Post-Mauryan coinage of Gandhara
The Post-Mauryan coinage of Gandhara refers to the period of coinage production in Gandhara, following the breakup of the Maurya Empire. When Mauryan central power disappeared, several small independent entities were formed, which started to strike their own coins, defining a period of Post-Mauryan coinage that ends with the rise of the Gupta Empire in the 4th century CE; this phenomenon was precocious and significant in the area of Gandhara in the northwest, more in the city of Taxila, in modern-day Pakistan. These political changes were accompanied by technological changes in coin production techniques. Before the collapse of the Maurya Empire, the main type of coinage was punch-marked coins. After manufacturing a sheet of silver or silver alloys, coins were cut out to the proper weight, impressed by small punch-dies. From 5 to 10 punch dies could be impressed on one coin; the types of coins were replaced at the fall of the Maurya Empire by die-struck coins. Each individual coins was first cast by pouring a molten metal copper or silver, into a cavity formed by two molds.
These were usually die-struck while still hot, first on just one side, on the two sides at a period. The coin devices are Indian, but it is thought that this coin technology was introduced from the West from the neighboring Greco-Bactrian kingdom; the most ancient of the coins are those that were die-cast on one side only, the other side remaining blank. They seem to start as early 220 BCE, in the last decades of the Maurya Empire; some of these coins were created before the Indo-Greek invasions, while most of the others were created later. These coins incorporate a number of symbols, in a way, reminiscent of the prievous punch-marked coins, except that this time the technology used was cast single die-struck coinage; the year 185 BCE is the approximate date. This date marks an evolution in the design of single-die cast coins, as deities and realistic animals were introduced. At the same time coinage technology evolved, as double-die coins started to appear; the archaeological excavations of coins have shown that these coins, as well as the new double die coins, were contemporary with those of the Indo-Greeks.
According to Osmund Bopearachchi these coins, those depicting the goddess Lakshmi, were minted by Demetrius I following his invasion of Gandhara. Progressively, after 185 BCE and the Greek invasion, coins were cast on both sides; these coins are anonymous, can carry Brahmi or Kharoshthi legends. These coins have quite specific types, depending on the region where they were struck. Coins with a lion device are known from Taxila, while coins with other symbols such as the Swastika or the Bodhi tree are attributed to the region of Gandhara; these coins were cast during the rule of Indo-Greek kings Pantaleon and Agathocles in the area of Gandhara, they are contemporary with those of Indo-Greek rulers. Indo-Greek influence in the portrayal of the animal has been claimed regarding the horses and lions of the Gandharan coins, which are said to be "distinctly Greek in style"; the horse is shown with the specific symbol of a star. This design can be found in Greek coinage, such as that of Ophellas, a former officer of Alexander, as governor in Cyrene, North Africa.
Humped or elephant images are known from Ayodhya, Kausambi and Mathura. The coins of Ayodhia have a humped bull on the reverse, while the coins of Kausambi display a tree with railing; the Indo-Greeks, following their invasion of the Indian subcontinent circa 185 BCE, in turn started to mint their own coins in the Indian standard with bilingual inscriptions, from the reign of Agathocles. In addition to their own Attic coins, Greek kings thus started to issue bilingual Greek-Prakrit coins in the Indian standard taking over numerous symbols of the Post-Mauryan Gandhara coins, such as the arched-hill symbol and the tree-in-railing or Goddess Lakshmi at the beginning, depictions of the bull and elephant later. Several coins of king Agathocles use the Kharoshthi legend Akathukreyasa "Agathocles" on the obverse, Hirañasame on the reverse. Hirañasame would mean "The Golden Hermitage", an area of Taxila, or if read'Hitajasame would mean "Good-fame possessing", a direct translation of "Agathokles" Later on, from the second half of the reign of Apollodotus I, legends would become standardized, with the King's name and attribute in Greek on the obverse and Kharoshthi Prakrit on the reverse.
