Rise and Extent of the Empire - The Mauryan Empire, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev

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Rise of the Empire

  • A commentator on Vishnu Purana states that Chandragupta was the son of a low born woman, Mura, who is said to be the wife of king Nanda.
  • In the drama ‘Mudraraksasa’ Chandragupta is called both ‘Vrishala’ and ‘Kulahina’.
  • Mahavamsa and in the Divyavadana all chandragupta’s heir is called Kshatriya.
  • According to Greek writer Plutarch, Androkottas (Chandragupta), who was then but a youth, saw Alexander himself.
  • It is known from the Mahavamsatika that after completing his education, Chandragupta together with Chanakya, began to build up an army.

Rise and Extent of the Empire - The Mauryan Empire, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRevMaurayan Empire 

  • The first attempt to overthrow the Nandas failed. The Mahavamsa-tika says that, greatly desirous to seize power, Chandragupta ignored the border provinces, and rather invaded the centres of the country, which was why his army was defeated.
  • The Mudrarakshasa says that Chanakya and Chandragupta had poisoned Porus to get rid of a dangerous rival and to consolidate their power.
  • According to Parisistaparvan Chandragupta and Chanakya spared the life of the last of the Nandas and let him leave his capital.
  • The Greek writers call Bindusara Amitrachates or Allitrochates which appears to be a corruption of the Sanskrit Amitraghata.
  • It is certain that Ashoka ruled as far as the confines of Mysore, and the one country he is known to have annexed to his empire was Kalinga.
  • According to Taranatha Chanakya served Bindusara also as minister for a few years.
  • Bindusara received a Greek ambasador named Deimachos in his court. He is also said to have had a curious private correspondence with antiochos I Soter, king of Syria.
  • Bindusara requested his Greek friend to send him sweet wine, figs and a philosopher. The latter stated that he was ready to comply with his first two demands but was unable to fulfil the third demand as the customary law of his country forbade any transaction of that nature.
Rock Edicts
Contents
First 
Prohibition of animal sacrifices and festive gatherings.
Second 

Measures of social welfare.
Third 
Respect to Brahmanas
Fourth 

Courtesy to relatives, elders, consideration for animals.
Fifth 

Relationship between servants and masters and proper treatment of prisoners.
Sixth 
Need for efficient organisation of administration.
Seventh 
Need for tolerance among all religious sects.
Eighth 

System of Dhamma-yatras
Ninth  
Attack of meaningless ceremonies and rituals.
Thirteenth 
Conquest through Dhamma instead of war.


The Later Mauryas

  • Many sources like Matsya Purana, Vayu Purana, Ashokavadana, Kalhan’s Rajatarangini, provide dynastic lists.
  • Only one thing common to all the sources is the mention of the name Brihardartha as the last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty.
  • After the death of Ashoka the Kingdom was divided into two parts. Kunala became the ruler of the Western part and Dasaratha of the Eastern part.
  • We find the name of Dasaratha on the cave in the Nagarjuna hills which were dedicated to the Ajivikas and also in the Matsya Purana.
  • Kalhan’s Rajatarangini’ mentions Jaluka as the successor of Ashoka.
  • Matsya Purana mentions the name Samprat as the next in succession.

Extent of the Empire

  • Ashoka built up a state which stretched from Kashmir and the Himalayas in the north to Mysore in the south, from modern Afghanistan in the north-west to the Bay of Bengal in the east.
  • In the Vth Major Rock Edict (MRE) Ashoka says, “they are appointed—to propagate the Dharma among the Yonas, Kambojas Gandharas, Ristikas, Pitrukas, and other people belonging the Aparata.”
  • Kalhan’s Rajatarangini and the Chinese pilgrims suggests that Kashmir was part of the Mauryan empire.
  • The inclusion of some areas of Nepal in the Mauryan empire is estified by later sources, including the Tibetan historian Taranatha.
  • Bengal was also included in Mauryan empire is borne out by an inscription discovered in 1931 in the excavations at Mahasthan and dated paleographically to Mauryan age.
  • The empire also included Saurastra. The Junagadh inscription of Rudradaman mentions a ruler named Pusyagupta, who, under Chandr-agupta, built a dam on the Sudarsana lake.
  • The same inscription also records that during the period of Ashoka, under the governor named Tusapa this dam was completed.
  • The area further south-wards along the sea coast were also a part of the Ashokan empire. This is borne out by the discovery of the edicts in Sopara.
  • The inscriptions from Maski, Rajula, Mandagiri, Yerrugudi, Siddapura, Brahmagiri, and Jatinga Ramesaar, all situated in the present state of Karnataka, makes it possible to draw the southern border of the state.

 Know The Important Facts

  • After the conclusion of first Buddhist Council, Majjahautika went to Kashmir and Gandhara, Majjhima led the party to the Himalaya country, Mahadeva was deputed to Mahisamandala, Sona and Uttara to Suvarnabhumi (Burma), Mahadhar-marakshita and Maharakshita were sent to Maharashtra.
  • The inclusion of Bengal in the Mauryan empire receives some confirmation from the Mahasthan (Bogra district) Pillar inscription, engraved in Brahmi characters of the Mauryan period.
  • The Ashokan inscriptions and their Brahmi script were first deciphered by James Princep.
  • The edicts discovered in 1915, which gave the name of its author as King Ashoka, Priyadarshi, is Maski Edict.
  • Inscription of Ashoka discovered on the outskirts of Delhi in 1966 is Bahapur Inscription.
  • The script, used in the two northern major rock edicts of Ashoka at Manshera and Shahbazgarhi, is Kharosthi.
  • The Kandhar inscriptions were written in Greek and Aramaic script.
  • Ashoka’s pillar inscriptions, which were shifted from the original sites to Delhi, were Meerut and Topara pillars.
  • Dionysius was the envoy of the Egyptian king Ptolemy Philadelphos in the Mauryan court.
  • Ujjain was the place where Ashoka stationed as Viceroy at the time of Bindusara’s death.
  • In Bhabru Edict, Ashoka use the term “Priyadarsi king of Magadha”.
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