Andhra Satavahanas

Andhra Satavahanas

ORIGIN :

(a) Aitrareya Brahmana puts the Adhras beyond the pale of Aryanism.


(b) Nasik Prasasti lays claim to Gautmi as a brahamana.

(c) Puranas called them their services to Aryanism they were – admitted to the Aryan folk after their services to Arynanism – there is a reference to them in the Asoka inscriptions as well as by Megasthenes. 

(d) Some call them Brahmins – some, mixed Brahmins of Naga origin, aqnd some, protectors of Brahmins, 

(e) Numismatic evidence points to the origin in Western Deccan and Madhya Pradesh. Epigraphic and literary evidence points to their western origin – the figure of the founder of the dynasty is found in paition in western Deccan

(f) Epigraphic evidence refers to them as Satavahanas, not as Andhras. 

(g) Possibly, Andhra is the Tribal name : Satavahana, the dynastic name, and satakarni, the Surname.

SOURCES :

(a) Puranas – mention 30 kings,.


(b) Aitrareya Brahmina. 

(c) Literary sources — Gunadhya’s Brihatkatha. And Leelavati, which deals with the military exploits of Hala.

(d) Nasik inscription of Gautami Balsari.

(e) Hathigumpha inscription of Kharavela for inferring the date of the first ruler. 

(f) Sanchi inscription extent of the Satavahanas kingdom till Malwa.

CHORONOLOGY:

(a) The founder war one Simukha – probably the first century B.C. – supplanted the lingering Sunga and Kanva rulers – rule of the dynasty was for 300 years. Simuka was succeed by Krishna or Kanha.


(b) The next known king was Satakarni – the kingdom expanded – probably defeated by Kharavela – performed Ashvamedha Pratishthana was the capital – confusion after him. Kshaharatas or sakas occupied parts of Maharashtra

(c) Hala is the 17th in the list of Puranas – his book is saptasataka – deals with both erortic and philosophical themes. Gundhaya’s Brihatkatha deals with the rivalry between Prikrit and Sanskrit. 

(d) Beginning from 25 A.D. to 75 A.D. there was confusion – saka eruption.

(e) The greatest ruler was Gautamiputra Satakarni. He was the 23rd according to Pupranas – around 72 A.D. the Nasik inscription of his mother talks of his being the destroyer of Sakas, Yavanas and Kshaharata – also says that he crushed the pride of Kshatrias – overran konan, Saurashtra, Bihar and Malva. A Philanthropist, he maintained Arya Dharma – put an end to Varna – Sankara – some regard him to be Vikramaditya. Built the city of Benakataka and assumed the titles of Raja Raja and Svamin.

(f) The next known ruler was Pulumayi II around 96 A.D. – first ruled Andhra country – Vaijyanti and Amaravati famous cities – Satavahanas a naval power – probably overseas colonisation – large number of inscription. 

(g) The next know ruler was Vasishtiputra Batakarni of sri Pulumayi – married the daughter of Rudradaman, a Saka ruler — however Rudradaman twice defeated him. Also, Sri Pulumayi lost to Chastana, son of Bhosmotika. 

(h) Next known ruler was Yajna Sri Satakarni – around 160 A.D. – Malva, Kathiawad and North Konkan – inscription found in Konkan and Krishna – coints found in Gujarat and Kathiawad – defeated Kshatapas. 

(i) After the declined Salankeyanas ruled over the Satavahana territory.

Significance:

(1) The Very area over which they ruled was important connecting link between link between northern and southern India – Andhras were instrumental in spreading Aryan culture to the south.


(2) Their colonizing activities spread to South-East Asia – influence of Amaravati sculptures on South-East Asian sculptures.

(3) They did maintain contact between India and the Western world in matters of trade.

(4) They were instrumental in curbing the penetration of Sakas further into south.

(5) Some of the later southern dynastic like Ikshvakus, Kadambas, Tarikutakas and Abhiras continued the Satavahan tradition and the Pallsvas and the Chalukya claimed the tradition of Satavahanas.

ACHIEVEMENTS

The government if the Satavahana kingdom was organized on the traditional lines. The kingdom was divided into Janapadas, which were further sub-divided into aharas. Each ahara was under an Amataya. The basic unit of the ahara was the grama with the village headman called gamika. Central control was maintained over the provices. Princes were generally made viceroys. And the kings did not assume high-sounding titles. They were expected to maintain dharma. 

