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Chandragupta Maurya Timeline

Chandragupta Maurya Timeline

  • c. 350 BCE - 275 BCE

    Life of Kautilya, Indian stateman and philosopher, chief advisor and Prime Minister of the Indian Emperor Chandragupta.

  • 340 BCE - 298 BCE

    Life of Indian Emperor Chandragupta, first ruler of the Mauryan Empire.

  • c. 321 BCE - c. 297 BCE

  • 321 BCE

    Dhana Nanda, king of Magadha, is killed by Chandragupta Maurya.

  • 320 BCE

    Chandragupta Maurya seizes the throne of Magadhan and expands the kingdom over northern and central India.

  • c. 320 BCE - c. 180 BCE

    Mauryan rule in the Gandhara region, beginning with Chandragupta Maurya.

  • 305 BCE

    Emperor Chandragupta signs a treaty with Seleucos I, establishing borders and giving the Punjab to Chandragupta in return for 500 war elephants.

  • 298 BCE

    Chandragupta voluntarily abdicates the throne in favour of his son Bindusara. Jain sources say that Chandragupta turned into an ascetic and follower of Jainism, migrated south and starved himself to death.


Indian History of Mauryan Empire – Chandragupta Maurya

The Maurya Empire was established in 322 BCE by Chandragupta Maurya. He had toppled the Nanda Dynasty. Chandragupta extended his capacity westbound across central and western India.

As indicated by legend, the instructor Chanakya persuaded his Chandragupta Maurya, to vanquish the realm of Magadha. He told him to do this because he was offended by Dhana Nanda.

Chandragupta Maurya extended the Maurya Empire north and west as he vanquished the Macedonian Satrapies. He also won the Seleucid-Mauryan war.

During that time, the Maurya Empire was probably the largest empire in the world. Involving most of South Asia, the Maurya Empire was incorporated by the triumph of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Its capital city was situated at Pataliputra.

The realm was the biggest political entity that has existed in the Indian subcontinent. It was supposed to be reaching out more than 5 million square kilometers at its pinnacle under Ashoka. The following are the sub-topics that are going to be discussed in this article.

  • Chandragupta Maurya
  • Megasthenes
  • Chanakya’s Arthashastra
  • Ashoka
  • Edicts of Ashoka
  • Administration
  • Art and culture

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Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire in old India. Destined to a modest foundation, he was educated and guided by Chanakya who had an extraordinary impact on the arrangement of his domain.

Together, Chandragupta and Chanakya assembled probably the biggest domain on the Indian subcontinent. As indicated by Jain sources, he later disavowed his realm and turned into a Jain priest.

Chandragupta’s life and achievements are depicted in Greek, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain writings. In Greek and Latin records, Chandragupta is alluded to as Sandrokottos or Androcottus.

Chandragupta Maurya was a crucial figure throughout the entire existence of India. Prior to his consolidation of power, Alexander the Great had attacked the northwest Indian subcontinent. But he abandoned his battle in 324 BCE.

He left an inheritance of a few Indo-Greek realms in northwest old India. Chandragupta applied the standards of statecraft, constructed an enormous armed force, and kept growing the limits of his domain.

Chandragupta’s domain reached out from Bengal to a large part of the Indian subcontinent. But except for the districts that are currently Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Odisha. Chandragupta’s rule was a period of monetary thriving, changes, and framework development.

Many religions flourished in India inside his domain. A memorial to Chandragupta Maurya exists on the Chandragiri slope alongside the seventh-century hagiographic engraving.

Megasthenes

Megasthenes was a Greek envoy of Seleucus I Nicator in the court of Chandragupta Maurya. Arrian clarifies that Megasthenes lived in Arachosia, with the satrap Sibyrtius, from where he visited India. Megasthenes often discussed his meeting with Sandracottus, the king of the Indians.

Megasthenes visited India at some point between c. 302 and 288 BCE, during the rule of Chandragupta Maurya. The specific dates of his visit to India and the length of his stay in India are uncertain.

Modern researchers for the most part accept that Seleucus sent him to India following the bargain with Chandragupta.

Arrian claims that Megasthenes met Porus. This case is by all accounts an incorrect one, except if we accept that Megasthenes went with Alexander the Great during the Greek attack of India.

Megasthenes visited the Mauryan capital Pataliputra. But it isn’t sure which different pieces of India he visited.

He seems to have gone through the Punjab district in north-western India, as he gives a point by point record of the waterways here. He should have then made a trip to Pataliputra along the Yamuna and the Ganga rivers.

Megasthenes assembled data about India in his book Indica. But this is currently a lost work, yet gets by in type of citations by the later journalists.

There were other Greek visitors to the Indian court after Megasthenes. They were Deimachus as envoy to Bindusara and Dionysius as the representative to Ashoka.

Arthashastra

The Arthashastra alludes to an act of political discretion that emerged in India,. It is exemplified by the composed material on position, strategy, and military procedure composed by Kautilya. Kautilya was an academician at Taxila University.

He later became the Prime Minister of the Mauryan Empire. He is alluded to as the Indian Machiavelli. This is because of his undisputed and quick procedures and strategies. This reflects a “pragmatist” way to deal with governmental issues, strategy, and fighting.

His Arthashastra text suggested that no methods were on the far side extent of a ruler to extend his domain or get influence just as the corrupt morals of allowing torment, duplicity, double-dealing, and spying as real proposes, to acknowledge an area, riches, and influence.

Arthashastra talks about the characteristics and orders required for a ruler to lead his subjects.

As per Kautilya, a King is one who:

  • Has self-control, having conquered the unfriendly temptations of the senses.
  • Cultivates the intellect by consulting with elders.
  • Keeps his eyes open and stays updated through spies.
  • Is always active in promoting the protection and welfare of the folks.
  • Ensures the speculation of the themes of their Dharma by authority and example.
  • Improves his own discipline by enhancing his learning in all branches of knowledge.
  • Endears himself to his subjects by enriching them.

Ashoka

Bindusara died in 272 BCE and was succeeded by his son, Ashoka the Great (304-232 BCE). As a youthful ruler, Ashoka (r. 272-232 BCE) was a splendid administrator who squashed revolts in Ujjain and Taxila. As a ruler, he was goal-oriented and forceful.

Thus, reasserting the Empire’s predominance in southern and western India. In any case, it was his triumph of Kalinga (262-261 BCE) that proved to be the pivotal event of his life. In Kalinga, approximately 100,000 warriors and people were murdered including more than 10,000 of Ashoka’s own men.

A huge number of individuals were antagonistically influenced by the devastation and aftermath of war. When he personally witnessed the devastation, Ashoka began feeling remorse.

Despite the fact that the extension of Kalinga was finished, Ashoka grasped the lessons of Buddhism and revoked war and brutality. He sent missionaries to go around Asia and spread Buddhism to different nations.

Edicts of Ashoka

The Edicts of Ashoka is a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on pillars. They were inscribed on stones and cavern dividers too. This is credited to Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire who ruled from 268 BCE to 232 BCE.

Ashoka utilized the Dhaṃma Lipi (Prakrit in the Brahmi, “Engravings of the Dharma”) to depict his own Edicts. These engravings were scattered all through the zones of cutting edge Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

They give unmistakable proof of Buddhism. The decrees portray in detail Ashoka’s view about dhamma, an attempt to solve society’s complex problems.

According to the declarations, the degree of Buddhist proselytism during this period came to the extent of the Mediterranean. Many Buddhist landmarks were made.

These engravings broadcast Ashoka’s adherence to the Buddhist way of thinking which is called dharma, “Law”. The engravings show his endeavors to build up the Buddhist dharma all through his realm.

Despite the fact that Buddhism as Gautama Buddha is referenced, the orders center around social and good statutes. These were situated out in the open places and were intended for individuals to peruse.

Administration

The Mauryan Empire was separated into four territories. The main capital was at Pataliputra. This was close to the Ganges River in the advanced territory of Bihar in India.

The Edicts of Ashoka give the names of the Mauryan Empire’s four commonplace capitals. They were Tosali in the east, Ujjain in the west, Suvarnagiri in the south, and Taxila in the north.

The hierarchical structure started at the supreme level with the sovereign and his Mantriparishad, or Council of Ministers. The top of the common organization was the Kumara or regal ruler.

He administered the territories as the king’s delegate, with the help of Mahamatyas. Mahamatyas were basically provincial executives. Through this modern arrangement of organization, the domain administered all parts of the government at each level, from city cleanliness to universal exchange.

Art and Culture

Arts of The Mauryan period may be categorized into Sculptures(Pillars and statues), Rock-cut Architecture, Stupas.

Sculptures

  • Two of the most celebrated figures of the Mauryan time frame are those of Yaksha and Yakshi.
  • They were objects of love identified with every one of the three religions – Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
  • The most punctual notice of Yakshi can be found in Silappadikaram, a Tamil book.
  • The middle of the naked male figure found at Lohanipur at Patna.
  • Didargunj Yakshi was found at Didarganj town at Patna.

The top portion of Mauryan pillars is carved with capital figures of Bull, The Lion, The elephant, etc. The shaft of the Pillars is polished. Ashoka pillars, (usually made of chunar sandstone), as a symbol of the state, assumed a great significance in the entire Mauryan Empire.

