For the 3rd century BC mistress of Ptolemy IV Philopator, see Agathoclea. Agathokleia Theotropos was an Indo-Greek queen who ruled in parts of northern India in the 2nd-century BC as regent for her son Strato I; the traditional view, introduced by Tarn and defended as late as 1998 by Bopearachchi, is that Agathokleia was the widow of Menander I. In the civil wars after Menander's death, the Indo-Greek empire was divided, with Agathokleia and her young son Strato maintaining themselves in the eastern territories of Gandhara and Punjab; the modern view, embraced by R. C. Senior and more solid since it is founded on numismatical analyses, suggests that Agathokleia was a queen ruling from 110 BC–100 BC or later. In this case, Agathokleia was the widow of another king Nicias or Theophilus. In either case, Agathokleia was among the first women to rule a Hellenistic Kingdom, in the period following the reign of Alexander the Great; some of her subjects may have been reluctant to accept an infant king with a queen regent: unlike the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Kingdoms all Indo-Greek rulers were depicted as grown men.
This was because the kings were required to command armies, as can be seen on their coins where they are depicted with helmets and spears. Agathokleia seems to have associated herself with the goddess of war. Athena was the dynastic deity of the family of Menander, Agathokleia's prominent position suggests that she was herself the daughter of a king, though she was too late to have been a daughter of the Bactrian king Agathocles; the coins of Agathokleia and Strato were all bilingual, Agathokleia's name appears more in the Greek legend than in the Indian. Most of Agathokleia's coins were struck jointly with her son Strato, though on their first issues, he is not featured on the portrait. Silver: Bust of Agathokleia/walking king Bust of Strato and Agathokleia conjoined/Athena Alkidemos Bronzes: Bust of either helmeted Athena or Agathokleia as a personification of this goddess/sitting Herakles The king Heliokles II overstruck some of Agathokleia's coins. Greco-Buddhism Indo-Scythians W. W. Tarn.
The Greeks in Bactria and India. Third Edition. Cambridge: University Press, 1966. Main coins of Agathokleia
The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty which existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. Seleucus received Babylonia and from there expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near-eastern territories. At the height of its power, the Empire included central Anatolia, the Levant and what is now Kuwait and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan; the Seleucid Empire became a major center of Hellenistic culture – it maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated in the urban areas. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece. Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece halted abruptly in the early 2nd century BC after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Seleucid attempts to defeat their old enemy. Having come into conflict in the East with Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya Empire, Seleucus I entered into an agreement with Chandragupta whereby he ceded vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern-day Afghanistan, the Balochistan province of Pakistan and offered his daughter in marriage to the Maurya Emperor to formalize the alliance.
Antiochus III the Great attempted to project Seleucid power and authority into Hellenistic Greece, but his attempts were thwarted by the Roman Republic and by Greek allies such as the Kingdom of Pergamon, culminating in a Seleucid defeat at the 190 BC Battle of Magnesia. In the subsequent Treaty of Apamea in 188 BC, the Seleucids were compelled to pay costly war reparations and relinquished claims to territories west of the Taurus Mountains; the Parthians under Mithridates I of Parthia conquered much of the remaining eastern part of the Seleucid Empire in the mid-2nd century BC, while the independent Greco-Bactrian Kingdom continued to flourish in the northeast. However, the Seleucid kings continued to rule a rump state from Syria until the invasion by Armenian king Tigranes the Great in 83 BC and their ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BC. Contemporary sources, such as a loyalist degree from Ilium, in Greek language define the Seleucid state both as an empire and as a kingdom.
Seleucid rulers were described as kings in Babylonia. Starting from the 2nd century BC, ancient writers referred to the Seleucid ruler as the King of Syria, Lord of Asia, other designations, he refers to either Alexander Balas or Alexander II Zabinas as a ruler. Alexander, who conquered the Persian Empire under its last Achaemenid dynast, Darius III, died young in 323 BC, leaving an expansive empire of Hellenised culture without an adult heir; the empire was put under the authority of a regent in the person of Perdiccas, the territories were divided among Alexander's generals, who thereby became satraps, at the Partition of Babylon, all in that same year. Alexander's generals jostled for supremacy over parts of his empire. Ptolemy, a former general and the satrap of Egypt, was the first to challenge the new system. Ptolemy's revolt led to a new subdivision of the empire with the Partition of Triparadisus in 320 BC. Seleucus, "Commander-in-Chief of the Companion cavalry" and appointed first or court chiliarch received Babylonia and, from that point, continued to expand his dominions ruthlessly.
Seleucus established himself in Babylon in 312 BC, the year used as the foundation date of the Seleucid Empire. The rise of Seleucus in Babylon threatened the eastern extent of Antigonus I territory in Asia. Antigonus, along with his son Demetrius I of Macedon, unsuccessfully led a campaign to annex Babylon; the victory of Seleucus ensured his claim of legitimacy. He ruled not only Babylonia, but the entire enormous eastern part of Alexander's empire, as described by Appian:Always lying in wait for the neighboring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, he acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia,'Seleucid' Cappadocia, Parthia, Arabia, Sogdia, Arachosia and other adjacent peoples, subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander; the whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus. In the region of Punjab, Chandragupta Maurya founded the Maurya Empire in 321 BC. Chandragupta conquered the Nanda Empire in Magadha, relocated to the capital of Pataliputra.
Chandragupta redirected his attention back to the Indus and by 317 BC he conquered the remaining Greek satraps left by Alexander. Expecting a confrontation, Seleucid marched to the Indus, it is said that Chandragupta himself fielded an army of 9,000 war elephants. Mainstream scholarship asserts that Chandragupta received vast territory, sealed in a treaty, west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern day Afghanistan, the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. According to Appian: He [Sel
Apollodotus I Soter was an Indo-Greek king between 180 BCE and 160 BCE or between 174 and 165 BCE who ruled the western and southern parts of the Indo-Greek kingdom, from Taxila in Punjab to the areas of Sindh and Gujarat. Apollodotus was not the first to strike bilingual coins outside Bactria, but he was the first king who ruled in India only, therefore the founder of the proper Indo-Greek kingdom. According to W. W. Tarn, Apollodotus I was one of the generals of Demetrius I of Bactria, the Greco-Bactrian king who invaded northwestern India after 180 BCE. Tarn was uncertain. Authors agree with Tarn's analysis, though with even more uncertainty regarding who the king was, for his coins do not give many hints. Apollodotus was either succeeded in India by Antimachus II, or the two kings were contemporary, Antimachus II ruling the more western territories closer to Bactria. Apollodotus I was succeeded by Menander I, the two kings are mentioned by Pompejus Trogus as important Indo-Greek rulers; the 1st-2nd century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea further testifies to the reign of Apollodotus I and the influence of the Indo-Greeks in India: "To the present day ancient drachmae are current in Barygaza, coming from this country, bearing inscriptions in Greek letters, the devices of those who reigned after Alexander and Menander."
The coinage of Apollodotus is, together with that of Menander, one of the most abundant of the Indo-Greek kings. It is found in the provinces of Punjab and Gujarat, indicating the southern limit of the Indo-Greek expansion in India; this is suggested by the Periplus, a 1st-century CE document on trade in the Indian Ocean, which describes the remnants of Greek presence in the strategic port of Barygaza in Gujarat. Strabo describes the occupation of Patalene. While Sindh may have come under his possession, it is not known whether Apollodotus advanced to Gujarat, where the Satavahanas ruled. Apollodotus issued a great number of bilingual Indian-standard square coins. Besides the usual royal title, the exact significance of the animals depicted on the coins is unclear; the sacred elephant may be the symbol of the city of Taxila, or the symbol of the white elephant who reputedly entered the womb of the mother of the Buddha, Queen Maya, in a dream, which would make it a symbol of Buddhism, one of the main religions of the Indo-Greek territories.
