Chandragupta Maurya

founder of the Maurya Empire (350–295 BCE)

Chandragupta Maurya (reign: 321–298 BCE) was the founder of the Maurya Empire in ancient India.

Quotes about Chandragupta MauryaEdit

  • He was one of the most romantic figures in Indian history, a lesser warrior but a greater ruler than Alexander. Chandragupta was a young Kshatriya noble exiled from Magadha by the ruling Nanda family, to which he was related. Helped by his subtle Machiavellian adviser, Kautilya Chanakya, the youth organized a small army, overcame the Macedonian garrisons, and declared India free. Then he advanced upon Pataliputra,I capital of the Magadha kingdom, fomented a revolution, seized the throne, and established that Mauryan Dynasty which was to rule Hindustan and Afghanistan for one hundred and thirty-seven years. Subordinating his courage to Kautilya’s unscrupulous wisdom, Chandragupta soon made his government the most powerful then existing in the world. When Megasthenes came to Pataliputra as ambassador from Seleucus Nicator, King of Syria, he was amazed to find a civilization which he described to the incredulous Greeks—still near their zenith—as entirely equal to their own.
    • Durant, Will (1963). Our Oriental heritage. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Megasthenes describes Chandragupta’s capital, Pataliputra, as nine miles in length and almost two miles in width. The palace of the King was of timber, but the Greek ambassador ranked it as excelling the royal residences of Susa and Ecbatana, being surpassed only by those at Persepolis. Its pillars were plated with gold, and ornamented with designs of bird-life and foliage; its interior was sumptuously furnished and adorned with precious metals and stones. There was a certain Oriental ostentation in this culture, as in the use of gold vessels six feet in diameter; but an English historian concludes, from the testimony of the literary, pictorial and material remains, that “in the fourth and third centuries before Christ the command of the Maurya monarch over luxuries of all kinds and skilled craftsmanship in all the manual arts was not inferior to that enjoyed by the Mogul emperors eighteen centuries later.” ...Kautilya was a Brahman who knew the political value of religion, but took no moral guidance from it; like our modern dictators he believed that every means was justifiable if used in the service of the state. He was unscrupulous and treacherous, but never to his King; he served Chandragupta through exile, defeat, adventure, intrigue, murder and victory, and by his wily wisdom made the empire of his master the greatest that India had ever known.
    • Durant, Will (1963). Our Oriental heritage. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • The government made no pretense to democracy, and was probably the most efficient that India has ever had. Akbar, greatest of the Moguls, “had nothing like it, and it may be doubted if any of the ancient Greek cities were better organized.”
    • Durant, Will (1963). Our Oriental heritage. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • “In short,” says Havell, “Pataliputra in the fourth century B.C. seems to have been a thoroughly well-organized city, and administered according to the best principles of social science.” “The perfection of the arrangements thus indicated,” says Vincent Smith, “is astonishing, even when exhibited in outline. Examination of the departmental details increases our wonder that such an organization could have been planned and efficiently operated in India in 300 B.C.
    • Durant, Will (1963). Our Oriental heritage. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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