Objective: The principle objective was to scatter the Buddhist philosophy and court orders in the whole Mauryan realm.
Language: While most Ashoka column orders were in Pali and Prakrit language, few were written in Greek or Aramaic language moreover.
Design: Mauryan columns basically include four sections:
Shaft: A long shaft framed the base and consisted of a solitary bit of stone or stone monument.
Capital: On the head of the pole lay the capital, which was either lotus-molded or chime formed.
Abacus: Above the capital, there was a roundabout or rectangular base known as the math device.
Capital Figure: All the capital figures (normal creatures like a bull, lion, elephant, and so on) are incredible and cut remaining on a square or round math device.

Statues of Yakshas and Yakhinis from the Mauryan period are found in Places like Patna, Vidisha, Mathura, etc. These are large, polished, and in standing position.

Statues have a full round face and pronounced cheek. Sculpture artists have physiognomic skills. Physiognomic details are captured in statues. Brahmanical gods represented in sculpture form.

Rock-cut Architecture

Many rock-cut caves were carved during the Mauryan Empire. Caves served the purpose of viharas, Chaityas, etc. Lomas Rishi cave, Gaya, Bihar is one such example. The Cave is decorated with semicircular Chaitya.

The rock-cut technique is used for carving Sculptures. Dhauli rock-cut elephant is one such example.The construction of rock caves continued as in the Mauryan period.

However, this period saw the development of two types of rock caves – Chaitya and Viharas.Chaitya was a rectangular prayer hall with a stupa placed in the center, for the purpose of prayer and Viharas were used as the residences of the monks.

Examples
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha were patronized by the Kalinga king Kharavela and are also known for the Hathigumpha inscription (in Brahmi script).

Ranigumpha cave in Udayagiri is double-storied and has some beautiful sculptures.

Stupas

The popularity of Buddhism led to the construction of many Stupas during the Mauryan period. The architecture of Stupas was initially simpler however it became complex in later centuries. The stupa consists of a Cylindrical drum, circular Anda, Harmika, Chhatra.

  • The Gandhara School of Art or Greco-Indian School of Art (First sculptural portrayal of Buddha in human structure) has its starting point in Greco convention (Greek intruders carried with them the customs of the Greek and Roman stone carvers) which was additionally converged with the provincial or neighborhood specialty of the time.
  • Support: This school was belittled by both Shaka and Kushan rulers.
  • Significant focuses of Gandhara School of workmanship were Jalalabad (Eastern Afghanistan), Hadda (an antiquated area of Gandhara), Begram (Parwan region of Afghanistan) and Taxila (Pakistan).
  • Key Features: Buddha was delineated in Gandhara Art, through four sorts of hand motions called Mudras:
  1. Abahayamudra: Indicates valor
  2. Dhyana mudra: Indicates thoughtful position
  3. Dharmachakra Mudra: Means turning the wheel of law.
  4. Bhumisparsha Mudra: Touching the earth with his right hand and calling it to observe truth.

Contents

The name "Maurya" does not occur in Ashoka's inscriptions, or the contemporary Greek accounts such as Megasthenes's Indica, but it is attested by the following sources: [36]

  • The Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman (c. 150 CE) prefixes "Maurya" to the names Chandragupta and Ashoka. [36]
  • The Puranas (c. 4th century CE or earlier) use Maurya as a dynastic appellation. [36]
  • The Buddhist texts state that Chandragupta belonged to the "Moriya" clan of the Shakyas, the tribe to which Gautama Buddha belonged. [36]
  • The Jain texts state that Chandragupta was the son of a royal superintendent of peacocks (mayura-poshaka). [36] also designate them as 'moriyar' and mention them after the Nandas[37] inscription (from the town of Bandanikke, North Mysore ) of 12th century AD chronologically mention Mauryya as one of the dynasties which ruled the region. [38]

According to some scholars, Kharavela's Hathigumpha inscription (2nd-1st century BC) mentions era of Maurya Empire as Muriya Kala (Mauryan era), [39] but this reading is disputed: other scholars—such as epigraphist D. C. Sircar—read the phrase as mukhiya-kala ("the principal art"). [40]

According to the Buddhist tradition, the ancestors of the Maurya kings had settled in a region where peacocks (mora in Pali) were abundant. Therefore, they came to be known as "Moriyas", literally, "belonging to the place of peacocks". According to another Buddhist account, these ancestors built a city called Moriya-nagara ("Moriya-city"), which was so called, because it was built with the "bricks coloured like peacocks' necks". [41]

The dynasty's connection to the peacocks, as mentioned in the Buddhist and Jain traditions, seems to be corroborated by archaeological evidence. For example, peacock figures are found on the Ashoka pillar at Nandangarh and several sculptures on the Great Stupa of Sanchi. Based on this evidence, modern scholars theorize that the peacock may have been the dynasty's emblem. [42]

Some later authors, such as Dhundiraja (a commentator on the Mudrarakshasa) and an annotator of the Vishnu Purana, state that the word "Maurya" is derived from Mura and the mother of the first Maurya king. However, the Puranas themselves make no mention of Mura and do not talk of any relation between the Nanda and the Maurya dynasties. [43] Dhundiraja's derivation of the word seems to be his own invention: according to the Sanskrit rules, the derivative of the feminine name Mura (IAST: Murā) would be "Maureya" the term "Maurya" can only be derived from the masculine "Mura". [44]

Founding

Prior to the Maurya Empire, the Nanda Empire ruled over most of the Indian Subcontinent. The Nanda Empire was a large, militaristic, and economically powerful empire due to conquering the Mahajanapadas. According to several legends, Chanakya travelled to Pataliputra, Magadha, the capital of the Nanda Empire where Chanakya worked for the Nandas as a minister. However, Chanakya was insulted by the Emperor Dhana Nanda, of the Nanda dynasty and Chanakya swore revenge and vowed to destroy the Nanda Empire. [45] He had to flee in order to save his life and went to Taxila, a notable center of learning, to work as a teacher. On one of his travels, Chanakya witnessed some young men playing a rural game practicing a pitched battle. He was impressed by the young Chandragupta and saw royal qualities in him as someone fit to rule.

Meanwhile, Alexander the Great was leading his Indian campaigns and ventured into Punjab. His army mutinied at the Beas River and refused to advance further eastward when confronted by another army. Alexander returned to Babylon and re-deployed most of his troops west of the Indus River. Soon after Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BCE, his empire fragmented into independent kingdoms led by his generals. [46]

The Maurya Empire was established in the Greater Punjab region under the leadership of Chandragupta Maurya and his mentor Chanakya. Chandragupta was taken to Taxila by Chanakya and was tutored about statecraft and governing. Requiring an army Chandragupta recruited and annexed local military republics such as the Yaudheyas that had resisted Alexanders Empire. The Mauryan army quickly rose to become the prominent regional power in the North West of the Indian Subcontinent. The Mauryan army then conquered the satraps established by the Macedonians. [47] Ancient Greek historians Nearchus, Onesictrius and Aristobolus have provided lot of information about the Mauryan empire. [48] The Greek generals Eudemus and Peithon ruled in the Indus Valley until around 317 BCE, when Chandragupta Maurya (with the help of Chanakya, who was now his advisor) fought and drove out the Greek governors, and subsequently brought the Indus Valley under the control of his new seat of power in Magadha. [27]

Chandragupta Maurya's ancestry is shrouded in mystery and controversy. On one hand, a number of ancient Indian accounts, such as the drama Mudrarakshasa (Signet ring of RakshasaRakshasa was the prime minister of Magadha) by Vishakhadatta, describe his royal ancestry and even link him with the Nanda family. A kshatriya clan known as the Mauryas are referred to in the earliest Buddhist texts, Mahaparinibbana Sutta. However, any conclusions are hard to make without further historical evidence. Chandragupta first emerges in Greek accounts as "Sandrokottos". As a young man he is said to have met Alexander. [49] Chanakya is said to have met the Nanda king, angered him, and made a narrow escape. [50]

Conquest of Magadha

Chanakya encouraged Chandragupta Maurya and his army to take over the throne of Magadha. Using his intelligence network, Chandragupta gathered many young men from across Magadha and other provinces, men upset over the corrupt and oppressive rule of king Dhana Nanda, plus the resources necessary for his army to fight a long series of battles. These men included the former general of Taxila, accomplished students of Chanakya, the representative of King Parvataka, his son Malayaketu, and the rulers of small states. The Macedonians (described as Yona or Yavana in Indian sources) may then have participated, together with other groups, in the armed uprising of Chandragupta Maurya against the Nanda dynasty. [52] [53] The Mudrarakshasa of Visakhadutta as well as the Jaina work Parisishtaparvan talk of Chandragupta's alliance with the Himalayan king Parvataka, often identified with Porus, [54] [55] although this identification is not accepted by all historians. [56] This Himalayan alliance gave Chandragupta a composite and powerful army made up of Yavanas (Greeks), Kambojas, Shakas (Scythians), Kiratas (Himalayans), Parasikas (Persians) and Bahlikas (Bactrians) who took Pataliputra (also called Kusumapura, "The City of Flowers"): [57]

Kusumapura was besieged from every direction by the forces of Parvata and Chandragupta: Shakas, Yavanas, Kiratas, Kambojas, Parasikas, Bahlikas and others, assembled on the advice of Chanakya

Preparing to invade Pataliputra, Maurya came up with a strategy. A battle was announced and the Magadhan army was drawn from the city to a distant battlefield to engage with Maurya's forces. Maurya's general and spies meanwhile bribed the corrupt general of Nanda. He also managed to create an atmosphere of civil war in the kingdom, which culminated in the death of the heir to the throne. Chanakya managed to win over popular sentiment. Ultimately Nanda resigned, handing power to Chandragupta, and went into exile and was never heard of again. Chanakya contacted the prime minister, Rakshasas, and made him understand that his loyalty was to Magadha, not to the Nanda dynasty, insisting that he continue in office. Chanakya also reiterated that choosing to resist would start a war that would severely affect Magadha and destroy the city. Rakshasa accepted Chanakya's reasoning, and Chandragupta Maurya was legitimately installed as the new King of Magadha. Rakshasa became Chandragupta's chief advisor, and Chanakya assumed the position of an elder statesman.

