Read the short biography of King Bindusara

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Chandragupta Maurya was succeeded by his son Bindusara. If Jain tradition is to be believed the name of his mother was Durdhara. The Greek historian Alhenacus calls him Amitrochates (Sanskrit Amitraghata ‘Slayer of Foes’ or Amitrakhada ‘Devourer of Foes’). We do not know how he got the title of ‘Amitrochates’.

Greek historians say little about the internal affairs of India in the days of Bindusara: The Jain scholar Hemachandra and the Tibetan historian Taranatha state that Chanakya outlived Chandragupta and continued as a minister of BinĀ­dusara.

Bindusara appointed his eldest son Sumana (also named Susima) as his Viceroy at Taxila and Asoka at Ujjaini. The Divyavadana tells the story of a revolt in Taxila. When it went out of control for Sumana or Susima, Bindusara deputed Asoka to restore order.

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Bindusara maintained friendly relations with the Hellenic world that had been established in the later days of his father. It is said on the basis of the Greek sources that Bindusara asked the Syrian-King Antiochus I Scoter (of Syria) “to buy and send him sweet wine, dried figs and a philosopher”.

Thereupon, the Syrian King replied “we shall send you figs and wine, but the Greece laws forbid a philosopher to be sold”. Pliny menĀ­tions that Ptolemy Philladelphus of Egypt sent Dionysius as his ambassador to India.

Bindusara had a large family. Asoka states in his fifth Rock Edict that he had several brothers and sisters. Two of these brothers are named in Divyadana as Susima and Vigatasoka, whom the Sri Lankan chronicles, name Summan and Tishya; the former was Asoka’s step brother. Asoka’s mother was named Subhadrangi or Dharma, and Tishya was his youngest brother.

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