The Rise of Mauryas
• Sources of information for Mauryas include Arthashastra by Kautilya chief advisor of Chandragupta Maurya, and Indika by Megasthenes, Greek ambassador in Chandragupta Maurya’s court. Mauryan history is also known through various Buddhist works.
• Archaeological sources include Ashokan edicts, inscribed on rocks, pillars and caves, all in Prakrit, language of masses. One of these, Major Rock Edict XIII, describes a war that was Ashoka’s last war.
• After abandoning wars, Ashoka built 84,000 stupas, including Sanchi Stupa. He also built monolithic pillars at many places, including Rampurva pillar and Sarnath pillar.
• In 323 BC, Chandragupta Maurya overthrew Dhana Nanda, last Nanda king, to establish his kingdom. He was helped by his advisor, Chanakya or Kautilya.
• In 305 BC, Seleucus, Greek ruler of Middle East, tried to recover Indian territories of Alexander, his master. But he was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya, who compelled him to cede eastern Afghanistan, Baluchistan and regions west of Indus. Seleucus also sent his Greek ambassador – Megasthenes – to Mauryan court.
• Thus, Chandragupta Maurya built the first vast empire in Indian history, stretching from Hindukush (west) to Bengal (east), from Himalayas (north) to Narmada (south). Only Kalinga remained independent.
• Ashoka, who ascended the throne in 273 BC, attacked Kalinga in 261 BC. Although he won, the bloody conquest filled Ashoka with anguish and remorse.
• After this, Ashoka adopted Buddhism, and devoted himself towards increasing his subjects’ material welfare. He replaced dig vijaya (conquest of territories) policy with dhamma vijaya (conquest through love) policy.
• Under Chandragupta and Ashoka, Mauryan Empire expanded in all directions, giving it a pan-Indian character. This ended smaller states, connected India with foreign countries through trade, and helped rulers to repel invasions.
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The administration of the Mauryan Empire was known from the book -Marks:1
Arthashastra is a book in which the ideas of Chanakaya, regarding the administration of this period have been written.
Empires were different from kingdoms in a way that theMarks:1
Empires were larger than Kingdoms.
Explanation:Empires are bigger than Kingdoms, so they need more resources and more officials who collected more taxes.
A prosperous kingdom lying between the rivers Godavari and Mahanadi wasMarks:1
Kalinga was a powerful kingdom. It controlled the land and sea routes to south India and South-east asia. It was a prosperous kingdom lying between the rivers Godavari and Mahanadi, close to the Bay of Bengal
Two years after the Kalinga war, AshokaMarks:1
inscribed his message on the sarnath pillar.
The first thing that Ashoka did to spread righteousness among his people was to undertake a pilgrimage. It took place two years the Kalinga war. His pilgrimage started with his visit so Sambodhi, the holy place where Gautama, the Buddha breathed his last.
The name of the wise man present in Chandragupta Maurya's empire wasMarks:1
Explanation:The emperor Chandragupta was supported by Chanakya. Kautilya and Vishnugupta are his other names. He wrote Arthashastra, a book on politics and economics.