Ancient History of Bihar Part - 6 : Mauryan Empire and Chandragupta Maurya
Mauryan Empire and Chandragupta Maurya notes/study material for preparation of BPSC Prelims and Mains and other Bihar state examinations
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Rise of Mauryan Empire and Chandragupta Maurya :
The Mauryan empire was a geographically extensive, powerful empire in ancient India. The empire had its capital at Patliputra.
As we studied in the last chapter, the last of the Nanda rulers, Dhana Nanda, was highly unpopular among the common populace due to his highly oppressive tax regime.
Also, the reign of Dhana Nanda saw Alexander’s invasion of North-Western India. When Alexander retreated, Some regions of North-Western India came under the rule of the generals appointed by Alexander. They were fighting among themselves which created unrest and destabilized the whole North-Western region.
Chandragupta Maurya rose to this occasion and subjugated the border states and recruited an army.
With the help of Kautilya, Chandragupta usurped the throne by defeating Dhana Nanda in 321 BC and established the Maurya dynasty(321 BCE – 185 BCE).
Kautilya, also known as Chanakya or Vishnugupta, played an important role as a guru, guide and strategist in the success of Chandragupta. He was originally a teacher at Taxila and wrote Arthashastra. Chanakya is also known as “Indian Machiavelli”.
Chandragupta Maurya history:
- Chandragupta Maurya was Founder of the Mauryan Empire. His reign started from 321 BC and lasted till 297 BC.
- The Greek sources mention him to be of non-warrior lineage whereas Buddhist sources mention him to be a Kshatriya.
- According to Mudra Rakshasa, Chandragupta Maurya was born to a Shudra woman.
- Greek accounts mention him as Sandrokottos.
- Seleucus Nicator I was one of the generals appointed by Alexander the Great. In 305 BC, he was defeated by Chandragupta. As a result, Chandragupta acquired Balochistan, eastern Afghanistan and the region to the west of Indus.
- Chandragupta also married Seleucus Nicator’s daughter.
- Seleucus Nicator I sent a Greek ambassador Megasthenes(who wrote the Indica) to Chandragupta’s court.
- Chandragupta with his policy of expansion brought under control almost the whole of present India barring a few places like Kalinga and the kingdom’s extreme South. In the west, the empire extended till the parts of modern Iran.
- After ruling for about 25 years, Chandragupta abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Bindusara.
- He embraced Jainism and became a Jain monk.
- He went to Karnataka with Jain monk Bhadrabahu and is believed to have starved himself to death according to the Jain tradition at Shravanabelagola.
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