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Satavahana Empire

230 BC–220
Territorial extent of the Satavahana Empire (continuous line), and conquests (dotted line).
Capital initial: Kotilingala near Godavari River at Karimnagar
Language(s) Maharashtri[1]
Telugu[2]
Religion Buddhism
Vedic
Government Monarchy
King
 - 230-207 BC Simuka
 - 190s AD Madhariputra Svami Sakasena(?)
Historical era Antiquity
 - Established 230 BC
 - Disestablished 220
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mauryan Empire
Kadamba
Ikshvaku
Western Satraps
Chutu
Pallava

The Sātavāhana Empire was a dynasty which ruled from from Junnar (Pune), Prathisthan (Paithan) in Maharashtra and later Dharanikota or Amaravati in coastal Andhra Pradeshand Kotilingala (Karimnagar) in Andhra Pradesh over Southern and Central India from around 230 BCE onward. Although there is some controversy about when the dynasty came to an end, the most liberal estimates suggest that it lasted about 450 years, until around 220 CE. The Satavahanas are credited for establishing peace in the country, resisting the onslaught of foreigners after the decline of Mauryan empire.

Contents

Origins

The archaeological evidence indicates that Kotilingala (Karimnagar) in Andhra Pradesh was the ancient site of pre-Satavahana and early Satavahana kings.[3][4][authentic?] The Satavahana was a Brahmin dynasty first mentioned in the Aitareya Brahmana, dating back to the 8th century BCE mentioning them to be of Vishwamitra's lineage. In the Pūrānas and on their coins the dynasty is variously referred to as the Sātavāhanas, Sātakarnīs, Andhras and Andhrabhrityas.[citation needed] A reference to the Sātavāhanas by the Greek traveller Megasthenes indicates that they possessed 100,000 infantry, 1,000 elephants, and had more than 30 well built fortified towns:

Next come the Andarae, a still more powerful race, which possesses numerous villages, and thirty towns defended by walls and towers, and which supplies its king with an army of 100,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and 1,000 elephants.
Plin. Hist. Nat. VI. 21. 8-23. 11., quoting Megasthenes[5]

The Sātavāhanas ruled a large and powerful empire that withstood the onslaughts from Central Asia. Aside from their military power, their commercialism and naval activity is evidenced by establishment of Indian colonies in southeast Asia.

The Edicts of Ashoka mention the Sātavāhanas as feudatories of Emperor Ashoka. Fragment of the 6th Pillar Edicts of Ashoka (238 BCE), in Brahmi, sandstone. British Museum.

The Sātavāhanas began as feudatories to the Mauryan Empire. They seem to have been under the control of Emperor Ashoka, who claims they were in his domain, and that he introduced Buddhism among them:

Here in the king's domain among the Yavanas (Greeks), the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dhamma.
Rock Edict Nb13 (S. Dhammika)

The Satavahanas declared independence sometime after the death of Ashoka (232 BCE), as the Maurya Empire began to weaken.

It is believed that they were originally Brahmins, practicing Hindu religion (as per Sthala Purana of Amaravathi.[6] Some rulers like Maharaja Satakarni are believed to have performed Vedic sacrifices as well.[6]

They were not only worshipers of Vishnu and Shiva but also respected Buddha, but also other incarnations of, Gauri, Indra, the sun and moon.[7] They were mostly Buddhistic Vaishnavites. Under their reign, Buddha had been worshiped as a form of Vishnu in Amaravati[8]

Etymology

Satavahans or Satkarnis, is Sanskritised as Shatvahana, Shalivahana and Shatakarni.[9] The name Satakani appears to be aboriginal. It may have its roots in Indo-Austric words, Sada=Horse and kon =son, which could indicate the horse totem of the non-Aryans.[9] The Proper Sanskritization as Sata is Sapti(Horse),Saptikarna would indicate a split-totem,horse-ear,the terminations Karna and vahana can both indicate descent from.[9].

Early rulers

The Satavahanas/ Andhras initially ruled in the area of Andhradesa, the Telugu name for the people country between the rivers Krishna and Godavari[10], which was always their heartland. The Pūrānas list 30 Andhra rulers. Many are known from their coins and inscriptions as well.

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Simuka (c.230-207 BCE)

After becoming independent around 230 BCE, Simuka, the founder of the dynasty, conquered Maharashtra, Malwa and part of Madhya Pradesh. He was succeeded by his brother Kanha (or Krishna) (r. 207-189 BCE), who further extended his kingdom to the west and the south.

Satakarni (c.180-124 BCE)

Early Satakarni issue, Maharashtra - Vidarbha type.
Satavahana 1st century BCE coin inscribed in Brahmi: "(Sataka)Nisa". British Museum.

His successor Sātakarnī I was the sixth ruler of the Satavahana. He is said in the Puranas to have ruled for 56 years.

Satakarni defeated the Sunga dynasty of North India by wresting Western Malwa from them, and performed several Vedic sacrifices at huge cost, including the Horse Sacrifice - Ashwamedha yajna. He also was in conflict with the Kalinga ruler Kharavela, who mentions him in the Hathigumpha inscription. According to the Yuga Purana he conquered Kalinga following the death of Kharavela. He extended Satavahana rule over Madhya Pradesh and pushed back the Sakas from Pataliputra (he is thought to be the Yuga Purana's "Shata", an abbreviation of the full name “Shri Sata” that occurs on coins from Ujjain), where he subsequently ruled for 10 years.

By this time the dynasty was well established, with its capital at Pratishthānapura (Paithan) in Maharashtra, and its power spreading into all of South India.

Kanva suzerainty (75-35 BCE)

Many small rulers succeeded Satakarni, such as Lambodara, Apilaka, Meghasvati and Kuntala Satakarni, who are thought to have been under the suzerainty of the Kanva dynasty. The Puranas (the Matsya Purana, the Vayu Purana, the Brahmanda Purana, the Vishnu Purana) all state that the first of the Andhra kings rose to power in the 1st century BCE, by slaying Susarman, the last ruler of the Kanvas.[11] This feat is usually thought to have been accomplished by Pulomavi (c. 30-6 BCE), who then ruled over Pataliputra.

Victory over the Shakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas

The first century CE saw another incursion of the Sakas of Central Asia into India, where they formed the dynasty of the Western Kshatrapas. The four immediate successors of Hāla (r. 20-24 CE) had short reigns totalling about a dozen years. During the reign of the Western Satrap Nahapana, the Satavahanas lost a considerable territory to the satraps, including eastern Malwa, Southern Gujarat, and Northern Konkan, from Broach to Sopara and the Nasik and Poona districts.[12]

Gautamiputra Satakarni (78-106 CE)

Coin of Gautamiputra Satakarni.
Obv: King in profile. Prakrit legend "Rano Gotamiputasa Siri Yana Satakarnisa": "In the reign of Gautamiputra Sri Yana Satakarni"
Rev: Hill with Satavahana symbol, sun and moon. Dravidian legend "Arahanaku gotami putaku Hiru Yana Hatakanaku".[13]

Eventually Gautamiputra (Sri Yagna) Sātakarni (also known as Shalivahan) (r. 78-106 CE) defeated the Western Satrap ruler Nahapana, restoring the prestige of his dynasty by reconquering a large part of the former dominions of the Sātavāhanas. He was an ardent supporter of Hinduism.

According to the Nasik inscription made by his mother Gautami Balasri, he is the one...

...who crushed down the pride and conceit of the Kshatriyas (the native Indian princes, the Rajputs of Rajputana, Gujarat and Central India); who destroyed the Shakas (Western Kshatrapas), Yavanas (Indo-Greeks) and Pahlavas (Indo-Parthians),... who rooted the Khakharata family (The Kshaharata family of Nahapana); who restored the glory of the Satavahana race[14]

Gautamiputra Satakarni may also have defeated Shaka king Vikramaditya in 78 AD and started the calendar known as Shalivahana era or Shaka era, which is followed by the Gujarati, Marathi, Kannadiga and Telugu people and is the Indian National Calendar.

Gautamiputra Sātakarni's son, Vashishtiputra Pulumāyi (r. 106-130 CE), succeeded him. Gautamiputra was the first Sātavāhana king to issue the portrait-type coinage, in a style derived from the Western Satraps.[15]

Successors

Silver coin of king Vashishtiputra Sātakarni (c. 160 CE).
Obv: Bust of king. Prakrit legend in the Brahmi script: "Siri Satakanisa Rano ... Vasithiputasa": "King Vasishtiputra Sri Satakarni"
Rev: Ujjain/Sātavāhana symbol left. Crescented six-arch chaitya hill right. River below. Dravidian legend in the Brahmi script: "Arahanaku Vahitti makanaku Tiru Hatakaniko" - which means "The ruler, Vasitti's son, Highness Satakani" - -ko being the royal name suffix

Gautamiputra's brother, Vashishtiputra Sātakarni, married the daughter of Rudradaman I of the Western Satraps dynasty. Around 150 CE, Rudradaman I, now his father-in-law, waged war against the Satavahanas, who were defeated twice in these conflicts. Vashishtiputra Satakarni was only spared his life because of his family links with Rudradaman:[16]

"Rudradaman (...) who obtained good report because he, in spite of having twice in fair fight completely defeated Satakarni, the lord of Dakshinapatha, on account of the nearness of their connection did not destroy him."
—Junagadh rock inscription [17]

As a result of his victories, Rudradaman regained all the former territories previously held by Nahapana, except for the extreme south territories of Poona and Nasik.[15] Satavahana dominions were limited to their original base in the Deccan and eastern central India around Amaravati.

