Maurya Empire – Importance, Golden Age and End
The Maurya Empire was a vast ancient Indian super power in South Asia and resided in Magadha. It was founded in 322 B.C.E by Chandragupta Maurya and ended in 185 B.C.E. The Maurya Empire was also the first Pan-Indian empire in the world.
The Mauryan Empire was formed by the conquest of the Indo-Gangetic Plain and its capital city was situated in Pataliputra, which now is the modern day Patna. Besides the capital city, the empire’s geographical area was solely dependent on the loyalty of its military. The commanders controlled all the other cities.
Maurya Empire: Golden Age
Chandragupta Maurya got aid from Chanakya (Author of Arthasastra) to raise an army. The troops were gathered and train to overthrow the Nanda Empire in 322 B.C.E. Chandragupta swiftly extended his empire westwards across central and western India. As a result, he conquered satraps left by Alexander The Great. By 317 B.C.E, Chandragupta fully occupied northwestern India. After that, the Mauryan Empire found themselves one to one with Seleucus I, the leader and founder of the Seleucid Empire. The Mauryan Empire defeated Seleucus and his army during the Seleucid-Mauryan war and acquired territory of the west side of the Indus river.
Under the Mauryan Empire economic activities, internal and external trade and agriculture flourished and further expanded across South Asia. This was only possible due to efficient and single systems of administration, finance and security.
Maurya Empire: Importance
The Maurya Empires political advancement and internal peace laid out the foundation of the expansion of trade in India. Also during Ashoka’s reign, Mauryans expanded their network to greater horizons and went international. Exports from India were reaching places like Persia that included spices, silk and textiles.
The Mauryan Empire also introduced the Arthasastra Kautilya. Its a taxation system that comes in many forms. The Mauryans collected many taxes from traders and peasants that created a landmark in the taxation system of Ancient India.
Maurya Empire: Achievements
The first among many achievements of the Mauryan Empire was the establishment of a stable and consistent trade network and economy. This was a result of conquering several territories and subsequently bringing their elites in the administration. Similarly, the Mauryans also excelled in the architectural department during that time. Creation of new temples, shrines and palaces had picked up pace. The expansion of Buddhism also spread all around the world. During Ashoka’s reign, Buddhism had a purple patch and was transferred out of India into several parts of Asia. Needless to say that the religion had a tremendous impact on the others.
The Mauryan Empire also had the largest army of that particular given time. Mauryans are believed to have had an army of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry and 9,000 war animals. If we compare many great empires such as the great Roman Empire, the emperor never exceeded the army from more than 450,000 men.
Maurya Empire: End
The Mauryan Empire declined significantly after the demise of their last glorious and prominent emperor, Ashoka. He died in 232 B.C.E. The last known emperor of the Mauryan Empire was Brihadratha and he was assassinated in 185 B.C.E by his own general, Pushyamitra Shunga, who was a brahmin. It can easily be said that the demise and downfall of the Maurya dynasty started right off from the death of Great Ashoka.
The partition of the empire also stands tall when talking about the Mauryan end. Had the empire stayed together and not become too vast, invasions could’ve been holt.