Chandragupta Maurya

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, Chandragupta led a series of campaigns in 305 BCE to take satrapies in the Indus Valley and northwest India. [59] When Alexander's remaining forces were routed, returning westwards, Seleucus I Nicator fought to defend these territories. Not many details of the campaigns are known from ancient sources. Seleucus was defeated and retreated into the mountainous region of Afghanistan. [60]

The two rulers concluded a peace treaty in 303 BCE, including a marital alliance. Under its terms, Chandragupta received the satrapies of Paropamisadae (Kamboja and Gandhara) and Arachosia (Kandhahar) and Gedrosia (Balochistan). Seleucus I received the 500 war elephants that were to have a decisive role in his victory against western Hellenistic kings at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE. Diplomatic relations were established and several Greeks, such as the historian Megasthenes, Deimakos and Dionysius resided at the Mauryan court. [61]

Megasthenes in particular was a notable Greek ambassador in the court of Chandragupta Maurya. [62] According to Arrian, ambassador Megasthenes (c. 350 – c. 290 BCE) lived in Arachosia and travelled to Pataliputra. [63] Megasthenes' description of Mauryan society as freedom-loving gave Seleucus a means to avoid invasion, however, underlying Seleucus' decision was the improbability of success. In later years, Seleucus' successors maintained diplomatic relations with the Empire based on similar accounts from returning travellers. [59]

Chandragupta established a strong centralised state with an administration at Pataliputra, which, according to Megasthenes, was "surrounded by a wooden wall pierced by 64 gates and 570 towers". Aelian, although not expressly quoting Megasthenes nor mentioning Pataliputra, described Indian palaces as superior in splendor to Persia's Susa or Ecbatana. [64] The architecture of the city seems to have had many similarities with Persian cities of the period. [65]

Chandragupta's son Bindusara extended the rule of the Mauryan empire towards southern India. The famous Tamil poet Mamulanar of the Sangam literature described how areas south of the Deccan Plateau which comprised Tamil country was invaded by the Maurya army using troops from Karnataka. Mamulanar states that Vadugar (people who resided in Andhra-Karnataka regions immediately to the north of Tamil Nadu) formed the vanguard of the Mauryan army. [37] [66] He also had a Greek ambassador at his court, named Deimachus. [67] According to Plutarch, Chandragupta Maurya subdued all of India, and Justin also observed that Chandragupta Maurya was "in possession of India". These accounts are corroborated by Tamil sangam literature which mentions about Mauryan invasion with their south Indian allies and defeat of their rivals at Podiyil hill in Tirunelveli district in present-day Tamil Nadu. [68] [69]

Chandragupta renounced his throne and followed Jain teacher Bhadrabahu. [70] [71] [72] He is said to have lived as an ascetic at Shravanabelagola for several years before fasting to death, as per the Jain practice of sallekhana. [73]

Bindusara

Bindusara was born to Chandragupta, the founder of the Mauryan Empire. This is attested by several sources, including the various Puranas and the Mahavamsa. [74] [ full citation needed ] He is attested by the Buddhist texts such as Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa ("Bindusaro") the Jain texts such as Parishishta-Parvan as well as the Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana ("Vindusara"). [75] [76] According to the 12th century Jain writer Hemachandra's Parishishta-Parvan, the name of Bindusara's mother was Durdhara. [77] Some Greek sources also mention him by the name "Amitrochates" or its variations. [78] [79]

Historian Upinder Singh estimates that Bindusara ascended the throne around 297 BCE. [66] Bindusara, just 22 years old, inherited a large empire that consisted of what is now, Northern, Central and Eastern parts of India along with parts of Afghanistan and Baluchistan. Bindusara extended this empire to the southern part of India, as far as what is now known as Karnataka. He brought sixteen states under the Mauryan Empire and thus conquered almost all of the Indian peninsula (he is said to have conquered the 'land between the two seas' – the peninsular region between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea). Bindusara did not conquer the friendly Tamil kingdoms of the Cholas, ruled by King Ilamcetcenni, the Pandyas, and Cheras. Apart from these southern states, Kalinga (modern Odisha) was the only kingdom in India that did not form part of Bindusara's empire. [80] It was later conquered by his son Ashoka, who served as the viceroy of Ujjaini during his father's reign, which highlights the importance of the town. [81] [82]

Bindusara's life has not been documented as well as that of his father Chandragupta or of his son Ashoka. Chanakya continued to serve as prime minister during his reign. According to the medieval Tibetan scholar Taranatha who visited India, Chanakya helped Bindusara "to destroy the nobles and kings of the sixteen kingdoms and thus to become absolute master of the territory between the eastern and western oceans". [83] During his rule, the citizens of Taxila revolted twice. The reason for the first revolt was the maladministration of Susima, his eldest son. The reason for the second revolt is unknown, but Bindusara could not suppress it in his lifetime. It was crushed by Ashoka after Bindusara's death. [84]

Bindusara maintained friendly diplomatic relations with the Hellenic world. Deimachus was the ambassador of Seleucid emperor Antiochus I at Bindusara's court. [85] Diodorus states that the king of Palibothra (Pataliputra, the Mauryan capital) welcomed a Greek author, Iambulus. This king is usually identified as Bindusara. [85] Pliny states that the Egyptian king Philadelphus sent an envoy named Dionysius to India. [86] [87] According to Sailendra Nath Sen, this appears to have happened during Bindusara's reign. [85]

Unlike his father Chandragupta (who at a later stage converted to Jainism), Bindusara believed in the Ajivika sect. Bindusara's guru Pingalavatsa (Janasana) was a Brahmin [88] of the Ajivika sect. Bindusara's wife, Queen Subhadrangi (Queen Dharma/ Aggamahesi) was a Brahmin [89] also of the Ajivika sect from Champa (present Bhagalpur district). Bindusara is credited with giving several grants to Brahmin monasteries (Brahmana-bhatto). [90]

Historical evidence suggests that Bindusara died in the 270s BCE. According to Upinder Singh, Bindusara died around 273 BCE. [66] Alain Daniélou believes that he died around 274 BCE. [83] Sailendra Nath Sen believes that he died around 273–272 BCE, and that his death was followed by a four-year struggle of succession, after which his son Ashoka became the emperor in 269–268 BCE. [85] According to the Mahavamsa, Bindusara reigned for 28 years. [91] The Vayu Purana, which names Chandragupta's successor as "Bhadrasara", states that he ruled for 25 years. [92]

Ashoka

As a young prince, Ashoka ( r . 272–232 BCE) was a brilliant commander who crushed revolts in Ujjain and Takshashila. As monarch he was ambitious and aggressive, re-asserting the Empire's superiority in southern and western India. But it was his conquest of Kalinga (262–261 BCE) which proved to be the pivotal event of his life. Ashoka used Kalinga to project power over a large region by building a fortification there and securing it as a possession. [93] Although Ashoka's army succeeded in overwhelming Kalinga forces of royal soldiers and civilian units, an estimated 100,000 soldiers and civilians were killed in the furious warfare, including over 10,000 of Ashoka's own men. Hundreds of thousands of people were adversely affected by the destruction and fallout of war. When he personally witnessed the devastation, Ashoka began feeling remorse. Although the annexation of Kalinga was completed, Ashoka embraced the teachings of Buddhism, and renounced war and violence. He sent out missionaries to travel around Asia and spread Buddhism to other countries. [ citation needed ]

Ashoka implemented principles of ahimsa by banning hunting and violent sports activity and ending indentured and forced labor (many thousands of people in war-ravaged Kalinga had been forced into hard labour and servitude). While he maintained a large and powerful army, to keep the peace and maintain authority, Ashoka expanded friendly relations with states across Asia and Europe, and he sponsored Buddhist missions. He undertook a massive public works building campaign across the country. Over 40 years of peace, harmony and prosperity made Ashoka one of the most successful and famous monarchs in Indian history. He remains an idealized figure of inspiration in modern India. [ citation needed ]

The Edicts of Ashoka, set in stone, are found throughout the Subcontinent. Ranging from as far west as Afghanistan and as far south as Andhra (Nellore District), Ashoka's edicts state his policies and accomplishments. Although predominantly written in Prakrit, two of them were written in Greek, and one in both Greek and Aramaic. Ashoka's edicts refer to the Greeks, Kambojas, and Gandharas as peoples forming a frontier region of his empire. They also attest to Ashoka's having sent envoys to the Greek rulers in the West as far as the Mediterranean. The edicts precisely name each of the rulers of the Hellenic world at the time such as Amtiyoko (Antiochus), Tulamaya (Ptolemy), Amtikini (Antigonos), Maka (Magas) and Alikasudaro (Alexander) as recipients of Ashoka's proselytism. [ citation needed ] The Edicts also accurately locate their territory "600 yojanas away" (a yojanas being about 7 miles), corresponding to the distance between the center of India and Greece (roughly 4,000 miles). [94]

Decline

Ashoka was followed for 50 years by a succession of weaker kings. He was succeeded by Dasharatha Maurya, who was Ashoka's grandson. None of Ashoka's sons could ascend the throne after him. Mahendra, his first born, was on to spread Buddhism in the world. Kunala Maurya was blind hence couldn't ascend the throne and Tivala, son of Kaurwaki, died even earlier than Ashoka. Another son, Jalauka, does not have much story behind him.

