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The Arthasastra


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Table of Contents

Introduction; Authorship & Date: The Canakya Legend, The Composer of the Arthasastra: the Historical Kautilya, Date & Location of the Arthasastra; Historical Context: The Indus Valley Period, The Vedic Period, The Classical Period; Arthasastra: Text & Tradition: The Concept of "artha", The Genre of Sastra, The Tradition of Statecraft, Structure & Style of the Text; The World of the Arthasastra: Kingship & Royal Authority, Ruling a Kingdom, The King's Administration, The Layout of the Kingdom, Society, Religion & Ethics, Conquest & Success. The Arthasastra -- How to be Good King; The Kingdom; Central Administration; The Judiciary; Internal Security & Suppression of Criminal Activities; Foreign Affairs; War; Index of Passages.

About the Author

Patrick Olivelle is Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin. Mark McClish is Assistant Professor of Religion at Birmingham-Southern College.


The translations are the collaborative product of the two leading authorities today on the Arthasastra. . . . Their work is consistently, meticulously accurate throughout, yet written in the most straightforward and direct manner imaginable. The material prefatory to each translated section is, again, clear and accessible. . . . Complex matters are effectively distilled in plain language, and the key issues brought out. Superb on all counts. I have been awaiting such a volume for a long time." Timothy Lubin, Washington and Lee University
McClish and Olivelle's general Introduction to the Arthasastra is destined to become a classic in the field of South Asian studies; they have translated the text itself in an accessible style that students and general readers alike will comprehend and enjoy." James Frey, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
It's of great value to nonspecialists to have this classic work of political theory and political prudence available. This carefully edited and lucidly commented volume will be useful for both research and for courses on the comparative history of politics and civilizations." Randolph C. Head, University of California, Riverside
The only extant treatise on statecraft from classical India, the Arthsastra is an invaluable resource for understanding ancient South Asian political thought; it also provides a comprehensive and unparalleled panoramic view of Indian society during the period between the Maurya (320-185 BCE) and Gupta (320-497 CE) empires. This volume offers modern English translations of key selections, organized thematically, from the Arthasastra . A general Introduction briefly traces the arc of ancient South Asian history, explains the classical Indian tradition of statecraft, and discusses the origins and importance of the Arthasastra . Thorough explanatory essays and notes set each excerpt in its intellectual, political, and cultural contexts.

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