Kanva dynasty (Post Mauryan Dynasty)

Extents of Magadha (Kanva Dynasty - Around 50 BCE)/Image Source: Wikipedia

The Kanva dynasty was the eighth ruling dynasty of Magadha, succeeding the Shunga dynasty and reigning from 73 BCE to 28 BCE.

While Puranic literature suggests that the Kanvas ruled from Pataliputra, their coins have primarily been found in and around Vidisha, which was also the capital of later Shunga rulers.

Vasudeva Kanva established the Kanva dynasty in 73 BCE. He was initially a minister of the Shunga Emperor Devabhuti but later assassinated him and took over the throne. Pataliputra, located in present-day Bihar, served as the capital of the Kanva dynasty.

Despite their relatively short reign, the Kanvas made significant contributions to the arts and culture of ancient India, particularly in terms of patronage of literature and scholars. They supported the production of important works of Sanskrit literature.

Bhumimitra, the son of Vasudeva Kanva, was one of the notable rulers of the Kanva dynasty. He actively promoted Buddhism in India, leaving a lasting impact on the religious and cultural landscape.

The Kanvas were eventually overthrown by the Satavahanas, another powerful dynasty that emerged in southern India around 28 BCE.

Rise to Power:

  • The Kanva dynasty allowed the Shunga dynasty kings to continue their rule in a limited region.
  • Kanva Dynasty coins have been predominantly found in and around Vidisha, which was also the capital of later Shunga rulers.
  • Puranic literature suggests that the Kanva Dynasty ruled from Pataliputra, the former capital of the Shunga Empire in Magadha.

Notable Rulers of the Kanva Dynasty:

  • Vasudeva Kanva (73-64 BCE): He was the minister of Devabhuti, the last Sunga king. Vasudeva established the Kanva dynasty.
  • Bhumimitra (64-50 BCE): Son of Vasudeva, known for his efforts to promote Buddhism in India.
  • Narayana (50-38 BCE): Successor of Bhumimitra, ruled for twelve years.
  • Susarman (38-28 BCE): The final ruler of the Kanva dynasty, succeeding Narayana.

The Kanva Dynasty's reign was eventually ended by the Satavahanas, who drove out both the Kanvas and the Sungas from eastern Malwa and expanded their influence.

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