- The Mauryan Empire started from Magadha was founded by Chandragupta Maurya between 322 and 185 BC.
- The Mauryan Dynasty built the Grand Trunk Road, one of Asia’s oldest and longest trade networks.
- ‘Pali’ and ‘Prakrit’ was the language of common masses during the Mauryan Empire.
- ‘Takshashila’ was the famous education center of the Mauryan period.
- Patliputra, modern-day Patna was the capital city of the Mauryan Empire.
- The Empire was divided into provinces that were under princes.
- The king was assisted by his Mantri Parishad.
- The administration is divided into four units
- The chakra or the province.
- The ahar or the district.
- The sangrahana or a group of villages.
- The gram or village.
- The municipal administration headed by a ‘Nagaraka’ was also found in Arthashastra.
- Royal Art- the royal palaces, pillars, caves, stupas, etc.
- Popular Art- figure sculptures, Terracotta objects, etc
- The Mauryas introduced Stone Masonry on a large scale.
- Chandragupta Maurya raised an army, with the assistance of Chanakya and overthrew the Nanda Empire in 322 BC.
- Mudrarakshasa written by Vishakadatta beautifully summarizes the rise of Chandragupta Maurya.
- He earned the title of ‘Liberator’.
- He used marriage alliances, diplomacy, trickery and war to extend his kingdom.
- He also had a Greek ambassador at his court, named Megasthenes, who wrote the ‘Indica’.
- Chandragupta abdicated in favor of his son, Bindusara, and became a Jain monk.
- He extended the empire to the southern part of India.
- He brought sixteen states under the Mauryan Empire and thus conquered almost the entire Indian peninsula.
- Chanakya continued to serve as prime minister during his reign.
- Unlike his father, he believed in the Ajivika sect.
- He was given the title of ‘Amitraghata’.
- He was known to the Greeks by the name of Amitrochates.
- He ascended the throne in 273 BC and ruled up to 232 BC.
- He was known as ‘Devanampriya Priyadarshi’.
- He fought the Kalinga war in 261 BC.
- After the battle of Kalinga, he became a Buddhist; shocked by the horrors of the war he replaced Bherighosha by Dhammaghosha.
- He implemented principles of ahimsa by banning hunting and violent sports activity.
- Over forty years of peace, harmony, and prosperity made Ashoka one of the most successful and famous monarchs in Indian history.
- It carried royal orders in which he was able to speak directly to the people.
- The fourteen major Rock Edicts of Ashoka tell about the principles of Dharma.
- The Kalinga rock edict explains the principle of administration after the Kalinga war.
- The Major Rock Edict XII of Ashoka deals with the conquest of Kalinga.
Ashoka and Buddhism
- Ashoka was initiated by Buddhism by Upagupta or Nigrodha, a discipline of Buddha.
- For the propagation of Buddhism, Ashoka started the institution of Dharmamahamatras.
- He held the third Buddhist council at his capital Patliputra in 250 BC under the presidentship of Moggaliputta-Tissa.
- He sent his son and daughter to Sri Lanka and Nepal. He is known as ‘Constantine of Buddhism’.
- Highly centralized Mauryan administration.
- Partition after the death of Ashoka disturbed the unity of the empire.
- A succession of weaker kings.
- The Mauryan king was killed by his general-in-chief, Pushyamitra, who founded the Shunga dynasty.