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Post -Mauryan Period (2nd Century B.C. to 3rd Century A.D.)

Post -Mauryan Period (2nd Century B.C. to 3rd Century A.D.)

Inscriptions

  • Junagarh rock inscription of Saka ruler of Ujjain Rudradaman-I dated 150 AD describes the achievements of Rudradaman-l. This is the earliest inscription in chaste Sanskrit. This is the earliest epigraphic evidence of vishti or forced labour. This inscription informs us that Sudarsana lake was constructed by Pushyagupta at the orders of Chandragupta Maurya. Canals were taken out of this lake by Tusaspa, the provincial governor during Ashoka’s time. This lake was repaired during the time of Rudradaman-l. Later, it seems that the lake was further repaired by Parnadatta during the times of the Gupta ruler Skandagupta.
  • A number of inscriptions have been found at Nasik associated with Satavahana rulers of Deccan. These inscriptions give us the territorial extent of the Satavahana Kingdom, the religious beliefs and practices of the Satavahanas and the economic activities during the period. They also provide us idea about the Saka- Satavahana conflict.
  • Besnagar pillar inscription from Vidisa talks about the pillar constructed by Heliodorus, an ambassador of Indo-Greek king of Taxila called Antialcides to the court of Sunga ruler of Vidisa, Kasiputra Bhagabhadra also called as Bhagavata. The inscription is recorded in honour of god of gods Vasudeva.
  • Hathigumpa inscription in Prakrit in Udayagiri hills of Orissa records the achievements of Kharavela of Kalinga, a Chedi ruler.
  • Sarnath inscription highlights the achievements of Kanishka, the Kushana ruler.
  • Tamil Brahmi inscriptions have been found from South India. They are about 72 in number and are found from pottery pieces and from caves. Such inscriptions from caves are known as Damili inscriptions.

Coins  [Post -Mauryan Period (2nd Century B.C. to 3rd Century A.D.)]

  • With the coming of Indo-Greeks, gold coins were issued for the first time in Indian history. Casted and moulded coins were also issued for the first time. The casted and moulded coins had inscription and images of gods and kings.
  • Sakas issued no gold coins. They mostly issued copper coins and rarely silver coins.
  • Parthians (Pahiavas) issued no gold coins. They mostly issued copper coins and rarely silver coins.
  • Kushanas issued gold coins on the largest scale upto that period. They issued standard gold coins. They also issued the largest number of cooper coins which indicates that currency was part of the life of common man. The Kushanas rarely issued silver coins.
  • Wema Kadphises was the first to introduce gold coins on a significant scale among the kushanas. He was a devotee of Shiva and so issued coins bearing the image of Shiva, the Nandi and trident.

Kanishka issued coins bearing the terms Wudo (Buddha), Atso (fire god)

  • and Meyo (sun god).
  • Huvishka issued coins of a greater variety than Kanishka. He issued coins with image of Harihar and also issued Chaturbhuja coins which contain 4-armed god Vishnu.
  • Satavahanas also issued coins in large numbers in gold, silver, copper, lead and potene. Vashistaputra Pulamayi-I issued coins showing a ship with double mast found on the coromandal coast. Yajnasri Satkami issued, coins bearing the fish symbol, boat symbol and a Chaitya Symbol which are known as Ujjain type of coins.  Post -Mauryan Period (2nd Century B.C. to 3rd Century A.D.)
  • Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas in the Sangam age issued coins of gold and copper, not of silver. Pon, Kasu and Kanam were gold coins issued by them.
  • 68 hordes of Roman coins have been found all over the country of which 57 hordes are found in south India. The Roman gold coins are known as Aurius. Roman silver coins are known as Denarius and Solidus. India had a favourable balance of trade with Roman Empire.

Literature   [Post -Mauryan Period (2nd Century B.C. to 3rd Century A.D.)]

  • Sangam period: Sangam literature was composed in the course of three assemblies. It was poetic in nature. Based on the theme of love and war. Pandyan kings patronized the Sangam poets. It was produced over three to four centuries. Prominent works into Ettutogai, patupattu, Padinenkilkanakku, Silappadigaram, Manimegalai and Sivaga Sindamani.
    • Ettutotogai — It means 8 anthologies. It mainly contains poems on love and war.
    • Padinenkilkanakku — It means Eighteen Minor Works. These poems are mostly moral and ethical messages. It contains Tirukkural written by Thiruvallur and is known as the bible of Tamil land.
    • Silappadigaram — It means the Jeweled anklet. It is a Tamil epic written by Ilangovadigal. It deals with the tragic story of Kovalan, his wife kannagi and his affair with a dancer Madhavi.
    • Animegalai — Written by Sattanar is a Buddhist supplement to Silappadigaram. It is the story of Manimegalai, the daughter of Kovalan and Kannagi.
    • Sivaga Sindamani — Written by Tiruttakkadevar, a Jaina, it is the story of Sivaga who ultimately becomes a Jaina monk in the end.  Post -Mauryan Period (2nd Century B.C. to 3rd Century A.D.)
  • Patanjali, a great grammarian wrote the Sanskrit book ‘Mahabhasya’ in the 2nd century BC ‘Mahabhasya’ itself is a commentary of the great Sanskrit grammar work called ‘Asthadhyayi’ by Panini in 4th century BC.
  • Manu is the 2nd century BC wrote the book Manusmriti which is the most famous dharmashastra.
  • Buddhist work in Sanskrit in the post-Mauryan period includes the following:
    • Asvaghosha — He wrote Buddacharita, Saundarananda, Sariputraprakarana, Vajrosuchi, Sraddhotpada and Gandistotragatha.
    • Asanga — He wrote Sutralankara and Yogacharabhumisastra.
    • Nagarjuna — He wrote Madhyamika — Karika and Surillekha.
    • Aryadeva — He wrote Chatushsatika, a criticism of brahmanical practices.
    • Aryasura — He wrote Jatakamala, a Sanskrit version of the Jataka tales.
  • Foreigners’ books in the post-Mauryan period relevant to India:
    • Periplus of the Erythrean Sea — written in Greek by an anonymous writer between 80-115 A.D. It describes the Roman trade in the Red sea, Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Mention is made about various Indian ports.
    • Ptolemy’s Geography — Written in Greek in about 150 AD. It also mentions the flourishing trade between India and the Roman Empire in the post-mauryan period. Mention is made about various Indian ports.
    • Pliny’s Naturalis Historia: This is written in Latin in the first Century AD and tells us about trade between India and Italy.    Post -Mauryan Period (2nd Century B.C. to 3rd Century A.D.)

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