Internal Administration and Foreign Relations

Romila Thapar

in Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas

Third edition

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077244
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081073 | DOI:

Series: Oxford India Perennials Series

Internal Administration and Foreign Relations

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This chapter describes the internal administration and foreign relations of the Mauryan empire under the reign of Aśoka. It explains that the establishment of the Mauryan state ushered in a new form of government, that of a centralised empire. Under this regime, the king had the central authority, and he not only defended social usage according to the traditional concept of kingship, but could also make his own laws. It was because of this increased power of the king that the Mauryan centralised monarchy became a paternal despotism under Aśoka. This chapter describes the Mauryan state's relationship with Kalinga and Ceylon. It suggests that Aśoka's relationship with Ceylon was not purely political, because though there may have been a considerable exchange of missions, Ceylon remained an independent kingdom.

Keywords: internal administration; foreign relations; Mauryan empire; centralised empire; paternal despotism; Kalinga; Ceylon; central authority

Chapter.  19857 words.  Illustrated.

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