Ex. 5. Answer the following questions:
1. What periods of India's history do you know?
2. Is the word Mauryan geographical, ethnic or personal?
II. TEXT VII
THE MAURYAN EMPIRE
During Alexander the Great's expeditions in his wars with Persians, the combined Greek and Macedonian troops crossed into the Indus Valley in 326 ВС. For two years Alexander's armies battled the Indian force, with their soldiers mounted on elephants. Although Alexander's troops could win battles, they were uneasy fighting so far from home. They demanded that he give up his ambition to conquer the world. Reluctantly, Alexander agreed and turned his army westward, back to Mesopotamia. The rajas were unsure of his goals, or whether the Greeks might return another time after they left. The result of the tension gave birth to the first native Indian empire.
The origins of the first native Indian empire were in the Ganges River state of Magadha. The architect was Chandra Maurya, a man who came to power in 322 ВС. In the capital Pataliputra (now Patna), Chandragupta built himself a magnificent palace set among grounds planted with every kind of tree and shrub. Parrots were bred to decorate the palace grounds. One account says that among the palace guards were women warriors, whom Chandragupta trusted more than men. Concern for his security caused the emperor to build a great wall and moat to surround his capital.
There is no doubt that war, not peace would give him fame. According to chroniclers, he assembled an army of 700,000 soldiers, a cavalry of 30,000 and an elephant corps of 9,000.
Although these numbers are an exaggeration, they nevertheless show the impression he made.
Chandragupta's armies rolled over neighboring states with little difficulty. He took Punjab from the Greeks and went on to occupy the region (that now makes up modern Afghanistan. All of India, except the far south, fell into his hands. His military victories brought the emperor little rest, for he lived in constant fear of assassination. Legends tell how he paid spies to keep a check on possible rebels in Magadha.
The teaching of the Buddha would have made no impression on the warlike Chandragupta Maurya. It was a different story for his grandson Ashoka.
Ashoka became the Mauryan emperor in 268 and ruled until 232 ВС. In the early years of his rule, he entered upon conquests that would have made his grandfather proud. His armies marched against the few remaining kingdoms outside the Mauryan Empire. Reports say that his soldiers killed 100,000 people and made another 150,000 homeless refugees. At this point he was the most powerful raja ever seen on Indian soil.
Then Ashoka experienced his own enlightenment. Apparently Buddhist missionaries appeared at his court to explain their doctrine. In time Ashoka became convinced that he should follow the Buddha's path.
To the astonishment of the court, Ashoka announced his regret for his many wars. The emperor ordered an inscription carved on stone pillars distributed throughout India. The inscription read in part, "The slaughter, death, and removal of captives is a matter of profound sorrow and regret to his sacred majesty."
From the royal treasury Ashoka now financed building programs and hospitals for the sick. He forbade the slaughter of animals by the brahmans in their sacrifices, nor were animals to be used for food.
Ashoka was so enthusiastic over his new view of the world that he sent Buddhist missionaries from Pataliputra into all the neighboring countries. Missionaries to Sri Lanka were especially successful.
Ashoka had a large stupa (a solid round monument of stone) built over the Buddha's relics. Upon a railing built about it, the teacher's sayings were inscribed for all to see.
Soon after Ashoka's death, the Mauryan Empire began to fall apart. Taxes no longer came in sufficient amounts to Pataliputra. With royal support gone, Buddhism shared in the general decline. In 180 ВС the last Mauryan emperor gave up his throne. India fell back into small territorial states as the Mauryan central government fragmented.
Asiais a continent which includes the Middle East, the Far East and part of the former USSR.
Asia Minoris a historical name for the part of Western Asia between the Black Sea on the North, the Mediterranean Sea on the South, and the Aegean Sea on the West, and which now forms most of Turkey. India is situated in South Asia.There are two adjectives with the meaning of Asia, belonging to Asia: Asianand Asiatic.
An Asiaticor an Asianis a person who comes from, or whose parents come from Asia. In Britain it usually means from India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh. In the US, it usually means a person from Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam.
In American English the word a subcontinental(sometimes capital letter) is used when referring to a person from the Indian subcontinent. In the epoch of political correctness they are called Asian Americansor Amerasians.
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