However, the last great king of this dynasty, Yajna Satakarni, defeated the Western Satraps and reconquered their southern regions in western and central India.[18] During the reign of Sri Yajna Sātakarni (170-199 CE) the Sātavāhanas regained some prosperity, and some of his coins have been found in Saurashtra[19] but around the middle of the third century, the dynasty came to an end.

Decline of the Satavahanas

Coin of Gautamiputra Yajna Satakarni (r. 167-196 CE).

Four or five kings of Yajna Satakarni's line succeeded him, and continued to rule till about the mid 200s CE. However, the dynasty was soon extinguished following the rise of its feudatories, perhaps on account of a decline in central power.[20]

Several dynasties divided the lands of the kingdom among themselves. Among them were:

Coinage

Royal earrings, Andhra Pradesh, 1st Century BCE.

The Satavahanas are the first native Indian rulers to issue their own coins with portraits of their rulers, starting with king Gautamiputra Satakarni, a practice derived from that of the Western Satraps he defeated, itself originating with the Indo-Greek kings to the northwest.

Satavahana coins give unique indications as to their chronology, language, and even facial features (curly hair, long ears and strong lips). They issued mainly lead and copper coins; their portrait-style silver coins were usually struck over coins of the Western Kshatrapa kings.

The coin legends of the Satavahanas, in all areas and all periods, used a Prakrit dialect without exception. Some reverse coin legends are in a Dravidian language in Telugu or Tamil[21] , which seems to have been in use in their heartland abutting the Godavari, probably Kotilingala, Karimnagar district and Krishna, probably Amaravati, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.[22]

Their coins also display various traditional symbols, such as elephants, lions, horses and chaityas (stupas), as well as the "Ujjain symbol", a cross with four circles at the end. The legendary Ujjayini emperor Vikramditiya on whose name the Vikram Samvat is initiated might be Satakarni II a Satavahana emperor as the Ujjayini symbol also appeared on the Satavahana coins.

Cultural achievements

An aniconic representation of Mara's assault on the Buddha, 2nd century CE, Amaravati.

Of the Sātavāhana kings, Hāla (r. 20-24 CE) is famous for compiling the collection of Maharashtri poems known as the Gaha Sattasai (Sanskrit: Gāthā Saptashatī), although from linguistic evidence it seems that the work now extant must have been re-edited in the succeeding century or two. The Lilavati describes his marriage with a Ceylonese Princess.

The Satavahanas influenced South-East Asia to a great extent, spreading Hindu culture, language and religion into that part of the world. Their coins had images of ships.

Art of Amaravati

Scroll supported by Indian Yaksha, Amaravati, 2nd-3rd century CE.

The Sātavāhana kings are also remarkable for their contributions to Buddhist art and architecture. They built great stupas in the Krishna River Valley, including the stupa at Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh. The stupas were decorated in marble slabs and sculpted with scenes from the life of the Buddha, portrayed in a characteristic slim and elegant style. The Satavahana empire colonized southeast Asia and spread Indian culture to those parts. Mahayana Buddhism, which may have originated in Andhra (northwestern India being the alternative candidate), was carried to many parts of Asia by the rich maritime culture of the Satavahanas. The Amaravati style of sculpture spread to Southeast Asia at this time.

Art of Sanchi

The Satavahanas contributed greatly to the embellishment of the Buddhist stupa of Sanchi. The gateways and the balustrade were built after 70 BCE, and appear to have been commissioned by them. An inscription records the gift of one of the top architraves of the Southern Gateway by the artisans of the Satavahana king Satakarni:

Gift of Ananda, the son of Vasithi, the foreman of the artisans of rajan Siri Satakarni[23]

Throughout, the Buddhist art of the Satavahanas remained aniconic, denying any human representation of the Buddha, even in highly descriptive scenes. This remained true until the end of the Satavahana rule, in the 2nd century CE.

List of rulers

Puranic list of Satavahana kings (Source: "A Catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc...", Rapson). This list, the most complete one with 30 kings, is based on the Matsya Purana.

  • Simuka or Sisuka (r. 230-207 BCE). Also (271-248 BCE), ruled 23 years kotilingala,karim nagar district,A.P
  • Krishna (r. 207-189 BCE), ruled 18 years.
  • Sri Mallakarni (or Sri Satakarni), ruled 10 years.
  • Purnotsanga, ruled 18 years
  • Skandhastambhi, ruled 18 years
  • Sātakarnī I (195 BCE), ruled 56 years
  • Lambodara, ruled 18 years.(r. 87-67 BCE)

Probably as vassals of Kanva dynasty (75-35 BCE):

