By Mark McClish, Patrick Olivelle
The single extant treatise on statecraft from classical India, the Arthasastra is a useful source for realizing historical South Asian political suggestion; it additionally presents a complete and extraordinary panoramic view of Indian society in the course of the interval among the Maurya (320–185 BCE) and Gupta (320–497 CE) empires.
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Additional resources for Arthasastra: Selections from the Classic Indian Work on Statecraft
For example, with regard to the king’s allies, Kauṭilya states, Bequeathed by the father and grandfather; consistent; submissive; not prone to duplicity; eminent; and able to mobilize quickly—these are the exemplary qualities of an ally. 12) Introduction xxxvii Running throughout the text, however, is an implicit (and sometimes explicit) recognition that such optimal outcomes are sometimes not achievable. , a daughter appointed as a son] to bear sons. , wife] through one of the following: mother’s kinsman, member of the royal family, a virtuous neighboring lord.
At heart, however, Kauṭilya’s true faith lies in power, and he does not hesitate to subvert these traditions if it will further the king’s interests. It is perhaps best not to interpret this as cynicism, but to take Kauṭilya at his word: the fruitfulness of all human activities—many of which are quite worthwhile—relies ultimately on effective governance. Given the various attitudes about kingship expressed in classical texts, it is easiest to think of classical South Asian kingship first as a cultural institution, a traditional relationship existing in the minds of ruler and ruled comprised of mutual expectations that transcended a given monarch and penetrated deeply into the psychology of a society.
4) to outwit foreign rulers. Diplomatic forays were potentially momentous affairs, with envoys sometimes authorized to negotiate on behalf of the king. The Arthaśāstra favors treaties to open hostilities, but once diplomacy had ended and conflict had become inevitable, the king took his army into the field under the coordination of the army commander. 1) was comprised of many kinds of troops, from permanent, hereditary warriors to military guilds, tribal warriors, soldiers provided by allies, and captured troops.
Arthasastra: Selections from the Classic Indian Work on Statecraft by Mark McClish, Patrick Olivelle