Post-Mauryan Empire

  • A large-scale assimilation of foreigners into the Indian society took place only in the post-Mauryan times.
  • There was a significant advancement in foreign trade by land and sea, besides emergence of various crafts.

Sunga Dynasty (185 BC-73 BC)

  • Established by Pushyamitra Shunga, after the downfall of Mauryan dynasty. They were Brahmins and the Bhagavata religion became important.
  • Capital of Shunga empire was at Patliputra (Modern Patna) and later Shungas even held their court at Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh).
  • Evidence:
    • Ayodhya Inscription points to the control of Shungas on Northern Gangetic plains.
    • Malvikaagnimitram by Kalidasa brings light on life of Agnimitra, the son of Pushyamitra Shunga and his love for Malavika.
  • Contributions of Shungas:
    • Buddhists texts point to revival of Buddhism and persecution of Buddhistsin Shunga empire.
    • Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras & Mahabhasya were composed in this period.
    • The Stupa at Sanchi was enlarged and Bharhut Stupa in Madhya Pradesh was made.
    • Ringstone is a distinctive type of doughnut shape sculpture made in later Mauryan and Shunga empire. They are richly carved.

Kanva Dynasty (73 BC-28 BC)

  • Capital: Patliputra
  • Devabhuti, the last ruler of Shunga dynasty was murdered by his minister Vasudeva and founded Kanva Dynasty.

Satavahanas (60 BC- 225 AD)

  • Satavahanas in the Deccan held an important position in Mauryan Administration. After death of Ashoka, they assumed total independence. They became immensely powerful and made their capital at Paithan or Pratisthan on the river Godavari.
  • Founder of this dynasty was Simuka.
  • Important rulers include Hala, Gautamiputra Satkarni, Vashishthiputra Pulumavi.
  • Best-known source about Gautami Putra Satkarni is Nashik Prashasti inscription, inscribed by his mother Gautami Balashri, which credits him with extensive military conquests.
  • Satavahanas performed Ashvamedha and Rajasuya sacrifices as illustrated in Nanaghat inscriptions. They worshipped Vasudeva, Indra, Surya and Chandra.
  • They were first to offer land grants to Buddhists and Brahmins. Nanaghat inscription refers to tax exemptions given to lands granted to Buddhist monks.
  • They issued their coins in copper, bronze.
  • Were succeeded by Pallavas of Kanchi, Chalukyas of Badami and Pandyas of Madurai in south, Vakatakas in Maharashtra and Berar region and by Ikshavkus on eastern side of peninsula in Krishna-Guntur region.
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Literary Contribution of Satavahanas

  • The official language of Satvahanas was Prakrit
  • Gathasattsai was composed by King Hala of Satavahana dynasty which is a compilation of short poems in Prakrit language. The poems are about love and are written as frank monologues by a woman. They often express unrequired feelings and longings.
  • Brihatkatha is an ancient Indian epic written by Gunadhya in Paisaci language.

Architecture During Satavahanas

  • Satavahana rulers are remarkable for their contributions to Buddhist art & architecture. They reflected the best and supreme quality in each area of cave temples & architecture.
  • During their rule in South India from 2nd century B.C. to 2nd Century A.D Satavahana studded their empire with several splendid monuments. The school of Buddhist art belonging to Satavahanas was known as the Amaravati School of Art. Most famous among them being the Amravati Stupa & the Nagarjunakonda
  • Sculptures at Amaravati have a profound and quiet naturalism in human, animal, and floral forms.
  • Popular and famous Chaitya Hall built at Karle is another example of the magnificence of Satavahana Sculptures. The human figures are slender & slightly elongated.
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