Brihadratha Maurya

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Brihadratha Maurya
9th Mauryan emperor
Reign c. 187 – c. 180 BCE
Predecessor Shatadhanvan
Successor Pushyamitra Shunga (Founder of Shunga dynasty)
Dynasty Maurya Empire

Brihadratha Maurya (IAST: Bṛhadratha Maurya) was the last ruler of the Maurya Empire. He ruled from c. 187 – c. 180 BCE. He was killed by his general, Pushyamitra Shunga, who went on to establish the Shunga Empire.

Reign[edit]

According to the Puranas, Brihadratha succeeded Shatadhanvan and ruled for seven years.[1] Mauryan territories, centred on the capital of Pataliputra, had shrunk considerably from the time of Ashoka when Brihadratha came to the throne.

Usurpation of power by Pushyamitra Shunga[edit]

He was killed in 180 BCE and power usurped by his general, Pushyamitra Shunga, who then took over the throne and established the Shunga Empire. Bāṇabhaṭṭa's Harshacharita says that Pushyamitra, while parading the entire Mauryan army before Brihadratha on the pretext of showing him the strength of the army, crushed his master.[2]

Invasion of Demetrius I[edit]

In 180 BCE, northwestern India (parts of modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan) was attacked by the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius. He established his rule in the Kabul Valley and parts of the Punjab region. The Yuga Purana says that the Yavana army, led by King Dharmamita (Demetrius), invaded Indian territories and, after occupying the Panchala region and the cities of Saket and Mathura, finally captured Pataliputra. Soon, however, they had to leave for Bactria to fight a fierce battle (probably between Eucratides I and Demetrius).[3] The invasion of the Yavana (Indo-Greeks) is described by the Yuga Purana in a rather detailed account, and numerous conflicts between the Greeks and the Shungas are related in Indian sources:

  1. Then, having approached Saketa, together with Panchala and the Mathuras, the Yavanas (Indo-Greeks), wicked and valiant, will reach Kusumadhvaja ("The town of the flower-standard", Pataliputra).
  2. Then, once Puspapura (Pataliputra) has been reached, [and] its celebrated mud[-walls] cast down, all the realms will be in disorder, there is no doubt.
  3. There will then finally be a great war, of wooden weapons, and there will be the vilest of men, dishonourable and unrighteous.
— Yuga Purana[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thapar, Romila (1998). Aśoka and the decline of the Mauryas : with new afterword, bibliography and index (2nd ed.). Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 183. ISBN 0-19-564445-X. 
  2. ^ Lahiri, B. (1974). Indigenous States of Northern India (Circa 200 B.C. to 320 A.D.) , Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.24-5
  3. ^ Lahiri, B. (1974). Indigenous States of Northern India (Circa 200 B.C. to 320 A.D.) , Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.22-4
  4. ^ The Yuga Purana. Translated by Mitchiner, John E. Calcutta: The Asiatic Society. 1986. p. 91. 
  5. ^ The Sungas, Kanvas, Republican Kingdoms and Monarchies, Mahameghavahanas, Dilip Kumar Chakrabarti, p.6 [1]
Brihadratha Maurya
Preceded by
Shatadhanvan
Maurya Emperor
187–180
Succeeded by
Pushyamitra
(Shunga Empire)
Succeeded by
Demetrius I
(Indo-Greek Kingdom)