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Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD


Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD


  • The disintegration of the Mauryan empire led to various kingdoms such as those of the Indo-Greeks, Shakas, Parthians and Kushans in the north-western part of India; the rise of republican states in the Punjab; Nagas in ganga valley, Sungas and Kanvas with control over Pataliputra; the Chedis in Kalinga; the Satavahanas in the Deccan; and finally the struggle between the Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras down south. The Post­Mauryan age is characterised by the struggle for power among the various dynasties.

The Indo-Greeks:

  • The Indo-Greeks were forced to invade Bacteria around 200 BC because of the pressure put on them by the Central Asian tribes such as the Shakas and the Kushanas. The Shakas and Kushanas, move to China because the Chinese emperor Shih Hung Ti built the Great Wall of China in 220 BC to counter to counter these invasions. Also, the successors of the Mauryas — the Sungas and the Kanvas were in no position to offer stiff resistance to the foreign invaders. The Greeks, thus pressed by the Central Asian tribes were forced to invade India.
  • Indo — Greeks ruled from three areas in India — one branch from Bactria (north Afghanistan), the second from Taxila and the third branch from Sakla (Sialkot). History of the Bactrian branch is not so relevant. Of the Indo-Greeks ruling from Taxila, the most important ruler was Antialcidas who sent his ambassador Heliodorus to the court of the Sunga ruler Kasiputra Bhagabhadra (Bhagavata) at Vidisha. Heliodorus constructed a pillar at Vidisha in honour of god of gods Vasudeva (Krishna) synonymous with Vishnu. This pillar is also known as Garudadhwaja or Besnagar Pillar Inscription. The third branch of the Indo — Greeks ruling from Sakala (Sialkot) belonged to the house of Euthedemus. Demetrius invaded India at the beginning of the reign of Pushyamitra Sunga and even reached Pataliputra. Menander was another important ruler of the house of Euthedemus. Menander was a follower of Mahayana Buddhism. The book Milindapanho written in 130 BC in Pali talks about the conversion of Menander (Milinda) to Buddhism by a monk named Nagasena.

Contribution of Indo-Greeks [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • The Indo-Greeks for the first time issued casted or moulded coins bearing images and inscriptions and also gold coins for the first time. They issued bilingual coinage with legends in Greek and Kharoshti.
  • They promoted Indian religion and culture as is evident from the conversion of Heliodorus and Menander.
  • lndo-Greeks promoted Gandhara school of art in the north-west .
  • Indo-Greeks promoted growth of trade and commerce. The Indo-Greeks were good traders and were referred to as Yavana-gandhikas (foreign perfume dealers).
  • Indo-Greeks contributed to engineering through construction of canals and dams. They also contributed to the growth of medicine and astronomy.


  • The Indo-Greeks were followed by the Shakas who belonged to the Central Asian tribe— the Scythians. There were five branches of the Shakas ruling from Afghanistan, Taxila, Mathura, Ujjain and Girnar. Sakas rules as Satraps (Kshatrapas) and mahasatraps (Mahakshatrapas) under the Kushana empire who ruled from Purushupur (Peshawar). The Shakas of Girnar and Ujjain after entered into conflict with the Satavahanas of the Deccan. The important Shaka rulers of Taxila are Maues (Moga), Azes I, Azilises and Azes II. The important Shaka rulers of Girnar are Bhumak and Nahapana. The Shakas of Girnar were called as Kshaharathas. The Shakas of Ujjain were called the Kardarnakas. The important Shakas rulers of Girnar are Bhumak and Nahapana. The Shakas of Girnar were called as Kshaharathas. The important Shakas of Ujjain were Chastana, Jayadaman and Rudradaman I. Rudradaman I (130 —150 AD) is famous for not only military conquests but also for his public works. Rudradaman repaired the famous Sudarshana lake. Rudradaman patronised Sanskrit and issued the first ever long inscription in chaste Sanskrit.

