The Maurya Empire (326BC - 184BC)


May 1, 2019
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The Maurya Empire is the first known empire in recorded history that spanned most of India into a political unity. However it is indeed apparent that such a unity may have existed in pre-Maurya times. It is widely believed that the Mauya Empire was begun in the 4th century BC. However there is a growing dissent against this view (there is a possibility that modern scholarship may have made some very fundamental errors in the reconstruction of the history of this era, that may have led to a large mistake of several centuries).
Chandragupta Maurya was the first ruler of this empire. He defeated the remnant of the Greek power in India, and set the edifice of a mighty empire. It is believed that it was in 324 BC that he drove the remnants of Greek power left over from Alexander's invasions out of Sindh and Punjab. Around that time, the Greek general, Seleucos invaded India. Chandgragupta defeated the ambitious Greek general, in battles fought mostly in modern Afghanistan. As a result of the campaign, the Greek general had to cede three important provinces, Paropanisadai, Arachosia and Aria (corresponding to modern Kabul, Kandahar and Herat respectively). It is commonly accepted that Chandragupta Maurya's successes were as much due to his own genius as to that of his Prime minister, the legendary Chanankya (also known as Kautilya). Kautilya was a teacher as Takshashila University, and it was there that he spotted Chandragupta as a young child and guided his tremendous career. Kautilya left behind a large manual on statecraft, called the "Kautilya Arthashastra" which is relevent even today. After the defeat of Seleucos, Chandragupta consolidated his empire, and controlled huge areas of land. India was now a leading world power, and maintained diplomatic relations with outside countries.
Chandragupta's son was Brindasura. He became ruler in 301 AD and continued the growth and prosperity of the empire which was entrusted to him.

After Brindasura came Ashoka, who was one of most famous and greatest rulers in world history. He expanded the Maurya empire further still. His expansion came to a climax with his famous and bloody victory at Kalinga in Orissa. After this victory he was put off by violence of any form, and became a Buddhist. He was a great champion of Buddhism, and was probably the greatest figurein buddhist history after the Buddha. It is mainly due to his efforts to expand buddhism that Buddhism spread around the world. He made extensive efforts to keep peace with all, and left many rock edicts, that have proved very useful in reconstructing his history. However his efforts to expand Buddhism did occasionally entail the use of force at times, and as such he is blamed by some historians for mixing politics and religion to a dangerous level. Ashoka ruled from around 272-235 BC.

After Ashoka's glorious reign, the empire began to rapidly decline in strength. Ashokas sons were relatively lacking in ability, and components of the Maurya empire began to revolt. There were also influxes of foreign invaders. The empire began to shatter. Finally, the last maurya, Brihadratha, was overthrown by one of his generals, Pushyamitra, in 185BC, thus ending the rule of one of the great dynasties of India.

Via : Hindu History
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