The empire lost many territories under Dasharatha, which were later reconquered by Samprati, Kunala's son. Post Samprati, the Mauryas slowly lost many territories. In 180 BCE, Brihadratha Maurya, was killed by his general Pushyamitra Shunga in a military parade without any heir. Hence, the great Maurya empire finally ended, giving rise to the Shunga Empire.

Reasons advanced for the decline include the succession of weak kings after Aśoka Maurya, the partition of the empire into two, the growing independence of some areas within the empire, such as that ruled by Sophagasenus, a top-heavy administration where authority was entirely in the hands of a few persons, an absence of any national consciousness, [95] the pure scale of the empire making it unwieldy, and invasion by the Greco-Bactrian Empire.

Some historians, such as H. C. Raychaudhuri, have argued that Ashoka's pacifism undermined the "military backbone" of the Maurya empire. Others, such as Romila Thapar, have suggested that the extent and impact of his pacifism have been "grossly exaggerated". [96]

Shunga coup (185 BCE)

Buddhist records such as the Ashokavadana write that the assassination of Brihadratha and the rise of the Shunga empire led to a wave of religious persecution for Buddhists, [97] and a resurgence of Hinduism. According to Sir John Marshall, [98] Pushyamitra may have been the main author of the persecutions, although later Shunga kings seem to have been more supportive of Buddhism. Other historians, such as Etienne Lamotte [99] and Romila Thapar, [100] among others, have argued that archaeological evidence in favour of the allegations of persecution of Buddhists are lacking, and that the extent and magnitude of the atrocities have been exaggerated.

Establishment of the Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BCE)

The fall of the Mauryas left the Khyber Pass unguarded, and a wave of foreign invasion followed. The Greco-Bactrian king, Demetrius, capitalized on the break-up, and he conquered southern Afghanistan and parts of northwestern India around 180 BCE, forming the Indo-Greek Kingdom. The Indo-Greeks would maintain holdings on the trans-Indus region, and make forays into central India, for about a century. Under them, Buddhism flourished, and one of their kings, Menander, became a famous figure of Buddhism he was to establish a new capital of Sagala, the modern city of Sialkot. However, the extent of their domains and the lengths of their rule are subject to much debate. Numismatic evidence indicates that they retained holdings in the subcontinent right up to the birth of Christ. Although the extent of their successes against indigenous powers such as the Shungas, Satavahanas, and Kalingas are unclear, what is clear is that Scythian tribes, renamed Indo-Scythians, brought about the demise of the Indo-Greeks from around 70 BCE and retained lands in the trans-Indus, the region of Mathura, and Gujarat. [ citation needed ]

Megasthenes mentions military command consisting of six boards of five members each, (i) Navy (ii) military transport (iii) Infantry (iv) Cavalry with Catapults (v) Chariot divisions and (vi) Elephants. [101]

The Empire was divided into four provinces, with the imperial capital at Pataliputra. From Ashokan edicts, the names of the four provincial capitals are Tosali (in the east), Ujjain (in the west), Suvarnagiri (in the south), and Taxila (in the north). The head of the provincial administration was the Kumara (royal prince), who governed the provinces as king's representative. The kumara was assisted by Mahamatyas and council of ministers. This organizational structure was reflected at the imperial level with the Emperor and his Mantriparishad (Council of Ministers). [ citation needed ] . The mauryans established a well developed coin minting system. Coins were mostly made of silver and copper. Certain gold coins were in circulation as well. The coins were widely used for trade and commerce [102]

Historians theorise that the organisation of the Empire was in line with the extensive bureaucracy described by Kautilya in the Arthashastra: a sophisticated civil service governed everything from municipal hygiene to international trade. The expansion and defense of the empire was made possible by what appears to have been one of the largest armies in the world during the Iron Age. [103] According to Megasthenes, the empire wielded a military of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, 8,000 chariots and 9,000 war elephants besides followers and attendants. [104] A vast espionage system collected intelligence for both internal and external security purposes. Having renounced offensive warfare and expansionism, Ashoka nevertheless continued to maintain this large army, to protect the Empire and instil stability and peace across West and South Asia. [ citation needed ] .Even though large parts were under the control of Mauryan empire the spread of information and imperial message was limited since many parts were inaccessible and were situated far away from capital of empire. [105]

Local government

Arthashastra and Megasthenes accounts of Pataliputra describe the intricate municipal system formed by Maurya empire to govern its cities. A city counsel made up of thirty commissioners was divided into six committees or boards which governed the city. The first board fixed wages and looked after provided goods, second board made arrangement for foreign dignitaries, tourists and businessmen, third board made records and registrations, fourth looked after manufactured goods and sale of commodities, fifth board regulated trade, issued licenses and checked weights and measurements, sixth board collected sales taxes. Some cities such as Taxila had autonomy to issue their own coins. The city counsel had officers who looked after public welfare such as maintenance of roads, public buildings, markets, hospitals, educational institutions etc. [106] The official head of the village was Gramika (in towns Nagarika). [107] The city counsel also had some magisterial powers.

For the first time in South Asia, political unity and military security allowed for a common economic system and enhanced trade and commerce, with increased agricultural productivity. The previous situation involving hundreds of kingdoms, many small armies, powerful regional chieftains, and internecine warfare, gave way to a disciplined central authority. Farmers were freed of tax and crop collection burdens from regional kings, paying instead to a nationally administered and strict-but-fair system of taxation as advised by the principles in the Arthashastra. Chandragupta Maurya established a single currency across India, and a network of regional governors and administrators and a civil service provided justice and security for merchants, farmers and traders. The Mauryan army wiped out many gangs of bandits, regional private armies, and powerful chieftains who sought to impose their own supremacy in small areas. Although regimental in revenue collection, Maurya also sponsored many public works and waterways to enhance productivity, while internal trade in India expanded greatly due to new-found political unity and internal peace. [ citation needed ]

Under the Indo-Greek friendship treaty, and during Ashoka's reign, an international network of trade expanded. The Khyber Pass, on the modern boundary of Pakistan and Afghanistan, became a strategically important port of trade and intercourse with the outside world. Greek states and Hellenic kingdoms in West Asia became important trade partners of India. Trade also extended through the Malay peninsula into Southeast Asia. India's exports included silk goods and textiles, spices and exotic foods. The external world came across new scientific knowledge and technology with expanding trade with the Mauryan Empire. Ashoka also sponsored the construction of thousands of roads, waterways, canals, hospitals, rest-houses and other public works. The easing of many over-rigorous administrative practices, including those regarding taxation and crop collection, helped increase productivity and economic activity across the Empire. [ citation needed ]

In many ways, the economic situation in the Mauryan Empire is analogous to the Roman Empire of several centuries later. Both had extensive trade connections and both had organizations similar to corporations. While Rome had organizational entities which were largely used for public state-driven projects, Mauryan India had numerous private commercial entities. These existed purely for private commerce and developed before the Mauryan Empire itself. [108]

Hoard of mostly Mauryan coins.

Silver punch mark coin of the Maurya empire, with symbols of wheel and elephant. 3rd century BCE. [ citation needed ]

Mauryan coin with arched hill symbol on reverse. [ citation needed ]

Mauryan Empire coin. Circa late 4th-2nd century BCE. [ citation needed ]

Mauryan Empire, Emperor Salisuka or later. Circa 207-194 BCE. [109]

In the early period of empire Hinduism was an important religion. [110] The Mauryans favored all dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Minor religious sects such as ajivikas also received patronage.

