Chapter 9: Traders, Kings and Pilgrims

Chapter 9: Traders, Kings and Pilgrims



Q1. Fill in the blanks.

i.        Vellalar was a word used for large landowners in Tamil.

ii.        The gramabhojaka often got his land cultivated by the slaves and hired workers.

iii.        Ploughmen were known as uzhavar in Tamil.

iv.        Most grihapatis were smaller landowners.

v.        Punch marked coins were made of silver.

vi.        Amphorae are tall double-handled jars that contained liquids such as wine or oil.


Q2. True/False

i.        Grama Bhojaka also functioned as a judge, and sometimes as a policeman. True

ii.        Mathura was an important centre for the worship of Lord Shiva. False

iii.        The Tamil terms are found in Sangam literature. True

iv.        Ring wells were used for bathing. False

v.        Stamped red-glazed pottery, known as Arretine Ware. True



Q3. When did the use of iron begin in the subcontinent?

Ans. Use of iron in the subcontinent began about 3000 years ago.


Q4. What does vellalar mean?

Ans. In the Tamil region, large landowners were known as vellalar.


Q5. Why were Varanasi and Madurai famous?

Ans. Both were famous centres for manufacturing of cloth.


Q6. Where were some of the largest collections of iron tools found?

Ans. These were found in the megalithic burials.


Q7. How wealth is measured during early times?

Ans. Wealth is measured in terms of coins.


Q8. What were Shrenis?

Ans. Many crafts persons and merchants formed associations known as shrenis.


Q9. How did Dasa Karmakara earn a living?

Ans. Dasa Karmakara had to earn a living working on the fields owned by others.


Q10. Who was called Grama Bhojaka?

Ans. In the northern part of the country, the village headman was known as the grama bhojaka.


Q11. Who was Dasa Karmakara?

Ans. There were men and women who did not own land were known as the dasa karmakara.


Q12. What is Sangam literature?

Ans. Some of the earliest works in Tamil, known as Sangam literature, were composed around 2300 years ago.


Q13. What was Arikamedu during ancient India?

Ans. Between 2200 and 1900 years ago, Arikamedu was a coastal settlement where ships unloaded goods from distant lands.


Q14. What were aqueducts?

Ans. Huge aqueducts were the channels to supply water which were built to bring water to the city for the baths, fountains and toilets.


Q15. What do you understand by Jatakas?

Ans. These were stories that were probably composed by ordinary people, and then written down and preserved by Buddhist monks.


Q16. What are ring wells?

Ans. In many cities, archaeologists have found rows of pots, or ceramic rings arranged one on top of the other. These are known as ring wells.


Q17. Make a list of the occupations of people who lived in Mathura.

Ans. The main occupations of the people were goldsmiths, blacksmiths, weavers, basket makers, garland makers, perfumers.


Q18. What were ring wells used for?

Ans. These seem to have been used as toilets in some cases, and as drains and garbage dumps. These ring wells are usually found in individual houses.


Q19. Why the earliest coins which were in use for about 500 years were called punch marked coins?

Ans. They have been given this name because the designs were punched on to the metal — silver or copper.


Q20. Why some of the earliest works in Tamil, known as Sangam literature?

Ans. These texts were called Sangam because they were supposed to have been composed and compiled in assemblies (known as sangams) of poets that were held in the city of Madurai.


Q21. List all the women who could be employed by the superintendent.

Ans. Widows, young women who are differently abled, nuns, mothers of courtesans, retired women servants of the king, women who have retired from service in temples, may be employed by the superintendent.



Q22. What kinds of inscription have been found in Mathura?

Ans. Generally, these are short inscriptions, recording gifts made by men (and sometimes women) to monasteries and shrines. These were made by kings and queens, officers, merchants, and crafts persons who lived in the city.


Q23. Who lived in the village?

Ans. There were at least three different kinds of people living in most villages in the southern and northern parts of the subcontinent. In the Tamil region, large landowners were known as vellalar, ordinary ploughmen were known as uzhavar, and landless labourers, including slaves, were known as kadaisiyar and adimai.


Q24. What are the ways of finding out about early cities?

Ans. Ways of finding out about early cities are:

i.        Sculptors carved scenes depicting peoples’ lives in towns and villages, as well as in the forest.

ii.        Archaeologists’ findings such as found rows of pots, or ceramic rings arranged one on top of the other.

iii.        Accounts of sailors and travellers who visited them.


Q25. What has been found in the archaeological excavations at Arikamedu?

Ans. Findings in the archaeological excavations at Arikamedu

i.        A massive brick structure, which may have been a warehouse, was found at the site.

ii.        Other finds include pottery from the Mediterranean region, such as amphorae and stamped red-glazed pottery, known as Arretine Ware, which was named after a city in Italy.

iii.        Roman lamps, glassware and gems have also been found at the site.


Q26. What were the functions performed by Shrenis?

Ans. Functions performed by Shrenis were:

i.        These shrenis of crafts persons provided training, procured raw material, and distributed the finished product.

ii.        Then shrenis of merchants organised the trade.

iii.        Shrenis also served as banks, where rich men and women deposited money. This was invested, and part of the interest was returned or used to support religious institutions such as monasteries.


Q27. Mathura has been an important settlement for more than 2500 years. Give reasons.

Ans. Reasons

i.        It was important because it was located at the cross roads of two major routes of travel and trade — from the northwest to the east and from north to south.

ii.        There were fortifications around the city, and several shrines.

iii.        Farmers and herders from adjoining areas provided food for people in the city.

iv.        Mathura was also a centre where some extremely fine sculpture was produced.


Q28. Write a short note on Grama Bhojaka.

Ans. Grama Bhojaka

i.        In the northern part of the country, the village headman was known as the grama bhojaka.

ii.        Usually, men from the same family held the position for generations. In other words, the post was hereditary.

iii.        The grama bhojaka was often the largest landowner.

iv.        Generally, he had slaves and hired workers to cultivate the land.

v.        Besides, as he was powerful, the king often used him to collect taxes from the village.

vi.        He also functioned as a judge, and sometimes as a policeman.

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