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|History of Nepal|
Licchavi (also Lichchhavi, Lichavi) was an ancient kingdom on the Southeast Asia which existed in the Kathmandu Valley in modern-day Nepal from approximately 400 to 750 CE. The Licchavi clan originated from Vaishali and Muzaffarpur in modern northern Bihar, India and conquered Kathmandu Valley.
The language of Licchavi inscription was Vajjika, and the particular script used is closely related to official Gupta scripts, suggesting that the other major kingdoms of the Classical Period to the south were a significant cultural influence. This was likely through Mithila, a region now situated mainly in India with a small part in Nepal. This ruling period of this dynasty was called golden period of Nepal. A table of the evolution of certain Gupta characters used in Licchavi inscriptions prepared by Gautamavajra Vajrācārya can be found online.
It is believed that a branch of the Lichhavi clan, having lost their political fortune in Bihar, came to Kathmandu, attacking and defeating the last Kirat King Gasti came In the Buddhist Pali canon, the Licchavi are mentioned in a number of discourses, most notably the Licchavi Sutta, the popular Ratana Sutta and the fourth chapter of the Petavatthu. The Mahayana Vimalakirti Sutra also spoke of the city of Vaisali as where the lay Licchavi bodhisattva Vimalakirti was residing.
The earliest known physical record of the kingdom is an inscription of Mānadeva, which dates from 464. It mentions three preceding rulers, suggesting that the Licchavi dynasty began in the late 4th century.
The Licchavi were ruled by a Maharaja ("great king"), who was aided by a prime minister, in charge of the military and of other ministers.
Nobles, known as samanta influenced the court whilst simultaneously managing their own landholdings and militia.
At one point, between approximately 605 and 641, a prime minister called Amshuverma actually assumed the throne.
The population provided land taxes and conscript labour (vishti) to support the government. Most local administration was performed by village heads or leading families. Many king ruled but the popular one were Mandev, Amshuverma etc.
The economy was agricultural, relying on rice and other grains as staples. Villages (grama) were grouped into dranga for administration. Lands were owned by the royal family, nobles.Trade was also very important,with many settlements positioned along trading routes. Tibet and India were both trading partners.
The following list was adapted from The Licchavi Kings, by Tamot & Alsop, and is approximate only, especially with respect to dates.