Parthians: [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • They were also called as Pahlavas. They originally lived in northern Iran, they replaced the Shakas in north-western India, but controlled an area much smaller than that controlled by either the Shakas or the Indo-Greeks. Mithrodates II was the first ruler who established a Parthian presence in India. Gondophernes who ruled from 19-45 AD was the greatest Indo-Parthian monarch who had control over Peshawar district. St. Thomas is said to have come to India to propagate Christianity during the reign of Gondophernes. After Gondopherne’s death, the Parthians broke up and the Kushanas moved in.


  • The Parthians were followed by the Kushanas, who were also called Yuechis or Tocharians. The Kushanas were one of the five clans into which the Yuechi tribe was divided. The Kushanas ruled over an extensive empire which stretched from Khurasan’ in Central Asia to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Although the gold coins of the Kushanas are found mainly west of the Indus, their inscriptions are distributed not only in the north-western India and Sindh but also in Mathura, Shravasti, Kaushambi and Varanasi. Kushana coins, inscriptions, constructions and pieces of sculptures found in Mathura show that it was their second capital in India.

Kajula Kadphises (15-64 AD): [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • He was the first Kushana ruler to use imperial titles.
  • Wema Kadphises (Kadphises II) (64 — 78 AD):
  • he was the first Kushana ruler to introduce gold coins on a significant scale. He was a devotee of Shiva and called himself as ‘Maheswarasya’ and issued coins with the symbols of Shiva, Nandi, and the Trident.


  • He was the greatest Kushana ruler and founded the Shaka era of 78 AD. He ruled over extensive territories from Central Asia to Varanasi. He extended his control over many satraps and mahasatrapas ruling over territories under him. He is said to have suffered defeat at the hands of the Chinese general Pan Chao. The achievements of Kanishka are recorded in Sarnath inscriptions. According to Buddhist tradition, Kanishka is said to have launched an expedition to Pataliputra where he picked up the famous Buddhist scholar Asvagosha Kanishka held the 4th Buddhist council at Kundalavana Vihar in Kashmir on the advice of Parsva. Images of Kanishka which are headless are found in Mathura. Kanishka also patronised Gandhara School of Art. The Kushanas contributed to the growth of trade and commerce and called themselves as good horse dealers. Kushanas issued the largest number of gold coins upto that period. Kushanas issued standard gold coins. Kushanas’ standard gold coins were made on the basis of gold imported from Roman empire as well as from the Central Asian gold mines. Kushanas rarely issued silver coins. Kushanas issued the largest number of copper coins which meant that currency was used by the common man. Saddle for horse riding was introduced by the Kushanas. The Shakas and the Kushanas introduced turban, tunic, trousers and heavy long coat. The Kushanas were in course of time assimilated into Indian society so much so that the last Kushana king was called Vasudeva.

Republican States in the Punjab: [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • The political vacuum in the Punjab created by the dissolution of the Mauryan empire was effectively filled by the rise of republican states (not monarchies). Some of the republican stats were Arjunayanas, Yaudehyas, Agastyas, Audambaras, Kunindas and the Trigarthas.
    • Arjunayanas — ruled between Agra and Jaipur
    • Yaudehyas — ruled between Sutlej and Yamuna. They issued Kartikeya or Brahmanya type of coins.
    • Agastyas — ruled over the territory immediately west of the yaudehyas.
    • Audumbaras — ruled between the Beas and Ravi rivers. They issued Mahadev type of coins.
    • Kunindas — ruled between the Sutlej and Yamuna and issued Chatreswara type of coins dedicated to Lord Shiva.
    • Trigarthas — ruled between Ravi and Sutlej rivers.
  • Many of these republican states existed well into the Gupta period and some of them were extinguished by Samudragupta.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD

Sungas: [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • Pushyamitra Sunga, the Brahmin commander-in-chief of last Mauryan ruler Brihadratha assassinated him and founded the Sunga dynasty. Pushyamitra Sunga faced two invasions from the Indo-Greeks, one in the earlier part of his reign and another in the later part of his reign. Pushyamitra Sunga upheld the Brahmanical religion and culture and performed two Asvamedgha sacrifices according to Ayodhya inscription. He also patronised Patanjali, the author of Mahabhsya. Pushyamitra is said to have suppressed Buddhism. However, Sanchi Stupa was repaired in the time of the Sungas and Bharhut Stupa was constructed fully in this period. The Sangas ruled from Pataliputra and Vidisha. Agnimitra, the son and successor of Pushyamitra was the hero of Kalidasa’s Malvikagnimitram. Bhagavata or Bhagabhadra — penultimate Sunga is mentioned in Besnagar inscription of Heliodorus, the ambassador of Antiacidas who was the Indo-Greek ruler of Taxila. Heliodorus constructed a pillar at Vidisha in honour of god of gods Vasudeva (Krishna) synonymous with Vishnu. This pillar is also known as Garudadhwaja. The last Sunga ruler Devabhuti was assassinated by his minister Vasudeva who founded the Kanvas dynasty.


  • Vasudeva was the founder of the Kanvas dynasty with capital at Pataliputra, Susaraman was the last kanvas ruler who was killed by one of the Satavahanas; their decline being due to the expansion of the Satavahanas in the Deccan and the foreign dynasties in north India.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD

Nagas of Ganga Valley: [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • They were small kingdom confined to the ganga valley. They were known to possess huge amounts of wealth and performed brahmanical sacrifices to uphold their own importance in Indian society.

Chetas (Chedis):

  • The Cheta dynasty was founded by Mahameghavarman. The greatest ruler of this dynasty was kharavela of Kalinga who rose,to prominence in the middle of the 1st century BC. The achievements of Kharavela are given in detail in the Hathigumpha inscription written in Prakrit language and Brahmi script. Kaharavela patronised Jainism. In a later expedition to Magadha, Kharavela is said to have defeated a ruler called Bahasatimitra, captured the fortress of Garathgiri and brought back an image of a Jain tirthankara to Kalinga. He is also said to have defeated a confederacy of south Indian rulers headed by Pandyans. Kharavela also donated Hathigumpha and Ranigumpha caves in Orissa to Jain monks. Kharavela also constructed many tanks and canals. We have no account of Chetas after Kharavela.

Satavahanas: [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • The Satavahanas ruled for a period of 460 years in the Deccan. The credit of establishing the first empire in South India goes to the Satavahanas. Andhra is both a tribal’ as well as a territorial name. In the Ashokan inscriptions, the Andras are mentioned as border people. Telangana in modern Andhra Pradesh was the nucleus of the Satavahana empire. Satavahanas is a Prakrit form of ‘Satavahanas’ which means the solar origin of the dynasty. The title Satkarni’ is borne by the Satavahanas. They were looked upon by some as Brahmins.
  • Simuka: He was the founder of the Satavahana empire with capital at Pratishtan (Paithan). Though he followed Brahmanism, he was liberal to they Buddhists and Jainas.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Kanha (Krishna): He was the youngerbrother and successor of Simuka. He extended the kingdom upto Nasik in the west.
  • Satkarni-I: He was Simuka’s son. Nanaghat inscription inscribed by his wife Nayamika (Nagamika) refers to Satkarni I as Dakshinapathapathr. The inscription mentions the regions under Satkarani I as Akara (Upper narmada valley), Anupa (lower narmada Valley), Anartha (Vidarbha), Aparanta (upper Konkan coast), Saurashtra, Kuccha (Kutch), Malva, Maru (desert area of Rajasthan). Satkarani I performed some Vedic sacrifices including ‘asvamedha’ and ‘rajasuya’. The next 100 years was a dark phase in Satavahana history.
  • Hala: He was the 17th ruler who ruled from 20-24 AD. Hala himself composed Gathasapatasati (Sattasi), an anthology of 700 erotic verses in Maharashtri or Paisachi Prakrit.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Gautamiputra Satkarni: He was the next important ruler. He was the first Satavahana to have a metronymic name. He is considered to be the greatest Satavahana ruler. Nasik inscription inscribed by his mother Gautami Balasri records the achievements of Gautamiputra Satkarni and says that his son’s horse drunk the water of the three seas. He is said to have defeated the Saka ruler of Girnar, Nahapana and regained many lost territories. To the Buddhists as well as the Brahmins, he made large donations. His patronage of Brahmanism is revealed by the epithet ‘Ekabrahmana’.
  • Vasishtaputra Pulamayi I: He is said to have extended the power upto the mouth of the river Krishna. He issued special type of coins showing a ship with double most found in the Coromandal cost. During his reign, the old stupa at Amaravati was repaired, enlarge and encased in richly sculptured marble slabs.
  • Vasisthaptra Sri Satkarni: He married the daughter of Rudradaman, the Shaka ruler of Ujjain but the Saka- Satavahana conflict continued unabated.
  • Yajnasri Satkarni: He is the last great ruler of the Satavanas. He regained much of the area which had been lost to the Shakas. He issued coins bearing fish symbol, boat symbol and a Chaitya symbol. Such coins are known as Ujjain type of coins. He successfully terminated hostilities with the shakas. Yajnasri Satkarni was the contemporary of the Mahanaya Buddhist monk Nagarjuna.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Pulamayi IV: He was the last Satavahana ruler.
  • The decline of the Satavahana empire led to the division of the empire among five minor dynasties. The northern provinces came under the Sway of a collateral branch of the Satavahanas. In the west, the Abhiras established themselves around Nasik; the. lkshvakus carved out for themselves a kingdom in the eastern region in the Krishna­Guntar area; the Chutus controlled the far-flung areas of the South-Western parts; and the Pallavas filled the political vacuum in the South-Eastern tracts.

