolution. All this is described in four chapters with clarity and precision, but with no attempt to conceal points of controversy. Special notes are furnished on punch-marked coinage, the Northern Black Polished Ware, problems of chronology, and the arrival of writing. Nine extracts from source give the reader a taste of the textual sources. There are twelve illustrations and seven maps, and a chronological table at the end. Each chapter is provided with a bibliographical note, indicating sources and suggesting further reading.