Maurya Empire

Maurya Empire
322 BCE – 184 BCE
Territories of the Maurya Empire conceptualized as core areas or linear networks separated by large autonomous regions in the works of scholars such as: historians Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund;[1] Burton Stein;[2] David Ludden;[3] and Romila Thapar;[4] anthropologists Monica L. Smith[5] and Stanley Tambiah;[4] archaeologist Robin Coningham;[4] and historical demographer Tim Dyson.[6]
Territories of the Maurya Empire conceptualized as core areas or linear networks separated by large autonomous regions in the works of scholars such as: historians Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund;[1] Burton Stein;[2] David Ludden;[3] and Romila Thapar;[4] anthropologists Monica L. Smith[5] and Stanley Tambiah;[4] archaeologist Robin Coningham;[4] and historical demographer Tim Dyson.[6]
Maximum extent of the Maurya Empire, as shown by the location of Ashoka's inscriptions, and visualized by historians: Vincent Arthur Smith;[7] R. C. Majumdar;[8] and historical geographer Joseph E. Schwartzberg.[9]
Maximum extent of the Maurya Empire, as shown by the location of Ashoka's inscriptions, and visualized by historians: Vincent Arthur Smith;[7] R. C. Majumdar;[8] and historical geographer Joseph E. Schwartzberg.[9]
CapitalPataliputra
(Present-day Patna, Bihar)
Common languagesMagadhi Prakrit
Religion
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy, as described in Kautilya's Arthashastra
and Rajamandala[18]
Samrat 
• 322–298 BCE
Chandragupta
• 298–272 BCE
Bindusara
• 268–232 BCE
Ashoka
• 232–224 BCE
Dasharatha
• 224–215 BCE
Samprati
• 215–202 BCE
Shalishuka
• 202–195 BCE
Devavarman
• 195–187 BCE
Shatadhanvan
• 187–184 BCE
Brihadratha
Historical eraIron Age
322 BCE 
• Assassination of Brihadratha by Pushyamitra Shunga
 184 BCE
Area
261 BCE[19]
(low-end estimate of peak area)
3,400,000 km2 (1,300,000 sq mi)
250 BCE[20]
(high-end estimate of peak area)
5,000,000 km2 (1,900,000 sq mi)
CurrencyPanas
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mahajanapada
Nanda Empire
Shunga Empire
Satavahana dynasty
Mahameghavahana dynasty
Indo-Scythians
Indo-Greek Kingdom
Vidarbha kingdom (Mauryan era)

The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in South Asia based in Magadha, founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BCE, and existing in loose-knit fashion until 185 BCE.[21] The Maurya Empire was centralized by the conquest of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, and its capital city was located at Pataliputra (modern Patna). Outside this imperial center, the empire's geographical extent was dependent on the loyalty of military commanders who controlled the armed cities sprinkling it.[22][23][24] During Ashoka's rule (ca. 268–232 BCE) the empire briefly controlled the major urban hubs and arteries of the Indian subcontinent excepting the deep south.[21] It declined for about 50 years after Ashoka's rule, and dissolved in 185 BCE with the assassination of Brihadratha by Pushyamitra Shunga and foundation of the Shunga dynasty in Magadha.

Chandragupta Maurya raised an army, with the assistance of Chanakya, author of Arthasastra,[25] and overthrew the Nanda Empire in c. 322 BCE. Chandragupta rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India by conquering the satraps left by Alexander the Great, and by 317 BCE the empire had fully occupied northwestern India.[26] The Mauryan Empire then defeated Seleucus I, a diadochus and founder of the Seleucid Empire, during the Seleucid–Mauryan war, thus acquiring territory west of the Indus River.[27][28]

Under the Mauryas, internal and external trade, agriculture, and economic activities thrived and expanded across South Asia due to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration, and security. The Maurya dynasty built a precursor of the Grand Trunk Road from Patliputra to Taxila.[29] After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced nearly half a century of centralized rule under Ashoka. Ashoka's embrace of Buddhism and sponsorship of Buddhist missionaries allowed for the expansion of that faith into Sri Lanka, northwest India, and Central Asia.[30]

The population of South Asia during the Mauryan period has been estimated to be between 15 and 30 million.[31] The empire's period of dominion was marked by exceptional creativity in art, architecture, inscriptions and produced texts,[32] but also by the consolidation of caste in the Gangetic plain, and the declining rights of women in the mainstream Indo-Aryan speaking regions of India.[33] Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Arthashastra[34] and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary sources of written records of Mauryan times. The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath is the national emblem of the Republic of India.