The sacred bull on the reverse may be a symbol of a city, or a depiction of Shiva, making it a symbol of Hinduism, the other major religion at that time. The bull is represented in a erectile state, which reinforces its interpretation as a representation of Shiva. Conversely, this reinforces the interpretation of the elephant as a religious symbol. Alternatively, the Bull, according to Foucher, represents the birth of the Buddha, as it happened during the month of Vaicakha, known to Buddhists as Vesak, under the zodiacal sign of the Taurus, during the full moon; the enlightenment and passing of the Buddha occurred during the Taurus full moon. Before their design was simplified, some of the earlier coins of king Apollodotus directly associate the elephant with Buddhist symbolism, such as the stupa hill surmounted by a crescent or a star seen, for example on the coins of the Mauryan Empire, many local coins of Taxila or those of the Kuninda kingdom; the zebu bull on the reverse is shown with a nandipada taurine mark on its hump on the less-worn coins, which reinforces the role of the animal as a symbol, religious or geographic, rather than just the depiction of an animal for decorative purposes.
The nandipada and the zebu bull are associated with Nandi, Shiva's humped bull in Hinduism. The same association was made on coins of Zeionises or Vima Kadphises; the elephant, pendant to the bull, shown with a girdle on the obverse must have a symbolic role Buddhism, as it was associated with the stupa hill in the earliest coins of Apollodotus. Apollodotus experimented with different coin standards for his silver, until he settled for a standard lighter than the Attic which would prevail for centuries, though rulers struck round coins instead of the square shape of most of Apollodotus' silver, he issued a number of bronzes with Apollo/tripod, that were repeated for centuries. Apollodotus issued a small series of monolingual Attic tetradrachms, intended for export into Bactria. For these, Apollodotus I used Bactrian celators to strike an exquisite realistic portrait of the king as an aged man in the Macedonian hat called kausia, with a reverse of sitting Pallas Athene holding Nike, a common Hellenistic motif introduced by the Diadoch Lysimachus.
On these coins, he used no epithet. Greco-Bactrian Kingdom Seleucid Empire Greco-Buddhism Indo-Scythians Indo-Parthian Kingdom Kushan Empire Tarn, William Woodthorpe; the Greeks in Bactria and India. Cambridge University Press, 1938. Coins of Apollodotus More coins of Apollodotus
Archebius Dikaios Nikephoros was an Indo-Greek king who ruled in the area of Taxila. Osmund Bopearachchi dates him to c. 90–80 BCE, R. C. Senior to about the same period, he was one of the last Indo-Greek kings before the Saka king Maues conquered Taxila, a contemporary of Hermaeus in the west. He may have been a relative of Heliokles II, who used a similar reverse and the title Dikaios. Archebius issued silver with helmeted king, sometimes in spear-throwing pose. On the reverse is Zeus standing facing, holding a thunderbolt or on some issues an aegis. Archebius struck a rare series of Attic tetradrachms, found in Bactria, he issued bronzes with an owl / Nike. Archebius overstruck two coins of Peukolaos; the Shape of Ancient Thought. Comparative studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies by Thomas McEvilley ISBN 1-58115-203-5 Buddhism in Central Asia by B. N. Puri ISBN 81-208-0372-8 The Greeks in Bactria and India by W. W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press. Coins of Archebius More Coins of Archebios
Gandhāra was an ancient state, a mahajanapada, in the Peshawar basin in the northwest portion of the ancient Indian subcontinent, present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. The center of the region was at the confluence of the Kabul and Swat rivers, bounded by the Sulaiman Mountains on the west and the Indus River on the east; the Safed Koh mountains separated it from the Kohat region to the south. This being the core area of Gandhara, the cultural influence of "Greater Gandhara" extended across the Indus river to the Taxila region and westwards into the Kabul and Bamiyan valleys in Afghanistan, northwards up to the Karakoram range. Gandhara was one of sixteen mahajanapadas of ancient India mentioned in Buddhist sources such as Anguttara Nikaya. During the Achaemenid period and Hellenistic period, its capital city was Pushkalavati, modern Charsadda; the capital city was moved to Peshawar by the Kushan emperor Kanishka the Great in about AD 127. Gandhara existed since the time of the Rigveda, as well as the Zoroastrian Avesta, which mentions it as Vaēkərəta, the sixth most beautiful place on earth, created by Ahura Mazda.