Taxation was not burden some. The state derived its income from crown lands, court fees, fines and ordinary taxes on lands. The extraordinary taxes of the Mauryan period were not imposed. In general, Central control was not high because feudal traits emerged in the Satavahana period. The feudal chiefs like maharathas mahasenapatis and mahabhojas issued their own coins. 

The area under the satavahanas in general witnessed considerable prosperity. There was brisk trade. Broach was the most important port and it had a vast and rich hinterland. Pratishthana produced cotton cloth. Tagara and Ujjain produced muslin. The chief imports were wines, copper, tin, lead and gold and silver coins. Another important port was kalyan mentioned in the Perilus. The other ports were Sopara, Goa and pigeon islands. Within the kingdom there were important cities like Tagara, Prathishthana, Nasik, Junnar and Dhanyakataka. Koddura and Chinnaganjam were the important ports on the east. The general life led by the people was similar to the one portrayed in Vatsayana’s Kama-Sutra. 

Evidence also shows that a good number of people emigrated from theDeccan to colonize the regions in South-East Asia 

The Satavahanas and Shiva were worshiped. Saptasataka reveals the worship of many Hindu deities. Vaishnavasim and Shavism grew popular. Gautamiputra-Satakarni claimed himself to be the protector of brahmins. The Naisk prasasthi states that Varnashrama Dharmawas maintained. 

Buddhism too was popular. Both the sakas and Satavahanas encouraged Buddhism. Ushavadata mare several grants to Buddhist monks. Some of these grants were renewed by Guatamiputra Satakarni. Buddhist momuments and stupas came into existence at Nasik, Vidisa, Bhattiprolu, Goli, Ghantasala and Amaravati. It was at the last plece that most probably human figures were carved out for the first time. And the stupa at this place had a marble railing with relief sculptures. A vaijayanti merchant was responsible for enriching Karle and Kanheri Buddhist caves. Merchants from Nasik contributed to the caves at Vidisa and Bharhut. In brief cave architecture and building of stupas witnessed certain development under the auspices of the satavahanas; and the donations or the merchants belonging to the guilds prove the commercial prosperity of the area. 

Emcouraged by wealth the kings patronized literature and architecture. Hala was an authority on the Puranas. He was the author of Sapta-Sataka. It is said that Hala paid as much as 40 million pieces of gold for four kavyas. Leelavati deals with the military campaigns of Hala. 

The kings encouraged architecture. The five gateways at Sanchi the rock-cut Chaity-halls of Bhaja, Karle, Nasik and Kanheri and the stupas at Amaravati, Bhattiprolu, Goli and Ghantasala were built in this period. The capitals of the pillars in Karle caves are elaborately sculptured. The dome and the base of the Amaravati stupa is elaborately sculptured. Jataka stories were incised on marble slabs. The upper part of the dome is a beautiful floral design. It is generally said that its construction began during the t8ime of Gautamiputra Satakarni and was completed during the time of Yajna Sri Satakarni. Most probably two Ajanta Frescoes (9th and 10th) came into existence during this period. 

The satavahanas weregreat excavators of cave temples and the magnificent temples of Ellora and Ajanta were the continuation of the Satavahana tradition to which all Middle Indian dynasties in succeeding ages claimed historic relationship. The basic tradition in Middle India is of the Satavahana empire. As in the north it is of the Mauryan. From the point of view of historic continuity it is important to remember this primary fact as up to quite recent times the traditions flowing from the satavahanas were living factors in Indian history.

Administration

The Satavahana administration was very simple and was according to the principle laid down in Dharmashastras. The king laid no claim of divine right. They had only the most modest title of rajan. They had no absolute power. Their power was checked in practice by customs and shastras. The king was the commander of war and of threw himself into the thickest of the frays. 

A peculiar feature of the Satavahana administration was the presence of feudatories of different grade. The highest class was that of petty princes bearing the kingly title raja and striking coins in their own names. Next in rank was the maharathi and mahabhoja. Both titles from the beginning were hereditary and restricted to a few families in a few localities. Probably mahabhoja ranked higher than that of maharathi. 

The mahabhojas were the feudatories of Satavahanas. They were primarily located in western Deccan. They were related by blood to the feudatory maharathi. It is definitely known that the maharathis were the feudatories of Satavahanas. They also granted in their own name villages with physical immunities attached to them. The maharathis of the chitaldrug enjoyed the additional privilege of issuing coins in their own name. 

Towards the close of the Satavahana period two more feudatories were created Mahasenapathi and them mahataralavara. 

Barring districts that were controlled by feudatories, the empire was divided into janapadas and aharas, the latter corresponding to modern districts. The division below that of ahara was grama. Non-hereditary governors were subject to periodical transfers. There were other functionaries like great chamberlain store-keepers treasurers and dutakas who carried royal orders. 

The government lived from hand to mouth. The taxes were neither heavy nor many. The sources of income were proceeds from the royal domain, salt monopoly ordinary and extraordinary taxes both soldiers and officials were paid in kind. The Satavahana administration was very simple and was according to the principle laid down in Dharmashastras. The king laid no claim of divine right. They had only the most modest title of rajan. They had no absolute power. Their power was checked in practice by customs and shastras. The king was the commander of war and of threw himself into the thickest of the frays. 

A peculiar feature of the Satavahana administration was the presence of feudatories of different grade. The highest class was that of petty princes bearing the kingly title raja and striking coins in their own names. Next in rank was the maharathi and mahabhoja. Both titles from the beginning were hereditary and restricted to a few families in a few localities. Probably mahabhoja ranked higher than that of maharathi. 

The mahabhojas were the feudatories of Satavahanas. They were primarily located in western Deccan. They were related by blood to the feudatory maharathi. It is definitely known that the maharathis were the feudatories of Satavahanas. They also granted in their own name villages with physical immunities attached to them. The maharathis of the chitaldrug enjoyed the additional privilege of issuing coins in their own name. 

Towards the close of the Satavahana period two more feudatories were created Mahasenapathi and them mahataralavara. 

Barring districts that were controlled by feudatories, the empire was divided into janapadas and aharas, the latter corresponding to modern districts. The division below that of ahara was grama. Non-hereditary governors were subject to periodical transfers. There were other functionaries like great chamberlain store-keepers treasurers and dutakas who carried royal orders. 

The government lived from hand to mouth. The taxes were neither heavy nor many. The sources of income were proceeds from the royal domain, salt monopoly ordinary and extraordinary taxes both soldiers and officials were paid in kind.

Importance:

(1) It was the emergence of Vakataka power in the Vindhya area some where about the middle of the third century that brought about the downfall of the Satavahanas. But an empire so firely established in its home domains does not break down with the fall of a dynasty. The Rastrakutas and the Chalukyas in the Godavari valley and the Pallavas in the south originally the viceroys of the Satavahanas, claimed successtion to the empire with in their own territorial limits as the Vakatakas claimed it to the north of the Vindhyas. The Gangas and the Kadambas were also the inheritors of the tradition and as the Vijayanagar emperors claimed in time to be Chalukya Chudamanis, or the crest jewels of the Chalukya dynasty and as the great kings of Gujarat equally claimed succession from the Chalukyas, the imperial tradition of the Satavahanas may be said to have been carried forward at least to the beginning of the seventeenth century. 

(2) The rise of the Satavahanas signified that the economic revolution of the Gangetic region was repeated allover India. Added to this because of the peculiar geographical terrain of the Deccan peninsula a number of small kingdoms came into existence but not any big empire. 

(3) Since the Satavahanas had controlled part of the Deccan and part of northern India, they acted as the couriers of Aryanism to southern India.

(4) It is intriguing to note that the Satavahana inscriptions were primarily in pali but not in Sanskrit indicating it look long time to establish Sanskrit language as the language of the elite although people professed Aryanism much earlier. 

(5) The administrative structure of the Satavahana is a revealing one because it was not a highly centralized administration and it conceded the emergence of feudalism. Feudal chiefs like Mahara this mahasenapatis and mahabhojas issued their own coins. 

(6) The artistic excellence that was achieved under the aegis of the Satavahanas had a tremendous significance. Buddhist mouments came into existence at Nasik, Vidisha, Bhattiprolu, Goli, Ghantasala and amaravati. Most probably human figure was first carved out at Amaravati and Amaravati’s sculptures influenced South-east Asian sculptures. 

(7) Under the aegis of the Satavahanas trade was given a boost. The important pores were Koddura and Chinnaganjam on the east and Kalyan, Sopara, Goa and Pigeon islands on the West coast. And some of the important commercial centers were Tagara, Pratishthana, Nasik, Junnar and Dhanyakataka.

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Posted on June 7, 2011, in Early Historical Period, General Studies, Indian History, Study Material. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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