By Amy Zimmerman and Kathleen MacNabb
322 to 185 BCEAfter Alexander the GreatChandragupta Maurya captured Alexanders former states
Himalayan mountain rangePunjab Plain and the Thar desertChin Hills and Kachin Hills
CentralizedLarge staffTax collection, trade and commerce, vital statistics, welfare of foreigners, maintaining public placesOrganized armyProvincesDistrictsVillages
321 B.C.E. 297 B.C.E.
Time of economic growth
268 B.C.E. 232 B.C.E.Converted to BuddhismDharmaIncreased infrastructureEmpire declines after Asokas death
ArthasastraScience of Politics
PillarsLion Capital of AsokaStupasBarabar Caves
Religious transformation of government, due to Chandragupta Samrat Samprati is known to have built 125,000 Jain Temples across India. Samrat Samprati sent messengers & preachers to Greece, Persia & middle-east for the spread of Jainism.
Stopped military forceSpread BuddhismConstruction of infrastructure, increased trade, exploration and artistic exploration
Religious freedom and tolerance Clearly-defined position in society lead to stabilityPhilosophy of ahimsa, lead to improved law enforcement
Promise of Nirvana encouraged Mauryans to follow very constricting rulesRules and principles of self- improvement and non-violence resulted in effective government control, leading to stability.Focus on Enlightenment
ArthashastraStandardized currency and tax-systemInfrastructure and trade diplomats sponsored by governmentPrivate enterprise
Controlled Khyber PassTrade with Greece, Hellenistic Kingdoms and Malaysian Peninsula
Extended family smallest social unitHigh-point for women in ancient IndiaSome slaveryVery little use of caste system
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*The Mauryan government was highly centralized. It had a very large staff that dealt with tax collection, trade and commerce, vital statistics, welfare of foreigners, and maintaining public places such as markets and temples. There was a strong army that consisted of chariots, infantry, cavalry, and elephants, there was also a well-developed espionage system. The empire was divided into provinces, and the provinces were than divided into districts. The provinces were ruled by a centrally appointed governor, who than appointed a chief magistrate of each district. Most people lived in villages, which were governed by a council of elders.*Chandragupta began the Mauryan empire. Little is known about his rise to the status of emperor, though. He united northern India into one powerful, centralized state. Under Chandraguptas reign, the state regulated trade, levied taxes, and standardized weights and measures. Trade and commerce also flourished during this time. The state also was responsible for providing irrigational facilities, sanitation, and famine relief to its masses. *Asoka is the grandson on Chandragupta. He is the most famous Mauryan king because the Mauryan Empire peaked under his rule. Asoka felt remorse for his bloody conquest of Kalinga, and therefore converted to Buddhism. For the rest of his reign, Asoka promoted Dharma. According to Indian religions, people who followed the principles of dharma, proceeded more quickly to nirvana. Asoka defined the key elements of dharma as nonviolence, tolerance of all sects and opinions, obedience to parents, respect for the Brahmans and other religious teachers and priests, liberality towards friends, humane treatment of servants, and generosity towards all. He also increased infrastructure for the state, with universities, water transit and irrigation systems, hospitals, and major roads. After Asoka died in 232 BCE, the Mauryan empire started to decline because of progressively weaker kings, and also because of the difficulty of keeping such a vast empire unified. *The most important author of the Maruyan Empire was Kautilya, who was Chandraguptas advisor. He studied at Taxila, which is an early university. It is gererally believed that he wrote the book, Arthasastra, which is loosely translated to science of politics. The book is mostly known for its contents on political views, but it also deals with economics, mining and metals, agriculture, medicine, wildlife, issues of welfare and the collective ethics that hold a society together. Arthasastra is sometimes compared to Machiavellis political treatise Prince, because of its ruthless approach to practical politics.*Under Asokas rule, he constructed many monuments that paid tribute to Buddhism. One type of these monuments are the pillars that are found throughout nothern India. The pillars had inscriptions on that focus on Asokas belief in Buddhism, and also moral precepts such as right behaviour, benevolence, kindness to prisoners, and respect to animal life. Another monument Asoka built was the Lion Capital. It was originally on the Asoka pillar at Sarnath. The Asoka chakra at the base is now on the Indian flag. Asoka also ordered the creation of 84 000 stupas, which are places of devotion for Buddhism. The most famous stupa is the one at Sanchi. The Barabar caves were also built under Asokas reign. These were used to house monks and also hold religious ceremonies. *