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Satvahanas | Shakas | Kushanas & Kanishka | Rudradaman | Christianity

In the first century B.C. the northern Deccan contributed more fully to the history of the sub-continent, with the rise of the Satvahana dynasty, in the north-western part of the Deccan centered on modern day Nasik. The Satvahanas were also referred to as the Andhra dynasty, and it is they who gave the name to the region between Krishna & Godavari as Andhra desh. They established their power during the general confusion caused by the decline of the Mauryan empire.

The earliest of the Satvahana kings to receive wide recognition was Satakarni, he followed the path military conquests in every direction. He defied Kharavela of Kalinga when Kharavela tried in vain to annex his kingdom. His conquests took him to the north of the Narmada ito the eastern Malwa, which at the time was being threatened by the Shakas and the Greeks. Satakarni gained control of the region of Sanchi, and an inscription there referring to him as Rajan Shri Satakarni. Next he moved towards the southern direction and conquered the Godavari valley. After which he entitled himself with 'Lord of the Southern Regions' (Dakshina-pathapati). Satakarni was a staunch Hindu and had also performed Ashwa Medha Yajna.

The Satvahana's did not hold on to the Deccan for long, soon after the death of Satakarni they had to face successive defeats as a result of which they were driven out of the west and pushed towards the eastern coast. Soon they had firmly established themselves in the eastern coast of the Andhra region. Their western possessions were annexed by the Shakas, who were now very powerful in the western area north of Narmada.

Again in the second century A.D. Satvahana power saw a return to prominence under Gautamiputra and his son Vasishthiputra. The Deccan now became a connecting link between the north and the south, not only in terms of politics, but more significantly in trade and in the exchange of ideas.

Vasishthiputra states that Gautamiputra had uprooted the Shakas and had again installed the supremacy of the Satvahanas over the western part of the Deccan. The conflict became so grueling between Rudradaman (Shaka king) and the Satvahanas that in order to compose the conflict a matrimonial relation was concluded and the daughter of Rudradaman was married to the Satavahana king. But this alliance was not successful as soon the two dynasties were at loggerheads, Rudradaman twice defeated the Satvahana king, inspite of the relationship they had between themselves. But soon after the death of Rudradaman, the Satvahanas were more successful in their attacks on the Shaka territories. Towards the end of the of the second century the Satvahanas held Kathiawar on the west-coast, and the Krishna delta and northern Madras in the south-east. But this extensive domain did not survive for long as the next century saw the weakening of the Satvahanas due to the increase in the power of local Governors claiming independence.

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