By Colin Mason
The peoples of Asia now make up greater than 1/2 the world's inhabitants. they're more and more well-educated, and winning in each region of recent alternate and expertise. Their effect within the remainder of the realm can be changing into higher. Colin Mason offers a readable and transparent advent to their historical past and traditions, from prehistory correct as much as the current day. This completely revised, up to date and accelerated new version contains the immense alterations and additions made helpful by means of the fast-changing scene in Asia, fairly China's expanding prominence in international affairs. There are new chapters on Afghanistan and Taiwan, and on international warfare and its importance in Asia, in addition to huge transforming of the chapters at the international locations of South Asia. Maps and illustrations now additionally enhance the textual content all through, making this the basic advisor to the background of a desirable continent and its peoples.
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Extra resources for A Short History of Asia, Second Edition
The names of the Khmer kings, like those of certain Hinduized monarchs in Java, all end with the suffix varman, which means protector. This gives an insight into their role, which was perceived as offering spiritual and physical protection to the rice-growing majority who served them. Construction of Angkor began during the eighth-century reign of Jayavarman II, who is thought to have been educated for kingship at the court of the Shailendra in Central Java. In the Angkor culture, then, there is again evidence of the pervasive tradition of the Kings of the Mountain, enshrining the belief that the prosperity of the people is directly linked with 42 A Short History of Asia the sacred personality of the king.
The highest, the priest-teachers, or brahmins, soon came to hold authority, even over nobles, by virtue of the roles they assumed as interpreters of religion. The old gods changed, and worship became more complex. Rituals and formality clouded what must once have been fundamentally a simple faith. The second important class were the kshatriyas, the soldier-nobles, whose duty it was to fight for the state. Some historians believe that the many successful invasions of India, often by quite small armies, were effective because it was believed that only kshatriyas could or should fight back – in contrast with Korea, for instance, where peasant and even slave guerrilla forces attacked invaders from Manchuria and Japan ferociously.
He travelled in a gold palanquin carried by elephants, accompanied by his guards, fan, pitcher and umbrella bearers, who seem invariably to have been women. The route of his progress was marked off with ropes, and Megasthenes recorded that it was instant death for anyone who set foot inside them. The Mauryan empire reached its zenith under Chandragupta’s grandson Ashoka. Ashoka was a great builder, but where his forebears had used wood, he built in stone. So for the first time since Harappa, building and sculpture were constructed that have lasted into our time.