Alternative History
Ashoka the Great
Timeline: Great Empires

Portrait of Ashoka the Great

Emperor of the Maurya Empire
274 BC – 232 BC

Predecessor Bindusara
Successor Dasaratha

274 BC – 232 BC

Predecessor Bindusara
Successor Dasaratha
Born 304 BC
Died 232 BC (aged 72)
Wives Kaurwaki
Imperial House Maurya Dynasty
Father Bindusara
Mother Shubhadrangi
Issue Mahendra


Religion Buddhism

Selfless duty calls you to sacrifice your own convictions and do whatever it takes to protect your people and nation

~ Ashoka

Emperor Ashoka Maurya the Great was one of the greatest rulers of India .


Early life

Ashoka was born in 304 BC as the son of Maurya Emperor Bindusara and Shubhadrangi, one of his consorts. He was educated and was trained at the military training academy. He was known as a fearsome warrior and hunter. He was very adventurous and a trained fighter, who was known for his skills with the sword. Because of his reputation as a frightening warrior and a heartless general, he was sent to curb the riots in the Avanti province of the Mauryan empire.

Rise to Power

Ashoka had many brothers who could be the heir to the empire. Bindusara wanted Sushim to succeed him, but his ministers found him too arrogant and disrespectful towards them. Bindusara's death in 273 BC led to a war of succession. Ashoka wanted the throne and was not afraid to fight for it, according to the Mahavansa he killed 99 of his brothers, sparing only one. Ashoka was formally crowned Emperor of India in 274 BC.


Expansion of the empire

As soon as he became emperor, Ashoka began to expand his empire into all directions, east into Assam, south into Southern India, north into Nepal and west into Pakistan and Afghanistan. After many bloody wars, Ashoka had an epiphany. While on campaign in Southern India, Ashoka witnessed a burning of a city and saw the destruction that he caused. He saw corpses, ruins and people that lost everything they had. Ashoka converted in 264 BC to Buddhism and became a peaceful and caring ruler of his people. Around 260 BC, the Maurya Empire had become the largest and wealthiest empire on Earth.

Building projects

Ashoka converted to Buddhism in 264 BC and began the construction of many stupas and temples. One of his most important projects was Sanchi. Sanchi was nothing more than a small village prior to Ashoka's project. After Ashoka constructed the Great Stupa of Sanchi, among with many other temples, Sanchi became an blooming pilgrimage site.

Ashoka was also a patron of the sciences and constructed the largest Buddhist university in the world, the Nalanda University. The University was one of the largest and magnificient in the world and more 10,000 monks studied here.

One of his other projects was the Mahabodhi Temple, the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. The largest stupa in the world was also constructed by Ashoka, the Kesariya Stupa. Among Ashoka's other projects are the Damek Stupa, the Butkara stupa, the Barabar caves and so forth...

Other achievements

Ashoka also constructed many markets and hospital, which benefited the people. Ashoka also spread the religion of Buddhism to far away places and instated free thought and free religion.


Ashoka died in 232 BC, at the age of 72, beloved by his people. His ashes were thrown into the Ganges River within 24 hours of his death.


Ashoka was a great ruler, earning the trust of his people and the title "The Great". He built many stupas and temples, of which many still stand today. He greatly contributed in spreading Buddhism and developing his empire. Under his reign India reached it's largest extent, which wasn't rivaled by any later Indian empire. Today, many people respect him.


  • Ashoka killed 99 members of his family, which is more than any other person ever did in history.
Preceded by:
Maurya Emperor
274 BC–232 BC
Succeeded by: