Romila Thapar is an Indian historian as well as an Emeritus professor whose principal area of study is ancient India. She is the author of several books including the popular volume, A History of India, is Professor Emerita at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, she has declined both times. Romila is the daughter of an army doctor Daya Ram Thapar, who served as the Director General of the Indian Armed Forces Medical Services; the late journalist Romesh Thapar was her brother. As a child she attended schools in various cities in India depending on her father's military postings, she attended intermediate of arts at Wadia College, Pune. After graduating from Panjab University in English literature, Thapar obtained a second bachelor's honors degree and a doctorate in Indian history under A. L. Basham from the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London in 1958, she was a reader in Ancient Indian History at Kurukshetra University between 1961 and 1962 and held the same position at Delhi University between 1963 and 1970.
She worked as Professor of Ancient Indian History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she is now Professor Emerita. Thapar's major works are Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations, Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History, A History of India Volume One, Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300, her historical work portrays the origins of Hinduism as an evolving interplay between social forces. Her recent work on Somnath examines the evolution of the historiographies about the legendary Gujarat temple. In her first work, Aśoka and the Decline of the Maurya published in 1961, Thapar situates Ashoka's policy of dhamma in its social and political context, as a non-sectarian civic ethic intended to hold together an empire of diverse ethnicities and cultures, she attributes the decline of the Mauryan empire to its centralised administration which called for rulers of exceptional abilities to function well. Thapar's first volume of A History of India is written for a popular audience and encompasses the period from its early history to the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century.
Ancient Indian Social History deals with the period from early times to the end of the first millennium, includes a comparative study of Hindu and Buddhist socio-religious systems, examines the role of Buddhism in social protest and social mobility in the caste system. From Lineage to State analyses the formation of states in the middle Ganga valley in the first millennium BC, tracing the process to a change, driven by the use of iron and plough agriculture, from a pastoral and mobile lineage-based society to one of settled peasant holdings and increased urbanisation. Thapar has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, the College de France in Paris, she was elected General President of the Indian History Congress in 1983 and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 1999. She was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1976. Thapar is an Honorary Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Calcutta and from the University of Hyderabad. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, she was elected an Honorary Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, in 2017. In 2004, the US Library of Congress appointed her as the first holder of the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South. In January 2005, she declined. In a letter to President A P J Abdul Kalam, she said she was "astonished to see her name in the list of awardees because three months ago when I was contacted by the HRD ministry and asked if I would accept an award, I made my position clear and explained my reason for declining it". Thapar had declined the Padma Bhushan on an earlier occasion, in 1992. To the President, she explained the reason for turning down the award thus: "I only accept awards from academic institutions or those associated with my professional work, not state awards"..
Critics on the other hand have challenged her projection of an expert on Vedic history owing to her lack of knowledge of Sanskrit. She is co-winner with Peter Brown of the Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity for 2008 which comes with a US$1 million prize. Thapar is critical of what she calls a "communal interpretation" of Indian history, in which events in the last thousand years are interpreted in terms of a notional continual conflict between monolithic Hindu and Muslim communities. Thapar says this communal history is "extremely selective" in choosing facts, "deliberately partisan" in interpretation and does not follow current methods of analysis using multiple, prioritised causes. In 2002, the Indian coalition government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party changed the school textbooks for social sciences and history, on the ground that certain passages offended the sensibilities of some religious and caste groups. Romila Thapar, the author of the textbook on Ancient India for class VI, objected to the changes made without her permission that, for example, deleted passages on eating of beef in ancient times, the formulation of the caste system.
She questioned whether the changes were an, "attempt to replace mainstream history with a Hindutva version of history", with the view to use th
The Koli people are an ethnic Indian group native to Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir states. The Kolis of Gujarat intermixed with Rajputs due to the practice of hypergamous marriage, used to enhance or secure social status; some Kolis had once held small princely states before the colonial British Raj period and some were still significant landholders and tenants in the twentieth century. However, most Kolis had lost their once-equal standing with the Patidar community due to the land reforms of the Raj period. During the period of the Raj, the Gujarati Kolis became involved in the process of what has subsequently been termed sanskritisation. At that time, in the 1930s, they represented around 20 per cent of the region's population and members of the local Rajput community were seeking to extend their own influence by co-opting other significant groups as claimants to the ritual title of Kshatriya; the Rajputs were politically and marginalised because their own numbers — around 4 - 5 per cent of the population — were inferior to the dominant Patidars, with whom the Kolis were disenchanted.
