Chandragupta Maurya
Overview
Chandragupta Maurya (born c. 340 BCE, ruled c. 320 BCE, – 298 BCE) was the founder of the Maurya Empire
Maurya Empire
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC...

. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering most of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

. Chandragupta is considered the first unifier of India and its first genuine emperor. In foreign Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 accounts, Chandragupta is known as Sandrokyptos (Σανδρόκυπτος), Sandrokottos (Σανδρόκοττος) or Androcottus.

Prior to Chandragupta's consolidation of power, small regional kingdoms dominated the northwestern subcontinent, while the Nanda Dynasty
Nanda Dynasty
The Nanda Empire originated from the region of Magadha in Ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range...

 dominated the middle and lower basin of the Ganges.
Encyclopedia
Chandragupta Maurya (born c. 340 BCE, ruled c. 320 BCE, – 298 BCE) was the founder of the Maurya Empire
Maurya Empire
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC...

. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering most of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

. Chandragupta is considered the first unifier of India and its first genuine emperor. In foreign Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 accounts, Chandragupta is known as Sandrokyptos (Σανδρόκυπτος), Sandrokottos (Σανδρόκοττος) or Androcottus.

Prior to Chandragupta's consolidation of power, small regional kingdoms dominated the northwestern subcontinent, while the Nanda Dynasty
Nanda Dynasty
The Nanda Empire originated from the region of Magadha in Ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range...

 dominated the middle and lower basin of the Ganges. After Chandragupt's conquests, the Maurya Empire extended from Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 and Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

 in the east, to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Balochistan
Balochistan (region)
Balochistan or Baluchistan is an arid, mountainous region in the Iranian plateau in Southwest Asia; it includes part of southeastern Iran, western Pakistan, and southwestern Afghanistan. The area is named after the numerous Baloch tribes, Iranian peoples who moved into the area from the west...

 in the west, to Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 in the north, and to the Deccan Plateau
Deccan Plateau
The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in India, making up the majority of the southern part of the country. It rises a hundred meters high in the north, rising further to more than a kilometers high in the south, forming a raised triangle nested within the familiar downward-pointing triangle of...

 in the south.

His achievements, which ranged from conquering Macedonian satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

ies in the northwest and conquering the Nanda Empire by the time he was only about 20 years old, to achieving an alliance with Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi. In the Wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander's death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire...

 and establishing centralized rule throughout South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, remain some of the most celebrated in the history of India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

. Over two thousand years later, the accomplishments of Chandragupta stand out in the history of South Asia
History of South Asia
The term South Asia refers to the contemporary political entities of the Indian subcontinent and associated island. These are the states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the island nations of Sri Lanka and the Maldives....

.

Origins

Many Indian literary traditions connect him with the Nanda Dynasty
Nanda Dynasty
The Nanda Empire originated from the region of Magadha in Ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range...

 of Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 in modern day Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 in eastern India. More than half a millennium later, the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 drama Mudrarakshasa
Mudrarakshasa
The Mudrarakshasa , a historical play in Sanskrit by Vishakhadatta in late 4th or early 5th century narrates the ascent of the king Chandragupta Maurya to power in Northern India.-Origin:...

 not only calls him Mauryaputra (Act II) but also a Nandanvaya (Act IV). Again more than a millennium later, Dhundiraja, a commentator of 18th century on Mudrarakshasa states that Chandragupta alias Maurya who, was son of the Nanda king Sarvarthasiddhi by a wife named Mura, daughter of a Vrishala (shudra
Shudra
Shudra is the fourth Varna, as prescribed in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, which constitutes society into four varnas or Chaturvarna. The other three varnas are Brahmans - priests, Kshatriya - those with governing functions, Vaishya - agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders...

). Mudrarakshasa uses terms like kula-hina and Vrishala for Chandragupta's lineage. This reinforces Justin
Junianus Justinus
Justin was a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire. His name is mentioned only in the title of his own history, and there it is in the genitive, which would be M. Juniani Justini no matter which nomen he bore.Of his personal history nothing is known...

