Ashoka, The Emperor who Gave up War Class 6 History Notes | DailyHomeStudy

A very big kingdom = an empire

  1. Introduction
  • Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers known  to history and on his instructions inscriptions were inscribed on pillars, as well as on rock surfaces.
  • His kingdom was called an empire

2. Paterliny Was Folowed

  • The empire that Ashoka ruled was founded  by his grandfather, Chandragupta Maurya, more than 2300 years ago.
  • Chandragupta was supported by a wise man named Chanakya or Kautilya.
  • Many of Chanakya’s ideas were written down in a book called the Arthashastra.

From Gathering to Growing Food

3. Cities and Villages

  • These included the  capital Pataliputra, Taxila, and Ujjain. Taxila was a gateway to the northwest, including Central Asia, while Ujjain lay on the route from north to south India.
  • Merchants, officials and crafts persons probably lived in these cities.
  • In other areas there were villages of farmers and herders.
  • In central India, there were forests where people gathered forest produce and hunted animals for food.
  • People in different parts of the empire spoke different languages.
  • They probably ate different kinds of food, and wore different kinds of clothes as well.


  • When members of the same family become rulers one after another, the family is often called a dynasty.
  • The Mauryas were a dynasty with three important rulers — Chandragupta, his son Bindusara, and Bindusara’s son, Ashoka

How are empir e empires different from kingdoms?

In the Earliest Cities

  • Emperors need more resources than kings because empires are larger than kingdoms, and need to be protected by big armies.
  • So also they need a larger number of officials who collect taxes.

Ruling the empire

  1. Intoduction
  • As the empire was so large, different parts were ruled differently.
  • The area around Pataliputra was under the direct control of the emperor.
  • This meant that officials were appointed to collect taxes from farmers, herders, crafts persons and traders, who lived in villages and towns in the area.
  • Officials also punished those who disobeyed the ruler’s orders.
  • Many of these officials were given salaries.
  • Messengers went to and fro, and spies kept a watch on the officials.
  • The emperor supervised them all, with the help of members of the royal family, and senior ministers.

What Books and Burials Tell Us

2. Control

  • There were other areas or provinces.
  • Each of these was ruled from a provincial capital such as Taxila or Ujjain.
  • There was some amount of control from Pataliputra, and royal princes were often sent as governors, local customs and rules were probably followed.

3. Resources

  • Mauryas control roads and rivers, which were important for transport, and to collect whatever resources were  available as tax and tribute.
  • Arthashastra tells us that the north-west was important for blankets, and south India for its gold and precious
  • These resources were collected as tribute.
  • There were also the forested regions.
  • People living in these areas were more or less independent, but may have been expected to provide elephants, timber, honey and wax to Mauryan officials.

Kingdoms, Kings and an Early Republic


  • Unlike taxes, which were collected on a regular basis, tribute was collected as and when it was possible from people who gave a variety of things, more or less willingly.

The emper The emper The emperor and the capital city

  • Megasthenes was an ambassador who was sent to the court of Chandragupta by the Greek ruler of West Asia named Seleucus Nicator.
  • Megasthenes wrote an account about what he saw.

Ashoka, a unique ruler

  • The most famous Mauryan ruler was Ashoka.
  • He was the first ruler who tried to take his message to the people through inscriptions.
  • Most of Ashoka’s inscriptions were in Prakrit and were written in the Brahmi script.

New Questions and Ideas

Ashoka’s war in War in Kalinga

  • Kalinga is the ancient name of coastal Orissa
  • Ashoka fought a war to conquer Kalinga.
  • He was so horrified when he saw the violence and bloodshed that he decided not to fight any more wars.
  • He is the only king in the history of the world who gave up conquest after winning a war.

What was Ashoka’s dhamma?

  1. Intoduction
  • Ashoka’s dhamma did not involve worship of a god, or performance of a sacrifice.
  • He felt that just as a father tries to teach his children, he had a duty to instruct his subjects.
  • He was also inspired by the teachings of the Buddha

Ashoka, The Emperor who Gave up War

2. Problems and outcomes

  • There were a number of problems that troubled him.
  • People in the empire followed different religions, and this sometimes led to conflict.
  • Animals were sacrificed.
  • Slaves and servants were ill treated.
  • There were quarrels in families and amongst neighbours.
  • Ashoka felt it was his duty to solve these problems.
  • He appointed officials, known as the dhamma mahamatta who went from place to place teaching people about
  • Ashoka got his messages inscribed on rocks and pillars, instructing his officials to read his message to those who could not read it themselves.

3. Message

Vital Villages, Thriving Towns

  • Ashoka also sent messengers to spread ideas about dhamma to other lands, such as Syria, Egypt, Greece
    and Sri Lanka.
  • He built roads, dug wells, and built rest houses.
  • He arranged for medical treatment for both human beings and animals.


  • Beginning of the Mauryan empire (more than 2300 years ago)
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