Mauryan Empire

Mauryan Empire (321 B.C. – 185 B.C.)

The Maurya Empire ruled from 322 to 185 BC. The capital of Mauryan empire was Patliputra. The Mauryan empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya with the help of Chanakya by overthrowing the Nanda dynasty in 322 B.C. By 320 B.C. the Mauryan empire had fully occupied Northwestern India. The Maurya Empire was one of the largest empire in the world and the largest ever in the Indian subcontinent. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east upto Assam. To the west, it conquered beyond modern Pakistan, annexing Balochistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Kandahar provinces. The Empire was expanded into India’s central and southern regions by Chandragupta Maurya and Bindusara. Decline of Mauryan empire began 60 years after Ashoka’s rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 B.C. with the foundation of the Sunga Dynasty in Magadha. The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are primary sources of information on the Mauryan empire.

Chandragupta Maurya (322 B.C. – 297 B.C.)

1. The Mauryan empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya.
2. It is believed that Chandragupta Maurya was born to a sudra woman, Mura.
3. According to Buddhist tradition Chandragupta Maurya belonged to the Maurya Kshatriya clan.
4. Chanakya (Kautilya) wrote the Arthashastra, which contains treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and religion.
5. Chandragupta Maurya defeated Seleucus Nicator in 305 B.C. Seleucus Nicator sent his ambassador Megasthenes to the court of Chandragupta Maurya. Megasthenes wrote Indica which gives detail information of the Mauryan society under the rule of Chandragupta Maurya. Seleucus had to surrendered a large territory Paropamisade (Kamboja and Gandhara), Arachosia (Kandhahar) and Gedrosia (Balochistan). Seleucus Nicator also married his daughter to Chandragupta Maurya. In return Seleucus received 500 war elephants.
6. According to Jain text Chandragupta Maurya converted to Jainism.
7. Chandragupta Maurya spent his last days at Sravanabelagola.

Bindusara (297 B.C. – 273 B.C.)

1. Bindusara was the son of Chandragupta Maurya and his queen Durdhara.
2. Greek writers refer him as Amitraghata.
3. Bindusara extended this empire to the southern part of India.
4. Bindusara didn’t conquer the friendly Dravidian kingdoms of the Cholas, the Pandyas, and Cheras
5. Apart from these southern states, Kalinga (modern Odisha) was the only kingdom in India that didn’t form the part of Bindusara’s empire.
6. Kalinga was later conquered by his son Ashoka, who served as the viceroy of Ujjain during his father’s reign.
7. Ambassador Deimachus of Seleucid Empire visited the court of Bindusara.
8. Bindusara followed the Ajivika sect.
9. Bindusara sent his son Ashoka to quell a rebellion in Taxilla.

Ashoka (273 B.C. – 232 B.C.)

1. Ashok Vardhan Maurya was the son of Bindusara. He was also known as Ashoka or Ashoka The Great.
2. As a young prince, Ashoka was a brilliant commander who crushed revolts in Ujjain and Taxila.
3. Ashoka’s conquest of Kalinga (262-261 B.C.) proved to be the pivotal event of his life. Although Ashoka’s army succeeded in defeating Kalinga forces of royal soldiers and civilian units, an estimated 100,000 soldiers and civilians were killed in the war.
4. Destruction and fallout of Kalinga war changed Ashoka’s attitude towards non-violence. He embraced Buddhism and renounced war.
5. He sent out Buddhist missionaries to travel around Asia and spread Buddhism to other countries.
6. The Lion Capital of Ashoka, which was erected around 250 B.C. is now the national emblem of India.
7. Third Buddhist Council was held in 250 B.C. under the patronage of King Ashoka.