Financing warfare in ancient India: 1500 BCE–circa 800 CE

Journal article

Roy, Kaushik (2022) Financing warfare in ancient India: 1500 BCE–circa 800 CE, International Area Studies Review 25 (3).

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In this essay, I attempt to build a typology of how warfare was financed in ancient India. During the period discussed in this article (1500 BCE–800 CE), most of the polities of the subcontinent followed continental strategy. Hence, they focused on maintaining armies rather than navies. Loot and plunder were adequate for maintaining irregular forces and mercenaries temporarily. Some polities which depended on taxing overseas commerce and gathering tributes proved to be rickety. For maintaining a standing disciplined, trained and loyal army, a regular income in cash from taxation of settled agriculture with the aid of a centralised hierarchical bureaucracy was necessary.

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