Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of Mauryan Empire. He lived from 340 to 298 BCE, and ruled from 322 to 298 BCE. He was one of the most important and able rulers of India. Under Chandragupta, the Mauryan Empire reached its full power and became the largest empire ever in Indian subcontinent. He was also successful in unifying India as a single unit. Before Chandragupta, India was fragmented into small kingdoms but he extended his empire from Kashmir in the north to Deccan Plateau in the South and Afghanistan and Balochistan in the west to Bengal and Assam in the east. Chandragupta’s biggest achievements were defeating Alexander’s army and the conquest of the Nanda Empire at a young age of just 20 years.

There are conflicting views about his lineage. Some of the historians claim that he was born to a Nanda prince and his maid, Mura, while others believe that he belonged to the Moriya or to the Kshatriyas caste.

Chandragupta Maurya was very well guided by Chanakya, a great scholar of economics, political science, jurist and royal advisor. With the assistance of his wise advisor, Chandragupta continued to expand its boundaries. A major credit in the establishment of the Mauryan Empire goes to Chanakya.

When Alexander died in 323 BCE, the Eastern territories controlled by Macedonians fell into the hands of General Seleucus, including the region of the Punjab, which today is part of Northern India and Eastern Pakistan.

In around 305 BC India was once again invaded from the west, this time by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the more successful of Alexander’s successors. Since Seleucus was busy on the western borders, Chandragupta took this opportunity and launched an attack on Seleucus and captured a big portion of what today is Pakistan and Afghanistan. Through a treaty in 303 BCE Seleucus gave Punjab to Chandragupta in exchange for five hundred war elephants and offered his daughter for marriage. He is believed to have married Helena, Seleucus’ daughter. In addition to this matrimonial alliance, Seleucus also sent Megasthenese, the first Greek ambassador to the Mauryan court at Pataliputra, India. Megasthenes account of India in his book “Indica” is considered one of the best works written on ancient India.

Chandragupta then began his conquest towards south conquering Vindhya Range and Deccan Plateau. However, he failed to annex the small kingdom of Kalinga (modern day Orissa) and southernmost regions.

Chandragupta Maurya was eventually able to defeat Bhadrasala and Dhana Nanda in a series of battles and laid siege of the capital city Pataliputra. In 322 BCE he finally overthrew the Nanda dynasty.

According to the reports of Megasthenes, Chandragupta Maurya is believed to have raised an army of 600,000 foot soldiers, 30,000 horses and 9000 war elephants.

In 298 BCE, Chandragupta voluntarily abdicated the throne in favour of his son Bindusara, who became the new Mauryan emperor. Towards the end of his life Chandragupta is said to have converted to Jainism, and eventually to have fasted to death after a famine struck his empire.

External links:

Cultural India – Chandragupta Maurya

Maps of India – Chandragupta Maurya Biography

Indianetzone – Chandragupta Maurya

Ancient History Encyclopedia – Chandragupta Maurya

Last Updated: April
01, 2019


Chandragupta Maurya

  1. Who founded Maurya Empire and when?
  2. What was Chandragupta Maurya’s mother name?
  3. Whom did Seleucus married his daughter to?
    a) Bindusara
    b) Dhana Nanda
    c) Chandragupta Maurya
    d) Ashoka
  4. Name the Greek ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya during the reign of Seleucus Nicator.
  5. __________was the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya?
    a) Kamanandaka
    b) Veeragupta
    c) Chanakya
    d) Vasubandu
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