The Kolis were among those whom the Rajputs targeted because, although classified as a criminal tribe by the British administration, they were among the many communities of that period who had made genealogical claims of descent from the Kshatriya. The Rajput leaders preferred to view the Kolis as being Kshatriya by dint of military ethos rather than origin but, in whatever terminology, it was a marriage of political expedience. In 1947, around the time that India gained independence, the Kutch, Gujarat Kshatriya Sabha caste association emerged as an umbrella organisation to continue the work begun during the Raj. Christophe Jaffrelot, a French political scientist, says that this body, which claimed to represent the Rajputs and Kolis, "... is a good example of the way castes, with different ritual status, join hands to defend their common interests.... The use of the word Kshatriya was tactical and the original caste identity was diluted."The relevance of the Kshatriya label in terms of ritual was diminished by the practical actions of the KKGKS which, among other things, saw demands for the constituent communities to be classified as Backward Classes in the Indian scheme for positive discrimination.
Kshatriyas would not wish to be associated with such a category and indeed it runs counter to the theory of sanskritisation, but in this instance it suited the socio-economic and political desires. By the 1950s, the KKGKS had established schools, loan systems and other mechanisms of communal self-help and it was demanding reforms to laws relating to land, it was seeking alliances with political parties at state level. By 1967, the KKGKS was once again working with Congress because, despite being a haven for Patidars, the party leadership needed the votes of the KKGKS membership; the Kolis gained more from the actions of the KKGKS in these two decades than did the Rajputs, Jaffrelot believes that it was around this time that a Koli intelligentsia emerged. Ghanshyam Shah, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, describes the organisation today as covering a broad group of communities, from disadvantaged Rajputs of high prestige to the semi-tribal Bhils, with the Kolis in the middle, he notes that its composition reflects "a common economic interest and a growing secular identity born out of folklore but more out of common resentment against the well-to-do castes".
The Kolis of Gujarat remained educationally and occupationally disadvantaged compared to communities such as the Brahmins and Patidars. Their many Jātis include the Bareeya and Thakor, they use Koli as a suffix, giving rise to groups such as the Gulam Koli and Matia Koli; some do not refer to themselves as Koli at all. As of 2012, various communities bearing the Koli name appear in the central lists of Other Backward Classes maintained by the National Commission for Backward Classes, although at least one is in part recognised as a Scheduled Tribe; these classifications have been in force since at least 1993. The Government of India classified the Koli community as Scheduled Caste in the 2001 census for the states of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. While the Koli are Hindu, in Mumbai, Native Christians include autochthonous Koli East Indian Catholics, who were forcefully converted by the Portuguese during the 16th century. Kanhoji Angre, Admiral of Maratha Navy of Shivaji Hathi Sord, Maharaja of Idar State.
Yakut Khan, Admiral of Mughal Navy and Jagirdar of Janjira Fort. Dhan Mer and founder of Dhandhuka and Dhandhalpur and son of Sonang Mer. Govindas Ramdas, Indian revolutionary. Mansa Khant, Revolutionary in Gujarat Sultanate against Junagadh State. Alpesh Thakor, Founder of'Kshatriya Thakor Sena, Gujarat' and Member of Legislative Assembly from Radhanpur. Thakur Karan Singh Makwana, Ruler of Katosan State. Yashwantrao Martandrao Mukne, Maharaja of the Jawhar State. Jhalkaribai, a woman soldier who played an important role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 Tanaji Malusare, Commander in the Maratha Army of Shivaji Parshottambhai Solanki, former minister of Fishery in the Government of Gujarat Anant Tare, leader of Shiv Sena from Thane Notes References Bibliography Basu, Villages and the Success of Dairy Cooperatives in India: Making Place for Rural Development, Cambria Press, ISBN 9781604976250 Fuller, Christopher John, "The Internal Structure of the Nayar Caste", Journal of Anthropological Research, 31, JSTOR 3629883, Christophe
Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions. Sanskrit is an Old Indo-Aryan language; as one of the oldest documented members of the Indo-European family of languages, Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies. It is related to Greek and Latin, as well as Hittite, Old Avestan and many other extinct languages with historical significance to Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, it traces its linguistic ancestry to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, Proto-Indo-Iranian and the Proto-Indo-European languages.
