History of Satavahana Dynasty and List of Important Facts:

Satavahana dynasty:
The Satavahana dynasty (60 BC to 240 AD) was an ancient Indian dynasty that ruled central southern India. In Indian history, this dynasty is also famous by the name of 'Andhra dynasty'. Simuk was the earliest king of the Satavahana dynasty. The kings of this dynasty fought fiercely with foreign invaders. These kings did not allow the Shaka invaders to easily gain a foothold in India.

History of Satavahana Dynasty:
The Satavahanas were a dynasty from India, which ruled central South India. The Indian family, which according to some interpretations based on the Puranas (ancient religious and legend literature), belonged to the Andhra caste (tribe) and was the first Deccani dynasty to establish an empire in the Dakshinapatha, that is, the southern region. Simuk, the founder of the Satavahana dynasty, in 60 BC. to 37 BC reigned till After that his brother Krishna and then Krishna's son Satakarni first ascended the throne. During his reign, the Satavahana dynasty got the highest prestige.

He was a contemporary of Kharavela. He made Pratishthan Nagar his capital on the banks of river Godavari. There were 27 rulers in the Satavahana dynasty. He was a follower of Hinduism. Along with this, he also assisted Buddhist and Jain viharas. It became powerful after the fall of the Maurya dynasty, it is mentioned in the 8th century BC. After the death of Ashoka (232 BCE) the Satavahanas declared themselves independent.

Rulers (kings) of the Satavahana dynasty

There were only 9 kings in the Satavahana dynasty, whose names are as follows:-

  1. Simuk
  2. Krishna
  3. Satkarni
  4. Gautamiputra Satakarni
  5. Vasisthiputra Pulumavi
  6. Vashishtiputra Satakarni
  7. Sivaskanda Satakarni
  8. Yagyashree Shatkarni
  9. Victory

Simuk (235 BC - 212 BC) was the founder of the Satavahana dynasty and ruled for about 23 years from 235 BC to 212 BC. Although we do not get much information about him, we know from the Puranas that by destroying the power of the Kanva rulers and suppressing the remaining Shunga chiefs, he laid the foundation of the Satavahana dynasty. In the Puranas, apart from Simek, he has been called by other names like Shishuk, Sindhuk and Shiprak etc. According to Jain legends, Simuk got Jain and Buddhist temples built during his reign, but at the end of his reign he became misguided and cruel, due to which he was deposed and killed.

After the death of Simuk, his younger brother Kanha (Krishna) ascended the throne. During his tenure of 18 years, Kanha adopted the policy of expansion of the empire. It is known from the inscriptions at Nashik that during the time of Kanha the Satavahana Empire extended west to Nashik. Shatkarni-I (First) After Kanha, Shatkarni first sat on the throne. According to the Puranas, he was the son of Kanha. But Dr. Gopalchari considers Simuk to be the father of Shatkarni I. Some scholars have believed that its reign lasted only two years, but Nilkanth Shastri has considered his reign from 194 BC to 185 BC. However, it is clear that his reign was not very long. But despite the short reign, the tenure of Shatkarni I is very important from some points of view. He was the first among the Satavahana rulers, who took his name from the word "Shatkarni", beloved and popular among the rulers of this dynasty.

After Krishna, his nephew (Simuk's son) ascended the throne of Pratishthan. He greatly expanded the Satavahana kingdom. He was married to a maiden named Nayanika or Nagarika, who was the milkmaid of a great Maharathi Sardar. Due to this marriage, the power of Satakarni increased greatly, as he got the help of a powerful Maharathi Sardar. On the coins of Satakarni, the name of his father-in-law Angiyakulan Maharathi Trankayiro is also inscribed. In the inscriptions it has been addressed with the adjectives 'Dakshinapatha' and 'Apratihatachakra'. Expanding his kingdom, this majestic king performed the Rajasuya Yagya, and performed the Asvamedha Yagya twice, because the reign of Satakarni was in the decline of the Maurya dynasty, so naturally he would have conquered and subjugated many such territories. , which were earlier under the Maurya Empire.

