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Thread: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

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    Default Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)


    Greetings Europa Barbarorum fans!



    Today we are proud to present one of the new factions that will make an appearance in Europa Barbarorum II.
    Contesting the spoils of an empire in turmoil, the Viceroy of Taksashila, Susima Maurya, oldest son of Emperor Bindusara and rightful heir to the throne of the Mauryan Empire, is gathering his forces, and preparing to take his place in the annals of history.


    Faction Description:

    Wisdom. The most noble of human pursuits. Medicine, literature, art, religion and science; all of these find their refinement in the city of Taksashila. For many an age this city has been a centre of learning, culture and commerce. The ancient hymns of the Rigveda are still recited in the temples, and in the streets can be heard the strange tongues of Yavanas, Parasikas and other Mlecchas. And under the guardianship of the great emperors Chandragupta and Bindusāra, the city has been allowed to prosper. Indeed, it was here, in this very city, that Chandragupta and his Brahmin minister, Kautilya, first began their struggle to create the Mauryan Empire. Thus, Taksashila has always held an important position in the empire, and a great honour has been bestowed upon you, great Taksashilarajya, to be named Uparajya, and thus represent the imperial power in this great city.

    But these are troubled times, and the hymns have been replaced by the sound of the war-drum. Barely had the soul of Emperor Bindusāra, the slayer of foes, departed from his body, before his sons were at each others' throats, fighting amongst themselves to decide who would inherit their father's domains. Now, with the empire in turmoil, you are on your own. However, despite the apparent chaos, there might be gains to be made from the situation. The people of Taksashila have always had a taste for freedom, and perhaps the situation can be exploited in order to strengthen your control over the neighbouring lands. But nothing lasts forever, and sooner or later one of the claimants to the throne will emerge victorious, and no doubt he will come to you, demanding your acknowledgement of his suzerainty. Will you accept him as your overlord, or defy the emperor’s will and declare yourself independent? Both alternatives have some merit to them. The imperial Mauryas are your kin, both by nationality and blood, and should you remain loyal, you can rely on them to help you in times of need. Should you defy them, however, you will no doubt face their wrath. But freedom also has its benefits.

    No matter where you position yourself in the politics and internal struggles of the empire, you must also be aware of the many other powers that rule the vast tracts beyond the Hindu-Kush, and who behold the riches of India with covetous eyes. Across the Mountains lie first the vast domains of the great Antiyoka, king of the Yavanas. His father was a valued ally of Chandragupta, and the good relations still remain with his son. He also commands many warriors and great wealth, but his domains are vast, and on the fringes of his empire various lords are starting to grow ever bolder and more independent. In particular, it might be prudent to keep a watchful eye on the Yavanas who control Baktria, for their domains are the closest to ours. Further north, the great steppes spread out over a seemingly infinite area. Here, the horsemen of the Shakas and Pahlavas roam, fierce nomads, always searching to find new lands for their herds to graze on, and for their kings to rule over. They fight in a fashion quite unlike that of our ancestors, relying on the speed and stamina of the horse, instead of the power and impact of the glorious chariot. Our ways of war have long served us well, but perhaps this could be a good time to glimpse beyond the confines of our land, to learn from the Mlecchas, and use their own weapons against them. The Yavanas, too, have proven their worth in combat, and should you desire it, they would surely enter your service. Also, throughout the years, emissaries have arrived at the court of Chandragupta and Bindusāra from a certain king Tulamay, who rules a kingdom of Yavanas, far to the west. Relations with this king have been amiable, but he is not on good terms with the other Yavana king. It might be wise to seek the friendship of this king, should we ever find ourselves at war with Antiyoka or his successors.

    So, great Taksashilarajya, you have much work before you. You rule a great city, a city of wisdom and knowledge, but these are times that call for warriors and generals, not scribes and brahmins. So be vigilant. Rule wisely, and choose your actions carefully, for regardless of your wisdom and knowledge, you must be prepared for war. But then again, wisdom is power, and power is the key to victory.




    Faction Symbol:


    Faction Symbol Description:

    The faction symbol for Taksashila depicts the well known Indian humped bull. The humped bull has often been especially associated with the northwest, and is common there still today. This type of bull is known to have already featured on seals from the times of the Indus civilisation, and it is also seen on the coinage minted in Taksashila during the period of independence between the time Taksashila broke off from the Mauryan Empire not long after Ashoka’s death in 231 BC, and the conquest of the area by the Baktrian Greeks in the early second century BC.

    As basis for the symbol, the bull on the lion capital from the Ashokan Pillar edict at Sarnath was used, and using those basic shapes, a more stylized bull image was created. The Pillar at Sarnath, although not in the direct vicinity of Taksashila, is probably the most famous of the Ashokan Pillar edicts, due to its famous capital depicting four lions on top of a Persian-inspired bell-shaped capital, on which a chackra, which is a symbol resembling a wheel with many spokes, and a number of animals, including a horse and the humped bull in question are depicted. Apart from being generally considered the most important object of Mauryan art, the Sarnath lion capital was eventually used as the national emblem of the Indian Republic, and is also on the flag of the Indian Army.

    The colours of the symbol, gold and dark green, were chosen because they do not resemble the colours of any nearby faction, and were considered fitting for an Indian faction. Although much of Gandhara, where Taksashila is located, is relatively arid and mountainous, the dark green represents the lushness of the subcontinent's deep forests and jungles, while the gold represents the famed wealth of India, oft-mentioned by ancient authors.




    The Units:



    Kauntikas (Indian Spearmen)

    These men, armed with spears and protected by shields, are the mainstay of the Indian infantry. Most of these men are not part of the Kshatriya warrior caste, but can be men of varying origin who have taken up arms. Their spears, which they wield in an underarm position, are made of wood or bamboo, with iron spearheads. Barbed spearheads are known to have been used, but pictorial sources provide evidence for a multitude of different types. The shields are flat and bell-shaped, some of them with painted patterns, while others are just reinforced with leather straps. It seems likely that this type of shield was actually strapped to the arm, making it easier to block with.

    Most of the warriors are dressed in their everyday clothing, which includes loincloths, skirts, and short-sleeved shirts. The majority would have fought bare-chested, however. Some of the warriors wear a simple type of armour corselet, made from strips of hardened leather and tied at the back by what is in the epics referred to as a corselet strap. This type of armour can, for instance, be seen on some of the warriors on the reliefs on the Toranas at Sanchi. Some of them wear turbans, which might have been used to deaden the blows of blunt weapons, while others have the characteristic Indian hair knot. These were sometimes tied up with cloth to form a simple type of turban.

    These warriors are neither the best nor the bravest men in the Indian armies. They are primarily meant to add mass to the infantry formations, where they do a decent job holding the line, but cannot be expected to defeat better trained warriors, and nor are they suitable as assault infantry. Such roles are better filled by macemen or swordsmen.

    Historically, spearmen were some of the most common warriors in Indian armies, which is attested to by their prevalence on murals and reliefs, and the fact that the epics list a plethora of different names for designating various types of spears, such as barbed spears, throwing spears, pikes and metal spears. The spear remained primarily an infantry weapon, and was generally not considered as heroic as the bow, or mle weapons that put more emphasis on individual combat skills, such as the mace or sword.

    In the classical “Four-Armed Army”, or Caturangabala, the infantry was one of the four main arms. Even though Kautilya, the author of the Arthashastra, proposed that an army should preferably be made up entirely of Kshatriyas, most armies probably contained large contingents of members of other castes as well, especially after the ascension of Buddhism during Mauryan times. The Seleukid ambassador Megasthenes reported in c. 300 BC that Chandragupta had over 600,000 infantrymen under his command, and most of these were probably levies armed with whatever they had to hand. Spears and shields were cheap and easy to make, and spearmen would likely have made up a large part of the mle infantry.

    Other empires that conquered India also made use of the warriors they could muster there. Indian warriors were likely present at Thermopylai as part of the Achaemenid army, and later dynasties that ruled north-west India, such as the Baktrians, Sakas and Kushanas, were not slow to incorporate these warriors into their armies.



    Cāpadhara Yoddhṛ (Indian Longbowmen)

    These men are armed with the weapon most closely associated with the ancient Indian warrior: the longbow. The longbows would have been made of either bamboo or wood, and it would have been drawn in a particular fashion, described by ancient authors. The archer would put the bottom end of the bow against the ground, supported by his foot, when he shot the arrow, to give the bow stability. Quivers would have been worn on the back, as can be deduced from several ancient stone reliefs of warriors all carrying the quiver on their shoulders. In addition to the bows, these warriors also carry a broadsword. According to Arrianos, the broadsword and the bow were the weapons of choice of Indian warriors, and the sword was used in a slashing fashion. There were several different types of swords, some of native Indian design, but through foreign influence, other types, such as the Hellenic kopis made their way into the hands of Indian warriors. In fact, the design of the kopis sword remains in use in India today in the famed kukri knifes, which retain the shape of the Greek original, so great was the influence of Hellenic warfare in India.

    Most of the warriors are dressed in their everyday clothing, which includes loincloths, skirts, and short-sleeved shirts. The majority would have fought bare-chested, however. Some of the warriors wear a simple type of armour corselet, made from strips of hardened leather and tied at the back by what is in the epics referred to as a corselet strap. This type of armour can, for instance, be seen on some of the warriors on the reliefs on the Toranas at Sanchi. Some of them wear turbans, which might have been used to deaden the blows of blunt weapons, while others have the characteristic Indian hair knot. These were sometimes tied up with cloth to form a simple type of turban.

    These archers can use their bows with great efficiency, and though they may not have the best aim, the power and range of their weapons more than make up for this. Though their broadswords make them more capable in mle than most archers, they are primarily ranged warriors, and may break if facing better trained warriors in hand-to-hand combat.

    Historically, archers with longbows were one of the most prominent aspects of Indian warfare, as can be attested to by reliefs and Murals from the time, in addition to their mention in Epics and also in accounts of classical authors like Arrianos. Archery had always been an important aspect of warfare already for the Vedic Aryan tribes that started migrating into the Indian subcontinent in the 2nd millennium BC, and in literature, archery was emphasised as the nobility’s means of fighting. The armament of these men differs from that of the noble kshatriya charioteers in that while they used composite bows, the infantry used longbows.

    In the classical “Four-Armed Army”, or Caturangabala, the foot archers were considered part of the infantry. Even though Kautilya, the author of the Arthashastra, proposed that an army should preferably be made up entirely of Kshatriyas, most armies probably contained large contingents of members of other castes as well, especially after the ascension of Buddhism during Mauryan times. The Seleukid ambassador Megasthenes reported in c. 300 BC that Chandragupta had over 600,000 infantrymen under his command, and most of these were probably levies. A substantial proportion of these would probably have been longbowmen.

    Other empires that conquered India also made use of the warriors they could muster there. Indian warriors were likely present at Thermopylai as part of the Achaemenid army, and later dynasties that ruled north-west India, such as the Baktrians, Sakas and Kushanas, were not slow to incorporate these warriors into their armies.



    Laghu Aśvānīka (Indian Light Cavalry)

    Armed with javelins and swords, the Indian light cavalry is very good for skirmishing duties and to pursue routing enemies. Though better soldiers than the mere levies that make up the bulk of Indian armies, these men are still no professional warriors. Along with their javelins, they carry small cavalry shields, which resemble the bell-shaped infantry shields, but are smaller and with a rounded bottom. Just like the infantry’s shields, they are made of leather on a wooden frame, and either painted or covered with leather straps as reinforcement. They also wield swords for use in mle.

    Like the levies, most are dressed in their everyday clothing, some with shirts on, while others fight bare-chested. Some wear the particular short shirts that are seen on the Ajanta murals, which leaves the abdomen bare, but covers the upper thorax area. Unlike the infantry, they do not wear any armour at all, as these men are intended for skirmishing duties, and not engaging in mle. Some wear protective turbans, which might help to deaden blows to the head, while others have the characteristic Indian hair knots.

    They ride well-bred Kambojan horses, which were famed for being excellent war horses. Some of the earliest known stirrups can be seen on Indian monuments, but far from all riders used them, and these relatively light cavalry units had not the same need for such devices as the heavier cavalry used for mle. Some do have saddles, probably reinforced with wood, but most just use a piece of cloth or leather.

    These warriors are light skirmishing cavalry, and not intended for charging or fighting in mle. They are primarily used for support and screening purposes, and will quickly break if caught in close combat by enemy troops. They are best used for harassing the enemy’s flanks and their speed makes them excellent for chasing down routing enemy units.

    Historically, cavalry played a rather minor role in ancient Indian armies, although it was slightly more important in the northwestern parts of the subcontinent. Still, cavalry was most certainly present in all Indian armies, as can be attested to by their appearance on several monuments, such as the stuphas at Sanchi and Barhut, and on the Ajanta murals. The great majority of the horsemen seen on these monuments are light cavalry, armed with javelins and short spears, and unarmoured.

    Though relatively seldom mentioned in the epics, cavalry was considered one of the arms of the classical “Four-Armed Army”, or Caturangabala. Their role was primarily supportive, though, and in the Arthashastra, Kautilya states that skirmishing and pursuing routing enemies are the main tasks of the cavalry. The role of shock troops was instead given to the elephants and chariots. Only later, with the development of heavier cavalry types, did horsemen play any significant role in battle. Nevertheless, light cavalry of this type remained a part of Indian armies for scouting or skirmishing purposes until medieval times.

    Other empires that conquered India also made use of the warriors they could muster there. Indian warriors were likely present at Thermopylai as part of the Achaemenid army, and later dynasties that ruled north-west India, such as the Baktrians, Sakas and Kushanas, were not slow to incorporate these warriors into their armies.



    Kṣatriya Khaḍgacarmadharas (Indian Swordsmen)

    Armed with big chopping swords and tall shields, Indian swordsmen are the shock infantry of Indian armies. The swords they wield have a curved shape, resembling the Greek kopis, but are bigger. They were most likely the product of Hellenic influences on Indian armament, where the Indians adapted the shape to fit other purposes as well. Hence, just like the more traditional broadswords, they would have been used as a slashing and chopping weapon in mle, the curve only increasing their effectiveness. In addition, they carry javelins which they throw before mle commences. Some javelins have barbed heads, as such heads are known both from the murals at Ajanta, and from the Epics.

