Mauryan Empire

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Mauryan Empire

322 BCE – 184 BCE
Maximum extent of the Maurya Empire, as shown by the location of Ashoka's inscriptions, and visualized by ASI (Archeological Survey Of India) based on ancient inscriptions, ancient Greecian , ancient Indian texts,[1] modern archaeologist : Dougald J. W. O'Reilly,[2] old archeologist Myra Shackley:[3] modern historian : Upinder Singh,[4]Jackson J. Spielvogel[5][6]Hugh Bowden;[7] old historians:John Haywood;[8]Patrick Karl O'Brien,[9][10]H. C. Raychaudhuri,[11]John F. Cady,[12]Gerald Danzer,[13]Vincent Arthur Smith;[14] Robert Roswell Palmer,[15]Geoffrey Parker,[16]R. C. Majumdar;[17] and historical geographer:Joseph E. Schwartzberg.[18]
Maximum extent of the Maurya Empire, as shown by the location of Ashoka's inscriptions, and visualized by ASI (Archeological Survey Of India) based on ancient inscriptions, ancient Greecian , ancient Indian texts,[1] modern archaeologist : Dougald J. W. O'Reilly,[2] old archeologist Myra Shackley:[3] modern historian : Upinder Singh,[4]Jackson J. Spielvogel[5][6]Hugh Bowden;[7] old historians:John Haywood;[8]Patrick Karl O'Brien,[9][10]H. C. Raychaudhuri,[11]John F. Cady,[12]Gerald Danzer,[13]Vincent Arthur Smith;[14] Robert Roswell Palmer,[15]Geoffrey Parker,[16]R. C. Majumdar;[17] and historical geographer:Joseph E. Schwartzberg.[18]
(present-day Patna)
Common languagesSanskrit (literary and academic), Magadhi Prakrit (vernacular)
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy, as described in Kautilya's Arthashastra
and Rajamandala[27]
• 322–298 BCE
Emperor Chandragupta
• 298–272 BCE
Emperor Bindusara
• 268–232 BCE
Emperor Ashoka
• 232–224 BCE
Emperor Dasharatha
• 224–215 BCE
Emperor Samprati
• 215–202 BCE
Emperor Shalishuka
• 202–195 BCE
Emperor Devavarman
• 195–187 BCE
Emperor Shatadhanvan
• 187–184 BCE
Emperor Brihadratha
Historical eraIron Age
322 BCE 
• Assassination of Brihadratha by Pushyamitra Shunga
 184 BCE
261 BCE[28]
(low-end estimate of peak area)
3,400,000 km2 (1,300,000 sq mi)
250 BCE[29]
(high-end estimate of peak area)
5,000,000 km2 (1,900,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Nanda Empire
Shunga Empire
Satavahana dynasty
Mahameghavahana dynasty
Indo-Greek Kingdom
Vidarbha kingdom (Mauryan era)

The Maurya Empire, or the Mauryan Empire, was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power on the Indian subcontinent based in Magadha. Founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BCE, and existing in loose-knit fashion until 185 BCE.[30] The Maurya Empire was centralized by the conquest of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, and its capital city was located at Pataliputra, modern Patna. Outside this imperial center, the empire's geographical extent depended on the loyalty of military commanders who controlled the armed cities that sprinkled it.[31][32][33] During Ashoka's rule (c. 268 – c. 232 BCE) the empire briefly controlled the major urban hubs and arteries of the Indian subcontinent except those in the deep south.[30] It declined for about 50 years after Ashoka's rule, and dissolved in 185 BCE with the assassination of Brihadratha by Pushyamitra Shunga and the foundation of the Shunga Empire in Magadh.

Chandragupta Maurya raised an army, with the assistance of Chanakya, his teacher and the author of Arthashastra,[34] and overthrew the Nanda Empire in c. 322 BCE, laying the foundation for the Maurya Empire. Chandragupta rapidly expanded his power west across central and western India by defeating the satraps left by Alexander the Great, and by 317 BCE the empire had fully occupied northwestern India.[35] The Mauryan Empire then defeated Seleucus I Nicator, a diadochus and founder of the Seleucid Empire, during the Seleucid–Mauryan war, thus acquiring territory west of the Indus River, Afghanistan and Balochistan.[36][37]

Under the Mauryas, internal and external trade, agriculture, and economic activities thrived and expanded across India due to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration, and security. The Maurya dynasty built a precursor of the Grand Trunk Road from Pataliputra to Taxila.[38]After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced nearly half a century of centralized rule under Ashoka the Great. Ashoka's embrace of Buddhism and sponsorship of Buddhist missionaries allowed for the expansion of that faith into Sri Lanka, northwest India, and Central Asia.[39]

The population of South Asia during the Mauryan period has been estimated to be between 15 and 30 million.[40] The Maurya period was marked by exceptional creativity in art, architecture, inscriptions and texts,[31] but also by the consolidation of caste in the Gangetic plain, and the declining rights of women in mainstream Indo-Aryan speaking regions of India.[41] Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Arthashastra[42] and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary sources of written records of Mauryan times.[citation needed] The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath is the national emblem of the Republic of India.


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:[43]

  • The Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman (c. 150 CE) prefixes "Maurya" to the names Chandragupta and Ashoka.[43]
  • The Puranas (c. 4th century CE or earlier) use Maurya as a dynastic appellation.[43]
  • The Buddhist texts state that Chandragupta belonged to the "Moriya" clan of the Shakyas, the tribe to which Gautama Buddha belonged.[43]
  • The Jain texts state that Chandragupta was the son of a royal superintendent of peacocks (mayura-poshaka).[43]
  • Tamil Sangam literature also designate them as 'moriyar' and mention them after the Nandas[44]
  • Kuntala inscription (from the town of Bandanikke, North Mysore) of 12th century AD chronologically mention Mauryya as one of the dynasties which ruled the region.[45]
  • The Kalpasutra of the Jains mentions a Mauryaputra of the Kasyapa gotra, which shows that the Mauryas were regarded as high class folk who was the disciple of Mahavira.[46]

According to Kharavela' Hathigumpha inscription (2nd-1st century BC) mentions era of Maurya Empire as Muriya Kala (Mauryan era),[47] but this reading is disputed: other scholars—such as epigraphist D. C. Sircar—read the phrase as mukhiya-kala ("the principal art").[48]

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 meaning, "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".[49]

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.[50]

Some later authors, such as Dhundhi-raja (an 18th-century 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.[51] 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".[52]



Prior to the Maurya Empire, the Nanda Empire ruled over a broad swathe 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 when he informed them of Alexander's invasion. Chanakya swore revenge and vowed to destroy the Nanda Empire.[53] 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. One of the boys was none other than Chandragupta. Chanakya 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 farther 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.[54]

The Maurya Empire was established in the Magadha 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 Alexander's 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 Macedonia ns.[55] Ancient Greek historians Nearchus, Onesictrius, and Aristobolus have provided lot of information about the Mauryan empire.[56] 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.[35]

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.[57] Chanakya is said to have met the Nanda king, angered him, and made a narrow escape.[58]

Empire Expansion[edit]

Conquest of the Nanda Empire[edit]

Historically reliable inscription details of Chandragupta's campaign against Nanda Empire are unavailable and but later written Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu texts which claim Magadha was ruled by the Nanda dynasty, which, with Chanakya's counsel, Chandragupta conquered Nanda Empire.[59][60][61] The army of Chandragupta and Chanakya first conquered the Nanda outer territories, and finally besieged the Nanda capital Pataliputra. In contrast to the easy victory in Buddhist sources, the Hindu and Jain texts state that the campaign was bitterly fought because the Nanda dynasty had a powerful and well-trained army.[62][60]

Nanda_Empire 323 BCE

The Buddhist Mahavamsa Tika and Jain Parishishtaparvan records Chandragupta's army unsuccessfully attacking the Nanda capital. [63] Chandragupta and Chanakya then began a campaign at the frontier of the Nanda empire, gradually conquering various territories on their way to the Nanda capital.[64] He then refined his strategy by establishing garrisons in the conquered territories, and finally besieged the Nanda capital Pataliputra. There Dhana Nanda accepted defeat.[65][66] The conquest was fictionalised in Mudrarakshasa play, it contains narratives not found in other versions of the Chanakya-Chandragupta legend.Radha Kumud Mukherjee similarly considers Mudrakshasa play without historical basis.[67]

These legends state that the Nanda king was defeated, deposed and exiled by some accounts, while Buddhist accounts claim he was killed.[68] With the defeat of Dhana Nanda, Chandragupta Maurya founded the Maurya Empire.[69]

Conquest of the Eastern Seleucid Empire[edit]

Seleucid Empire 281 BCE
Chandragupta Maurya Empire c.290 BCE

Greek historians mentioned the result of Seleucid–Mauryan war where Seleucid Empire's eastern satrapies( Gedrosia,Arachosia, Aria, and Paropamisadae) ceded to Mauryan Empire :

" Seleucus crossed the Indus and waged war with Sandrocottus [Maurya], king of he Indians, who dwelt on the banks of that stream, until they came to an understanding with each other and contracted a marriage relationship. Some of these exploits were performed before the death of Antigonus and some afterward."

— Appian, History of Rome, The Syrian Wars 55

" The geographical position of the tribes is as follows: along the Indus are the Paropamisadae, above whom lies the Paropamisus mountain: then, towards the south, the Arachoti: then next, towards the south, the Gedroseni, with the other tribes that occupy the seaboard; and the Indus lies, latitudinally, alongside all these places; and of these places, in part, some that lie along the Indus are held by Indians, although they formerly belonged to the Persians. Alexander [III 'the Great' of Macedon] took these away from the Arians and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus [Chandragupta], upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange five hundred elephants. " — Strabo 15.2.9 [1]

Greecian historian Pliny also quoted a passage from Megasthanes work about Chandragupta Empire boundaries:

Most geographers, in fact, do not look upon India as bounded by the river Indus, but add to it the four satrapies of the Gedrose, the Arachotë, the Aria, and the Paropamisadë, the River Cophes thus forming the extreme boundary of India. According to other writers, however, all these territories, are reckoned as belonging to the country of the Aria.

— Pliny, Natural History VI, 23 [2][3]

The conquest of the south by Chandragupta Maurya may also perhaps be inferred from the following statement of Plutarch. "The throne" in the context is the Magadhan throne, the occupation of which by Chandragupta is thus followed by two other events, viz., the defeat of Selucus, and the conquest of the remaining part of India not included in the Magadhan empire of the Nandas:

"Not long afterwards Androkottos, who had by that time mounted the throne, presented Selukos with 500 elephants, and overran and subdued the whole of India with an army of 600,000."

-Chapter LXII ,Life of Alexander, Plutarch [4]

Megasthenes defined the region that Chandragupta won from Seleucus as likely western side Gedrosia which shares boundaries with the Euphrates River, and eastern side Arachosia shares boundaries with the Indus. The northern frontier boundary formed by Hindukush mountain range:

India, which is in shape quadrilateral, has its eastern as well as its 'western side bounded by the great sea, but on the northern side it is divided by Mount Hemôdos from that part of Skythia which is inhabited by those Skythians who are called the Sakai, while the fourth or western side is bounded by the river called the Indus.

- Book I Fragment I , Indica, Megasthanes [5]

Satrapian provinces in northwestern India which ceaded to Chandragupta by Selucus due to Treaty of Indus.

Sandrokottos the king of the Indians, India forms the largest of the four parts into which Southorn Asia is divided, while the smallest part is that region which is included between the Euphrates and our own sea. The two remaining parts, which are separated from the others by the Euphrates and the Indus, and lie between these rivers... India is bounded on its eastern side, right onwards to the south, by the great ocean; that its northern frontier is formed by the Kaukasos range(Hindukush Range) as far as the junction of that range with Tauros; and that the boundary.

- Book I Fragment II , Indica, Megasthanes [6]

Treaty of the Indus[edit]

The ancient historians Justin, Appian, and Strabo preserve the three main terms of the Treaty of the Indus:[70]

(i) Seleucus transferred to Chandragupta's kingdom the easternmost satrapies of his empire, certainly Gandhara, Parapamisadae, and the eastern parts of Gedrosia, Arachosia and Aria as far as Herat.

(ii) Chandragupta gave Seleucus 500 Indian war elephants.

(iii) The two kings were joined by some kind of marriage alliance (ἐπιγαμία οι κῆδος); most likely Chandragupta wed a female relative of Seleucus.

Other account[edit]

  • Tibbetan Lama Taranatha (1575–1634)

Ashoka brought under his rule without bloodshed all the countries including those to the south of the Vindhya. And he conquered the northern Himalayas, the snowy ranges beyond Li-yul (Khotan)," the entire land of Jambudvipa bounded by seas on east, south and west, and also fifty small islands.

-History Of Buddhism In India ,Taranatha[71]

  • Mahabodhivamsa, (pg.98)

Ashoka served as a viceroy during the rule of his father Bindusara. According to established constitutional usage, Asoka as Prince served as viceroy in one of the remoter provinces of the Empire. This was the province of Western India called Avantirattham or province of Avanti with headquarter at Ujjain.[72]

Bindusara Empire 273 BCE

Conquest of the Saurashtra[edit]

Chandragupta conquered Southern-Western part of India. Especially his conquest over Saurashtra and Sudarshana lake construction is preseved in later Satrapian king Rudradaman inscription:

(L.8) Transliteration: mauryasya rājyaḥ candra-guptasya rāṣṭriyena vaiśyena puṣpa-guptena kāritam śokasya mauryasya kṛte yavana-raj tuṣāra-saphenādhāyā

(L.8) for the sake of ordered to be made by the Vaishya Pushyagupta, the provincial governor of the Maurya king Chandragupta; adorned with conduits for Ashoka the Maurya by the Yavana king Tushaspha while governing; and by the conduit ordered to be made by him, constructed in a manner worthy of a king (and) seen in that breach.

—Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman[73]

Conquest of the Kalinga[edit]

Kalinga War plays a very important role in Mauryan history which changes a cruel Emperor Chanda-Ashoka to Priyadarshi Ashoka.

"Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Priyadarsi(Ashoka)conquered the Kalingas eight years after his coronation. One hundred and fifty thousand were deported, one hundred thousand were killed and many more died (from other causes). After the Kalingas had been conquered, Beloved-of-the-Gods came to feel a strong inclination towards the Dharma, a love for the Dharma and for instruction in Dharma. Now Beloved-of-the-Gods feels deep remorse for having conquered the Kalingas. "

— Ashoka, Major Rock Edict No. 13 [7]

Conquest of the Kuntala[edit]

Shikarpur Taluq, inscription 225 . Mentioned about Mauryan ruling in the region of Kuntala .The Kuntala country is an ancient Indian political region included the western Deccan and some parts of central,south Karnataka and north Mysore.

South India , Kuntala present in Western coastal region

Kuntala-kshôpiyam pesarvett â-nava-Nanda-Gupta-kula-Mauryya-kshmâpar aldar llasaj-jasad [8]

Translation : The Kuntala country, which is like curls (kuntaja) to the lady Earth, was-ruled by the renowned nine Nandas, the Gupta and Mauryan kings. [9]

Conquest of the Nepala[edit]

According to the Asokavadana, it is stated that in his youth, Ashoka subdued the revolt in the of the Khasas (present day Nepala region) and Taksasila. Similarly, in contrast, according to a 15th-century Tibetan historian:

Meanwhile, peoples of the hilly countries like Nepal and Khasya revolted. Asoka was sent with the army to subdue them. Without difficulty Asoka subdued .the hilly races, imposed levy and annual tax on them, realised ransom from them and offered these to the king. -History Of Buddhism In India ,Taranatha[10]

Apart from Taranath's account, it is noteworthy that Ashoka was responsible for the construction of several significant structures in Nepal. These include the Ramagrama Stupa,Gotihawa Pillar of Ashoka, Nigali-Sagar Ashoka Pillar inscription , and the Lumbini pillar inscription of Ashoka.The Chinese pilgrims Fa-Hien (337 CE – c. 422 CE) and Xuanzang (602–664 CE) describe the Kanakamuni Stupa and the Asoka Pillar of currently Nepal region in their travel accounts. Xuanzang speaks of a lion capital atop the pillar, now lost. A base of a Pillar of Ashoka has been discovered at Gotihawa, a few miles from Nigali Sagar, and it has been suggested that it is the original base of the Nigalar Sagar pillar fragments.[74]

Boundaries sharing territories[edit]

Even though Ashoka defined the boundaries of his empire four times in various inscriptions (with same lines) but he never mentioned any inner hole or unconquered region inside his empire.This suggests that Ashoka's empire was likely contiguous, with no significant unconquered regions within its borders :

Sav[r]atravijite [De]va[nam]priyasaPriyadrashisa y[e] cha [a]mtayatha [Choda] PamdiyaSatiyaputro KeradaputroTambapamni…,

-Second Rock-Edict: Shahbazgarhi [11]

Sav[a]ta vijitsi Devanampiyas[a] Piyadasis[a] lajine ye cha amta [a]tha Choda Pam[di]yaSatiyaputo Ke[lala]putoTamba[pa]mni..

-Second Rock Edict: Kalsi [12]

sa[vatra vi]jitasi Devanapriyasa Priyadrashisarajine ye cha ataatha [Choda] Pa[mdiya] Sa[ti]ya[p]u[tra] Keralaputra [Tam]bapani..

-Second Rock Edict: Mansehra [13]

Sav[r]atravijite [De]va[nam]priyasaPriyadrashisa Ye Ca anta ataChoda, Pandiya, Satiyaputo, Ketalaputo, Tam bapanni, Antiyogonaama, Yonalaja....

-Second Rock Edict :Girnar [14]

—Translation: Everywhere in the conquered dominions of king Priyadarsin, the beloved-of the gods, and the dominions on the boarders as those of the Choda (the Colas), Pandiya (the Pandyas). Satiyaputo (The Satiyaputras) and the Ketalaputo (the Keralaputras), as far as Tamraparni, the Yavana king named Antiyogonaama (Antiyoka) and the other neighbouring kings of this king Antiyoka.

Possible Mauryan Empire size according to details given in Ashoka Second Rock Edict of Shahbazgarhi , Kalsi ,Mansera and Girnar.

Empire reconstruction from fragments[edit]

According to the account of Fa Hein who was the first Chinese pilgrim to visit India during 399 and 414 CE. His work "The travels of Fa-Hian (400 A.D.)"mentioned that Ashoka constructed 84,000 Buddhist stupas and pillars after destroying seven stupas that initially housed Buddha relics. Ashoka divided the relics from these seven stupas into 84,000 parts :

" King Asoka having destroyed seven (of the original) pagodas, constructed 84,000 others. The very first which he built is the great tower which stands about three li to the south of this. city. In front of this pagoda is an impression of Buddha’s foot, (over which) they have raised a chapel, the gate of which faces the north. To the south of the tower is a stone pillar, about a chang and a half in girth (18 feet), and three cluing or so in height (35 feet). On the surface of this pillar is an inscription to the following effect: “King Asoka presented the whole of Jambudvipa to the priests of the four quarters, and redeemed it again with money, and tins he did three times.” Three or four hundred paces to the north of the pagoda is the spot where Asoka was horn (or resided). On this spot he raised the city of Ni-li, and in the midst of it erected a stone pillar, also about 35 feet in height, on the top of which he placed the figure of a lion, and also engraved an historical record on the pillar giving an account of the successive events connected with Ni-li, with the corresponding year, day, and month." ~Chapter XXVII , The travels of Fa-Hian (400 A.D)[15]

" When King Asoka was living he wished to destroy the eight towers and to build eighty-four thousand others. Having destroyed seven, he next proceeded to treat this one in the same way."

~Chapter XXIII ,The travels of Fa-Hian (400 A.D)[16]

Ashoka built one pillar beside every stupa :

" In after times Asoka, wishing to discover the utmost depths to which these ladders went, employed men to dig down and examine into it. They went on digging till they came to the yellow spring (the earth's foundation), but yet had not come to the bottom. The king, deriving from this an increase of faith and reverence, forthwith built over the ladders a and facing the middle flight he placed a standing figure (of Buddha) sixteen feet high. Behind the vihara, he erected a stone pillar thirty cubits high, and on the top placed the figure of a lion. Within the pillar on the four sides are figures of Buddha; both within and without it is shining and bright as glass. It happened once that some heretical doctors had a contention with the Sramanas respecting this as a place of residence. Then the argument of the Sramanas failing, they all agreed to the following compact: "If this place properly belongs to the Sramanas, then there will he some supernatural proof given of it." Immediately on this the lion on the top of the pillar uttered a loud roar." ~Chapter XVII, The travels of Fa-Hian (400 A.D)[17]

Ashoka commissioned the construction of 84,000 stupas for the preservation of Buddha's relics. However, over time, many of the Ashoka pillars , inscriptions and stupas have been subject to complete destruction and deterioration. According to the British historian Charles Allen, historical records of Ashoka were effectively cleansed to the extent that his name was largely forgotten for nearly two thousand years. However, very few mysterious stone monuments and inscriptions miraculously survived, preserving his historical legacy :

" Pg.2 - Ashoka Maurya—or Ashoka the Great as he was later known—holds a special place in the history of Buddhism and India. At its height in around 250 BCE, his empire stretched across the Indian subcontinent to Kandahar in the east, and as far north as the Himalayas. Through his quest to govern by moral force alone, Ashoka transformed Buddhism from a minor sect into a major world religion, while simultaneously setting a new yardstick for government that had lasting implications for all of Asia. His bold experiment ended in tragedy, however, and in the tumult that followed the historical record was cleansed so effectively that his name was largely forgotten for almost two thousand years. Yet, a few mysterious stone monuments and inscriptions miraculously survived the purge. "[75]

According to the Indian historian Ram Sharan Sharma, the Mauryans maintained a large army and implemented a strict judicial system to exercise control over tribal populations under their Empire :

" Pg.355 The biggest fact of Maurya political history was the establishment of the Magadha Empire, which included the whole of India except the far south. This empire was established with the strength of the sword and it could be protected only with the strength of the sword. Strong military power was necessary for both external security and internal peace..The tribal people living inside the empire and on its borders were equally a cause of trouble. So for this, there was a huge permanent army and tight judicial system."[76]

North-East and South influence[edit]

Ashoka's influence in North-East and South India is evident through the dissemination of Buddhist principles, rock edicts, and the broader cultural exchanges facilitated by the Mauryan Empire. While the direct impact may vary, Ashoka's legacy remains a significant part of India's historical and cultural tapestry. [77]

Popular Maps[edit]

Indian New Parliament already have carved Mauryan Empire over mural which represents Indian integrity and glorious past: [18] [19][20]. Several historians have reconstructed the map of the Mauryan Empire based on details from Ashoka's inscriptions and accounts from Greek historians, among other sources. For example :

  • ASI (Archeological Survey Of India) referenced rough map of Mauryan Empire :[21]
  • British Historian Geoffrey Parker created map on Mauryan Empire :[22]
  • British historian Patrick K. O'Brien created Mauryan Empire Map: [23] ,
  • American historian Gerald Danzer created Mauryan Empire Map: [24]
  • British Historian Charles Allen created Mauryan Empire Map: [25]

Founding Emperors[edit]

Chandragupta Maurya[edit]

Pataliputra, capital of the Mauryas. Ruins of pillared hall at Kumrahar site.
The Pataliputra capital, discovered at the Bulandi Bagh site of Pataliputra, 4th–3rd c. BCE.

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.[78] 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.[79]

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.[80]

Megasthenes in particular was a notable Greek ambassador in the court of Chandragupta Maurya.[81] His book Indika is a major literary source for information about the Mauryan Empire. According to Arrian, ambassador Megasthenes (c. 350 – c. 290 BCE) lived in Arachosia and travelled to Pataliputra.[82] 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.[78]

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.[83] The architecture of the city seems to have had many similarities with Persian cities of the period.[84]

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.[44][85] He also had a Greek ambassador at his court, named Deimachus.[86] 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.[87][88]

Chandragupta renounced his throne and followed Jain teacher Bhadrabahu.[89][90][91] 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.[92]


A silver coin of 1 karshapana of the Maurya empire, period of Bindusara Maurya about 297–272 BC, workshop of Pataliputra. Obv: Symbols with a sun. Rev: Symbol. Dimensions: 14 × 11 mm. Weight: 3.4 g.

Bindusara was born to Chandragupta, the founder of the Mauryan Empire. This is attested by several sources, including the various Puranas and the Mahavamsa.[93][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").[94][95] According to the 12th century Jain writer Hemachandra's Parishishta-Parvan, the name of Bindusara's mother was Durdhara.[96] Some Greek sources also mention him by the name "Amitrochates" or its variations.[97][98]

Historian Upinder Singh estimates that Bindusara ascended the throne around 297 BCE.[85] 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.[99] 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.[100][101]

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".[102] 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.[103]

Bindusara maintained friendly diplomatic relations with the Hellenic world. Deimachus was the ambassador of Seleucid emperor Antiochus I at Bindusara's court.[104] Diodorus states that the king of Palibothra (Pataliputra, the Mauryan capital) welcomed a Greek author, Iambulus. This king is usually identified as Bindusara.[104] Pliny states that the Egyptian king Philadelphus sent an envoy named Dionysius to India.[105][106] According to Sailendra Nath Sen, this appears to have happened during Bindusara's reign.[104]

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[107] of the Ajivika sect. Bindusara's wife, Queen Subhadrangi (Queen Dharma/ Aggamahesi) was a Brahmin[108] also of the Ajivika sect from Champa (present Bhagalpur district). Bindusara is credited with giving several grants to Brahmin monasteries (Brahmana-bhatto).[109]

Historical evidence suggests that Bindusara died in the 270s BCE. According to Upinder Singh, Bindusara died around 273 BCE.[85] Alain Daniélou believes that he died around 274 BCE.[102] 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.[104] According to the Mahavamsa, Bindusara reigned for 28 years.[110] The Vayu Purana, which names Chandragupta's successor as "Bhadrasara", states that he ruled for 25 years.[111]


Ashoka pillar at Vaishali.
Fragment of the 6th Pillar Edict of Ashoka (238 BCE), in Brahmi, sandstone, British Museum.

As a young prince, Ashoka (r. 272–232 BCE) was a brilliant commander who crushed revolts in Ujjain and Taxila. 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.[112] 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. He also propagated his own dhamma.[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).[113]


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 to the throne after him. Mahinda, his firstborn, became a Buddhist monk. Kunala Maurya was blind and hence couldn't ascend to the throne; and Tivala, son of Kaurwaki, died even earlier than Ashoka. Little is known about another son, Jalauka.

