of these articles treats an Indian ruler named Ashoka. For further meanings see Ashoka (term clarifying).

Ashoka (Sanskrit, अशोक, Aśoka) was a ruler of the old-Indian Maurya - dynasty and governed approx. 268 v. Chr.- 233 v. Chr.;according to other data it already mounted around 272 v. Chr. the throne.

The Maurya dynasty goes back on Chandragupta Maurya, to that in the northeastIndian realm Magadha (area of the today's Bihar) and heartland of the early Buddhismus the bases for the largestRichly the Indian antique one put.

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Chandragupta prevailed around 322 v. Chr.- 300 v. Chr. Its successor was its son Bindusara (governed approx. 300 v. Chr.- 270 v. Chr.). Again its son Ashoka followed it as third rulers of the Maurya dynasty. Before Ashoka became the regent, he was a governor of its father in the city Taxila in the northwest of the realm.

First Ashoka was concerned with it, thatto extend increasing large realm by new conquests, whereby it partly proceeded with extreme hardness. The last stage this way formed the income potash gas in the east of India (area of the today's Orissa) for 261 v. Chr. After the bloody andinvolving heavy losses subjecting potash gas Ashoka in view of the wrong and misery, which brought its conquest courses with itself, by a psychological crisis was seized. Source for it is a self certification: A rock inscription, which was made four years later; therefore a military victory is senseless,importantly is only the victory dhamma.

Ashoka seemed to be converted shortly thereafter to the Buddhismus and decided to do without further conquests. From now on emperor Ashoka dedicated himself aimed to the peace promotion and the social welfare. In addition it forbade thoseWarfare and admonished its subjects, on each use of force to generally do without (among other things by prohibition of the bloody animal victims and publicising the Vegetariertums). Rejecting each aggression, he strove from now on for friendly relations with his neighbours, like the Seleukiden and that Greek in Baktrien. However Ashoka does not seem a fundamental reform of the Indian society, connected with a clear aim to have operated; rather it probably concerned the definition of a standard from social behavior.

In its realm it subordinated the administrationnational control, fiscal arbitrariness terminated, promoted the fair distribution of Landbesitz, established schools and hospitals (also animal hospitals) and let the principles of its policy which is based on the theories of the Buddhismus generally speaking country spread (column edicts so mentioned of the Ashoka).

Its measures seemed to encounter however from beginning also resistance. A rock edict begins with the words: Virtue realms acts are difficult to accomplish. In order to control and the resistance break the spreading dhamma (buddhistische teachings), it setshigh officials as Dhamma Mahamatras (large supervisors of the bhuddistischen teachings). These should supervise the Verkündigung and adherence to the teachings.

Despite its religious request Ashoka did not forget its ruler obligations. It e.g. thought. never to showing Kalinga the independence. In the rock edicts inKalinga is not to be read from regret, here leaves it to in chisels:All humans are for me like my children.

The realm was divided into five ranges. In the center Magadha with the realm capital Pataliputra lay. Ashoka centralized the administrationits giant realm, which a large part of the Indian Subkontinents - with exception of south India (drawidische states) - covered. One must consider here however that there were very large ranges, which were not seized by the national central power like e.g. thatlarge centralIndian area. Taut national control is particularly occupied for the Yamuna area.

Over the late time of the Maurya realm only few are well-known from texts. Royal inscriptions did not let Ashokas successor write. Buddhisti sources mean that itself the decay featuresalready in the last years under Ashoka made noticeable. The last member of the Maurya dynasty, Brihadratha, became 185 v.Chr. from its general Pushyamitra Shunga murders, which later introduced the horse victim forbidden by Ashoka again.

The rule of the Ashoka was also andparticularly for the Buddhismus, which it - under simultaneous respecting also different teachings - promoted eagerly, of great importance. Under its rule the teachings gained a foothold also in Sri Lanka. Besides it sent first religious legations to small Asia, in the Seleukiden -, Ptolemäer - and Antigonideneich, which the customer of the friedfertigen buddhistischen message should spread. Under its Patronage found in the year 253 v. Chr. or 250 v. Chr. a buddhistisches council instead of, that after Pataliputra (today: Patna), which became to call up capital of the Maurya realm.

Historically Ashoka is considered as one of the largest rulers of the Indian antique ones and as a first Indian ruler, who brought undisputed ethical requests into the policy. In India it becomes until today as outstandingExample of a fair and friedfertigen policy admires.


of the Bollywoodfilm Asoka (2001; with Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor) takes loans when living the old-Indian ruler.


  • Hermann Kulke and Dietmar red ago mouth: History of India, Kohl hammer publishing house, Stuttgart 1982.

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