The usage of Indian symbols would become much more restrained limited to the illustration of the elephant and the zebu bull. There are two major exceptions however: Menander I and Menander II used the Indian Wheel of the Law on some of their coins, suggesting an affiliation with Buddhism, described in literary sources; however the usage of bilingualism would endure, at first coexisting with Attic-standard coins, becoming exclusive. The last Indo-Greek kings went as far as issuing some Prakrit-only coinage; the period of Indo-Greek coinage in northwestern India would last until the beginning of our era. Indo-Greek coinage in Gandhara would continue for nearly two centuries, until it was taken over by the coinage of the Indo-Scythians, the Indo-Parthians and the Yuezhi. Coinage of South Asia
The Janapadas were the realms and kingdoms of the Vedic period on the Indian subcontinent. The Vedic period reaches from the late Bronze Age into the Iron Age: from about 1500 BCE to the 6th century BCE. With the rise of sixteen Mahajanapadas, most of the states were annexed by more powerful neighbours, although some remained independent; the Sanskrit term janapada is a tatpurusha compound term, composed of two words: pada. Jana means "people" or "subject"; the word pada means "foot". Linguist George Dunkel compares the Greek andrapodon "slave", to PIE *pédom "fetters". Sanskrit padám taken to mean "footprint, trail", diverges in accent from the PIE reconstruction. For the sense of "population of the land", padasya janas, the inverted padajana would be expected. A primary meaning of "place of the people", janasya padam, would not explain why the compound is of masculine gender. An original dvandva "land and people" is conceivable. Literary evidence suggests that the janapadas flourished between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE.
The earliest mention of the term "janapada" occurs in the Shatapatha Brahmana texts. In the Vedic samhitas, the term jana denotes a tribe; the janas were headed by a king. The samiti was a common assembly of the jana members, had the power to elect or dethrone the king; the sabha was a smaller assembly of wise elders. The janas were semi-nomadic pastoral communities, but came to be associated with specific territories as they became less mobile. Various kulas developed within each with its own chief; the necessities of defence and warfare prompted the janas to form military groupings headed by janapadins. This model evolved into the establishment of political units known as the janapadas. While some of the janas evolved into their own janapadas, others appear to have mixed together to form a common Janapada. According to the political scientist Sudama Misra, the name of the Panchala janapada suggests that it was a fusion of five janas; some janas mentioned in the earliest texts do not find a mention in the texts.
Misra theorizes that these smaller janas were assimilated into the larger janas. Janapadas were dissolved around 500 BCE, their disestablishment can be attributed to the rise of imperial powers within India, as well as foreign invasions in the north-western South Asia. The Janapada were highest political unit in Ancient India during this period; the head of a kingdom was called a or king. A chief or priest and a or commander of the army who would assist the king. There were two other political bodies: the, thought to be a council of elders and the, a general assembly of the entire people. Rivers formed the boundaries of two neighboring kingdoms, as was the case between the northern and southern Panchala and between the western and eastern Kuru. Sometimes, large forests, which were larger than the kingdoms themselves, formed their boundaries as was the case of Naimisha Forest, the NaimishaAranyam between Panchala and Kosala kingdoms. Mountain ranges like Himalaya, VindhyaAchala and SahyaAdri formed their boundaries.
Some kingdoms possessed a main city. For example, the capital of Pandava's Kingdom was Indraprastha and the Kaurava's Kingdom was Hastinapura. Ahichatra was the capital of Northern Panchala whereas Kampilya was the capital of Southern Panchala. Kosala Kingdom had its capital at Ayodhya. Apart from the main city or capital, where the palace of the ruling king was situated, there were small towns and villages spread throughout the kingdom, from which tax was collected by officers appointed by the king. What the king offered in return was protection from attack by other kings and robber tribes, as well as from invading foreign nomadic tribes; the king enforced law and order in his kingdom by punishing the guilty. The Janapadas had Kshatriya rulers. Based on literary references, historians have theorized that the Janapadas were administered by the following assemblies in addition to the king: Sabha An assembly more akin to a council of qualified members or elders who advised the king and performed judicial functions.
