Indian Empire

The Mauryan Empire and King Ashoka
322 B.C.E. to 187 B.C.E.
A classic example of Mauryan architecture
India Before the Mauryans:
- Many small kingdoms, many of which were poorly run
- Diverse groups of people with little to unify them
Enter Chandragupta Maurya:
- Uses an army of 700,000 soldiers and 9,000 elephants to
overthrow the rulers of the northern kingdoms and unify
the vast lands of India
- Chandragupta kept his Indian Empire united using whatever means he could:
a. Powerful army
b. Network of spies
c. Torture
- But he did do many things to strengthen his empire that didn’t involve force:
a. Created a strong central government
b. Wrote laws
c. Made sure farmers had water for their crops
d. Built a royal road of over 1000 miles long to connect the empire
Chandragupta gave up his power towards the end of his life
a. Became an ascetic
b. Lived in poverty
c. Travelled with monks
By the time Chandragupta’s grandson, King (Emperor) Ashoka took power,
the land in the Empire included nearly all of the Indian subcontinent
King Ashoka’s Rule:
- Mauryan Empire reaches its height – 269 to 232 B.C.E.
- expands empire South and East through bloody wars AND then has a change of
- he decides to embrace Buddhism!
a. Embraces love, peace and nonviolence
b. Gives up hunting and becomes a vegetarian
c. Gave up wars of conquest
d. Encouraged his people to be Buddhists too
e. Saw himself as a wise and loving father figure
f. Sends his son to spread Buddhism to what is now modern day Sri Lanka
a. He still allowed slavery
b. Still allowed for executions for serious crimes
c. Still kept a strong army
d. While he gave up conquest, he didn’t return already conquered lands back to
The Edicts of Ashoka:
(carved into walls, pillars, and rocks in public places to serve
as reminders for people)
Four Main Goals:
1. Promote Buddhist Values: act morally, be respectful, don’t get attached to worldly things
2. General Welfare: have good health, shelter, clean water and enough food
3. Justice: fair laws, how people were treated in court and in jail
4. Security: addressed peace and conquest – how to deal with people outside of the Mauryan
His Empire only lasted 45 years after his death, but his spread of Buddhism lasted forever!

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