's contention that Chandragupta had a humble origin. On the other hand, the same play describes the Nandas as of Prathita-kula, i.e., illustrious lineage. The medieval commentator on the Vishnu Purana informs us that Chandragupta was son of a Nanda
Nanda Dynasty
The Nanda Empire originated from the region of Magadha in Ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range...

 prince and a (maid), . The poets Kshmendra and Somadeva call him Purvananda-suta, son of genuine Nanda as opposed to Yoga-Nanda, i.e., pseudo Nanda. Nanda dynasty was started by Mahapadma Nanda
Mahapadma Nanda
Mahapadma Nanda was the first king of the Nanda dynasty. He was the son of Mahanandin, a Kshatriya father from the Shishunaga dynasty, with a shudra wife. Sons of Mahanandin from his Kshatriya wives opposed the rise of Mahapadma Nanda, on which he eliminated all of them to claim the throne...

, who is considered, the first Shudra
Shudra
Shudra is the fourth Varna, as prescribed in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, which constitutes society into four varnas or Chaturvarna. The other three varnas are Brahmans - priests, Kshatriya - those with governing functions, Vaishya - agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders...

 king of Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

.

The Buddhist text of the Mahavamsa calls Chandragupta a section of the Khattya (Kshatriya) clan named Moriya (Maurya). Divyavadana calls Bindusara, son of Chandragupta, an anointed Kshatriya, Kshatriya Murdhabhishikata, and in the same work, king Ashoka, son of Bindusara, is also styled a Kshatriya. The Mahaparinnibhana Sutta of the Buddhist canon states that the Moriyas (Mauryas) belonged to the Kshatriya community of Pippalivana. These traditions, at least, indicate that Chandragupta has come from a Kshatriya lineage. The Mahavamshatika connects him with the Sakya clan of the Buddha, a clan which also belongs to the race of Aditya, i.e., solar race by all the vedas and Hindu puranas. See the page shakya
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

 for more details. All the puranas and vedas together proved shakya clan as a branch of ikshwaku vamsha or surya vamsha. All the Buddhist texts shows the genealogy of shakya kings of suryavamsha.

Ashok Maurya's inscription claiming to be 'Buddhi Sakya' further proves the Mauryas to be an offshoot of the Shakyas to whom 'Sakyamuni' Siddhartha Buddha belonged.

A medieval inscription represents the Maurya clan as belonging to the solar race of Kshatriyas. It is stated that the Maurya line sprang from Suryavamsi Mandhatri, son of prince Yuvanashva of the solar race.

Early life

Very little is known about Chandragupta's youth. what is known about his youth is gathered from later classical Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

, as well as classical Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 sources which refer to Chandragupta by the names "Sandracottos" or "Andracottus". He was paragon for later rulers.

Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 reports that he met with Alexander the Great, probably around Takshasila
Takshasila
Takshasila was an ancient city mentioned in the epic Ramayana, now known as Taxila in Pakistan. As per the epic this city was named after Taksha the son of Bharata the brother of Raghava Rama . Bharata defeated the Gandharas and built the city of Takshasila in Gandhara. In Mahabharata, this city is...

 in the northwest, and that he viewed the ruling Nanda Empire
Nanda Dynasty
The Nanda Empire originated from the region of Magadha in Ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range...

 in a negative light:
According to this text, the encounter would have happened around 326 BCE, suggesting a birth date for Chandragupta around 340 BCE.

Junianus Justinus
Junianus Justinus
Justin was a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire. His name is mentioned only in the title of his own history, and there it is in the genitive, which would be M. Juniani Justini no matter which nomen he bore.Of his personal history nothing is known...

 (Justin) describes the humble origins of Chandragupta, and explains how he later led a popular uprising against the Nanda king.

