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India’s Ancient Past$
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R. S. Sharma

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195687859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.001.0001

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Crafts, Commerce, and Urban Growth (200 bc–ad 250)

Crafts, Commerce, and Urban Growth (200 bc–ad 250)

(p.221) 23 Crafts, Commerce, and Urban Growth (200 BC–AD 250)
India’s Ancient Past

R.S. Sharma

Oxford University Press

Arts and crafts saw significant growth in age of the Shakas, Kushans, Satavahanas and the first Tamil states. Eight crafts were linked with the working of gold, silver, lead, tin, copper, brass, iron, and precious stones or jewels. Many artisans and merchants were organized into guilds called sreni and ayatana, but how these organizations functioned is indicated neither in the Mahavastu nor in the Milinda-Panho. The Shakas and the Kushans used two routes from the north-western frontier to the western sea coast. Both these routes met at Taxila, and were connected with the Silk Route passing. There was considerable transit trade in silk between India and the Roman Empire. Coins have been the most important Roman export to India. The end of the Satavahana power together with the ban on trade with India imposed by the Roman Empire in the third century impoverished the urban artisans and merchants.

Keywords:   crafts, arts, Tamil states, artisans, guilds, merchants, Roman Empire, Silk Route, trade, coins

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