Sanskrit is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as the Vedic Sanskrit, with the Rigveda as the earliest known composition. A more refined and standardized grammatical form called the Classical Sanskrit emerged in mid-1st millennium BCE with the Aṣṭādhyāyī treatise of Pāṇini. Sanskrit, though not Classical Sanskrit, is the root language of many Prakrit languages. Examples include numerous modern daughter Northern Indian subcontinental languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Nepali; the body of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of philosophical and religious texts, as well as poetry, drama, scientific and other texts. In the ancient era, Sanskrit compositions were orally transmitted by methods of memorisation of exceptional complexity and fidelity; the earliest known inscriptions in Sanskrit are from the 1st-century BCE, such as the few discovered in Ayodhya and Ghosundi-Hathibada. Sanskrit texts dated to the 1st millennium CE were written in the Brahmi script, the Nāgarī script, the historic South Indian scripts and their derivative scripts.
Sanskrit is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It continues to be used as a ceremonial and ritual language in Hinduism and some Buddhist practices such as hymns and chants; the Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- is a compound word consisting of sam and krta-. It connotes a work, "well prepared and perfect, sacred". According to Biderman, the perfection contextually being referred to in the etymological origins of the word is its tonal qualities, rather than semantic. Sound and oral transmission were valued quality in ancient India, its sages refined the alphabet, the structure of words and its exacting grammar into a "collection of sounds, a kind of sublime musical mold", states Biderman, as an integral language they called Sanskrit. From late Vedic period onwards, state Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus, resonating sound and its musical foundations attracted an "exceptionally large amount of linguistic and religious literature" in India; the sound was visualized as "pervading all creation", another representation of the world itself, the "mysterious magnum" of the Hindu thought.
The search for perfection in thought and of salvation was one of the dimensions of sacred sound, the common thread to weave all ideas and inspirations became the quest for what the ancient Indians believed to be a perfect language, the "phonocentric episteme" of Sanskrit. Sanskrit as a language competed with numerous less exact vernacular Indian languages called Prakritic languages; the term prakrta means "original, normal, artless", states Franklin Southworth. The relationship between Prakrit and Sanskrit is found in the Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium CE. Patanjali acknowledged that Prakrit is the first language, one instinctively adopted by every child with all its imperfections and leads to the problems of interpretation and misunderstanding; the purifying structure of the Sanskrit language removes these imperfections. The early Sanskrit grammarian Dandin states, for example, that much in the Prakrit languages is etymologically rooted in Sanskrit but involve "loss of sounds" and corruptions that result from a "disregard of the grammar".
Dandin acknowledged that there are words and confusing structures in Prakrit that thrive independent of Sanskrit. This view is found in the writing of the author of the ancient Natyasastra text; the early Jain scholar Namisadhu acknowledged the difference, but disagreed that the Prakrit language was a corruption of Sanskrit. Namisadhu stated that the Prakrit language was the purvam and they came to women and children, that Sanskrit was a refinement of the Prakrit through a "purification by grammar". Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, it is one of the three ancient documented languages that arose from a common root language now referred to as the Proto-Indo-European language: Vedic Sanskrit. Mycenaean Greek and Ancient Greek. Mycenaean Greek is the older recorded form of Greek, but the limited material that has survived has a ambiguous writing system. More important to Indo-European studies is Ancient Greek, documented extensively beginning with the two Homeric poems. Hittite.
This is the earliest-recorded of all Indo-European languages, distinguishable into Old Hittite, Middle Hittite and Neo-Hittite. I
The Mahājanapadas were sixteen kingdoms or oligarchic republics that existed in ancient India from the sixth to fourth centuries BCE. Two of them were most ganatantras and others had forms of monarchy. Ancient Buddhist texts like the Anguttara Nikaya make frequent reference to sixteen great kingdoms and republics which had evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Anga in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region, prior to the rise of Buddhism in India; the 6th–5th century BCE is regarded as a major turning point in early Indian history. Archaeologically, this period corresponds in part to the Northern Black Polished Ware culture; the term "Janapada" means the foothold of a tribe. The fact that Janapada is derived from Jana points to an early stage of land-taking by the Jana tribe for a settled way of life; this process of first settlement on land had completed its final stage prior to the times of the Buddha and Pāṇini.