Foundation of the Maurya Empire

Chandragupta Maurya, with the help of Chanakya, defeated the Magadha kings and the bulk army of Chandravanshi clan. Following his victory, defeated generals of Alexander settled in Gandhara (Kamboja kingdom of Aryan race Mahajanpada), today's Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. At the time of Alexander's invasion, Chanakya
Chanakya
Chānakya was a teacher to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta , and the first Indian emperor generally considered to be the architect of his rise to power. Traditionally, Chanakya is also identified by the names Kautilya and VishnuGupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise...

 was a teacher at Takshasila University
Takshasila
Takshasila was an ancient city mentioned in the epic Ramayana, now known as Taxila in Pakistan. As per the epic this city was named after Taksha the son of Bharata the brother of Raghava Rama . Bharata defeated the Gandharas and built the city of Takshasila in Gandhara. In Mahabharata, this city is...

. The king of Takshasila
Takshasila
Takshasila was an ancient city mentioned in the epic Ramayana, now known as Taxila in Pakistan. As per the epic this city was named after Taksha the son of Bharata the brother of Raghava Rama . Bharata defeated the Gandharas and built the city of Takshasila in Gandhara. In Mahabharata, this city is...

 and Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

, Ambhi
Taxiles
Taksxila was the Greek chroniclers' name for a prince or king who reigned over the tract between the Indus and the Hydaspes Rivers in the Punjab at the period of the expedition of Alexander the Great, 327 BC...

 (also known as Taxiles), made signed a peace treaty with Alexander. Chanakya, however, planned to defeat the foreign invasion and sought help from other kings to unite and fight Alexander. Parvateshwara (Porus), a king of Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, was the only local king who was able to challenge Alexander at the Battle of the Hydaspes River
Battle of the Hydaspes River
The Battle of the Hydaspes River was fought by Alexander the Great in 326 BC against King Porus of the Hindu Paurava kingdom on the banks of the Hydaspes River in the Punjab near Bhera in what is now modern-day Pakistan...

, but was defeated.

Chanakya then went to Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 further east, to seek the help of Dhana Nanda, who ruled a vast Nanda Empire
Nanda Dynasty
The Nanda Empire originated from the region of Magadha in Ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range...

 which extended from Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 and Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 in the east to Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 and Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 in the west, but he was denied any such help. After this incident, Chanakya started to convince his disciple Chandragupta of the need to build an empire that could protect Indian territories from foreign invasion.

Chanakya

Chandragupta's teacher and later his prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Chanakya, who is also known as Kautilya and was the author of the Arthashastra
Arthashastra
The Arthashastra is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy which identifies its author by the names Kautilya and , who are traditionally identified with The Arthashastra (IAST: Arthaśāstra) is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and...

, is regarded as the architect of Chandragupta's early rise to power. Chandragupta Maurya, with the help of Chanakya, began laying the foundation of the Maurya Empire. In all forms of the Chanakya legend, he is thrown out of the Nanda court by the king, whereupon he swears revenge. While in Magadha, Chanakya by chance met Chandragupta in whom he spotted great military and executive abilities. Chanakya was impressed by the prince's personality and intelligence, and immediately took the young boy under his wing to fulfill his silent vow.

Nanda army


According to Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, at the time of Alexander's Battle of the Hydaspes River
Battle of the Hydaspes River
The Battle of the Hydaspes River was fought by Alexander the Great in 326 BC against King Porus of the Hindu Paurava kingdom on the banks of the Hydaspes River in the Punjab near Bhera in what is now modern-day Pakistan...

, the size of the Nanda Empire's army further east numbered 200,000 infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

, 80,000 cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

, 8,000 chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

s, and 6,000 war elephant
War elephant
A war elephant was an elephant trained and guided by humans for combat. Their main use was to charge the enemy, trampling them and breaking their ranks. A division of war elephants is known as elephantry....

s, which was discouraging for Alexander's men and stayed their further progress into India:
In order to defeat the powerful Nanda army, Chandragupta needed to raise a formidable army of his own.

Conquest of the Nanda Empire

Chanakya had trained Chandragupta under his guidance and together they planned the destruction of Dhana Nanda. The Mudrarakshasa
Mudrarakshasa
The Mudrarakshasa , a historical play in Sanskrit by Vishakhadatta in late 4th or early 5th century narrates the ascent of the king Chandragupta Maurya to power in Northern India.-Origin:...

of Visakhadutta as well as the Jaina work Parisishtaparvan talk of Chandragupta's alliance with the Himalayan king Parvatka, sometimes identified with Porus.

