c.299 BC - 237
King of India
Asoka was ancient India's greatest ruler. His grandfather Chandragupta Maurya of Magadha had established the first Indian empire. When Asoka succeeded to the throne he tried to complete the conquest of the Indian peninsula. In the course of his conquests, however, Asoka became so disgusted by the cruelty of warfare that he renounced it. He adopted the peaceful doctrines of Buddhism and declared that henceforth his conquests should be conquests of religion. All over the land he set up inscriptions rehearsing the teachings of Buddha, and missionaries were sent to Kashmir, Persia, and Ceylon. But soon after Asoka's death the Mauryan empire disintegrated.