Jainism

Chandragupta Maurya followed Jainism after retiring, when he renounced his throne and material possessions to join a wandering group of Jain monks. Chandragupta was a disciple of the Jain monk Acharya Bhadrabahu. It is said that in his last days, he observed the rigorous but self-purifying Jain ritual of santhara (fast unto death), at Shravana Belgola in Karnataka. [111] [72] [112] [71] Samprati, the grandson of Ashoka, also patronized Jainism. Samprati was influenced by the teachings of Jain monks like Suhastin and he is said to have built 125,000 derasars across India. [113] Some of them are still found in the towns of Ahmedabad, Viramgam, Ujjain, and Palitana. [ citation needed ] It is also said that just like Ashoka, Samprati sent messengers and preachers to Greece, Persia and the Middle East for the spread of Jainism, but, to date, no research has been done in this area. [114] [115]

Thus, Jainism became a vital force under the Mauryan Rule. Chandragupta and Samprati are credited for the spread of Jainism in South India. Hundreds of thousands of temples and stupas are said to have been erected during their reigns

Buddhism

Magadha, the centre of the empire, was also the birthplace of Buddhism. Ashoka initially practised Hinduism [ citation needed ] but later followed Buddhism following the Kalinga War, he renounced expansionism and aggression, and the harsher injunctions of the Arthashastra on the use of force, intensive policing, and ruthless measures for tax collection and against rebels. Ashoka sent a mission led by his son Mahinda and daughter Sanghamitta to Sri Lanka, whose king Tissa was so charmed with Buddhist ideals that he adopted them himself and made Buddhism the state religion. Ashoka sent many Buddhist missions to West Asia, Greece and South East Asia, and commissioned the construction of monasteries and schools, as well as the publication of Buddhist literature across the empire. He is believed to have built as many as 84,000 stupas across India, such as Sanchi and Mahabodhi Temple, and he increased the popularity of Buddhism in Afghanistan, Thailand and North Asia including Siberia. Ashoka helped convene the Third Buddhist Council of India's and South Asia's Buddhist orders near his capital, a council that undertook much work of reform and expansion of the Buddhist religion. Indian merchants embraced Buddhism and played a large role in spreading the religion across the Mauryan Empire. [116]

The greatest monument of this period, executed in the reign of Chandragupta Maurya, was the old palace at Paliputra, modern Kumhrar in Patna. Excavations have unearthed the remains of the palace, which is thought to have been an group of several buildings, the most important of which was an immense pillared hall supported on a high substratum of timbers. The pillars were set in regular rows, thus dividing the hall into a number of smaller square bays. The number of columns is 80, each about 7 meters high. According to the eyewitness account of Megasthenes, the palace was chiefly constructed of timber, and was considered to exceed in splendour and magnificence the palaces of Susa and Ecbatana, its gilded pillars being adorned with golden vines and silver birds. The buildings stood in an extensive park studded with fish ponds and furnished with a great variety of ornamental trees and shrubs. [117] [ better source needed ] Kauṭilya's Arthashastra also gives the method of palace construction from this period. Later fragments of stone pillars, including one nearly complete, with their round tapering shafts and smooth polish, indicate that Ashoka was responsible for the construction of the stone columns which replaced the earlier wooden ones. [ citation needed ]

During the Ashokan period, stonework was of a highly diversified order and comprised lofty free-standing pillars, railings of stupas, lion thrones and other colossal figures. The use of stone had reached such great perfection during this time that even small fragments of stone art were given a high lustrous polish resembling fine enamel. This period marked the beginning of the Buddhist school of architecture. Ashoka was responsible for the construction of several stupas, which were large domes and bearing symbols of Buddha. The most important ones are located at Sanchi, Bharhut, Amaravati, Bodhgaya and Nagarjunakonda. The most widespread examples of Mauryan architecture are the Ashoka pillars and carved edicts of Ashoka, often exquisitely decorated, with more than 40 spread throughout the Indian subcontinent. [118] [ better source needed ]

The peacock was a dynastic symbol of Mauryans, as depicted by Ashoka's pillars at Nandangarh and Sanchi Stupa. [42]

Remains of the Ashokan Pillar in polished stone (right of the Southern Gateway).

Remains of the shaft of the pillar of Ashoka, under a shed near the Southern Gateway.

Pillar and its inscription (the "Schism Edict") upon discovery.

The protection of animals in India was advocated by the time of the Maurya dynasty being the first empire to provide a unified political entity in India, the attitude of the Mauryas towards forests, their denizens, and fauna in general is of interest. [121]

The Mauryas firstly looked at forests as resources. For them, the most important forest product was the elephant. Military might in those times depended not only upon horses and men but also battle-elephants these played a role in the defeat of Seleucus, one of Alexander's former generals. The Mauryas sought to preserve supplies of elephants since it was cheaper and took less time to catch, tame and train wild elephants than to raise them. Kautilya's Arthashastra contains not only maxims on ancient statecraft, but also unambiguously specifies the responsibilities of officials such as the Protector of the Elephant Forests. [122]

On the border of the forest, he should establish a forest for elephants guarded by foresters. The Office of the Chief Elephant Forester should with the help of guards protect the elephants in any terrain. The slaying of an elephant is punishable by death.

The Mauryas also designated separate forests to protect supplies of timber, as well as lions and tigers for skins. Elsewhere the Protector of Animals also worked to eliminate thieves, tigers and other predators to render the woods safe for grazing cattle. [ citation needed ]

The Mauryas valued certain forest tracts in strategic or economic terms and instituted curbs and control measures over them. They regarded all forest tribes with distrust and controlled them with bribery and political subjugation. They employed some of them, the food-gatherers or aranyaca to guard borders and trap animals. The sometimes tense and conflict-ridden relationship nevertheless enabled the Mauryas to guard their vast empire. [123]

When Ashoka embraced Buddhism in the latter part of his reign, he brought about significant changes in his style of governance, which included providing protection to fauna, and even relinquished the royal hunt. He was the first ruler in history [ failed verification ] to advocate conservation measures for wildlife and even had rules inscribed in stone edicts. The edicts proclaim that many followed the king's example in giving up the slaughter of animals one of them proudly states: [123]

Our king killed very few animals.

However, the edicts of Ashoka reflect more the desire of rulers than actual events the mention of a 100 'panas' (coins) fine for poaching deer in royal hunting preserves shows that rule-breakers did exist. The legal restrictions conflicted with the practices freely exercised by the common people in hunting, felling, fishing and setting fires in forests. [123]

Foundation of the Empire

Relations with the Hellenistic world may have started from the very beginning of the Maurya Empire. Plutarch reports that Chandragupta Maurya met with Alexander the Great, probably around Taxila in the northwest: [124]

Sandrocottus, when he was a stripling, saw Alexander himself, and we are told that he often said in later times that Alexander narrowly missed making himself master of the country, since its king was hated and despised on account of his baseness and low birth.

Reconquest of the Northwest (c. 317–316 BCE)

Chandragupta ultimately occupied Northwestern India, in the territories formerly ruled by the Greeks, where he fought the satraps (described as "Prefects" in Western sources) left in place after Alexander (Justin), among whom may have been Eudemus, ruler in the western Punjab until his departure in 317 BCE or Peithon, son of Agenor, ruler of the Greek colonies along the Indus until his departure for Babylon in 316 BCE. [ citation needed ]

India, after the death of Alexander, had assassinated his prefects, as if shaking the burden of servitude. The author of this liberation was Sandracottos, but he had transformed liberation in servitude after victory, since, after taking the throne, he himself oppressed the very people he has liberated from foreign domination.

Later, as he was preparing war against the prefects of Alexander, a huge wild elephant went to him and took him on his back as if tame, and he became a remarkable fighter and war leader. Having thus acquired royal power, Sandracottos possessed India at the time Seleucos was preparing future glory.

Conflict and alliance with Seleucus (305 BCE)

Seleucus I Nicator, the Macedonian satrap of the Asian portion of Alexander's former empire, conquered and put under his own authority eastern territories as far as Bactria and the Indus (Appian, History of Rome, The Syrian Wars 55), until in 305 BCE he entered into a confrontation with Emperor Chandragupta:

Always lying in wait for the neighbouring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, he [Seleucus] acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia, 'Seleucid' Cappadocia, Persis, Parthia, Bactria, Arabia, Tapouria, Sogdia, Arachosia, Hyrcania, and other adjacent peoples that had been subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus.

Though no accounts of the conflict remain, it is clear that Seleucus fared poorly against the Indian Emperor as he failed to conquer any territory, and in fact was forced to surrender much that was already his. Regardless, Seleucus and Chandragupta ultimately reached a settlement and through a treaty sealed in 305 BCE, Seleucus, according to Strabo, ceded a number of territories to Chandragupta, including eastern Afghanistan and Balochistan. [ citation needed ]

Marriage alliance

Chandragupta and Seleucus concluded a peace treaty and a marriage alliance in 303 BCE. Chandragupta received vast territories and in a return gave Seleucus 500 war elephants, [129] [130] [131] [132] [133] a military asset which would play a decisive role at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE. [134] In addition to this treaty, Seleucus dispatched an ambassador, Megasthenes, to Chandragupta, and later Deimakos to his son Bindusara, at the Mauryan court at Pataliputra (modern Patna in Bihar). Later, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt and contemporary of Ashoka, is also recorded by Pliny the Elder as having sent an ambassador named Dionysius to the Mauryan court. [135] [ better source needed ]

Mainstream scholarship asserts that Chandragupta received vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern-day Afghanistan, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan. [136] [137] Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.

He (Seleucus) crossed the Indus and waged war with Sandrocottus [Maurya], king of the Indians, who dwelt on the banks of that stream, until they came to an understanding with each other and contracted a marriage relationship.

After having made a treaty with him (Sandrakotos) and put in order the Orient situation, Seleucos went to war against Antigonus.

