Pre Mauryan Age

The Pre Mauryan Age

Shodasa mahajanapadas

Anguttara nikaya, a Buddhist text written in Pali language gives an account of the 16 mahajanapadas, listed below.

Name of the mahajanapada Capital

Magadha Rajagriha(rajgir in Bihar) later it was shifted to
. pataliputra Bihar)
Anga Champa(east Bihar)
Kasi Varanasi(up)
Kosala Sravasti(up)
Vatsa Kaushambi(up)
Kuru Hastinapur(up)& Indraprastha (Delhi)
Panchala Ahichchhatra(up)
Saurasena Mathura(up)
Malla Pavan(Bihar)&kasi(up). It was a republic state.
Vajji Vaishali (Bihar)
Avanti Ujjain(mp)
Chedi Suktimati(mp)
Matsya Virata Nagaram(Jaipur)
Gandhara Taxila and pushkalavati(Pakistan)
Kamboja Rajapura(Pakistan)
Asmaka/assaka Podana(bodhan in Telangana).

Rise of magadha

● The 16 mahajanapadas that flourished during the 6th century B.C gradually merged into magadha by 4th century B.C magadha conquered all
mahajanapadas one after the other and emerged as the first true Empire in India.
● The geographical factors contributed to the rise of the rulers of Magadha.
● Magadha was located in the most fertile gangetic plains. The abundant resources such as iron ore available in magadha enabled it to produce weapons and agricultural implements.

Haryanka dynasty


● Bimbisara was the founder of the haryanka dynasty.
● Wars and annexations had become the prime policy adopted by bimbisara for the expansion of his kingdom.
● Matrimonial alliances became another policy of bimbisara.
● He married Mahadevi, the princess of kosala and got Kasi as dowry.
● The third policy adopted by him was diplomacy.
● When mahasena, the king of Avanti, had been affected by jaundice, bimbisara sent his court physician jivika to provide treatment. This medical diplomacy succeeded and Mahasena became an ally of bimbisara.


● Ajatasatru was the son of bimbisara, second king of the haryanka dynasty.
● He killed his father and assumed the Throne.
● He conquered vajji, malla and kosala kingdoms.


● Udayan was the successor of ajatasatru.
● His military chief susnaga murdered him and ended the haryanka dynasty. He established the susnaga dynasty.

Sisunaga dynasty


● He was the founder of sisunaga dynasty Haryanka dynasty
● He conquered Avanti.

● He was the second and last king of the sisunaga dynasty.
● He shifted the capital to pataliputra.
● His commander of the army , Mahapadma Nanda, killed him and founded the Nanda dynasty.

Nanda Dynasty

Mahapadma Nanda

● Mahapadma Nanda was the greatest of all the emperors of magadha in the pre mauryan age.
● He was shudra by caste and Jain by religion.
● He became the first emperor in India to cross the vindhya mountains and conquer south India.
● He assumed the titles of ekrat, sarvakshatrantaka and mahapadma.

Dhana Nanda

● He was the son of mahapadma Nanda and the last king of the Nanda dynasty.
● His original name was ugrasena nanda.
● Chandragupta Maurya defeated him.
● The nanda dynasty ended and the Mauryan rule began.

Persian/Iranian and Greek invasions of North India


● Cyrus is considered as the first foreigner king to conquer India.
● Herodotus, Greek historian who is known as father of history, mentioned in his book histories.


● Alexander invasion : he belongs to Macedonia kingdom
● Alexander horse name was bucephalus
● Alexander entered India through Khyber pass in 327 B.C.
● The most important battles fought by him in India was the battle of hydaspes or the battle of Jhelum with porus (Purushottam) in 326 B.C
● Alexander defeated Porus in the battle.
● Alexander died in Babylonia(Iraq) on his way to Macedonia.
● His military general Seleucus Nicator founded Greek kingdom centre at Syria.

Pre mauryan age economy

● Iron usage was increased
● A strong agrarian economy was born in the Indo gangetic basin.
● The asthtadhyayani written by Panini mentions the technique of transplantation of paddy.
● A Buddhist text, diganikaya describes 24 handicrafts of that period.
● Another significant development of this age was the emergence of shrenis(guilds).
● The guilds provided banking services to the people.
● The earliest coins of India that came into use in this age were named as punch marked coins.

Also Read:

vedic age

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