Mauryas – Time of Bindusara

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  • Bindusara succeeded Chandragupta Maurya in 297 or 298 B.C.

  • According to Strabo Antiochus sent Daimiachus as an ambassador to Bindusara's court

  • Pliny mentions that another Greek king Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt (285-247 BC) sent Dionysius as ambassador to India.

  • He was known as Aniitra Ghata (Slayer of foes)

  • The Greeks called him Amitrochates

  • Amitrochates (Bindusara) wrote to Antiochus I of Syria and asked for some sweet wine, dried figs and a sophist

  • Antiochus sent the wine and figs but replied that Sophist (Greek philosophers) was not for export

  • It was probably during the reign of Bindusara, that the Mauryas controlled the Deccan

  • During his time there was a revolt at Taxila

  • He sent his son Asoka to suppress the rebellions (according to Ashokavadan)

  • Bindusara is said to have a privy council of 500 of 500 members

  • His Prime Minister (Agramatya) was a person named Khallataba

  • Bindusara was a follower of Ajivika sect

  • Bindusara died in the period 273-272 B.C.

  • Syrian Ambassador Demiachus was sent to his court after Magasthenese

  • Asoka was the Governor of Avanti for 18 years but was later transferred to Taxila


  • He ascended the throne after the 4 years of inter regnum

  • He mother's name was Subhdharangi and Dhrama

  • Tissya was his youngest brother

  • There is mention of his second queen named Karuvati, mother of Tivara (his son)

  • According to his inscriptions at Maski, Gurjara, he styled himself as Devnam Priya Priyadarshi Raja

  • The edicts II, V and XIII mentions that Yavana, Kamboja, Nabhaka, Rastrika, Bhoj, Andhra and Parqdas were the outlaying provinces

  • Tamraparni (Ceylon) was outside his domain

  • According to the II rock edict, Asoka called his kingdom as 'Vijit' i.e. conquered territory and the entire royal territory was called Raja Vishaya (according to XIII rock edict)

  • The kingdom was divided into a number of Janapadas and a number of Predeshas

  • These Pradeshas were dividing into Ahars (districts) and Ahars into Vishyas (Taluka, subdivision or Kotta)

  • Asoka's inscriptions in rock edict VII speak about 2 or 3 other classes of officials:

  1. Striya Adhaksha Mahamatras – to provide subsistence to helpless women,

  2. Vachbhumika or Vrajbhumika – were in charge of animals (domesticated)

  3. Amtamahatta – to govern the frontier people and less civilized tribes were in charged of the areas of frontiers. In the II MRE. Asoka expected them to work towards peace and tranquility of the area.

  • The Kalinga war took place during 261-260 BC in his 9th regnal year

  • Rock edicts were started in his 13th regnal year (according to the VI Pillar Edict)

  • Asoka sent his son Mahendra to Ceylon in 248 B.C.,

  • Asoka died in 233-232 B.C.

  • Fullest appellation was 'Devanampriya Priyadarshi Raja'

  • In the edicts he records himself as Priyadarshi

  • After the Kalinga war, he decided to become the superme power of the earth not through the territorial conquest (Berighosa) but through spiritual conquest (Dharmagosha)

Adhvakshas or Superintendents

  • Arthashastra has mentioned various superintend (Adhyakshas)

  • These officials supervise the revenue coming from a particular source

  • These officers were also responsible for the administration of their departments

  • They generally worked at local centers and made their reports to the administration at the capital

  • They were assisted by different committees and under different officers

  • The Adhyakshak mentioned in the Arthashastra are as follows:-

    1. Nagvandhyaksha – Chief elephant forester

    2. 'Koshadhyaksha' – Chief superintendent of treasury

    3. 'Akardhyaksha' – Chief controller of mining and metallurgy

    4. 'Lohadhyaksha' – Chief superintendent of metals

    5. 'Lakshyamandhyaksha' – Chief master of mint

    6. 'Khanyadhyaksha' – Chief superintendent of mines

    7. 'Lavnadhyaksha' – Salt Commissioners

    8. 'Swarnadhyaksha' – Chief superintendent of precious metals and jewelry

    9. 'Kostagaradhyaksha' – Chief superintendent of ware houses

    10. 'Panyaddhyaksha' – Chief controller of state trading

    11. 'Kupyadhaksha' – Chief superintendent of forest produce

    12. 'Adhyagaradhyaksha' – Chief of ordinances

    13. 'Pautwadhyaksha' – Controller of weight and measure

    14. 'Manadhyaksha' – Chief superintendent and time keeper

    15. 'Shulkadhyaksha' – Chief superintendent of Custom ad octroi

    16. 'Sutradhyaksha' – Chief textile commissioners

    17. 'Sitadhyaksha' – Chief superintendent of crown lend

    18. 'Surradhyaksha' – Chief controller of Alcoholic beverages

    19. 'Sunadhyaksha' - Chief protector of animals and controller animal slaughter

    20. 'Ganikadhyaksha' - Chief controller of entertainers

    21. 'Navadhyaksha' - Chief controller of shipping

    22. 'Patnadhyaksha' - Chief controller of port and harbour

    23. 'Godhyaksha' - Chief superintendent of cow herds

    24. 'Ashwadhyaksha' - Chief commander of the cavalry

    25. 'Hastadhyaksha' - Chief commander of elephant corps

    26. 'Rathadhyaksha' - Chief commander of the Charriot corps

    27. 'Patyadhyaksha' – Chief commander of the infantry

    28. 'Mudradhyaksha' – Chief passport officers

    29. 'VIvitadhyaksha' – Chief controller of pasture land

    30. 'Dhyutadhyaksha' – Chief controller of Gambling

    31. 'Samasthadhyaksha' – Chief controller of private trade

    32. 'Bandanagradhyaksha' – Chief superintendent to Jail

    33. 'Devtadhyaksha' – Chief superintendent of temples

  • Arthashastra mentions about 18 departments of the government known's as 'Tirthas'

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