The Mauryan Empire is regarded as the first and one of the greatest empires in India. It is called an empire because it annexed and brought several smaller states under its control. Literary Sources and Archaeological Sources of the Mauryan Empire are as follows.
Sources of Mauryan Empire
- Arthashastra written by Kautilya forms one of the most important sources of the history of the Mauryan period. Kautilya or Chanakya was the chief advisor of Chandragupta Maurya. The book contains important information on politics, rules in diplomacy, principles of administration, and other state matters.
- Indika was written by Megasthenes who was the Greek ambassador at the court of Chandragupta Maurya. He was sent to Chandragupta’s court by Seleucus, a Greek ruler. Megasthenes lived in the court of Chandragupta for about five years. He observed the societal norms, culture, and people in the country. His work on India was later referred to by scholars such as Arrian, Strabo, and Diodorus.
- Edicts are the royal proclamations issued by the ruler. Edicts of Ashoka are the oldest, best preserved, and precisely dated records of India. Ashoka’s edicts include 14 Major Rock Edicts, seven pillar edicts, and several minor rock edicts.
- These edicts reflect the policies and events which took place during the reign of Ashoka. For example, the Rock edict XIII mentions that great miseries inflicted on the people during the Kalinga War changed the heart of Ashoka and he vowed not to wage a war again. Ashoka spread the message of peace, non-violence, and universal brotherhood to the people through the edicts.
- The Sanchi Stupa is a semi-spherical dome structure that contains the relics of Buddha such as his teeth, hair or bones. The Sanchi Stupa was built by Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Many stories taken from Jataka and the events of the life of the Buddha have been engraved on the gateways of the stupa at Sanchi.
Also, Read The Mauryan Empire