The Mauryan Empire was the first and one of the greatest empires that were established on Indian soil. The vast Mauryan Empire stretching from the valley of the Oxus to the delta of Kaveri was given a well knit common administration. Chandragupta Maurya was the first ruler who unified entire India under one political unit. About Mauryan rulers we have epigraphically sources, literary sources, foreign accounts and materials obtained from archaeological excavations. The Arthashastra gives us detailed information about the administrative system of the Mauryan Empire. The work was written by Kautilya who is also known as Chanakya. Some scholars think that Kautilya was the real architect of the Mauryan Empire and was also the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya.

Megasthenese the Greek ambassador from the court of Selectus to that of Chandragupta Maurya wrote accounts of India and Indian people. His book 'Indica' is lost but some fragments of it are known to us in the form of quotations in the works of the later Greek writers. However the most important and authentic source for the history of Mauryan period is provided by the inscriptions of Ashoka.