India

Grand Ynde, Inde

India is a vast country that occupies most of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia.

The Welsh Culhwch and Olwen seems to suggest that Arthur once campaigned in India, for Arthur’s chief gatekeeper Glewlyd says that he was once in “India the Great” and “India the Lesser”.

Wolfram, who calls the land Tribalibot, says it was ruled by Queen Secundille, then by Perceval’s half-brother Feirefiz, and then by Feirefiz’s son Prester John.

In the Vulgate Merlin, “Greater India” is ruled by King Lac, whose seneschal, Minoras, assisted Arthur in the battles against the Saxons. In the Alliterative Morte Arthure and Malory, the land is allied to the Roman emperor Lucius, and soldiers from India participate in the war against Arthur. A similar situation is found in Claris et Laris, in which the ruler is Geremie.

In the Irish tale Eachtra an Mhadra MhaoilGawain assists the Crop-Eared Dog, the son of the King of India, to regain human form.

In India during the Arthurian period, the political landscape was characterized by a mixture of larger kingdoms, smaller states, and regional dynasties. The subcontinent was divided into numerous political entities, some of whichwere more centralized and powerful, while others were smaller and more localized.


India | 0 to the 9th century AD

Gupta Empire | 320-550
The Gupta Empire period is often regarded as the Golden Age of ancient India. Under rulers like Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, and Chandragupta II, the empire saw significant achievements in art, science, mathematics, and literature. The decimal system, the concept of zero, and works like the Kamasutra and Arthashastra emerged during this period. The Gupta period is known for its patronage of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as the construction of the iconic Iron Pillar of Delhi.

Post-Gupta Period | c. 550-750
In the sixth and seventh centuries, India faced invasions by the Huns and other Central Asian groups, leading to the decline of the Gupta Empire. The White Huns, or Hephthalites, invaded northwest India, causing political fragmentation. In the southern part of India, the Chalukya and Pallava dynasties emerged as major powers during this period.

Chola Dynasty | c. 9th – 13th centuries
The Chola Dynasty, particularly during the reign of Rajaraja Chola and Rajendra Chola, expanded its influence through maritime trade and military conquests. The Cholad ha a well-organized administration and significant cultural achievements.

Islamic Invasions | 8th – 11th centuries
The first Islamic invasions of India began in the eighth century, with the Umayyad Caliphate and later the Ghaznavid and Ghurid dynasties. These invasions marked the beginning of Islamic influences on Indian culture.

Trade Routes
The first century to 300 AD saw the flourishing of trade along the Silk Road, connecting India with the Roman Empire and other parts of Asia.

Over the centuries, the spread of Hinduism continued, and various temples were constructed, reflecting diverse architectural styles. India’s maritime trade routes expanded, with Indian merchants establishing links with southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and East Africa. The spice trade and the export of textiles and gemstones were prominent.


Sources
Culhwch and Olwen | Late 11th century
Parzival | Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1200–1210
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Claris et Laris | 1268
Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470
Eachtra an Mhadra Mhaoil | Unknown