Kingdoms after the Mauryans

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Mauryan Dynasty of India

The Sunga Dynasty History :

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  • Pushyamitra founded this dynasty. His dominions extended to South as far as the Narmada River & included cities of Pataliputra, Ayodhya & Vidisha. He performed two Ashwamedha sacrifices. He also defeated the Bactrian king, Dematrius.
  • The fifth king was Bhagabhadra, to whose court Heliodoros, the Greek ambassador visited.
  • A Shunga king, Agnimitra was the hero of Kalidasa’s Malavikagnimitram.
  • They were basically Brahmins. This period saw the revival of Bhagvatism.
  • Patanjali’s classic Mahabhashya was written at this time.

The Kanva Dynasty :

  • The founder of this short-lived dynasty was Vasudeva, who killed the last Sunga king, Devabhuti.
  • They were swept away by Satavahanas of the Deccan.

The Chetis of Kalinga :

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  • The Hathigumpha inscription (near Bhubhaneshwar, Orissa) of Kharavela, the third ruler of the dynasty, gives information about the Chetis.
  • Kharavela pushed his kingdom beyond the Godavari in the South.
  • He was a follower of Jainism and patronized it to a great extent.

The Satavahanas Or The Andhras :

  • They were the successors of the Mauryans in the Deccan & the central India.
  • Simuka is regarded as the founder of this dynasty. The most important king was Gautamiputra Satakarni (AD 106 – 130) who raised the power and prestige of Satavahanas to greater heights. He set up his capital at Paithan on the Godavari in Aurangabad distt.

Important aspects of Satavahanas :

  • Mostly issued lead coins (apart from copper and bronze).
  • Acted as a bridge between North and South India.
  • Satavahanas rulers called themselves Brahmans. Performed Vedic rituals and worshipped gods like Krishna, Vasudeva and others.
  • However, they also promoted Buddhism by granting land to the monks.
  • The two common religious constructions were the Buddhist temple that was called ‘Chaitya’ & the monasteries, which was called ‘Vihara’. The most famous Chaitya is that of Karle in W. Deccan.
  • Their distt was called Ahara’, as it was in Ashoka’s time. Their officials were known as ‘amatyas’ and ‘mahamatras’, as they were known in Mauryan times.
  • Started the practice of granting tax free villages to brahmanas & Buddhist monks.
  • The official language was Prakrit & the script was Brahmi, as in Ashokan times. One Prakrit text called Gathasattasai is attributed to a Satavahana king called Hala.