POST MAURYAN SOURCES
Mauryan’ is the name given to the period extending from approximately 200 B.C.
300 A.D., that is, from the fall of the Mauryan dynasty to the rise of Gupta power. Thoughseveral important new developments are seen in this phase, it is best viewed in terms of thecontinuity and intensification of political, economic and social processes that started in the post
Vedic (6th, century BC) and matured in the Mauryan, culminating in the post-Mauryan.
Our sources include literature (brahmanical, Buddhist as well as foreign accounts),archaeological excavations (late NBPW and post
NBPW), coins (of a large variety andnumber), inscriptions (in Prakrit and, for the first time, Sanskrit) and architectural and artremains from these five hundred years.
The reconstruction of the history of the subcontinent after the Maurya rule is based on avariety of sources. The sources for the history of these centuries are many and diverse.The dynastic genealogies found in the early Puranas, whose compilation may have begunduring the early centuries of the Christian era, throw light on the political history of the times;their value is enhance when corroborated by inscriptions.Although the Dharmashastra works composed during the post-Maurya period are normative,they do provide the basic material for understanding the changing social structure.The Buddhist Jatakas, Divyavadana, Mahavastu, and the Milindpanho are equally useful. TheJatakas contain many stories of ordinary people, traders, and travellers. Incidental historicalreferences occur in other Buddhist works such as the Milindhpanha and Lalitavistara. Jainatexts throw light on the history of JainismThe earliest Tamil literature, known as the Sangam, throws light on the process of social and political transformation in the far south.Pieces of information may also be culled from such texts as the Gargi Samhita and theMahabhasya of Patanjali. Texts such as the Malavikagnimitra of Kalidasa and theHarshacharita of Banabhatta provide some information bearing on the period after theoverthrow of the Mauryas.
The vast body of material recovered from explorations and excavations of nearly 150 sitesduring the last half century and the impressive testimony of art and architecture both withinthe country and outside, is of great help in reconstructing the social and cultural history of the