    The shields they carry are long and narrow and most are slightly curved. Such shields are known both from murals and reliefs, and Arrianos describes them as being narrower than a man, but almost as tall. Their size and curved shape would have almost enveloped the warrior carrying it, and given much protection from arrows. Though this type of shield is sometimes seen in other contexts, it is for the most part seen carried along with the curved swords mentioned above, and warriors thus equipped seems to have been prevalent in ancient Indian armies.

    These warriors do not wear any body armour, nor do they wear helmets, making them lighter than the macemen, who make up the heavier part of the infantry, but less resilient in mle. Being Kshatriyas, many of whom are part of the standing royal army, they can afford finer clothing than the levy infantry, and some even wear jewellery. Judging by mural paintings, most would have worn white clothes with coloured patterns on, although more colourful examples are sometimes seen.

    These warriors make quite good assault infantry, while their large shields make them relatively resistant to arrows and other ranged weapons. Their slashing swords may cut through most infantry, but their lack of armour may prove fatal if they are caught in prolonged mle.

    Historically, swords were important weapons in India since ancient times, and already during the bronze age, the people of the Gangetic Plain wielded swords. However, with the advent of the Vedic Aryans, the sword became more associated with the knights and Kshatriyas. Though nothing is mentioned in ancient Indian sources about the Macedonian campaign in the northwest, Alexander left a lasting legacy on the military culture of the subcontinent, and the kopis sword especially was widely used. In fact, the design of the kopis sword remains in use in India today in the famed kukri knifes, which retain the shape of the Greek original. These swords were most likely adaptations of the kopis to the Indian style of sword fighting, and hence they were enlarged.



    Kṣatriya Gadāhasta Yoddhṛ (Indian Macemen)

    Warriors from the higher tiers of the Kshatriya caste, these men have chosen to fight with the mace, a weapon with a substantial symbolic importance in India. These men are professional soldiers, paid by the government and very well trained in combat. As such, they can afford better equipment and armour, but they also wear some jewellery to further emphasise their high status. They wield their maces in one hand with a bell-shaped shield, decorated with various painted motifs, in the other. Many of these motifs have a religious significance, such as the chakra and bodhi tree in Buddhism, and the swastika in Hinduism. The maces are made out of a multitude of materials, but most had iron or bronze heads with wooden handles. Some maces have spikes on them, to increase their lethality.

    Being relatively wealthy, these men can afford better clothing than the average warrior, with some dyed cloth and some jewellery being in evidence. Some of them wear armour too, namely corselets of hardened leather and scale armour. The leather corselets can, for instance, be seen on some of the warriors on the reliefs on the toranas at Sanchi. The scale armour is a short, armless cuirass, the simplest type of metal body armour described by Kautilya in the Arthashastrsa. In addition to the traditional hair knots and turbans, some wear helmets. The helmets, made of iron or copper, are of the type seen on the Nagarjunakonda relief, with a pointed shape. Helmets are rarely seen on ancient Indian depictions, and even though occasionally mentioned in the ancient literature, they seem to have been of limited use. Yet compared to the turbans that might help deaden blows, but do not protect from slashing or missile weapons, helmets are very effective means of protection, and saw use among more high-ranking warriors. Still, some sport the classic hair knots, or long flowing hair, which was popular among the upper classes in ancient India.

    Heavily armed, armoured and well trained, these men are excellent infantry to send into the fiercest mle. They may not have the same impact as the swordsmen, but their fighting skill and superior armour gives them far better staying power. Hence, the macemen are good medium/heavy infantry for Indian armies.

    Historically, the mace, generally known as Gada, was a very popular weapon among knights, and many knights took pride in their skill of mace fighting. In fact, there existed several different fighting techniques, some of which included hurling the mace at the enemy. Several types of maces are seen on reliefs and mentioned in textual sources. Some, such as the great mace, or Mahagada, was probably wielded two-handed, while other types were wielded with one hand, with or without a shield. The reliefs provide us with ample evidence for various types of mace heads, ranging from square and hexagonal forms, to spiked varieties, and some shaped as simple clubs or batons.

    Traditionally, most knights fought mounted on chariots, and would mostly only fight dismounted if the chariot broke down or if they were caught in mle. However, some knights, although of higher standing than most, would probably have fought as a part of another arm of the classic "four-armed army", or Caturangabala. Many would likely have made up the heavier contingents of the infantry. Further, not all kshatriyas were knights, and the wealthier of these would likely have fought as part of the heavier troops, although not from chariots.

    According to Kautilya in the Arthashastra, the armoured infantry was supposed to hold the centre of the battle line. Such warriors would most likely have been almost exclusively kshatriyas, and were often full-time warriors, being provided for by the state in peacetime. Indeed, Kautilya argues that the army should preferably be made up exclusively of men of the kshatriya caste. Still, given the size of ancient Indian armies, some comprised of over 600,000 men, it is likely that a substantial part was of other castes, and only a fraction of the Kshatriyas would have been wealthy enough to be as well equipped as the knights.



    Kṣatriya Ᾱrya Rathas (Indian Chariot Archers)

    Riding in horse-drawn chariots, these warriors come from the lite section of the Kshatriya caste, superseding most other warriors in both skill and wealth. They take honour in fighting in the same manner as the ancient Vedic-Aryan heroes of bygone days, and attempt to equal the bravery of Krishna and Arjuna in battle. They are skilled in all types of fighting, but their favoured weapon is the composite bow. In the Artashastra, Kautilya lists wood, bone and sinew as the material of which such bows were made. Like most Indian warriors, they wear their leather quivers on their backs. Some extra quivers would likely have been carried in the chariots as well. All warriors carry Indian broadswords to use in mle if the chariot breaks down or they want to engage in a duel on foot. Each chariot carries three men: two warriors armed with bows and one charioteer.

    The wealth of these men is clearly seen on their clothing, which is coloured with expensive dyes and, like most Indian clothing, made of cotton. Cotton had been known in India for a long time, and was extensively used for clothing. Megasthenes reports that there were bushes in India which produced wool, which must refer to cotton, but many western readers at the time found this unbelievable. On their heads, some wear turbans of dyed cloth, which serve to deaden blows from blunt weapons. Others wear the traditional Indian hair knot and a small decorative garland. Many wear decorative jewellery in gold, such as necklaces and earrings. Many of the warriors wear heavy armour. Kautilya describes several types of armour, such as foot-length and knee-length armour coats. Both types are represented on the chariot warriors, mostly of scale, but some are also leather coats with metal plates attached to them. The armour is made of a leather base, with metal armour, either of iron, bronze or copper, attached to it. The leather extends slightly below the end of the metal to avoid injury to the wearer. Some warriors also wear helmets. The helmets seen are of the pointed type seen on the reliefs from Nagarjunakonda, and also a round type seen on the reliefs at Sanchi. Some helmets have gilded and painted decorations along the rim. Their bracers are presumably repousss with gold attachments.

    The chariot consists of a box, probably of leather or wicker on a wooden frame, to which an axle, extending some distance outside the box on each side, is attached with leather strings, roughly to the middle of the box, although some depictions seem to hint at it being located somewhat more towards the front of the chariot. The floor in the front of the chariot, where the driver stands, is slightly raised. The wheels are fastened to the end of the axle, possibly with linchpins, but this remains uncertain. The wheels had at least eight spokes, although some depictions show many more. This could, however, be a way to implement the chakra symbol into the pictures. The wheels are made of wood, but with a sort of metal tyre. The felloe may have been made of several parts, or one big piece of wood which had been bent. The chariot pole is fastened at the bottom of the box, and goes through a hole in the yoke. Sometimes an object called a "three-fold piece" is mentioned in sources, but what it was remains uncertain. The most plausible explanation is to interpret it as a pair of wooden poles, supporting the main chariot pole, and fastened to a third pole, situated under the chariot, which is parallel to the axle. A small piece of wood is also attached to the back of the chariot, so that it will not tip over when no horses are attached to it.

    The chariot warriors are heavily armoured, and well protected in the chariot, making them very resistant to archer fire. They are lite warriors, and the bravest men an Indian general can muster, so they will not break unless badly worn out. Racing across the battlefield, they can rain arrows upon their enemies, or break formations by charging through them. They are very vulnerable if caught in mle, though, as their tactics rely entirely on speed and manoeuvrability. Used wisely, they may tip the balance greatly in their general’s favour, but if used carelessly, they may cause the battle to end in bitter defeat.

    Historically, one of the most distinguishing features of ancient Indian warfare was the prevalence of war chariots carrying knights and nobles into battle. Chariots were known in India since the time of the Indus civilisation, but it was the Vedic-Aryans that turned it into the horse-drawn two-wheeled vehicle which was to become associated with heroism in India forever after. Wheeled vehicles were known among the Indo-Europeans at least since the time of the Afanasevo culture in the 3rd millennium BC, and had both religious and practical importance. When the Indo-European peoples started to migrate into the outer Eurasian regions from their central Asian homeland, they brought this technology with them. Their most important contributions were no doubt the spoked wheel, which was far supperior to the solid wheels that had previously been prevalent, for instance in Sumeria, and the use of horses as draft animals. Previously, mules had been used, something which is attested to both in Sumeria and among the people of the Indus civilisation. In India, the two-wheeled chariot became a powerful weapon on the open fields of the Gangetic Plains, and thus gained its position as the preferred transportation of the upper classes. Potentates riding chariots can be seen on many early monuments, not least the murals at Sanchi.

    Chariots were considered one of the four main arms of the so called “four-armed army”, or Caturangabala. Kautilya describes the use of the chariot as breaking the mass of the enemy force, and frightening it with magnificence and loud noises. He also notes that it is useful for occupying positions on the battlefield. From this, it is clear what importance the chariot had on ancient Indian battlefields, and that it was, to a large extent, the speed of the chariot which gave it the elevated role it held. Chandragupta had over 8,000 chariots in his army, according to Megasthenes, which is slightly fewer than the number of elephants at his disposal. Given that each chariot had a crew of two or three men, this means that the chariot corps consisted of at least 16,000 or maybe even 24,000 men. The ranks of the chariot military arm would have been swollen still further by the servants and support personel that according to Kautilya should accompany the chariot corps, and hence, a quite substantial number of men would have occupied with the chariot arm.

    However, despite its illustrious past, it soon became clear that the age of chariot warfare was past. Already at the Battle of the Hydaspes, the chariots commanded by Poros’s son were destroyed by Alexander’s forces when they got stuck in mud, and during the next two centuries, further exposure to the types of warfare practised by the peoples to the northwest of the Indian subcontinent forced Indian rulers to gradually abandon the chariot as an effective weapon. Its battlefield role was gradually transferred to the cavalry, which became more heavily armed and armoured, but still retained the speed and manoeuvrability of the chariots, while the elephants took over the role of heavy shock forces and archery platforms. Chariots lingered in Indian armies up to the 8th century AD, but by that time, their role was primarily symbolic.


    Vāru (preliminary name) (Indian Elephants)

    Towering high above the rest of the battlefield, the war elephant is indeed a sight to behold. The thick skin of this pachyderm makes it hard to bring down, and its strength can crush many an obstacle in its way, making it an invaluable weapon to any general, Indian or Mleccha, who may wish to utilise it in combat. The elephant is covered with rugs or padded cloth, and on its back a wooden tower holds two warriors armed with bows. This tower would have been made as light as possible, probably from wood, bamboo and leather, and was fastened with leather straps or chains over the elephant’s chest, backside and belly. Sometimes, elephants may have been painted with different motifs, often with symbolic or religious meaning. A mahout, or “elephant-driver”, is also seated on the beast’s neck, from whence he directs it with a goad.

    The warriors in the tower are equipped with longbows of the kind used by much of the infantry. The warriors wear no armour except the occasional leather corselet of the type seen at Sanchi, and are dressed in everyday clothing. They wear quivers of hardened leather slung across their backs, and there may also have been spare quivers in the tower, to prevent the archers from running out of ammunition. The patterns on the shields on each side of the tower are based on murals from Ajanta.

    Elephants are best used as cavalry screens, where their presence can scare away enemy cavalry. They can also be used to ram through an enemy battle line, though they are less useful when faced with loose order or phalanx infantry. Beyond their obvious use against enemy infantry or cavalry, they can also be used in siege combat, battering down wooden gates and walls with ease. They are highly vulnerable to better prepared and fortified installations, though. Their greatest vulnerability is against skirmishers, slingers and archers, who can pepper them with missiles - eventually toppling them by virtue of their cumulative impact. To counter the effect of enemy skirmishers, a wise general will arrange his own skirmishers in opposition, or try to maintain constant attacks upon each individual group.

    Historically, elephants had been used in battle at least since the Vedic-Aryan tribes first arrived on the Indian subcontinent. Depictions of elephants on seals are known from the Indus civilisation, but whether they were already used for war at this point is not known. However, in the Vedic period, elephants were quickly domesticated and trained for war. During the Mauryan period, as the importance of chariots declined, the importance of elephants grew dramatically. According to Megasthenes, Chandragupta Maurya had over 9,000 elephants in his army, and nobody except the king himself was allowed to own an elephant.

    Elephants were one of the arms of the traditional Indian four-armed army, or Caturangabala. According to Kautilya in the Arthashastra, war elephants were used to break up compact forces and trample the enemy. Furthermore, the elephants could frighten the enemy, and even break down gates and fortifications. In addition to these battlefield uses, the elephant could also be used as a transport during marches or while the army was encamped. When the army was arrayed for battle, the elephants were placed in front, where they could be driven straight into the mass of the enemy army.

    It seems as though most Indian war elephants in fact were not equipped with a tower from which the warriors fought, but most depictions seem to show the riders mounted directly on the elephant’s back. However, most of the depictions of elephants on reliefs, such as the ones from Sanchi, do not depict elephants in actual battle, so it cannot be accurately deduced whether this was always the case. The murals at Ajanta show elephants in battle, and though some warriors seem to be seated directly on top of the elephants, one of the major battle scenes seems to show the elephants carrying some sort of platform on their backs, where the warriors are stationed. Further, javelins seem to be stacked on some of these platforms, which could imply that they are to be interpreted as towers. In addition to this, a Seleukid depiction displays an elephant with a clearly Indian mahout carrying a tower with warriors in, which is also in line with Aelian’s description of Indian war elephants carrying towers.

