The Maurya Empire

By: Amanda Hair and Olivia Demasters


The Maurya empire went from 332-185 BCE. The geography affects the society because, at that time, they were in an area with other civilazions that they could trade with. Also they were near the ocean which is a major food source.

Advanced Cities

Pataliputra was the capital city of the empire, states we're starting to be developed, so it mainly just acted as the capital city. It does not still exist today.

Social Structure

They used the caste system in some form. Marriage and polygamy were both present. There was no slavery, and women actaully had a very high status, which was unusaul for back then.


Buddhism was the main and most likely only religion. Their geographic location is a main contributor in how it developed. Since Buddhism is a lifestyle, they used it all the time in their lives becauses it was the way they lived.


Chanakya was the leader. The King was advised by a council of advisors, and was served by an administrative structure. The empire was divided into provinces, each governed by a member of the royal family.

System of Writing

Sanskrit was the writing system that was used during the Mauryan Empire. Only used by scholars however. Vedic Sanskrit literature developed first in an oral form, and was first set down in writting after centuries of oral transmission. Sanskrit is no longer a spoken language, but continues to be used in religious rituals, and its Classical form is still a literary language. Sanskrit is divided into two general categories, the more ancient Vedic Sanskrit (from approximately 1500 to 200 B.C.) and Classical Sanskrit (approximately 500 B.C. to 1000 A.D.).
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They seem to have developed techniques to make iron stong and long lasting and smelted and made swords and other weapons. The wheel was refined and made more suitable for chariots. Civil Engineering must have been quite well developed as reflected in the rock cut edicts and description of Royal palace with more than 360 chambers and provisions for secrecy of choice every night. Laying roads lined by trees on either side, construction of rest houses and roads had been described in the edicts. Shipbuilding technology however crude must have evolved to facilitate travel by Mahendra and Sanghamitra to spread Buddhism and Asokan code of conduct.


Primary Source Document

Below is a Bilingual inscription (in Greek and Aramaic) by King Ashoka, discovered at Kandahar.

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The expansion of two kingdoms in the northeast laid the groundwork for the emergence of India's first empire, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty. By 303 B.C., Chandragupta Maurya (known to the Greeks as Sandracotta) had gained control of an immense area ranging from Bengal in the east to Afghanistan in the west and as far south as the Narmada River. The third Mauryan emperor, Ashoka (r. ca. 273–232 B.C.), is one of the most famous rulers in Indian history. His conversion to and support of Buddhism is often likened to the impact of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great's acceptance of Christianity in 313 A.D. Beginning in 254 B.C., Ashoka had monumental edicts on Buddhism carved into rocks and caves throughout his empire. Overall, Tthe Maurya Empire lasted for over a century and is to be regarded as one of the great civilizations of all time. Apart from its magnificence, and despite the controversy and uncertainty surrounding many of the actions and achievements of its rulers, this empire and, in particular, one of its rulers, are historically significant in their remarkable moral and humanitarian legacy to mankind.