  1. ^ Hermann Kulke 2004, p. 69-70.
  2. ^ Stein, Burton (2010), A History of India, John Wiley & Sons, p. 74, ISBN 978-1-4443-2351-1, In the past it was not uncommon for historians to conflate the vast space thus outlined with the oppressive realm described in the Arthashastra and to posit one of the earliest and certainly one of the largest totalitarian regimes in all of history. Such a picture is no longer considered believable; at present what is taken to be the realm of Ashoka is a discontinuous set of several core regions separated by very large areas occupied by relatively autonomous peoples.
  3. ^ Ludden, David (2013), India and South Asia: A Short History, Oneworld Publications, pp. 29–3, ISBN 978-1-78074-108-6, The geography of the Mauryan Empire resembled a spider with a small dense body and long spindly legs. The highest echelons of imperial society lived in the inner circle composed of the ruler, his immediate family, other relatives, and close allies, who formed a dynastic core. Outside the core, empire travelled stringy routes dotted with armed cities. ... In most janapadas, the Mauryan Empire consisted of strategic urban sites connected loosely to vast hinterlands through lineages and local elites who were there when the Mauryas arrived and were still in control when they left.
  4. ^ a b c Coningham, Robin; Young, Ruth (2015), The Archaeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE – 200 CE, Cambridge University Press, pp. 451–466, ISBN 978-1-316-41898-7
  5. ^ Coningham, Robin; Young, Ruth (2015), The Archaeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE – 200 CE, Cambridge University Press, p. 453, ISBN 978-1-316-41898-7
  6. ^ Dyson, Tim (2018), A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Day, Oxford University Press, pp. 16–17, ISBN 978-0-19-882905-8, Magadha power came to extend over the main cities and communication routes of the Ganges basin. Then, under Chandragupta Maurya (c.321–297 bce), and subsequently Ashoka his grandson, Pataliputra became the centre of the loose-knit Mauryan 'Empire' which during Ashoka's reign (c.268–232 bce) briefly had a presence throughout the main urban centres and arteries of the subcontinent, except for the extreme south.
  7. ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur (1920), The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, Clarendon Press, pp. 104–106
  8. ^ Majumdar, R. C.; Raychaudhuri, H. C.; Datta, Kalikinkar (1950), An Advanced History of India (Second ed.), Macmillan & Company, p. 104
  9. ^ Schwartzberg, Joseph E. A Historical Atlas of South Asia, 2nd ed. (University of Minnesota, 1992), Plate III.B.4b (p.18) and Plate XIV.1a-c (p.145)
  10. ^ Nath sen, Sailendra (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. Routledge. p. 164. ISBN 9788122411980.
  11. ^ a b c Bronkhorst, Johannes; Flood, Gavin (July 2020). The Oxford History of Hinduism: Hindu Practice. Oxford University Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-19-873350-8.
  12. ^ Omvedt, Gail (18 August 2003). Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste. SAGE Publications. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-7619-9664-4.
  13. ^ Smith, vincent A. (1981). The Oxford History Of India Part. 1-3, Ed. 4th. Oxford University Press. p. 99. the only direct evidence throwing light ....is that of Jain tradition. ...it may be that he embraced Jainism towards the end of his reign. ...after much consideration I am inclined to accept the main facts as affirmed by tradition .... no alternative account exists.
  14. ^ Dalrymple, William (7 October 2009). Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4088-0341-7. It was here, in the third century BC, that the first Emperor of India, Chandragupta Maurya, embraced the Jain religion and died through a self-imposed fast to the death,......
  15. ^ Keay, John (1981). India: A History. Open Road + Grove/Atlantic. pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-0-8021-9550-0.
  16. ^ a b Long, Jeffery D. (15 April 2020). Historical Dictionary of Hinduism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-5381-2294-5.
  17. ^ Boyce, Mary; Grenet, F. (January 1991). A History of Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrianism under Macedonian and Roman Rule. BRILL. p. 149. ISBN 978-90-04-29391-5.
  18. ^ Avari, Burjor (2007). India, the Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Sub-continent from C. 7000 BC to AD 1200 Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0415356156. pp. 188-189.
  19. ^ Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 132. doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959.
  20. ^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of World-Systems Research. 12 (2): 223. ISSN 1076-156X. Archived from the original on 20 May 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  21. ^ a b Dyson, Tim (2018), A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Day, Oxford University Press, pp. 16–17, ISBN 978-0-19-882905-8 Quote: "Magadha power came to extend over the main cities and communication routes of the Ganges basin. Then, under Chandragupta Maurya (c.321–297 bce), and subsequently Ashoka his grandson, Pataliputra became the centre of the loose-knit Mauryan 'Empire' which during Ashoka's reign (c.268–232 bce) briefly had a presence throughout the main urban centres and arteries of the subcontinent, except for the extreme south."