The treaty on "Epigamia" implies lawful marriage between Greeks and Indians was recognized at the State level, although it is unclear whether it occurred among dynastic rulers or common people, or both. [ citation needed ]

Exchange of presents

Classical sources have also recorded that following their treaty, Chandragupta and Seleucus exchanged presents, such as when Chandragupta sent various aphrodisiacs to Seleucus: [78]

And Theophrastus says that some contrivances are of wondrous efficacy in such matters [as to make people more amorous]. And Phylarchus confirms him, by reference to some of the presents which Sandrakottus, the king of the Indians, sent to Seleucus which were to act like charms in producing a wonderful degree of affection, while some, on the contrary, were to banish love.

His son Bindusara 'Amitraghata' (Slayer of Enemies) also is recorded in Classical sources as having exchanged presents with Antiochus I: [78]

But dried figs were so very much sought after by all men (for really, as Aristophanes says, "There's really nothing nicer than dried figs"), that even Amitrochates, the king of the Indians, wrote to Antiochus, entreating him (it is Hegesander who tells this story) to buy and send him some sweet wine, and some dried figs, and a sophist and that Antiochus wrote to him in answer, "The dry figs and the sweet wine we will send you but it is not lawful for a sophist to be sold in Greece.

Greek population in India

An influential and large Greek population was present in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent under Ashoka's rule, possibly remnants of Alexander's conquests in the Indus Valley region. In the Rock Edicts of Ashoka, some of them inscribed in Greek, Ashoka states that the Greeks within his dominion were converted to Buddhism:

Here in the king's dominion among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dharma.

Now, in times past (officers) called Mahamatras of morality did not exist before. Mahdmatras of morality were appointed by me (when I had been) anointed thirteen years. These are occupied with all sects in establishing morality, in promoting morality, and for the welfare and happiness of those who are devoted to morality (even) among the Greeks, Kambojas and Gandharas, and whatever other western borderers (of mine there are).

Fragments of Edict 13 have been found in Greek, and a full Edict, written in both Greek and Aramaic, has been discovered in Kandahar. It is said to be written in excellent Classical Greek, using sophisticated philosophical terms. In this Edict, Ashoka uses the word Eusebeia ("Piety") as the Greek translation for the ubiquitous "Dharma" of his other Edicts written in Prakrit: [ non-primary source needed ]

Ten years (of reign) having been completed, King Piodasses (Ashoka) made known (the doctrine of) Piety (εὐσέβεια, Eusebeia) to men and from this moment he has made men more pious, and everything thrives throughout the whole world. And the king abstains from (killing) living beings, and other men and those who (are) huntsmen and fishermen of the king have desisted from hunting. And if some (were) intemperate, they have ceased from their intemperance as was in their power and obedient to their father and mother and to the elders, in opposition to the past also in the future, by so acting on every occasion, they will live better and more happily.

Buddhist missions to the West (c. 250 BCE)

Map of the Buddhist missions during the reign of Ashoka.

Territories "conquered by the Dharma" according to Major Rock Edict No. 13 of Ashoka (260–218 BCE). [141] [142]

Also, in the Edicts of Ashoka, Ashoka mentions the Hellenistic kings of the period as recipients of his Buddhist proselytism, although no Western historical record of this event remains:

The conquest by Dharma has been won here, on the borders, and even six hundred yojanas (5,400–9,600 km) away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni (Sri Lanka).

Ashoka also encouraged the development of herbal medicine, for men and animals, in their territories:

Everywhere within Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi's [Ashoka's] domain, and among the people beyond the borders, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Satiyaputras, the Keralaputras, as far as Tamraparni and where the Greek king Antiochos rules, and among the kings who are neighbors of Antiochos, everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals.

The Greeks in India even seem to have played an active role in the spread of Buddhism, as some of the emissaries of Ashoka, such as Dharmaraksita, are described in Pali sources as leading Greek ("Yona") Buddhist monks, active in Buddhist proselytism (the Mahavamsa, XII [143] [ non-primary source needed ] ).

Subhagasena and Antiochos III (206 BCE)

Sophagasenus was an Indian Mauryan ruler of the 3rd century BCE, described in ancient Greek sources, and named Subhagasena or Subhashasena in Prakrit. His name is mentioned in the list of Mauryan princes, [ citation needed ] and also in the list of the Yadava dynasty, as a descendant of Pradyumna. He may have been a grandson of Ashoka, or Kunala, the son of Ashoka. He ruled an area south of the Hindu Kush, possibly in Gandhara. Antiochos III, the Seleucid king, after having made peace with Euthydemus in Bactria, went to India in 206 BCE and is said to have renewed his friendship with the Indian king there:

He (Antiochus) crossed the Caucasus and descended into India renewed his friendship with Sophagasenus the king of the Indians received more elephants, until he had a hundred and fifty altogether and having once more provisioned his troops, set out again personally with his army: leaving Androsthenes of Cyzicus the duty of taking home the treasure which this king had agreed to hand over to him.

  • 322 BCE: Chandragupta Maurya founded the Mauryan Empire by defeating the Nanda Dynasty.
  • 317–316 BCE: Chandragupta Maurya conquers the Northwest of the Indian subcontinent.
  • 305–303 BCE: Chandragupta Maurya gains territory from the Seleucid Empire.
  • 298–269 BCE: Reign of Bindusara, Chandragupta's son. He conquers parts of Deccan, southern India.
  • 269–232 BCE: The Mauryan Empire reaches its height under Ashoka, Chandragupta's grandson.
  • 261 BCE: Ashoka conquers the kingdom of Kalinga.
  • 250 BCE: Ashoka builds Buddhist stupas and erects pillars bearing inscriptions.
  • 184 BCE: The empire collapses when Brihadratha, the last emperor, is killed by Pushyamitra Shunga, a Mauryan general and the founder of the Shunga Empire.

According to Vicarasreni of Merutunga, Mauryans rose to power in 312 BC. [144]


History of Chandragupta Maurya (Sandrocottus)

Introduction: King Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of Maurya Empire. He is also known as Sandrocottus among Greek. He was born in 340 B.C. and died in about 298 B.C. He was succeeded by his son Bindusara.

Chandragupta Maurya had to struggle against Dhana Nanda twice. In his first struggle he was defeated by the Nanda king as he had failed to fortify his rear. After that he started the war of liberation against the Greeks. After attaining success he started his ultimate struggle and defeated the Nanda rulers.

He was the first emperor in Indian History to have achieved real unification of India as one state.

Early Life: It is believed by modern scholars that King Chandragupta Maurya belonged to the Moriya Kshatriya clan.

According to Buddhist tradition, after the death of his father, his widowed mother took shelter in Pataliputra, where she gave birth to a child.

The early life of King Chandragupta Maurya was spent with cowherds and hunters. He was bought by Chanakya from his adopted father and got education and military training from him. Chanakya instigated him to overthrow the Nanda King and supported him to become the King of Magadha Empire.

Political Condition of North India: The most powerful Kingdom in India was Magadha under the rule of Dhana Nanda. Dhana Nanda was unpopular among his subjects. Taking advantage of the massive unpopularity of Dhana Nanda, Chandragupta Maurya attempted a bid for mastery over northern India.

Rise of Chandragupta: The rise and success of King Chandragupta Maurya can be divided into four episodes:

  • Unsuccessful attempt against Nanda Rule.
  • War and victory against the Greek rule in North-West India
  • The overthrow of Nanda King
  • War with Seleucus Nicator and Treaty of 305 B.C

Unsuccessful attempt against Nanda Rule: In his initial attempt, he was defeated by the Nanda king. The initial attempt to overthrow the Nanda rule failed. Chandragupta committed the mistake of making a direct attack on the Nanda capital. He was not fully prepared. He was outflanked, surrounded and defeated by Nanda army. The shock of defeat brought to his mind the proper course.

War against the Greeks: After the initial defeat, Chandragupta lived for sometime in the forest tract of Vindhyan region. Chandragupta raised an army from the warlike tribes of Punjab. These tribes had previously offered valiant resistance to Alexander and being defeated, reluctantly submitted to Macedonian rule. Chandragupta took full advantage of the mounting tide of the Indian unrest against the Greek rule. He mobilized it under his leadership.

The tough task of liberating Punjab from the Macedonian rule was not an easy job for Chandragupta Maurya. The death of King Porus in the hands of Greek general eased the struggle of Chandragupta for mastery over Punjab.

The victory of Chandragupta against the Greeks wiped out the effects of Alexander’s victory in the Battle of Hydaspes. Chandragupta liberated Sind and Eastern Punjab up to the river Indus from the Greek rule.

The overthrow of Nanda King: Chandragupta now turned his attention to the second part of his mission, the overthrow of the Nanda rule from Magadha. Though Dhana Nanda was unpopular with his subjects, he was a very powerful king. The strength of his army had caused terror in the heart of world-conquering warriors of Alexander.

He began the second invasion of Magadha from the frontier after guarding his rear properly. A fierce battle was fought between the Nanda army and Chandragupta Maurya. The army of Nanda Empire was headed by its general Bhaddasala.

Chandragupta emerged victorious over opponents and won against the Nanda army. Chandragupta besieged Pataliputra and probably killed Dhana Nanda.

The victory made him the master of the Magadhan emprire of the Nandas. To the newly conquered Magadhan Empire, he added the territories of Punjab and Sind conquered from the Greeks.

War with Seleucus Nicator and Treaty of 305 B.C: Seleucus Nicator was the former general and the most powerful successor of Alexander the Great. Seleucus invaded India in order to recover the lost territory of his master. A war was fought and Seleucus preferred to enter into a treaty with King Chandragupta. The parties entered into a friendly matrimonial alliance. As a mark of friendship, Seleucus handed over some territories to Chandragupta. Seleucus received 500 war elephants in return which helped him to continue with hit other conquests.

