The Mauryas Facts(321 BC-185 BC)
There are mainly two literally sources of the Mauryan period.
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One is the Arthashastra written by Kautilya or Chanakya, the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya, which explains how a good government should be organised. The other source is Indica written in Greek by Magasthenes, the ambassador of Seleucus Nicator head the court of Chandragupta. Magasthenes wrote not only about the capital city of Pataliputra but also about the Maurya Empire as a whole and about the society. The history of Ashokareign can be constructed mainly on the basis of his edicts.
|1. Written by Chankaya/Vishnugupta/Kautilya |
|2. Divided in 15 Adhikarnas and 180 Prakarnas |
|3. Is related to money and politics |
|4. Is divided into 15 parts |
|5. 6000 sholakas |
|6. Comment-Pratipada Panchika commented by-Bhataswamy |
|7. Manuscript discovered by Arya Sharma Shastri in 1904. |
| Different Views On Origin Of The Mauryas
- Buddhist sources : They connect them with the tribe of sakyas whose region was full of peacocks i.e. Moriyas and they mention Chandragupta as a Kshatriya.
- Jain sources : They link Chandragupta to Moriya tribe of Peacock tamers.
- Brahmanical sources: They describe Mauryas as Shudra.
- Greek sources : They mention that Sandrokottas(Chandragupta) was born of humble origin .
The Mauryan rule was vast and highly centralised bureaucratic rule with the king as the Fountainhead of all the powers. The king claimed not divine rule; rather it was paternal depotism, Kautilya called the king dharmapravartaka or promulgator of social order.
| Mauryan Administration posts (Mantriparsihad)
|Mantrin || Chief Minister |
|Pirohita || High Priest|
|Senapati || Commander-in-charge|
|Yuvraj || Crowned Prince |
|Samaharta || Collector of revenue |
|Prashasti || Head of prisons |
|Sannidata || Head of treasury |
|Nayaka || Had of city security |
|Paur || City police |
|Vyabharika || Chief Judge |
|Karmantika || Head of industries and factories |
|Dandapala || Had of police |
|Durgapala || Head of Royal Fort |
|Annapala || Head of food grains Department |
|Rajjukas || Officers responsible for land measurement and fixing its boundary |
|Pradesika || Head of district Administration |
Causes of the Decline of the Mauryans:
Following factors are held responsible for the decline of Maurya Empire
- Week successors of Asoka
- The partition of the Empire into two. The partition had not taken place, the Greek invasions could have been held back giving a chance to Mauryas to re-establish some degree of their previous power
- Hari Prasad Sastri contends that the revolt of Pushyamitra was the result of Brahamical reaction against the pro-Buddhist policies of Asoka and pro-Jaina policies of his successors.
- Militant Brahmanical reactions to Asoka's religious policy which was closer to Buddhism.
- Asoka's pacifist policy aiming at Dharamvijay instead of Digvijay.
- Financial crisis owing to an enormous expenditure on the Army and large bureaucracy
- Highly centralised character of Mauryan government
Well-known art historian A.K.Coomaraswamy divides Mauryan art into two categories
- Official/Court Art
||Office Art/Court Art
|1. ||Yaksha image from parkam ||Pillars (well builts and polished) |
|2. ||Yakshi sculpture from Besnagar ||Finest expample Sarnath - Lions which originally supported Dharma Chakra |
|3. ||Female Cauribearer from Patna ||Animals figure or Maurya period of elephant at Dhauli |
|4. || - || Stupas |
The age of Mauryas contributed significantly to the development of arts, including architecture, sculpture, engineering, polishing etc. Chandragupta Maurya fuelled his capital and place at Patliputra. The wonderful palace was made of wood. Asoka further improved the wooden walls and building of capital. The 80 pillared hall found at Kumrahar in Patna re-presence the masterpiece of Mauryan sculpture. Each pillar is made of single piece of sandstone.
Asoka fuelled a large number of Stupas . According to Buddhist tradition, Asoka fuelled as good as 84,000 stupas. These structures were solid and domic, made of rock or bricks. The art of the sculpture or rock cutting also reached its zenith during Asoka's time. Seven rock cut santuaries lying about 25 miles north of Gaya, Bihar - four on the Barabar Hills and three on the Nagarjuna Hills-belong to the time of Asoka and his successors. The caves are also fine examples of Mauryas art. They were used for religious ceremonies and also as assembly halls.