India • 08 • Satahavana dynasty

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The Satavahana Dynasty: Its Role and Place in Indian History 


The Satavahana dynasty, also known as the Andhra dynasty, is a major dynasty of ancient India that ruled from the first century BC. AD to the third century AD. Occupying a key position in the history of South India, it left a lasting legacy in politics, culture and economy. 


Origins of the Satavahana Dynasty 


The Satavahana dynasty emerged in the Deccan region of South India. According to ancient texts, the Satavahanas were descendants of Satavahana (or Satakarni), a legendary hero. However, the first historically confirmed king is Simuka, who began to rule around the first century BC. J.-C. 


Reign and Expansion 


Under the rule of the Satavahanas, their empire spread across much of central and southern India, encompassing the regions of present-day Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The greatest and most powerful of the Satavahana kings was Gautamiputra Satakarni, who greatly expanded the borders of the empire and established stable control over vast regions. 


Cultural and Religious Contributions 


The Satavahana dynasty has been an important patron of arts and culture. They are famous for their contribution to Indian rock art, with notable examples like the Karla and Kanheri caves. They also promoted the development of literature in Prakrit, an ancient Indian language. 


In terms of religion, the Satavahanas were followers of Hinduism, but also allowed and supported Buddhism and Jainism. They built many Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas, contributing to the coexistence and interaction of these religious traditions. 


Economy and Trade 


The Satavahanas played a crucial role in the development of the economy of ancient India. They promoted internal trade as well as maritime trade with the Roman and other empires. Their coins, minted in gold, silver and bronze, testify to their economic prosperity. 


Decline of the Satavahana Dynasty 


Around the third century AD. AD, the Satavahana dynasty began to decline. The reasons for this decline are not clearly known, but they likely include internal conflict and external pressure from neighboring kingdoms. The last known Satavahana king is Pulamavi IV, after which the empire was fragmented into smaller kingdoms. 




The Satavahana dynasty had a significant impact on the history of India. Through their reign, they reinforced the cultural and religious identity of South India and supported business practices that boosted the economy. Furthermore, they promoted art and literature, leaving a lasting cultural legacy. Despite their decline, the influence of the Satavahana dynasty is still felt in contemporary India, testifying to their importance in Indian history.

list of rulers

Simuka (c. 230-207 av. J.-C.)

Kanha (c. 207-189 av. J.-C.)

Satakarni I (c. 180-170 av. J.-C.)

Satakarni II (c. 170-160 av. J.-C.)

Satakarni III (c. 160-140 av. J.-C.)

Vedashri (c. 140-128 av. J.-C.)

Satakarni IV (c. 128-124 av. J.-C.)

Satakarni V (c. 124-119 av. J.-C.)

Pulumavi I (c. 119-110 av. J.-C.)

Sivasvati (c. 110-90 av. J.-C.)

Gautamiputra Satakarni (c. 70-30 av. J.-C.)

Vasishthiputra Pulumavi (c. 30 av. J.-C. - 78 apr. J.-C.)

Vashishtiputra Satakarni (c. 130-160 apr. J.-C.)

Shivaskanda Satakarni (c. 160-180 apr. J.-C.)

India • 06 • Satahavana dynasty: map

This map illustrates the maximum territory that the Satahavana Dynasty had reached at its height, covering the current regions of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana in India. Its main purpose is to provide a visual aid to understand the geographical extent of this dynasty. However, it's important to note that the contemporary borders of these regions may not necessarily coincide with the historical territories.

Geographical extension

The Satavahana dynasty was a royal dynasty that ruled over a significant part of ancient India from the 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE. During their reign, the Satavahanas expanded their geographical influence across different regions of India.

The Satavahanas held their central power in the central Deccan region of India. They established their dominance over regions such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, and parts of present-day Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

The geographical extent of the Satavahana dynasty was extensive, covering a large portion of central and southern India. They extended their authority over resource-rich and trade-centric regions, facilitating economic development and prosperity within their empire.

The capital of the dynasty was usually located in Pratishthana, which corresponds to present-day Paithan in Maharashtra. It served as a significant political, economic, and cultural center of the time.

The Satavahana dynasty fostered trade and cultural exchanges with other regions, including contact with the Roman Empire. They thrived through trade along land and maritime routes, and their influence reached important trade ports along the Indian coasts.

However, over time, the dynasty faced internal and external challenges, including foreign invasions and conflicts with rival kingdoms. These factors eventually contributed to the decline of the Satavahana dynasty.

The Satavahana dynasty left a lasting legacy in India. Their reign was marked by significant cultural developments, such as the promotion of Buddhism and the construction of stupas and monasteries. Their contribution to trade, art, and architecture also left a mark on the history of ancient India.

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