It is noted in the Chandraguptakatha that the protagonist and Chanakya were initially rebuffed by the Nanda forces. Regardless, in the ensuing war, Chandragupta faced off against Bhadrasala – commander of Dhana Nanda's armies. He was eventually able to defeat Bhadrasala and Dhana Nanda in a series of battles, ending with the siege of the capital city Pataliputra and the conquest of the Nanda Empire around 321 BCE, thus founding the powerful Maurya Empire in Northern India by the time he was about 20 years old.

Conquest of Macedonian territories in India

After Alexander's death in 323 BCE, Chandragupta, turned his attention to Northwestern India (modern Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

), where he defeated the satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

ies (described as "prefects" in classical Western sources) left in place by Alexander (according to Justin), and may have assassinated
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 two of his governors, Nicanor
Nicanor
- Ancient history :* Nicanor , 4th century BCE; an officer of Cassandrus* Nicanor , 4th century BCE; Macedonian officer, governor of Media under Antigonus...

 and Philip
Philip
Philip may refer to:*Philip Philip, Phillip, Phil, Philippe, Felipe, Philippus, etc. may also refer to:-Kings of Macedon:* Philip I of Macedon* Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great...

. The satrapies he fought may have included Eudemus
Eudemus (general)
Eudemus was one of Alexander the Great's generals, who was appointed by him to the command of the troops left in India, after the murder of the Alexander-appointed satrap Philip by his own mercenary troops in 326 BCE:After Alexander's death he made himself master of the territories of the Indian...

, ruler in western Punjab until his departure in 317 BCE; and Peithon, son of Agenor
Peithon, son of Agenor
Peithon, son of Agenor was an officer in the expedition of Alexander the Great to India, who became satrap of the Indus from 325 to 316 BCE, and then satrap of Babylon, from 316 to 312 BCE, until he died at the Battle of Gaza in 312 BCE....

, ruler of the Greek colonies along the Indus
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 until his departure for Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 in 316 BCE. The Roman historian Justin
Junianus Justinus
Justin was a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire. His name is mentioned only in the title of his own history, and there it is in the genitive, which would be M. Juniani Justini no matter which nomen he bore.Of his personal history nothing is known...

 described how Sandrocottus (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 version of Chandragupta's name) conquered the northwest:

Expansion

By the time he was only about 20 years old, Chandragupta, who had succeeded in defeating the Macedonian satrapies in India and conquering the Nanda Empire, had founded a vast empire that extended from the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 in the east, to the Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 in the west, which he would further expand in later years.

Conquest of Seleucus' eastern territories

Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi. In the Wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander's death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire...

, a Macedonian satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

 of Alexander, reconquered most of Alexander's former empire and put under his own authority eastern territories as far as Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

 and the Indus (Appian
Appian
Appian of Alexandria was a Roman historian of Greek ethnicity who flourished during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius.He was born ca. 95 in Alexandria. He tells us that, after having filled the chief offices in the province of Egypt, he went to Rome ca. 120, where he practised as...

, History of Rome, The Syrian Wars 55), until in 305 BCE he entered in a confrontation with Chandragupta:
The exact details of engagement are not known. As noted by scholars such as R. C. Majumdar and D. D. Kosambi, Seleucus appears to have fared poorly, having ceded large territories west of the Indus to Chandragupta. Due to his defeat, Seleucus surrendered Arachosia, Gedrosia, Paropamisadae, and Aria.

Mainstream scholarship asserts that Chandragupta received vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

, modern day Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and the Balochistan
Balochistan (region)
Balochistan or Baluchistan is an arid, mountainous region in the Iranian plateau in Southwest Asia; it includes part of southeastern Iran, western Pakistan, and southwestern Afghanistan. The area is named after the numerous Baloch tribes, Iranian peoples who moved into the area from the west...

 province of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka
Edicts of Ashoka
The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 269 BCE to 231 BCE. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India,...

