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Mauryan Empire

Madison Gilbert, Aryn Cimmerer,

Marcel Valdez, Brandon Peck, Noah
Roman, Haley Viall
General Overview
The Mauryan Empire ruled from 322 BCE - 185 BCE. At its height, the empire stretched over parts of
modern Iran and almost the entire Indian subcontinent, not ruling only the southern peninsular tip.
Chandragupta Maurya founded the Empire in 322 B.C.E. after overthrowing the Nanda Dynasty. He
began rapidly expanding his power westward across central and western India. The Mauryan Empire
was arguably the largest empire to rule the Indian subcontinent. Its decline began fifty years after
Ashoka's rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 B.C.E. with the rise of the Sunga Dynasty in Magadha.
Religious Beliefs

The Mauryan Empire had three main religions.

Buddhism- Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment
of a deep insight into the true nature of life. Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana. The path to
Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom.

Hinduism- Hinduism is very similar to Buddhism though they believe that your caste system has something to
do with your enlightenment.

Jainism- It is traditionally known as Jain Dharma. In short Jainism is concern for the welfare of every being in
the universe and for the health of the universe itself. Liberation is achieved through eliminating all karma in the
soul. It is a “self help” religion meaning that there are no gods to help you achieve peace.
Labor System
○ The “untouchables” were a caste lower than the
sudras, were responsible for unwanted jobs that
dealt with the human body/waste
○ Slaves, poor farmers, and servants carried out
most of the hard labor
○ Common jobs were: farming, food gathering,
masonry, carpentry, craftsmanship, and stone
○ Grains, millet, rice, bosporum were all crops that
were approved by the government (support)
Art & Architecture

● Art can be classified into Stupas, Pillars, Caves, Palaces and Pottery.
● The Stupas were solid domes constructed of brick or stone, varying in sizes.
● The most striking monuments of Mauryan art are the celebrated Pillars of Dharma. These pillars
were free standing columns and were not used as supports to any structure.
○ Monoliths = large objects carved from a single block of stone.
○ The top was carved into the shape of an upside-down lotus flower, a prominent symbol in
Buddhism that looks like a flattened bell
● Mauryan pottery consisted of many types of wares. The black polished type found in North India
is important. It has a burnished and glazed surface.
● The gilded pillars of the Mauryan palace were adorned with golden vines and silver birds. The
workmanship of the imperial palace was of very high standard (title page)
● freestanding figural stone statues of deities called yakshas and yakshinis.
Technological Advancements

Espionage: Standardization Advances in “Classical” period

Spy system of sanskrit medicine and of great literary and
used for herbal artistic productivity
“security” remedies (Pandya kings)
Significant Leaders
The Mauryan Empire was established in the wake
of Alexander the Great. The empire was lead by
three major emperors, Chandragupta Maurya,
Bindusara, and Ashoka. Chandragupta established
the spread of the empire, whereas Bindusara
expanded it further.

● Traded extensively with Hellenistic

○ under Ashoka
● Used the Silk Road
● Heart of international and sea trade
● Exports: silk, textiles, spices, and
exotic foods
What weakened the Mauryan Empire

● The death of Ashoka Maurya lead the Empire

to attempt To replace him
● The changing of leaders in such short times
lead to disorganization
● Ashoka Maurya lead the empire well but the
succession of many weaker leaders started the
decline of the empire
The Decline

- Succession of weak leaders prevented the empire from regaining the power they had
lost after the death of Ashoka

- Mauryan empire was to dependent on the emperor’s power and knowledge, it had no
backup; like the senate in the roman empire

- Larger provinces began to break away from the empire because they because self
reliant due to the wealth and power they had

- Due to the lack of a competent leader the military force of the Mauryan Empire
The Demise
● The final ending of the Mauryans was the invasion from the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
(around 180 B.C.E.)
● Greco-Bactrian Kingdom located across Indus River from Mauryan Empire