Nanda Empire

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Nanda Dynasty

345 BC–321 BC
The Nanda Dynasty at its greatest extent under Dhana Nanda c. 325 BC.
Capital Pataliputra
Languages Sanskrit
Religion Hinduism
Buddhism
Jainism
Government Monarchy
Samrat Mahapadma Nanda
Dhana Nanda
Historical era Iron Age India
 -  Established 345 BC
 -  Disestablished 321 BC
Today part of  Bangladesh
 India
   Nepal
Asiain 323 BC, showing borders of the Nanda Empire in relation to Alexander's Empire and neighbors.

The Nanda Dynasty (345–321 BCE) originated from the region of Magadha in ancient India during the 4th century BC. At its greatest extent, the empire ruled by the Nanda Dynasty extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range.[1] The rulers of this dynasty were famed for the great wealth which they accumulated. The Nanda Empire was later conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Maurya Empire.

Establishment of the dynasty[edit]

Mahapadma Nanda, who has been described in the Puranas as "the destroyer of all the Kshatriyas", defeated many other kingdoms, including the Panchalas, Kasis, Haihayas, Kalingas,[2] Asmakas, Kurus, Maithilas, Surasenas and the Vitihotras; to name a few.[3] He expanded his territory south of the Vindhya range, into the Deccan plateau. The Nandas who usurped the throne of the Shishunaga dynasty c. 345 BC[4] were thought to be of low origin with some sources stating that the dynasty's founder, Mahapadma, was the son of a Shudra mother .[5]

Nanda rule[edit]

The Nandas are sometimes described as the first empire builders in the recorded history of India. They inherited the large kingdom of Magadha and wished to extend it to yet more distant frontiers. To this purpose they built up a vast army, consisting of 200,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 2,000 war chariots and 3,000 war elephants (at the lowest estimates). According to Plutarch however, the size of the Nanda army was even larger, numbering 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 8,000 war chariots, and 6,000 war elephants.[6] However, the Nandas never had the opportunity to see their army up against Alexander, who invaded India at the time of Dhana Nanda, since Alexander had to confine his campaign to the plains of Punjab, for his forces, frightened by the prospect of facing a formidable foe, mutinied at the Hyphasis River (the modern Beas River) refusing to march any further. This river thus marks the eastern-most extent of Alexander's conquests.

The Nandas were also renowned for their immense wealth. They undertook irrigation projects and invented standardized measures for trade across their empire, and they ruled with the assistance of many ministers.[7] The Nanda Dynasty was also mentioned in the ancient Sangam literature of the Tamil people. The famous Tamil poet Mamulanar of the Sangam literature described the capital city Pataliputra of the Nanda Dynasty and the wealth and treasure that was accumulated by the great Nanda rulers.[8] Their unpopularity, possibly due to their "financial extortion", facilitated a revolution, leading to their overthrow by Chandragupta Maurya and Kautilya. Nevertheless, "the greatness [...] attained in the Maurya Age would hardly have been possible but for the achievements of their predecessors", the Nandas.[9]

List of Nanda rulers[edit]

  • Mahapadma Nanda (c. 345 BC – 329 BC)
  • Pandhuka
  • Panghupati
  • Bhutapala
  • Rashtrapala
  • Govishanaka
  • Dashasidhaka
  • Kaivarta
  • Mahendra
  • Dhana Nanda (Agrammes) (c. 329 BCE – 321 BC)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Radha Kumud Mookerji, Chandragupta Maurya and His Times, 4th ed. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1988 [1966]), 31, 28–33.
  2. ^ Kalinga (India) formed part of the Nanda Empire but subsequently broke free until it was re-conquered by Ashoka Maurya, c. 260 BCE. (Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 204-209, pp. 270-271)
  3. ^ http://www.forumancientcoins.com/india/earliest/nanda.html
  4. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=f1XMtc2Q97IC&pg=PA28
  5. ^ Nanda Dynasty – MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. 
  6. ^ (Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 204-210)
  7. ^ (Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 204-210)
  8. ^ The First Spring: The Golden Age of India by Abraham Eraly p.62
  9. ^ (Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 204-210)

References[edit]

  • Raychaudhuri, H. C.; Mukherjee, B. N. (1996). Political History of Ancient India: From the Accession of Parikshit to the Extinction of the Gupta Dynasty. Oxford University Press.
Preceded by
Shishunaga dynasty
Nanda Dynasty
(345 BC–321 BC)
Succeeded by
Maurya dynasty
Middle kingdoms of India
Timeline and

cultural period

Northwestern India

(Punjab-Sapta Sindhu)

Indo-Gangetic Plain Central India Southern India
Western Gangetic Plain

(Kuru-Panchala)

Northern India

(Central Gangetic Plain)

Northeastern India

(Northeast India)

IRON AGE
Culture Late Vedic Period Late Vedic Period

(Brahmin ideology)[a]

Painted Grey Ware culture

Late Vedic Period

(Kshatriya/Shramanic culture)[b]

Northern Black Polished Ware

Pre-history
 6th century BC Gandhara Kuru-Panchala Magadha Adivasi (tribes)
Culture Persian-Greek influences "Second Urbanisation"

Rise of Shramana movements
Jainism - Buddhism - Ājīvika - Yoga

Pre-history
 5th century BC (Persian rule) Shishunaga dynasty Adivasi (tribes)
 4th century BC (Greek conquests)

Nanda empire
Kalinga

HISTORICAL AGE
Culture Spread of Buddhism Pre-history Sangam period
(300 BC – AD 200)
 3rd century BC Maurya Empire Early Cholas

Early Pandyan Kingdom

Satavahana dynasty

Cheras

46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam

Culture Preclassical Hinduism[c] - "Hindu Synthesis"[d] (ca. 200 BC - AD300)[e][f]
Epics - Puranas - Ramayana - Mahabharata - Bhagavad Gita - Brahma Sutras - Smarta Tradition
Mahayana Buddhism
Sangam period

(continued)
(300 BC – AD 200)

 2nd century BC Indo-Greek Kingdom Sunga Empire Adivasi (tribes) Early Cholas

Early Pandyan Kingdom

Satavahana dynasty

Cheras

46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam

 1st century BC Yona Maha-Meghavahana Dynasty
 1st century AD

Indo-Scythians
Indo-Parthians

Kuninda Kingdom
 2nd century Pahlava Varman dynasty
 3rd century Kushan Empire Western Satraps Kamarupa kingdom Kalabhras dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Culture "Golden Age of Hinduism"(ca. AD 320-650)[g]
Puranas
Co-existence of Hinduism and Buddhism
 4th century Gupta Empire Kalabhras dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Kadamba Dynasty

Western Ganga Dynasty

 5th century Maitraka Adivasi (tribes) Kalabhras dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Vishnukundina

 6th century Kalabhras dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Culture Late-Classical Hinduism (ca. AD 650-1100)[h]
Advaita Vedanta - Tantra
Decline of Buddhism in India
 7th century Indo-Sassanids Vakataka dynasty, Harsha Mlechchha dynasty Adivasi (tribes) Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Pandyan Kingdom(Revival)

Pallava

 8th century Kidarite Kingdom Pandyan Kingdom

Kalachuri

 9th century Indo-Hephthalites (Huna) Gurjara-Pratihara Pandyan Kingdom

Medieval Cholas

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas)

Chalukya

Chera Perumals of Makkotai

10th century Pala dynasty

Kamboja-Pala dynasty

Medieval Cholas

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas)

Chera Perumals of Makkotai

Rashtrakuta