Significance of the Satavahana rule: [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • The Satavahanas established the first empire in South India and defended it from invasions of the foreigners such as the Shakas. They provided a sound administration and ruled according to the laws of Dharmasastras.
  • The taxation system of the Satavahanas was liberal and it did not put heavy financial burden on the subjects.
  • Satavahanas contributed to the growth of trade and commerce. They patronised Buddhist and Jain traders inspite of the Satavahanas themselves being Brahmins. They had many ports on the west coast such as Bharuch, Sopara, Kalyana on the west coast. Parts such as Amaravati, Ghantasala, Goli were situated on the east coat. There were no restrictions on foreign travel.
  • Satavahanas contributed to the growth of currency an coinage. They issued many coins in various denominations in gold, silver, copper, lead, potene.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Women commanded good respect in the society which is clear from the fact that Satavahanas rulers included the names of their mothers along with theirs. Women participated in administration also. The widow of Gautamiptura Satkarni looked after the administration of the state as guardian of her sons.
  • Not only inter-caste marriages were prevalent but marriages with’ foreigners were also permitted. Satavahana rulers themselves had entered into matrimonial relations with the Shakas of Ujjain.
  • Satavahanas contributed to the growth of art in the hills of western ghats. The famous centres of art such as Nasik, Karle, Bhaja, Kondain, Kanheri, Ajanta flourished under them. Many chaityas and Viharas were constructed. Amarvati and Nagarjunakonda were great centres of art patronised by Satavahanas as well as their successors in the region, lkshvakus. Ajanta frescoes made their beginning in this period. Ajanta paintings are known for their rich colour combination the drawing of clear unblemished figures, their expression of emotions and their Buddhists themes.
  • Satavahanas contributed to the growth of Prakrit language. Hale, the Satavahana
    ruler wrote Gatasaptasati (Sattasi) a poem having 700 couplets in Prakrit. Satavahanas also issued inscriptions in Prakrit.
  • Satavahanas constructed the southern gateway of Sanchi Stupa.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Satavahanas contributed to the growth of Brahmanical religion and culture but
    were not hostile to Buddhism and Jainism.

