Rise of Magadha:
(i) The rise of Magadha is attributed to the fertile plains along the river Ganga.
(ii) The Haryanka, Shishunaga and Nanda dynasties helped in the development of Magadha as a powerful state.
(iii) Around 326 ruled by Nandas.
(iv) The Nanda rulers who had humiliated Chanakya were overthrown by Chandragupta BC, Greek ruler Alexander invaded India. At that time Magadha was the one who established the Mauryan empire in 321BC with his capital at Pataliputra.
(v) Chandragupta captured Punjab, Gujarat, Afghanistan. He even defeated Greek ruler Seleucus in 305BC.
(vi) After ruling for 25years, Chandragupta became a Jain ascetic and gave his kingdom to his son Bindusara who further expanded it southwards.
Ashoka: From a Warrior to Messenger of Peace:
(i) Bindusara was succeeded by his son Ashoka, the greatest Mauryan emperor.
(ii) He undertook a military campaign against Kalinga. After defeating it he saw a pool of blood.
(iii) The sight of large scale killing moved Ashoka and he embraced Buddhism.
(iv) He began to spread the teachings of Buddha not only in India but even abroad.
(v) His philosophy called ‘Dhamma’ was propagated all over. He preached peace, tolerance, shunning violence, stopping animal sacrifice and respect of slaves by their masters.
(vi) He sent missionaries called ‘Dhamma Mahamattas’ to Sri Lanka, Burma and South- east Asian countries to propagate Buddhism.
(i) The Central administration was headed by the king who was the supreme judge and the law giver.
(ii) The king appointed several officials called mantris and amatyas to assist him.
(iii) The provincial administration was headed by a governor who was generally a Kumara or an Aryapura.
(iv) The provinces were divided into districts or Janapada. It had three important officials called Pradeshika, Rajuka and Yukta.
(i) The Mauryas had established a vast empire with the help of a powerful army.
(ii) Megasthenes, a Greek ambassador wrote that soldiers were most numerous class next to the cultivators.
(iii) The Arthashastra mentions three types of soldiers namely, hereditary fighting class, mercenaries willing to fight for any government which engaged their services; and artisans.
(iv) The army consisted of 6,00,000 infantary, 30,000 horsemen, 3,000 chariots and 9,000 elephants.
(v) The army administration was under a commander-in-chief.
(vi) There were six specialized departments to look after the military administration.
(vii) Further the king appointed a number of trusted secret servicemen as spies. It helped the king to know what people thought about him.
Achievements of Mauryas:
(i) Agriculture was the main occupation of the Mauryas.
(ii) In addition, merchants were also found in large numbers.
(iii) Division in society was based on the different occupations of people.
(iv) Mauryan art and architecture in the form of stupas, viharas, pillars and rock edicts is very popular.
(v) Megasthenes Indica and Kautilya’s Arthashastra are two valuables sources of knowledge about the Mauryas.
(vi) The state became weak politically and financially after the death of Ashoka and started declining.