Maurya Empire

Maurya empire was one of the greatest empire recorded in the Indian history, which lasted from 322 BC to 185 BC. Important rulers of the Maurya dynasty are as follows

Chandragupta Maurya

He founded the Maurya empire by defeating the last Nanda ruler Dhananda with the help of Chanakya (Kautilya).

He has been called Sandrocottus by Greek scholars.

Chandragupta Maurya defeated Seleucus Nikator, who sent an ambassador called Megasthenes to his court.

 Chandragupta Maurya adopted Jainism under the jain saint Bhadrabahu and went to Sravanabelagola.


Bindusara succeeded his father Chandragupta Maurya. He was the follower of Ajivika sect.

He was known to the Greeks as Amitrochates (derived from the word ‘Amitraghata’ or slayer of foes).

Ptolemy Phildelphus of Egypt and Antiochus I of Syria sent an ambassadors Dionysius and Deimachus respectively, to the court of Bindusara.


Ashoka was the son of Bindusara and was the greatest ruler of the Maurya empire. He assumed the titles of Priyadarshini and Devanampiya.

During his reign, the whole of the sub-continent, leaving out the extreme South, came under the imperial control.

 He fought the Kalinga war in 261 BC in the 9th his coronation.

He sent missionaries to the kingdoms of the Cholas and the Pandayas and to five states ruled by the Greek kings (Antiochus II, Syria, Antigonus, Mecedonia: Maggus,
Syrina; Alexander, Epirus; Ptolemy II, Egypt).

Ashoka Dhamma

Ashoka’s Dhamma is a philosophical entity that emphasises on the high ideals in order to lead a successful life. Some of his ideals were to shun war, spread peace, stop animal sacrifice, respect elders etc.

Through his Dhamma, Ashoka ordained that people should obey their parents, respect the Brahmanas, Buddhist monks and show mercy towards slaves.

He never talked about attainment of Nirvana under his Dhamma and replaced his philosophy of Bherighosha with Dhammaghosha, after the Kalinga war (mentioned in rock edict 13th).

Languages used in inscriptions include-Brahmi, Aramaic and Kharoshti.

Later Mauryas

The Mauryan dynasty lasted 137 years.

After the death of Ashoka, the empire got divided into two parts.

The last Mauryan ruler, Brihadratha was assasinated by his commander-in-chief Pushyamitra Sunga. This brought an end to the Mauryan dynasty.

Native Successors of Mauryas

Sunga Dynasty (185 BC – 73 BC)

Sunga dynasty was established by Pushyamitra Sunga.who was the commander-in-chiet of last Mauryan ruler named Brihadratha.

Patanjali wrote Mahabhasya during this time and Bhagavata religion became important under the rule of Pushyamitra Sunga.

Sunga Art includes the famous Bharhut Stupa, Nasik Chaitya, Vihara etc.

Kanva Dynasty (73 BC-28 BC)

Kanva dynasty was founded by Vasudeva, who captured the throne by murdering Devabhuti, the last Sunga ruler. Their rule came to an end in 28 BC.

Satvahana Dynasty (60 BC-AD 225)

Simuka was the founder of the dynasty and established his capital at Paithan (Maharashtra). Their official language was Prakrit.

Gautamiputra Satakarani was the greatest ruler of the dynasty. He defeated Saka ksatrap Nahapana. Pulamavi III was the last Satvahana ruler.

Important literary works include ‘Gathasaptasati’ (by Hala) and ‘Vrihat Katha (by Gunadhya).

Important architectural works include Stupas of Amravati, Nagarjunkonda, Rock cut chaityas, Viharas o Nasik, Karle, Kanheri.

Chedi Dynasty

Most important ruler of the dynasty was kharevala. Information about his rule is given in the Hathigumpha inscription (Orissa).

He was the follower of Jainism and constructed caves Udayagiri hills,

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