Kingdom of the Videhas

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Kingdom of the Videhas
uncertain–500 BCE
Videha
The Kingdom of the Videhas (Mithila) and other kingdoms of the late Vedic period
Capital Either Janakpur (in present-day Nepal),[1] or Baliraajgadh (in present-day Madhubani district, Bihar, India).[2]
Common languages Sanskrit
Religion Vedic-Hinduism[3]
Government Monarchy
Janaka  
Historical era Iron Age
Succeeded by
[[Vajji Mahajanpada[4]]]
Today part of  India
   Nepal

The Kingdom of the Videhas (also known as Mithila and Tirabhukti[5]) was an ancient kingdom in Late Vedic India[6] which rose to prominence under King Janaka (c. 8th-7th centuries BCE). The ancient kingdom's territory is presently located in Mithila region of Northern and eastern Bihar of India and the eastern Terai of Nepal.[5][7]

History

During the late Vedic period (c. 900 – c. 500 BCE), Videha became one of the major political and cultural centers of South Asia, along with Kuru and Pañcāla.[8] Late Vedic literature such as the Brahmanas and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad both mention Janaka, as a great philosopher-king of Videha, renowned for his patronage of Vedic culture and philosophy, and whose court was an intellectual centre for Rishi (sages) such as Yajnavalkya.[9] Raychaudhuri suggests 8th- to 7th-century BCE range, while Witzel suggests c. 750 to 500 BCE for the Brahmanas and Upanishads composition period in Videha.[10][note 1] The Vedic school of Aitareyins probably moved to Videha and other centers of scholarship, during the late Vedic period.[11]

The region and culture of Videha is often mentioned in Hindu literature.[12] The texts mention the idea of royal dynasty and the tradition of philosopher-kings who renounce, with examples including Nami (or Nimi in some texts), Janaka and other kings.[12] Their stories are found in ancient surviving Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina texts, suggesting that renunciation by kings was a respected tradition before the birth of Buddha, and that this tradition was also broadly accepted in regions other than Videha, such as in Pancala, Kalinga and Gandhara.[12] King Nimi or Nami of Videha is included as the 21st of the twenty four Tirthankaras in Jainism (not to be confused with closely spelled Nemi, the 22nd Tirthankara).[12]

Towards the end of the Vedic period, Videha likely became part of the Vriji (Pali: Vajji) confederation and subsequently into the Magadha empire.[13] The Videha kingdom is also mentioned in the Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. In the Ramayana, Sita is the princess from Videha,[12] who marries Rama creating an alliance between the kingdoms of Kosala and Videha.[1] The capital of Videha, is believed to be either Janakpur (in present-day Nepal),[1] or Baliraajgadh (in present-day Madhubani district, Bihar, India).[14]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Raychaudhuri notes that the Puranic chronology would extend the possible range back to the 12th century BCE, but considers this to be of limited value, and necessary to treat with caution (pp.27–28).

References

  1. ^ a b c Raychaudhuri (1972)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  3. ^ Ben-Ami Scharfstein (1998), A comparative history of world philosophy: from the Upanishads to Kant, Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 9-11
  4. ^ Raychaudhuri Hemchandra (1972), Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp. 85–86
  5. ^ a b Dilip K. Chakrabarti (2001). Archaeological Geography of the Ganga Plain: The Lower and the Middle Ganga. Orient Blackswan. pp. 207–. ISBN 978-81-7824-016-9. 
  6. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 13, 17 116-124, 141-143
  7. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 13, 17 116-124, 141-143
  8. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 13, 141-143
  9. ^ H. C. Raychaudhuri (1972), Political History of Ancient India and Nepal, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.41–52
  10. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 13, 39-46, 141-143
  11. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, pages 76-77, 125
  12. ^ a b c d e Geoffrey Samuel, (2010) The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, pages 69-70
  13. ^ H.C. Raychaudhuri (1972), pp. 70-76
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  • Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, translated to English by Kisari Mohan Ganguli
  • The Geography of India: Sacred and Historic Places. Britannica Educational Publishing. 

External links

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