Numismatic Evidence

The Mauryan empire was based on the money economy.Kautilya refers to suvarna, silver pana and copper mashaka as a token currency. A horde of punch marked silver coins were found at Golakhpur at a site of ancient Patliputra belonging to Pre-Mauryan times. Most of these coins have only symbols like tree in railing, sun, moon, mountain, and animals, birds etc punched or stamped on them. These symbols on the coins had probably some connection with local commerce such as the guilds, local or provincial administration, the royal and dynastic symbols etc. The sites from where these coins have been found imply that these places were inhabited during the Mauryan period.

This book in original form has been lost. But most passages have been preserved in form of epitomes and quotations which are found scattered here and there in the later writings of various Greek and Roman authors such as Strabo, Arrian and Plinius. Another important source which gives valuable information on the Mauryan period is the Arthashastra. It is believed to be the work of Vishnu Gupta Kautilya also known as Chanakya. He was the chief advisor of Chandragupta Maurya. His book Arthashastra is a standard work on politics and art of government.

It is considered to be the most valuable work in the field of secular literature. Mudra Rakshasa is another important work which throws some light on Chandragupta Maurya's career. It is a drama written by Vaisakha Dutta in the Gupta period. The author collected all the information available to him in the 5th century AD. This drama gives the detail of the revolution by which Chandragupta Maurya overthrew the Nandas. It also mentioned that Chandragupta belonged to a low caste