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Mauryan Empire

Establishement of the Mauryan empire marked a beginning of a new era in Indian history. North India was politically unified during the period of Mauryas. The two literary works Arthasastra and Indica are the main source material for Maurya period. Arthasastra was written by Chanakya or Kautilya, the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya. Indica was written by Megasthanes, the ambassador of Selucus Nicator in the court of chandraupta Maurya.Mudrarakshasa written by Visakhadatta and the Buddhist works such as Deepavamsa and Mahavamsa and inscriptions of Ashoka are also the important sources.

The prominent rulers of this dynasty were:
Chandragupta Maurya(321 B.C-297 B.C) ;
Bindusara(297 B.C-273B.C);
Ashoka (273 B.C-232B.C);

Chandra Gupta Maurya (324-300 B.C.):
The founder of Mauryan dynasty was Chandra Gupta Maurya. It is belived that Chandra Gupta Maurya was born to a Sudra woman called Mura. Chanakya educated and trained Chandra Gupta Maurya in skills of war. Chanakya pledged for the ruin of Nandas has he was humiliated by them. With the help of Chanakya Chandra Gupta Maurya defeated Nandas and established Mauryan empire. Chanakya, Prime Minister of Chandra Gupta Maurya, wrote Arthasastra Explaining how a good Government should be organised. In 305 B.C. Chandra Gupta Maurya defeated Selucus Nikator, the king of siria. Selucus Nikator sent his Ambassador, Megasthenes to the court of Chandra Gupta Maurya. Megasthenes wrote Indica in Greek language explainning the conditions of the Mauryan empire Selucus Nikator also gave his daugther in marriage to Chandra Gupta Maurya. Chandra Gupta Maurya also sent 500 elephants to selucus Nikator. He Dug Sudarshana lake in Gujrat for the purpose of drinking and agriculture. As per the Jain text Parishisthaparvan towards the end of his reign, he abdicated the throne in favour of his son and went to Sravanabelagola along with famous Jaina saint Badrabahu. He died by following Sallekhana at Chandragiri hill in Karnataka.

Bindusara (300-273 B.C.)
Bidusara was son of Chandra Gupta Maurya and succeeded to the thrown after the death of his father. He has the title `Amitragata`. The Greek Ambassador, Daimachos from Antiochus I visited is court. He was succeeded his son, Ashoka.

Ashoka (273-236 B.C.)
Ashoka, son of Bindusara, was not only famous Mauryan king but also greatest ruler of India. During the period of his father rule he was a viceroy of Taxila and Ujjini. After the war of succession his coronation was held in 269 B.C. In twelth year of his reign he wanted to invade on Kalinga. The war of Kalinga (260-261 B.C) was the most important event of Ashoka`s reign. In the kalinga war nearly 100,000 lakh people were killed and many were wounded. This violence in kalinga war hurted Ashoka and his attitude was changed towards non-violence. After this war Chandashoka became Dharmashoka. He maintained a direct contact with his people through edicts. The edicts were in Prakrit with Brahmi script. He was attracted towards Buddhism and became a follower of buddhism. He propogated buddhism in India and abroad. He sent his son Mahendra to Ceylon to propogate buddhism.

Edicts:
Ashokan edicts were deciphered by James princep in 1837.
The edicts were in Prakrit with Brahmi script.
Maski edict is the only edict which mentions the name `Ashoka`.
Kandhar inscription is bilingual i.e. in Greek and Aramic.
Ashoka expressed his faith in the Buddhism through Bhabru edict.

Administration:
The Mauryan empire was divided into provinces and the provinces divided into districts.
Provinces during the Mauryan age were:
Uttarapatha-Taxila;
dakshinapatha-Suvarnagiri;
Prachya-pataliputra;
Kalinga-Tosali;
Avantiratha-Ujjain;

The Mauryan coins were:
Pana;
Masika;
Kakini;

Tirthas, Adhyakshya, mahamattas, Amatyas were highest ranking officials in the centra administration.
City administration was run by a board of 30 members.
Head of the city administratiion was nagarika. Nagarika was assisted by two subordinate officials namely Sthanika and Gopa.

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