What are the similarities between the Gupta and Maurya Empires?

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The Gupta and Maurya Empires of India shared several similarities, including their territorial expanse and foundational leadership by individuals named Chandragupta. Both empires practiced religious tolerance, supporting Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. They were governed by a strong central bureaucracy, divided into provinces, and maintained a class structure with a focus on profession influencing social status. Additionally, both empires imposed a 25% agricultural tax and promoted advancements in various fields such as mathematics, astronomy, and literature during their respective reigns.

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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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In what ways was the Gupta Empire similar to the Murya Empire? In what ways were they different?

The Gupta Empire ruled much of north India from about 320-550 CE and the Mauryan Empire ruled much of the same territory of north India from 321-185 BCE.  Among their similarities:

1. Both ruled over large areas of north India, and both expanded their territory - basically became empires - through conquest.

2. Both were periods of advancement in various areas. For example, under the Mauryas, the social and political manual "Arthashastra" was written to explain statecraft. The Gupta Empire saw the development of mathematics and astronomy and literature (such as the plays of Kalidasa).

For some of their differences:

1. the Mauryan emperors supported different religions: Chandragupta Maurya followed Jainism, helping it rise to prominence, and Ashoka was a follower of Buddhism, and sent Buddhist missionaries abroad (incidentally, the Buddhist message of nonviolence he promoted after expanding the empire in conquest). On the other hand, while there were significant Jain and Buddhist populations in the Gupta empire and the empire promoted rleigious tolerance, the rulers were Hindu.

2. The Mauryan Empre ended through internal strife: assassination of a ruler and a coup brought down the empire. The Gupta Empire faced external threats with military conflict against the Huna people of northwest India/central Asia.

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