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Ancient History / Mauryan Era

Political History of Mauryan Empire

    If we talk about political history of Mauryan empire, it was Chandragupta Maurya who founded the Mauryan empire. He defeated Dhana Nanda of Nanda dynasty to establish the Mauryan Empire in 321 BC. Chanakya, also called Kauṭilya or Vishnugupta, was royal advisor to Chandragupta Maurya. Chanakya, who wrote Arthashastra, played a key role in establishing Mauryan empire.

    Chandragupta Maurya (321 BC to 297 BC)

    There was a border dispute between Seleucus Nicator of Seleucid Empire and Chandragupta Maurya and a war was fought in 305 BC in which Seleucus Nicator was defeated, which resulted in matrimonial and diplomatic relations between the two kingdoms. Daughter of Seleucus Nicator was given in marriage to Chandragupta Maurya. Megasthenes came to India as part of such diplomatic relations. Chandragupta Maurya was a follower of Jainisim.

    Bindusara (297 BC to 272 BC)

    He was the son and successor of Chandragupta Maurya. He followed Ajivika religion. He received a Greek ambassador from Seleucid empire named Deimachus, who was sent by Antiochus I (who was the son of Seleucus). In Greek records, Bindusara is named as Amitrochates because he got a title Amitraghata. The meaning of Amitraghata is 'Slayer of enemies'.

    Ashoka The Great (268 BC to 232 BC)

    • He was the son and successor of Bindusara. There is a tradition saying that there was a war of succession among the brothers in which Ashoka succeeded.

    • During his reign, a war with Kalinga was fought in 8th Regnal year (8th year after coronation). It was mentioned in the 13th Major Rock Edict in all the Major Rock Edict places. There was a lot of destruction resulted in this war. About one lakh soldiers were killed and many were brought as prisoners of war and many more got perished.

    • From this war onwards, he followed Buddhism and dedicated his life to propagate Dhamma (Dharma). After this, he never fought any war in the next 30 years. Dhamma is not connected to any religion. This is code of conduct to be followed by people. He developed a logo for his Dhamma - a Chakra with 24 spokes. These spokes reflect the meaning that people should follow Dhamma for 24 hours.

      His son Mahindra and the daughter Sanghamitra were sent to Tamraparni (Sri Lanka). Dhamma Mahamattas, a group of officers were appointed to propagate Dhamma throughout the world.

  • Successors of Ashoka were Dasaratha (grandson of Ashoka), Samprati, Shalishuka, Devavarman, Shatadhanvan and Brihadratha. Pushyamitra Shunga assassinated Brihadratha in 180 BC and thus Shunga dynasty came to power.