RELIGION [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]


  • In the post-Maurya period, the rich and the powerful supported Buddhism. The
    monasteries received huge donations and the Buddhist order became respected. Buddhists sent various missions to the parts of India and to outside.
  • During the process of proselytizing, Buddhism also began to receive new ideas
    which led to reinterpretations of the doctrine until finally there were major difference of opinion and the religion was split into two main sects.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • The Buddhist monks built their monastic refectories on some secluded hill-side
    Thus the Buddhist order tended to move away from the common people and isolate itself. This in turn diminished much of its religious strength. The schism and the growing tendency to live off the affluent section of society bred the seeds of decay in Buddhism.
  • The Mahayana doctrine originated in Andhra and Nagarjuna was its most
    outstanding exponent. The essential features of Mahayanism were the concept of the Bodhisattva, deification of the Buddha and adoption of image-worship and puja-rituals.
  • The Hinayanists were the orthodox Buddhists who followed the original doctrine
    of Buddhism. They also worshipped the Buddha but through symbols like the Bodhi tree, Dharmachakara, stupa etc. The Hinyanists regarded the Salvation of the individual as the good unlike the Mahayanists who believed in the salvation of all begins. The Hinyanists continued the Pali canon whereas the Mahayanists adopted Sanskrit as the language of the sacred literature and developed a new canon.

Brahmanas [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

Some of the Vedic gods had passed into oblivion, some others were reborn as
new gods with additional attributes. It was during this period that Brahmanical religion assumed features which today are recognized as Hinduism.

  • The successful attack launched by the heretical sects on Vedic sacrifices and
    Vedic God strengthened the trend of monotheistic thinking among the brahmanas. This concept also led to the idea of Trinity of Gods- Brahma, Vishnu, mahesvara.
  • Animals, trees, mountains and rivers were held sacred. The cow was regularly worshipped. The bull and snake were centres of-fertility rites.
  • There was also a gradual shift in emphasis from ritual alone to personal devotion between God and the devotee (bhakti).
  • Vedic sacrifices still provided the ceremonial contest of certain occasions like coronation of Kings. People lost touch with Vedic tradition which increasingly became the preserve of the Brahmanas. As the Brahmans appropriated the Vedic texts, the people accepted the Epics in their place. The epic heroes Rama, Krishna and others became the incarnations of Vishnu. The epics were now given the sanctity of divine revelation. They were revised suitably with a view to using them as religious literature. Thus many interpolations were made, the most important being the ‘Bhagvad Gita’.
  • The doctrines of Karma and Transmigration formed the central features of the Hindu belief at that time. They stressed that actions in the present life conditioned the next birth; one could consciously perform good actions and can modify his destiny. The morality of an action was dependent on its conformity with dharma. The Gita proclaims that each man must do his duty and act according to the sacred law without questioning the results-of his action.


  • By and large Jainism remained more faithful to its original teachings. It maintained itself as a parish religion with more determination than Buddhism. This is one of the reasons why the number of its followers has remained fairly constant.
  • Christianity: Christianity entered India during the first century AD by way of the trading Ships from the west. The coming of Christianity is associated with the legend of St. Thomas who is said to have come twice on missions to India.

Social Structure [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • The most outstanding feature of the social order during 200 BC to 300 AD was
    that the traditional Indian social order, based on Varna was being threatened by the influx of foreigners such as Greeks, Shakas, Parthians, Kushanas and the foreigners called Yavanas in the south. The presence of foreigners in India in such large numbers posed a threat to the caste system. The Brahmanas gave them the position of fallen Kshatriyas. The’ absorption of foreigners into Indian society was made easy through their adoption of Buddhism, which did not raise difficulties as to caste.
  • Social laws were becoming rigid. Manusmriti was composed in 2nd century B.C.
  • Varna system existed in theory only. Though claims were made to defend
    country, religion and Brahmins from foreigners and to put an end to Varnasamkara, but these were hollow claims as a Satavahana ruler Vashistaputra Sri Satakarani had no objection to marrying the daughter of Rudradaman.
  • Brahmins continued to corner many privileges. Brahmin scholars were inimical to
    trading and banking. As a result, these sections supported Jainism and Mahayana Buddhism.
  • Increased commercial activity during this period led to the growth of money
    economy which in turn led to a proliferation of arts and crafts. Artisans and craftsmen were largely drawn in this period from the Sudras who gained in wealth and status on account of the progress of arts and commerce. The economic distinctions between the Vaishyas and the Sudras therefore tended to be blurred. But many Sudras continued to be employed as hired labourers and slaves.
  • Education was treated as the prerogative of the upper castes. The Brahmanas
    had access to all knowledge. The kshatriyas and the Vaishyas were expected to reconcile themselves to limited knowledge. The possibility of education for the Sudra existed. But reference to it is extremely infrequent.
  • The position of women in hinduism was low, though Manu gave them right over
    There are references to Sati in Ramayana and Mahabharata. Among the Buddhists, Jainas and foreigners, the position of women was relatively better.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Untouchability continued. Slaves continued to be imported from Zanzibar and
  • Urban life was well developed. Urban centres were inhabited by well to do’s.
    They enjoyed luxurious wealthy life.

