A Short History of Asia, Second Edition by Colin Mason

By Colin Mason

The peoples of Asia now make up greater than half the world's inhabitants. they're more and more well-educated, and profitable in each zone of contemporary exchange and expertise. Their impression within the remainder of the realm is additionally changing into better. Colin Mason offers a readable and transparent advent to their heritage and traditions, from prehistory correct as much as the current day. This completely revised, up to date and multiplied new version contains the enormous alterations and additions made important by way of the fast-changing scene in Asia, rather China's expanding prominence in global affairs. There are new chapters on Afghanistan and Taiwan, and on international struggle and its importance in Asia, in addition to broad remodeling of the chapters at the international locations of South Asia. Maps and illustrations now additionally enhance the textual content all through, making this the fundamental consultant to the historical past of a desirable continent and its peoples.

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This was the heyday of Buddhism in India, the time of the great teaching monasteries and universities that became famed throughout Asia. One of the great universities, Nalanda, is said to have had 4000 students in the seventh century. Pilgrims came from as far away as China to study in them. One of these, Faxian, who spent ten years in India in the fifth century, has described a peaceful, well-organized and prosperous society with moderate laws and taxation. Although Hinduism was again the faith of the ruling house, the powerful and influential Buddhist community co-existed peaceably with them.

One of the great universities, Nalanda, is said to have had 4000 students in the seventh century. Pilgrims came from as far away as China to study in them. One of these, Faxian, who spent ten years in India in the fifth century, has described a peaceful, well-organized and prosperous society with moderate laws and taxation. Although Hinduism was again the faith of the ruling house, the powerful and influential Buddhist community co-existed peaceably with them. Standards of education were high among the small lettered class and important developments in algebra and arithmetic (including the decimal system of nine numbers and the zero) occurred in India in the seventh century.

A major point of interest was the gradual accumulation of this vast mass of religious strictures and legends which were committed to memory and carried on by word of mouth, and which are a basis of several major religions, and especially of Hinduism. The extent to which these reflect the times in which they originated is doubtful. They must have been added to and modified extensively over the period – perhaps 1000 years – before they were written down. Out of the obscurity of this early period one can still make some deductions.

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