THE MAURYAN EMPIRE

the Mauryan Empire

THE MAURYAN EMPIRE (321B.C.- 289 B.C.)

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Maurya empire ,by overthrowing the Nanda Dynasty and with the help of Chankaya ,he expanded the empire,  the Maurya empire fully occupied North-Western parts of  india  ,Chandra Gupta Maurya  defeated and conquered  the governors left by Alexender the Great . In 305 BC Chandragupta defeated Seleucus Nicator.

Chandragupta Maurya (322-295 B.C) 

  1. In 305 BC Chandragupta defeated Seleucus Nicator, who surrendered a vast territory.

  2. Megasthenese was a Greek ambassador sent to the court of Chandragupta Maurya by Seleucus. Chandragupta became a Jain and went to Sravanbelgola with Bhadrabahu, where he died by slow starvation (Salekhan).

  3. Under Chandragupta Maurya, for the first time, the whole of northern India was united.

  4. Trade flourished, agriculture was regulated, weights and measures were standardized and money came into use.

  5. Taxation, sanitation and famine relief became the concerns of the State.

Bindusara (298-272 B.C.)

  1. Bindusara Succeeded Chandra Gupt Maurya

  2. In Jain Literature he has been called as Simhasen.

  3. Antiochus sent Deimachus as an ambassador to Bindusara’s court.

  4. Ptolemy philedelphus of Eygpt sent Dionyslus as ambassador.

  5. He was known as Amitraghata.

  6. He wrote to Antiochus I of Syria and asked for some sweet,wine,dry figs and a sophist.

  7. He sent his son Ashoka to quell a rebellion in Taxila.

  8. He was a followers of Ajivika Seet

  9. The Syrian ambassador Deimachus was sent to his court.

Ashoka (273-232 B.C) 

  1. Ashoka succeeded Bindursara.

  2. He was holding viceroyalty of taxila and Ujjan during his fathers lifetime.

  3. After his father Death he ascended the throne but formal consecration was delayed for 4 years.

  4. A Buddhist text says he usurped the throne after killing his 99 brothers.

  5. He fought Kalinga war in 260 B.C. in the 9th year of his reign.Under Ashoka ,the empire reached its zenith.And in the history,for the first time,the entire Indian sub-continent came under a single umbrella (except extreme Southern India).

  6. In course of his second Dharmayatra tour(in 21st year of his reign),he visited Lumbini

  7. In the 14th year of his reign he started the institution of Dharma Mahamatras

  8. The reverberation of the war drum(Bheri Ghosha) was to be come the reverberation of the law (Dhamma Ghosha).

  9. His Hellenistic contemporaries.were Antiochus II of Syria .Ptolemy II of Egypt,Antigonas of Macedonia,Magas of Cyrene and Alexander of Epirus.

  10. He organized the third Buddhist council in the 18th year of his reign at patliputra.

  11. Ashoka banned animal sacrifice,regulated the slaughter of animal for food.

  12. According to his Maski and Gurjara inscription he was known as Devanam Priya Priyadarshi.

  13. He was converted to Buddhism by Nigrodh.

  14. Ashoka sent peace missionaries inside india as well as abroad.

Asoka’s Dhamma 

  1. Asoka’s Dhamma cannot be regarded as sectarian faith.it broad objective was to preserve the social order it ordained that people should obey their parents,pay respect to Brahmanas and Buddhist monks,and show mercy to slave and servantsh

  2. He held that if people behaved well  they would attain Swarga(heaven).He never said  that he would attain Nirvana,which would goal of Buddhist teaching. 

Facts about empire

  1. During Mauryan rule ,though there was banking system in india ,yet usury was customary and the rate of interest was 15 annum on borrowing .in less secure transactions(like sea Voyages etc) the rate of interest could be as high as 60 per annum.