Extent of Empire: Chandragupta Maurya made the ideal of the political unification of India a very real one. Almost entire Indian sub-continent was under his control. The extent of his empire was from Magadha and Bengal in the East to Saurashtra in the West, from Kashmir in the North to Indian Ocean in the South.

Just and Caring: Chandragupta Maurya was very hard-working. He remained in court listening to cases and delivering judgment. Chanakya taught him that a king’s duty is constant activity for the welfare of his people.

Amusements: The life of the King Chandragupta Maurya was not just full of monotonous duties. There were arrangements to amusements as well. The king indulged in drinking although never to an excess. The king liked to witness the sports, contests and fights between the wild animals like bulls, rams, rhinos and elephants. The king also enjoyed the race of chariots drawn by mixed teams of horses and oxen.


Maurya Empire: A Detailed Summary

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Maurya Dynasty. There is an ambiguity on the origin of the Maurya for example Brahmanical tradition states that they are born of Mura, a shudra woman in the court of Nandas according to the Buddhist tradition, they are from Kshatriya clan called Mauryas living in the region of Gorakhpur adjoining the Nepalese terai.


Timeline of important Maurya Rulers

Span of Rule

Sources of Mauryas Age

  • Buddhist Texts:Jatakas, Divyavadana and Ashokavadana
  • Srilankan Text, Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa
  • Puranas
  • Kautilya’s Arthashastra (Politico-economy or Statecraft)
  • Indica(Megasthenes)
  • Vishakhadatta’sMudrarakshasa (Account of how Nandas overthrown by Chandragupta Mauryas in Sanskrit)
  • Somadeva’sKathasaritasagara , Kshemendra’s Brihadkatha Manjari and Kalhana’sRajtrangaini

Ashokan Inscriptions

Inscription is bases of the reconstructed history of Ashoka which are classified into: Major Rock Edicts Minor Rock Edicts Separate Rock Edicts Major Pillar Edicts and Minor pillar Edicts


Alexander died in June 323 BCE in Babylon. According to historical texts, Selecus Nicator made peace with Chandragupta only after two years of war (305 – 303 BCE) i.e. 20 years after Alexander died. There is no record of Chandragupta Maurya meeting Selecus Nicator when Alexander was alive, forget meeting Helena and learning war tactics of Greeks from her.

In the serial Chandra Nandni we see a grown up Helena talks about strategies of war with Alexander. However, now that Chandragupta married 20 year something Helena in his 40s then it is obvious that when Alexander marched into India, Helena was either an infant or wasn’t even born.


THE MAURYAN EMPIRE - HISTORY - TIMELINE - EMPERORS - - YouTube Study with Sam

The Maurya Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, with help from Chanakya, at Takshashila, a noted center of learning. According to several legends, Chanakya travelled to Magadha, a kingdom that was large and militarily powerful and feared by its neighbours, but was insulted by its king Dhana Nanda, of the Nanda dynasty. Chanakya swore revenge and vowed to destroy the Nanda Empire. The Maurya Empire was a geographically-extensive Iron Age historical power based in Magadha and founded by Chandragupta Maurya which dominated the Indian subcontinent between 322 and 187 BCE. Comprising the majority of South Asia, the Maurya Empire was centralized by the conquest of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, The population of the empire has been estimated to be about 50󈞨 million, making the Mauryan Empire one of the most populous empires of antiquity. ] Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary sources of written records of Mauryan times. The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath is the national emblem of the modern Republic of India. Area 261 BCE 3,400,000 km2 (1,300,000 sq mi) 250 BCE 5,000,000 km2 (1,900,000 sq mi) Maurya Empire (322� BCE) Ashoka pillar at Vaishali, Bihar Lomas Rishi, Barabar Caves Chandragupta 322� BCE Bindusara 297�/268 BCE Ashoka 272/268� BCE Dasharatha 232� BCE Samprati 224� BCE Shalishuka 215� BCE Devavarman 202� BCE Shatadhanvan 195� BCE Brihadratha 187� BCE Emperor • 322� BCE Chandragupta • 298� BCE Bindusara • 268� BCE Ashoka • 232� BCE Dasharatha • 224� BCE Samprati • 215� BCE Shalishuka • 202� BCE Devavarman • 195� BCE Shatadhanvan • 187� BCE Brihadratha TAGS: Mauryan empire, maurya, Chandragupta maurya, Mauryan dynasty, ashok,Mauryan empire, maurya, Chandragupta maurya, Mauryan dynasty, ashok .The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire,The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, The Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, Mauryan Empire, #LIKE #COMMENT

THE MAURYAN EMPIRE - HISTORY - TIMELINE - EMPERORS - - YouTube

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The name 'Durdhara' is found. According to Divyavadaan, there was a rebellion at Taxila in Bindusara's time, which he sent to his son Ashoka to suppress it. Chandragupta Maurya (322 BCE to 298 BCE) - Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya dynasty by killing the last Nanda ruler Ghanananda.

After Alexander's death, Seleucus became the king of Babylon. - Seleucus crossed the Indus and attacked Chandragupta in which Seleucus was defeated. 303 BC A treaty was signed between Chandra Gupta Maurya and Seleucus.

Sandhi: + Seleucus married his daughter Helena to Chandragupta Maurya. + Chandragupta Maurya gifted 500 elephants to Seleukas. * Seleucus gave 4 states in dowry to Chandragupta Maurya

i. Area (Heral) ii. Arakoshia (Kandahar) iii. Zedrosia (Makran coast) (Baluchistan)

iv. Peripemishadai (Kabul) Note: - The Junagadh inscription of Rudradaman reveals the victory of Chandragupta's West India. The name of Chandragupta was first found in this inscription. European writers wrote Chandragupta's name Androcotus.

At the time of Chandragupta Maurya, Jainism was divided into 2 sects. Chandragupta Maurya went to Shravanabelbola with the Jain monk Bhadrabahu at the last time of his life and ended his life by writing method while doing penance on Chandragiri mountain (Karnataka).

According to Strabo, in Bindusara's time, King Antiochus of Egypt sent an ambassador named Dimex. According to Pliny, Egyptian king Talmi II Philadelphides sent an ambassador named Dionosis to the Mauryan court. Bindusar demanded 3 items from Antiochus, the ruler of Syria. These items were sweet wines, dry figs and philosophies.

Antiochus sent all the other things to Bindusara except the philosopher. According to Buddhist evidence, Ashoka was the Uparaja (Viceroy) of Avanti (Ujjayini) during his father's reign. Except Assam and the far south, the whole of India was under Ashoka's empire. Ashoka, keeping in mind the large group of his subjects, presented a practical dhamma which could be easily followed by all. Tolerance, generosity and compassion were his three dimensions. Ashoka sat on the throne of Magadha around 269 BC. In his records, everywhere he has been called 'Devanam Priyadasi' which means - beloved of gods or beautiful to see. In the Puranas, he is called 'Ashokavardhana'. Dasaratha also held the title of 'Devanamapriya' like Ashoka.

According to Sinhalese followers - Deepavansh and Mahavansh, Buddhism had a third association with Pataliputra during the reign of Ashoka. It was presided over by a famous Buddhist monk named 'Moggaliputta Tissa'.

Beginning of Deep dynasty and Mahavansh -

According to Deepavansh and Mahavansh, Ashoka was initiated into Buddhism by a monk named 'Nigrodh' in the fourth year of his rule. After that, in Moggaliputra South India, between 2200 and 1800 years ago, the full Pandyas ruled under the influence of Cholas, Cheras and Tisas. About 1500 years ago, the Pallavas and Chalukyas became Rupena Buddhists. Two big states of divinity were established. According to Ashoka, Upagupta had many other kingdoms and kings. We learn about them from his coins, manuscripts and books. A Buddhist monk named after all of these, along with many such changes were taking place in Buddhism, in which ordinary men and women were initiated. The Mauryan rulers Ashoka was an important contributor. Among them was the spread of agriculture, and his grandson Dasharatha Buddhism, the development of new cities, and the progress in the industry and trade. The traders on one side had followers.

Discovered land routes inside and outside the subcontinent, while in the records of West Ashoka, the name of the marine named 'Razuk' Asia, East Africa and South-East Asia (see map 6) also opened the way. Temples, stupas and other buildings were built, books were written, as well as scientific discoveries. All these things were happening simultaneously. Get this Status of Razukas While reading the rest of the book, keep these things in mind. The Satavahana coin was like a modern district magistrate, who was empowered in both the revenue and justice sectors. The officer of Agronomoi district was called. In the Mauryan period, trading convoys (caravans) were referred to as Sartwahs. After embracing Buddhism, Ashoka stopped the hunting and vihar yatra and started Dharm Yatras in his place.

