Satavahana Dynasty Notes

Extents of Satavahana Empire

The Satavahana dynasty was an ancient Indian family that established an empire in the southern region known as Daksinapatha. They were believed to belong to the Andhra tribe, according to interpretations based on the Puranas.

Major Satvahana Kings

  • First king of the Satavahana dynasty, began his reign around 230 BCE.
  • Established the Satavahana rule after the decline of the Mauryan Empire.
  • Laid the foundation for the Satavahana dynasty's rise to power.

Gotami-putra Satakarni

  • Acceded to the throne in 106 AD and is credited with reviving the fortunes of the Satavahanas.
  • Known as the destroyer of the Sakas, Pahlavas, and Yavanas (foreign powers).
  • Extended the Satavahana rule from Malwa and Saurashtra in the north to the Krishna River in the south, and from Berar in the east to Konkan in the west.
  • His reign marked a period of significant territorial expansion and military successes.

Vaishishtiputra Pulumavi

  • Succeeded Gotami-putra Satakarni and ruled from c. AD 130-159.
  • Maintained the territorial integrity of the Satavahana Empire.
  • Known for his patronage of art and culture.

Yajnashri Satakarni

  • Last significant Satavahana ruler, reigned from 170 to 199 CE.
  • Faced challenges during his rule, which contributed to the gradual decline of the empire.
  • After his reign, the Satavahana Empire started to weaken, leading to the rise of other regional powers.

Political History

  • The Satavahanas emerged after the decline of the Mauryan Empire in the 2nd century BCE.
  • The first king, Simuka, began his reign around 230 BCE, according to Puranic lists.
  • They faced threats from the Sakas of Seistan and later regained power under Gotami-putra Satakarni, who defeated the Sakas.
  • The empire extended from Malwa and Saurashtra in the north to the Krishna River in the south and from Berar in the east to Konkan in the west.
  • The Satavahana dynasty declined in the mid-3rd century CE.


  • The Satavahana polity was decentralized, with local administration under the control of feudatories.
  • The king held the highest position, while feudatories were divided into three grades: Rajas, Mahanhojas, and Maharathis.
  • The state was divided into aharas, each governed by a minister called Amatya.
  • Villages were headed by a gramika.


  • The Satavahanas benefited from economic expansion through agriculture, increased production, and trade.
  • Large settlements emerged along major rivers, and agricultural land expanded due to forest clearance and irrigation reservoirs.
  • They controlled the Indian sea coast, dominating trade with the Roman Empire.
  • Trade centers like Pratishthana and Tagara played significant roles.

Culture and Religion

  • The Satavahanas made contributions to Indian culture and religion.
  • They granted land to practitioners of Buddhism and Brahmanism.
  • Their kings emphasized their Brahminical credentials, and inscriptions and Puranas show efforts to revive Vedic Brahmanism.
  • Women in Satavahana society had higher status compared to other parts of India, as seen in sculptures and land grants.

Language and Coinage

  • Most Satavahana inscriptions and coin legends were in a Middle Indo-Aryan language, often referred to as Prakrit.
  • Bilingual coins with Middle Indo-Aryan and Tamil language inscriptions were issued.
  • They were the earliest Indian rulers to issue their own coins with portraits of their rulers.

Architecture and Paintings:

  • The Satavahanas patronized the construction of Buddhist stupas, such as the Amaravati Stupa and Nagarjunakonda Stupa.
  • The Ajanta Caves contain the earliest surviving paintings in India, which depict Satavahana influence.


  • The Satavahanas left a significant legacy, including the revival of Vedic Brahmanism, military power, and trading prowess.
  • Their empire played a crucial role in the history of the Deccan region and Bharatavarsha (India).

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