THE ROLE OF BUDDHISM IN ANCIENT INDO-ROMAN TRADE (200BC-200AD)
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The age of the Shakas, Kushanas and Satavahanas (200 BC-AD 250) was the most flourishing period in the history of trade and commerce in ancient India. Particularly this period witnessed remarkable growth in the trade relations between Ancient India and Ancient Rome. Also this period is known for the dominance of Buddhism in the history of India. Buddhism was supported by royal patronage as well as by the laity who were engaged as a productive force in the fields of agriculture, crafts, trade and commerce. Historical sources suggest that Buddhism functioned as driving factor in this commercial activities. Ancient Buddhist texts, travelogues of Roman traders and the archeological evidences validate this fact. In this paper, my attempt is to throw light on some questions such as how the Buddhist ideology and civilization promote the economic growth in this period? How did this trade declined after the downfall of Buddhism in the cultural conflict with Brahmanical religion which was antagonist to Buddhism?
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