Gandhara was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC. Conquered by Alexander the Great in 327 BC, it subsequently became part of the Maurya Empire and the Indo-Greek Kingdom; the region was a major center for Greco-Buddhism under the Indo-Greeks and Gandharan Buddhism under dynasties. It was a central location for the spread of Buddhism to Central Asia and East Asia, it was a center of Bactrian Zoroastrianism and Hinduism. Famed for its local tradition of Gandhara Art, Gandhara attained its height from the 1st century to the 5th century under the Kushan Empire. Gandhara "flourished at the crossroads of Asia," connecting trade routes and absorbing cultural influences from diverse civilizations. Pockets of Buddhism persisted in Pakistan's Swat valley until the 11th century; the Persian term Shahi is used by historian Al-Biruni to refer to the ruling dynasty that took over from the Kabul Shahi and ruled the region during the period prior to Muslim conquests of the 10th and 11th centuries.
After it was conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1001 AD, the name Gandhara disappeared. During the Muslim period, the area was administered from Kabul. During Mughal times, it was an independent district. Gandhara was known in Sanskrit as गन्धार gandhāra, in Avestan as Vaēkərəta, in Old Persian as Gadāra in Babylonian and Elamite as Paruparaesanna, in Chinese as T: 犍陀羅/S: 犍陀罗, in Greek as Γανδάρα; the Gandhari people are a tribe mentioned in the Rigveda, the Atharvaveda, Vedic texts. They are recorded in the Avestan-language of Zoroastrianism under the name Vaēkərəta; the name Gāndhāra occurs in the classical Sanskrit of the epics. One proposed origin of the name is from the Sanskrit word गन्ध gandha, meaning "perfume" and "referring to the spices and aromatic herbs which they traded and with which they anointed themselves.". A Persian form of the name, mentioned in the Behistun inscription of Emperor Darius I, was translated as Paruparaesanna in Babylonian and Elamite in the same inscription. In addition to Gandhara proper, the province encompassed the Kabul Valley and Chitral.
Kandahar is sometimes etymologically associated with Gandhara. However, Kandahar was not part of the main territory of Gandhara; the boundaries of Gandhara varied throughout history. Sometimes the Peshawar Valley and Taxila were collectively referred to as Gandhara; the heart of Gandhara, was always the Peshawar Valley. The kingdom was ruled from capitals at Kapisa, Taxila, Puruṣapura and in its final days from Udabhandapura on the River Indus. Evidence of the Stone Age human inhabitants of Gandhara, including stone tools and burnt bones, was discovered at Sanghao near Mardan in area caves; the artifacts are 15,000 years old. More recent excavations point to 30,000 years before the present. Gandhara was an ancient kingdom of the Peshawar Valley, extending between the Swat valley and Potohar plateau regions of Pakistan as well as the Jalalabad district of northeastern Afghanistan. In an archaeological context, the Vedic period in Gandhara corresponds to the Gandhara grave culture; the name of the Gandhāris is attested in the Rigveda.
The Gandhāris, along with the Balhikas, Mūjavants and the Magadhas, are mentioned in the Atharvaveda, as distant people. Gandharas are included in the Uttarapatha division of Buddhistic traditions; the Aitareya Brahmana refers to King Nagnajit of Gandhara, a contemporary of Janaka, king of Videha. Gandhara was one of sixteen mahajanapadas of ancient India; the primary cities of Gandhara were Puruṣapura, Takṣaśilā, Pushkalavati. The latter remained the capital of Gandhara down to the 2nd century AD, when the capital was moved to Peshawar. An important Buddhist shrine helped to make the city a centre of pilgrimage until the 7th century. Pushkalavati, in the Peshawar Valley, is situated at the confluence of the Swat and Kabul rivers, where three different branches of the River Kabul meet; that specific place is still called Prang an
The Shunga Empire was an ancient Indian dynasty from Magadha that controlled areas of the central and eastern Indian subcontinent from around 187 to 78 BCE. The dynasty was established after the fall of the Maurya Empire, its capital was Pataliputra, but emperors such as Bhagabhadra held court at Besnagar in eastern Malwa. Pushyamitra Shunga was succeeded by his son Agnimitra. There were ten Shunga rulers. However, after the death of Agnimitra, the second king of the dynasty, the empire disintegrated: inscriptions and coins indicate that much of northern and central India consisted of small kingdoms and city-states that were independent of any Shunga hegemony; the dynasty is noted for its numerous wars with both indigenous powers. They fought the Kalinga, the Satavahana dynasty, the Indo-Greek Kingdom and the Panchalas and Mitras of Mathura. Art, education and other forms of learning flowered during this period including small terracotta images, larger stone sculptures, architectural monuments such as the stupa at Bharhut, the renowned Great Stupa at Sanchi.