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,[114] 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".[115]

Shunga coup (185 BCE)[edit]

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,[116] and a resurgence of Hinduism. According to Sir John Marshall,[117] 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[118] and Romila Thapar,[119] 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)[edit]

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.[120]

Historians theorise that the organisation of the Empire was in line with the extensive bureaucracy described by Chanakya 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.[121] 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.[122]


Statuettes of the Mauryan era

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[123]

The economy of the empire has been described as, "a socialized monarchy", "a sort of state socialism", and the world's first welfare state.[124] Under the Mauryan system there was no private ownership of land as all land was owned by the king to whom tribute was paid by the by the laboring class. In return the emperor supplied the laborers with agricultural products, animals, seeds, tools, public infrastructure, and stored food in reserve for times of crisis.[124]

Local government[edit]

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.[125] The official head of the village was Gramika (in towns Nagarika).[126] The city counsel also had some magisterial powers. The taking of Census was regular process in the Mauryan administration. The village officials (Gramika) and municipal officials (Nagarika) were responsible enumerating different classes of people in the Mauryan empire such as traders, agriculturists, smiths, potters, carpenters etc. and also cattle, mostly for taxation purposes.[127] These vocations consolidated as castes, a feature of Indian society that continues to influence the Indian politics till today.


Maurya statuette, 2nd century BCE.

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.[128]

Maurya Empire coinage


Throughout the period of empire, Vedic was an important religion.[130] The Mauryans favored Brahmanism as well as Jainism and Buddhism. Minor religious sects such as Ajivikas also received patronage. A number of Hindu texts were written during the Mauryan period.[131]

Bhadrabahu Cave, Shravanabelagola where Chandragupta is said to have died

According to a Jain text from the 12th century, Chandragupta Maurya followed Jainism after retiring, when he renounced his throne and material possessions to join a wandering group of Jain monks and in his last days, he observed the rigorous but self-purifying Jain ritual of santhara (fast unto death), at Shravana Belgola in Karnataka.[132][91][133][90] Nevertheless, it is possible that Chandragupta Maurya "did not give up the performance of sacrificial rites and was far from following the Jaina creed of Ahimsa or non-injury to animals."[134] 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.[135] 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 evidence has been found to support this claim.[136][137]

The stupa, which contained the relics of Buddha, at the center of the Sanchi complex was originally built by the Maurya Empire, but the balustrade around it is Sunga, and the decorative gateways are from the later Satavahana period.
The Dharmarajika stupa in Taxila, modern Pakistan, is also thought to have been established by Emperor Asoka.

The Buddhist texts Samantapasadika and Mahavamsa suggest that Bindusara followed Hindu Brahmanism, calling him a "Brahmana bhatto" ("monk of the Brahmanas").[138][139]

Magadha, the centre of the empire, was also the birthplace of Buddhism. Ashoka initially practised Brahmanism[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 and Thailand. 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.[140]


The population of South Asia during the Mauryan period has been estimated to be between 15 and 30 million.[141] According to Tim Dyson, the period of the Mauryan Empire saw the consolidation of caste among the Indo-Aryan people who had settled in the Gangetic plain, increasingly meeting tribal people who were incorporated into their evolving caste-system, and the declining rights of women in the Indo-Aryan speaking regions of India, though "these developments did not affect people living in large parts of the subcontinent."[142]

Architectural remains[edit]

Mauryan architecture in the Barabar Caves. Lomas Rishi Cave. 3rd century BCE.

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 a 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.[143]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]

An early stupa, 6 meters in diameter, with fallen umbrella on side. Chakpat, near Chakdara. Probably Maurya, 3rd century BCE.

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 Buddhist 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, Bodhgaya, Bharhut, and possibly Amaravati Stupa. 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.[144]

The peacock was a dynastic symbol of Mauryans, as depicted by Ashoka's pillars at Nandangarh and Sanchi Stupa.[50]

Maurya structures and decorations at Sanchi
(3rd century BCE)
Sanchi Great Stupa Mauryan configuration.jpg
Approximate reconstitution of the Great Stupa at Sanchi under the Mauryas.

Natural history[edit]

The two Yakshas, possibly 3rd century BCE, found in Pataliputra. The two Brahmi inscriptions starting with Gupta ashoka y.svgGupta ashoka khe.jpg... (Yakhe... for "Yaksha...") are paleographically of a later date, circa 2nd century CE Kushan.[146]

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.[147]

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.[148]

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.[149]

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:[149]

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.[149]

Contacts with the Hellenistic world[edit]

Mauryan ringstone, with standing goddess. Northwest Pakistan. 3rd Century BCE

Foundation of the Empire[edit]

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:[150]

Sandrocottus(Chandragupta), 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 (Dhananda) was hated and despised on account of his baseness and low birth.

— Plutarch 62-4[150][151]

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

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.

— Justin XV.4.12–13[152]

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.

— Justin XV.4.19[153]

Conflict and alliance with Seleucus (305 BCE)[edit]

A map showing the north western border of Maurya Empire, including its various neighboring states.

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.

— Appian, History of Rome, "The Syrian Wars" 55[154]

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[edit]

Figure of a foreigner, found in Sarnath, 3rd century BCE.[155] This is a probable member of the West Asian Pahlava or Saka elite in the Gangetic plains during the Mauryan period.[156][157][158]

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,[159][160][161][162][163] a military asset which would play a decisive role at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE.[164] 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.[165]

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.[166][167] 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.

— Appian, History of Rome, The Syrian Wars 55

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

— Junianus Justinus, Historiarum Philippicarum, libri XLIV, XV.4.15

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.

Exchange of presents[edit]

Classical sources have also recorded that following their treaty, Chandragupta and Seleucus exchanged presents, such as when Chandragupta sent various aphrodisiacs to Seleucus:[97]

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:[97]

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[edit]

The Kandahar Edict of Ashoka, a bilingual edict (Greek and Aramaic) by king Ashoka, from Kandahar. Kabul Museum. (See image description page for translation.)

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:

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.

— Trans. by G.P. Carratelli Template:Usurped

Dhamma Vijaya to the West (c. 250 BCE)[edit]

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).

— Edicts of Ashoka, 13th Rock Edict, S. Dhammika.

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)[173]

Subhagasena and Antiochos III (206 BCE)[edit]

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. 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.

Fa-Hian, the Chinese Buddhist monk and traveler, mentioned Dharmavarddhana, who was believed to be Subhagsena by historians :

From this, descending eastward, journeying for five days, we arrive at the country of Gandhara (Kien-to-wei). This is the place which Dharmavarddhana, the son of Asoka, governed. Buddha also in this country, when he was a Bodhisattva, gave his eyes in charity for the sake of a man. On this spot also they have raised a great stupa, adorned with silver and gold. The people of this country mostly study the Little Vehicle.

