Satavahanas : political , religious and economic conditions

May 2012
1,628
On a chain of Extinct Volcanoes
Satavahanas , like any other Asian empire is seldom or never discussed throughout this forum [ correct me if I am wrong where I would be happy]
And the Satavahanas were a predominant force in ancient India post mauryas i.e from 250 bce to 250 AD approximately 500 years , the first to create an empire in the South India and there area included 2 million sq km at its zenith.
So how was the cultural life about , the economic activities , the societal life style and also their military prowess ?
 
May 2012
1,628
On a chain of Extinct Volcanoes
Satavahanas: The first empire to rise in the South India

Since I found nothing related to Satavahanas ,one of the most important empires of the ancient India, I thought I could post something useful here .
.
The Satavahanas are the first historical ruling dynasty of the Deccan , whose rule extended over 5 centuries[circa 221 B.c. to Circa A.D.218] . They were the only south Indian dynasty to control entire deccan and extend their sway over Magadha for sometime until the Rashtrakutas .
The Satavahanas at their zenith included the modern day Andhra Pradesh , Maharashtra , Gujarath , Madhya Pradesh , Chattisgarh , Orissa , Bihar , Karnataka and Tamil nadu .
It was the second largest empire only after mauryas until then .

Sources of Satavahana history are archaeological and literary , where the former included inscriptions and coins while the latter include references made in the works of the Indian and foreign references . The Satavahanas struck coins in copper , tin , lead and silver [only by one ruler] .
The outstanding discovery of all was the coins relating to SIMUKHA , the founder of the Dynasty where , Chimukha on those coins was identified with the Simukha ,the founder of Puranic list of the Satavahanas.
The inscriptions of satavahanas are scattered between Sanchi in the north and Bellary in the south , Kanheri in the west and Amaravati in the east .
The inscriptions found in the caves of Naneghat , Kanheri , Nashik , KArla in Maharashtra and in Guntupalli in AP are of historical value as they contain the names of reigning sovereigns and their reigning years .
The naneghat inscription inscribed by Naganika , the wife of Satakarni I [ 180 b.c. to 170 b.c] after the death of her husband , which describes the military achievements and the titles assumed by Satakarni I such as DAKSHINAPATHI AND APRATHIHATHA CHAKRA
Hatigumpha and Guntupalli inscriptions of Kharavela , the king of Kalinga mentions about his fight with the Satakarni I over Mushikanagara near River Krishna , where he does not mention the outcome.
Nasik inscriptions of Gautami balasri lists out the countries conquered by her son Gautamiputra Satakarni[ Ad. 78 to A.D. 102]
All the inscriptions of Satavahanas are in Prakrit Language and Brahmi Script .
References to satavahanas are found in some of the ancient literary works . According to Matsya and Vayu purana , the last king of kanva , susarma was killed by Simukha. The puranas also contain the list of Satavahans and their reigning years , but the puranic lists are of doubtful value as they are inconsistent and inadequate.
Among the foreign works , The most famous , megathenes' indica makes a mention about the Andhras i.e.the Satavahanas and their military might.
Similarly the Periplus of the Erythrean sea by an unknown Greek author gives a naccount of Andhra region and makes a mention of Masalia [the modern day MAchilipatnam in Anddhra Pradesh] , which has been identified with Maisolia , the greatest market town of the Andhra kingdom , mentioned by Ptolemy.
The early capital of the Satavahanas was Praisthanapura or Paithan [in modern Maharashtra] and the later capital was Amaravati [ in modern AP] . Since at the beginning , the Satavahanas had to resist the foreign incursions from the north , they made Pratisthanapura their capital, which was strategically located on the North-south highway and the shifted to Amaravathi once the foreign threat was checked.
.......
 
Last edited:

Labienus

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
6,479
Montreal, Canada
I haven't read much about the Satavahana dynasty, do you have any good secondary sources to recommend?
 
Jun 2011
1,812
São Tomé de Meliapore
Telugu is the second largest spoken language in Tamil Nadu and some scholars propose that the telugu people migrated deep down south during the Mughal and the Pre mughal era. What I believe is that the Telugus would have migrated during the satavahana period . Some scholars are trying to trace the roots of the telugu people in Tamil Nadu.

The Hindu : Today's Paper / NATIONAL : Tracing traditional roots of Telugus settled in Tamil Nadu

Further knowledge about the satavahanas could shed more light about the proto Telugu before absorbing the Sanskrit loan words and Grammatical structures. I dont believe that Tamils alone can claim that their language is the proto Dravidian language and Kannada and Telugu also have major claims.
 

Jinit

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
5,274
India
They were also known for their seafaring capabilities.




The coin from the time of Vasisthiputra Sri Pulamavi depicts double masted ship. one of the oldest example of double masted ship.

Also many of satvahna rulers are identified with their mother's name like
Gautmiputra Shatkarni ( Son of Gautami -Shatkarni)
Vasisthiputra Pulamavi ( Son of Vasisthi - Pulamvi )

They were also the first one to start coinage in India. And Gautmi putra Shatkarni (aka Shalivahan) started a new calander Shaka calander which is still used widely in many parts of India.
 
Last edited:
May 2012
1,628
On a chain of Extinct Volcanoes
I haven't read much about the Satavahana dynasty, do you have any good secondary sources to recommend?
Any book emphasizing on south Indian history would help you primarily ,though
we lack books on the exclusive satavahana history
The second chapter in this book gives significant details about them
Indian Heritage And Culture - Rao. P R Staff, P. Raghunadha Rao - Google Books

I recommend 'History and culture of Andhra from the Ancient times to 20 th century by Prof. P.R.Rao '
But I am not sure whether it is available online , but I'll try .
 
Jun 2011
1,812
São Tomé de Meliapore
They were also known for their seafaring capabilities.




The coin from the time of Vasisthiputra Sri Pulamavi depicts double masted ship. one of the oldest example of double masted ship.

Also many of satvahna rulers are identified with their mother's name like
Gautmiputra Shatkarni ( Son of Gautami -Shatkarni)
Vasisthiputra Pulamavi ( Son of Vasisthi - Pulamvi )

They were also the first one to start coinage in India. And Gautmi putra Shatkarni (aka Shalivahan) started a new calander Shaka calander which is still used widely in many parts of India.
May be they could have taken the technology from the contemporary Pandya dynasty who are considered to the best in Maritime .Their flag had fish as an emblem .
 

Labienus

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
6,479
Montreal, Canada
Any book emphasizing on south Indian history would help you primarily ,though
we lack books on the exclusive satavahana history
The second chapter in this book gives significant details about them
Indian Heritage And Culture - Rao. P R Staff, P. Raghunadha Rao - Google Books

I recommend 'History and culture of Andhra from the Ancient times to 20 th century by Prof. P.R.Rao '
But I am not sure whether it is available online , but I'll try .
Thanks a lot, I appreciate.
 
May 2012
1,628
On a chain of Extinct Volcanoes
Original home of Satavahanas

Scholars did not have a consensus about the original home of Satavahanas initially.
Vincent smith was of the opinion that the delta basins of Godavari and Krishna were the home to Satavahanas during the Mauryan period , which is agreed by E.J.Rapson , Barnett , R.G.Bhandarkar , G.V.Rao , but challenged by some others.
But now , due to the various excavations , findings over many places and pertaining to the arguments, Satavahanas are recognized as Andhras , whose home was Telangana , the northern Andhra Pradesh