Ancient India(2500 BC to 7th AD)

Buddhist Councils:-


S. No.Year/PlaceRuler/patronPresidentImportance
1483BC/ RajgrihaAjatashatruMahakassapaCompilation of Vinaya Pitaka & Sutta Pitaka
2383BC/ VaishaliKalashokSaba KamiBuddhist split into Sthaviravadins & Mahasanghikas
3250BC / PatliputraAshokaMogaliputta TissaAbhidhamma Pitaka compiled
4100AD / Kundal van (Kashmir)KanishaVasumitraDivision into Hinayana & Mahayana


The Magadha Empire:-

  • There were sixteen territories called Sodasha Mahajanpada around 6 BC. These were mentioned in Anguttara nikaya padas which is a part of Sutta Pitaka.
  • Out of these 16 Mahajanpada 4 were every powerful, which are:-




Magadha Empire:-

Haryank Dynasty:-

  • The first dynasty ever ruled over Magadha.
  • Founded by Bimbasara.
  • Capital: – Rajgir or girivraja.
  • Ajatashatru was the son of Bimbasara and he laid the foundation of new capital at Patligrama.He captured Koshala and Vaishali.
  • Ajatshatru patronized the first Buddhist council. He was succeeded by his son Udayin who ruled from patliputra.



  • Shishunaga founded this dynasty and ruled from Vaishali.
  • Kalashoka, was the son of Shishunaga. He patronized the second Buddhist council.



  • Mahapadama Nanda founded the Nanda dynasty. He ruled from Patliputra.
  • Dhananda was the last king of Nanda dynasty.
  • Alexander attacked on India In the time of Dhananda in 326 BC.


Foreign Invaders:-

Cyrus (founder of Persian Empire)558-530 BC
Darius (Persia)522-486 BC
Alexander (Greece)326 BC



·        He reached India through Khyber Pass in 326 BC.

·        He constructed a bridge on the Indus river at Ohind about 24 km above Attok

·        He met with Ambi, the king of Texila.

·        He defeated Porus who ruled the region between Jhelum and Chenab River.

·        He came up to Beyas River and then return back as his army revolted against him.

·        He reached back to Susa in Persia in 324 BC.

·        He died at the age of 32 in Babylon.


The Maurya (321-185 BC):-


Chandragupta Maurya (321-297 BC):-

  • He was the founder of the Maurya dynasty under the guidance of Kautilya (Chankya).
  • He defeated Seleucus, who had succeeded Alexander in eastern part of his empire.
  • Seleucus sent Megasthenes as his ambassador to the court of Chandragupta.
  • Megasthenes wrote a book Indica in which he describe the court of Chandragupta.
  • Sandrocottus in Greek sources is Chandragupta.
  • He constructed Sudarshana lake for irrigation purpose in Saurashtra
  • In his later days he adopted Jainism and went to South India with Bhadrabahu. He starved himself to death (called Sallehkna) in Sravanbelgola near Mysore.


Bindusara (297-272 BC):-

  • Chandragupta succeeded by his son Bindusara.
  • He also known as Amitrochates or Amitraghata (killer of enemies).
  • He expanded his empire in south up to Karnataka.
  • He followed Ajivika Samrdaya.
  • After the death of Bindusara a war of succession followed four years. Ashoka killed his six brother and Became king in 272 BC.


Ashoka (272-232 BC):-

  • For the first 8 years, he ruled like a cruel king and maintained discipline.
  • In 260 BC he fought Kalinga war in which he killed many people. After this war he moved by massacre and as the result he renounced warfare as the method of victory.
  • Though he became a pacifist and ruled like a true monarch throughout his reign.
  • He sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra Sri Lanka (Ceylon) to propagate Buddhism.
  • After the death of Ashoka in 232 BC, the Mauryan Empire could not last long. The whole empire was divided into two parts- east and west.
  • Brihadranath was the last Mauryan king and he was killed by his commander-in-chief Psuyamitra Sunga.


The Pre Gupta Period:-

Sunga Dynasty (185-75BC):-

  • The Maurayas were succeeded by the Sungas. They were Brahmanas.
  • Pushyamitisra was succeeded by his son
  • The Puranas talks about ten kings of Shunga dynasty.
  • The last Shunga king was Devabhuti.
  • Sungas were replaced by Kanvas.


Kanvas (75-25 BC):-

  • They ruled in western part of India.
  • Vasudeva Kanva killed the last Sunga king.
  • Kanvas replaced by Satavahanas.


Foreign Dynasties:-

  1. The indo-Greek or Bactrian Greek:-
  • Some important Indo-Greek rulers were Euthydemus, Demetrius, Eucratides and Menander.
  • Menander (165-145 BC) ruled from his capital Sakala (Sialkot) in Pakistan.
  • Antialkidas was an Indo-Greek king and Heliodorus came from his court.
  • Indo-Greek rulers were the first who issued gold coin.
  • Gandhara School of Art was developed under Indo-Greeks.


  1. The Sakas:-
  • Scythians or Sakas were nomadic tribes of Central Asia. They destroyed Indo- Greek rule.
  • They entered in India through Bolan Pass.
  • They ruled from 1 BC to 4 AD.
  • Rudradaman -1 was the most important king who ruled from Ujjain around 150 AD.
  • The Sakas fought a war with Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya emerged victorious part in this war and an era called Vikram Samvat is reckoned from the event of his victory over the Sakas in 70 BC.
  • The last Saka king Rudrasimha-3 was defeated by Chandragupta-2 of the Gupta dynasty about 290 AD.


  1. The Parthians:-
  • The Parthians were also known as Pahalavas. They were the Iranian They ruled from Peshawar.
  • The earliest king of this dynasty was Vonones.
  • Gondophernes (19-45 AD) was the greatest of this dynasty.
  • Thomas, a Christian missionary visited during the reign of Gondophernes.


  1. The Khushanas of Yuechis:-
  • The khushanas were the most powerful of all the foreign invaders who came to India.
  • The khushanas were one of the five clans into which the Yuechis tribe wwas divided.
  • First great Yuechi king was Kujala Kadphises or Kadphises-1.
  • Kadphises-2 succeeded Kadphises-1. He issued gold and copper coins.


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