Conquest Of The Nanda Empire (321-320 Bc)

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Nanda Empire

The conquest of the Nanda Empire is a war in Indian history where very little is known, when it comes to the fundamental reason that rose to this conflict. It was a battle fought between the Nanda Empire, ruled by Dhana Nanda, and an army under Chandragupta Maurya in the era as ancient as 4th century BC, which ultimately resulted in the fall of the Nanda Empire, leading to the establishment of the Maurya Empire, whe\re Chandragupta Maurya emerged as the king of Magadha, which was previously ruled by the Nanda dynasty.

Whatever came into light related to this battle happened only after the war was over, and that too by ancient historian Plutarch, who gave accounts about different parts of the conquest from that era. According to that, the Nanda Empire was ruled by king Dhana Nanda, and was based in Magadha, that contained many other kingdoms as well, residing on the Ganges basin. Chandragupta was believed to hail from a noble background and had some avid military experience. He was a Kshatriya, who with his wit and power, borrowed a strong set of Buddhist and Greek techniques of war fighting as well as statecraft, after he met Alexander the Great. His chief advisor, or guru, was Chanakya, Brahmana of Taxila’s son, who was often regarded as ‘’Acharya Chanakya’’ by his students, as he taught them various strategies of war fighting as well as political intervention, among other subjects.

There have been many literary works where the destruction of the Nanda Empire has been prominently mentioned. Some of these would be the political drama: Mudrarakshasa, written in Sanskrit by Vishakadutta, in the span of 300 CE and 700 CE. The conquest is also mentioned in the Vishnu Purana, the date of which is still unknown, however, it has the name of Chankaya mentioned, and how he played a significant role with his mind in defeating the Nanda Empire and heralding the existence of the Maurya Empire. According to Plutarch and other historians, it is said that the battle had around 6,00,000 men in Chandragupta’s army, while an estimated strength of 2,00,000 infantry, 6,000 war elephants, 8,000 chariots, 80,000 cavalry, was believed to be a part of the Nanda army; precisely why Chandragupta had to utilize his entire military strength alongside Greek mercenaries to fight the Nanda army. Eventually, the Nanda Empire lost, however, as per mentions in historic literary works, around 1 crore soldiers, 1,00,000 horses, 10,000 elephants, as well as 5,000 charioteers were killed during the conquest of the Nanda Empire.

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Indian History

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