Ancient India SImplified: The Satvahanas

Post Mauryan Period:
This period witnessed the clash, the rise and fall of a number of smaller kingdoms. The native dynasties like Shungas, Satavahanas, and the Kanvas ruled in eastern India, central India and the Deccan region. Foreigners like Indo-Greeks or Bactrians, Sakas, the Parthians and the Kushanas ruled in north-western India.

The Satavahanas

1. The Satavahanas (Founder: Simukha) conquered the Andhara territory which lay between Krishna and Godavari.
2. Their primary capital at Pratishthana (modern Paithan in Maharashtra) on Godavari river & second Capital was Amravati.
3. From the edicts of Ashoka, it appears that Andhras were under the suzerainty of the Mauryas and possibly declared their independence after their downfall.
4. Gautamiputra Satkarni was the greatest ruler who defeated Sakas ( King Nahapana), Greeks and Parthians.
5. Around 150 CE, Rudradaman of Sakas took advantage of weak successors of Gautamiputra Satkarni and defeated Shri Pulmavi.

Satavahanas Socio-political-culture conditions

Satavahanas and  Political Administration1. Satavahanas strove for royal ideals set in Dharmasastras.
2. The Andra rulers were absolute monarchs but they allowed vast powers to their local and village autonomous units.
3. The local administration was in the hands of feudal lords.
4. Amatyas’ and ‘Mahamatras’ and ‘Bhandagarikas’were district officers to check the rebellious attitude of the feudal lords.
5. Senapati was appointed as provincial governor in order to keep tribal people under check.
Satavahanas and  Social Conditions 1. Established four fold Varna-system.
2. Gautamiputra Satkarni put an end to intermixture of caste.
3. Satavahana rulers were the first to make land grants to Bhramanas and Buddhist monks.
4. The society was patriarchal though matronymic existed.
Satavahanas and Religion1. Buddhism flourished in Amravati and Nagarjunakonda ( Andhra Pradesh) and Nasik and Junar (Maharashtra).
2. The worship of Shiva, Indra and Krishna was popular.
Satavahanas and Art, Architecture and Literature.1. Literature: Prakrit language was official and made great progress.
2. Satavahana ruler Hala is said to have written the famous “Sattasai” or “Sapta-Sataka” in Prakrit.
3. Another great work ‘Brihat Katha’ was composed by Gunadhya.
4. Sculpture: Amravati School of art flourished at Amravati, Nagarjunakonda and Jaggayyapeta. (More on this later).
5. Cave Architecture: Satvahanas promoted development of architecture in hills of the Western Ghats where caves were cut in Ajanta, Nasik, Bhaja, Kondain, Kanheri. These caves were cut in to make Chaityas (Buddhist cave-temple) and Viharas (Buddhist rest houses). 
Trade and Commerce1. Trade with west and Central Asia.
2. The internal trade was carried through Uttarapatha (connecting northern with eastern parts) and Dakshinapatha (connecting peninsular India with western and northern India).
3. The beginning of cotton road traces back to the Satavahanas times.
4. The greatest port of the Satavahanas was Kalyani, Sopara and Barucha on the western coast and Gandhakasala and Ganjam on the east coast.
Satavahanas and Economic conditions1. Agriculture was the chief occupation.
2. Art of paddy transplantation was at the climax of progress between Krishna and Godavari belt.
3. “Ter” was an important cotton producing centre. 
4. Lead and Potin coins were widely used.
5. Several Guilds were established. 
6. Exploitation of iron ores (Karimnagar and Warangal) was commonly practiced.

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