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Maurya Empire & Formation of Silk Road. Role of Alexander, Successor States & Hellenism Maurya Empire Connection Nomad Connection & Kushan Empire Trade & Buddhism along Silk Road IDs: Asoka (r. 268-231bce), Kushan Empire, Xiongnu , bodhisattva, Mahayana Buddhism.

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Maurya Empire & Formation of Silk Road

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Maurya empire formation of silk road

Maurya Empire & Formation of Silk Road

  • Role of Alexander, Successor States & Hellenism

  • Maurya Empire Connection

  • Nomad Connection & Kushan Empire

  • Trade & Buddhism along Silk Road

    IDs: Asoka (r. 268-231bce), Kushan Empire, Xiongnu, bodhisattva, Mahayana Buddhism

Major shift from 336 bce 50 ce afro eurasia becomes more connected

Major Shift from 336 BCE-50 CE: Afro-Eurasia becomes more connected



  • Between 336 BCE and 50 CE, the Silk Road was formed by the collective actions of Alexander of Macedonia, the Hellenistic successor states, the Maurya Empire, the Central Asian nomads & the Chinese. Once formed, its east-west and north-south connections across Afro-Eurasia were never broken.

A role of alexander and hellenistic successor states

A. Role of Alexander and Hellenistic Successor States

Foundation of institutions supporting trade

Foundation of Institutions supporting trade

Spread of hellenistic culture

Spread of Hellenistic Culture

Greek language

Gymnasiums (education)


Athletic games





Hellenism hellenistic culture

Hellenism/Hellenistic Culture

Influences elites from Spain to India


Indo greek states graeco bactria

“Indo-Greek” states: Graeco-Bactria

Ii maurya empire connection 321 184 bce

II. Maurya Empire Connection, 321-184 BCE

First large-scale South Asian empire

Chandragupta Maurya

Seleucid kingdom

Expanded into persia central asia

Expanded into Persia & Central Asia

Exchange with Seleucid Empire

Asoka reigned 268 231 bce

Asoka (reigned 268-231 BCE)

Third Mauryan king

1. Conqueror until

Kalinga conquest

2 adopted buddhism

2. Adopted Buddhism

Built stupas

Rule by dhamma (dharma)

3 rock pillar edicts

3. Rock & Pillar Edicts

Multicultural tolerance: hundreds of South Asian ethnic groups, Hindus, Buddhists, Greeks, Persians

Iii nomad connection

III. Nomad Connection


Central Asia

A nomad invasions 200 bce 50 ce

A. Nomad Invasions, 200 BCE – 50 CE

1 conquer seleucid empire persian empire 200 bce

1. Conquer Seleucid Empire  “Persian” Empire (200 BCE)

2 xiongnu pressure yuezhi qin han in china

2. Xiongnu pressure Yuezhi & Qin & Han in China

3 yuezhi flee southeast conquer bactria form kushan empire 50 ce

3. Yuezhi flee southeast, conquer Bactria & form Kushan Empire (50 CE)

B nomads

B. Nomads

  • Supported trade networks already established

  • Extended trade

  • Adopted cultures of settled peoples they conquered

Coin of saka nomad king maues

Coin of Saka (nomad) king Maues

Image of Zeus

“King of Kings, the Great Maues” (Persian title written in Greek letters)

Greek goddess Nike

Same inscription written in S. Asian script

C kushan empire

C. Kushan Empire

1. Bridge to China: Formation of Silk Road, 50 CE



Allies against Xiongnu

Iii the silk road

III. The Silk Road

A overland route

A. Overland Route





Commercial hubs: Petra & Palmyra

B sea routes

B. Sea Routes

C spread transformation of buddhism

C. Spread & Transformation of Buddhism

Spread into Central Asia (Kushan Empire)

2 changes in buddhism

2. Changes in Buddhism

  • The Buddha becomes a god

  • Nirvana becomes afterlife (Buddha lands)

2 creation of mahayana buddhism

2. Creation of Mahayana Buddhism

Great Vehicle




  • How did the successor states, the Maurya Empire, nomads & the Chinese contribute to the formation of the Silk Road and the exchanges which took place along it?

3 effects of alexander successor states

3. Effects of Alexander & Successor States

Lasting connection between regions across Afro-Eurasia

Silk Road & sea routes

Huge increase in trade

Cultural exchange



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