9 Conquests of Dharma: Network Models and the Study of Ancient Polities



The Mauryan Empire, an early South Asian polity, was once presumed to have exerted control over most of the Indian subcontinent. A reexamination of both archaeological and historical evidence suggests a different interpretation of Mauryan imperialism - one that has less to do with territorial control and instead looks to a relational network perspective. This perspective allows a view of the Mauryan polity that goes beyond the political dimension to examine long-term patterns of interaction during the Early Historic period (ca. 600 B.C.E.–C.E. 600). Additionally, this model may be extended to include parallel networks of interaction that existed independently of political authority and would endure beyond the decline of various dynastic powers. [Mauryan Empire, sovereignty, territoriality, Early Historic period, South Asia]