First he traveled to Bodh Gaya. The order of his visits is as follows - Gaya, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Kapilvastu, Sarnath and Shravasti. Ashoka traveled to Bodh Gaya, the tenth year of his coronation. In the 20th year he visited Lumbini and installed a stone pillar there. Due to the birthplace of Buddha, the religious tax of Lumbini village was waived. Most of Ashoka's inscriptions are written in Prakrit language and Brahmi script. Only two inscriptions - Shahbazgarhi, Mansehra's script are Kharoshi rather than Brahmi. A fractal inscription written in the Aramaic script from Taxila, a bilingual Greek and Syrian language inscription written in Greek and Aramaic scripts from a place called Sarekuna, and an Ashoka inscription written in the Aramaic script from a place called Lunghaman. The first evocation of the Brahmi script was done with inscriptions engraved on stone strips (inscriptions). The first scholar to edit this work was Sir James Prinsep, who received the credit for reading Ashoka's records. DR Bhandarkar has tried to write the history of Ashoka on the basis of mere records. The pre-Ashoka Brahmi script was traced to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. Evidence of this type of script is found in the records of some other places, whose names are as follows - Piparahwan, Sohgaura and Mahasthan. In ancient India, the Kharoshthi script was written from right to left. Maison, Prinsep, Norris, Lassen, Kanidham, etc. are credited with reading it. This was mainly the script of North-West India. Gurjara miniature inscription naming Ashoka is located in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh. Ashoka's personal name is also found in the writings of Muskie, Nettur and Udegolam.

In the Bhabru (Bairat) column article, Ashoka describes himself as the emperor of Magadha. (Piyadasi Laja Magadhan Sangh Salutation) This is the epigraph that attests Ashoka to Buddhism. In Ashoka's first inscription the article about the prohibition of animal sacrifice goes like this: "Here no animal should be slaughtered and no festival should be performed. First Priyadarshi Every day hundreds of animals were killed in the king's kitchen for meat, but now three animals were killed every day till the writing of this inscription - two peacocks and an antelope, even in this antelope is not always


MAURYA DYNASTY

King Alexander the Great from Macedonia invaded the valley of the river Kabul. He conquered Taxila, defeated the Indian king Porus at the river Hydaspes and reached the eastern border of the Punjab. Alexander wanted to continue to the kingdom of Magadha in the Lower Ganges valley, but his soldiers refused to go any further and he was forced to go to south. Many Indians now resisted the invaders. The Great king's conquests had been spectacular, but he had not conquered India. Alexander had died in 323. A young man in Taxila named Chandragupta Maurya had seen the Macedonian army and believing that anything a European could do an Indian could do better- decided to train an army on a similar footing. In 321, he seized the throne of Magadha. Thus the Mauryan Empire was born.

Mauryans were the first Indian dynasty in the fourth-third centuries BCE, which unified the subcontinent for the first time and contributed to the spread of Buddhism. Chandragupta Maurya the great emperor with his single entity united most of the parts of India. Mauryan Period in India enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge. This period was known as the "Golden Age of India." During this Period Hinduism and Buddhism spread to much of south-east Asia.

Chandragupta belonged to the caste of warriors (Kshatriya) and was a pupil of a famous Brahman teacher, Kautilya. His coup was more than just the take-over of a kingdom it was a religious counter-revolution, because the lawful kings of Magadha, the Nanda dynasty did not belonged to the warrior caste. They had been mere commoners, said to be descendants of a barber. When Chandragupta claimed the throne, their heresy came to an end and orthodox Brahmanism was vindicated. Chandragupta united the Indus and Ganges valley - a formidable empire. The empire included secret service, there were inspectors, there was a large army, and the capital at Patna became a beautiful city.


Chandragupta was advised by Kautilya who wrote a guide to statecraft which is known as Arthasastra. The Arthashastra describes about the principles of governance and lays down rules of administration. It also emphasises about the details of the role of the king, his duties, rate of taxation, use of espionage, and laws for governing the society. The Indica of Megasthenes, on the other hand, gives a vivid description of the Mauryan society under the rule of Chandragupta. Megasthenes showed the glory of the Mauryan capital of Pataliputra. Megasthenes also talked of the lifestyle in the cities and villages and the prosperity of the Mauryan cities. A Greek visitor, Megasthenes, gave a very strange description of the caste system (accepting seven instead of the usual four classes of people), and he describes an attempted reform. This is certainly not impossible as Chandragupta turned out to be not deeply attached to orthodox Brahmanism. He died as an ascetic, having fasted to death.

Chandragupta's son Bindusara extended the kingdom of Mauryas over almost the entire sub-continent. The military force of Mauryan Empire was the most powerful in ancient India. Bindusara's reign lasted a quarter of a century, until 272. Of the three great Mauryan emperors, he is the least known. For example, he is mentioned as the man who conquered "the country between the two seas" (i.e., the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea), which suggests that he conquered central India, but the same deeds are ascribed to his son Ashoka. He extended the Mauryan Empire in south Indian peninsula as far as Mysore. He defeated and annexed 16 small kingdoms, thus extending his empire from sea to sea. The regions that were left out on the Indian subcontinent were only that of Kalinga (Odissi) and the kingdoms to the extreme south of the Indian peninsula. As the southern kingdoms were friendly, he did not annex them, but the Kingdom of Kalinga was a problem for Mauryan Empire. Administration under Bindusara functioned smoothly. During Bindusara's reign, Mauryan Empire had good relation with Greeks, Syrians, and Egyptians.

The greatest emperor of the Maurya dynasty was Ashoka. An able administrator and a skillful warrior, he converted to Buddhism after the gruesome Battle of Kalinga. The war of Kalinga was the turning point for his life to the extent that he shunned all forms of violence and became a strict vegetarian. For the rest of his life, Ashoka preached the principles of Buddhism not only in his vast empire, but also sent missions abroad. He built a number of rock edicts and pillars to spread the gospel of Buddhism. The great Emperor Ashok was sincere when he proclaimed his belief in ahimsa (non-violence) and cooperation between religions. He never conquered the south of India or Sri Lanka, which would have been logical, and instead sent out missionaries -as far away as Cyrenaica- to convert others to the same beliefs, and sent his brother to Sri Lanka. Ashoka erected several stupas, founded Buddhist monasteries, softened the harsh laws of Bindusara and Chandragupta, forbade the brutal slaughter of animals, and organized a large Buddhist council at Patna, which had to establish a new canon of sacred texts and repress heresies.

Ashoka, like previous kings, was the head of the centralized administrative system who was helped by a council of ministers in charge of different ministries like taxation, army, agriculture, justice, etc. The empire was divided into administrative zones, each one having its hierarchy of officials. The top most officers at the zonal level had to keep in touch with the Emperor King. The top most officers took care of all aspects of administration (social welfare, economy, law and order, military) in the different zones. This same official leader went down to the village level. Ashoka made a number of changes in the administration. He introduced a new cadre of officials, by the name of Dhamma Mahamatta, who was sent across the empire to spread the message of Ashoka's Dhamma (dharma).

Emperor Ashoka believed in high ideals, according to him were that people to be virtuous, and peace loving. This he called Dhamma (which is a Prakrit form of the Sanskrit word Dharma). Ashoka's rock edicts and pillar inscriptions propagated the true essence of Dhamma. He asked the different religious groups (Brahmins, Buddhist and Jain) to live in peace. His lofty ideals also included shunning violence and war, stopping animal sacrifice, respect for elders, respect of slaves by their masters, vegetarianism, etc. Above all, Ashoka wanted peace in his empire. He had a friendly relation with his neighbors and sent and received envoys to/from them. Ashoka sent his son Mahendra to Sri Lanka to preach Buddhism there and also propagated Buddhism to Chola and Pandya kingdoms, which were at the extreme southern part of the Indian peninsula. The Mauryan Empire did not last long after the death of Ashoka and ended in 185 BC.


Chandragupta Maurya

Known as the founder of Mauryan Empire, King Chandragupta Maurya is considered to be one of the most able rulers who ruled and unified India. Chandragupta Maurya ruled from 320 - 298 B.C approximately. He is considered to be one of the most authentic and able rulers of India. The life history of Chandragupta Maurya is very intriguing and inspiring. Check out this short biography of Chandragupta Maurya.

Chandragupta Maurya was successful in unifying India as a single unit and is thus regarded as a unifier. Before Chandragupta became a powerful emperor, north western India was mainly ruled by small regional kingdoms that were scattered here and there. Chandragupta's empire extended from Kashmir in the north to Deccan plateau in the south and Assam in the east to Afghanistan in the west. Such was the extent of his empire that not just India, but even neighboring lands of Afghanistan, Balochistan, Nepal came under his kingdom.

Not much is known about the youth of Chandragupta Maurya. Some say that he belonged to the Magadha clan and was born of an illegitimate affair between a Nanda prince and a maid. As a young child he had the qualities of a successful ruler. He was first spotted by Chanakya who recognized the true talent of the young lad. Chanakya trained him and taught him the principles of warfare and other fine arts.

Chandragupta Maurya's biggest achievements were defeating Alexander's army and taking over the Nanda Empire at a young age of just 20 years. These are regarded as milestones in India's history and are studied with great interest by historians even today. After uniting India during his efficient reign, Chandragupta gave up the throne and adopted the life of an ascetic. According to Jainism, Chandragupta became an ascetic under the saint Bhadrabahu Swami. He migrated towards the south approximately to the present day Karnataka and left for heavenly abode in a small cave. A temple has been built in that site in the honor of the emperor.


Watch the video: History Channel - The Forgotten Mauryan Dynasty Uncovered - Ancient History Documentary 2017 (December 2021).