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Ashoka the Terrible

Emperor Ashoka

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Ashoka the Terrible

For the first eight years of his reign, Ashoka waged near-constant war. He had inherited a sizable empire, but he expanded it to include most of the Indian subcontinent, as well as the area from the current-day borders of Iran and Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh and the Burmese border in the east. Only the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka remained out of his reach, plus the kingdom of Kalinga on the northeast coast of India.

In 265, Ashoka attacked Kalinga. Although it was the homeland of his second wife, Kaurwaki, and the king of Kalinga had sheltered Ashoka before his ascent to the throne, the Mauryan emperor gathered the largest invasion force in Indian history to that point and launched his assault. Kalinga fought back bravely, but in the end it was defeated and all of its cities sacked.Ashoka had led the invasion in person, and he went out into the capital city of the Kalingas the morning after his victory to survey the damage. The ruined houses and bloodied corpses sickened the emperor, and he underwent a religious epiphany. Although he had considered himself more or less Buddhist prior to that day, the carnage at Kalinga led Ashoka to devote himself to Buddhism. He vowed to practice ahimsa from that day forward.


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Ashoka Chakra
Early Life
Lion Capital of Asoka
Conversion to Buddhism
The First Buddhist King
Battle of Kalinga
A Talented Military Leader
Ashoka the Terrible
Great Public Works Projects
The Life of Ashoka the Great
Ashokstambha
Death of Ashoka
More ...


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