5. The Mauryan Empire overcame natural and geographic obstacles, as well as India’s complex social hierarchy, to politically unify India. The Mauryan Empire’s longest-lasting impact was to expedite the formation of a common Indian civilization. Particularly important was the conversion of the Mauryan ruler Ashoka to Buddhism, resulting in the spread of Buddhist influence. Even after the collapse of the Mauryan Empire, there continued to be economic, cultural, and intellectual development that was at least partially due to Mauryan rule.
7. From evidence in Gupta literary works, Indian women’s standing had declined noticeably since the Vedic period. This decline was due in large part to the emergence of a nonagricultural middle class, which placed a high value on the acquisition and inheritance of property. As a result, women lost the right to own and inherit property. They were also barred from participating in many religious ceremonies. In addition, they were married at increasingly younger ages so that they could be trained in the husband’s house. The most extreme example of Indian women’s position was the ritual of sati, in which a