Write about the political history and administrative system of Satavahana period

Question: Write about the political history and administrative system of Satavahana period?

Ans: Satavahana Empire rose from the ruins of Mauryan Empire. Satavahanas ruled Deccan for about 4 centuries.

Political History of Satavahanas: Coastal Andhra, Maharashtra, Gujarath etc. places were under the control of Satavahanas. Paitan, Dharanikota, Dhankyakatakam were their capitals. Eminent historians like P.V. Parabhrahma Shahstry and Dr. Damo Raja Reddy proved with evidences that Satavahanas’ earliest strong hold and place of rise was Kotilingala, Kareem Nagar, and Telangana.

Damo Raja Reddy successfully proved that the ‘Chimuka Satavahana’ on the coins found in Kotilingala was none other than, the founder of Satavahana dynasty. According to Puranas, Srimukha ruled 23 years.

1st great ruler of Satavahana dynasty was Satakarni I. He had many victories and was a great patron of arts. Naneghat inscription gives details about his achievements.

Haala Saarvabhauma was the 17th ruler of Satavahana dynasty. His title was Kavi Vatsala. Hala was a great patron of poets and he himself was a poet.

Gouthamiputhra satakarni, this 23rd ruler of Satavahana dynasty ruled 24 years. He was the greatest among all the Satavahana kings. Gouthamiputhra satakarni defeated Nahapana, king of Kshaharata dynasty.

Gouthamiputhra Shatakarni titles: 1. Eka Veera    2. Aaagama Nilaya                  3. Dwijakula Vardhana                       4. Kashatriya Dharpamaana Mardhana           5. Thri Samudhra thoya pitha vaahana           6. Benakata Swamy            7. Kshathriya Darpamana Mardhana

Gouthamiputhra Shaatakarni was succeeded by Vasistaputhra Pulomavi (Pulomavi II).

Nasik inscription issued by his mother Gouthami Balasri gives us details about his achievements.

Yagnasri Shatakarni was greatest among later Satavahanas. He issued coins with symbol of ship with double mast.

Administrative system: Satavahanas followed Mauryan administrative system. The credit of uniting the south Indian kingdoms politically and safeguarding South Indians from the invasions of Sakas goes to Shatavahanas.

According to Sardar Panikkar, “Shaatavaahanas established a kingdom between Aryavartha and Davida regions and constructed a cultural bridge between north and south”.

King: All the power is vested in the hands of king, but Shaatavahana kings were not autocratic. King himself was supreme military general and chief justice. Hereditary monarchial system was there.

Empire was divided into Aahaaraas. Administrative head of Aahara was Mahaamaathra. The administration of Aaahaaras was kept in the hands of trustworthy persons.

Nagaras were called ‘Nigamas’. Administrative institution of Nagara was ‘Nigama Sabha’.

In administration king was assisted by Amathyas, Mahaamaathras, Vishwaasaamaathyas, Mahaarathis, Mahaa bhojakas, Mahaa Senapathi, Bandagarika, Heranika, Hiranyaka, Dhoothaka, Lekhaka, Nibandhakara, Mahaa Talavara etc.

Local Administration (Village administration): At village level Gramaka / Graamika / Gaulmi / Gulmika was the administrative head. Samikas were mentioned in Gatha Saptha Shati. Military officer was appointed as the head of village. Collection of taxes and providing security were his responsibilities.

Military Administration: Pliny in his book ‘Natural History’ mentioned that Shatavahanas had big army. During wars king himself led the army. Cavalry, Chariot wing, Elephant wing, and infantry were the four wings of army.

Military barracks were called ‘Skandavaramu’ and ‘Kalakamu’.

Satavahana kings constructed forts. Swords, shield, club, body armour were used during the wars.

Judicial Administration: Satavahan kings followed Mauryan administrative system. King was the chief justice. Works of law givers were model for his judicial administration. At state and village levels, respective heads dispensed justice.

Land Revenue: Land revenue was the main source of income for state.

‘Periplus of the Erythrian Sea’ mentioned that Satavahanas had trade contacts with Romans.

17 types of srenis were there:

  1. Dammaka 2. Maalakaara 3. Kolika         4. Tilapisaka                5. Odayantrika                        6. Kamara                        7. Kularika                  8. Vadhika                  9. Suvarnakara                                    10. Charmakaara            etc.


These Srenis were associations of profession worked for the development of particular profession. Srenis also acted like banks. They lent money and collected 12% interest per annum.


Satavahana ports:

West Coast: Barukaccha, Sophara, Kalyani.

East Coast: Koddura, Ghantasaala, Maisolia (Machilipatnam).

Many Roman coins found in Shaatavaahana settlements attest the trade relations between Rome and Shaatavaahaana Empire.

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