What are the similarities between the Gupta Empire and the Maurya Empire?

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India's Gupta and Maurya Empires did indeed have many similarities. Besides trivial similarities, such as both being founded by someone named Chandragupta and occupying similar territories, both empires had many important traits in common. In many ways, the later Gupta Empire borrowed a lot from its Mauryan predecessors and used them as a model for a successful rule.

For starters, both empires practiced a high degree of religious tolerance. Both Hinduism and Buddhism were practiced extensively within the empires and received support from the leaders. Other religions, such as Jainism, were tolerated and widespread as well. While the Mauryan leaders eventually became Buddhists themselves and Gupta rulers remained Hindu, both tolerated the practice of many religions throughout their lands.

Both empires were governed by a strong central bureaucracy that answered to the emperor. The large territories were further divided into provinces and districts with regional leaders and councils. Local leaders were given a lot of authority in order to streamline decision-making, but the emperors were still the ultimate authority. To pay for their armies and other government projects, both empires collected a 25% tax on all agricultural earnings throughout their lands.

Class structure was also similar in both empires. Unlike previous times, when social rank was based on birth, the Maurya Empire switched to have a higher focus on profession for determining one's social position. A profession-based social order was further cemented during the Gupta Empire. The Hindu religion practiced by the Gupta leaders divided people into the profession-based caste system that would last until nearly the present day.

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