~Chapter X ,The travels of Fa-Hian (400 A.D.) [26]

Later Mauryans[edit]

The Rājataranginī mentions Jalauka as the successor of Asoka in Kasmira, while Tāranātha mentions another successor Virasena who ruled in Gandhāra and he was as Dr. Thomas suggests, probably the predecessor of Subhagasena.[175]

Petty Maurya kings continued to rule in western India as well as Magadha long after the extinction of the imperial line. King Dhavala of the Maurya dynasty is referred to in the Kanaswa inscription of A.D. 738. Professor Bhandarkar identifies him with Dhavalappadeva, the overlord of Dhanika mentioned in the Dabok (Mewar) inscription of A.D. 725.” Maurya chief of the Konkan and Khandesh are referred to in the early epigraphs. A Maurya Prince of Magadha named Pürnavarman is mentioned by Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang.[176] In 7th century A.D. Hiuen Tsang, wrote about small dominions in eastern India for he relates that shortly before his visit Purnavarman, king of Magadha, a descendant of Ashoka who had restored the Bodhi-tree, which had been destroyed by Sasanka, apart from this he also mention Mauryan ruler named Narendragupta of Karnasuvarna(Bengal).[177]

During the sixth century Kolaba along with the Northern Konkan coast was probably ruled by Mauryas and Nala Chiefs as Kirtivarman (550-567), the first of the Calukyas who conquered Konkan is described as the night of death to the Nalas and Mauryas [Indian Antiquary VIII. 24.].

From an inscribed stones of the fifth and the sixth century discovered in the Thānā district of North Konkan, it describes that a Mauryan King Suketuvarman was ruling in Konkan. Konkan was given in charge of a Maurya family.[178][179][180]

It is interesting to see that More is a name quite common among Marathas, Kunbis and Rolls of Kolaba. Probably here can be traced the name Maurya. Two small landing places of the name of More in Elephanta and in Karanja can be taken as relics of the Maurya power formerly existing in Konkan. The Mauryas of the Konkan, previously subdued, were overwhelmed and the city of Puri (either Gharapuri, i.e., the island of Elephanta near Bombay, or Rajpuri near Janjira), which was located in the Arabian Sea and was probably the Maurya capital, was invaded by Pulakesin's battleships and was captured.[181]


Coins of the Kalacuri king Krşņarāja have been found in the island of Bombay. But the country was not directly administered by the Kalacuris. They gave it to a feudadtory family called the Mauryas.The Kaņaśva inscription dated A.D. 738-39 mentions the Maurya king Dhavalappa, who was probably holding the fort of Chittorgarh.This family probably succumbed to the attack of the Arabs, who are credited with a victory over them. Another Maurya family was ruling at Valabhi (modern Valā) in Saurāştra. A later scion of it named Govindaraja Maurya was reigning from Väghli in Khāndeśa as a feudatory of the Mahamandaleśvara Seunacandra II. The family ruling in North Konkan in the sixth and seventh centuries A.D. was related to any of the branches of the great Maurya family. The first notice of the Maurya family ruling in North Konkan occurs in the description of the conquests of the early Chalukya king Kirtivarman I (A.D. 566-598). In the Aihole inscription where he is described as the Night of Destruction to the Nalas, Mauryas and Kadambas. The Kadambas were described as subclan of Southern Mauryans who where completely lost.[182]

The Mauryas of Konkan region[edit]

Suketuvarman is known from a solitary stone inscription found at Vada to the north of Thana near Bombay but now preserved in the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay. The epigraph, which is damaged and written in the southern characters of about the 4th or 5th century A.D. and refers to a king named Suketuvarman of the Maurya dynasty. He appears to have been ruling near about Thana during that period.[183]

The Mauryas of Western coastline[edit]

Two copper plate grants discovered in the Goa territory on the west coast reveal the existence of two kings named Chandravarman and Anirjitavarman who belonged to the Maurya dynasty as per their inscription. As both the grants are dated in the regnal years of the ruling kings, from the palaeographical point of view, they may be assigned to the 6th or 7th century A.D., the grant of Chandravarman being slightly earlier than that of Anirjitvarman. Both these rulers, who assume the epithet of Mahārāja in their records. The charter of Chandravarman records the donation, by the king, of some lands to the Mahāvihāra situated in Sivapura which is identified with the village bearing the same name near Chandor in Goa. The grant of Anirjitavarman, registers certain gifts, made by the king, to a Brāhmaņa named Hastyärya. It is issued from a a place called Kumāradvīpa which appears to be located somewhere in the Goa territory. These two records show that Candravarman and Anirjitvarman were ruling somewhere in the Goa territory about the 6th-7th century A.D.[184]

The Mauryas of the Mathura region[edit]

Dindirāja alias Karka fragmentary stone inscription from Mathura city in Uttar Pradesh which, on palaeographical grounds, is referred to the latter half of the 7th century A.D., mentions four members of the Maurya dynasty viz. Krşņarāja in his family, Chandragupta his son, Aryarāja and, probably his son, Dindirāja alias Karka.[185][186]The last named ruler of this Mauryan branch appears to have burnt the city of Kanyakubja (Kannauj). The Maurya kings mentioned in this record seem to have held sway over the south-western areas of Uttar Pradesh. The Jaina tradition represents king Yasovarman (circa 728-53 A.D.) of Kannauj as a descendant of Chandragupta Maurya. This may refer to Yasovarman's relations with Karka-Dindirāja who, in all probability, was the grandson of a Maurya ruler named Chandragupta of 7th century A.D.[187]

The Mauryas of the Rajasthan region[edit]

King Dhavala or Dhavalātman inscription" from Kanaswa in the old Kota, State of Rajasthan, dated in the Mälava year (i.e. Vikrama Samvat) 795 or 738. A.D., refers to the Brahmana Sivagana as a feudatory of king Dhavala of the Maurya lineage. Dr. D.C. Sircar has suggested, on grounds of palaeographical resemblance and geographical proximity, that the Mauryas of the Mathura region mentioned above may be connected with the Maurya king Dhavala of the Kanaswa record.[188] It has also been suggested that the Mauryas who are stated to have been defeated by the Tājika (i. e. Arab) army in the Navsari plates of the Gujarat Chalukya chief Pulakeśin, dated 738 A.D., were probably these Mauryas of the Malwa Rajasthan region.[189]

Dhavala inscription from Dabok about 8 miles to the east of Udaipur in Rajasthan, mentions a Guhila chief Dhanika of Dhabagarta and his lord Dhavalappa Deva. Bhandarkar was inclined to identify Dhavalappa of this epigraph with the Maurya king Dhavalātman of the Kanaswa inscription referred.[190] It is possible that they were related to the Mauryas of the West Coast region and might have extended their suzerainty over Rajasthan which then formed part of Harsa's (606-47 A.D.) dominion. As pointed out by Dr. Sircar, the date of the Dabok record as read by him shows that Harsa must have lost parts of Rajasthan before his death in 647 A.D., though the Mauryas of Rajasthan must have owed allegiance to him before.[191][192]

