Cultures > Maurya Empire

Maurya Empire

Background

Around the same time as the conquest of Alexander III the Great there was also political upheaval in India following the collapse of the regional superpower the Achaemenid Empire. The Maurya Empire formed in 321 BCE and would grow to be the largest civilization in India. It would span a territory from the Indus River in the west to the Ganges River and all through the Deccan Plateau.

The Maurya Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya (322-298 BCE) who unified many smaller Aryan kingdoms into an empire. His son Ashoka Maurya would continue on his traditions and bring the empire to even greater heights. The principle reason for the great wealth of the Maurya Empire was its prime location on the Silk Road that saw the mass trading of goods between China and the Hellenistic Mediterranean civilizations along Hellenistic European cultures and civilizations in Mesopotamia.

The Maurya military was very powerful and emperor Ashoka made many great conquests of neighboring territories. The Maurya empire is largely responsible for making Buddhism the major religion of the empire and Ashoka is also credited with building the Rock and Pillar Edicts which were laws much like Code of Hammurabi written on rock and stone tablets throughout the empire.

Origins

Chandragupta Maurya

Bindusara

Ashoka Maurya

Decline

When Ashoka died in 232 BCE the Mauryan Empire began to fall apart due to economic and social problems. There was also invading tribes to the northeast. While the Maurya Empire would persist during this period it would not be as powerful as it was under Chandragupta Maurya and his son Ashoka.

Cultures

+ Cultures List

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources