By Romila Thapar

"An authoritative paintings, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas is predicated principally at the edicts of Asoka, whose rules are analysed opposed to the heritage of Mauryan civilization in the course of the 3rd and fourth centuries BC. This used to be essentially the most vital classes of Indian heritage which observed the emergence of a development that throws a lot mild at the later advancements of Indian civilization. the writer deals an  Read more...

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Y his father was impressed by his other qualities, because he appointed him as a young pnnee to the important post of viceroy at Ujjain Since most accounts speak of him going directly from Ujjain to Palali pu tra, it would appear that his stay at Taxila was prior to his appointment as viceroy at Ujjain His period in Taxila has m some sources been described as a viceregal appointment T h e Mahdtamsa describes him a3 the viceroy at Ujjain while two later Buddhist texts, the Aiokasutra and the Kunalasutra give him the same position m Gandhira W e feel that he was sent to Tarila for a special purpose and after having Completed his work there, he was then appointed to the viceroyalty at Ujjain in recognition o f his work T he Atokaiadana informs us that a revolt took place m Taxila during the reign of Bindusara, when the citizens objected to the oppression of the higKèFbfiîcIals * This is perfectly feasible m view of the fact that Taxila had been comparatively independent until the coming of the Mauryaa and therefore the control of Pafaliputra may have been irksome * Culturally there was a close link with areas to the west and citizens of Iranian descent probably still looked to Iran for deliverance Furthermore, in the process of centralization the Mauryas may well have been harsh m their treatment of outlying cities The story continues that Aioka was sent by his father to put an end to the revolt, which he did successfully and without arousing too great a resentment on the part of the citizens The only contributory evidence to the authenticity of this tradition so far known is the Aramaic inscription found embedded in a house at 1 PrryluVki L a Legende de TL Empereur A foka p 320 • Vayfuatthapahasìfil I V p 125 V , pp 189 193 * X X V I p 369 * Przytuski L a Legende de L Empereur A foka p »33 * M arshall Traila vol 1 p a i II EARLY LIFE, ACCESSION, AND CHRONOLOGY OF THE REIGN OF ASOKA A mong the more romantic hypotheses regarding the birth o f Atoka, pernaps me one iviui uic greatest possiuuuics » uuu » ihwh either his grandmother or his mother was a Greek princess This is possible only if the clause regarding matrimony m the treaty between Seleucus and Candragupta was a kedos and not an epigamia * Sylvain L evi writes ‘[Seleucus] concluded a matrimonial alliance with him [Candragupta] which no doubt introduced a Greek princess into the Mauryan harem* * Greek sources speak of Sandrocottus and Amitrochates but do not mention A§oka.

T X I I I , 6 -ç D ipararjua, E A R LY LIF E, A C C E S S IO N . J. \ »p W 1 «M l UVl l j r s f W l C ’S f n r v V i i m f t t ? fM K » IW M U kV » n f U« *B a T U B M *anrf HV ait T •l| tc ’ doubted by some historians * The Mahutamsa states that she was eighteen years old when she was ordained * Certainly the story about her going to Ceylon so that the Ceylonese queen could be ordained appears to be some­ thing of an exaggeration Samghamittä may ha\e been Mahmda's sister and she may have been given this unusual name (‘the friend of the Buddhist Order’) owing to her mother’s piety, but it is not necessary that she should also have become a Buddhist nun when her brother was ordained, and that 1 T h e Alahavmrua refer» to Arsndhi rotta u h u chief queen and not to Devi.

Y LITE A CC E SS IO N . AND C H RO NO L O GY 33 )cor 218 after the death of the Buddha had to be maintained at any cost as the coronation year o f Aioka 'Owing to a number o f manipulations such as the insertion of new names of kings and the increase and decrease of jears of reign it became necessary to assign to Aioka a four-year period of unanointed kingship, if the number 218 post Buddham mortuum was to be maintained '* I f the Ceylon chronicles are to be accused of having had their dates tampered with in order to fit a pattem, ine Furarnu have not escaped from similar treatment either If it was a matter merely o f filling a gap of four jears, this penod o f time could easily hate been apportioned among other reigns in such a way as not to attract attention We are o f the opinion that the four-) car interim period was inserted not simply to make the dates fit but rather as a regularly transmitted tradition, and its accuracy seems quite feasible in view o f the circumstances o f Aioka’s accession Whether it was in fact three )cars and a few months or exactly four years is difficult to determine since the death of DindusSra would not hate taken place on the anniversary o f his coronation, nor would the accession of Aioka have occurred on the same day and month According to our reckoning, the interregnum was a few months less than four years, and the tradition may well have been founded on historical fact In the Introduction we have traced the chronology of the reigns of Candragupta Maurya and Bindusara until the death of the latter, which took place in 272 B c 1 Thus allowing for the interregnum we arrive at the date 269-268 b c as the coronation year of Aioka.

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