Shunga rulers helped to establish the tradition of royal sponsorship of art. The script used by the empire was used to write Sanskrit; the Shunga Empire played an imperative role in patronizing culture at a time when some of the most important developments in Hindu thought were taking place. Patanjali's Mahābhāṣya was composed in this period. Artistry progressed with the rise of the Mathura art style; the last of the Shunga emperors was Devabhuti. He is said to have been overfond of the company of women; the Shunga dynasty was replaced by the subsequent Kanvas. The Kanva dynasty succeeded the Shungas around 73 BCE; the Shunga dynasty was a Brahmin dynasty, established in 185 BCE, about 50 years after Ashoka's death, when the emperor Brihadratha Maurya, the last ruler of the Maurya Empire, was assassinated by his Senānī or commander-in-chief, Pushyamitra Shunga, while he was reviewing the Guard of Honour of his forces. Pushyamitra Shunga ascended the throne. Pushyamitra Shunga became the ruler of Magadha and neighbouring territories.
His realm covered the central parts of the old Mauryan Empire. The Shunga had control of the central city of Ayodhya in northern central India, as is proved by the Dhanadeva-Ayodhya inscription. However, the city of Mathura further west never seems to have been under the direct control of the Shungas, as no archaeological evidence of a Shunga presence has been found in Mathura. On the contrary, according to the Yavanarajya inscription, Mathura was under the control of Indo-Greeks from some time between 180 BCE and 100 BCE, remained so as late as 70 BCE; some ancient sources however claim a greater extent for the Shunga Empire: the Asokavadana account of the Divyavadana claims that the Shungas sent an army to persecute Buddhist monks as far as Sakala in the Punjab region in the northwest:... Pushyamitra equipped a fourfold army, intending to destroy the Buddhist religion, he went to the Kukkutarama.... Pushyamitra therefore destroyed the sangharama, killed the monks there, departed.... After some time, he arrived in Sakala, proclaimed that he would give a... reward to whoever brought him the head of a Buddhist monk.
The Malavikagnimitra claims that the empire of Pushyamitra extended to the Narmada River in the south. They may have controlled the city of Ujjain. Meanwhile and much of the Punjab passed into the hands of the Indo-Greeks and the Deccan Plateau to the Satavahana dynasty. Pushyamitra died after ruling for 36 years, he was succeeded by son Agnimitra. This prince is the hero of Kālidāsa. Agnimitra was viceroy of Vidisha; the power of the Shungas weakened. It is said; the Shungas were succeeded by the Kanva dynasty around 73 BCE. Following the Mauryans, the first Brahmin emperor was Pushyamitra Shunga, is believed by some historians to have persecuted Buddhists and contributed to a resurgence of Brahmanism that forced Buddhism outwards to Kashmir and Bactria. Buddhist scripture such as the Asokavadana account of the Divyavadana and ancient Tibetan historian Taranatha have written about persecution of Buddhists. Pushyamitra is said to have burned down Buddhist monasteries, destroyed stupas, massacred Buddhist monks and put rewards on their heads, but some consider these stories as probable exaggerations.