Ashwamedha Yagyas must have been performed to commemorate these victories. Even in the kingdom of Satakarni, there was a revival of ancient Vedic religion. Among these, the dakshina which Satakarni provided to the Brahmin priests, among other things, 47,200 cows, 10 elephants, 1000 horses, 1 chariot and 68,000 karshapanas were also donated. There is no doubt that Satakarni was a strong and powerful king. Kalingaraja Kharavela did not take up arms against him while traveling to victory, but according to the Hathigumpha inscription, he was able to attack far and wide ignoring Satakarni. Satakarni could not rule the Satavahana kingdom for long. He probably died in a battle, and his reign lasted only ten years (about 172 to 162 BC). His sons were not yet adults. Therefore, after his death, Queen Nayanika administered the rule-sutra. In the Puranas, the Satavahana kings have also been called Andhra and Andhrabhritya.

The reason for this is that these kings are either from the Andhra caste, and or it is also possible that their ancestors may have been in the service of some Andhra king earlier. The center of their power was not in Andhra but in the state of Maharashtra. In the Puranas, Simuk or Sindhuk has been called Andhra caste. That is why this dynasty is called Andhra-Satvahana. The inscriptions also mention many other sacrifices performed by this king.

Gautamiputra Satakarni :
After almost half a century of upheaval and respect at the hands of the Shaka rulers, Gautami restored its lost prestige under the leadership of the son of Shri Shatkarni. Gautami Putra Sri Shatakarni was the greatest ruler of the Satavahana (Sengar dynasty) dynasty, who ruled for about 25 years not only to restore the lost prestige of his empire, but also to establish a vast empire. We get complete information about the time of Gautami son and his conquests from the Nasik inscriptions of his mother Gautami Balashri. In this context, we get information from this article that he had respected the arrogance of the Kshatriyas. He assumed the title 'Tri-Samudra-Toy-Peet-Vahan', which shows that his influence was up to the eastern, western and southern seas i.e. Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.

It seems that shortly before his death the territories conquered by Gautami's son Shatakarni after defeating Nahapana passed out of his hands. Those who snatched these territories from Gautami's son were probably the Saka rulers of the Kardamak dynasty of the Scythian caste. We get the proof of this from the book describing geography by Claudius Ptolemy. A similar conclusion can also be drawn from the Junagadh inscription of the famous Rudradaman of 150 AD.

This inscription shows that Rudradaman captured all the territories of Gautamiputra Shatkarni, who had been conquered by Nahapana. It appears that Gautamiputra Satakarni tried to secure his territories annexed by Rudradaman by establishing matrimonial relations with the Kardamaka Sakas. He is described as the destroyer of Shaka, Yavana and Pahlava rulers. His greatest achievement was the defeat of the Shaka ruler Nahapana of the Kshaharat dynasty and his descendants at his hands.

Vasishthiputra Pulumavi:
Vashishtiputra Palumavi became a Satavahana emperor who was the son of the Satavahana emperor Gautamiputra Shatakarni. In the year 132 CE after Gautamputra Satakarni, he became the king of Shanivahana. During his reign, the Kshatrapas took the lands of Narmada in the north and northern Konkan. There were two wars between Pulumavi and Rudradaman (the satrap of Ujjain). In both these battles, Rudraman defeated Vashishtiputra Palumavi but his daughter Vasiti's son Shatakarni II (Puluvami's younger brother) was compromised because of this.

Vaishaliputra Palumavai brought silver coins with his own mask. His name in the Puranas is found in the descriptions of Puloma Satakarni and Ptolemy as Siron-Polymeos. Probably he was the one who founded Navanga. He also assumed the title of Maharaj and Dakshinapatheshwar, which is mentioned in Amaravati Lake, after conquering Andhra Pradesh, it was called the first Andhra emperor.

Vashishtiputra Satakarni:
Vashishtiputra Satakarni was a king of the Satavahana dynasty who ruled the Deccan region in the 2nd century AD. He was the brother of Vashishtiputra Sri Pulamavi who was the son of the great Satavahana conqueror Gautamiputra Satkami. The reign of Vashishtiputra Satakarni is estimated differently. Some research finds his reign as between 38-145 AD, and according to others this period was up to 158-165 AD.

Chronology of Satavahana Dynasty:
The reconstructions of the Satavahana kings by historians fall into two categories. According to the first one, 30 Satavahana kings ruled for about 450 years, starting with Simuk's rule soon after the fall of the Maurya Empire. This view relies heavily on the Puranas, according to a second (and more widely accepted) category of reconstruction, the Satavahana rule beginning around the 1st century BCE.

The chronology of this category consists of a small number of kings, and the Puranic records are combined with archaeological, numerical and textual evidence. Due to the uncertainty about the founding date of the Satavahana Empire, it is difficult to give complete dates for the reign of the Satavahana kings. Therefore, many modern scholars do not specify absolute dates for the reigns of the historically attested Satavahana kings, and those vary greatly with each other.

Other kings:

Hall (20 BC - 24 BC)

Hal was the next important ruler of the Satavahanas. Although he ruled for only four years, his reign was very important in some subjects. It is believed that if among the early Satavahana rulers Shatkarni was the greatest as the first warrior, Hal was the foremost as a peacemaker. Hal also had literary interest and became famous as a poet emperor. His name is mentioned in the Puranas, Lilavati, Saptashati, Abhidhan Chintamani etc. It is believed that the author of Saptashati or Satsai (complete with seven hundred verses) written in Prakrit language was very recent.

Gunadhya, the author of Brihadkatha, was also a recent contemporary and probably wrote this book in Paishachi language under his recent patronage. Later on Buddhaswami's great story 'Yalok-Sagraha', Kshemendra's 'Brihadkatha-Manjari' and Somadeva's Kathasaritasagar originated from the great story of Gunadhya.

Mahendra Satakarni:

Raja Hal was succeeded by Pattalaka, Purikasena, Swati and Skandasayati respectively of the Satavahana Empire. The reign of these four was a total of 51 years. Raja Hall ruled for five years starting from 16 AD till 21 AD. Skandasayati's rule came to an end in 72 AD. But it is so certain that the Satavahana Empire remained intact during his time. After Skandasyati, Mahendra Satakarni became the king.

The Greek writer of 'Periplus of Erythian Sea' has also informed this Mahendra by the name of 'Mumber'. In this geographical travel-book of the ancient western world, there is a mention of 'Aryadesh' ruled by 'Mumber' starting from the port of Bharukchha.

Important facts about the Satavahana dynasty:

  • Simuk established the Satavahana dynasty in 28 AD after killing Susharma, the last ruler of the Kanva dynasty.
  • Simuk is also known as Sindhuk, Shishuka, Shiprak, and Brishal.
  • After Simuk, his younger brother Krishna was sitting on the throne.
  • The main rulers of the Satavahana dynasty were Simuk, Shatakarni, Gautami son Shatakarni, Vasishthi son Pulumavi and Yagya Sri Shatakarni etc.
  • Shatkarni I assumed the titles of Shatkarni Emperor, Dakhinapathapati and Aptihatachakra.
  • The best ruler of the Satavahana dynasty was Shatakarni, the son of Gautami.
  • The city of Venkataka was founded by Shatakarni, the son of Gautami.
  • The official language of the Satavahanas was Prakrit.
  • The Satavahana dynasty princes were called Kumaras.
  • The important sources of government income in the Satavahana period were land tax, salt tax, and judicial tax.
  • In the Satavahana period there were three types of feudatories, Maharathi, Mahabhoja and Mahasenapati.
  • In addition to copper and couse, lead coins became quite popular during this period.
  • In the Satavahana period, mainly two religious buildings were built in large numbers - Chaitya, that is, a Buddhist temple and the abode of Buddhist monks.
  • During the Satavahana period the merchants were called Naigams.
  • The head of the convoy of merchants was called Sarthavaha.
  • The Satavahanas first started the practice of giving land and jagirs to the Brahmins.

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  Last update :  Tue 13 Sep 2022
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