, are known as far as Kandhahar in southern Afghanistan.
It is generally thought that Chandragupta married Seleucus's
Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi. In the Wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander's death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire...

 daughter, or a Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 Macedonian
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 princess
Princess
Princess is the feminine form of prince . Most often, the term has been used for the consort of a prince, or his daughters....

, a gift from Seleucus to formalize an alliance. In a return gesture, Chandragupta sent 500 war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

-elephants, a military asset which would play a decisive role at the Battle of Ipsus
Battle of Ipsus
The Battle of Ipsus was fought between some of the Diadochi in 301 BC near the village of that name in Phrygia...

 in 302 BCE. In addition to this treaty, Seleucus dispatched an ambassador, Megasthenes
Megasthenes
Megasthenes was a Greek ethnographer in the Hellenistic period, author of the work Indica.He was born in Asia Minor and became an ambassador of Seleucus I of Syria possibly to Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, India. However the exact date of his embassy is uncertain...

, to Chandragupta, and later Deimakos
Deimakos
Deimachus , , was a Greek of the Seleucid Empire. He became an ambassador to the court of Bindusara "Amitragata" in Pataliputra in India....

 to his son Bindusara
Bindusara
Bindusara was the second Mauryan emperor after Chandragupta Maurya. During his reign, the empire expanded southwards. He had two well-known sons, Susima and Ashoka, who were the viceroys of Taxila and Ujjain...

, at the Mauryan court at Pataliputra (modern Patna
Patna
Paṭnā , is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar and the second largest city in Eastern India . Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world...

 in Bihar state). Later Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Ptolemy II Philadelphus was the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 BCE to 246 BCE. He was the son of the founder of the Ptolemaic kingdom Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice, and was educated by Philitas of Cos...

, the ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt began when Ptolemy I Soter invaded Egypt and declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt in 305 BC and ended with the death of queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a powerful Hellenistic state, extending from southern Syria in the east, to...

 and contemporary of Ashoka the Great, is also recorded by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 as having sent an ambassador named Dionysius
Dionysius (ambassador)
Dionysius was a Greek of the 3rd century BCE, who was sent as ambassador to the court of the Indian emperor Ashoka, by Ptolemy Philadelphus.He was preceded in this role by Megasthenes, ambassador to Chandragupta Maurya, and Deimachus, ambassador to his son, and father of Ashoka, Bindusara.Dionysius...

 to the Mauryan court.

Classical sources have also recorded that following their treaty, Chandragupta and Seleucus exchanged presents, such as when Chandragupta sent various aphrodisiac
Aphrodisiac
An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable...

s to Seleucus:

Southern conquests

After annexing Seleucus' eastern Persian provinces, Chandragupta had a vast empire extending across the northern parts of Indian Sub-continent, from the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 to the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

. Chandragupta then began expanding his empire further south beyond the barrier of the Vindhya Range
Vindhya Range
The Vindhya Range is a range of older rounded mountains and hills in the west-central Indian subcontinent, which geographically separates the Indian subcontinent into northern India and Southern India.- Introduction :...

 and into the Deccan Plateau
Deccan Plateau
The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in India, making up the majority of the southern part of the country. It rises a hundred meters high in the north, rising further to more than a kilometers high in the south, forming a raised triangle nested within the familiar downward-pointing triangle of...

 except the Tamil regions (Pandya
Early Pandyan Kingdom
The Early Pandyas of the Sangam period were one of the three main kingdoms of the ancient Tamil country, the other two being the Cholas and the Cheras. As with many other kingdoms around this period , most of the information about the Early Pandyas come to us mainly through literary sources and...

, Chera
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

, Chola
Early Cholas
The Early Cholas of the pre and post Sangam period were one of the three main kingdoms of the ancient Tamil country. Their early capitals were Urayur and Kaveripattinam...

 and Satyaputra
Velirs
Velirs were a royal house of minor dynastic kings and aristocratic chieftains in Tamilakkam in the early historic period of South India. Extolled in Sangam literature for their charity and truthfulness, they were the ancestors and head of the modern Tamil Vellalar caste...

