24 Facts About Pyu city-states


Pyu city states were a group of city-states that existed from c 2nd century BCE to c mid-11th century in present-day Upper Burma .

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The thousand-year period, often referred to as the Pyu city-states millennium, linked the Bronze Age to the beginning of the classical states period when the Pagan Kingdom emerged in the late 9th century.

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Pyu city-states culture was heavily influenced by trade with India, importing Buddhism as well as other cultural, architectural and political concepts, which would have an enduring influence on the Culture of Burma and political organisation.

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The Pyu city-states calendar, based on the Buddhist calendar, later became the Burmese calendar.

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Millennium-old civilisation came crashing down in the 9th century when the Pyu city-states were destroyed by repeated invasions from the Kingdom of Nanzhao.

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Pyu city-states settlements remained in Upper Burma for the next three centuries but the Pyu city-states gradually were absorbed into the expanding Pagan Kingdom.

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Circa 2nd century BCE, the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu city-states people began to enter the Irrawaddy River Valley from present-day Yunnan using the Taping and Shweli Rivers.

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The original home of the Pyu city-states is reconstructed to be Qinghai Lake, which is located in the present-day provinces of Qinghai and Gansu.

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The Pyu city-states realm was longer than wide, stretching from Sri Ksetra in the south to Halin in the north, Binnaka and Maingmaw to the east and probably Ayadawkye to the west.

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Pyu city-states were the earliest people in Southeast Asia to welcome in and adapt to Indie scripts in order to record their tonal language, inventing tonal markers.

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The Pyu city-states shared a type of urbanism on a wide variety of scales.

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In late prehistory, the Pyu city-states settled for quite some time in Beikthano in the Yin River Valley than the Nawin River Valley at Sri Ksetra, because they proved their skills of water control using irrigation systems depended on their good knowledge of the conditions in each locality and area.

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The Pyu city-states were contemporaries of the Kingdom of Funan and Champa, Dvaravati, Tambralinga and Takuapa near the Kra Isthmus, and Srivijaya .

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Nonetheless, the Pyu city-states had left an indelible mark on Pagan whose Burman rulers would incorporate the histories and legends of the Pyu city-states as their own.

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Pyu city-states settlements remained in Upper Burma for the next three centuries but the Pyu city-states gradually were absorbed and assimilated into the expanding Pagan Empire.

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Also excavated are distinctive silver coins identical to those found at Beikthano and Binnaka, stone moulds for casting silver and gold ornamental flowers, a gold armlet in association with a silver bowl that has Pyu city-states writing on it, and funerary urns virtually identical to those found Beikthano and Binnaka.

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All important Pyu city-states settlements were located in the three main irrigated regions of Upper Burma, centred on the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers: Halin in the Mu valley, Maingmaw and Binnaka in the Kyaukse plains, finally Beikthano and Sri Ksetra at or near the Minbu district.

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Pyu city-states realm was an important trading centre between China and India in the first millennium CE.

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Trading area of the Pyu city-states states spanned across the present-day Southeast Asia, South Asia and China.

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Likewise, Pyu city-states artefacts have been found along the coasts of Arakan, Lower Burma, and as far east as Oc Eo .

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The Theravada school prevalent in the Pyu city-states realm was probably derived from the Andhra region in southeast India, associated with the famous Theravada Buddhist scholar, Buddhagosa.

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Pyu city-states language was a Tibeto-Burman language, related to Old Burmese.

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The Pyu city-states sites have yielded a wide variety of Indian scripts from King Ashoka's edicts written in north Indian Brahmi and Tamil Brahmi, both dated to the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE, to the Gupta script and Kannada script dated to the 4th to 6th centuries CE.

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The chiefs at larger Pyu city-states later styled themselves as kings, and established courts largely modelled after the Indian concepts of monarchy.

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