Mauryan Empire: description, history and interesting facts

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Mauryan Empire: description, history and interesting facts
Mauryan Empire: description, history and interesting facts

What characterizes Mauryan India is usually taught in school history courses. However, this does not mean that every modern schoolchild remembers such a rather important stage in the development of Indian civilization. At the same time, the peculiarities of the ancient Indian statehood, the organization of the Mauryan Empire is a rather interesting topic, and it is unreasonable to ignore it.

mauryan empire

Historic milestones

The Mauryan Empire existed on the territory of ancient India. This system dates back to 317 BC, and ended in 180 BC as well. The main city of the Mauryan empire in ancient India was Pataliputra. This ancient settlement exists today, however, under a different name - our contemporaries know it as Patnu.

development of the Mauryan empire

The Mauryan Empire is a rather important period in the development of India, and significant not only for this country. From history it is known that the attention of Alexander the Great was riveted to this empireduring the feud with Nanda, in which Chandragupta took an active part. In Greek history, this figure is recorded under the name Sandrakot. As the chronicles say, he tried to resort to the help of Alexander the Great in order to turn the conflict in his favor. True, the Greeks did not come to the rescue, and Nandra was taken by him on his own.

Chandragupta: writing history with his own hands

When Chandragupta won his most important victory over Nandra, he decided to create his own power. The Mauryan Empire is a stage in the historical development of a part of the territory of modern India, which is characterized by the reign of Chandragupta. Under his control, the state constantly cooperated with both the Greco-Bactrian state and the Seleucids.

political system of the Mauryan empire

The highest development of the Mauryan Empire is characteristic of the period when Emperor Ashoka was in power. On his initiative, most of the population converted to Buddhism. During the same period, the empire was able to subjugate fairly large territories. However, half a century after the death of this outstanding statesman, the Mauryan empire fell. This happened as a result of a Shunga conspiracy, which provoked a change in the ruling dynasty.

Historical Background

The Mauryan Empire is briefly described above, but history contains much more information about how the foundations were laid that led Chandragupta to power, and about what happened during the period of existence of the empire he created. As historians note, the Indus Valley was formerly under the control of the Harappan civilization, but itsforces were depleted by about the second millennium BC (about the middle of this period). It was then that the Aryans partially decided to move to the eastern lands and settled in India. Modern history calls this people the Indo-Aryans. Others settled near the rivers, others went even longer. The tribes led a nomadic life, raised cattle, so they were constantly in search of new, rich pastures.

Good pastures often became the subject of tribal disputes, and the war in the language of the local population was equated with the desire to get cows. By the way, in the local language, the chief man of the tribe was called the "protector of cows." Indo-Aryans eventually settled and took up cattle breeding, agriculture, subjugating those who lived in these areas before. It was then that the Indians appeared as a mixed people. By the beginning of the first millennium BC, in the territory of ancient India, people learned how to make iron, they fully mastered the Ganges.

The future is unity

As in any other country, previously divided into many tribes, in ancient India came the period of domination by those who wished to unite the lands into one huge power. This task turned out to be very difficult: the territories were large, the jungle was insurmountable, and the population was numerous. Nevertheless, over time, the Mauryan empire was nevertheless created, seizing both the lands near the Ganges and the Indus Valley. The area became ruled by the rulers of one dynasty.

mauryan empire in ancient india

Where there is strength, there is we alth

The school course is sure to tell why the Mauryan statecalled an empire. This is due to the rather complex structure of society and power, characteristic of that period in the development of ancient India. In 273-232, even before the advent of our era, this power experienced its highest period. As thinkers from Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece agreed, at that moment only in the Mauryan troops there were 600,000 foot, 30,000 horse, 9,000 elephants. The authorities surrounded the capital of their country with a great wall - its length exceeded three dozen kilometers.

At its peak, the Mauryan Empire was ruled by King Ashoka. As a young man, he fought endlessly, but then partake of the wisdom of the Buddha, which was a moment of awareness of cruelty - it was time for repentance. Ashoka created a unique social system of the Mauryan empire, because it was during his reign that a variety of institutions were built for the benefit of the broad masses - hospitals, hotels. Ashoka attended to the construction of high-quality roads, took up the protection of the animal and plant world. In addition, the emperor made efforts to spread Buddhism in the territories subject to him.

Step forward, step back

It is known that the political system of the Mauryan Empire was based on the idea of ​​sole rule, while Ashoka used the services of assistants and advisers. The parishad, which included representatives of the most noble families of the empire, had the greatest influence. If we draw analogies with modern countries, then the parishad can be compared with the parliament.

mauryan india

Despite the fact that Ashoka listened to the opinionrepresentatives of the most noble families of his country, while at the same time making every effort to develop society in such a way that both the rich and the poor benefited, the empire he headed did not last long. Ashoka died, and soon the power ceased to exist.