Jhalrapatan (Jhalwar District Rajasthan) inscription dated 689 A.D. mentions a Maurya ruler named Durgagana.[193] Further, Bappa, son of Guhila or Guhadatta, founder of the Guhila family, supplanted his uncle known as the Mori (i.e. Maurya) ruler of Chitor in whose service he was before.[194]

The Mauryas of Khandesh region[edit]

Govindarāja stone record from Väghli in the Khandesh District, Maharastra State, dated Saka 991 or 1069 A.D. refers to a Maurya chief Govinda or Govindaraja as a subordinate of the early Yadava king Seuņachandra II. The epigraph mentions twenty princes or chiefs who were predecessors of Mauryan King Govindaraja, the earliest member being Kikața. It is also stated that originally the capital of the Mauryas was at Valabhī in Surashtra.[195]

Modern Assertion[edit]

Ashoka appointed the princes of the royal blood as viceroys in the outlying provinces of his vast empire to carry on the administration.Four such Mauryan princes viceroys ruling at Taxila, Ujjain, Tosali and Suvarnagiri are known from lithic records of Ashoka edicts. So Mauryan lineage kings spreaded from the time of Ashoka.The Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang (7th century A.D.) mentions a Maurya ruler of Magadha named Pürņavarman. While some of the later Mauryan rulers enjoyed independent status, others were either semi-independent or feudatories or even petty chiefs. Future discoveries may throw further light on these later Mauryas.


  • 322 BCE: Chandragupta Maurya conquers the Nanda Empire, founding Maurya dynasty.[196]
  • 317–316 BCE: Chandragupta Maurya conquers the Northwest of the Indian subcontinent.
  • 305–303 BCE: Chandragupta Maurya gains territory by defeating 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.

Sources of Mauryan History[edit]

Mauryan History Sources Authentic Names
Jain Scriptures

1 - Brihatkalpa Sutra

2 - Brihatkathakosha

3 - Aradhana Satkathaprabandh

4 - Shri Chandravirachita Kathakosha

5 - Nemichandrakrita Kathakosha

6 - Parishishtaparvana

7 - Vividhtirthakalpa

8 - Punyashravakathakosha

9 - Nisitha Sutra

Buddhist Scriptures

1 - Mahavansha

2‌‌ - Dipavansha

3‌‌ - Mahabodhivansha

4 - Tripitaka

5 - Divyavadana

6 - Ashokavadana

7 ‌- Vinayapitaka

8 - Mahavansatika (Vansatthappakasini)

9 - Uttara Vihara Attakatha

Vedic Scriptures

1 - Matsya Purana

2 - Vishnu Purana

3‌ - Bhagavata Purana

4 - Bhavishya Purana

5 - Brahmanda Purana

6 - Vayu Purana

7 - Kamandaka Neetisara

Inscriptions / Rock Edicts Evidence

1 - Ashoka's Rock Edicts, Cave Inscriptions, Pillar Edicts

2 - Kharavela's Hathigumpha Rock Edicts

3 - Rudradaman Inscription of Junagarh

Ancient Historical Books

1 - Arthashastra, Kautilya

2 - Mudrarakshasa, Vishakhadatta

3 - Mahabhashya, Patanjali

4 - Malavikagnimitram, Kalidasa

5 - Harshacharita, Banabhatta

6 - Rajatarangini, Kalhana

7 - Indica, Megasthenese

8 - Naturalis Historia, Pliny

9 - Epitome of Trogus, Justin

10 - Geographica, Strabo

11 - Anabasis Alexandri, Arrian

12 - The travels of Fa-Hian, Fa Hian

In literature[edit]

According to Vicarasreni of Merutunga, Mauryans rose to power in 312 BC.[197]

List of rulers[edit]

Ruler Reign Notes
Chandragupta Maurya Chandragupta Maurya and Bhadrabahu.png 322–297 BCE Founder of first Indian united empire.
Bindusara I42 1karshapana Maurya Bindusara MACW4165 1ar (8486583162).jpg 297–273 BCE Known for his foreign diplomacy and crushed of Vidarbha revolt.
Ashoka Ashoka's visit to the Ramagrama stupa Sanchi Stupa 1 Southern gateway.jpg 268–232 BCE Greatest emperor of dynasty. His son Kunala was blinded and died before his father. Ashoka was succeeded by his grandson. Also known for Kalinga War victory.
Dasharatha Maurya Dasaratha Maurya inscription on entrance of Vadathika cave.jpg 232–224 BCE Grandson of Ashoka.
Samprati 224–215 BCE Brother of Dasharatha.
Shalishuka Mauryan Empire. temp. Salisuka or later. Circa 207-194 BC.jpg 215–202 BCE
Devavarman 202–195 BCE
Shatadhanvan 195–187 BCE The Mauryan Empire had shrunk by the time of his reign
Brihadratha 187–184 BCE Assassinated by his Commander-in-chief Pushyamitra Shunga in 185 BCE.

Family tree[edit]

See also[edit]