    Foreign powers were also interested in utilising Indian elephants in battle. Most powers that conquered northwestern India, such as the Sakas, Baktrian Greeks, and the Gondopharid Indo-Parthians, made use of elephants in their armies. But in addition to this, elephants were bought or taken from India to be employed by other powers elsewhere, too. After the war between Seleukos Nikator and Chandragupta Maurya in the late 4th century, Seleukos gave up a large swathe of land in exchange for 500 elephants as part of the peace arrangements, which shows the importance of these animals. Indian elephants became an important part of Hellenistic warfare, being used as far away as in Italy by Pyrrhos. Even Antiochos III received some elephants as a tribute from the Indian King Subhagasena during his Indian campaign in 206 BC.


    Officers

    The officers of the Indian forces are well equipped, with armour, swords and shields. The armour they wear is made of metal scales upon a leather base, and some also wear helmets, while others wear protective turbans. The helmets are of the types seen on the Nagarjunakonda relief, and on the toranas of the stupha at Sanchi, and they are made of high quality Magadhan iron. Being wealthy Kshatriyas, they wear high quality cotton clothing, coloured with expensive dyes. The tiger skin is worn both for additional protection, and for showing the dignity and wealth of its wearer. Such skins are often mentioned in the epics, and skins both of tigers and Indian lions would have been worn.

    The armies of Mauryan India were well organised and had competent officers to command their forces in battle, even at lower levels.The army was often divided up into smaller combat groups commaded by an officer. These groups could constitute a number of horsemen or a number of infantrymen, but Kautilya also mentions various combined combat groups that might include chariots, infantry and horsemen under a single junior officer.


    Standard Bearers


    Just like most other armies of the period, Indian armies carried standards into battle. To represent the rigorous organisation of Indian armies at the time, we decided to make three different standards, representing various classes of warriors. These standard types are as follows: the regular standard, carried by levy forces and lighter professional forces, the kshatriya standard, which most professional and lite forces carry, and finally the noble standard, reserved for the most distingushed and aristocratic warriors found in Indian armies.

    The simple standard is inspired by the ones seen on the great battle scene from the Ajanta murals, and consists of a metal disk with three tassles, one on top and one on each side, and a forked flag attached to the back. When carried in a charge, both the tassles and flag would have fluttered in the wind, making them a striking sight when carried in large numbers, as one can see on the murals from Ajanta. The warrior carrying it is a normal soldier, without any fancy clothing or jewellery. Instead, he wears a normal shirt, and his hair is tied up in the classical Indian knot, as can be seen on numerous statues and murals from the Indian subcontinent. His weapon is the normal Indian steel broadsword, which is used in a slashing fashion.

    The Kshatriya standard is based on the very unique standard seen carried by a cavalryman on a relief from the Barhut Stupa. It depicts a winged creature, which resembles a cross between a man and a lion holding a flag with both its hands. Though the apperance of the figure and its base are decidedly Persian-inspired, we decided to give our representation an Indian feeling when it comes to colours and decorations. The standard was most likely made of painted wood, with some decorations made of gold or some other metal. The flag shows a tree, which is a motif often seen on ancient Indian monuments. It relates to the symbolism of the Bodhi tree, the type of tree under which it is said that the Buddha reached Parnirvana, or enlightenment, and such trees were often used as a symbol of the Buddha in antiquity, when it was not considered proper to depict the Buddha as a human being. The warrior carrying the standard is a kshatriya warrior, dressed in high quality clothes, and some of the standard bearers also wear scale armour and helmets. He is armed with a mace, which was a weapon with much symbolic power among higher caste Indians.

    The noble standard bearer carries a particular type of parasol, known as a Chattra. Parasols of this type were considered a sign of royalty, and princes and kings would often have been accompanied by an attendant with such a parasol. The attendant would hold the parasol over the prince to shield him from the sun, as pale skin was considered a sign of high social standing in ancient India. The attendant wears a red garment of cotton, coloured with expensive dyes, and he wears necklaces, arm and ankle rings to emphasise the importance of his position as attendant to a man of royal blood. The Chattra is blue and white, and inspired by some parasols seen on the Ajanta murals with these colours and patterns.


    Generals


    Indian kings and princes often commanded their armies in person, generally mounted either on an elephant or a chariot. There were state officials with military duties too, such as the Senapati, or military minister, but these seems to quite often have had an advisory role. Even in battle, the king or prince would have been accompanied by an attendant carrying a chattra, or parasol, to shield him from the sun, but also to mark his importance and social standing. Kautilya, in his treatise on statecraft, the Arthashastra, advises that the king or general should always have a similarly dressed stand-in ride at the head of the army, as the commander will always be the first target of the enemy soldiers. To play that role cannot have been a very pleasant job...

    As befits a man of royal standing, the general wears very high quality clothes coloured with expensive dyes, in addition to his lavish jewellery. Most of the generals and kings seen on ancient Indian monuments are bare-chested and heavily laden with jewellery, even in combat situations. The jewellery includes not only arm rings and ankle rings, but also necklaces, garlands and earrings. Heavy earrings that weighted the earlobes down and elongated them were common among upper-class Indians, and several examples of such earrings are seen on ancient monuments and statues. Some examples of big earrings, clearly designed to rest on the wearer's shoulders, have also been found. The necklace that can be seen on the unit model, made of small golden fish, is based on an example from the Cleveland Museum of Art.

    Although they are very rarely seen on depictions from our time period, the epics and Kautilya's Arthashastra mention armour, and judging by the descriptions of ancient heroes in the epic stories, many generals would have worn elaborate armoured coats. Judging by the descriptions, and the few depictions we have, such armour would most likely have been made of metal scales fastened to a leather coat. These armoured coats are often described as being of gold, but this seems very impractical, and the most likely interpretation is that some of the metal scales were covered with a thin layer of decorative gold. Many epics also talk of warriors clad in lion or tiger skin, and thus we have chosen to feature this too. The skin would mostly have played a decorative role, but it is not impossible that it may also have served as protection at times.

    Turbans are often seen on the depictions of royals and heroes on ancient monuments, and judging by these depictions, the turbans were great in size, and made of lavishly decorated cloth. Especially the knots on the forehead are often very big, and it seems plausible that noblemen sometimes had their long hair tied up inside the turban. In addition to turbans, golden crowns of various types are often seen on depictions of ancient Indian kings, and judging by the Ajanta murals, such crowns may also have been worn in battle, although some of the types seen are clearly not fit for such a purpose. The crowns would have been made of gold, but often had precious stones inlain, or carvings. The crown shown here is based on a crown from the collections of the British Museum. Although that crown was most likely part of the golden decorations of a statue, it seems very plausable that crowns of a similar type would have been worn by kings and princes in ancient India.

    The generals are equipped with slightly curved chopping swords, as the sword was one of the weapons that were most closely associated to knights and heroes, but they carry no shields. Sometimes, a small object can be seen in the hands of the kings and princes depicted in battle scenes. This is sometimes refered to as a Vajra (roughly "lighting"), which is a symbolic object in Hinduism and Buddhism, and could have been used as a symbol of royalty, but it may also be some type of command staff, which the king used to direct the battle operations. Kings were generally not expected to take part in the fiercest mle, but to be present and command the forces, although both Ambhi of Taksashila and Poros are shining examples of kings who were not afraid of getting involved in the thick of battle.


    Unit Cards

    As a little bonus, here are the excellent unit cards made by MaxMazi for all the previewed units for Taksashila as they will appear in the Europa Barbarorum II Grand Campaign. Enjoy!





    The Map:


    With the introduction of a new faction in India, we decided to improve that part of the map by extending it some distance further to the east, and including two new provinces.
    The new provinces are Saurashtra, with capital at Uperkot, corresponding roughly to modern Gujarat, Trinakarta, with capital at Sagala, representing the Panjab. In addition to this, the capital of the province Paropamisadae has been changed from Kophen to Alexandreia Kaukasia. Here you can see how the new provinces look in-game:



















    (Disclaimer: Note that the starting positions of the factions are not finalized, and may change for the initial release).




    In case you have not already done so, show your support for Europa Barbarorum in style with these new signature banners, featuring the warriors of Taksashila! Courtesy of Gustave.










    We hope you have enjoyed this preview of Taksashila.
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    Credits:

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    2D art and banners: Gustave, MaxMazi
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)



    Control and Influence of the Achaemenid Persians in Northern India

    The City of Taksashila may have been founded in the late 6th century BC, as has been inferred by excavations at the earliest archaeological site in the Taksashila complex, known as the Bhir Mound (Wheeler 1959). Later carbon dating of objects from the lowest strata of occupation have yielded later dates, bringing the foundation forward to the last decades of the 5th century BC (Allchin & Erdosy 1995). Mentions of the city in various epic texts, and the importance it has been given therein, seems to point to it being an important Native Indian centre, but due to its connection with the west, it has also been suggested that the city might in fact have been founded by the Achaemenid Persians (Marshall 1951; Keay 2000). Whatever the case, the area of Gandhara, in which Taksashila is located, was already of great importance before being conquered by the Persians, and a king called Pukkusāti is known from Buddhist sources to have ruled Gandhara sometime during the late 6th century BC. (Majumdar et al. 1960), and a king of Gandhara is also mentioned in the Mahabharata .

    The first reliable information about Gandhara that we can tentatively date, however, is the takeover of the area by the Achaemenid Persians. According to Xenophon, it was Kuruš (Kyros) who conquered India, and made the Erythraean Sea, which must be identified as the Indian Ocean, the empire’s border (Cyr 1.1; Cyr 8.6.). This is possible, given the fact that in the Behistun inscriptions of 518 BC, listing the possessions of Dāriūsh (Dareios), something called “Gadara” is included, and this can only be interpreted as Gandhara. Thus, Gandhara must have beenadded to the empire before this date. The conquest must also have occurred during or after the reign of the Magadhan king Bimbisāra, as this king received an emissary from king Pukkusāti of Gandhara, which implies that Gandhara was still independent at this point. The dating of king Bimbisāra’s reign is uncertain. According to legend he ascended the throne 60 years before the death of the Buddha, however estimates of this event cover a time span of almost 200 years. The most reliable estimates of the death of the Buddha are 486 or 483 BC, though, which would place the ascension of Bimbisāra between 546 and 543 BC (Majumdar et al. 1960). Further, we know that Bimbisāra reigned for 52 years, before he was murdered by his son (Rapson 1955), which means that he died no later than 491 BC. If we assume that Gandhara was either conquered by Kuruš or Dāriūsh, which seems plausible, given that both these kings are known to have conducted campaigns on the empire’s eastern front, while Kambūjiya (Kambyses) is only accredited with the conquest of Egypt, we can then narrow the possible dates down considerably. Thus, the Persian annexation of Gandhara must have occurred after the coronation of Bimbisāra, as Gandhara was obviously independent at some point during his reign, and before 518 BC. If we compare this with the reigns of Kuruš (558 - 530 BC) and Dāriūsh (521 - 485 BC), we find that the conquest must have taken place in one of the two intervals 546 - 530 BC or 521 - 518 BC. As the exact date of Bimbisāra’s coronation is uncertain, and we know that he was already established on the throne of Magadha when he received an emissary from the Gandharan king, which is unlikely to have happened during the first years of his reign, when he, as a mere boy of 15, had not yet begun the expansionist policies that would eventually lead to the golden age of Magadha, we can probably narrow the possible intervals down further. The Persian occupation thus ought to have occurred during the last few years of the reign of Kuruš, or the first three years of the reign of Dāriūsh.

    A later inscription further lists Hindhu among the domains of Dāriūsh, which is probably best identified as either Sindh or the Punjab and adjacent areas along the Indus River. Thus, even though Stein (1998) claims that the Panjab was likely not controlled by the Persians, this indicates that further Persian conquests were made in India during the reign of Dāriūsh. He also sent a Greek adventurer by the name of Skylax of Karyanda on an expedition down the Indus, in order to explore the mouth of the Indus, and from there to return to Egypt (Hist. 4.2). This implies that the Persian domains most likely did not include Sindh, neither did they, except in the northern parts, stretch much further east of the Indus. It appears as though all the Indian domains were part of one administrative entity, though, which would most likely have been based at Taksashila. The area remained under Persian domination for some time, which is attested to by the fact that Herodotos mentions that Indians were included in the army of Ḫšayāršā (Xerxes) as it crossed into Europe (Hist. 7.1.), and in addition to this, coins from the Persian period, mostly copying Greek styles, but some with a Persian archer on the obverse, have been found in India (Rapson 1955).

    Despite being ruled by foreign overlords, the culture in Taksashila seems to have flourished at this time. The Mahabaratha, which was probably, to a large extent, compiled in the 4th or 5th century BC, is said to have first been recited in Taksashila, and it was also here that the grammarian Panini lived during the same period (Keay 2000). His works regarding Sanskrit were so thorough and influential that they are still considered some of the most important writings on that subject today, and the rules laid out therein have set a standard for the Sanskrit language, apparently stopping it from developing much further from that point. Many modern Indo-European languages spoken in the Indian subcontinent can, however, trace their ancestry back to the original Vedic-Aryan Sanskrit.

    Still, Persian culture and administration were to have a great impact on India in general as well. Wheeler (1959) notes that it was most likely through the Persians that the minting of coins was introduced, and a mint producing the aforementioned types with an archer was established at Taksashila. Some historians have, based on some interpretations of passages in the Rigveda, dated the introduction of coinage to India to the early Vedic period (Kosambi 1941), i.e. the second millennium BC, but the first speciments of the so called punch-marked coins, or Satamānas, found in India, are, according to Dhavilkar (1975), inspired by Achaemenian coinage, and dates from the late sixth or early fifth century, i.e. around the time of the Persian conquest of India beyond Gandhara. There have been earlier finds that might be interpreted as standardised currencies, for instance at Mohenjo Daro (Kosambi 1941), but these are most likely the results of trade with western merchants, as they greatly resemble Babylonian Mana and Shekele, and are imprinted with Cuneiform text (Kosambi 1941). However, in the late fifth century, the punch-marked coins had already been replaced by real coins of cut silver (Majumdar 1977), implying that coinage was becoming more prevalent in the Indian subcontinent.

    Another important aspect which may have been the result of the Persian dominion was the introduction of the Karoshti script, which was to be one of the most prevalent scripts in northwest India (Gokhale 1995). According to Megasthenes (fragm. 27), the Seleukid diplomat sent to the Mauryan king Chandragupta’s court in the third century BC, and who is quoted by Strabon, the Indians did not have any written language at all. It has then been claimed that writing was introduced in the northwest by the Achaemenid Persians, and that this practice was then adopted for governmental needs by Chandragupta Maurya, who had the new Brāhmī script system devised based on the Karoshti (Fussman 1988). However, this is mostly based on conjecture, and other historians have attributed the introduction of a script system in India to the period of Ashoka (Salomon 1995), on account of the Ashokan pillar and rock edicts being the first precisely dated written sources in India. It has further been argued that Karoshti, which was regionally limited to the northwest, was also a development of Mauryan times (Salomon 1995), based on the Aramaic script of the Achemenid Persians. In either case, the predominant opinion among historians seems to be that it was the Achaemenid introduction of written Aramaic in the northwest that sparked the evolution of writing in the Indian subcontinent.

    Further, the introduction of ironworking to India has repeatedly been attributed to the Persians, primarily by Wheeler (1959). This position has been seriously challenged by several Indian historians, who have pushed the introduction of ironworking further back to the late Vedic period. Kosambi (1963) dates the introduction of the Iron Age in India to around 800-700 BC. This dating is based partly on the mention of Indian iron in ancient sources, such as Herodotos, where it is claimed that the arrowheads of the Indian warriors in the army of Xerxes were of iron (Hist. 7.1). Furthermore, it is based on the idea of continuous contact between the various branches of the Aryan peoples, even after they had established themselves in other areas. Thus, Kosambi (1963) claimes that the Hittites, who invented ironworking, through their close cultural links with the Vedic Aryans transferred this knowledge to them, via the Aryan Medians. This argument is not wholly satisfactory, though, as even though the Hittites and Vedic Aryans had great cultural similarities, the similarities in religion and symbolism was almost certainly the result of retaining the original Aryan belief system even after the various branches had been separated, and need not in imply that these groups were in close contact still. A further argument put forward by Kosambi (1963) is the allusions to ironworking in the Buddha’s sermons. It does not clearly mention iron, but it alludes to how a plowshare is created by working the hot metal, and then quickly chilling it in water; a process not used for copper- or bronzeworking (Kosambi 1963). As this implies that the procedures of ironworking were generally known in India at that time, this means that iron must have been introduced before, or at least early in the life of the Buddha. Going by the dating of the death of the Buddha in 486 or 483, this means that ironworking was known in India at least in the middle of the sixth century BC. This is in line with the conclusions of Bhardwaj (1978), who mentions some findings of iron objects in India dating to 600-400 BC. These objects were discovered at Rajghat in the Gangetic Valley, and hence outside of the area of Achaemenid control, meaning that by this time, iron working had spread outside the confines of the northwestern part of the subcontinent. Still, this does not conclusively prove that ironworking developed in India independent of Achaemenid influence, even though Bhardwaj (1978) gives an even earlier date than Kosambi (1963), placing the introduction of iron at around 1000 BC. The earliest mentions of iron in the Rigveda, on which Bhardwaj (1978) bases his argument can also be interpreted as referring to copper (Kosambi 1963), leaving the unclear implications from the Buddha’s sermons the only evidence to conclusively date the introduction of ironworking in India to before the Persian period. Hence, Wheeler’s (1959) original hypothesis cannot be wholly rejected.

    However, by the 4th century BC, Persian control seems to have diminished in the area, possibly a result of the loss of momentum in the expansion and the internal struggles that affected the Achaemenid Empire after the Graeco-Persian Wars. Instead we find a number of minor kings, most of them probably owing nominal suzerainty to the Achaemenids, but in practice acting as sovereign rulers (Majumdar et al. 1960). According to ancient souces, the king of Taksashila at the time of the Makedonians was named Taxiles (Anabasis 4.22.), but is also otherwise mentioned as Omphi. He has later been identified in an appendix to the grammar of Panini as a certain Ambhi (Keay 2000), and though his exact domain is uncertain, one could probably assume that it only encompassed the city itself and parts of Gandhara. To the east of his domain was the land of the Pauravas, encompassing much of the western Panjab, which was ruled by a king whose original name is unknown, but who has come down to us through Greek sources as Poros. That Poros and Ambhi were enemies is made clear by ancient sources (Anabasis 5.8.), and if Persian domains stretched as far as the Panjab, this must be interpreted as clear evidence of the absence of Achaemenid authority in India at this point. Even if we go by the more common view that the land of the Pauravas lay beyond Persian domains, the prevalence of many independent tribes and states at the time of Alexander’s campaign in the area in the late fourth century seems to indicate that Achaemenid authority in the area had eroded long before the fall of Dāriūsh III.



    The Rise of Magadha and the Mauryan Empire

    At the time of the Persian conquest of northwestern India, the major part of the northern subcontinent was divided up between a number of states, also known as Janapadas. Ancient sources list many such states, but we shall now turn our attention to the ones located in the western Gangetic Plain, especially the small Janapada of Magadha, which was to play a central role in the events that were to unfold.

    By the 6th century, the main powers in the Gangetic plain and northern India were Vriji, Avanti, Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha (Majumdar et al. 1960). Of these, Vriji is noteworthy in that it was a republic, where government was handled by the leaders of a number of Kshatriya clans, who met at an assembly where each clan had equal saying (Thapar 2002). Among the most prominent of the Vriji clans were the Lichchhavis, who were said to have over 7,700 chiefs, and who would play an important role throughout much of India’s ancient history (Majumdar et al. 1960). The four others were kingdoms, however, ruled by dynasties, often of Kshatriya ancestry (Thapar 2002). Such dynasties had evolved from the previous tribal societies that had existed during the Vedic age, and according to Kosambi (1964), this development represented a centralisation of power in the tribes, and the development of an economic system with private ownership, which created a viable tax base. This movement from tribal groupings to states has sometimes been connected to the development of agriculture. When agricultural surplus beyond subsistence level was produced, this allowed greater economic diversification, and hence a process of urbanisation was started, with power concentrated between the urban rulers (Thapar 2002). Furthermore, such economic development would also require social development, with the creation of clearer social hierarchies and property rights, in order to function fully. However, this growing urbanisation and state formation was only the beginning of a process that would continue for several hundred years, and which came to be headed by the Kingdom of Magadha.

    One of the fist historical characters in India whom we can relatively safely date is King Bimbisāra of Magadha, who assumed the throne in 546 or 543 BC. The dynastic origin of this king is debated, as the Buddhist chronicles and the Purānic lists differ in this respect. While the Purānas list all the early Magadhan kings up to the Nanda dynasty as belonging to a single dynasty, named the Sisunāga dynasty after its founder, Buddhist sources claim that Bimbisāra belonged to a preceding dynasty, called Haryanka, and that the Sisunāga dynasty came between the Haryanka descendants of Bimbisāra and the Nandas (Majumdar et al. 1960). As this has some implications regarding the chronology of Magadha, it is interesting to briefly discuss the dynasties of Magadha.

    Magadha had a mixed population of both Vedic-Aryan and non-Aryan descent, over which the Purānas list a long succession of dynasties, being traced back to before the age of the Mahabaratha . During this period, a line of kings called the Brihadrathas are said by the Purānas to have reigned. Following this long-lived dynasty, the Purānic text mention two separate dynasties before the Nanda dynasty, namely the Pradyotas and the Sisunāgas (Rapson 1955), while the Haryanka dynasty is not mentioned. According to this source, the first Pradyota disposed of the last Brihadratha and seized power in Magadha, whereupon his descendants reigned until they were replaced by the Sisunāgas. However, much of this chronology has been challenged using evidence from Buddhist scriptures, which give a very different picture. The Buddhist sources first mention the Haryanka dynasty of Bimbisāra, which is then followed by the Sisunāgas, without including the Pradyotas either before or after their reign (Majumdar et al. 1960). Meanwhile, a man named Pradyota is also mentioned as king of Avanti in modern Malwa and contemporary of Bimbisāra, and it seems very plausible that this refers to the same person as the Pradyota of the Purānas (Rapson 1955). Hence, it is suggested that the difference in the accounts is due to a scrambled chronology in the Purānic text. This does also seems plausible, and Keay (2000) notes that Buddhist scriptures often are more strict in keeping correct chronologies than Vedic text, where symbolism and dramatic exaggeration is common. The Buddhist chroniclers' view is further supported by the fact that the Purānas also mention that Sisunāga would become king of all that Bimbisāra and Ajātasatru, the first two kings listed as Haryankas by the Buddhists, ruled, as well as the areas ruled by Pradyota (Majumdar et al. 1960). This statement seems paradoxical, unless the Purānic writers misplaced Sisuāaga before Bimbisāra, when he in reality reigned long after. Hence, we must draw the conclusion that Bimbisāra must have belonged to another dynasty, namely the Haryanka dynasty. Thus, from having been listed as the most important dynasty of Magadha before the Mauryans, the Sisunāgas have been reduced in significance at the expense of the Haryankas, and Thapar (2002) even reduces their significance to a brief succession of rulers during a period of merely 50 years, and of scant importance. Meanwhile, the inclusion of the Pradyotas as rulers of Magadha has been traced to brief occupation of the area by the kingdom of Avanti during the reign of the Haryanka king Ajātasatru, which is further supported by the fact that both Pradyota and Ajātasatru are said to have been contemporaries of the Buddha, and not two centuries apart, as the Purānas would have it (Rapson 1955).

    Bimbisāra was a mere youth of 15 when he became king, but went on to rule for over 50 years (Rapson 1955). During this time, he set the course for the kingdom of Magadha, which had previously constituted only South Bihar, to become the major player in the northern India for centuries to come. One of the most pivotal steps in the early development was the conquest of the Kingdom of Anga, of which Magadha had previously been a vassal (Darian 1970). In conquering Anga, Bimbisara not only secured the kingdom’s eastern borders, but also gave Magadha access to the wealthy trading port of Champa in west Bengal, which provided welcome revenue. In addition, there was revenue to be gained from the lucrative river trade, although this may have been diminished during these troubled times of war (Darian 1970). With such resources at his disposal, it would have been possible for Bimbisāra to challenge his western contenders with an equal footing. In addition, he started building up the administrative system of the kingdom, allowing more efficient resource utilisation (Thapar 2002). However, another oft-mentioned explanation for the growth of Magadha was the resource deposits, primarily of iron, that were readily available in the area (Thapar 2002). Most likely, it was a combination of the aforementioned factors, and Bimbisāra’s shrewd political manoeuvring, including several marital alliances (Majumdar et al. 1960), that led to the quick ascendancy of the Kindom of Magadha. However, it was Bimbisāra’s son and successor who would ultimately oversee Magadha's triumph over her contending kingdoms.

    Bimbisāra’s son Ajātasatru seized the throne of Magadha, allegedly by assassinating his father (Majumdar et al. 1960), although some stories claim that Bimbisāra willingly abdicated in favour of his son (Keay 2000). Whatever the case, Ajātasatru quickly had to prove his worth as a ruler, as his reign began with a full-out war against the other states of the Gangetic Plain. The Kingdom of Kosala, to the northwest of Magadha, declared war on Ajātasatru not long after Bimbisāra’s death, possibly to avenge the death of Bimbisāra’s Kosalan queen, who had died of grief upon the demise of her husband (Majumdar et al. 1960). They entered into an alliance with the Vriji Confederacy, who also had grievances with the Magadhan dynasty. Allegedly, the reason for this was that Bimbisāra, in disguise, was supposed to have infiltrated the Vriji capital and seduced a Lichchhavi princess, and this outrage had resulted in increased animosity between the two states (Keay 2000). However, through luck and skillful political manoeuvring, Ajātasatru managed to fight off the impending threat. According to some sources, it was by by taking advantage of a revolt in Kosala, which resulted in the expulsion and death of his previous enemy, his uncle king Prasenajit, that Ajātasatru managed to invade Kosala, whereupon it was annexed (Keay 2000). The story further relates that Ajātasatru was assisted in his war by the unwise decision of the new Kosalan king, Vidudabha, to encamp his army on a dry riverbed, where it was unexpectedly destroyed by sudden flooding, allowing Magadha to capture Kosala unopposed (Kosambi 1964). Other sources claim that Prasenajit was forced to sue for peace, and give his daughter as wife to Ajātasatru, but that Kosala was left, albeit severely weakened (Majumdar et al. 1960). Whatever the case with Kosala, the Vriji state was annexed, and incorporated into the growing kingdom of Magadha. During this period of war, Ajātasatru also focused on reinforcing the urban centers of Magadha, not only founding the city of Rajagriha, which became the kingdom’s capital, but also building the fortress of Pataligrama (Majumdar et al. 1960), which was to become important in a later age. The city of Rajagriha was built around the walls of a royal fortress, and excavations of the site have unearthed the remains of a walled settlement, with an outer rampart around the settlement attributed to Ajātasatru, and an inner core with a more extensive brick wall, which seems to corroborate this story. Early excavations at the site seemed to suggest a later dating for this fortress, but more recent excavations have yielded pottery fragments that may date to the 6th century BC, which would suggest that the fortress was located here during the reigns of Bimbisāra and Ajātasatru (Chakrabarti 1976).

