Home | TNPSC Micro Topics | South India under the Mauryan & Satavahanas

South India under the Mauryan & Satavahanas

South India during Mauryan times

  • The Ashokan edicts (c. 270-30 BCE) present for the first time a picture of the political condition in south India.
  • Rock Edict II lists the Tamil ruling houses Cholas, Pandyas, Keralaputras and Satiyaputra as neighbour rulers, lying beyond his domain, where he is said to have made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for both humans and animals.
  • The Mauryan empire at that time included northern parts of Karnataka and Andhra, while the Tamil kingdoms were treated as independent neighbours.
  • After the decline of the Mauryan power, and before the rise of the Satavahanas, many small principalities emerged.
  • Although not much information is available about their rulers, their coins and inscriptions reveal that they were chiefs who controlled small territories.

South India under the Satavahanas

  • The Satavahanas emerged in the first century BCE in the Deccan region.
  • They ruled over parts of Andhra, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
  • From recent archaeological evidence it is understood that the Satavahanas started to rule in the Telengana area and then moved to Maharashtra to rule in the Godavari basin with Prathistan (Paithan in Maharashtra) as their capital.
  • Later they moved eastwards to control coastal Andhra also.
  • The work of Pliny talks about 30 walled towns, a large army, cavalry and elephant force in the Andhra country.
  • Gautamiputra Satakarni was the greatest of the Satavahana kings.
  • He defeated the Shaka ruler Nahapana and reissued the coins of Nahapana with his own royal insignia.
  • The inscription of his mother Gautami Balashri at Nashik mentions him as the conqueror of the Shakas, Pahlavas, and Yavanas.
  • He is also said to have performed the prestigious Vedic asvamedha sacrifice.
  • Vasishthiputra Pulumayi, the successor of Gautamiputra Satakarni, expanded the frontiers of the Satavahana Empire.
  • The coins issued by him are found scattered in many parts of south India.
  • Yagnashri Satakarni was another famous ruler who issued coins with a ship motif, indicating the importance of the overseas trade during his reign.
  • King Hala is credited with the writing of Gaha Sattasai, a collection of 700 love poems.
  • Written in Maharashtri Prakrit dialect, it has themes similar to those found in the Tamil Sangam poetry.
  • The Satavahana Empire declined around the 3rd century CE and was replaced by the Ikshvakus, followed by Pallavas in Andhra and the Kadambas in northern Karnataka.

Importance of Satavahana Period

  • Offering land grants was an important development of the Satavahana times.
  • The beneficiaries of these grants were mostly Buddhists and Brahmins.
  • The Naneghat inscription refers to tax exemptions given to the lands granted to Buddhist monks.
  • Thus we notice the beginning of priestly groups attaining higher status.
  • These land donations created a group of people who did not cultivate, but owned land.
  • This led to the development of land-based social hierarchy and divisions in the society.
  • For the first time a big state covering a major part of the Deccan was established.
  • Several rock-cut caves dedicated to the Buddha sangha bear evidence that they were situated in the trade routes linking the interior to the coastal parts of Konkan region.
  • It was also a period of brisk Indo-Roman trade.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *