Chapter 7: POST MAURYAN PERIOD

Introduction


The Mauryan Empire was divided into north and south after Ashok's death. The north collapsed due to Bactrian invasions. The south was curtailed as Kalinga declared independence. Satvahana dynasty also declared independence.


The end of the Mauryan's was done by Pushpamitra Sunga. The Sunga dynasty had to face Bactrian and Greek invasions which captured Patliputra for some time. The Sunga dynasts were Brahmins but they patronised Buddhist art too.


Sunga's were followed by short reign of Kanva dynasty. Sunga kings promoted Sanskrit and Vaishnavism which reached its pinnacle during Gupta Empire.


The Kanva dynasty ended and no record is kept of Mauryan Empire after their end till the Gupta Empire started. 


Satvahana dynasty:


The Satvahana dynasty was present in Andhra Pradesh. But it was extended to Nasik in west and Berar.

They were feudatories of the Mauryan’s but after the decline of Mauryan’s they established an independent kingdom for 450 years.


Gautamiputra Satkarni was greatest ruler. He conquered Deccan province.


Features:


  1. Oversees trade was flourishing during this period. Silver coins were used. Merchants were organized into guilds to increase their activities.
  2. Buddhism and Brahmanism were patronized.
  3. Prakrit language flourished here.  


Bactrian invasions:


Greek rulers of Bactria captured Ujjain, Sind, Punjab and Afghanistan however they couldn’t maintain Patliputra due to Sunga dynasty.


The Greeks embraced Buddhism. Some were influenced by Vaishnavism too.


The Sakas or Scythians ruled over North West and captured them from Bactrian’s. The northern satraps ruled over Taxila and southern ruled over Maharashtra.


Saka's of Taxila were overthrown by Parthian’s.


                             foreign invasions of India

                                                            

                                                                    Fig 1: Foreign Invasians


Kushana dynasty:


They were central Asian tribes. They displaced the Sakas in Bactria. Their Empire extended up to Mathura in north India. Kadaphises II and Kanishaka were famous Kushana rulers.


Kanishka: Founded the Saka era in 78 AD. Saka era starts at 22nd or 23rd March. He captured Bodh Gaya, Patliputra, Magadha and Kashmir. His Empire extended from Gandhar to Banaras, Kashmir to Malwa. His capital was Peshawar.


Kanishka embraced Buddhism but in his time Mahayana school emerged.


Buddha worshipped using flowers, rituals. He convened the fourth Buddhist council and Mahayana doctrine was finalised. He was a patron of Mahayana.


The last dynasty to control the silk route.