) and Kalinga
Kalinga
Kalinga is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Tabuk and borders Mountain Province to the south, Abra to the west, Isabela to the east, Cagayan to the northeast, and Apayao to the north...

 (modern day Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

). By the time his conquests were complete, Chandragupta succeeded in unifying most of Southern Asia. Megasthenes later recorded the size of Chandragupta's acquired army as 400,000 soldiers, according to Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

:
On the other hand, Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, who also drew from Megasthenes' work, gives even larger numbers of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, and 9,000 war elephants:

Jainism

Chandragupta gave up his throne towards the end of his life and became an ascetic under the Jain saint Bhadrabahu, migrating south with them and ending his days in sallekhana at Shravanabelagola
Shravanabelagola
Shravana Belgola is a city located in the Hassan district in the Indian state of Karnataka and is 158 km from Bangalore. The statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali at Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural...

, in present day Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

; though fifth-century inscriptions in the area support the concept of a larger southern migration around that time. A small temple marks the cave (Bhadrabahu Cave) where he is said to have died by fasting.

There are two hills in Shravanabelagola, Chandragiri (Chikkabetta) and Vindyagiri. The last shruta-kevali, Bhadrabahu Swami, and his pupil, Chandragupta Maurya (formerly the King), are believed to have meditated here. Chandragupta Basadi, which was dedicated to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, was originally built there by Emperor Ashoka in the third century BC.

Successors

Chandragupta Maurya renounced his throne to his son, Bindusara
Bindusara
Bindusara was the second Mauryan emperor after Chandragupta Maurya. During his reign, the empire expanded southwards. He had two well-known sons, Susima and Ashoka, who were the viceroys of Taxila and Ujjain...

, who became the new Mauryan Emperor. Bindusara
Bindusara
Bindusara was the second Mauryan emperor after Chandragupta Maurya. During his reign, the empire expanded southwards. He had two well-known sons, Susima and Ashoka, who were the viceroys of Taxila and Ujjain...

's son Ashoka the Great, became one of the most influential kings in India's history due to his important role in the history of Buddhism
History of Buddhism
The History of Buddhism spans the 6th century BCE to the present, starting with the birth of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama on the Indian subcontinent, in what is now Lumbini, Nepal. This makes it one of the oldest religions practiced today. The religion evolved as it spread from the northeastern region...

. Ashoka the Great after witnessing the results of his wars, became a devoted Buddhist and a man of peace.

In popular culture

Kautilya's role in the formation of the Mauryan Empire is the essence of a historical/spiritual novel The Courtesan and the Sadhu by Dr. Mysore N. Prakash.

In Santosh Sivan
Santosh Sivan
Santosh Sivan is an Indian cinematographer, film director, and producer who has worked in Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, and Hindi cinema....

's 2001 epic Hindi language film Asoka, the last moments of Chandra Gupta Maurya as an emperor is portrayed. Also the sword of Chandra Gupta Maurya plays an important role in the film. The film opens with an old and tired Chandragupta Maurya giving away all his material possessions and taking the life of a Jain saint. His favorite grandson, prince Asoka, claims his grandfather's sword. Chandra Gupta Maurya explains that the sword is in fact a demon that, whenever unsheathed, craves blood without regard to friend or foe. He throws away the sword but the young prince Asoka reclaims and unsheathes it whereupon it accidentally slashes his dear birds on a tree. At one point, Emperor Asoka mentions that he "want to be a greater emperor than Chandra Gupta Maurya". The film ends with Emperor Asoka throwing the sword at the same spot his grandfather, Chandragupta Maurya, had thrown it and embracing Buddhism. Emperor Asoka understands that his grandfather's advice about the sword was right.
  • Television series Chanakya
    Chanakya (TV series)
    Chanakya is a 47-part Indian television historical drama written and directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi that was originally telecast on DD National from September 1991 to August 1992...

    is archetypal account of the life and times of Chanakya, based on the play "Mudra Rakshasa" (The Signet Ring of "Rakshasa")
  • A Television series on Imagine TV available as "Chandragupta Maurya" (The serial is based on the life of Indian ruler "Chandragupta Maurya" and "Chanakya")

See also

  • Bhagrathi community (Western UP)
    Bhagrathi community (Western UP)
    Bhagirathis is a landowning agricultural community of Western Uttar Pradesh. They are the descendants of the Ikshvaku dynasty king Sagara and the Suryavansha king Bhagiratha, whom the community is named after. They adopted the Saini surname in 1941. Many kings belongs to this community are also...

