Cultural Pasts collects essays on a range of subjects in early Indian history. Its focus is on historiography and the changing dimensions of social and cultural history. The essays are divided into nine thematic groups: historiography, both current and from earlier periods; social and cultural transactions; archaeology and history; pre-Mauryan and Mauryan India; forms of exchange; the society of the heroes in the epics and the later tradition of venerating the hero; genealogies and origin myths as historical sources; the social context of the renouncer; and the past in the present--the use of the early past in current ideologies.
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