King Ashoka: The Great

King Ashoka is one of the greatest emperors in Indian history. He was the son of Bindusara and ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent. In fact, King Ashoka was quite a celebrated figure in the past. This time, Podium brings you a brief insight into the magnificence of the great Ashoka Empire.

A Portrait of Ashoka

Who is Emperor Ashoka?

King Ashoka was the final prominent monarch of India’s Mauryan empire. During his reign, his zealous support for Buddhism aided the religion’s spread throughout India. Following his successful but brutal conquest of the Kalinga kingdom on India’s east coast, he abandoned armed conquest in favour of “conquest by dharma”, which means ‘principles of right life.’

What was the Mauryan Empire?

The Mauryan Empire, which ruled much of the Indian subcontinent from 321 B.C.E. to 185 B.C.E., was the first pan-Indian empire. It encompassed modern-day Iran as well as parts of central and northern India.

As Alexander the Great’s influence waned, Chandragupta Maurya, the first ruler of the Mauryan Empire, began consolidating territories. After Alexander’s death in 323 B.C.E., Chandragupta seized the opportunity, raising an army and overthrowing the Nanda power in Magadha, present-day eastern India, thus, establishing the Mauryan Empire. Take a look at the great monuments of India.

The Mauryan Empire

What made Ashoka’s Empire so great?

Through a centralised policy of dharma that favoured peace and tolerance while supervising public works and social welfare, King Ashoka was able to preside over the enormous and diverse Mauryan empire. Similarly, he also encouraged the development of Buddhism and art across his empire.

King Ashoka spread the word about his beliefs and work by making oral announcements and inscriptions on rocks and pillars at strategic locations. These inscriptions—the rock edicts and pillar edicts like the lion capital of the pillar found at Sarnath, for example, which has now become India’s national emblem—contain statements about his thoughts and actions, and at the same time, provide information on his life and acts. It was said that his words reeked of candour and sincerity.

Ashoka the Great

Name the Last Battle Ashoka Fought?

  • Name of the Battle: The Kalinga War
  • Venue: Kalinga, India
  • Year: 261 BC

Ashoka, the great Mauryan Emperor and the ruler of the State of Kalinga fought the Kalinga War, a feudal republic centred in modern-day Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the most renowned wars in Indian history as well as one of the bloodiest fights in world history.

What Led to the Kalinga War?

Historians disagree over what drove Ashoka to invade Kalinga. When King Ashoka, the son of Mauryan emperor Bindusara and grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, the first Mauryan Emperor, assumed the throne of Magadha in 273 BC, he intended to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by expanding his kingdom and becoming a great conqueror. However, during the Nandas’ reign, Kalinga was a member of the Magadha Empire. Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Nandas when Kalinga was an autonomous state. Despite Chandragupta Maurya and Bindusara’s best efforts, they were unable to retake it.

It was King Ashoka who stepped forward to reclaim the city. From the time of Chandragupta to the time of Ashoka, historians reveal that Kalinga had already expanded its military power and enjoyed enormous material prosperity as a result of its trade relations with Java, Malay, and Ceylon, and he could not overlook Kalinga’s importance to the Mauryan Empire. The Magadha Empire was jealous of Kalinga’s immense military strength, wealth, and power. Therefore, wishing to re-establish Magadha empire’s supremacy, King Ashoka, during his period of rein, sent a message to the monarch of Kalinga, requesting him to submit his territory to the Mauryas.

The Largest Empire of Ancient India

What Makes Ashoka So Well Known Among the Historians?

King Ashoka’s pillar and rock edicts, which allowed him to reach a huge audience and leave a durable historical record, are largely responsible for his fame. Additionally, he was known as a model emperor who ruled over a huge and diverse Mauryan empire through peace and respect, putting dharma at the heart of his philosophy.

How Many Wives did Ashoka Have?

The famed king married five times during his lifetime. Three of his marriages were for love, but the other two were primarily for political purposes. The imperial pressure forced him to marry princesses of equal standing.

Who is the Father of Ashoka?

Bindusara was King Ashoka’s father.

A Portrait of Bindusara

Who is the Grandfather of Ashoka?

Chandragupta Maurya was the grandfather of King Ashoka. The Mauryan Empire was created by him in ancient India. Ancient Greek, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sources talk about Chandragupta’s achievements, however, they lack consistency.

When did Ashoka Die?

The Mauryan dynasty’s third monarch was Ashoka. He was born in the year 304 BC and died in the year 232 BC.

Who Ended the Mauryan Empire?

Brihadratha Maurya was slain in a military parade by his general Pushyamitra Shunga in 180 BCE, leaving no heir to the throne. As a result, the Maurya Empire came to an end, giving way to the Shunga Empire.


Ashoka was a very important personality in history, known for his extraordinary feats and achievements. His ideologies and philosophies were the key reasons behind his greatness, which made him a true king of the Mauryan Empire and a kind of leader that history has never seen after.

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