Mauryan | Ashoka | Decline of the Mauryan Empire

The king was the head of the state. He had legislative, executive and judicial powers. He was the supreme commander of the army and planned military operations with his senapati. In Kautilyas Arthashastra the king was called Dharma pravartaka. The king issued ordinances called 'Sasanasad'.

 The king appointed Sachivas (minister or Amatyas). The king was advised by the Mantriparishad. There was a full complement of departments  with their duties well defined. The Mantris were high ministers. The Amatyas performed judicial  and administrative  functions  and monitored the affairs of the state. 

The Adhyakshas were in charge of various departments. They collected  taxes and controlled the dealings  connected to the land. The Samharta was the collector  general of revenue of the kingdom. The Sannidhata was an officer  in charge of the treasury. The purohitas,  Senapatis and Dauvarikas  and Durgapala were other officials who helped in administration. 

The whole empire divided into provinces. We know about five provinces during Ashoka with Capitals at Taxila, Ujjain, Tosali, Suvarnagiri and Patilaputra. The provinces were subdivided into Vishyas or Aharas. The Vishyas consisted of a number of villages. Besides these territories under direct rule  these existed some territories a vassal states. Towns and villages were  well organised. The Gramika was the head of the village administration. The state revenue  was collected from land taxes, excise, tools, forest, water rates, mines etc. A major share of which was spent on the army other official charity works  and public works. An important work undertaken during the Mauryan rule was the taking of census, according to the number, caste occupation, slaves, freemen, young  and old men and  


Industry and trade was well developed and to promote it there was maintenance of roads and waterways. Metal works was prevalent with copper, lead, tin, bronze, iron etc . Other industries included ones producing dyes, gums, drugs, perfumes and pottery. Industries were classified into private and public sectors. The state controlled trade to undertake works in their own interest..

Mauryan Art

The rule of the Mauryan empire marked a period of promotion in the Field of art and architecture. They included,

(a) Stupas:- 

They are solid domes built of bricks and stones . They are said to contain the relics of Buddha   .

(b) Pillars :- Ashokan edict Pillar

This is the most striking monument of Ashoka. Out of the numerous pillars erected throughout the extent of the Mauryan empire. The one at Saranath which has four lions is the most striking. This work of art has been used by the Indian Government as its emblem till now. Besides these works of art, rock cut caves, palaces and buildings are exemplary as also noted by the Chinese pilgrim  Fa-hien.

Mauryan art reflected an influence of the sprit of the Persian and Hellenistic art but the spirit of execution and perfect craftsmansship accure it to being solely Mauryan. The use of art for dispersing religion exhibited through the edicts on stone pillars besides, the system of missionaries for propagating religion were notable features. The outstanding level of craftsmanship speaks highly of the Mauryan period.