Discovering Pakistan

5, 000 years of Civilization & Culture

Megasthenes at the Mauryan Court

Shortly after Alexander and his troops withdrew from India in 325 BCE, leaving behind satraps (governors) in Taxila, Western Punjab and the Indus Valley, Chandragupta Maurya founded the first great indigenous empire of India, the largest in Indian history. By 32o BCE, the Maurya Empire, with its base in Magadha (present-day Bihar in India), had fully occupied northwestern India (now Pakistan), defeating the Macedonian satraps.


Under Chandragupta and his successors (most notably Ashoka), trade, agriculture and economic activity flourished. One of the few primary records we have of Chandragupta’s reign (c. 322 – 298 BCE) is the “Indica” by Megasthenes, a Greek historian and envoy to the Mauryan court. Although the original Indica has been lost, extensive quotations from it survive in the works of later Greek writers such as Arrian, Strabo, Diodorus and Pliny.

Below are excerpts from “Ancient India as described by Megasthenes and Arrian” by J.W. McCrindle.

Description of India

The Administration of Public Affairs

Manners of the Indians

[Most scholars agree that the “Sandrakottos” mentioned here, and in other Greek and Latin historical texts,  refers to Chandragupta Maurya]

The Seven Castes among the Indians

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