The Maurya dynasty ruled India from 322 BC to 185 BC. Its greatest king was Ashoka (273–232 BC). He began his reign as a warrior, but after becoming a Buddhist, he tried to pursue peaceful policies.
Mauryan cities were defended by steep banks of earth and timber walls. At Ashoka’s capital, Pataliputra (near modern Patna), they stretched for 9 miles (14 km). Inside were temples, reservoirs, palaces, storehouses, and workers’ houses.
Ashoka set up tall stone pillars in important places, carved with Buddhist teachings and his own promises to rule well. He tried to make peace between different peoples in his empire, but after he died, the empire split into smaller states, until a new empire emerged under the Guptas.