Ancient History of Bihar Part-2: The history of Bihar is one of the most varied in India. Bihar consists of three distinct regions, each has its own distinct history and culture. Here, we are giving the complete study material of ‘Ancient Bihar History’ that will ease the journey of aspirants to crack the competitive examinations like BPSC and other state-level examinations.
In the previous article Ancient History of Bihar Part -1, we have covered from the stone age to Pre-Mauryan Dynasties under Magadha Empire. In this article, we are providing complete study material From Mauryan Dynasty to PALA Empire.
Ancient History of Bihar Part-2
MAURYAN Dynasty – 321 B.C. to 184 B.C.
- He founded the dynasty with the help of his mentor Chanakya or Kautilya or Vishnugupt.
- He was born as Mura to a Shudra woman in the court of Nanda.
- In Mudra Rakshasa, he is also referred to as Vrishala.
- As per Buddhist tradition, he belonged to the Moriya Kshatriya clan.
- He fought Seleucus Nikator, a general of Alexander in 305 B.C. He later sent Megasthenese to Mauryan court.
- Megasthenesess wrote Indica describing Mauryan administration. The empire was divided into four provinces, each under one governor. According to him, Mauryan administration in Patliputra was under a council of 30 members divided into 6 committees of 5 members each.
- Patliputra has been referred to as Palibothra in Megasthenesess’ Indica.
- Chanakya wrote, “It is considered a treatise on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military, warfare and religion ever produced.”
- He was also called by the name Amitrochates by Greek writers, Mudrasar in Vayu Purana and Seemseri in Jaina text Rajvalli Katha.
- Deimachus – Syrian ambassador sent by king Antiochus
- Dionysius – sent by Ptolemy II of Egypt
- He came to power after killing 99 of his brothers sparing only one,
- Kalinga War – 261 B.C. – it is mentioned in Major Edict XIII.
- After the Kalinga war, Ashoka embraced Buddhism under influence of monk Upagupta. He came to be known as
- Bhabru inscription – Ashoka is revealed as king of Magadha
- Third Buddhist Council – 250 B.C. – was convened by Ashoka under the presidentship of Tissa in Patliputra.
- Pushyamitra Sunga was the Commander-in-Chief of Mauryan armed forces.
- He overthrew the last Mauryan ruler. It led to the persecution of Buddhists and resurgence of Hinduism.
- Two Ashwamedha Yagyas were held under his reign with Patanjali as the main priest – Ayodhya Inscription of Dhandev
- Agnimitra, son of Pushyamitra was the hero of Kalidasa’s drama,
- The most striking difference in the administration of Guptas from Mauryas was that in Mauryas power was centralized while in Guptas power was decentralized.
- Empire was divided into provinces and each province was further divided into districts. Villages were the smallest units.
- Sri Gupta was the founder of the Gupta dynasty.
- Rule of the Guptas is known as Indian Golden Age as rapid strides were made in various fields.
- Aryabhatta stated that earth moved around the sun and rotates on its own axis. His most famous work is
- Varahamihira composed Pancha Siddhanta and Brihat Samhita.
- Kalidasa wrote famous dramas like Malvikagnimitram, Abhigyanashakuntalam and Kumarasambhava
- Mrichakatika by Sudraka, Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma and Kamasutra by Vatsyasana were also written in this period.
- He was the son of Ghatotkacha (son of Sri Gupta).
- He was the first king to use the title Maharajadhiraja.
- His empire included Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
- He married Licchavi princess, Kumaradevi. Gold coins were issued to commemorate this event.
- Prayag inscription by Harisen was dedicated to him. It was discovered by A Tryer. It is written in the Sanskrit language.
- He was called Napoleon of India for his conquests by Vincent Smith.
- He gave permission to Sri Lankan ruler Meghavarnan to construct a monastery at Bodh Gaya.
- He was also known as Kaviraj for his patronizing of art.
Chandragupta II – Vikramaditya
- He killed his brother and married his widow
- He used friendly relations and matrimonial alliances to extend his empire.
- Navaratna present in his court were:
|1. Kalidas||2. Shanku||3. Amarasimha|
|4. Vetalbhatta||5. Vararuchi||6. Panaka|
|7. Varahamira||8. Dhanwantari||9. Ghatakarpara|
- Fa-Hien, a Chinese traveller visited during his reign.
- He established the Nalanda University which became a centre of learning.
- He was also known as Mahendraditya.
- Junagarh Inscription – his governor got restoration of Sudarshana Lake. It was originally constructed by the Mauryas.
- He was the last of the great rulers and after him, the empire began to disintegrate.
- Vishnugupta was the last ruler of the dynasty.
- They were the followers of Mahayana and tantric school of Buddhism.
- Gopala was the first ruler of the dynasty. He was elected democratically.
- Odantipur (now in Bihar Sharif), a Buddhist Mahavihara was established by Gopala.
- Dharmapala captured Kannauj and took the title of Uttarapathasvamin (“Lord of the North”).
- Vikramashila University (in Bhagalpur) was established by Dharmapala.
- They also constructed many temples, most important being Sun Temple at Konark.
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