We have read almost all the ancient kingdoms of the North India. Like Haryanka, Shishunagas, Nanda Dynasty, Mauryan Empire, Gupta Empire and Empire of Harsha. As we know that the after the Great Ashoka, there was not a good successor of him which could led to the Empire on the well path. So, after the Great Ashoka, Magadha or one should say Mauryan Empire started declining.
The successors of Mauryas in Northern India were Sungas and Kanvas. But, in Deccan region after Ashoka’s demise, a new kingdom though came after 100 years of Mauryan Rulers but gained importance in Southern India. It was the age of Satvahanas. So, from here we will start to deal with all the southern kingdoms of India.
The Age of Satvahanas
Satvahana Rulers were known as Lords of Dakshinapatha. Dakshinapatha was the route which linked the Silk Route to the Deccan region of India. It was the important trading route of that time, we have discussed it earlier.
According to Puranas Satvahanas also called as the Andhras. So, Andhras or Satavahanas ruled over for the 300 years. The official language of the Satvahanas was Prakrit language (Ardhamagadhi Dialect). The founder of Satavahana Dynasty was the Simuka. It is evident that the age of Satvahanas was famous for the trade and commerce as they had the link with the Silk Route.
Geographical Expansion of Satvahanas
The Satvahanas inhabited the area of Northern Maharashtra Region earlier. Later after their region expanded to the upper Godavari Valley. As one knows that the Upper Godavari Valley is fertile region. So, it can be concluded that the region was having agriculture activity during the age of Satvahanas.
Rulers of Satvahana Kingdom
As we have read Simuka was the founder of the Satvahana Kingdom in Deccan region. The Simuka was a Feudatory of Shaka Kingdom of North-Western India. But his successor defeated Shaka Rulers and established their own sovereignty over the region. Though Shakas were their greatest threat. But, the Satvahana ruler, Gautamiputra Satakarni (106-130 CE) defeated the Kshatriya Rulers Shakas and strengthened his empire.
The Satvahana rulers called them Brahmins. Although we found a common feature in Southern Kingdoms that most of them called themselves as Brahmins. Gautamiputra Satakarni also extended his Empire to the Malwa and Kathiawar region. He was the most important Ruler of Satvahana Period.
The age of Satvahanas can easily be traced by their coins. So, the coins and inscriptions of the Satvahanas evident that the Vashishthaputra Pulumayi (130-154 CE) was the successor of Gautamiputra Satakarni. The main important deed that he did was that he set up a capital at the Paithan or Pratishthan (Aurangabad, Maharashtra).
During the reign of Vashishthaputra Pulumayi, the Shaka Ruler Rudradama-I attacked the Satvahana Kingdom. Though he defeated Satvahanas in the battle. But he did not eliminate them from their region because of the Matrimonial Alliance between Shakas and Satvahanas.
Yajna Sri Satakarni
The next important ruler of the Satvahana Kingdom was Yajna Sri Satakarni (165-194 CE). He annexed Konkan region in the Satvahana Empire. Though he was a Brahmin by faith and Kshatriya by his work, he was the great lover of the Trade and Commerce like Vaishyas.
The Satvahanas also contributed in the field of architecture. Here is the example of Satvahanas Rock-Cut Architecture.
So, from this example, we can understand very well that in the ancient India there was no such a strict division on the basis of Varna. Actually, the varna system of ancient India was totally based on the Varna based on Karma. But slowly with the span of time people deteriorated this system for their own interest. 🙁 Though it will take a time to eliminate all these evil systems. But this time is the most conducive to help others or oneself to get rid out of it.
This was brief about the age of Satvahanas. In the next coming post, we will go deep in the southern peninsula to dig up the other ancient kingdoms Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas.
Thank you so much. 🙂 Stay Connected. 🙂