The Maurya are a Hindu dynasty founded by Chandragupta Maurya in the year which followed the retirement of Alexandre Large the of India. Indeed, the Greek incursion had highlighted the need for a State unified to face a possible invasion since the Western steps. Maurya formed the first great empire of India and thus reigned on most of the sub-continent until in -187, date on which they will disappear with the profit from the Dynastie Shunga.
The Maurya dynastyDynasty Maurya, one knows especially the first three sovereigns (the dates are approximate):
- Chandragupta Maurya, of worms -322 with -300
- Bindusâra, born in -322, reign of -300 with -274
- Ashoka, reign of -274 with -232
The successors of these sovereigns are almost unknown, in particular we know little about the dates which correspond to them:
- Dsharatha, -232 with worms -224
- Sampatri, -224 with -215
- Shalishuka, -215 with -202
- Devavarman, -202 with -195
- Shatadhanvan, -195 with -187
- Brihadratha, -187 with -180
Kautilya, the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya gathered, in its work Arthashâstra, of the principles of government which were used as guide with the Indian governments during 2.000 years
The Maurya EmpireThe economy, in all its important aspects, was under the control of the state, the mines, the forests, the large farms, the ammunition, and the factories were its property. The people were divided into seven endogames groups: “philosophers”, peasants, shepherds, tradesmen, soldiers, civils servant of the government, and advisers.
The army was composed of the four traditional Indian forces: troops assembled on elephants, on tank S, the cavalry, equipped with lances but without bit nor saddles, and the infantry, army of a large arc or javelins and of a broad sword with two hands, and it counted a great number of soldiers, one considers according to the sources available that the forces of Chandragupta rose with 600.000 men. Paid well, the soldiers enjoy particular favors, like the mining engineers.
The religious life of the empire was characterized by its pluralism. The Brahmanism, the primitive form of the hindouism, the Buddhism, the Jaïnisme, the itinerant Ajîvika and other beggars seem to have coexisted peacefully. The general religious policy of Maurya was to encourage the tolerance.
Nowadays, one regards the empire of Maurya as a golden age of the Indian history, one moment when the country was plain and independent.
The Maurya administration
The Maurya Empire was the first state of big size, with a centralized administration, of India. The country was well controlled, mixing an autocracy moderated with the report heading and a certain democracy at the local level, in the cities and the villages. Megasthénès, Greek ambassador at the court of Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, fact state of its admiration for the effective administration of the empire and the prosperity of the Indian cities. It described the quality of agriculture there, the abundance of water and the raw materials, indicates that “the Indians get dressed with brilliant and rich colors, and use liberally of jewels and invaluable stones”. It brings back also the division of the company according to the profession, the great number of sects nuns and abroad in the empire.
The administration of the Empire maurya is based on a very centralized bureaucracy. Almost all the aspects of the life are the subject of taxes (the grounds, water, the houses of play, tolls). There exist fines for all the minor offenses. The system functions under the narrow control of the State. The civils servant are the subject of a severe monitoring to avoid the disloyalty and the embezzlements, thanks to the assistance of a network of secret agents set up by Chandragupta. This company does not know slavery, even if the prisoners must often purge their sorrow with the fields under work conditions close to the constraint, and if the servants and the peasants will shudra are treated hard.
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