  2. During Mauryan period the Punch Marked Coins (mostly of silver) were the common units of transactions

  3. Tamralipti in the Gangetic delta was the most prosperous port on the Eastern Coast of india.

  4. Megasthenes in his indica had mentioned seven caste in mauryan society.

  5. They were philosophers,farmers,soldiers ,herdsmen,artians,magistrates and councillors

 

The Mauryan Administration

The King

The Mauryan government was centralized bureaucracy in which the nucleus was the king

The Mantri Parishad

The king was assisted by mantra parishad,whose member included

The Yuvraj,the crown prince

The Purohita,the chief Priest

The Senapati,The Cammander of Chief of the army and few other ministers.

Important Officials:-

Amatyas                     The Secretaries

Sannidhata               Chief Treasury Officer

Samaharta                 The Collector general of Revenue

Durgapala                  Governor of fort

Antapala                     Governor of the frontier

Akshapatala               Accountant general

Vachabhumika         Officer-in-charge of the rest houses,groves and wells etc.

Dhamma                     A new post created by Ashoka,empowered with the dual

Mahamatras              functions of propagating Dhamma and taking care of the  common folk  for their  matrial well-being

Lipikaras                    Scribes

Prativedikas              Reporters

Kumaras                    The viceroys-in-charge of the province.Generally,they were of regular though the exceptions were also there,in order to check the growing power of viceroys,the provincial ministers were empowered sufficiently.

Pradesikas                They were the modern district magistrates and in charge of district.they were to make tours once in every 5       years to inspect the entire administration of the areas under control.

Rajukas                      They were the later day  patwaris.they were responsible for surveying and assessing the land .In rural      areas,they were the judicial officers

Yukta                          A subordinate revenue officer of the district level.He was responsible for the secretarial work of Accounting

Gopa                           Responsible for Account

Sthanika                     the tax collecting officer directing under the conrol of pradesikas

 

The village level officer

Gramika-Head of a village .He was  generally elected by the people.He was not a paid servant.

Gramvriddhas-Village elders (to assist the Gramika in his work).Every village had its panchayat to settle the disputes.

 

The municipal administration

Nagaraka                    The office incharge of the office administration

Sitaadhyaksha                       Supervised agriculture

Panyaadhyaksha       Superintendent of commerce

Samsthadhyaksha    Superintendent of market

Pauthavdhyaksha     Superintendent of weight and measures

 Navadhyaksha            Superintendent of ships

Sulkadhyaksha             collector of tolls

Akaradhyaksha             Superintendent of mines

Lohadhyaksha                Superintendent of iron

Army

  1. The most striking features of the Mauryan administration was  maintenance of huge Army.They also maintained a Navy.

  2. According to Megasthenes,the administration of Army was carried by a broad of 30 officers divided into six committees,each committee consisting of five members.they are:

Army

Cavalry

Elephants

Chariots

Navy

Transport

  1. The state controlled almost all economic activities

  2. Tax Collected from peasants varied from ¼ and 1/6 of the produce

  3. The state also provided irrigation facilities and charged water tax

  4. Tolls were also levied commodities brought to town for sale and were collected at gate

  5. The state enjoyed monopoly in mining ,sale of liquor,manufacture of arms etc.

Art and Architecture

  1. The Mauryas introduced stone masonry on large scale

  2. Fragments of stone pillars and stumps indicating the existence of an 80-pillared hall have been discovered at Kumarhar on outskirts of patna.the pillars represent the masterpiece of mauryan sculpture.Each pillar is made of single piece sandstone,only their capital ,which are beautiful pieces of sculpture in form of of lion or bulls are joined with pillar on the top.Single-lion capital at Rampurva and Lauriya and Nandangarh.

  3. Single-bull capital at Rampurva .Four lion capital at sarnath and sanchi. A carved elephant at Dhauli and engraved elephant at Kalsi.

  4. The Mauryan artisans also started the practice of hewing out caves from rocks for monks to live in. the earliest example are Barabar caves in Gaya.Stupas were built throughout the empire to enshrine the relics of Buddha .of these,the most famous are at Sanchi and Barhut.

The Decline

  1. Mauryan empire lasted a little over a century and broke up fifty years after the death of Asoka

  2. In 185 BC,Mauryan King was overthrown by Pushyamitra Shunga-an ambitious commander-in –chief of armed forces.

  3. He started Shunga Dynasty in Magadha.

 

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