Bindusara

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After twenty-four years of stern and vigorous rule. Chandragupta died or abdicated, and transmitted the empire which he had won to his son Bindusara Amitraghata, who reigned for twenty-five or, according to other authorities, twenty-eight years . The only recorded public event of his reign, which may be assumed to have begun in either B.C. 298 or 301, according to the chronology adopted, is the dispatch to his court by the King of Syria of an ambassador named Dei'machos. The information is of interest as proving that the official intercourse with the Hellenic world begun by Chandragupta was continued by his successor. In the year B. c. 280 Seleukos Nikator, then in the seventy-eighth year of his age, was murdered, and was succeeded on the Syrian throne by his son Antiochos Soter.

Greek writers have preserved curious anecdotes of private friendly correspondence between Seleukos and Chandragupta and between Antiochos and Bindusara, of value only as indications that the Indian monarchs valuable information, and a few particulars are obtainable from other sources. Solinus (McCrindle, Megasfhenes, p. 156) gives the infantry force as 60,000 only, and the elephants as 8,000.

About seven years after the death of Seleukos, Asoka-vardhana, commonly called Asoka, a son of Bindusara, and the third sovereign of the Maurya dynasty, ascended the throne of Pataliputra (B. c. 273), and undertook the government of the Indian empire, which he held for about forty years. According to the silly fictions which disfigure the Ceylonese chronicles and disguise their solid merits, Asoka waded to the throne through a sea of blood, securing his position by the massacre of ninety-nine brothers, one brother only, the youngest, being saved alive. These fictions, an extract from which will be found in a later chapter, do not deserve serious criticism, and are sufficiently refuted by the testimony of the inscriptions which proves that the brothers and sisters of the king were still living in the middle of the reign, and that they and all the members of the royal family were the objects of the sovereign's anxious solicitude.


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