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==Met Museum timeline: *South Asia, 1-500 CE*. The Kushans rule in Gandhara; the characteristic Indo-Greek Gandharan artistic style is very evident in this torso of a bodhisattva. Dating the various Kushan emperors exactly is a difficult art, and different sources offer different regnal years. (Even more different than is usual for ancient South Asia!)
==the Kushan dynasty kings establish themselves across a broad swath of the western Gangetic plain, the Punjab, and northern Afghanistan; their major cities include Kabul (Kapisa), Peshawar (Pushpakalavati), and Mathura; the *Kushan kingdom* lasts throughout the first two centuries CE and remains strong until Vasudeva dies in 225. A useful coin study site for this period: *Ancient Coins Canada*. [*Routes*]
==Gondophares and the Indo-Parthian kingdom: Also in Gandhara, the breakaway Parthian ruler Gondophares or Gondophernes or (the Indian form) Guduphara (r. c.19-47) displaces the Indo-Scythian dynasty, and founds the *Indo-Parthian kingdom*, which lasts through most of the first century CE. If you find all these various kings running around in Gandhara a bit confusing, you're not alone-- so do I, and so do serious scholars in the field: *Encyclopedia Iranica*. But look at the terrific ivory carvings from Begram, Afghanistan: *DSAL*. [*Routes*]
==Strabo's India (c.18-23) is in the southeast corner of the known world: The Greek historian Strabo, in his "Geographia" (*Columbia U.*), tries gallantly to sort out all the accounts he's heard about India and Taprobane (Sri Lanka). In his (now lost, but plausibly reconstructed) map of the world, India juts out from the southeast corner. His famous work has been called "the sum total of cartographic knowledge before the Christian era" (*Henry Davis*).
==Saint Thomas in India (c.46): According to tradition, Saint Thomas the Apostle travels to India; the Catholics of Kerala claim him as their founding figure. Among other miraculous deeds, he travels to the court of "King Gundaphorus" (Gondophares?) and eventually converts him to Christianity. The story is told in the early Christian text *Acts of Thomas* (see paragraph 17, "The Second Act"). [*Routes*]
==Karle (c.50-75): This rock-cut Deccani cave  temple shows the increasing complexity of the tradition. Trading networks are prospering, and merchants can afford to contribute to these and other expensive temple construction projects--which are conveniently located along trade routes. Inscriptions at Karle record that seven pillare were contributed by "Yavanas," or Greek merchants. Images: *Berger*; *AIIS Penn*. [*Routes*]
==the Periplus lists the South Indian trading ports (c.60): Written by a Greek Alexandrian living in Egypt, "The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea" (*Internet Sourcebook*), a guide for merchants, details a trade route that includes many South Indian ports of call. During this period Gujarat is the "fulcrum of maritime trade on the Arabian sea* (--*Encyclopedia Iranica*); *wiki*.
==Pliny dies with Pompeii (79): The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder dies in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buries Pompeii in 79. He leaves behind a famous "Natural History" completed in 77, with the best account of India that he could offer (*Columbia U.*), and 160 volumes of notes. In his account of Indian trade he observes that "the desire for gain brought India nearer," so that merchant ships make the trip every year, even if they have to keep "companies of archers" on board to fend off pirates.

==Tamil begins to develop: During this century various kinds of literature in the most important South Indian classical language, Tamil, appear on the scene. Tamil is a member of the Dravidian language family (*ethnologue*). Its complex development occurs in mutual give-and-take with Sanskrit, though partisans on both sides sometimes seek to polarize the two. In later times, it becomes an emblem of cultural identity for which some of its partisans are even willing to die. Discussion: *wiki*; *Iravatham Mahadevan*; *Sumathi Ramaswamy*; *Outlook*.
==An unknown Nagini or other goddess (c.00's-100's): Just to point up how much we don't know about early Indic art and religion, consider this powerful, sensual, and enigmatic figure. Who was she? What role, if any, did she play in the religious practices of the time?
==Dharmanandi dedicates a Bodhisattva (82): This is one of the most charming, friendly, amused Bodhisattvas it's possible to imagine. And as he says in his inscription, Dharmanandi dedicates it together with his parents, his paternal aunt Bhadra, and "all living beings."
==The Jains split into two sects (c.100), the Digambaras ("Sky-clad," or naked) (*wiki*) and the Shvetambaras ("White-clad") (*wiki*). The former--who are often considered more pure and conservative--are more prevalent in the south, the latter in the north and west.
==Patanjali-- who was he, and when did he live? The author of the "Mahabhasya," a commentary on Panini, may have lived in the 200's BCE. Is the author of the extremely influential "Yoga-sutras" (*sacred texts*; *Charles Johnston*; *indopedia*; *wikipedia*) the same person? If not, he may have lived anytime up to the 300's, depending on which authority you trust. Here, I'm splitting the difference.

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