"... Pushyamitra equipped a fourfold army, intending to destroy the Buddhist religion, he went to the Kukkutarama.... Pushyamitra therefore destroyed the sangharama, killed the monks there, departed.... After some time, he arrived in Sakala, proclaimed that he would give a... reward to whoever brought him the head of a Buddhist monk." Indian Puranic sources such as the Pratisarga Parva of the Bhavishya Purana, describe the resurgence of Brahmanism following the Maurya Dynasty, the killing of millions of Buddhists: "At this time the best of the brahmanas, performed sacrifice on the top of a mountain named Arbuda. By the influence of Vedic mantras, four Kshatriyas appeared from the yajna, they annihilated all the Buddhists. It is said there were 4 million Buddhists and all of them were killed by uncommon weapons". Pushyamitra is known to have revived the supremacy of the Bramahnical religion and reestablished animal sacrifices that had
Ashoka, sometimes Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. The grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka promoted the spread of Buddhism. Considered by many to be one of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire to reign over a realm stretching from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east, it covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra, with provincial capitals at Ujjain. Ashoka waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga, which he conquered in about 260 BCE. In about 263 BCE, he converted to Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he had waged out of a desire for conquest and which directly resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations, he is remembered for the Ashoka pillars and edicts, for sending Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka and Central Asia, for establishing monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.
Beyond the Edicts of Ashoka, biographical information about him relies on legends written centuries such as the 2nd-century CE Ashokavadana, in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa. The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, his Sanskrit name "Aśoka" means "painless, without sorrow". In his edicts, he is referred to as Devānāmpriya, Priyadarśin, his fondness for his name's connection to the Saraca asoca tree, or "Ashoka tree", is referenced in the Ashokavadana. In The Outline of History, H. G. Wells wrote, "Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Ashoka shines, shines alone, a star." Ashoka was born to the Mauryan emperor and Subhadrangī. He was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya dynasty, born in a humble family, with the counsel of Chanakya built one of the largest empires in ancient India.
According to Roman historian Appian, Chandragupta had made a "marital alliance" with Seleucus. An Indian Puranic source, the Pratisarga Parva of the Bhavishya Purana described the marriage of Chandragupta with a Greek princess, daughter of Seleucus; the ancient Buddhist and Jain texts provide varying biographical accounts. The Avadana texts mention that his mother was queen Subhadrangī. According to the Ashokavadana, she was the daughter of a Brahmin from the city of Champa, she gave him the name Ashoka, meaning "one without sorrow". The Divyāvadāna tells a similar story, but gives the name of the queen as Janapadakalyānī. Ashoka had several elder siblings, all of whom were his half-brothers from the other wives of his father Bindusara. Ashoka was given royal military training; the Buddhist text Divyavadana describes Ashoka putting down a revolt due to activities of wicked ministers. This may have been an incident in Bindusara's times. Taranatha's account states that Chanakya, Bindusara's chief advisor, destroyed the nobles and kings of 16 towns and made himself the master of all territory between the eastern and the western seas.
Some historians consider this as an indication of Bindusara's conquest of the Deccan while others consider it as suppression of a revolt. Governor of UjainFollowing this, Ashoka was stationed at Ujain, the capital of Malwa, as governor. A commemorative inscription found in Saru Maru, Madhya Pradesh, mentions the visit of Piyadasi as he was still an unmarried Prince; this inscription confirms Ashoka's presence in Madhya Pradesh as a young man, his status while he was there. Bindusara's death in 272 BCE led to a war over succession. According to the Divyavadana, Bindusara wanted his elder son Susima to succeed him but Ashoka was supported by his father's ministers, who found Susima to be arrogant and disrespectful towards them. A minister named; the Ashokavadana recounts Radhagupta's offering of an old royal elephant to Ashoka for him to ride to the Garden of the Gold Pavilion where King Bindusara would determine his successor. Ashoka got rid of the legitimate heir to the throne by tricking him into entering a pit filled with live coals.
Radhagupta, according to the Ashokavadana, would be appointed prime minister by Ashoka once he had gained the throne. The Dipavansa and Mahavansa refer to Ashoka's killing 99 of his brothers, sparing only one, named Vitashoka or Tissa, although there is no clear proof about this incident; the coronation happened in four years after his succession to the throne. Buddhist legends state, he built Ashoka's Hell, an elaborate torture chamber described as a "Paradisal Hell" due to the contrast between its beautiful exterior and the acts carried out within by his appointed executioner, Girikaa. This earned him the name of Chanda Ashoka meaning "Ashoka the Fierce" in Sanskrit. Professor Charles Drekmeier cautions that the Buddhist legends tend to dramatise the change that Buddhism brought in him, theref