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  134. Majumdar, R. C.; Raychauduhuri, H. C.; Datta, Kalikinkar (1960), An Advanced History of India, London: Macmillan & Company Ltd; New York: St Martin's Press, If the Jaina tradition is to be believed, Chandragupta was converted to the religion of Mahavira. He is said to have abdicated his throne and passed his last days at Sravana Belgola in Mysore. Greek evidence, however, suggests that the first Maurya did not give up the performance of sacrificial rites and was far from following the Jaina creed of Ahimsa or non-injury to animals. He took delight in hunting, a practice that was continued by his son and alluded to by his grandson in his eighth Rock Edict. It is, however, possible that in his last days he showed some predilection for Jainism ...
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  142. Dyson, Tim (2018), A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Day, Oxford University Press, p. 19, ISBN 978-0-19-882905-8
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  153. "Molienti deinde bellum aduersus praefectos Alexandri elephantus ferus infinitae magnitudinis ultro se obtulit et ueluti domita mansuetudine eum tergo excepit duxque belli et proeliator insignis fuit. Sic adquisito regno Sandrocottus ea tempestate, qua Seleucus futurae magnitudinis fundamenta iaciebat, Indiam possidebat." Justin XV.4.19 Archived 20 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine
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  156. Page 122: About the Masarh lion: "This particular example of a foreign model gets added support from the male heads of foreigners from Patna city and Sarnath since they also prove beyond doubt that a section of the elite in the Gangetic Basin was of foreign origin. However, as noted earlier, this is an example of the late Mauryan period since this is not the type adopted in any Ashoka pillar. We are, therefore, visualizing a historical situation in India in which the West Asian influence on Indian art was felt more in the late Mauryan than in the early Mauryan period. The term West Asia in this context stands for Iran and Afghanistan, where the Sakas and Pahlavas had their base-camps for eastward movement. The prelude to future inroads of the Indo-Bactrians in India had after all started in the second century B.C."... in Gupta, Swarajya Prakash (1980). The Roots of Indian Art: A Detailed Study of the Formative Period of Indian Art and Architecture, Third and Second Centuries B.C., Mauryan and Late Mauryan. B.R. Publishing Corporation. pp. 88, 122. ISBN 978-0-391-02172-3..
  157. According to Gupta this is a non-Indian face of a foreigner with a conical hat: "If there are a few faces which are nonIndian, such as one head from Sarnath with conical cap ( Bachhofer, Vol . I, Pl . 13 ), they are due to the presence of the foreigners their costumes, tastes and liking for portrait art and not their art styles." in Gupta, Swarajya Prakash (1980). The Roots of Indian Art: A Detailed Study of the Formative Period of Indian Art and Architecture, Third and Second Centuries B.C., Mauryan and Late Mauryan. B.R. Publishing Corporation. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-391-02172-3.
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  178. "Konkan was given in charge of a Maurya family. A grant of the Maurya prince Suketuvarman, who ruled in this period, has been discovered in the Thānā district of North Konkan." MLBD Varanasi. Literay And Historical Studies In Indology Of Dr. Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi MLBD Varanasi. p. 128.
  179. "A stone inscription from Vada in the north of the Thana District mentions a Maurya king named Suketuvarman ruling in Konkan." Vasudev Vishnu Mirshi (1955). Corpus Inscriptionium Indicarum Vol Iv Part 1 (in Multilingual). Government Epigraphist For India, Ootacamund. p. 75.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  180. "We have discussed above about the Saka era. From the point of view of its early history as well as for the history of the later Mauryas of Konkana the Vala (or Vada) inscription of Suketuvarman, dated Saka 322, is one of utmost importance. The inscription was actually found at the place of this name in the Thane District of Maharashtra though wrongly attributed to Vala in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. It aims at registering the installation of the deity Koțiśvara by one Simhadatta, son of Anankiparadatta in the Saka year 322, and some grants to the divinity by one Isuprakki, the Vallabha-Talavara of the Maurya Dharma- mahārāja Suketuvarman of the Bhojas. The inscription adds one more name to the list of the Mauryas of Konkaņa." Dikshit, K. N. (1995). puratattva: Bulletin of the Indian archaeological society number 25 1994-95. Indian Archaeological Society,New delhi. p. 32.
  182. Maharashtra State Gazetteers (1967). Ancient History of Maharashtra. p. 140.
  183. N. V. SundaraRaman, Chairman; P. Setu Madhava Rao, Member; V. B. Kolte, Member; C. D. Deshpande, Member; B. R. Rairikar, Member; Sarojini Babar, Member; V. T. Gune, Member; P. N. Chopra, Member; V. N. Gurav, Member-Secretary (1908). Central Provinces District Gazetteers: Nagpur District. Bombay, Times Press. p. 65.
  184. epigraphia-indica. p. 295.
  185. "Jhalarpatan inscription (AD 689) of Durgagana, the Kudarkot inscription of about the second half of the seventh century, the Nagar inscription (AD 684) of Dhanika, and the Kanaswa inscription (AD 738) of Sivagana." The inscription was composed "in adoration of a god whose epithets kal- anjana-rajah-punja-dyuti, (ma)havaraha-rupa and jangama have only been preserved". It leaves "no doubt that the reference is to the god Vishnu since the expression mahavaraha-rupa certainty speaks of the Boar incarnation of the deity." The hero of the prasasti is a king named Dindiraja of the Maurya dynasty.Ed Sitaram Goel (1993). Hindu Temples Vol. II (Ed Sitaram Goel). p. 80-81.
  186. D. C. Sircar (1969). Pracyavidya-Tarangini. p. 208-209.
  187. Epigraphia indica (1957-1958). Servants of Knowledge. The director general archaeological survey of india. p. 207-212.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  188. Epigraphia Indica, Vol-32, Issue no.-1-42. p. 209.
  189. Ray, H. C. (1935-11-18). The Dynastic History Of Northern India Vol. 2. p. 540.
  191. "The second inscription of Dhanıka, dated A.D. 725, was discovered at Dabok in Mewar .It mentions Śrī Dhanıka as ruling over DHAVALAGARTTA as a feudatory chief under paramabhattāraka-mahārājādhırājā paramēśvara-Śrī-DHAVALAPPADEVA According to Prof DR Bhandarkar, the paramount ruler mentioned in the record is the same as the king DHAVALA of the Maurya dynasty referred to in the Kansuvām inscription of AD 738" Mookerji, Radha Kumud (1945). Bharata- Kaumudi Studies In Indology In Honur Of Dr Radha Kumud Mookerji Part-i. {{cite book}}: Text "294" ignored (help)
  192. "The Mauryas are referred to in a record at Jhalrapatan dated A.D. 690. Another record in Kotah State, dated A.D. 738-39, refers to the local prince as a friend of king Dhavala of Maurya lineage..As already noted above, the Mauryas fell a victim to the Arab aggression, and it was probably after this catastrophe that Bappa defeated them and took possession of Chitor." Munshi K. M. (1954). The Classical Age Vol-iii (1954). Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 162.
  193. "This inscription is dated in the 796th year of the Lords of Malava. It is probable that the Jhalrapathan inscription, which is dated in the 747th year of an unnamed era, is to be referred to the same method of computing time. The slight difference in the alphabet to which attention has been drawn is of the kind that might develop in the fifty years which, on this hypothesis, would separate the two. Neither the Sivagaņa of our inscription nor the Durgagana of the Jhalrapathan inscription is spoken of as a sovereign monarch: and when we find one spoken of as ruling at Kotah, under a Maurya Emperor, in the year 796 of the Lords of Malava, and the other referred to as ruler in the year 747, of a town only seventy miles to the south, which has always been very closely connected with Kotah, it seems natural to suppose that "Durgagana," and "Sivagana," are of the same stock. If this be so, it is to be noted that the want of any reference on the Jhalrâpâthan inscription speaks of an era which at the time had wide and undisputed currency. "Peterson, Peter (1885). The Auchityalamkara of Kshemendra, with a note on the date of Patanjali, and an inscription from Kotah; two papers read before the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic society, with a preface in reply to Professor Bhandarkar. University of California. Bombay, Printed at the Education society's press, Byculla.
  195. epigraphia-indica. p. 418.
  196. D. C. Ahir (1998). Buddhism in North India and Pakistan. p. 121.
  197. Kailash Chand Jain 1991, p. 85.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Nanda dynasty
Maurya Empire
Succeeded by
Shunga dynasty

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