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The Mauryan Empire

The rise of a unified state:-

Silver punch-mark coin of the Mauryan empire, with symbols of wheel and elephant. 3rd century BCE.The capital of one of the Pillars of Ashoka erected around 250 BCE.


The Mauryan empire:-
Chandragupta
Chandragupta was again in conflict with the Greeks, when Seleucus I, ruler of the Seleucid Empire, tried to reconquer the northwestern parts of India which had been lost, during a campaign in 305 BCE.

Chandragupta defeated Seleucus and then the two rulers exchanged a peace treaty, Chandragupta received the daughter of the Seleucid king Seleucus I and the territories of Gandhara and Arachosia, and Seleucus I received 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, resided at the Mauryan court.

Chandragupta established a strong centralized state with a complex administration under the advisorship of Kautilya, established at the capital of Pataliputra, which, according to Magasthenes, was "surrounded by a wooden wall pierced by 64 gates and 570 towers— (and) rivaled the splendors of contemporaneous Persian sites such as Susa and Ecbatana".

Bindusara
Chandragupta's son Bindusara extended the rule of the Mauryan empire towards central and southern India. He also had a Greek ambassador at his court, named Deimachus.

Ashoka
Chandragupta's grandson Ashoka (273- 232 BCE), is said to have been the greatest of the Mauryan emperors. He converted to the Buddhist faith following remorse for his bloody conquest of the kingdom of Kalinga in Orissa. He became a great proselytiser of Buddhism, insisting on non-violence to humans and animals (ahimsa), and general precepts regulating the life of lay people. He is said to have built 84,000 Buddhist stupas throughout India, as well as roads and hospitals.

Mauryan Administration
The Empire was divided into four provinces with the imperial capital at Pataliputra. From Ashokan edicts, the name 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 used to govern the provinces as king's representative.

 

Mauryan ringstone, with standing goddess. Northwest Pakistan. 3rd century BCE. British Museum.

 

All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).



 
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