THE MAURYAN EMPIRE
- Kautilya’s Arthasastra
- Visakadatta’s Mudrarakshasa
- Megasthenes’ Indica
- Edicts of Asoka
- Apart from these the Puranas and the Buddhist literature such as Jatakas provide information on the Mauryas.
Chandragupta Maurya (322 – 298 B.C.):
- Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire.
- He captured Pataliputra from the last ruler of the Nanda dynasty, Dhanananda, in assistance of Kautilya, who was also known as Chanakya or Vishnugupta.
- In 305 B.C., he marched against Selukas Niketar, who was Alexander’s General controlling the northwestern India.
- Megasthenes was a Greek ambassador in the Chandragupta Maurya’s court.
- Chandragupta embraced Jainism towards the end of his life and stepped down from the throne in favour of his son Bindusara.
Bindusara (298 – 273 B.C.):
- Bindusara was called by the Greeks as “Amitragatha” meaning slayer of enemies.
- Taranatha, the Tibetan monk states that Bindusara conquered 16 states comprising ‘the land between the two seas’.
- The Sangam Tamil literature confirms the Mauryan invasion of the far south.
- Bindusara received Deimachus as ambassador from the Syrian king Antiochus I.
- Bindusara appointed his son Asoka as the governor of Ujjain.
Asoka the Great (273 – 232 B.C.):
- Ashoka acted as Governor of Ujjain and also suppressed a revolt in Taxila during his father Bindusara’s reign.
- The most important event of Asoka’s reign was his victorious war with Kalinga in 261 B.C.
- Asoka embraced Buddhism under the influence of Buddhist monk, Upagupta.
- He sent a mission to Sri Lanka under his son Mahendra and daughter Sangamitra.
- Asoka convened the Third Buddhist Council at Pataliputra in 240 B.C. in order to strengthen the Sangha. It was presided over by Moggaliputta Tissa.
After the decline of the Mauryan empire Pushyamitra Sunga established the Sunga dynasty.
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