Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/425

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endured down to 178 A.D., or about three centuries. Their memory is preserved in India by the Çaka era, which is still in use, and dates from 78 A.D., the inaugural year of Kanishka, the only famous king of this race. His dominions, which included Kānyakubja (Kanauj) on the Ganges, extended beyond the confines of India to parts of Central Asia. A zealous adherent of Buddhism, he made Gandhāra and Kashmir the chief seat of that religion, and held the fourth Buddhist council in the latter country.

About 20 B.C. the Çakas were followed into India by the Kushanas, who were one of the five tribes of the Yueh-chi from Central Asia, and who subsequently conquered the whole of Northern India.

After having been again united into a single empire almost as great as that of Chandragupta under the national dynasty of the Guptas, from 319 to 480 A.D., Northern India, partly owing to the attacks of the Hūṇas, was split up into several kingdoms, some under the later Guptas, till 606 A.D., when Harshavardhana of Kanauj gained paramount power over the whole of Northern India. During his reign the poet Bāṇa flourished, and the celebrated Chinese pilgrim Hiouen Thsang visited India.

With the Muhammadan conquest about 1000 A.D. the country again fell under a foreign yoke. As after Alexander's invasion, we have the good fortune to possess in Albērūnī's India (c. 1030 A.D.) the valuable work of a cultivated foreigner, giving a detailed account of the civilisation of India at this new era in its history.

This repeated contact of the Indians with foreign invaders from the West naturally led to mutual influences in various branches of literature.