    The kingdom flourished during Ajātasatru’s reign, but after his death the chronology becomes slightly blurred. Buddhist chroniclers and the Purānas disagree on the following kings, and little information about the expansion of Magadha is provided during this period (Keay 2000). Purānic lists incert a figure called Darsaka as Ajātasatru's successor, but both Buddhist and Jain traditions agree that the next king was in fact Ajatasatru’s son Udāyi (Majumdar et al. 1960). Upon this seems to have followed a succession of kings who, according to tradition, were all parricides, up until the last was deposed by the Sisunāga dynasty (Thapar 2002). The Sisuāaga dynasty was cut short by an usurper, by the name of Mahāpadma Nanda, and he was to found the next dynasty, the Nandas, who were to finally forge Magadha into an empire. The ancient sources differ regarding the identity of this king. While Purānic sources claim he was the illegitimate son of the last Sisunāga king, in Jain sources he is claimed to be the son of a barber who had seduced one of the king’s courtesans (Majumdar et al. 1960). This Jain account is also corroborated by Quintus Curtius Rufus, who relates a similar story. According to his account, the queen had taken this barber as her lover, and after having deposed the previous king and murdered his children, the barber had installed their son, called Agrammes, on the throne (Curtius 9.2). This Agrammes, or Xandrames as he is also known, is often identified with Mahāpadma’s son Dhana-Nanda (Majumdar et al. 1960), which seems to suggest that Curtius has skipped a generation, and excluded Mahāpadma.

    What is interesting with respect to this is that as the son of a barber, Mahāpadma, and hence the entire Nanda dynasty, would have been shudras, the lowest of the four castes. Curtius' account makes clear that such a low-born king was very unpopular with the people (Curtius 9.2), and the Purānic description of him slaughtering the Kshatriyas could be interpreted as the higher castes being reluctant to follow such a leader, with the king taking measures to curb such unrest. Thapar (2002), however, interprets this merely as a relation of Mahāpadma’s conquest of various Kshatriya states in the Gangetic Plain. Whatever the case, it seems clear that the Magadhan Kingdom expanded rapidly during the Nanda dynasty. An inscription in Kalinga, in modern Orissa, suggests that the Nandas conquered this area (Majumdar et al. 1960), and it is likely that it was during the Nandas that Maghada expanded westwards, ultimately conquering the kingdoms of Avanti and Vatsa. No clear date or reference to this event is known, but it seems clear that these were under the control of Magadha at the time of Chandragupta Maurya. It is possible that they had already been conquered under the Sisunāgas or even the late Haryankas (Keay 2000), however the fact that Buddhist scriptures list Mahāpadma Nanda as the fist “one-umbrella ruler”, a title denoting a single king ruling over a large swathe of land (Keay 2000), could point to such conquests being credibly attributed to him. The fact that he is denoted a “one-umbrella ruler” seems to indicate, for the first time in Indian history, aspirations of imperial power by a native king, something which is also hinted at in the Purānas (Thapar 2002). That he ruled a mighty kingdom is further emphasised by the size of his army, which Quintus Curtius Rufus claims was over 200,000 strong, with 20,000 horsemen, 2,000 chariots and 3,000 war-elephants (Curtius 9.2). However, the imperial ambitions of the Nandas also furthered the dissent among the local populace, due to the oppressive rule and heavy taxation imposed to maintain the empire, and their Shudra heritage (Majumdar et al. 1960). However, Keay (2000) argues that the very negative posthumous reputation of the Nandas was in no small part due to their defiance of Vedic Brahmanic, as well as Buddhist, tradition, the religions to which most chroniclers of ancient India adhered, and that they have thus been more harshly judged by posterity that they deserve.

    It was at this point, with Nanda wealth and power at its peak, that a new dynasty would arise, which would reshape the history of India. The founder of this dynasty was a young man by the name of Chandragupta Maurya, a man of uncertain origin, but well attested in many historical sources. While some sources claim that he was in fact related to the Nandas, and hence a Shudra, other claims of his ancestry range from a simple Vaisya (Keay 2000), to a noble Kshatriya (Majumdar et al. 1960). How Chandragupta came to usurp the Nanda throne is debated, but much points toward this course of events being masterminded by a Brahman minister by the name of Kautilya (indeed, the same Kautilya who is accredited with composing the Arthashastra). Keay (2000) suggests that Kautilya, possibly a native of Taksashila, had previously been expelled from the Nanda court, and now, together with an ambitious adventurer named Chandragupta Maurya, took it upon himself to depose the Nanda dynasty. Whether this was the case, or whether Chandragupta indeed had connections to the Nanda court shall remain open to debate, but it seems clear that they took advantage of the power vacuum in left in the northwest after the campaign of Alexander to start an uprising. Chandragupta started raising an army in the northwest, supposedly to a large extent composed of mercenaries (Majumdar et al. 1960). These have sometimes, based on relatively uncertain sources such as ancient Indian dramas, been regarded as Greek mercenaries from among the colonies left by Alexander in the northwest (Woodcock 1966), but this remains pure conjecture. Using this army, Chandragupta instigated a guerilla war against the Nandas, causing the peripheral areas to break away from central Magadhan rule (Thapar 2002). After having severely weakened the Nandas, Chandragupta descended on their capital at Pataliputra, the former fortress of Pataligrama built by Ajatasatru, which had by now superseded Rajagriha in importance, and made himself emperor of Magadha (Keay 2000).

    Though several times mentioned in both Graeco-Roman and Indian sources, very little is known about Chandragupta's reign, and the extent of his empire. It would have comprised the former empire of the Nandas, but in addition, the northwestern provinces would also have been incorporated. Ancient sources mention a chief from the northwest who aided Chandragupta in his revolt against the Nandas, but whom Kautilya later had assassinated (Keay 2000). The evidence from ancient Indian plays related by Woodcock (1966) could actually point to this being king Poros, against whom Alexander had fought. In the play, Kautilya orders the assassination of an ally of Chandragupta named Parvatarka. This would mean that the northwest had already revolted to Chandragupta before his overthrowing the Nanda, and that he was subsequently removing any potential political threats in that area. This seems to go against the account of Diodorus Siculus, who claims that Poros was murdered by the Macedonian general Eudamos, left in charge of the Macedonian holdings east of the Indus, who then seized his elephants before he marched west (Diodorus 19.14). Woodcock (1966) argues that Diodorus is mistaken, and that the king murdered by Eudamos was in fact Ambhi of Taksashila, while Poros aligned himself with Chandragupta. This would then mean that with the Makedonians evacuated and Ambhi out of the picture, Chandragupta only had to remove Poros in order to gain full control of the area. This view is not in line with that proposed by Majumdar et al. (1960), who states that if it was the case that Poros aligned himself with Chandragupta, thus forging the northwest to the Mauryan cause before the fall of the Nandas, then Justin’s description of Chandragupta’s conquest of the area must be false. According to Justin (15.4), Chandragupta met with Alexander during his campaign along the Indus, but insulted him and was forced to flee. After his flight, a portent, where a tame lion approached him in the forrest, made him take up arms against the invaders, and drive them out of India, whereupon he made himself king. This would not make sense if the northwest had already been handed over to Chandragupta by Poros, and hence Majumdar et al. (1960) argue that Chandragupta’s conquest of the northwest was a separate campaign against the free states and Macedonian enclaves left there, which occurred following the fall of the Nandas. It has sometimes been argued that the “Alexandrum” of Justin’s text should in fact be rendered “Nandrum”, implying that it was from the court of the Nanda king that Chandragupta fled, and that was the Nandas (perhaps in their role as shudras) that is meant by the “foreign overlords” mentioned in Justin’s account (Justin 15.4). Majumdar et al. (1960), however, reject this hypothesis, arguing that Chandargupta’s meeting with Alexander is corroborated by other sources.

    In addition to the northwest, Chandragupta appears to have also ruled over Saurashtra in western India, where he is mentioned in inscriptions (Keay 2000). This area would most likely not have been part of the Nanda Empire, and hence it must have been conquered by Chandragupta. The area of Kalinga, however, was most likely no longer part of the Empire, as this area had to be re-conquered by Ashoka in 261 BC. Most likely, this area had already broken free during the period of Nanda rule (Majumdar et al. 1960). Further territory was added in 305 BC, when Seleukos Nikator, on a quest to restore the eastern borders of Alexander’s former empire advanced on India with his army. Chandragupta seems to have marched out against him, but whether any battle was actually fought, and what the results of such a battle were, is uncertain (Woodcock 1966). What is known is that Seleukos gave up the provinces of Arachosia, Gedrosia and Paropamisadai, and in return received 500 war elephants, whereupon the two empires established friendly diplomatic relations which were to last for the better part of the following century. What actually transpired during the campaign is debated. Keay (2000) argues that the terms of the treaty seem to imply that Seleukos was defeated; however, the gift of 500 elephants has been interpreted both as a symbolic payment for the provinces the defeated Seleukids were forced to give up, and as a gift from the humbled Indian king to the foreign conqueror (Woodcock 1966). The fact that Antiochos III, on his eastern campaign, received a gift of a number of elephants as tribute from an Indian king named Shubagasena could be interpreted as evidence of the latter claim. However, most historians, such as Thapar (2002), and Majumdar et al. (1960) argue that it was the Seleukids who were defeated, and indeed the amount of territory ceded certainly implies that. The alliance between the two empires was concluded through a marital alliance, where the daughter of Seleukos was given in marriage to either Chandragupta himself, or, more likely, his son Bindusāra. This seems to further point towards the Seleukids being the losing party in the preceding conflict. In addition, the Seleukid diplomat Megasthenes was dispatched to Pataliputra, where he went on to write the Indika, which would be one of the most quoted ancient sources on the subject of India. Whether Chandragupta made any conquests in the Deccan, the high plateu in southern central India, is unknown. Mauryan hegemony is known to have extended thus far later in history, but cannot be certainly dated before the reign of Ashoka (269 – 231 BC). However, Jain tradition claims that Chandragupta retired to a hill in Karnatka upon his abdication, where he then lived out his days as an ascetic (Keay 2000). This could suggest that Maurayn influence stretched this far, but the evidence is far from conclusive.

    Upon the abdication of Chandragupta, his son Bindusāra took over the throne. Not much is known about the reign this monarch, who reigned from 297 BC to 273 BC. He is mentioned in Greek sources as Amitrochates, which may be a Greek rendering of the Sanskrit Amitraghata, which can be translated as “slayer of foes” (Thapar 2002). This name seems to imply that he further expanded the boundaries of the Mauryan Empire (Keay 2000), although in what direction is unknown. Perhaps he conquered parts of the Deccan, as the only conquest of the area which his successor Ashoka is credited with is the re-conquest of Kalinga in 261 BC. Bindusāra may also have put down a revolt at Taksashila at some point (Majumdar et al. 1960). Upon his death in 273 BC, a short interregnum followed, possibly due to a civil war between two of more of Bindusāra's sons over who should become the next emperor. The eventual victor was Ashoka Maurya, and the empire he inherited was one of a power and glory far greater that that of the kingdom once inherited by the young king Bimbisāra, some 270 years earlier.


    The Government System of Mauryan India:

    The best account of the Mauryan administration that we have are the writings of the Seleukid diplomat Megasthenes, who was sent to the court of the first Mauryan emperor Chandragupta, on behalf of Seleukos Nikator. His book, the Indika, is unfortunately lost, but by collecting fragments, and citations from other ancient authors, many of whom used and cited Megasthenes, much of the text has been recreated. The central figure of the Mauryan Empire would obviously have been the emperor himself, who reigned from his palace in Pataliputra, in the Mauryan homeland of Magadha on the eastern Ganges. As the Mauryan Empire was heavily influenced by the Achaemenid Empire, the latter having ruled northwestern India for nearly 200 years, the customs and organisation of the court was clearly Persian in its form. According to Rawlinson, this might be due to the fact that Chandragupta Maurya, in his youth, resided in Taksashila, which then was the center of Persian culture in India (Rawlinson 1971). That Persian ways very much influenced India is not solely attested to by the customs of the court: many Indian kings of the period, apparently not only the Mauryan emperor, carried the title Maharajadhiraja, which is basically a direct translation of the Persian Shahanshah, i.e. king-of-kings (Stein 1998). However, one should note that some historians, such as Sagar (1992),cast doubt over this version of events, and claim that these titles were an independent Indian development, based on their usage in early native sources. The fact that these sources were often not written down until much later could however mean that they made their way into the sorces as the words became ever more naturalised in the language, so the evidence is by no means conclusive. This meant that outlying regions, although under imperial suzerainty, were in fact ruled by the local governor, who often styled himself Raja as well (Majumdar 1960). Often, this was a hierarchic system, similar to a feudal society, where the local king in his turn ruled a group of subordinate chiefs, satraps or rulers (Stein 1998). These local kings often had their own governing organisation, and, if powerful enough, were able to raise a private army, with which they would come to the Maharajadhiraja’s aid when called for.

    The clearest example of this within the Mauryan Empire would have been the division of the realm into five regions, or viceroyalties. The viceroy’s court would have acted as a provincial government, and they were often located in the major city of the area which they were to govern. Thus, beside the imperial capital at Pataliputra, the four viceroy’s courts would have been located at Tosali, Suvarnagiri, Ujjain and Taksashila (Keay 2000). The region of Pataliputra was the only one under direct imperial control, and the emperor’s control of the other provinces was probably fairly nominal. The viceroys seem to have been titled Uparaja (Rapson 1955), and from their respective courts they managed the administration of their allotted provinces on behalf of the emperor. It appears as though the viceroys were often close relatives of the emperor, such as a son or a brother, called Kumara in the texts, which would serve to make him more loyal towards the central power (Tripathi 1967). This would not always be the case, though. According to the Arthashastra, a treatise on how to govern a state written by one of Chandragupta's highest ministers, one Kautilya, a native of Taksashila, a ruler always lived in fear of his relatives. A famous quote from the work, on that very subject reads: “Princes, like crabs, have a notorious tendency of eating their parents” (Arth. 1.17). Megasthenes also confirms that Chandragupta often changed the bedroom in which he slept in order to avoid assassination attempts.

    On a side note, the Arthashastra describes in some detail how a kingdom ought to be ruled; however, it is unlikely that any kingdom was actually governed according to all the rules that are described therein. It has previously been considered a description of how the Maurya Empire was governed, but the consensus today is that it in fact describes an “ideal” state from a ruler’s perspective. In a sense, it can be likened to a handbook of despotic governance. Stein (1998) likens it to an ancient Indian version of Niccol Machiavelli’s The Prince, and this is most likely not far from its original intention. Boesche makes another conclusion, though, and argues that even though the state described in the Arthashastra is idealised, Kautilya would probably have relied to quite some extent on his own theories in his position as prime minister (Boesche 2003). At any rate, most seem to agree that even though there might be discrepancies, the Arthashastra is reliable enough to use as an approximation of the system of government in Mauryan times.

