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THE MAURYAN EMPIRE | ANCIENT INDIA

ORIGINS OF THE MAURYAS

  • MUDRARAKSHASA - Mauryas were conncected with the Nandas and were called them  Vrishal/Kulhina ( of low clan ).
  • BUDDHIST TRADITION - Chandragupta was a Kshatriya ( Sakya clan ) . The region was full of peacocks (Mors), so became famous as 'moriyas'.
  • PURANAS -They belonged to the Moriyan clan ( low caste ) .
  • JUNIGARH ROCK INSCRIPTION OF RUDRADA - Man ( AD 150 ) suggests that Mauryans might have been of Vaishya origin.

BUDDHIST LITERATURE 

  • Ashok vandana and Divyavandana Information about Bindusara and Ashoka's expenditons to Taxila.
  • Diparvamsa and mahavamsa ( Shrilankan chronicles ) Ashoka's role in spreading Buddhism in Srilanka.
  • JATAKAS Socio- economic conditions of Mauryan period.
  • Sthaviravali Charita or Parisistha - parvan of Hemachandra ( A biography of Chanakya) . Chandragupta's conversion to Jainism.
  • MUDRARAKSHASA OF VISHAKHADATTA in sanskrit, an account of prevailing socio- economic conditions and about how Chandragupta overthrew the Nandas with help of Chanakya.
  • INDICA OF MEGASTHENESE Socio-economic and administrative structure under Maurya : Indian free from slavery, 7 castes system, and usuary in India.
  •  PURANAS Chronology and lists of Mauryan kings.
  • OTHERS ACCOUNT OF DIODOROUS : Pliny , Putarch (Chandragupta as Androcottus), Arrian and Justin (chandragupta as Sandrocottus).

CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA (321 BC - 298 BC )

  • Also called as SANDROCOTTUS/ANDROCOTTUS by Greek scholars.
  • He entered into an alliance with Parvataka and with the help of Chanakya, he dethroned the last Nanda ruler Dhanananda and founded the Mauryan dynasty with the capital at Patliputra.
  • Chandragupta defeated Seclucus Nikator, the general of Alexander in North - West India in 305 BC . Selucus surrendered a vast territory in return for 500 elephants. Hindukush became the boundary between the two states. There was a matrimonial alliance between them.
  • Selucus also sent the Greek Ambassador, MEGASTHENESE , to the court of Chandragupta Maurya.
  • Chandragupta embraced jainism and went Bhadrabahu, where he died of slow starvation (Salekhna).
  • Chandragupta was the first Indian ruler to unite the whole North India. Both trade and agriculture flourished during his reign. Weights and measures were standarised, money came into use and sanitation and famine relief measures were undertaken by the states.

BINDUSARA (298 BC - 273 BC)

  • Greeks called him AMITRO CHATES (derived from sanskrit word AMITRAGHATA which means slayer of foes) : VINDUPALA (chinese texts),SINHASENA - join text : BHADRASARA (yayu purana).
  • He extended the kingdom further to the Peninsular region of India as far South as Mysore.
  • Antiochus I, the Seclucid king of Syria, sent his Ambassador, DEIMACHUS to his court.
  • Pliny mentions that Ptoleny Philladelphus of Egypt sent DIONYSIUS as his Ambassador to the court of Bindusara.
  • TARANATH - The Buddhist monk,credits him for coquering the land  between the two seas.
  • Antiochus I sent some sweet wine and dried figs to Mauryan court on Bindusara's request,but denied to send a sophist explaining that Greek law forbid a sophist to be sold.
  • He patronised Ajivika sect.

ASHOKA (273 BC - 232 BC)

  • He was the greatest Mauryan ruler, Governor of Taxila and Ujjain previously . His rule extended to the extreme South. It also included Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Kashmir and valleys of Nepal.
  • A Buddhist text DIPAVASMA says that he usurped the throne after killing his 99 brothers, except the youngest one, TISSA in the war of succession that lasted for four years.
  • He fought KALINGA WAR (261 BC) in the 9th year of his rule. The miseries of war caused deep remorse to Ashoka, and therefore he abandoned the policy of physical conquest ( BHERIGHOSA ) in favour of cultural conquest . ( DHAMMA GHOSHA ).
  • However, Ashoka retained Kalinga after conquest. This proves that he was not an extreme Pacifist and changes in his policies were mainly for administrative purposes.
  • He inaugurated the DHAMMAYATRAS from the 11th year of his reign by visiting BOGH GAYA, also appointed DHAMMA MAHAMATRAS ( officers of righteousness ) to spread the message of DHAMMA.

ASHOKA'S DHAMMA

  • It was a code of conduct and a set of priciples to be adopted and practiced by the people to build up an attitude of social responsibility and preserve the social responsibility and preserve the social order. It ordained to pay respect to elders, mercy to slaves and emphasised truth, Non-violence and tolerance.

  • LATER MAURYAS

  • The death of Ashoka , the Mauryan dynasty lasted 137 years , the empire was divided into Western and Eastern parts.
  • BRIHADRATHA , the last mauryan ruler, was assassinated in 184 bc by his Brahmin Commander in-chief , PUSHYAMITRA SHUNGA, who established the Shunga dynasty.

MAURYAN ADMINISTRATION

  • The mauryan states was a welfare state, with highly centralised government.
  • Central Administration - King was the Nucleus, assisted by MANTRI PARISHAD, which included : 
  • YUVRAJ -- The crown prince
  • GOPA ----- The purohit Chief Priest
  • SENAPATI - Commander-in-Chief of Army and other Ministers.

SIGNIFICANCE OF MAURYAN RULE

  • The emblem of Indian Republic has been adopted from the lion capital of Ashokan pillar at Sarnath.
  • Many Gurukuls and Buddhist Monasteries ( Taxila and Banaras ) developed with royal patronage.
  • Literary developments like Arthashashtra ( Kautilya ), Kalipasutra ( Bhadrabahu ). Katha vastu ( Buddhist Text ), Bhagwati Sutra , Acharanga Sutra and Dasavalik ( Jain Text ) .

CAUSES OF FALL OF THE MAURYAN EMPIRE

  • Brahmanical reaction  ( HP Shastri ) , financial crisis, oppressive rule, weak successors, highly centralised administration ( Romila Thapar ) , pacific policy of Ashoka ( HC Ray Chaudhary ) Partition of the empire are some of the probable causes of decline of Mauryan empire.

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HISTORY OF INDIA - ANCIENT INDIA | THE EARLY MAN

THE EARLY MANThe fossils of the early Human Being have been found in Africa about 2.6 millions years back,but there are no such evidence in India. So, it appears that India was inhabited later than Africa.The recent reported artefacts from BORI  in Maharashtra suggest that the appearence of human beings in India was around 1.4 million years ago.The evolution of the Easth's crust shows four stages . The fourth stage is divided into PLEISTOCENE( most recent ) andHOLECENE(present).Man is said to have appeared on the Earth in the early Pleistocene.They used tools of stone roughly dressed by crude clipping . This period is therefore, known as the STONE AGE, which has been divided into :THE PALAEOLITHIC OR OLD STONE AGETHE MESOLITHIC OR MIDDLE STONE AGETHE NEOLITHIC OR NEW STONE AGE
THE PALAEOLITHIC AGE ( 500000 BC - 9000 BC )



It seems that Palaeolithic men belonged to the Negrito race.HOMO SAPIENSfirst appeared towards the end of theis phase.Palaeolithic men were hunters and food gathere…