The Pre-Buddhist north-west region of the Indian sub-continent was divided into several Janapadas demarcated from each other by boundaries. In Pāṇini's "Ashtadhyayi", Janapada stands for Janapadin for its citizenry; each of these Janapadas was named after the Kshatriya tribe. Buddhist and other texts only incidentally refer to sixteen great nations which were in existence before the time of the Buddha, they do not give any connected history except in the case of Magadha. The Buddhist Anguttara Nikaya, at several places, gives a list of sixteen great nations: Another Buddhist text, the Digha Nikaya, mentions only twelve Mahajanapadas from the above list and omits four of them. Chulla-Niddesa, another ancient text of the Buddhist canon, adds Kalinga to the list and substitutes Yona for Gandhara, thus listing the Kamboja and the Yona as the only Mahajanapadas from Uttarapatha; the Vyākhyāprajñapti, a sutra of Jainism, gives a different list of sixteen Mahajanapadas: The author of the Bhagavati Sutra has a focus on the countries of Madhydesa and of the far east and south only.
He omits the nations from Uttarapatha like the Gandhara. The more extended horizon of the Bhagvati and the omission of all countries from Uttarapatha "clearly shows that the Bhagvati list is of origin and therefore less reliable." The first reference to the Angas is found in the Atharva-Veda where they find mention along with the Magadhas and the Mujavats as a despised people. The Jaina Prajnapana ranks Vangas in the first group of Aryan people, it mentions the principal cities of ancient India. It was a great center of trade and commerce and its merchants sailed to distant Suvarnabhumi. Anga was annexed by Magadha in the time of Bimbisara; this was the one and only conquest of Bimbisara. The country of Assaka or the Ashmaka tribe was located in southern India. In Buddha's time, many of the Assakas were located on the banks of the river Godavari; the capital of the Assakas was Potali, which corresponds to Paudanya of Mahabharata. The Ashmakas are mentioned by Pāṇini, they are placed in the north-west in the Brhat Samhita.
The river Godavari separated the country of the Assakas from that of the Mulakas. The commentator of Kautiliya's Arthashastra identifies Ashmaka with Maharashtra; the country of Assaka lay outside the pale of Madhyadesa. It was located on the Dakshinapatha. At one time, Assaka abutted Avanti; the country of the Avantis was an important kingdom of western India and was one of the four great monarchies in India in the post era of Mahavira and Buddha, the other three being Kosala and Magadha. Avanti was divided into south by the river Narmada. Mahishamati was the capital of Southern Avanti, Ujjaini was of northern Avanti, but at the times of Mahavira and Buddha, Ujjaini was the capital of integrated Avanti; the country of Avanti corresponded to modern Malwa and adjoining parts of today's Madhya Pradesh. Both Mahishmati and Ujjaini stood on the southern high road called Dakshinapatha which extended from Rajagriha to Pratishthana. Avanti was an important centre of Buddhism and some of the leading theras and theris were born and resided there.
King Nandivardhana of Avanti was defeated by king Shishunaga of Magadha. Avanti became part of the Magadhan empire; the Chedis, Chetis or Chetyas had two distinct settlements of which one was in the mountains of Nepal and the other in Bundelkhand near Kausambi. According to old authorities, Chedis lay near Yamuna midway between the kingdom of Vatsas. In the mediaeval period, the southern frontiers of Chedi extended to the banks of the river Narmada. Sotthivatnagara, the Sukti or Suktimati of Mahabharata, was the capital of Chedi; the Chedis were an ancient people of India and are mentioned in the Rigveda, with their king Kashu Chaidya. The location of the capital city, has not been established with certainty. Historian Hem Chandra Raychaudhuri and F. E. Pargiter believed that it was in the vicinity of Banda, Uttar Pradesh. Archaeologist Dilip Kumar Chakrabarti has proposed that Suktimati can be iden
The Shakya were a clan of late Vedic India and the so-called second urbanisation period in the Indian subcontinent. The Shakyas formed an independent oligarchic republican state known as the Śākya Gaṇarājya; the Shakya capital was Kapilavastu, which may have been located either in present-day Tilaurakot, Nepal or present-day Piprahwa, India. The best-known Shakya was Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism and came to be known as Gautama Buddha. Siddhartha was the son of the chosen leader of the Śākya Gaṇarājya; the Shakyas are mentioned in Buddhist texts as well, including the Mahāvastu, Buddhaghoṣa and Sumaṅgalavilāsinī, a commentary by Buddhaghoṣa on the Digha Nikaya in the accounts of the birth of the Buddha, as a part of the Adicchabandhus or the Ādichchas and as descendants of the legendary king Ikshvaku: There lived once upon a time a king of the Śākya, a scion of the solar race, whose name was Suddhodana. He was pure in beloved of the Śākya like the autumn moon, he had a wife, splendid and steadfast, called the Great Maya, from her resemblance to Maya the Goddess.
