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Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas$
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Romila Thapar

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198077244

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198077244.001.0001

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Early Life, Accession, and Chronology of the Reign of Aśoka

Early Life, Accession, and Chronology of the Reign of Aśoka

(p.25) Chapter II Early Life, Accession, and Chronology of the Reign of Aśoka
Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas

Romila Thapar

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the early life and the chronology of the reign of Aśoka Maurya. It mentions the romantic hypotheses that either Aśoka's mother or grandmother was a Greek princess and discusses the controversy concerning his actual accession given the general agreement that Aśoka was not the crown prince, and that there was a struggle among the princes for the throne. It suggests that Aśoka probably realised his potentialities as a ruler through his ability in handling the revolt at Taxila and his successful viceroyalty at Ujjain, which probably determined him to make an attempt for the throne. The first major event of the reign of Aśoka, the Kalinga War, is also discussed. This chapter concludes by looking at various versions of the life of Aśoka which were adapted to suit religious purposes.

Keywords:   early life, reign, Greek princess, accession, crown prince, Taxila, Ujjain, Kalinga War

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