The Mauryan Empire: Short Notes

Mauryan Empire (322 BC – 185 BC)

Alexander invaded India in 326 BC. He fought the famous battle of Hydaspes, on the bank of river Jhelum. He fought against the king of Punjab Raja Purushottama (Porus).

Difference between an Empire and a Kingdom

Empire is a kingdom that is spread over a vast area and it is much larger in size than a kingdom. The ruler of the Empire is called an Emperor.

Read Also ⇒ Jainism History Notes

Example – A country (India) is an Empire and the states are kingdoms. 

  • Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Maurya Empire.
  • He with the help of Vishnugupta (Kautilya, Chanakya) overthrew the Nanda Dynasty 321 BC.
  • The Empire spread over the Indo-Gangetic plains on the eastern side of the Indian Sub-continent.
  • The capital of this empire was at Patliputra (modern Patna, Capital of Bihar).

Main Sources of Information about Maurya Empire

  • Books – Arthashashtra (By Kautilya) & Indica (By Megasthenes, A Greek ambassador)
  • Rock and Pillar Edicts
  • Coins

Famous Mauryan Emperors

  • Chandragupta Maurya (321 BC – 297 BC)
  • Bindusara (297 BC – 273 BC)
  • Ashoka (273 BC – 232 BC)
  • Brihadratha was the last Emperor, who was killed by his army Commander-in-Chief, Pushyamitra Sunga in 185 BC.

Causes for the Decline of the Maurya Empire

  • The succession of weak kings after Ashoka.
  • Partition of the empire into two, the eastern part under Dasaratha and the western part under Kunala.
  • According to some historians, the pro-Buddhist policies of Ashoka and the pro-Jaina policies of his successors alienated the Brahmins and resulted in the revolt of Pushyamitra Sunga
  • The spread of the material culture of the Gangetic basin to the outlying areas led to the formation of new kingdoms.
  • The organization of administration and the conception of the state of a Nation were of great significance in the causes of the decline of the Mauryas, as after Ashoka the Empire followed weak rulers.
  • No attempt to expand the revenue potential or to restructure and reorganize the resources in order to maintain the administrative apparatus of the states.

Read Also ⇒ Short Notes on Buddhism

Read Also ⇒ Notes on Indus Valley Civilization

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