As you guys probably know, the general consensus among scholars now is that the Buddha lived from 490-480BC to 410-400BC. The early 1900s consensus was 563-483BC afaik. The traditional Theravada date range is 624-544BC (based on the fact that the 2500 years since Parinibbana celebration happened in 1956 in Sri Lanka).
In trying to reconcile the ~480-400BC opinion I tried to line up the known lineage of kings during and after Buddha's time - as far as I know most are suggested in the sanskrit Puranas that kept a chronology.
Focusing on the dynasties associated with the Magadha region (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magadha#Kings_of_Magadha
) and Mauryan empire that succeeded it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurya_Empire
), I find dates of reign for:
- Bimbisara (544-493BC)
- Ajatasattu (493-461BC)
- Shisunaga (413-395BC)
- Kakavarna Kalashoka (395-367BC)
- Mahanandin (367-345BC)
- Mahapadma Nanda (345-?BC)
- Dhana Nanda (?-321BC)
- Chandragupta Maurya (321-297BC)
- Bindusara (297-273BC)
- Ashoka (268-232BC)
Now I agree that these dates might have to be taken with the same grain of salt as the traditional accounts of the date range of the lifespan of the Buddha. To rely on a different source, I checked when Alexander the Great reached India. According the Greek sources of Alexander's life which are more widely accepted as accurate, this is during the time of Dhana Nanda (327BC). Also, according to the Pali Canon, the Buddha was a contemporary of King Bimbisara, and Ajatasattu's betrayal and later support for the first council is quite widely chronicled.
By accepting the two assumptions above to be accurate, I'm finding it hard to reconcile a ~480-400BC timeline for the life of Buddha. If Ajatasattu was the king of Magadha during the Buddha's parinibbana and that was in ~400BC, then it leaves less than 80 years for 3 dynasties (Haryanka, Shisunaga, Nanda) of kings of the Magadha empire to reign (since Greek sources confirm Dhana Nanda was king of Magadha in 327BC). A much more plausible chronology would have the Buddha's parinibbana falling on 483BC as early 20th century scholars suggested.
Can anyone shed some light on this? I'm sure I'm missing part of the picture since I'm sure that what I've brought up above must have been reconciled by modern scholars when they came to a general consensus of ~480-400BC for the Buddha's lifetime.
Thanks in advance!