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a dynasty of the kings of Magadha from the fourth through the second centuries B.C.; the name of the largest state formation in the history of ancient India.
Candragupta Maurya (ruled 317-293 B.C.), the founder of the dynasty, united northwestern India and eastern Afghanistan with Magadha. Bindusara (ruled 293-268 B.C.) apparently widened the borders of the Mauryan empire in Deccan. The Mauryan empire achieved its greatest power under Asoka (ruled 268-232 B.C.), who conquered the state of Kalinga and attempted to centralize state government. During Asoka’s reign, cultural and economic ties with the outside world increased considerably.
At the end of the third century B.C., the Mauryan empire began to decline. In 180 B.C., Brhadratha, the last Mauryan emperor, was overthrown and killed by his commander in chief Pusyamitra, who founded the Sunga dynasty. Dates of Maurya rule are based on the latest research.
G. F. IL’IN