Short but significant

As modern historians agree, despite its short existence, the Mauryan Empire was very important to Indian history. For a short period of time, she united rather impressive territories under her sole authority, which led to the active development and improvement of agriculture. At that time, culture flourished on the lands of ancient India, and the foundation for further development was laid.

Echoes from the Maurya period are also important for the modern world. It was during that period and on those lands that the numbers used by modern people were invented. Indeed, nowadays it is customary to call numbers Arabic, but in fact they were invented in India and only from there they passed to the Arab countries. In addition, during the period of the Mauryan Empire, chess was invented, and modern people, playing it, arrange an army similar to the ancient Indian one: the same horses, elephants and foot soldiers that existed in that period of the development of civilization in reality.

Chandragupta: a name inscribed in history forever

The first and most important merit of this ancient Indian king is his ability to resist the forces of Alexander of Mycenae during the uprising. And to this day in India, almost everyone knows who Chandragupta was -his name is inscribed in local legends, ballads and stories. For example, the story is passed from mouth to mouth that Chandragupta was not of noble birth and created everything with his own hands. It was only his outstanding abilities that allowed the Shudra, who belonged to the varna, to achieve what he did.

Why is the Mauryan state called an empire?

Young Chandragupta was in the service of Magadhi Dhan, but was forced to flee when he dared to contradict his master. In Punjab, Chandragupta met Alexander the Great, with whom, as can be seen from a number of historical sources, he was in dialogue, despite the fact that he took an active part in the expulsion of the Macedonians from the territory of ancient India. At present, it is not clear exactly whether the conflict with the king of Nanda was still at the time when the Macedonian garrisons were in India, or happened shortly after, but it is known for certain that Chandragupta won a great victory, laying the foundation of a state that changed the course of Indian history.

Maurya: power and strength

Chandragupta created a new ruling dynasty, subjugating the lands formerly owned by Nanda. Of all the ancient Indian possessions, it was the Mauryas that had the greatest power, they were developed, cultured, and went ahead of their time. From historical sources, you can learn that Chandragupta, creating a new dynasty, resorted to the help of Kautilya, who in the future was granted the post of chief adviser by the new ruler. Together they were able to create a literally new world, the hallmark of which was the strong power of the supreme ruler.

Chandragupta, as historians suggest, kept all of Northern India under control, although accurate information about the geographical boundaries of his possessions has not been preserved to this day. It is known for certain that, already in power, Chandragupta again encountered the troops of the Greeks and Macedonians: in 305 BC, Seleucus the First attempted to repeat the conquests of Alexander the Great, but failed. In India, he was met by a strong army under the control of one ruler, capable of repelling any enemy. This forced the stranger to agree to a peace agreement in favor of the Indians, and Chandragupta received under his authority those areas where Afghanistan and Balochistan are located today. Chandragupta married the daughter of Seleucus, for which he gave him half a thousand elephants.

Father and son: Bindusar in power

When the first ruler of the Mauryan Empire died, he was succeeded by his son named Bindusar. Presumably, this happened in 298 BC. There is no exact information about the reign of this statesman. Historians suggest that Bindusar was able to keep everything that he inherited, and even increased the territory in the south.

mauryan empire briefly

Bindusar, as is known from the legends, among his contemporaries was known under the name of Amitraghata, that is, "the destroyer of enemies." It is believed that this shows his active military activity. The son of Bindusar was Ashoka, the most famous ruler of the Mauryan Empire, who led his country to prosperity. Under his father, he was governor in the northwest, after which hethe western part of the empire was given away, and over time, Ashoka gained power over all Mauryan territories.

Dust and ashes

Ashok's legacy was a huge empire, which the new ruler further expanded in the very first years in power: he managed to conquer Kalinga in the south (today this area is called Orissa). As legends tell, 150,000 people were brought from there, another 100,000 were killed, and it was impossible to count those who died for various reasons. The memories of Ashok himself, documented in inscriptions made during his reign, have survived to this day. After the victory in Kalinga, in fact, Ashoka ruled all of India - the only exception was the far south.

Despite the progressive approach of the new king, who eventually adopted Buddhism, his heirs could not appreciate the charm of development in peace and tranquility. As a result of a conspiracy, the power of the dynasty was overthrown, and vast territories again began to be controlled by small families that were at enmity with each other. From then to this day, memories of the reign of Ashok are one of the brightest pages in the history of India.

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