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Sources of Ancient Indian History Overview
Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled almost all the Indian subcontinent from c.268 to 232 BCE. Ashoka promoted the spread of Buddhism across ancient Asia. Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Maurya Empire in ancient India. Born to a humble background, he was taught and counselled by the philosopher Chanakya, who had great influence in the formation of his empire. Chandragupta Maurya is first king of Maurya Dynasty and he is also considered as the first king of India Ascension to the throne.
Bindusara, also Amitraghāta (Sanskrit for “Slayer of enemies”) was the second Mauryan emperor of India. He was the son of the dynasty’s founder Chandragupta, and the father of its most famous ruler Ashoka. Historian Upinder Singh estimates that Bindusara ascended the throne around 297 BCE.
Sources of Ancient Indian History basically divided into 3 types.They are
- Archeological sources
- Literary sources
- Foreign Accounts
The study of coins is known as numismatics. The study of inscription is known as Epigraphy. The word archeology is the combination of two word ‘Archaios’ and ‘Logia’, where archaios means ancient and logia means knowledge. There are two methods of excavations- Horizontal and Vertical excavations.
Literary sources can be broadly divided into:
- Religious sources.
- Non-religious sources.
- Vedic texts (four Vedas)
- Smriti texts
- Buddhist texts
- Jain texts
- Arthashastra- Kautilya
- Rajtarangini- Kalhana
- Nitisara- Kamandaka
- Mahabhshya- Patanjali
- Mudrarakshasa- Vishakhdutta
- Ashtadhayayi- Panini
Foreign Accounts are a part of literary sources which consist of writing of Greek, Roman, Chinese, and Arab travellers. In contradiction to Indian historians, foreign travellers to interest in non-religious incidence. Thus, their work throws light on political and social conditions.