  • Apilaka, ruled 12 years.
  • Meghasvati (or Saudasa), ruled 18 years.
  • Svati (or Svami), ruled 18 years.
  • Skandasvati, ruled 7 years.
  • Mahendra Satakarni (or Mrgendra Svatikarna, Satakarni II), ruled 8 years.
  • Kuntala Satakarni (or Kuntala Svatikarna), ruled 8 years.
  • Svatikarna, ruled 1 year.
  • Pulomavi (or Patumavi), ruled 36 years.
  • Riktavarna (or Aristakarman), ruled 25 years.
  • Hāla (r. 20-24 CE), author of the Gathasaptasati, an Indian literature classic, ruled 5 years.
  • Mandalaka (or Bhavaka, Puttalaka), ruled 5 years.
  • Purindrasena, ruled 5 years.
  • Sundara Satakarni, ruled 1 year.
  • Cakora Satakarni (or Cakora Svatikarna), ruled 6 months.
  • Sivasvati, ruled 28 years.
  • Gautamiputra Sātakarni, or Gautamiputra, popularly known as Shalivahan (r. 25-78 CE), ruled 21 years.
  • Vasisthiputra Sri Pulamavi, or Puloma, Puliman (r. 78-114 CE), ruled 28 years.
  • Vashishtiputra Sātakarni (r. 130-160), or Shiva Sri, Sivasri, ruled 7 years.
  • Shivaskanda Satakarni, (157-159), ruled 7 years.
  • Yajna Sri Satakarni, (r. 167-196 CE), ruled 29 years.
  • Vijaya, ruled 6 years.
  • Canda Sri Satakarni, ruled 10 years.
  • Puloma, 7 years.
  • Madhariputra Svami Sakasena? (r. c.190)

See also

Middle kingdoms of India
Timeline: Northern Empires Southern Dynasties Northwestern Kingdoms

 6th century BCE
 5th century BCE
 4th century BCE

 3rd century BCE
 2nd century BCE

 1st century BCE
 1st century CE


 2nd century
 3rd century
 4th century
 5th century
 6th century
 7th century
 8th century
 9th century
10th century
11th century









(Persian rule)
(Greek conquests)





(Islamic conquests)

(Islamic Empire)

References

General
  • Sastri, Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta (1976). A History of South India. Madras: Oxford University Press. 
  • Rapson, E. J. (1990). A Catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. Coins of Andhra Dynasty, the Western Ksatrapas etc.. Patna. 
  • Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra (2003). Ancient India. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 
Notes
  1. ^ ""Marathi History, Bhasha India, Microsoft". http://bhashaindia.com/Patrons/LanguageTech/Marathi.aspx. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  2. ^ ""Telugu History,Bhasha India Microsoft". http://bhashaindia.com/Patrons/LanguageTech/TeluguFeatures.aspx. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  3. ^ Y. Gopala Reddy (1990). A comprehensive history of Andhra. Victory Publishers. p. 12. 
  4. ^ Kotilingala site under threat
  5. ^ Source:fragment LVI.
  6. ^ a b HISTORY – ANCIENT PERIOD "CHAPTER 2: SATAVAHANA EMPIRE AND ITS FEUDATORIES*"
  7. ^ Mahajan, P. 400 Ancient India
  8. ^ G. Durga Prasad, History of the Andhras upto 1565 A. D., P.G. Publishers, Guntur, p. 116
  9. ^ a b c Kosambi, Damodar Dharmanand (1956). "Satavahana Origins". Introduction to the study of India history (second 1975 ed.). Mumbai: Popular prakashan. pp. 243,244. ISBN 978-81-7154-038-9. 
  10. ^ Ancient India: English translation of 'Kitab-ul Hind' by Al-Biruni, National Book Trust, New Delhi
  11. ^ Rapson, LXIV
  12. ^ "The Satavahanas did not hold the western Deccan for long. They were gradually pushed out of the west by the Sakas (Western Khatrapas). The Kshaharata Nahapana's coins in the Nasik area indicate that the Western Kshatrapas controlled this region by the first century CE. By becoming master of wide regions including Malwa, Southern Gujarat, and Northern Konkan, from Broach to Sopara and the Nasik and Poona districts, Nahapana rose from the status of a mere Kshatrapa in the year 41 (58 CE) to that of Mahakshatrapa in the year 46 (63 CE)." in "History of the Andhras"
  13. ^ Source for coin information
  14. ^ Rapson, XXXVII, Original Prakrit, line 5 and 6 of the inscription: "Khatiya-dapa-mana-madanasa Saka-Yavana-Palhava-nisudanasa — Khakharatavamsa-niravasesa-karasa Satavahana-kula-yasa patithapana-karasa"
  15. ^ a b Rapson
  16. ^ "Satakarni, Lord of the Deccan, [whom Rudradaman] (inscription dated Saka 72=150 CE) twice in a fair fight was completely defeated, but did not destroy on account of the nearness of their connection" Rapson, XXXVIII, quoting the Junagadh inscription
  17. ^ "Junagadh Rock Inscription of Rudradaman". http://projectsouthasia.sdstate.edu/Docs/HISTORY/PRIMARYDOCS/EPIGRAPHY/JunagadhRockInscription.htm. 
  18. ^ "later Satavahana named Yajna Satakarni seems to have conquered the Southern Dominions of the Western Satraps. His coins contain figures of ships, probably indicating the naval power of the Andras. He not only ruled Aparanta, but probably also the eastern part of the Central Provinces". Majumdar, p. 135
  19. ^ Rapson, CLXXXVI
  20. ^ ""The different branches of the Satavahana family, which ruled in different parts of the kingdom after the decline in central authority, weres soon ousted by new powers some of which were probably feudatories at the outset." Majumdar
  21. ^ Pollock, Sheldon (2003). The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India. University of California Press. ISBN 0-5202-4500-8.  p. 291
  22. ^ Rapson, CLXXXVII
  23. ^ Original text "L1: Rano Siri Satakarnisa L2: avesanisa vasithiputasa L3: Anamdasa danam", Marshall, John. A guide to Sanchi. p. 52. 

