Rise of Magadha as an Empire

In the 4th century BCE Magadha became a very important Mahajanapada which slowly under different dynasties expanded into a vast empire. We will study the different dynasties under which Magadh rose to power.

  • Haryanka Dynasty: (544 – 413 BCE)

  1. Bimbisara:
    • He was the founder of the dynasty
    • Capital city of Rajgriha or Grivraja
    • He was contemporary of The Buddha
    • He had 3 wives (followed policy of marriage alliance)
  2. Ajatashatru:
    • He was the son of Bindusara
    • He killed his father to ascend the throne
    • The Buddha died during his reign
    • 1st Buddhist council was conducted during his reign: At Rajgriha
  3. Udayin:
    • He was the founder of the city Patliputra and made it his capital
    • Patliputra is the current City of Patna
  4. Naga Dasak:
    • He was the last ruler of Haryanka dynasty
    • He was followed by his minister Shishunaga who established Shishunaga dynasty
  • Shishunaga Dynasty: (413 – 345 BCE)

  1. Shishunaga:
    • He was the founder of the Shishunaga dynasty, succeeded Naga Dasak
    • Shifted Capital to Vaishali
  2. Kalasoka:
    • The second Buddhist council was conducted in his reign in Vaishali
    • Shifted capital back to Patliputra
  • Nanda Dynasty: (345 – 321 BCE)

  1. Mahapadmananda
    • 1st non Ksatriya ruler: Low caste Shudra clan
    • He was called “Ekrat” or “EkChatra” which means : The sovereign ruler
    • He is also called the Empire builder of India
  2. Dhanananda
    • He was the 2nd and the last ruler of the Nanda Dynasty
    • He was also known as Xandrames in Greek
    • He was followed by Chandragupta Maurya who established the Mauryan Empire
    • Alexander the Great invaded India during his reign (326 BCE)
    • Alexander defeated Porus who was king of Pauravas ( ruling between Jhelum and Chenab) in Battle of Hydasps
    • Alexander however did not move ahead to  face Dhanananda as he had huge army consisting of almost 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, chariots and 6000 war elephants which he had never seen before. Alexander  went back leaving his General Selucus Nikator in the region

 

This is the end of the pre Mauryan Empire. From here the Mauryan Empire begins when Chandragupta defeats Dhanananda to capture Patliputra with help of Chanakya

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