  22. ^ Ludden, David (2013), India and South Asia: A Short History, Oneworld Publications, pp. 29–30, ISBN 978-1-78074-108-6 |quote=The geography of the Mauryan Empire resembled a spider with a small dense body and long spindly legs. The highest echelons of imperial society lived in the inner circle composed of the ruler, his immediate family, other relatives, and close allies, who formed a dynastic core. Outside the core, empire travelled stringy routes dotted with armed cities. Outside the palace, in the capital cities, the highest ranks in the imperial elite were held by military commanders whose active loyalty and success in war determined imperial fortunes. Wherever these men failed or rebelled, dynastic power crumbled. ... Imperial society flourished where elites mingled; they were its backbone, its strength was theirs. Kautilya's Arthasastra indicates that imperial power was concentrated in its original heartland, in old Magadha, where key institutions seem to have survived for about seven hundred years, down to the age of the Guptas. Here, Mauryan officials ruled local society, but not elsewhere. In provincial towns and cities, officials formed a top layer of royalty; under them, old conquered royal families were not removed, but rather subordinated. In most janapadas, the Mauryan Empire consisted of strategic urban sites connected loosely to vast hinterlands through lineages and local elites who were there when the Mauryas arrived and were still in control when they left.
  23. ^ Hermann Kulke 2004, pp. xii, 448.
  24. ^ Thapar, Romila (1990). A History of India, Volume 1. Penguin Books. p. 384. ISBN 0-14-013835-8.
  25. ^ Keay, John (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-8021-3797-5.
  26. ^ R. K. Mookerji 1966, p. 31.
  27. ^ Seleucus I ceded the territories of Arachosia (modern Kandahar), Gedrosia (modern Balochistan), and Paropamisadae (or Gandhara). Aria (modern Herat) "has been wrongly included in the list of ceded satrapies by some scholars ... on the basis of wrong assessments of the passage of Strabo ... and a statement by Pliny" (Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, p. 594).
  28. ^ John D Grainger 2014, p. 109: Seleucus "must ... have held Aria", and furthermore, his "son Antiochos was active there fifteen years later".
  29. ^ Bhandari, Shirin (5 January 2016). "Dinner on the Grand Trunk Road". Roads & Kingdoms. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  30. ^ Hermann Kulke 2004, p. 67.
  31. ^ Dyson, Tim (2018), A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Day, Oxford University Press, p. 24, ISBN 978-0-19-882905-8 Quote: "Yet Sumit Guha considers that 20 million is an upper limit. This is because the demographic growth experienced in core areas is likely to have been less than that experienced in areas that were more lightly settled in the early historic period. The position taken here is that the population in Mauryan times (320–220 BCE) was between 15 and 30 million—although it may have been a little more, or it may have been a little less."
  32. ^ Ludden, David (2013), India and South Asia: A Short History, Oneworld Publications, pp. 28–29, ISBN 978-1-78074-108-6Quote: "A creative explosion in all the arts was a most remarkable feature of this ancient transformation, a permanent cultural legacy. Mauryan territory was created in its day by awesome armies and dreadful war, but future generations would cherish its beautiful pillars, inscriptions, coins, sculptures, buildings, ceremonies, and texts, particularly later Buddhist writers."
  33. ^ Dyson, Tim (2018), A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Day, Oxford University Press, p. 19, ISBN 978-0-19-882905-8 Quote: "Accordingly, as tribal societies were encountered by the expanding Indo-Aryan societies, so the evolving caste system provided a framework within which—invariably at a low level—tribal people could be placed. For example, by the time of the Mauryan Empire (c.320–230 bce) the caste system was quite well established and the Aranyachará (i.e. forest people) were grouped with the most despised castes. ... The evolution of Indo-Aryan society in the centuries before c.200 bce not only saw increased segregation with respect to caste, it also seems to have seen increased differentiation with respect to gender. ... Therefore, by the time of the Mauryan Empire the position of women in mainstream Indo-Aryan society seems to have deteriorated. Customs such as child marriage and dowry were becoming entrenched; and a young women's purpose in life was to provide sons for the male lineage into which she married. To quote the Arthashāstra: 'wives are there for having sons'. Practices such as female infanticide and the neglect of young girls were possibly also developing at this time, especially among higher caste people. Further, due to the increasingly hierarchical nature of the society, marriage was possibly becoming an even more crucial institution for childbearing and the formalization of relationships between groups. In turn, this may have contributed to the growth of increasingly instrumental attitudes towards women and girls (who moved home at marriage). It is important to note that, in all likelihood, these developments did not affect people living in large parts of the subcontinent—such as those in the south, and tribal communities inhabiting the forested hill and plateau areas of central and eastern India. That said, these deleterious features have continued to blight Indo-Aryan speaking areas of the subcontinent until the present day."
  34. ^ "It is doubtful if, in its present shape, [the Arthashastra] is as old as the time of the first Maurya", as it probably contains layers of text ranging from Maurya times till as late as the 2nd century CE. Nonetheless, "though a comparatively late work, it may be used ... to confirm and supplement the information gleaned from earlier sources". (Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 246–247)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia · View on Wikipedia

Developed by Nelliwinne