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The King Ashoka was the Most Famous Mauryan Ruler

Updated on December 10, 2016

King Ashoka

The Mauryan Kingdom

An empire is a kingdom which is spread over a vast area and is much larger in size. The first emperor of India was Chandragupta Mauryan. He built an empire which included Bihar, parts of Orissa (now Odisha), central India and Bengal. Chandragupta was succeeded by his son Bindusara.Under him, the Mauryan Empire spread across the Indian sub- continent up in Karnataka. Bindusara maintained friendly relations with Hellenic West established by his father. Ambassadors from Syria and Egypt also visited Bindusara’s court. Bindusara was not a gain; he believed in Ajivika philosophy.

The Great Ashoks

The Kalinga war changed his life

The King Ashoka (273 – 232 BC)

The Kalinga war changed his life

The king Ashoka was the most famous Mauryan ruler. The Emperor Ashoka was the first ruler who tried to take his message to the people through inscriptions. He was the son of King Bibdusara. Ashoka conquered the kingdom named Kalinga, which none of his ancestors could do. He became a Buddhist after seeing the deaths and destruction caused by the Kalinga war. Through Dhamma, Ashoka wanted to instill the spirit of tolerance, non – violence, co- existence and respect for elders in the people.

Ashoka built new roads and he planted trees on both sides of the road. He made the arranges medical and hospital facilities for men and animals.

The Kalinga War

The Mauyran Administration

Kautilya’s Arthashastra gives us detailed information about the Mauryan administration. Mauryan administration was divided into four divisions – central, provincial, district and village.

Provincial : The empire was divided into four provinces, each under a prince. The prince was assisted by many officers in the province. He ruled the province as a representative of the king.

District : Provinces were further divided into districts. The district head was called Pradeshta. He was assisted by the yuktyas and the rajukas. These officers collected taxes, worked as judges and kept records. They also maintained law and order.

Village : A district had a many villages. Head man is the important person in the village.

Lord Buddha

The Mauryan army

Army: Historians consider the Mauryan army as one of the remarkable armies of that time. It consisted of foot soldiers, horses, elephants, and chariots. The Senapati was the head of the army. There was an espionage system and the spies were probably used for bringing information from distant places. A separate department looked after the production of weapons.

Welfare Measures

From the edicts of Ashoka, it is clear that he was deeply concerned about the welfare of the people of his empire.

Ashoka appointed officials who were known as the Dhamma mahamatta. They went from place to place teaching people about Dhamma.

The Decline of Mauryan Dynasty

After the death of Ashoka in 232 BC, a series of weak rulers took charge of the Mauryan Empire. The governors of distant provinces took advantage of their weakness and declared independence.The entire administrative system deteriorated, ultimately leading to the disintegration of the empire. The last Mauryan ruler, Brihadratha was liked by the commander -in – chief of his army, Pushyamitra Sunga in 185 BC. This brought an end to the rule of the Mauryan Dynasty and paved way for the foundation of the Sunga Dynasty.


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