Mauryan Empire : Timeline | Administration | Art and Culture

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Mauryan Period : Detailed Summary

The founder of the Maurya dynasty was Chandragupta Maurya . Clear details are not available regarding the birth of Chandragupta Maurya. For example, according to Brahmin tradition, Chandragupta Maurya was born to Mura, a Shudra woman living in the court of Nanda. According to Buddhist tradition, they belonged to the Kshatriya clan residing in the region of Gorakhpur adjacent to the Terai of Nepal, which was called Maurya.

Time period of important Mauryan rulers

  Mauryan time sources

  Buddhist texts: Jataka, Divyavadana and Ashokavadana

    Sri Lankan text: Mahavamsa and Deepavamsa


    Kautilya’s Arthashastra (Political- Economy or Raj Kaushal)

    Indica (megasthenes)

    Mudrarakshas of Visakhadatta (How Nanda defeated Sanskrit by Chandragupta Maurya)

    Katha Saritsagar of Somdev, Brihad Katha Manjari of Kshemendra and Rajatarangini of Kalhana.

Ashoka’s inscriptions

    What is classified in the inscriptions is the history made by Ashoka which is written as follows: major rock inscriptions; Minor rock inscriptions; Distinct rock inscriptions; Major pillar inscriptions; And minor pillar inscriptions.

    In these inscriptions Ashoka denotes himself as “Devnamapiya Piyadasi” which means “beloved of God”.

    Ashoka’s name is found only in one Minor Pillar inscriptions, copies of which are at three places in Karnataka and one at Madhya Pradesh.

    He appeared in the Hebrew language and Kharoshthi script in the northwestern part of the subcontinent. In Afghanistan they were written in both Hebrew and Greek scripts and languages.

Maurya Politics and Administration

    The Brahmin law books repeatedly say that the king should be guided by laws which are written in the scriptures and in the practices prevailing in the country.

    According to Kautilya’s Arthashastra, Maurya is monarchical democracy, but the only authority the king had was to enact implicit laws and derive from four sources: dharma (sacred law), behavior (evidence), charit (history and custom) and rajasana. (Inscriptions of the king).

    Economics represents 3 types of laws – a system of economic, criminal and commercial law.

    There was huge bureaucracy to control all walks of life.

    The administrative system was supported by an elaborate system of espionage.

    The highest officials, ministers (ministers), high priests (priests), commanders in chief (commanders), and crown prince (crown prince), received a maximum of 48 thousand panas. (Pan was equal to three-quarters of a silver coin).

Economic Regulations of Mauryan Empire

    The Arthashastra of Kautilya states that the state appoints 27 chairmen (presidents) to regulate economic activities.

    Agriculture was the predominant occupation. Hence irrigation was given importance. Water reservoirs and dams were built and water was distributed and measured for irrigation.

    The industry was organized in a circle. Jethaka was the head of the congregation.

    The main sources of income were land tax (1/4 1/6) and tax imposed on trade.

    Brahmins, children and the disabled were exempted from taxes.

    Sita Raja had income from his land.

    Pan and monthly punch marked silver and copper coins respectively. It was 1/4 of monthly.

Society and Culture in the Maurya Empire

    According to Megasthenes, there were seven types of varna system in the Maurya Empire – philosophers, farmers, soldiers, shepherds, artisans, magistrates and councilors

    The concept of joint family was popular. Widows did not have a very respectable place in society.

    The function of varna system was desired by the priestly class.

Art and Architecture in the Maurya Empire

    There was a capital on the pillars of Ashoka which was adorned with animal sculptures. The main animal idols were of horses, oxen, elephants and lions.

    The Mauryan artisans were also practicing to cut caves out of the rocks with axes to stay the monks outside. For example built equal caves 30 kilometers from Gaya.

    According to the figures of Yaksha and Yakshini, it has been found from Mathura, Poway and Patna, in which a woman was caught wide-eyed.

The decline of the Mauryan Empire

    Brahmin’s Reaction: Ashoka’s tolerance policy evoked hatred in such a way as the abandonment of animals and birds, and excessive performance and rituals by women affected the income of Brahmanas. New states like Shringas, Kanva etc. which were ruled by Brahmin society have ruined the empire.

    Financial Crisis: Heavy expenditure on payments to the military and bureaucracy created a financial crisis for the empire.

    Repressive rule in the province was an important reason in the analysis of the empire.

    New knowledge in remote areas: The Mauryan rule was owned by its expansion for some basic material advantage and thus led to the rise of new states such as Shringas, Kanvas, Chetis and Satavahanas.

Neglected North West Frontier and Great Wall of China: The Mauryan ruler could not pay attention to the passage on the North West Frontier. This is the only reason why Sakyathins forced the Parthi Shakas and Greeks towards India to move towards India. The Chinese ruler Shih Huang Tiwari (247–210 BCE) built the China Wall in order to protect his empire from foreign invasions such as the Great Wall, especially from the Sakyathins.

Akash Sangule

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