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A silver coin of 1 karshapana of King Mahapadma Nanda or his sons (345-321 BCE)
|First Emperor of Nanda Empire|
|Reign||c. 345 – c. 329 BCE|
|Mother||a Shudra queen|
Mahapadma Nanda (IAST: Mahāpadmānanda; c. 403 – c. 329 BCE) was the first Emperor of the Nanda Empire. According to the Puranas and Vishakhadatta's Mudrarakshasa he was believed to be the son of a poor barber.
The first Nanda bore the name of Mahapadma or Mahapadmapati (sovereign of an infinite host or of immense wealth) according to the Puranas, and Ugrasena according to the Mahabodhivamsa. Puranas describe him as ekarat (sole sovereign) and sarva-kshatrantaka (destroyer of all the Kshatriyas). 
The Puranas describe Mahapadma as a son of Mahanandin by a barber from the Shudra caste. Jain works like Parishishtaparvan and Avashyaka sutra represent him as the son of a courtesan by a barber. Curtius, a Roman historian, informs us that
his father was in fact a barber, scarcely staving off hunger by his daily earnings, but who, from his being not uncomely in person, had gained the affections of the queen, and was by her influence advanced to too near a place in the confidence of reigning monarch. Afterwards, however, he treacherously murdered his sovereign, and then, under the pretence of acting as guardian to the royal children, usurped the supreme authority, and having put the young princes to death begot the present king.— Curtius
Jain tradition mentions Kalpaka as one of his ministers who encouraged the king to put in place an expansionist policy.
- Sastri 1988, p. 13.
- Upinder Singh 2016, p. 272.
- Upinder Singh 2016, p. 273.
- Mookerji 1988, p. 8.
- Mookerji 1988, p. 7-8.
- Smith 1999, p. 39.
- Mookerji 1988, p. 14.
- Sastri 1988, p. 14.
- Smith 2008, p. 37.
- Sethna 2000.
- Panda 2007, p. 28.
- Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 204-209.
- Raychaudhuri & Mukherjee 1996, pp. 270-271.
- Sastri 1988, p. 17.
- Mookerji, Radha Kumud (1988) [first published in 1966], Chandragupta Maurya and his times (4th ed.), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0433-3
- Panda, Harihar (2007), Prof. H.C. Raychaudhuri, as a Historian, Northern Book Centre, ISBN 81-7211-210-6
- 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
- Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta, ed. (1988) , Age of the Nandas and Mauryas (Second ed.), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0465-1
- Sethna, K. D. (2000), Problems of Ancient India, New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, ISBN 81-7742-026-7
- Singh, Upinder (2016), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Pearson PLC, ISBN 978-81-317-1677-9
- Smith, Vincent A. (1999), The Early History of India (third ed.), Atlantic Publishers and distributors, ISBN 978-81-7156-618-1
- Smith, Vincent A. (2008) , Jackson, A. V. Williams, ed., History of India, in Nine Volumes, II - From the Sixth Century B.C. to the Mohammedan Conquest, Including the Invasion of Alexander the Great, Cosimo Classics, ISBN 978-1-60520-492-5
| Nanda Emperor
c. 345 BCE - 329 BCE