In the ganas or republican Janapadas called Gana-Rajya with no kings, the council of elders handled administration. Paura Sabha Paura was the assembly of the capital city, handled municipal administration. Samiti A samiti consisted of all adults of the republic or the city-state. A samiti was congregated when a matter of importance had to be communicated to the entire city-state. A samiti was held at the time of festivals to plan, raise revenue and conduct the celebrations. Janapada The Janapada assembly represented the rest of the Janapada the villages, which were administered by a Gramini; some historians have theorized that there was a common assembly called the "Paura-Janapada", but others such as Ram Sharan Sharma disagree with this theory. The existence of Paura and Janapada itself is a controversial
The Hyderabadi Rupee was the currency of the Hyderabad State from 1918 to 1959. It coexisted with the Indian rupee from 1950. Like the Indian rupee, it was divided into each of 12 pai. Coins were issued in copper for denominations of 1 and 2 pai and ½ anna, in cupro-nickel for 1 anna and in silver for 2, 4 and 8 annas and 1 rupee. Hyderabad was the only Indian princely state, permitted to continue issuing its own notes after it was subjected to join the Dominion of India in 1948 and the Republic of India in 1950; the Government of Hyderabad made several efforts to organize private bankers to set up a banking company which could issue paper money. The British, resisted the attempts of Indian princely states to issue paper currency; the acute shortage of silver during the First World War and the contributions of Hyderabad to the British war effort led them to accept, in 1918, paper currency in denominations of Rs.10/- and Rs.100/- issued under the Hyderabad Currency Act. The currency was designated the Osmania Sicca.
One and five rupee notes were subsequently issued in 1919 and one thousand rupee notes were issued in 1926. After the setting up of the India Currency Notes Press at Nashik, Hyderabad notes came to be printed there. In 1942, the Government of Hyderabad established the Hyderabad State Bank, with the responsibility, inter alia, of managing the OS. Hyderabad continued to mint its own coins until 1948, when India occupied the state after the Nizam refused to cede it to the new republic. In 1950, the Indian rupee was introduced alongside the local currency, with the relationship of 7 Hyderabad rupees = 6 Indian rupees being used. In 1951, the Hyderabad rupee ceased to be issued and the Indian rupee became the main circulating currency, although the Hyderabad rupee was not demonetized until 1959; the banknotes of Hyderabad were issued from 1918 until 1953. The ruling Nizam of Hyderabad was Mir Osman Ali Khan. Notes issued as early as 1916 have been reported; the notes are dated in the Fasli Era, so adding 589 to the FE date will convert it to the AD date.
They were printed in Urdu, with the value of currency written in Urdu, Telugu and English on them. In 1932, a quantity of unissued, but water stained Hyderabadi notes in 5, 10, 100 rupee denominations were recovered from the SS Egypt, which sank off the island of Ushant near Brest, northern France in 1922. Many of these were sold as souvenirs; these notes were in the process of being shipped from England. These notes are of historic interest to notaphilists; some of the notes are printed later than the dates that they bear. The double letter serial number prefix determines; some of the 1939-53 issues have a single serial number prefix series code letter. The signature provides a clue to the approximate period when a note was issued, it is not yet certain as the inscriptions are in Urdu. Sir Reginald R. Clancy Fakhr-ud-Din Ahmad Hyder Nawaz Jung Fakhr-Yar Jung Mehdi Yar Jung Ghulam Muhammad Liaquat Jung Zahed Husain Zahed Jung Moin Nawaz Jung D. R. Pradhan C. V. S. Rao Dr. G. S. Melkote PS261. 1 rupee. ND.
Black on peach underprint. Back light brown. PS262. 1 rupee. ND. Bicoloured. PS264. 10 rupees. FE1327. Yellow-brown and black on lilac underprint. Series AB. PS263a. 5 rupees. FE1331.. Green. Series IQ. Without signature. Sea salvage note. Unissued. PS265a. 10 rupees. FE1331.. Yellow-brown and black on lilac underprint. Series AI. Without signature. Sea salvage note. Unissued. PS266a. 100 rupees. FE1331.. Blue and black on tan underprint. Series PS. Without signature. Sea salvage note. Unissued. PS263b. 5 rupees. FE1337.. Green. Series LX. PS263c. 5 rupees. FE1346.. Green. Series MC. PS265b. 10 rupees. FE1333.. Yellow-brown and black on lilac underprint. Series AN. PS265c. 10 rupees. FE1338.. Series?. PS265d. 10 rupees. FE1339.. Series BK. PS265e. 10 rupees. FE1342.. Series BW. PS265f. 10 rupees. FE1344.. Series?. PS265g. 10 rupees. FE1346.. Series CH. PS266b. 100 rupees. FE1339.. Blue and black on tan underprint. Series PY-PZ. PS266c. 100 rupees. FE1339.. Series QA. PS266d. 100 rupees. FE1334.. Series PT. PS267. 1,000 rupees. FE1340.. Red and black on light green underprint.