    Unfortunately, we have no clear sources regarding how the viceroyalties were governed. However, several scholars seem to agree that they were ruled in much the same fashion as the imperial province (Keay 2000; Rawlinson 1971; Smith 1914). The head would thus have been the emperor or the viceroy, who had a number of ministers, advisors, and other officials around him. These officials would have been organised into a number of councils, each of which was assigned to a certain area of official affairs, such as a trade council, an agricultural council, a military council, etc. (Keay 2000; Smith 1914). The members of these councils were appointed by the emperor himself (Keay 2000). We can then suspect that the situation was the same in the viceroyalties. One of the biggest concerns of the governmental machine would have been the collection of taxes. This would have been run by a huge bureaucratic organisation which was rigidly controlled by various officials in the emperor’s service.

    We shall now further investigate some of the various official titles which existed in the Mauryan Empire. The first, and the most important, of these would obviously be the emperor. Megasthenes and other ancient authors describe the emperor as living in incredible luxury. Inspired by the Persians' customs, he lived in seclusion in his palace, and appeared publicly only on major official events, such as the famed “Hair-washing festival”, which occurred on the emperor’s birthday (Smith 1914). This was evidently inspired by the very similar ceremony among Persian kings, and further emphasises the profound influence of Achaemenid culture and traditions on India (Sagar 1992). However, more interesting than the peculiar customs of the court is the role that the emperor played in the governmental machine. The emperor acted as judge in legal matters, and the king often commanded the army in the field (Majumdar et al. 1960). Despite this, it appears as though the emperor was in no way an absolute monarch, and administrative decisions were instead often made by the ministers and their councils, although the emperor had to officially accept the proposals before they could be implemented (Altekar 1962). Still, the emperors were considered divine, although not necessarily in the same manner as certain Hellenistic rulers. Stein (1998) argues that their sacredness was more due to the righteousness of their rule, rather than their actual social position. That the councils could indeed revoke propositions made by the emperor for review (Altekar 1962) is a clear sign of the fact that the decision-making in the Mauryan Empire, and other Indian empires of the time, was far less despotic than what is usually the case with divine royalty. Nevertheless, the rulers often carried bynames with religious connotations which were meant to emphasise their connection with the gods. For example, Aşoka, apart from carrying the imperial title of Chakravartin, literally “Wheel-Turner”, in his edicts never referred to himself by name, but rather in first person, or by his title, which reads Devanampiya Piyadassi (Keay 2000). This title translates roughly into “beloved by the gods and of gracious appearance”, and shows that even Aşoka, who was otherwise inclined to follow the teachings of the Buddha, retained an image of having a divine personality. The imperial title was hereditary, and was handed over to the Yuvaraja, or Heir Apparent, upon the death or abdication of the previous ruler. The Yuvaraja apparently also had ministerial duties (Rapson 1955).

    Considering the various ministers, there exist references to them in several sources, from old Vedic text to much later inscriptions and treatises on statecraft. However, few of them are mentioned in such a context that it is possible to clearly discern their respective areas of responsibility or their official titles. The foremost of the ministers, however, was the prime minister, who was, in many aspects, the second-most important person in the empire, next to the emperor. Indeed, Chandragupta’s minister Kautilya, may actually have been the driving force behind the formation of the Mauryan Empire (Keay 2000). His duties seem to have been to oversee the administration of the empire, and they thus held immense power, but it also appears as though this minister could be the head of any given part of the administration at the same time (Altekar 1962). In the Arthashastra, the official title of this minister seems to be Mantrin (Majumdar et al. 1960). The eleventh-century writer Şukra, however, assigns this name to the foreign minister. Whatever the name of this latter official, his duties would have been to handle diplomatic relations with foreign states, and larger empires might even have had several foreign ministers (Altekar 1962).

    Another important minister was the war minister, or supreme commander, who in Mauryan times was referred to as the Senapati (Altekar 1962; Majumdar et al. 1960). Apparantly, the Senapati was charged with managing and overseeing military forces and installations. He seems to have been trained in the art of war (Altekar 1962), however, it is uncertain whether he was expected to command forces in battle. This seems unlikely, given the emperor’s earlier mentioned propensity to personally command the forces in the field, and the Senapati was probably more of a military advisor and administrator who assisted the emperor in his military deliberations (Tripathi 1967). The only account of the war minister commanding the loyalty of the army himself dates approximately to the year 181 BC when the Senapati of the last Mauryan emperor Brhadratha, one Pushyamitra Şunga, murdered his master and brought the Mauryan dynasty to an end, thereby instigating the less famous Şunga dynasty of Magadha, which would nevertheless reign for more than a century (Majumdar et al. 1960; Keay 2000). The leading ministers of the empire made up a council called the Parisad (Tripathi 1967).

    The various levels of regional administration are well known, and it is therefore possible to make a rather detailed description of how this worked. It will be sufficient to present a more simplified view here, however. It seems as though the administrative layout was based on a very bureaucratic system, divided up into several levels, going from the headman of every village up to the emperor himself. It generally seems as though the basic “building-block” of Indian administration would have been the village, and in particular, the person or persons who governed it. Often, each village was headed by an official called the Gramani, which was a hereditary title (Altekar 1962). The Gramani was responsible for both the judicial and financial administration of the village, and he also commanded the local militia in times of crisis. The Gramani had a council of village elders, called Gramavriddhas, to assist him in his administrative duties (Tripathi 1967). These villages would then be grouped into units of 10, 20, 200, and so on, up to district level (Altekar 1962). Each of these districts were administered by an official titled Rajjuka (Majumdar 1960; Altekar 1962). These would apparently have had certain judicial powers, at least under the rule of Aşoka (Tripathi 1967; Altekar 1962). These rajjukas, in their turn, were subordinated to officials called Pradesikas, who were assigned to govern divisional areas of the realm of each viceroyalty (Altekar 1962). These Pradeshikas were most likely directly responsible to the Viceroy of the given province, and would thus have been rather high ranking officials. The Viceroy, ultimately, was responsible for the entire province, and most likely reported to the emperor himself.

    This system seems to imply that the viceroys enjoyed at least some degree of autonomy. To prevent plots and rebellious behavior, the emperor kept an eye on officials, and no doubt viceroys, through specially assigned “overseers”, who were de facto imperial spies. The viceroys probably had similar spies in their service, to be their “eyes and ears” in their domains (Rawlinson 1971). Despite this, the hypothesis that the viceroys’ loyalty towards the emperor was questionable can perhaps not be rejected, given that the four viceroyalties quickly broke free and became independent following the death of the emperor Aşoka in 231 BC (Keay 2000). This is also implied by the fact that according to an ancient legend, before he became emperor, both Aşoka and one of his brothers, on separate occasions, were forced to go with an army to Taksashila, in order to quell rebellions that had flared up there (Smith 1964).

    The exact extent of each viceroyalty’s domains are not certain, and can only be estimated. Their geographical locations, however, give us some idea of how this division would have been organised. The imperial court, situated in Pataliputra, would, as stated earlier, have had control over Magadha and most other parts of the Gangetic Plain, which was the heartland of the empire and thus controlled its northeastern part. The location of Tosali is not certain, but most likely it was in the modern province of Orissa, on the eastern coast of the Indian subcontinent (Keay 2000). Suvarnagiri was located in the Deccan, and was thus the southernmost of the viceroyalties, while Ujjain was located in western central India, in what once was the ancient kingdom of Avanti. The final, and the one which is, from our point of view, the most interesting, was Taksashila. The area that would have been controlled by the viceroy of Taksashila would have consisted of Gandhara and the Punjab, and in addition thereto, the Indian provinces on the western side of the Indus (Smith 1914). This would then mean that besides the northern Indus, the provinces on the far side of the Hindu-Kush, i.e. Paropanisadae, Arachosia and possibly parts of Gedrosia. These regions must have been part of the Mauryan Empire at some point, as Aşokan edicts have been found both at Kandahar and in the vicinity of Kabul. Smith, however, argues that these might in fact have been controlled by another viceroy, whereof no reference in the Aşokan edicts exists (Smith 1964). That these parts were part of the empire in 272 BC is likely, as the only known conquest of Aşoka was Kalinga, and we know from ancient sources that these areas were gifted to Chandragupta by Seleukos Nikator in approximately 305 BC (Tripathi 1967). Thus, as they were clearly part of Aşoka’s empire, we must assume that they were retained throughout this period. Sources mention that new viceroys were named during the reign of Aşoka, so the extent of the administrative regions may have fluctuated. For example, we find that upon the death of Aşoka, his son Jalauka reigned independently in Kashmir (Tripathi 1967). This could possibly be interpreted as Jalauka being the viceroy in this area at the time, but controlling a much smaller area than the one originally administered by the local viceroy.

    What the situation of the viceroyalties, and the empire as a whole, would have been in 272 BC is not certain. Indeed, the previous emperor Bindusāra died in 273 BC, and the next emperor on the throne would have been his son Aşoka. However, Aşoka’s coronation did not occur until 269 BC, implying a four-year interregnum, which might possibly have been due to internal struggles for succession. Although the grossly exaggerated myths that Aşoka slew 99 of his 100 brothers before ascending the throne are obvious cock-and-bull stories, these may well be based on a true event, where Asoka fought against one or more brothers in a civil war following their father’s death. What the stance of the Viceroy of Taksashila would have been in this conflict remains purely hypothetical. (One could possibly imagine that Taksashila, given its history of rebelliousness, could have taken the opportunity to attempt to break free). As Susima Maurya, eldest son of Emperor Bindusāra was headed there to quell a rebellion at the time of the emperor's death, it is even quite possible that he used the northwest, and hence Taksashila, as a base during the civil war that followed.

    How much power and authority the viceroys, and indirectly the emperor, had over these provinces is not certain, though. Much of the infrastructure of the empire was based on the large royal roads, which in Persian fashion ran between the major cities of the empire. For example, the northern road, or “Uttarapatha”, went from Taksashila all the way to Pataliputra and beyond (Stein 1998). These roads were excellent, both for trade and for quickly marching an army to anywhere there might be a foreign threat or a rebellion. Most likely they were inspired by the Persian royal roads (Sagar 1992). Thus, along these routes the emperor and his viceroys had full control and were able to impose their rule. However, Stein (1998) argues that it is not possible to assess whether or not their rule over the regions beyond the roads and cities was anything other than nominal.


    Military Equipment and the Organization of the Army in Mauryan India:

    The most important ancient sources when assessing the organisation and forces of the Mauryan military are the epics, such as the Mahabharata and the Arthashastra. There are also several references to Indian warfare in other sources, such as Arrianos, Curtius Rufus and Strabon. This section will begin with the equipment and troop types of the Mauryan army, and finish with a brief description of their organisation.

    The armed forces of the Mauryan Empire were, in most aspects, a continuation of the ancient four-armed division of the Hindu army, the four parts respectively being infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots. This tradition goes back to Vedic times, but it is still proposed as the ideal division of an army by Kautilya (Arth. 10.5). These four arms were meant to work together, in various roles, in order to produce the best results. The main part of a traditional Indian army would have consisted of infantry. According to Megasthenes, Chandragupta’s army contained 600,000 infantrymen, which is a sizeable amount for any army at the time. According to Singh (1965), the most common type of infantryman was the archer. Archers, as can be seen from, for example, the reliefs at Sanchi, did not carry shields. They did, however, wear bracers to protect their arms from friction from the string when using their bows, and they may also have worn some form of protection for their fingers, possibly some type of glove (Singh 1965; Arth. 2.18). The material of these bracers is uncertain, but most likely it would have been hardened leather, with the occasional metal bracer worn by the more well-off. The bows were as long as the men, and according to Arrian, the archers supported them with their left foot when they fired arrows (Arr. 8.16.8). The bows could apparently be made of different materials. Herodotos mentions that the Indians that served in Ḫšayāršā's (Xerxes) army carried bamboo bows, but Kautilya mentions four types, namely palmyra, bamboo, wood and horn (Arth. 2.18). It seems strange that bows should be entirely made out of horn, so perhaps Kautilya is merely listing the different materials used in the construction of bows. Thus, one may suspect that the horn in fact was used as a component in the production of composite bows, which would imply that the Indian military practice may have come under steppe influence as early as the 4th century BC. The arrows used by the archers appear to have varied in quality from simple sharpened sticks to elaborate bladed devices, but generally they had tips of horn or iron and were sometimes poisoned (Singh 1965). Although often mentioned in the epics, it is highly unlikely that much armour was worn, besides the previously mentioned bracers. According to Herodotos, the Indians wore garments of cotton, or a similar material, and the Sanchi reliefs seem to portray most warriors bare-chested. Some figures on the reliefs seem to be wearing some sort of armour, covering their abdomen and back, however the exact material and design of this armour is open to conjecture. Only much later do we find any clear pictorial evidence of armour on archers, and this is evidently due to heavy steppe influences, as traditional Indian armour seems to have been a scale coat unlike that seen on these later depictions.