External links


this period was really rocking


Satavahana Empire

230 BC–220 AD
Capital Paithan, Junnar near Pune and Kotilingala near Godavari River at Karimnagar
Language(s) Prakrit
Maharashtri[1]
Telugu[2]
Religion Buddhism
Vedic
Government Monarchy
King
 - 230-207 BC Simuka
 - 190s AD Madhariputra Svami Sakasena(?)
Historical era Antiquity
 - Established 230 BC
 - Disestablished 220 AD
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mauryan Empire
Kadamba
Ikshvaku
Western Satraps
Chutu
Pallava

The Sātavāhana Empire also known as Andhras[3][4] were a dynasty which ruled from Junnar (Pune), Prathisthan (Paithan) in Maharashtra and Kotilingala (Karimnagar) in Andhra Pradesh over Southern and Central India from around 230 BCE onward. Although there is some controversy about when the dynasty came to an end, the most liberal estimates suggest that it lasted about 450 years, until around 220 CE. The Satavahanas are credited for establishing peace in the country, resisting the onslaught of foreigners after the decline of Mauryan empire.

Contents

Origins

The first mention of the Satavahana is in the Aitareya Brahmana, dating back to the 8th century BCE mentioning them to be of Vishwamitra's lineage.In the Pūrānas and on their coins the dynasty is variously referred to as the Sātavāhanas, Sātakarnīs, Andhras and Andhrabhrityas. A reference to the Sātavāhanas by the Greek traveller Megasthenes indicates that they possessed 100,000 infantry, 1,000 elephants, and had more than 30 well built fortified towns:

Next come the Andarae, a still more powerful race, which possesses numerous villages, and thirty towns defended by walls and towers, and which supplies its king with an army of 100,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and 1,000 elephants.

Plin. Hist. Nat. VI. 21. 8-23. 11., quoting Megasthenes[5]

The Sātavāhanas ruled a large and powerful empire that withstood the onslaughts from Central Asia. Aside from their military power, their commercialism and naval activity is evidenced by establishment of Indian colonies in southeast Asia.

mention the Sātavāhanas as feudatories of Emperor Ashoka. Fragment of the 6th Pillar Edicts of Ashoka (238 BCE), in Brahmi, sandstone. British Museum.]]

The Sātavāhanas began as feudatories to the Mauryan Empire. They seem to have been under the control of Emperor Ashoka, who claims they were in his domain, and that he introduced Buddhism among them:

Here in the king's domain among the Yavanas (Greeks), the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dhamma.

Rock Edict Nb13 (S. Dhammika)

The Satavahanas declared independence sometime after the death of Ashoka (232 BCE), as the Maurya Empire began to weaken.

It is believed that they were Buddhistic Brahmins.[6] Some rulers like Maharaja Satakarni are believed to have performed Vedic sacrifices as well.[7]

They were not only worshipers of The Buddha, but also other incarnations of Vishnu and Shiva, Gauri, Indra, the sun and moon.[8] They were mostly Buddhistic Vaishnavites. Under their reign, Buddha had been worshiped as a form of Vishnu in Amaravati[9]

Early rulers

The Satavahanas/ Andhras initially ruled in the area of Andhradesa, the Telugu name for the people country between the rivers Krishna and Godavari[10], which was always their heartland. The Pūrānas list 30 Andhra rulers. Many are known from their coins and inscriptions as well.

Simuka (c.230-207 BCE)

After becoming independent around 230 BCE, Simuka, the founder of the dynasty, conquered Maharashtra, Malwa and part of Madhya Pradesh. He was succeeded by his brother Kanha (or Krishna) (r. 207-189 BCE), who further extended his kingdom to the west and the south.

Satakarni (c.180-124 BCE)

issue, Maharashtra - Vidarbha type.]]

.]] His successor Sātakarnī I was the sixth ruler of the Satavahana. He is said in the Puranas to have ruled for 56 years.

