The Mauryan period witnessed the rise of the first subcontinental empire which required administration appropriate to a changing political economy, communication adequate to a subcontinental territory, and new ideological attempts to draw support from a multicultural population. This book provides a fresh interpretation of the history of early India and its linkages with later developments. It discusses the history of the Mauryas with a special emphasis on the reign and activities of A?oka. The author focuses on sources, socio-economic conditions, administration, Dhamma, foreign relations, and the decline of the Mauryas. This new edition includes a Pre-word, updating the research on the subject. This book is an important reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students and teachers, as well as researchers of ancient Indian history. It will also interest the informed general reader.