PS263d. 5 rupees. FE1347.. Green. Series MD-ME. PS265h. 10 rupees. FE1347.. Yellow-brown and black on lilac underprint. PS273a. 5 rupees. ND.. Green and multicoloured. PS274a. 10 rupees. ND.. Light multicoloured. PS275a. 100 rupees. ND.. Blue and multicoloured. Series QC. PS271a. 1 rupee. ND.. Brown and multicoloured. Series A. PS273b. 5 rupees. ND.. Green and multicoloured. PS274b. 10 rupees. ND.. Light multicoloured. PS275b. 100 rupees. ND.. Blue and multicoloured. Series QF and QH-QJ. PS271b. 1 rupee. ND.. Brown and multicoloured. Series B-M. PS271c. 1 rupee. ND.. Brown and multicoloured. Series B-X.. PS273c. 5 rupees. ND.. Green and multicoloured. PS274c. 10 rupees. ND.. Light multicoloured. PS275c. 100 rupees. ND. Blue and multicoloured. Series QN and QP. PS271c. 1 rupee. ND.. Brown and multicoloured. Series B-X. (two signatori
Diodotus I Soter was Seleucid satrap of Bactria, rebelled against Seleucid rule soon after the death of Antiochus II in c. 255 or 246 BC, wrested independence for his territory, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. He died in 239 BC; this event is recorded by Prol. 41. 4, 5, where he is called Theodotus. The name is related to the title Soter he uses for himself, his power seems to have extended over the neighbouring provinces. Diodotus was a contemporary, a neighbour, an ally of Andragoras, the satrap of Parthia, who at about the same time proclaimed independence from the Seleucid Empire. Diodotus wrested independence for his territory after the death of the Seleucid ruler Antiochus II Theos, embroiled in a war against Ptolemaic Egypt: Diodotus, the governor of the thousand cities of Bactria and proclaimed himself king; the new kingdom urbanized and considered as one of the richest of the Orient, was to further grow in power and engage into territorial expansion to the east and the west: The Greeks who caused Bactria to revolt grew so powerful on account of the fertility of the country that they became masters, not only of Ariana, but of India, as Apollodorus of Artemita says: and more tribes were subdued by them than by Alexander...
Their cities were Bactra, Darapsa, several others. Among these was Eucratidia, named after its ruler; the newly declared King married a daughter, born c. 266 BC, of Antiochus II Theos and wife Laodice I and had two children: Diodotus II and a daughter, born c. 250 BC, who married Euthydemus I. Arsaces, the chieftain of the nomadic tribe of the Parni, fled before him into Parthia and there defeated and killed Andragoras, the former satrap and self-proclaimed king of Parthia, became the founder of the Parthian Empire; as a result, the Greco-Bactrians were cut off from direct contacts with the Greek world. Overland trade continued at a reduced rate, while sea trade between Greek Egypt and Bactria developed; when Seleucus II in 239 BC attempted to subjugate the rebels in the east, it appears he and Diodotus united together against the Parthians. Soon afterwards Diodotus died and was succeeded by his son Diodotus II, who concluded a peace with the Parthians and allied himself with Arsaces in his fight against Seleucus II: Soon after, relieved by the death of Theodotus, Arsaces made peace and concluded an alliance with his son by the name of Theodotus.