Satakarni defeated the Sunga dynasty of North India by wrestling Western Malwa from them, and performed several Vedic sacrifices at huge cost, including the Horse Sacrifice - Ashwamedha yajna. He also was in conflict with the Kalinga ruler Kharavela, who mentions him in the Hathigumpha inscription. According to the Yuga Purana he conquered Kalinga following the death of Kharavela. He extended Satavahana rule over Madhya Pradesh and pushed back the Sakas from Pataliputra (he is thought to be the Yuga Purana's "Shata", an abbreviation of the full name “Shri Sata” that occurs on coins from Ujjain), where he subsequently ruled for 10 years.

By this time the dynasty was well established, with its capital at Pratishthānapura (Paithan) in Maharashtra, and its power spreading into all of South India.

Kanva suzerainty (75-35 BCE)

Many small rulers succeeded Satakarni, such as Lambodara, Apilaka, Meghasvati and Kuntala Satakarni, who are thought to have been under the suzerainty of the Kanva dynasty. The Puranas (the Matsya Purana, the Vayu Purana, the Brahmanda Purana, the Vishnu Purana) all state that the first of the Andhra kings rose to power in the 1st century BCE, by slaying Susarman, the last ruler of the Kanvas.[11] This feat is usually thought to have been accomplished by Pulomavi (c. 30-6 BCE), who then ruled over Pataliputra.

Victory over the Shakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas

The first century CE saw another incursion of the Sakas of Central Asia into India, where they formed the dynasty of the Western Kshatrapas. The four immediate successors of Hāla (r. 20-24 CE) had short reigns totalling about a dozen years. During the reign of the Western Satrap Nahapana, the Satavahanas lost a considerable territory to the satraps, including eastern Malwa, Southern Gujarat, and Northern Konkan, from Broach to Sopara and the Nasik and Poona districts.[12]

Gautamiputra Satakarni (78-106 CE)

.
Obv: King in profile. Prakrit legend "Rano Gotamiputasa Siri Yana Satakarnisa": "In the reign of Gautamiputra Sri Yana Satakarni"
Rev: Hill with Satavahana symbol, sun and moon. Dravidian legend "Arahanaku gotami putaku Hiru Yana Hatakanaku".[13]]]

Eventually Gautamiputra (Sri Yagna) Sātakarni (also known as Shalivahan) (r. 78-106 CE) defeated the Western Satrap ruler Nahapana, restoring the prestige of his dynasty by reconquering a large part of the former dominions of the Sātavāhanas. He was an ardent supporter of Hinduism.

According to the Nasik inscription made by his mother Gautami Balasri, he is the one...

...who crushed down the pride and conceit of the Kshatriyas (the native Indian princes, the Rajputs of Rajputana, Gujarat and Central India); who destroyed the Shakas (Western Kshatrapas), Yavanas (Indo-Greeks) and Pahlavas (Indo-Parthians),... who rooted the Khakharata family (The Kshaharata family of Nahapana); who restored the glory of the Satavahana race[14]

Gautamiputra Satakarni may also have defeated Shaka king Vikramaditya in 78 AD and started the calendar known as Shalivahana era or Shaka era, which is followed by the Marathi and Telugu people.

Gautamiputra Sātakarni's son, Vashishtiputra Pulumāyi (r. 106-130 CE), succeeded him. Gautamiputra was the first Sātavāhana king to issue the portrait-type coinage, in a style derived from the Western Satraps.[15]

Successors

(c. 160 CE).

Obv: Bust of king. Prakrit legend in the Brahmi script: "Siri Satakanisa Rano ... Vasithiputasa": "King Vasishtiputra Sri Satakarni"
Rev: Ujjain/Sātavāhana symbol left. Crescented six-arch chaitya hill right. River below. Dravidian legend in the Brahmi script: "Arahanaku Vahitti makanaku Tiru Hatakaniko" - rendered as classical Tamil to "The ruler, Vasitti's son, Highness Satakani" - -ko being the royal name suffix]] Gautamiputra's brother, Vashishtiputra Sātakarni, married the daughter of Rudradaman I of the Western Satraps dynasty. Around 150 CE, Rudradaman I, now his father-in-law, waged war against the Satavahanas, who were defeated twice in these conflicts. Vashishtiputra Satakarni was only spared his life because of his family links with Rudradaman:[16]

"Rudradaman (...) who obtained good report because he, in spite of having twice in fair fight completely defeated Satakarni, the lord of Dakshinapatha, on account of the nearness of their connection did not destroy him."

Junagadh rock inscription [17]

As a result of his victories, Rudradaman regained all the former territories previously held by Nahapana, except for the extreme south territories of Poona and Nasik.[18] Satavahana dominions were limited to their original base in the Deccan and eastern central India around Amaravati.

However, the last great king of this dynasty, Yajna Satakarni, defeated the Western Satraps and reconquered their southern regions in western and central India. [19] During the reign of Sri Yajna Sātakarni (170-199 CE) the Sātavāhanas regained some prosperity, and some of his coins have been found in Surashtra[20] but around the middle of the third century, the dynasty came to an end.

Decline of the Satavahanas

(r. 167-196 CE).]]

Four or five kings of Yajna Satakarni's line succeeded him, and continued to rule till about the mid 200s CE. However, the dynasty was soon extinguished following the rise of its feudatories, perhaps on account of a decline in central power.[21]

Several dynasties divided the lands of the kingdom among themselves. Among them were:

Coinage

The Satavahanas are the first native Indian rulers to issue their own coins with portraits of their rulers, starting with king Gautamiputra Satakarni, a practice derived from that of the Western Satraps he defeated, itself originating with the Indo-Greek kings to the northwest.

Satavahana coins give unique indications as to their chronology, language, and even facial features (curly hair, long ears and strong lips). They issued mainly lead and copper coins; their portrait-style silver coins were usually struck over coins of the Western Kshatrapa kings.

The coin legends of the Satavahanas, in all areas and all periods, used a Prakrit dialect without exception. Some reverse coin legends are in a Dravidian language in Telugu or Tamil[22] , which seems to have been in use in their heartland abutting the godavari,probably Kotilingala, Karimnagar district and Krishna, probably Amaravati, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.[23]

Their coins also display various traditional symbols, such as elephants, lions, horses and chaityas (stupas), as well as the "Ujjain symbol", a cross with four circles at the end. The legendary Ujjayini emperor Vikramditiya on whose name the Vikram Samvat is initiated might be Satakarni II a Satavahana emperor as the Ujjayini symbol also appeared on the Satavahana coins.

Cultural achievements

, Amaravati.]] Of the Sātavāhana kings, Hāla (r. 20-24 CE) is famous for compiling the collection of Maharashtri poems known as the Gaha Sattasai (Sanskrit: Gāthā Saptashatī), although from linguistic evidence it seems that the work now extant must have been re-edited in the succeeding century or two. The Lilavati describes his marriage with a Ceylonese Princess.

The Satavahanas influenced South-East Asia to a great extent, spreading Hindu culture, language and religion into that part of the world. Their coins had images of ships.

Art of Amaravati

, Amaravati, 2nd-3rd century CE.]] The Sātavāhana kings are also remarkable for their contributions to Buddhist art and architecture. They built great stupas in the Krishna River Valley, including the stupa at Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh. The stupas were decorated in marble slabs and sculpted with scenes from the life of the Buddha, portrayed in a characteristic slim and elegant style. The Satavahana empire colonized southeast Asia and spread Indian culture to those parts. Mahayana Buddhism, which may have originated in Andhra (northwestern India being the alternative candidate), was carried to many parts of Asia by the rich maritime culture of the Satavahanas. The Amaravati style of sculpture spread to Southeast Asia at this time.

Art of Sanchi

The Satavahanas contributed greatly to the embellishment of the Buddhist stupa of Sanchi. The gateways and the balustrade were built after 70 BCE, and appear to have been commissioned by them. An inscription records the gift of one of the top architraves of the Southern Gateway by the artisans of the Satavahana king Satakarni:

Gift of Ananda, the son of Vasithi, the foreman of the artisans of rajan Siri Satakarni[24]

Throughout, the Buddhist art of the Satavahanas remained aniconic, denying any human representation of the Buddha, even in highly descriptive scenes. This remained true until the end of the Satavahana rule, in the 2nd century CE.

List of rulers

Puranic list of Andhra/ Satavahana kings (Source: "A Catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc...", Rapson). This list, the most complete one with 30 kings, is based on the Matsya Purana.

  • Simuka or Sisuka (r. 230-207 BCE). Also (271-248 BCE), ruled 23 years.
  • Krishna (r. 207-189 BCE), ruled 18 years.
  • Sri Mallakarni (or Sri Satakarni), ruled 10 years.
  • Purnotsanga, ruled 18 years
  • Skandhastambhi, ruled 18 years
  • Sātakarnī I (195 BCE), ruled 56 years
  • Lambodara, ruled 18 years.(r. 87-67 BCE)

Probably as vassals of Kanva dynasty (75-35 BCE):

  • Apilaka, ruled 12 years.
  • Meghasvati (or Saudasa), ruled 18 years.
  • Svati (or Svami), ruled 18 years.
  • Skandasvati, ruled 7 years.
  • Mahendra Satakarni (or Mrgendra Svatikarna, Satakarni II), ruled 8 years.
  • Kuntala Satakarni (or Kuntala Svatikarna), ruled 8 years.
  • Svatikarna, ruled 1 year.
  • Pulomavi (or Patumavi), ruled 36 years.
  • Riktavarna (or Aristakarman), ruled 25 years.
  • Hāla (r. 20-24 CE), author of the Gathasaptasati, an Indian literature classic, ruled 5 years.
  • Mandalaka (or Bhavaka, Puttalaka), ruled 5 years.
  • Purindrasena, ruled 5 years.
  • Sundara Satakarni, ruled 1 year.
  • Cakora Satakarni (or Cakora Svatikarna), ruled 6 months.
  • Sivasvati, ruled 28 years.
  • Gautamiputra Sātakarni, or Gautamiputra, popularly known as Shalivahan (r. 25-78 CE), ruled 21 years.
  • Vasisthiputra Sri Pulamavi, or Puloma, Puliman (r. 78-114 CE), ruled 28 years.
  • Vashishtiputra Sātakarni (r. 130-160), or Shiva Sri, Sivasri, ruled 7 years.
  • Shivaskanda Satakarni, (157-159), ruled 7 years.
  • Yajna Sri Satakarni, (r. 167-196 CE), ruled 29 years.
  • Vijaya, ruled 6 years.
  • Canda Sri Satakarni, ruled 10 years.
  • Puloma, 7 years.
  • Madhariputra Svami Sakasena? (r. c.190)

References

General
  • Sastri, Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta (1976). A History of South India. Madras: Oxford University Press. 
  • Rapson, E. J. (1990). A Catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. Coins of Andhra Dynasty, the Western Ksatrapas etc.. Patna. 
  • Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra (2003). Ancient India. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 
Notes
  1. ""Marathi History, Bhasha India, Microsoft". http://bhashaindia.com/Patrons/LanguageTech/Marathi.aspx. Retrieved on 2009-06-27. 
  2. ""Telugu History,Bhasha India Microsoft". http://bhashaindia.com/Patrons/LanguageTech/TeluguFeatures.aspx. Retrieved on 2009-06-27. 
  3. http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761577583/Andhra_Dynasty.html
  4. http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/05/stories/2007090559120400.htm
  5. Source:fragment LVI.
  6. HISTORY – ANCIENT PERIOD "CHAPTER 2: SATAVAHANA EMPIRE AND ITS FEUDATORIES*"
  7. HISTORY – ANCIENT PERIOD "CHAPTER 2: SATAVAHANA EMPIRE AND ITS FEUDATORIES*"
  8. Mahajan, P. 400 Ancient India
  9. G. Durga Prasad, History of the Andhras upto 1565 A. D., P.G. Publishers, Guntur, p. 116
  10. Ancient India: English translation of 'Kitab-ul Hind' by Al-Biruni, National Book Trust, New Delhi
  11. (Rapson, LXIV)
  12. "The Satavahanas did not hold the western Deccan for long. They were gradually pushed out of the west by the Sakas (Western Khatrapas). The Kshaharata Nahapana's coins in the Nasik area indicate that the Western Kshatrapas controlled this region by the first century CE. By becoming master of wide regions including Malwa, Southern Gujarat, and Northern Konkan, from Broach to Sopara and the Nasik and Poona districts, Nahapana rose from the status of a mere Kshatrapa in the year 41 (58 CE) to that of Mahakshatrapa in the year 46 (63 CE)." in "History of the Andhras"
  13. Source for coin information
  14. (Rapson, XXXVII) Original Prakrit, line 5 and 6 of the inscription: "Khatiya-dapa-mana-madanasa Saka-Yavana-Palhava-nisudanasa — Khakharatavamsa-niravasesa-karasa Satavahana-kula-yasa patithapana-karasa"
  15. (Rapson)
  16. "Satakarni, Lord of the Deccan, [whom Rudradaman] (inscription dated Saka 72=150 CE) twice in a fair fight was completely defeated, but did not destroy on account of the nearness of their connection" (Rapson, XXXVIII, quoting the Junagadh inscription)
  17. "Junagadh Rock Inscription of Rudradaman". http://projectsouthasia.sdstate.edu/Docs/HISTORY/PRIMARYDOCS/EPIGRAPHY/JunagadhRockInscription.htm. 
  18. (Rapson)
  19. "later Satavahana named Yajna Satakarni seems to have conquered the Southern Dominions of the Western Satraps. His coins contain figures of ships, probably indicating the naval power of the Andras. He not only ruled Aparanta, but probably also the eastern part of the Central Provinces" (Majumdar, p. 135)
  20. (Rapson, CLXXXVI)
  21. ""The different branches of the Satavahana family, which ruled in different parts of the kingdom after the decline in central authority, weres soon ousted by new powers some of which were probably feudatories at the outset." (Majumdar)
  22. Pollock, Sheldon (2003). The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India. University of California Press. ISBN 0-5202-4500-8.  p. 291
  23. (Rapson, CLXXXVII)
  24. Original text "L1: Rano Siri Satakarnisa L2: avesanisa vasithiputasa L3: Anamdasa danam", Marshall, John. A guide to Sanchi. p. 52. 

See also

Middle kingdoms of India
Timeline: Northern Empires Southern Dynasties Northwestern Kingdoms

 6th century BCE
 5th century BCE
 4th century BCE

 3rd century BCE
 2nd century BCE

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(Persian rule)
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  • Indo-Greeks




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