    Otherwise, the infantry used most types of weapons, although spears, maces and swords are the most common in pictoral evidence. Spears were used both as close-combat weapons and thrown like javelins, and there appears to have existed a multitude of variations. These seem to usually be referred to as Sakti (Singh 1965; Majumdar 1955). There are however variations in names, such as Kunta, Prasa, Sula etc. There are many variations in the use of the different types of spears. For example Sula appears to be some sort of pike-weapon, while Prasa appears to be some sort of cavalry lance (Singh 1965). Kunta, on the other hand, is by Singh (1965) described as a projectile weapon, while Majumdar (1955) lists it as a spear for close-combat use, and different from a javelin, denoted as Tomara. The javelin especially seems to have been a popular weapon, and various types with barded or varying breadth of the head are mentioned. The spears were most likely made of wood, however Herodotos seems to imply that Indian infantrymen carried bamboo spears. Another important weapon seems to have been the mace or club. Singh (1965) lists Gada, Musala and Parigha as variations of maces; however, both Gada and Musala reappear in the Arthashastra as “movable machines” (Arth. 2.18). It is quite possible that Kautilya uses this name to denote all forms of blunt weapons. This can explain the fact that clubs are sometimes described as ranged weapons in the epic tales (Singh 1965). Perhaps it can also denote some form of discus, or another type of blunt throwing weapon. Indeed, Kautilya lists Chakra as one of these objects, and this weapon is, in fact, a form of discus with sharpened edges used in battle (Majumdar 1955). Maces appear to have been used by all types of warriors, from simple levies to wealthy knights. However, they seem to be of most use for infantry units. That clubs were indeed common among infantrymen can be attested to from various reliefs from, for example, Sanchi, where most warriors who do not carry spears or bows are armed with something that can most likely be identified as maces. Egerton (2002) interprets them as broadswords, though. Indeed, Arrianos claims that Indian infantry carried broadswords that they wielded with both hands (Arr. 8.16.11). Most maces appear to be wielded with one hand, and the other hand holding a shield, but there is also mention in ancient sources of Mahagadas, or large clubs, which might be a heavier, possibly two-handed version, similar to the club held by the Kanishka statue from Mathura. Maces seem to have been made of iron, although their handles were most likely of wood, and sometimes, clubs made entirely of wood appear. The iron maces may have been fitted with iron spikes, and wealthy warriors may have had their weapons decorated with gold (Singh 1965). Swords are also important weapons, but they seem to be more connected with the chariot-riding knights than with simple infantry. However, they were mostly used when the nobles stepped down from their chariots to fight on foot. Swords are often seen in reliefs and statues depicting nobles, so one can assume that it was the preferred weapon of the higher classes. Some of the murals from Ajanta also show warriors carrying something that looks similar to a Romphaia or Sica. The Ajanta paintings are obviously much later than our timeframe, belonging to the era of the Vakataka kings in the 5th century, so it is possible that this weapon was a later innovation. Most infantrymen appear to have carried shields. The most typical design, which can be seen on the Sanchi reliefs, and on the Ajanta murals, is a shield similar to a rectangle or triangle with a rounded top end. Some are narrower at the middle, but all have rounded tops and flat bottoms. The length of the shield seems to have been between 3.5 and 5 feet (Egerton 2002). Some shields seem to have been of circular design as well. They seem to either be covered with straps, or decorated with various floral patterns. Ancient sources seem to mention suns, moons and stars as decorations on shields as well, though (Singh 1965). Shields were often made of leather, either of ox-hide or tiger skin. Shields of wood and metal would also have existed, though. Apparently, tiger-skins were sometimes worn as armour by individual warriors too, but this was probably a rarity (Singh 1965). In the epics, various other types of armour are often mentioned, and they are described as being covered with gold and jewels. Although some warriors may have worn armour, it is however unlikely that the majority of the infantry had much more protection than their shields. Those who did wear armour most likely used scale coats of varying length, as this was the most common type of armour, but the epics sometimes mention cuirasses as well (Singh 1965). Kautilya notes that those infantrymen who wear armour should be positioned in the centre of the infantry, in front of the archers (Arth. 10.5). Although helmets are occasionally mentioned, and featured on certain reliefs, they were probably not very common. Instead, most warriors would have had their head bare, or worn turbans. Singh (1965) argues that turbans may in fact have worked as protection for the head. If that is to work, however, the turban must have been of a bigger and thicker type than the ones often seen on reliefs and murals.

    One interesting note regarding Herodotos' description of Ḫšayāršā's army is that besides Indians, he also mention Gandharians as a distinct group. According to the text, they wore garments similar to those worn by the Baktrians, i.e. Median caps, but they carried bows and spears of bamboo. Majumdar (1955) theorises that this might have been Herodotos' way of dividing the Indian forces according to whether they fought mounted or on foot. Indeed, Gandhara was famous for its cavalry, but one could rather interpret it as though this were a simple geographical division, based upon whether they hailed from the Persian province of Gadara (Gandhara) or Hindu (India). That these were different regions within the Persian Empire can be attested to by the fact that both appear in Dāriūsh's (Dareios) lists of his domains (Keay 2000). At any rate, the cavalry of the ancient Indian armies was mostly light, and its primary objective was skirmishing, as is evidenced by Kautilya’s recommendations for its use (Arth. 10.5). Some descriptions of cavalry that relate directly to Gandhara regard the 10,000 Gandharan cavalrymen mentioned in the Mahabharata, who fought armed with lances or spears. This can possibly be interpreted as javelins, which would also strengthen the theory that cavalry was primarily concerned with skirmishing duties. According to Arrianos, each Indian horseman carried two lances and a buckler (Arr. 8.16.12). It seems rather odd that they should carry two lances, so perhaps this, too, is supposed to mean that the warrior was in fact armed with javelins. However, they are described as lances and not javelins, so possibly they simply had two lances, in case one should break. The bucklers carried by the cavalry are smaller than the shields carried by the infantry, but their design is of a similar, triangular shape. However, their bottom is somewhat rounded, in contrast to the flat infantry shields. Heavy cavalry is rarely mentioned, and only after the advent of the Shakas do we find them in any major use amongst any of the Indian kingdoms. Kautilya writes that horses clad in armour should stand in the centre of the cavalry array (Arth. 10.5). Whether these were true heavy cavalrymen or merely somewhat more heavily armoured horsemen is uncertain. We know from records and pictorial evidence that during the earliest years of the Guptas, heavily aromoured cavalry was employed, and most likely this was due to the fact that the Guptas in many aspects modelled their army upon that of the Shakas and Kushanas (Majumdar 1955), who evidently employed this type of cavalry to a great extent in their military operations. Thus, cataphract-like cavalry was most likely present on the Indian scene already in the late 1st century BC, although mostly of non-Indian origins. However, one can suspect that Greek and Kamboja minorities, to the extent they would have been employed in Mauryan armies, would have provided more heavily armed and armoured cavalry, although not equivalent to cataphracts in their equipment.

    The heavily armoured warriors are instead found on the chariots. Throughout the history of Indian warfare, the chariot seems to have reigned supreme, and its history goes all the way back to the early Vedic-Aryan days. Even though this has previously been discussed, it is necessary to here include a brief discussion regarding the history of the Indian chariot. The Mauryan chariot was, in most respects, a direct successor of the traditional Vedic chariot, which had been around in India since the arrival of the Aryan tribes in the area. It seems as though the chariot, although one of the defining features of ancient Indian warfare, is not of Indian origin, but was in fact an already developed concept by the time the Aryans entered India. The people of the Indus civilisation were most certainly aware of the wheel, and several toy chariots have been found, although most appear to be four-wheeled carts pulled by oxen. There is, according to Singh (1965), nothing to support the theory that the people of the Indus civilisation used chariots in war. The Indus civilisation chariots are, however, similar in their design to the Sumerian chariot, and it has been established that these two cultures had close contacts through trade, so perhaps these two vehicles had a common ancestry. The Sumerians are known to have used such four-wheeled chariots in combat, though. The Aryan chariots, on the other hand, are of a completely different type. The most distinguishing feature is that it has only two wheels, which are spoked, in contrast to the solid wooden wheels of the Sumerian and Indus civilisation variants. It is unknown whether this type of chariot is of an indigenous Aryan design, or merely an adoption of the previous Middle Eastern design (Sparreboom 1986; although Sparreboom leans towards the latter alternative), but it was in the hands of Aryan peoples that the chariot first became the dominating force on the battlefield. It is quite possible that it was the Aryans who introduced the horse-drawn chariot to the Middle East (Parpola 2005), and this would imply that the horse-drawn chariot both in India and in the Middle East has a common Aryan ancestry. One of the foremost clues that led to this conclusion were the tablets of Kikkuli (Sparreboom 1986; Parpola 2005; Singh 1965). These tablets, discovered at Hattusas, contain descriptions of how to train horses for chariot duty, and are written in the Hittite language, but several of the technical terms regarding chariotry are very similar to the equivalent Sanskrit terms. This suggests that these terms were already in use in the Aryan language, before it was split into its respective Indian and Middle Eastern branches. Thus, we can assume that the horse-drawn chariot originated among the Aryan tribes, although possibly due to influences from other cultures, and was established as the primary feature of the nobility at the time of the Aryans' entrance into India.

    The reason for this slight deviation from the main subject is to emphasise the central role that the chariot held in early Aryan society, and which it retained throughout much of ancient Indian history. In the epics, as well as in the Mauryan period, the nobility chose to go to war riding their chariots. Kautilya claims that the king preferably should fight mounted either on an elephant or a chariot (Arth. 10.3). The focus on the chariot, especially in the earlier ages, may be a result of the fact that in the Indo-European culture, chariots were not only practical devices for travel and warfare, but they were also assigned religious importance (Sparreboom 1986). Even though they had evidently played out their role by the time of king Poros’s encounter with Alexander at Hydaspes, chariots remained in use in the Indian military system for some time, although they were basically gone by the time of the Guptas (Majumdar 1955). Chariots may have remained in Indian armies up until the 8th century AD, though, but they would have been of scant military importance (Singh 1965). Indeed, on coins, Gupta kings are often depicted mounted instead of riding a chariot, which was most definitely still the vehicle of kings when the Sanchi reliefs were carved (2nd-1st century BC). Most chariots would have been light vehicles, with eight-spoked wheels, pulled by two horses, although there were chariots that had both three and four draught animals. As can be seen by the reliefs at Sanchi, later chariots often had more spokes in their wheels, though. Regarding the number of crew members that each chariot carried, the sources diverge. According to Curtius, each chariot carried six passengers: two shield-bearers, two archers, and two charioteers, who would also throw several javelins at the enemy once the battle commenced (Curtius 8.14.3). Even though Majumdar (1955) finds this account trustworthy, doubts may be expressed as to whether there would actually have been six men in the chariot. Smith (1914), when calculating the number of men in Chandragupta’s army, claims that the 8,000 chariots mentioned by Megasthenes would require 24,000 men, thus implying that each chariot would have a crew of three. This seems like a more plausible theory, especially when considering that if we follow Curtius’s description, the chariots would require 48,000 men to be fully operational. In the epic tales, however, it appears as though the chariot is sometimes occupied by only two persons, namely the knight and his charioteer (Singh 1965). This can be the result of the author trying to emphasise the bravery of the knight, though, comparable to the way ancient Egyptian kings are often portrayed standing in their chariot alone, both driving and fighting at the same time. Thus, one may assume that a crew of three seems most probable.

    When it comes to the equipment of the charioteers, we once again find that the bow is the primary weapon employed (Singh 1965), and the chariots were primarily used as mobile firing platforms. There were probably arrows stacked in quivers tied to the chariot. However, there is a limit to how many quivers there can be before they encumber the vehicle, so Singh (1965) argues that it is possible that additional arms and arrows were brought up on carts that followed the chariots. Though this is possible, it seems awkward and impractical in a combat situation to have small carts driving around in the fray, so most likely, the charioteers loaded as much as they could on their chariots before going into battle. On several occasions, there are descriptions in the epics of warriors loading quivers, spears, swords and other material onto their chariots. Spears also seem to have been commonly used, and thrown at the enemies. Most knights also seem to carry mle weapons in their chariots, preferably swords, although maces are also mentioned (Singh 1965). These weapons were likely brought along for use in case the chariot broke down, or the knight was forced to fight on foot for any other reason. Warriors riding in chariots often seem to have been armoured, and although the occasional cuirass is mentioned in the epics, the most common type of armour appears to have been scale coats of various kinds. Kautilya mentions three different types of armoured coats, which must be interpreted as scale coats. The first type is described as reaching to the knees, the second to the heels, and the third one is a variety without protection for the arms (Arth. 2.18). It is not described how long the sleeveless variety is. Possibly, there are only two varieties, one which reaches to the knees, and one which reaches to the feet, however, they exist in two versions: one with arms, and one without. The material that armour is made of, besides iron, is leather from various animals, including elephants (Arth. 2.18). In context with the armoured coats, Kautilya also mentions other objects of protection, which include Sirastrana, which is a protective device for the head, possibly some type of helmet, Nagodarika, which is a type of armoured glove, and Kanthatrana, which is a cover for the neck. One thing that makes the analysis of armour in the Arthasastra somewhat more complicated is the fact that in connection with the previously mentioned objects, Kautilya also lists Kurpasa, which is defined as cover for the trunk (Arth. 2.18). This device is obviously meant for elephants, but this leads one to doubt whether the other armour pieces are really meant for humans, or for elephants. However, Kautilya later lists a collection of devices that he describes as ornaments for elephants and chariots, and which includes, among others, goads for elephants, so perhaps the trunk armour has only happened to find its way into the list of armour types for humans.

    The final part of the traditional Indian four-armed army is the elephant corps. In many ways, although chariots still remained the vehicle of the nobility, by the time of Alexander’s incursion into India elephants had taken the place of chariots as the foremost tactical arm of the military. For example, as can be attested to in Arrianos’s account of the battle of the Hydaspes, Poros built his battle strategy around his 200 elephants (Arr. 5.15). The elephant was already considered an important part of the Hindu army in the epic age, and it is described as crushing infantry, cavalry and chariots with equal ease (Singh 1965). Megasthenes records that Chandragupta had a total of 9,000 elephants in his army, which is more than the total number of chariots in his army, so it is thus evident that the elephant had become a very important weapon by the time of the Mauryan Empire. Kautilya even goes as far as claiming that it is upon the elephants that the destruction of an enemy army depends (Arth. 7.11). According to Strabon, the elephants carried three warriors with bows and one mahout (Strabon 15.52). The elephants would have been used both to screen the army and to break through the enemy army and inspire terror in enemy soldiers. The risk that the elephants would cause confusion in the friendly ranks as well did of course exist, but often the strategy of Indian armies revolved around the fact that the enemy army would be broken up by the elephants’ charge, and could then be “mopped up” by the rest of the army. Often, both in the epic and sometimes even in real life, the infantry, although numerous, did little to affect the outcome of the battle, and was often prone to defecting given the first sign of defeat (Singh 1965). It was thus upon the elephants that much of the outcome of battles depended. As has been discussed earlier, the elephants would occasionally have been covered with pieces of armour, and riders either sat on the elephants’ back, or rode in mounted towers (Aelianus 13.10, quoting Megasthenes).

    We shall now finish off by briefly discussing how the army was organised in the Mauryan Empire. Beside the division of the army into the four arms, Kautilya also divides the army into five different categories, not based on troop type, but on the nature of the warriors serving in the respective category. These categories are as follows: hereditary army, hired army, guild army, allied army, and the army of wild tribes (Arth. 7.7). The hereditary army was probably those that belonged to the Kshatriya caste, i.e. warriors (Rapson 1955), and would probably have constituted the majority of the Mauryan army, while hired troops are, obviously, mercenaries. The guild army is somewhat more complicated to analyse. Different authors have different interpretations of these, and while some argue that they were members of various trade guilds and corporations, who were bound to serve in times of need (Majumdar 1955), others suggest that there may have been warrior-guilds made up of professional soldiers who were contracted by the state to fight in campaigns (Rapson 1955). The latter alternative seems rather too similar to the mercenaries to have been considered a distinct type of warrior by Kautilya, but it is still a possibility. Allied armies constitute forces that allied kings and vassals supply. These forces would often be lent by allied kings, who found it in their interest to help fight a common enemy, but also forces that local Rajas would send to the Maharajadhiraja. They would also consist of Kshatriyas, just like ordinary hereditary forces (Rapson 1955). Finally, we have the wild forest tribes. These would most likely have acted as skirmishers that screened the main army in battle (Rapson 155). These forces consisted of wild tribes that lived in forests and mountains within the kingdom’s domains. What the equipment of such warriors would have been is not known, but an idea of what it might have been like can perhaps be derived from Herodotos. The so called “Eastern Ethiopians”, that Herodotos lists among the different peoples of Ḫšayāršā's army have sometimes been interpreted as being native Indian Dravidan warriors (Rawlinson 1971). This theory is further supported by the fact that in ancient times, India and Ethiopia were often believed to be one coherent landmass, and that Herodotos mentions that the Eastern Ethiopians were placed next to the Indians in the battle array. They are described as being dressed and equipped similarly to the Indians, but they wore the hide from a horse’s head as a helmet, and used shields made out of the hide of a crane. These, then, are the various forces that, according to Kautilya, an army could be made out of. Regarding the organisation, this has already been discussed, so I will just go through this very briefly. The army would often be commanded by the emperor, but the administration was overseen by an official of ministerial dignity, called the Senapati. According to Megasthenes, the Senapati had below him a war office consisting of six boards that each had a certain area of responsibility (Majumdar 1955). The first was for the navy, the second for logistics, and the following four for each of the four arms of the army: infantry, cavalry, chariots and elephants. Thus, the Mauryan Empire had an efficient administrative system for their armed forces, which enabled them to keep armies of unusually large sizes whilst being able to manage and command them efficiently.


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    Rapson, E. (ed). (1955). Cambridge History of India (CHI).

    Rawlinson, H.G. (1971) Intercourse between India and the Western World.

    Sagar, K.C. (1992). Foreign Influence on Ancient India.

    Salomon, R. (1995). “On the Origin of the Early Indian Scripts”, Journal of the American Oriental Society; 115(2).

    Singh, S.D. (1965). Ancient Indian Warfare with Special Reference to the Vedic Age.

    Smith, V.A. (1964) Aşoka, the Buddhist emperor of India.

    Smith, V.A. (1914) The early history of India from 600 b.c. to the Muhammadan conquest, including the invasion of Alexander the Great.

    Sparreboom, M. (1986) Chariots in the Veda.

    Stein, B. (1998). A History of India.

    Thapar, R. (2002). Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300.

    Tripathi, R.S. (1967). History of Ancient India.

    Wheeler, M. (1959). Early India and Pakistan.

    Woodcock, G. (1966). The Greeks in India.
    Last edited by Foot; August 06, 2011 at 03:41 AM.
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  3. #3
    Foot's Avatar Senshi
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)














    N.B. It is recommended that you view the video in 1080p HD.
    Last edited by Foot; July 13, 2011 at 06:18 PM.
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  4. #4
    Foot's Avatar Senshi
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    "Making-of":

    Finally, we would like to show some of the process for how the amazing Indian units were made, from original sorces to finished unit. Here, you will see something of how the Indian chariots and the Kshatriya standard bearer were made.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Mithridates VI Eupator (Historian):

    When I concept a new unit, the first thing I do is to consider what I want to represent with it. There are lots of details one would like to include on the unit, but one has to identify those that are most representative, and that were most important. For instance, there may be plenty of different headgear, but I then try to narrow it down to a small number of essential objects. I generally begin with textual sources, both ancient, such as the Arthashastra or Megasthenes's Indika, and modern scholarly articels or books. In addition to this, I search for pictoral evidence. Sometimes, there are modern reconstructions, but I mostly prefer to go to the original source, as I have, on more than one occasion, found myself interpreting the material slightly differently. Further, although sometimes hard to interpret, original sources are generally the most reliable when one strives for historical accuracy. For Indian units, some of the most important sources we have used are the murals at Ajanta, as well as the reliefs at Barhut and Sanchi. Sometimes, such sources are enough, but when more detail is required, I often tend to make drawings of how I interpret the sources.

    When possible, I try to identify equipment or clothing that are both mentioned in textual sources, as well as depicted on ancient monuments. This strengthens the case for inclusion, and it also helps the interpretation: It is always easier to recreate things that ae well documented, than to attempt to make an interpretation solely from the detials of a damaged mural.

    For instance, take the chariots: Beginning with the chariot itself, I used the reliefs at Sanchi as my main source, along with the interpretations modern scholars have made of these. There are many depictions of chariots, although not in battle situations, that one can use as a base.
    Using those, along with modern reasearch, primarily Singh (1965), where the design and the dimentions of the chariot are discussed, I made the following sketch:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    For the charioteers themselves, the murals and reliefs gave little evidence, so I had to use primarily written sources. Kautilya discusses the various types of armour coats that were used, and there are also these very rare depictions of armour:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Basing my interpretations on the descriptions of body armour in Kautilya's Arthashastra, and such depictions, I made the following sketches. (Somehow, I doubt I have a future in the Haute Couture business...)
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    The epics as well as Kautilya mentions helmets, but depictions of helmets that do not appear to be of foreign origin are very rare. There are a few exceptions, most notably at Sanchi, Nagarjunakonda, and Ajanta. Here are my renderings of those helmets:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Not all charioteers would have worn helmets. Some would have worn the traditional Indian topknots, or perhaps a turban, instead:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Most of the sketches I make are of specific objects or details, but of course, sometimes, one gets to go a little crazy:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    With the written instructions, the sketches, and the original reliefs and murals, it was then up to our great modeller Tux to reproduce this in 3D, and for our master skinner Gustave to make the textures for the skin. The team of historians will chime in during this process all the way up to the point where the unit is integrated in the build, to comment and give advise, however, from this point, it is mostly the artist's show.




    Tux (modeller):

    After the concept is complete it's time to start the modelling phase however this is different from unit to unit as some may lack good visual references.
    However in this case the references where quite good and you may see them under but they still left some space for interpretation.


    Now I won't discuss the whole modelling process of whole unit as it would get quite big and booring with technical phases like UVW mapping or vertex weightning.
    So let's see how one of the most unique parts of Taksashila faction was modeled, the standards.


    The first standard was quite simple and fast to do being created from primitives like cylinders.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Like the first standard this one was also easy to do and created easily using the main primitives.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Now Eb2 would get finished fast if things were that easily but for the Kshatriya Standard things changed, the standard is clearly more complex than the other and required more steps and work.
    The first phase was to try and model it by taking into account the the concepts and pics from Barhut stupha but also technical ones such as keeping the poly count low but getting enough detail into it.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Let's see a wireframe of what we got until now:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Having this done we can start the second phase, creating a high poly model and generating the normal map. This is done to ease some of the work from the skinner but also because it would be quite hard to achieve this detail simply in Photoshop or an equivalant application.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Finally we can see the low poly model with the normal map, which still needs some final tweaks in Photoshop, generated from the high-poly model:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 







    Gustave (Skinner):

    Once the model is done, it's time to give it some textures! Skinning work requires a lot of time and patience, but is very rewarding in the end. It is very exciting to see ancient warriors coming to life. I make my skins with Photoshop and I use 3ds Max to apply them to the models.

    1 - Clothes and armour.
    Usually, it is not easy to find good references for clothes motifs. Most of the time the visual references I have are reliefs or statues that don't give much information about colours and patterns.
    However, when it comes to Taksashila I have an incredible source of information: the Ajanta murals. They provide a lot of information about the equipment, clothes, colours, etc. used by the ancient Indians.


    The standard bearer wears scale armour and coloured skirts. They are supposed to look better than the average warrior, so I used the complex motifs that can be seen on depictions of nobles.
    Clothes are usually the hardest part of skinning work, especially when they have lots of folds like these skirts. To create them, each skinner has his own technique; for my part, I use a mix of photos, and some folds are drawn by hand with a graphic tablet.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    [





    The murals also depict a warrior wearing a bronze scale cuirass. It gives a good idea of how it should look. Magadha is renowned for its iron works, so we decided to make the cuirass iron. I also added some jewellery to indicate a higher social status.
    To create a scale texture, I create a scale from a basic metal texture and then I duplicate it. Once the scales are correctly assembled I add the lightning effects that make it look more like shiny iron. The specular map also helps to give it a glossy look ingame.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    2 - Face
    Along with clothes, skinning faces is one of the hardest parts. I usually use a mix of photos that I edit until I am satisfied with the result. Sometimes, the faces you will see in EB2 are composed by the photos of more than five different people!
    Once again, the Ajanta murals are incredibly valuable for knowing how ancient Indians looked. We can see a lot of different facial features and ornaments: long hair, topknots, turbans, helmets...
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    4 - Standard
    Finally, the most important part, the standard! This one is inspired from a relief on the Bharut Stuppa, which depicts a winged lion with human arms holding a sort of flag. We have no way of knowing with what materials it was made, but painted wood seemed plausible, so I skinned it this way.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 











    So now the skin is done, but it still need normal maps before it can be used in the game. This part is very boring, so I won't talk about it here.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Here are some more examples showing concept art, and the finished results:

    Standard Bearers:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Generals:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Last edited by Foot; July 13, 2011 at 06:25 PM.
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  5. #5
    medievaldude's Avatar Sōkō no yari
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    The Call for Hindu arms!! you guys put so much work here, mate i just can't say much but let them stirke down the heavens! REP+ after i watch this breathe-taking-heart-stopper preview that is!


    A Salute to all EB members and the TEAM!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Bactrians? Or even better Seleucids ! man this is so fun to read <----
    NVM its Seleucids BEAST!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    uu la la, each screeny has a secret and this one especially!


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Good bye unhistorical streotypical indians, HELLOO REAL Taksashila Soldiers
    Now i know why Rajput warriors are soo Deadly! :O

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    This reminds me of when i read something about the Indus valley people and there farming
    Last edited by medievaldude; July 13, 2011 at 07:01 PM.

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    He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    I didn't expect this one, truly great work from everyone involved. Now to hunt you all down to rep you.
    I survived the Mayan Apocalypse 12/21/12

  7. #7
    Miles
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Wow that was a suprise for me. I think it will make the game much more interesting in the east!

  8. #8
    Harurāaz's Avatar Princeps Posterior
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    WOW! GOOD WORK


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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Mwahaha I will have sadistic joy turning these naked savages into pincushions with my cretan archers.

    Indian swordsmen shields are hilarious btw.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



  10. #10
    medievaldude's Avatar Sōkō no yari
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Quote Originally Posted by cpt_obvious View Post
    Mwahaha I will have sadistic joy turning these naked savages into pincushions with my cretan archers.

    Indian swordsmen shields are hilarious btw.
    They are not nude, and how is it funny better not be (negative!)

    Ductus Exemplo
    Fas est et ab hoste doceri !
    He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
    Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

  11. #11
    Pharoah's Avatar Indefinitely Banned
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Hoplites? indians? selucid phalanx? on the mediveal 2 engein? This is blasphamy this madness

  12. #12
    Harurāaz's Avatar Princeps Posterior
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    My Sweboz warriors are gonna eat their elephants for breakfast!


  13. #13
    Rorarii's Avatar Pili Prior
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    OMG!! .. the detailed work is truely remarkable.

    i'm going to promote this one elsewhere.

    R
    oOo

    Rome 2 refugee ...

    oOo

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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    I want to play this mod now. Give me download link plz.

  15. #15
    Pharoah's Avatar Indefinitely Banned
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Quote Originally Posted by cpt_obvious View Post
    I want to play this mod now. Give me download link plz.
    It's still in devolopment

  16. #16
    DekuTrash's Avatar Human Directional
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Amazing! Totally didn't expect a faction to come from this far east!



  17. #17
    Pharoah's Avatar Indefinitely Banned
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Quote Originally Posted by DekuTrash View Post
    Amazing! Totally didn't expect a faction to come from this far east!
    Baktria

  18. #18
    medievaldude's Avatar Sōkō no yari
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pharoah View Post
    Baktria

    well don't let Pharoah deceive you!

    Ductus Exemplo
    Fas est et ab hoste doceri !
    He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
    Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

  19. #19
    Pharoah's Avatar Indefinitely Banned
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Quote Originally Posted by medievaldude View Post

    well don't let Pharoah deceive you!
    Well i'm in canada so evrey thing in europe is east

  20. #20
    Team Sleep's Avatar Centurio
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    Default Re: Preview: Taksashila (Mauryan Satrapy)

    Wow...considering all the commotion about there not going to be an Indian faction. Low & Behold!

    Good work. I may have to pick up this faction first before the Pritonoi when starting a new campaign.

    My question now is...culture slot? Did the EB team break down and use one up for this faction? Or will it be blended in with another? Which begs to the question of what the buildings/structures will be like for this culture?

    Geographically, which province(s) do they occupy at the start on the EB map?

    Good work and thanks gain!

    HIP HIP HOORRRAAY!!!
    HIP HIP HOORRRAAY!!!
    HIP HIP HOORRRAAY!!!

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