Of Diodotus I we possess gold and bronze coins, some of which are struck in the name of Antiochus. As the power of the Seleucids was weak and continually attacked by Ptolemy II, the eastern provinces and their Greek cities were exposed to the invasion of the nomadic barbarians and threatened with destruction. Diodotus Soter appears on coins struck in his memory by the Graeco-Bactrian kings Agathocles and Antimachus. Cf. AV Sallet, Die Nachfolger Alexanders d. Gr. in Baktrien und Indien. Coins of Diodotus
In the coinage of the North Indian and Central Asian Kushan Empire the main coins issued were gold, weighing 7.9g. and base metal issues of various weights between 12g and 1.5g. Little silver coinage was issued, but in periods the gold used was debased with silver; the coin designs broadly follow the styles of the preceding Greco-Bactrian rulers in using Hellenistic styles of image, with a deity on one side and the king on the other. Kings may be shown as a profile head, a standing figure officiating at a fire altar in Zoroastrian style, or mounted on a horse; the artistry of the dies is lower than the exceptionally high standards of the best coins of Greco-Bactrian rulers. Continuing influence from Roman coins can be seen in designs of the late 1st and 2nd century CE, in mint practices evidenced on the coins, as well as a gradual reduction in the value of the metal in base metal coins, so that they become virtual tokens. Iranian influence in the royal figures and the pantheon of deities used, is stronger.
Under Kanishka the royal title of "King of kings" changed from the Greek "ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ" to the Persian form "ϷAONANOϷAO". Much of what little information we have of Kushan political history derives from coins; the language of inscriptions is the Bactrian language, written in a script derived from Greek. Many coins show the tamga symbols as a kind of monogram for the ruler. There were several regional mints, the evidence from coins suggests that much of the empire was semi-independent; the Kushan religious pantheon is varied, as revealed by their coins and their seals, on which more than 30 different gods appear, belonging to the Hellenistic, the Iranian, to a lesser extent the Indian world. Greek deities, with Greek names are represented on early coins. During Kanishka's reign, the language of the coinage changes to Bactrian. After Huvishka, only two divinities appear on the coins: Oesho. Representation of entities from Greek mythology and Hellenistic syncretism are: Ηλιος, Ηφαηστος, Σαληνη, Ανημος.
Further, the coins of Huvishka portray the demi-god erakilo Heracles, the Egyptian god sarapo Sarapis. The Indic entities represented on coinage include: Βοδδο Μετραγο Βοδδο Mαασηνo Σκανδo koμαρo þακαμανο Βοδδο The Iranian entities depicted on coinage include: Αρδοχþο Aþαειχþo Αθþο Φαρρο Λροοασπο Μαναοβαγο, Μαο Μιθρο, Μιιρο, Μιορο, Μιυρο Μοζδοοανο Νανα, Ναναια, Ναναϸαο Οαδο Oαxþo Ooρoμoζδο Οραλαγνο Τιερο Additionally: Οηϸο, long considered to represent Indic Shiva, but more identified as Avestan Vayu conflated with Shiva. Two copper coins of Huvishka bear a'Ganesa' legend, but instead of depicting the typical theriomorphic figure of Ganesha, have a figure of an archer holding a full-length bow with string inwards and an arrow; this is a depiction of Rudra, but in the case of these two coins is assumed to represent Shiva. MacDowell identified three regional copper issues of Kajula Kadphises and Vima Taktu of separate coinage in their first issue, which would correspond to the three previous realms making up the Kushan empire.
The northern area, Bactria which had the largest sized coins of 12g and 1.5g, Gandhara whose coinage weighed 9-10g for large and 2g for small, the Indian area, where coins are 4g each. MacDowell proposed a gradual reduction of all three issues starting with Huvishka, while Chattopadhyay proposes a rapid devaluation of the issue by Kanishka, it seems. Issues were unified into a central coinage system of weights. Vima Kadphises issued three denominations of for this metal, a two of 15.75 grammes, a one of 7.8 grammes and a quarter dinar piece of 1.95 grammes. MacDowell, David W. "Mithra": "Mithra's Planetary Setting in the Coinage of the Great Kushans", in Études Mithriaques: Actes Du 2e Congrès International, Téhéran, Du 1er Au 8 Septembre, 1975, ed. Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin, 1978, BRILL, ISBN 9004039023, 9789004039025, preview Online catalogue of Kushan coinage The Indo-Bactrian and Kushan coinage KANISHKA AND THE KUSHANA DYNASTY k u s h a n e m p i r e
The Punjab spelled Panjab, is a geopolitical and historical region in South Asia in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northern India. The boundaries of the region focus on historical accounts; until the Partition of Punjab in 1947, the British Punjab Province encompassed the present-day Indian states and union territories of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. It bordered the Balochistan and Pashtunistan regions to the west, Kashmir to the north, the Hindi Belt to the east, Rajasthan and Sindh to the south; the people of the Punjab today are called Panjabis, their principal language is Punjabi. The main religions of the Indian Punjab region are Hinduism; the main religions of the Pakistani Punjab region is Islam. Other religious groups are Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Ravidassia; the Punjab region has been inhabited by the Indus Valley Civilisation, Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Scythians, has seen numerous invasions by the Persians, Kushans, Timurids, Pashtuns and others.
Historic foreign invasions targeted the most productive central region of the Punjab known as the Majha region, the bedrock of Punjabi culture and traditions. The Punjab region is referred to as the breadbasket in both India and Pakistan; the region was called Sapta Sindhu, the Vedic land of the seven rivers flowing into the ocean. The origin of the word Punjab can be traced to the Sanskrit "pancha-nada", which means "five rivers", is used as the name of a region in the Mahabharata; the name of the region, Punjab, is a compound of two Persian words, Panj and āb, introduced to the region by the Turko-Persian conquerors of India, more formally popularised during the Mughal Empire. Punjab thus means "The Land of Five Waters", referring to the rivers Jhelum, Ravi and Beas. All are tributaries of the Sutlej being the largest; the Greeks referred to the region as Pentapotamia. There are two main definitions of the Punjab region: the 1947 definition and the older 1846–1849 definition. A third definition incorporates both the 1947 and the older definitions but includes northern Rajasthan on a linguistic basis and ancient river movements.
The 1947 definition defines the Punjab region with reference to the dissolution of British India whereby the British Punjab Province was partitioned between India and Pakistan. In Pakistan, the region now includes Islamabad Capital Territory. In India, it includes the Punjab state, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. Using the 1947 definition, the Punjab borders the Balochistan and Pashtunistan regions to the west, Kashmir to the north, the Hindi Belt to the east, Rajasthan and Sindh to the south. Accordingly, the Punjab region is diverse and stretches from the hills of the Kangra Valley to the plains and to the Cholistan Desert. Using the 1947 definition of the Punjab region, some of the major cities of the area include Lahore and Ludhiana; the older definition of the Punjab region focuses on the collapse of the Sikh Empire and the creation of the British Punjab province between 1846 and 1849. According to this definition, the Punjab region incorporates, in Pakistan, Azad Kashmir including Bhimber and Mirpur and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In India the wider definition includes parts of Jammu Division. Using the older definition of the Punjab region, the Punjab region covers a large territory and can be divided into five natural areas: the eastern mountainous region including Jammu Division and Azad Kashmir; the formation of the Himalayan Range of mountains to the east and north-east of the Punjab is the result of a collision between the north-moving Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. The plates are still moving together, the Himalayas are rising by about 5 millimetres per year; the upper regions are snow-covered the whole year. Lower ranges of hills run parallel to the mountains; the Lower Himalayan Range runs from north of Rawalpindi through Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and further south. The mountains are young, are eroding rapidly; the Indus and the five rivers of the Punjab have their sources in the mountain range and carry loam and silt down to the rich alluvial plains, which are fertile. According to the older definition, some of the major cities include Jammu and parts of Delhi.
The third definition of the Punjab region adds to the definitions cited above and includes parts of Rajasthan on linguistic lines and takes into consideration the location of the Punjab rivers in ancient times. In particular, the Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts are included in the Punjab region; the climate is a factor contributing to the economy of the Punjab. It is not uniform over the whole region, with the sections adjacent to the Himalayas receiving heavier rainfall than those at a distance. There are two transitional periods. During the hot season from mid-April to the end of June, the temperature may reach 49 °C; the monsoon season, from July to September, is a period of heavy rainfall, providing
The Maurya Empire was a geographically-extensive Iron Age historical power based in Magadha and founded by Chandragupta Maurya which dominated the Indian subcontinent between 322 and 187 BCE. Comprising the majority of South Asia, the Maurya Empire was centralized by the conquest of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, its capital city was located at Pataliputra; the empire was the largest political entity to have existed in the Indian subcontinent, spanning over 5 million square kilometres at its zenith under Ashoka. Chandragupta Maurya raised an army, with the assistance of Chanakya, overthrew the Nanda Empire in c. 322 BCE. Chandragupta expanded his power westwards across central and western India by conquering the satraps left by Alexander the Great, by 317 BCE the empire had occupied northwestern India; the Mauryan Empire defeated Seleucus I, a diadochus and founder of the Seleucid Empire during the Seleucid–Mauryan war, thus acquiring territory west of the Indus River. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched along the natural boundary of the Himalayas, to the east into Assam, to the west into Balochistan and the Hindu Kush mountains of what is now eastern Afghanistan.
The dynasty expanded into India's southern regions by the reign of the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded Kalinga, until it was conquered by Ashoka. It declined for about 50 years after Ashoka's rule, dissolved in 185 BCE with the foundation of the Shunga dynasty in Magadha. Under Chandragupta Maurya and his successors and external trade and economic activities all thrived and expanded across South Asia due to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance and security; the Maurya dynasty built the Grand Trunk Road, one of Asia's oldest and longest trade networks, connecting the Indian subcontinent with Central Asia. After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced nearly half a century of centralized rule under Ashoka. Chandragupta Maurya's embrace of Jainism increased socio-religious reform across South Asia, while Ashoka's embrace of Buddhism and sponsorship of Buddhist missionaries allowed for the expansion of that faith into Sri Lanka, northwest India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Hellenistic Europe.
The population of the empire has been estimated to be about 50–60 million, making the Mauryan Empire one of the most populous empires of antiquity. Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware; the Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary sources of written records of Mauryan times. The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath is the national emblem of the modern Republic of India; the name "Maurya" does not occur in Ashoka's inscriptions, or the contemporary Greek accounts such as Megasthenes's Indica, but it is attested by the following sources: The Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman prefixes "Maurya" to the names Chandragupta and Ashoka. The Puranas use Maurya as a dynastic appellation; the Buddhist texts state that Chandragupta belonged to the "Moriya" clan of the Shakyas, the tribe to which Gautama Buddha belonged. The Jain texts state. According to the Buddhist tradition, the ancestors of the Maurya kings had settled in a region where peacocks were abundant.
Therefore, they came to be known as "Moriyas" "belonging to the place of peacocks". According to another Buddhist account, these ancestors built a city called Moriya-nagara, so called, because it was built with the "bricks coloured like peacocks' necks"; the dynasty's connection to the peacocks, as mentioned in the Buddhist and Jain traditions, seems to be corroborated by archaeological evidence. For example, peacock figures are found on the Ashoka pillar at Nandangarh and several sculptures on the Great Stupa of Sanchi. Based on this eviedence, modern scholars theorize that the peacock may have been the dynasty's emblem. According to Dhundiraja, a commentator on the Vishnu Purana, the word "Maurya" is derived from Mura, the name of the wife of a Nanda king and the mother of the first Maurya king. However, the Puranas themselves make no mention of Mura and do not talk of any relation between the Nanda and the Maurya dynasties. Dhundiraja's derivation of the word seems to be his own invention: according to the Sanskrit rules, the derivative of the feminine name Mura would be "Maureya".
The Maurya Empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, with help from Chanakya, at Takshashila, a noted center of learning. According to several legends, Chanakya travelled to Magadha, a kingdom, large and militarily powerful and feared by its neighbours, but was insulted by its king Dhana Nanda, of the Nanda dynasty. Chanakya vowed to destroy the Nanda Empire. Meanwhile, the conquering armies of Alexander the Great refused to cross the Beas River and advance further eastward, deterred by the prospect of battling Magadha. Alexander re-deployed most of his troops west of the Indus River. Soon after Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BCE, his empire fragmented into independent kingdoms led by his generals; the Greek generals Eudemus and Peithon ruled in the Indus Valley until around 317 BCE, when Chandragupta Maurya orchestrated a rebellion to drive out the Greek governors, subsequently brought the Indus Valley under the control of his new seat of power in Magadha. Chandragupta Maurya's rise to power is s