  • Ancient Macedonian army
  • Arthashastra
    Arthashastra
    The Arthashastra is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy which identifies its author by the names Kautilya and , who are traditionally identified with The Arthashastra (IAST: Arthaśāstra) is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and...

  • Ashoka
    Ashoka
    Ashok Maurya or Ashoka , popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests...

  • Bindusara
    Bindusara
    Bindusara was the second Mauryan emperor after Chandragupta Maurya. During his reign, the empire expanded southwards. He had two well-known sons, Susima and Ashoka, who were the viceroys of Taxila and Ujjain...

  • Chanakya
    Chanakya
    Chānakya was a teacher to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta , and the first Indian emperor generally considered to be the architect of his rise to power. Traditionally, Chanakya is also identified by the names Kautilya and VishnuGupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise...

  • Dasaratha Maurya
    Dasaratha Maurya
    Dasaratha Maurya was the Emperor of the Mauryan dynasty from 232 BCE to 224 BCE.-Accession:According to the Matsya Purana , Dasaratha succeeded his paternal grandfather Ashoka the Great as ruler of the Mauryan empire. was only about twenty years old, when he ascended the throne of the Mauryan...

  • Greco-Bactrian
  • Gupta
    Gupta
    Gupta is a common surname of Indian origin.According to some academicians, the name Gupta is derived from Sanskrit goptri, meaning military governor. A more direct translation of the Sanskrit word gupta is 'secret' or 'hidden'. According to prominent historian R. C...

  • Indo-Greek Kingdom
    Indo-Greek Kingdom
    The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom covered various parts of the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent during the last two centuries BC, and was ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic kings, often in conflict with each other...

  • List of Indian monarchs
  • List of people known as The Great
  • Mauryan art
    Mauryan art
    Mauryan art encompasses the arts produced during the period of the Mauryan Empire , which was the first empire to rule over most of the Indian subcontinent. It represented an important transition in Indian art from use of wood to stone...


Further reading

  • Kosambi, D.D. An Introduction to the Study of Indian History, Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1985
  • Bhargava, P.L. Chandragupta Maurya, New Delhi:D.K. Printworld, 160 pp., 2002.
  • Habib, Irfan. and Jha, Vivekanand. Mauryan India: A People's History of India,New Delhi:Tulika Books, 2004; 189pp
  • Vishakadatta, R.S. Pandit.Mudraraksasa (The Signet Ring of Rakshasa), New Delhi:Global Vision Publishing House, 2004, ISBN 81-8220-009-1, edited by Ramesh Chandra
  • Swearer, Donald. Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asia (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: Anima Books, 1981) ISBN 0-89012-023-4
  • Nilakanta Sastri, K. A. Age of the Nandas and Mauryas (Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass, [1967] c1952) ISBN 0-89684-167-7
  • Bongard-Levin, G. M. Mauryan India (Stosius Inc/Advent Books Division May 1986) ISBN 0-86590-826-5
  • Chand Chauhan, Gian. Origin and Growth of Feudalism in Early India: From the Mauryas to AD 650 (Munshiram Manoharlal January 2004) ISBN 81-215-1028-7
  • Keay, John. India: A History (Grove Press; 1 Grove Pr edition May 10, 2001) ISBN 0-8021-3797-0
  • Radha Kumud Mukherji. Chandragupta Maurya aur Uska Kaal (Rajkamal Prakashan, Re Print 1990) ISBN-81-7171-088-1

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK