THE SUNGA DYNASTY: (185 BC – 73 BC)
- Pushyamitra founded this dynasty. His dominions extended to South as far as the Narmada River & included cities of Pataliputra, Ayodhya & Vidisha (capital).
- 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: (73 BC – 28 BC; capital - patliputra)
- 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
- 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: (60 BC – 225 AD)
- 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.
- 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.
(1 AD – 3 AD)
- Their capital was Madurai.
- First mentioned by Megasthenes, who says that their kingdom was famous for pearls and was ruled by a woman.
- The Pandya kings profited from trade with the Roman Empire and sent embassies to the Roman emperor Augus.
- The kingdom was called Cholamandalam or Coromondal. The chief centre was Uraiyur, a place famous for cotton trade. Capital was Kaveripattanam/Puhar.
- A Chola king named Elara conquered SriLanka & ruled it over for 50 years.
- Karikala was their famous king.
- Main source of wealth was trade in cotton cloth. They also maintained an efficient navy.
- Their capital was Vanji (also called Kerala country).
- It owed its importance to trade with the Romans. The Romans set up two regiments there to protect their interests.
- Fought against the Cholas about 150 AD.
- Greatest king was Senguttuvan, the Red Chera.
- All the gathered information is based on Sangam literature. Sangam was a college or assembly of Tamil poets held probably under Royal Patronage (esp. Pandyas)
- Sangam age corresponds to the post-Maurya and the pre-Gupta period.
- Three Sangamas were held:
- The first Sangam was held at Madurai but its work has not survived. Its chairman was Agastya.
- The second Sangam was held at Kapatpuram. Its chairman was Tolkappiyar (author of Tolkappium).
- The third Sangam was held at Madurai. Its chairman was Nakkirar. It was the third Sangam from which covers the entire corpus of Sangam literature.
- Silappadikaram by llano Adigal (story of a married couple) and Manimekalai by Sattanar are the famous epics of this time.
- Other books are Tolkappium by Tolkappiyar, Jivikachintamani by Tirutakkdewar and Kural (called the ‘fifth veda’ or ‘the Bible of the Tamil Land’) by Tiruvalluvar.
- The chief local god was Murugan, who was also called Subramaniya.
- ‘Pariyars’ – agricultural laborers who used to work in animal skin.
- Civil and military offices held by vellalas (rich peasants).
- The ruling class was called “Arasar”.
- Captains of the army were given the title ENADI in formal functions.