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Asoka: Ruthless Conqueror or Enlightened Ruler?

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Breandán Ó Ruadhagáin

on 30 January 2015

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Transcript of Asoka: Ruthless Conqueror or Enlightened Ruler?

Work Experience
Photos
Interests
Legacy
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The Mauryan Empire collapsed 50 years after the death of Asoka
Asoka's legacy is that he helped India, while it was being ruled by Britain, serve as a role model in India's fight for independence
To Indians then and now, Asoka was a giant (not literally)--a warrior and a ruler beyond any in their history
His legacy is so important to Indians, his symbol, or chakra, is found on the flag of India!
Prince of the Mauryan Empire
Lived a very expensive lifestyle, enjoying expensive horses and great feasts.
But he also had a serious side, was very interested in nature and spiritual matters, and began to study Buddhism
Asoka became the ruler of the Mauryan Empire when he turned 30.
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After conquering Kalinga, he had a spiritual transformation, and converted to Buddhism.
His goal after expanding his empire wasn't to continue to conquer far away lands, but to spread the beliefs of Buddhism throughout his empire.
He sent missionaries to other lands to tell them about Buddhism, and carved royal messages on many stone monuments that served as ancient era billboards throughout his empire. These messages included many Buddhist teachings
Asoka's pillars still serve as a great primary source in our understanding of his rule!
Education
One of his first major accomplishments as ruler of his empire was to expand the size of his empire by conquering the region of Kalinga, on the southeast coast of India
Lives In
Asoka (a-sho-ka) ruled over much of India from 268 BC until his death in 232 BC.
He is considered by modern day Indians as the "founding father of India"

BBC-Story of India-Youtube.com
So What?
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Asoka
Pillars of Asoka
Asoka: Ruthless Conqueror or Enlightened Ruler?
There's no question Asoka has helped to form India's sense of identity; the adoption of his symbol on the Indian flag 2,000 years after his death is very strong evidence of that.
But what about Asoka's own identity?
This DBQ is going to investigate a man, Asoka, that we really don't know about as much as we'd like, and what we do know, is written in stone.
We know from Asoka's own words (journals), that he was at times, a very troubled man.
As he grew older, he was bothered by things he had done earlier in his rule as king
Like so many who have made a large impact on the world, this story has both its good sides, and its bad sides.
What side of Asoka should history remember?
You, as a historian, are going to decide that for yourself, by looking at several primary and secondary sources, and doing your best to answer the question, "Asoka: ruthless conqueror or enlightened ruler?"
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