Rock and Pillar Edicts of Asoka

(257–240 BCE)

About the Author

The author of the Rock and Pillar edicts is Asoka, one of the greatest rulers of Indian history. He belonged to the Maurya Dynasty (322–185 BCE), which ushered in a new chapter in the political evolution of the Indian Subcontinent, as a unified state came into existence encompassing present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Asoka was a son of Emperor Bindusara and Subhadrangi, who exclaimed at the time of the child's birth around 304 BCE that she was asoka, meaning “without sorrow,” which became his name. According to Buddhist traditions, Asoka was a cruel person...

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Seated Buddha (Yale University Art Gallery)

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