Buddhaghoṣa's work traces the origin of the Shakyas to king Ikshvaku and gives their genealogy from Maha Sammata, an ancestor of Ikshvaku. This list comprises the names of a number of prominent kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty, which include Mandhata and Sagara. According to this text, Okkamukha was the eldest son of Ikshvaku. Sivisamjaya and Sihassara were the grandson of Okkamukha. King Sihassara had eighty-two thousand grandsons, who were together known as the Shakyas; the youngest son of Sihassara was Jayasena. Jayasena had a son, a daughter, married to Devadahasakka. Devadahasakka had two daughters and Kaccana. Sihahanu married Kaccana, they had five sons and two daughters. Suddhodana had two queens and Prajapati, both daughters of Anjana. Siddhartha was the son of Maya. Rahula was daughter of Suppabuddha and granddaughter of Añjana. Pali canon traces Gautama gotra of Shakya to Rigvedic sage Angirasa; the Shakya republic functioned as an oligarchy, ruled by an elite council of the warrior and ministerial class that chose its leader.
According to the Mahāvastu and the Lalitavistara Sūtra, the seat of the Shakya administration was the santhagara at Kapilavastu. A new building for the Shakya santhagara was constructed at the time of Gautama Buddha, inaugurated by him; the highest administrative authority was the sidharth, comprising 500 members, which met in the santhagara to transact any important business. The Shakya Parishad was headed by an elected raja. By the time of Siddharta's birth, the Shakya republic had become a vassal state of the larger Kingdom of Kosala; the raja, once chosen, would only take office upon the approval of the King of Kosala. While the raja must have held considerable authority in the Shakya homeland, backed by the power of the King of Kosala, he did not rule autocratically. Questions of consequence were debated in the santhagara, in which, though open to all, only members of the warrior class were permitted to speak. Rather than a majority vote, decisions were made by consensus. Virudhaka, son of Pasenadi and Vāsavakhattiyā, the daughter of a Shakya named Mahānāma by a slave girl, ascended the throne of Kosala after overthrowing his father.
As an act of vengeance for cheating Kosala by sending his mother, the daughter of a slave woman, for marriage to his father, he invaded the Shakya territory, massacred them and annexed it. The Shakyas were by tradition sun worshippers, who called themselves Ādicca nāma gottena and descendants of the sun; as Buddha states in the Sutta-Nipāta, "They are of the sun-lineage, Sakiyans by birth." It is uncertain whether, by the time of Siddhartha's birth, Vedic Brahmanism had been adopted to any significant extent by the Shakyans. Scholar Johannes Bronkhorst argues, "I do not deny that many vedic texts existed in oral form, at the time when Buddha was born. However, the bearers of this tradition, the Brahmins, did not occupy a dominant position in the area in which the Buddha preached his message, this message was not, therefore, a reaction against brahmanical thought and culture."Purportedly, many Shakyans joined people from other regions and became followers of the Buddha during his lifetime, many young Shakyan men left their homes to become monastics.
According to Hmannan Yazawin, first published in 1823, the legendary king Abhiyaza, who founded the Tagaung Kingdom and the Burmese monarchy belonged to the same Shakya clan of the Buddha. He migrated to present-day Burma after the annexation of the Shakya kingdom by Kosala; the earlier Burmese accounts stated that he was a descendant of Pyusawhti, son of a solar spirit and a dragon princess. Sanskrit word "Shakya"One view is that the name "Shakya" is derived from the Sanskrit word "śakya," which means "the one, capable". ScythiansSome scholars, including Michael Witzel and Christopher I. Beckwith argue that the Shakya were Scythians from Central Asia or Iran, that the name Śākya has the same origin as “Scythian”. Indo-Scythians were known to have appeared in South Asia in the Middle Kingdom period, around the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE. Janapadas Koliya Buswell, Robert
A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy, it is a form of government. In the context of American constitutional law, the definition of republic refers to a form of government in which elected individuals represent the citizen body and exercise power according to the rule of law under a constitution, including separation of powers with an elected head of state, referred to as a constitutional republic or representative democracy; as of 2017, 159 of the world’s 206 sovereign states use the word “republic” as part of their official names – not all of these are republics in the sense of having elected governments, nor is the word “republic” used in the names of all nations with elected governments. While heads of state tend to claim that they rule only by the “consent of the governed”, elections in some countries have been found to be held more for the purpose of “show” than for the actual purpose of in reality providing citizens with any genuine ability to choose their own leaders.
The word republic comes from the Latin term res publica, which means “public thing,” “public matter,” or “public affair” and was used to refer to the state as a whole. The term developed its modern meaning in reference to the constitution of the ancient Roman Republic, lasting from the overthrow of the kings in 509 B. C. to the establishment of the Empire in 27 B. C; this constitution was characterized by a Senate composed of wealthy aristocrats and wielding significant influence. Most a republic is a single sovereign state, but there are sub-sovereign state entities that are referred to as republics, or that have governments that are described as “republican” in nature. For instance, Article IV of the United States Constitution "guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government". In contrast, the former Soviet Union, which described itself as being a group of “Republics” and as a “federal multinational state composed of 15 republics”, was viewed as being a totalitarian form of government and not a genuine republic, since its electoral system was structured so as to automatically guarantee the election of government-sponsored candidates.
The term originates from the Latin translation of Greek word politeia. Cicero, among other Latin writers, translated politeia as res publica and it was in turn translated by Renaissance scholars as "republic"; the term politeia can be translated as form of government, polity, or regime and is therefore not always a word for a specific type of regime as the modern word republic is. One of Plato's major works on political science was titled Politeia and in English it is thus known as The Republic. However, apart from the title, in modern translations of The Republic, alternative translations of politeia are used. However, in Book III of his Politics, Aristotle was the first classical writer to state that the term politeia can be used to refer more to one type of politeia: "When the citizens at large govern for the public good, it is called by the name common to all governments, government". Amongst classical Latin, the term "republic" can be used in a general way to refer to any regime, or in a specific way to refer to governments which work for the public good.
In medieval Northern Italy, a number of city states had signoria based governments. In the late Middle Ages, writers such as Giovanni Villani began writing about the nature of these states and the differences from other types of regime, they used terms such as a free people, to describe the states. The terminology changed in the 15th century as the renewed interest in the writings of Ancient Rome caused writers to prefer using classical terminology. To describe non-monarchical states writers, most Leonardo Bruni, adopted the Latin phrase res publica. While Bruni and Machiavelli used the term to describe the states of Northern Italy, which were not monarchies, the term res publica has a set of interrelated meanings in the original Latin; the term can quite be translated as "public matter". It was most used by Roman writers to refer to the state and government during the period of the Roman Empire. In subsequent centuries, the English word "commonwealth" came to be used as a translation of res publica, its use in English was comparable to how the Romans used the term res publica.
Notably, during The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell the word commonwealth was the most common term to call the new monarchless state, but the word republic was in common use. In Polish the term was translated as rzeczpospolita, although the translation is now only used with respect to Poland. Presently, the term "republic" means a system of government which derives its power from the people rather than from another basis, such as heredity or divine right. While the philosophical terminology developed in classical Greece and Rome, as noted by Aristotle there was a long history of city states with a wide variety of constitutions, not only in Greece but in the Middle East. After the classical period, during the Middle Ages, many free cities developed again, such as Venice; the modern type of "republic" itself is different from any type of state found in the c