Economy [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • Great expansion of agriculture is witnessed in the Post-Mauryan age because of
    the large scale use of Iron. Surplus was produced in agriculture. A number of agricultural products were exported, which must have given a general boost to areas cultivating these groups.
  • Many historians consider the Post-Mauryan age as the ‘Mercantile Age of India’
    because of the thriving trade that was carried on during this period.
  • An Extra-ordinary expansion and elaboration of trading activities and a
    corresponding increase in the range of exports and imports.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • There was opening up of the remote parts of the country and the discovery of
    new channels of communication. There was discovery by HIPPALUS of the ‘Monsoon route’ to India from, West Asia in 46 AD and the establishment of the ‘Silk Route’ from China to Europe through India and sea-route to South-East Asia from India.
  • There was increasing organisation of trade through guilds, increased monetisation of trade with the increase in the number of coins etc
  • Trade seems to have been conducted in the luxury items and not in necessary items.
  • Favourable balance of trade for India as is evident from the complaints of Roman writers like Pliny that gold was flowing out of their country to India.
  • Arts and Crafts made much progress and there seems to be a significant advancement of technology and consequent improvement in the general standard of goods produced.
  • Pearls were exported from the port of Korkai (Colchoi) in Pandyan Kingdom.
  • Spices were exported from Malabar in Chera Kingdom. Black pepper was also known as yavanapriya because the yavanas were found of it. So black pepper was known as black gold.
  • Cutlery items made of iron were important exports to the Roman world. Leather goods and Indian muslin cloths were also exported to the Roman empire, so much so that Pliny suggested that ban should be imposed on Indian cutlery items and muslin so as to prevent the flow of gold to India.
  • Pratishtan and Amaravati were cotton producing centres. Salaka was a type of cloth produced form Mathura. Mathuram was a type of cloth produced in Madurai.
  • Chinese silk was imported and converted into cloth called Chinapatta or
  • Nattamedu in Tamil Nadu was a glass bead making centre.
  • Slaves, gold, silver, copper, coral, high class pottery were imported.
  • Slaves were imported from Zanzibar and Madagascar.
  • Highest class of Roman pottery called Arrentine or Terra sigliata has been found from South India. Olive oil was stored in these vessles. Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Roulette pottery was also another type of pottery imported from Rome found on a larger scale than Arrentine on the east coast of India.
  • Ivory was imported from Ethiopia.
  • Horses were imported from Central Asia and West Asia.
  • Indians also imported gold, silver, copper, tin and spices from Indonesia.
  • A Brahmin named kaundinya founded his own dynasty in Cambodia by marrying a local princess.
  • Roman gold coins were called as ‘Aurius’ while the terms for silver coins were ‘Denarius’ and ‘Solidus’.
  • The flourishing trade led to interaction between not only different Indian cultures but also Indian and foreign cultures, leading to their synthesis. We hear of voyages of daring merchants to Malay peninsula (Suvarnabhumi), Indonesia (Suvaranadvipa), Camboida (Kambuja), and Annam (Champa). Indians regularly visited the ports of Saudi Arabia and East Africa. We also hear of Yavana settlements in India, more so in the south as in Muziris, Arikamedu, Kaveripattinam etc. than in the north. All this led to spread of Indian culture to South-East Asia, Central Asia and West Asia and also the Indian culture was in turn influenced by the culture of these areas.
  • Ports had many names. The port of Bharuch was also called as Broach, Bharukachcha, Barygaza or Brigakachchu. Sopara was also called as Supparika. Kalyana was called as Kalliena. Arikamadu was also called as Poduca; korkai as Kolchoi; Masulipatnam as Mosalia; Uraiyur as argaru; Tyndis as Ponnani; Muziris as Cranganore; Naura as Cannanore; Kaveripattinam as Puhar. Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD

Post-Mauryan Art and Architecture [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • It was reflective of new tendencies. The place of wood and bricks was talk. slate, sandstone, marble.
  • Sanchi Stupa wooden railings were replaced with stone railings by the sungas and the Satavahanas built the southern gateway of Sanchi Stupa. The Bharhut Stupa in Central Asia was constructed in the Post-Mauryan age.
  • For the first time, we get evidence of paintings in Ajanta caves. Paintings were characterised by good colour contrasts, clear drawing of figures from the themes of Buddha’s life and for expression of emotions. Floral designs were used to decorate ceilings of caves.
  • Many chatiyas and Viharas were constructed in the hills of eastern ghats and western ghats. Kharavela donated Hathigumpa and Ranigumpa caves to Jain monks. Ranigumpa is the biggest cave, its two storied, its constructed in an elongated rectangular pattern. Many caves were cut in Nasik, Bhaja, Kondaine, Ajanta, Karle, Kancheri. Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Karle chatiya is the biggest and is constructed on an elongated rectangular pattern with a curved roof. The Chaitya of Bhaja was circular, having a curved roof.
  • Art was influenced both by religion and by secular ideas. Themes of Mahayana Buddhism were represented in art. Images of Buddha and Budhisattvas were constructed on a large scale. Three prominent schools of art were Gandhara school of art, Mathura school of art and Amaravati school of art.
  • Gandhara School of Art
    • It was based on intermixing of diverse art traditions such as Persian, Greco-Roman and Indian.
    • It flourished in Afghanistan and North-Western India with prominent centres at Taxila, Peshawar, Begram, Bamiyan from 1st Century BC to 4th Century AD.
    • Inspiration was Buddhism and so Chaityas, Viharas and stupas were created mostly by Indians though foreign influence was seen. Many images were also constructed.
    • Use of black stone for images
    • Images in Gandhara art were realistic and look like the figures of common people. So though images are technically perfect they do not reflect spiritualism.
    • Images of Buddha had halo round the head indicating Greco-Roman influence. Images had wavy hair, lines on forehead, wrinkles on face, ornaments around the neck, muscular body and transparent garments.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
    • Images of Greek gods such as Apollo and images of Greek kings were also constructed.
  • Mathura School of Art:
    • It was based on indigenous art tradition but with Mathura city coming under foreigners, it yielded to foreign influence.
    • This school of art flourished in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. The school began in the middle of 2nd century BC but genuine progress only in 1st century Ad
    • Use of spotted red sandstone for images.
    • This school responsible for the first images of Buddha seen. The images of Buddha were it’s most significant contribution and was later adopted by Gandhara school of art as well.
    • Various cross-logged images of Jain tirthankars are also seen from Mathura school of art.
    • Images of Hindu gods and goddesses such as Vishnu, Laxmi, Shiva, Parvati, Kuber are seen although they were not constructed in correct proportions, a defect which was rectified in the Gupta age.
    • Headless images of Kanishka, the Kushana emperor recovered from Mathura. This image had long coat and tight trousers. Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Amaravati School of Art
    • Also known as the Vengi school of art, it flourished in the lower valleys of
      Krishna-Godavari region with Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda emerging as it’s two most important centres.
    • Patronage was provided by the Satavahanas and Ikshvakus.
    • The chief inspiration was Mahayana Buddhism. Marble stone was used.
    • The stupa of Amaravati was constructed with marble. Its railings were also
      decorated with themes from life of the Buddha. Its gateway is decorated with images of lions. Buddha’s body is depicted in very thin and slender form, even ribs of Buddha are visible.
    • Stupa of Nagarjunakonda was concentric in form. There were two domes, one
      dome was constructed within the other. Domes were properly decorated with use of colour tiles.
    • Amaravati school of art is naturalistic and sensors. Female figurines in different
      positions are its best creation. Feminine beauty is better depicted at Amaravati than at Mathura.
    • This school of art exerted great influence on the later South-Indian sculpture and
      its products influenced Ceylon and even South-East Asia. Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD

Sangam Age  [Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD]

  • The southern end of the Indian peninsula situated south of the Krishna river was divided into three kingdoms — Chola, Pandya and Cheras. The Pandyas are first mentioned by Megasthenes, who says that their kingdom was celebrated for pearls. He also speaks of its being ruled by a woman, which may suggest some matriarchal influence in the Pandya society.
  • Pandyas:
    • The Pandya territory occupied the southern-most and the south-eastern portion of the Indian peninsula, and it roughly included the modern districts of Tirunelveli, Ramnad and Madurai in Tamil Nadu. It had its capital at Madurai. The literature compiled in the Tamil academies in the early centuries of the Christian era and called the Sangam literature refers to the Pandya rulers. The Pandyan country was wealthy and prosperous as they profited from trade with Roman empire and even sent embassies to the Roman emperor Augustus. Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Cholas:
    • The Chola kingdom which came to be called Cholamandalam (coromandel) in early medieval times was situated to the north-east of the territory of the Pandyas, between the Pennar and the Velar rivers. We have some idea of the political history of the Cholas from the Sangam texts. Their chief centre of political power lay at Uraiyur, a place famous for cotton trade. It seems that in the middle of the second century BC, a Chola King named Elara conquered Sri Lanka and ruled it for nearly 50 years. A firmer history of the Cholas begins in the second century AD with their famous king Karikala. He founded Puhar and constructed 160 km of embankment along the Kaveri river. This was built with the labour of 12,000 slaves from Sri Lanka. Puhar is identical with Kaveripattnam, which was the Chola capital. It was a centre of trade and commerce and excavations show that it had a large dock. One of the main sources of the wealth of the cholas was trade in cotton cloth. The cholas maintained an efficient navy.
    • Under Karikala’s successors the Chola power rapidly declined. Their capital, Kaveripattanam, was overwhelmed and destroyed. Their two neighbouring powers, the cheras and the Pandyas, extended at the cost of the cholas. What remained of the chola power was almost wiped out by the attacks of the Pallavas from the north. From the fourth to the ninth century AD the cholas played only a marginal part in South Indian history. Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD
  • Cheras:
    • The Chera or the Kerala country was situated to the west and north of the land of the Pandyas. It included the narrow strip of land between the sea and the mountains and covered portions of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In the early centuries of the Christian era, the Chera country was as important as the country of the Cholas and the Pandyas. It owned its regiments at Muziris identical with Cranganore in the Chera country to protect their interest. It is said that they also built there a temple of Augustus.
    • The history of the Cheras was marked by a continuous fight with the Cholas and the Pandyas. Although the Cheras killed the father of Chola king karikala, the Chera king also lost his life. Later the two kingdoms temporarily became friends and concluded a matrimonial alliance. The Chera king next allied himself with the Pandya rulers against the Cholas. But the cholas defeated the allies, and it is said that since the Chera King was wounded in the back he committed suicide out of shame.
    • According to the Chera poets, their greatest king was Senguttuvan, the Red or Good Chera. He routed his rivals and established his cousin securely on the throne. It is said that he invaded the north and crossed the Ganga. But all this seems to be exaggerated. After the second century AD the Chera power declined, and we know nothing of its history until the eighth century AD.  Post Mauryan Period 200 BC to 300 AD


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