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[Asokan]. Head of the Maury an empire of India in the 3rd century bc. According to Buddhist tradition he began his career as a fierce tyrant with much bloodshed, but after a spiritual crisis he became a Buddhist and reformed his administration along Buddhist lines. His kingdom included almost all of modem Pakistan and India, except the extreme south. Many monuments survive from this period: stupas, rock-cut temples, and commemorative pillars. A series of inscriptions, enshrining Buddhist teaching, survives on rock faces and stone pillars from widely separated parts of the empire.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied