The Age of Gupta

THE AGE OF GUPTA’S (320 AD-550)

  • Some 500 years after the collapse of the Mauryan Empire, a new dynasty called the Guptas arose in Magadha and established its control over the greater part of India.
  • This period is also referred as the ‘classical age’ or ‘Golden Age’ of ancient India.

 

The Gupta Dynasty 

Chandragupta                 

 

320-335 AD

Samundragupta              

 

335-375 AD

Ramagupta                    

 

375-380 AD

Chandragupta Vikranmaditya

 

380-413 AD

Kumargupta Mahendraditya

 

415-455 AD

Skandagupta                  

 

455-467 AD

 

CHANDRAGUPTA

  • He was the first Gupta ruler to assume the title of Maharajadhiraja.
  • He strengthened his kingdom by matrimonial alliance with the powerful family of Lichchavis who were the rulers of Mithila.  
  • His marriage to Lichchavi princess Kumaradevi brought an enormous power, resources and prestige.  
  • He took advantage of the situation and occupied the whole of fertile Gangetic valley.

 

SAMUDRAGUTA

  • He gave himself the titles King of Kings and World Monarch
  • Historian Vincent Smith described him as the "Indian Napoleon". 
  • He performed Ashwamedha yajna (horse sacrifice) to underline the importance of his conquest. 
  • The stone replica of the sacrificial horse, then prepared, is in the Lucknow Museum. 
  • The Samudragupta Prashasti inscribed on the Ashokan Pillar, now in Akbar’s Fort at Allahabad, is an authentic record of his exploits and his sway over most of the continent.
  • Samudragupta was not only a talented military leader but also a great patron of art and literature. 
  • The important scholars present in his court were Harishena, Vasubandhu and Asanga. 
  • He was a poet and musician himself. He was a firm believer in Hinduism and is known to have worshipped Lord Vishnu. 
  • He was considerate of other religions and allowed Sri Lanka's Buddhist king Sirimeghvanna to build a monastery at Bodh Gaya. 
  • That monastery was called by Xuanzang as the Mahabodhi Sangharama. He provided a gold railing around the Bodhi Tree.
  • Samudragupta was perhaps the greatest king of Gupta Dynasty.
  • His name appear in Javanese text Tantrikamandaka and Chinese ambassador was sent  to his court by king Meghavarma of Sri Lanka, who had asked his permission to build a Buddhist monastery at Bodh Gaya for the monks travelling from Sri Lanka.
  • The most detailed and authentic record of his reign is preserved in the Allahabad pillar inscription, composed by his court poet Harisena.
  • Allahabad pillar inscriptions mentions the title Dharma Pracha Bandhu for him, that he was the upholder of Brahamanical religion.

 

CHANDRA GUPTA II

  • According to the Gupta records, amongst his many sons, Samudragupta nominated Prince Chandra Gupta II, born of queen Dattadevi, as his successor.
  • Chandra Gupta II, Vikramaditya (the Sun of Power), ruled from 380 until 413. 
  • Chandra Gupta II also married to a Kadamba princess of Kuntala region and a princess of Naga lineage, Kuberanaga. 
  • His daughter Prabhavatigupta from this Naga queen was married to Rudrasena II, the Vakataka ruler of Deccan. 
  • His son Kumaragupta I was married to Kadamba princess of karnatka region. 
  • Emperor Chandra Gupta II expanded his realm westwards, defeating the Saka Western Kshatrapas of Malwa, Gujarat and Saurashtra in a campaign lasting until 409, but with his main opponent Rudrasimha III defeated by 395, and crushing the Bengal (Vanga) chiefdoms. 
  • This extended his control from coast-to-coast, estabilshed a second capital at Ujjain and was the high point of the empire.
  • The court of Chandragupta was made even more illustrious by the fact that the Navaratna (Nine Jewels), a group of nine who excelled in the literary arts, graced it. 
  • Amongst these men was the immortal Kalidasa whose works dwarfed the works of many other literary geniuses, not only in his own age but also in the ages to come. 
  • Kalidasa was particularly known for his fine exploitation of the shringara (romantic) element in his verse.
  • 4th century AD Sanskrit poet Kalidasa credits Chandragupta Vikramaditya with having conquered about twenty-one kingdoms, both in and outside India. 
  • After finishing his campaign in the East and West India, Vikramaditya (Chandra Gupta II) proceeded northwards, subjugated the Parasikas (Persians), then the Hunas and the Kambojas tribes located in the west and east Oxus valleys respectively.

 

KUMARGUPTA I

  • Adopted the title of Mahendraditya  
  • Founded the monastry of Nalanda, which developed into a great centre for learing. Harshagupta, Damodargupta, Mahasenaguta.
  • Budhagupta was the last emperor of Guptas who preserved unity, when he passed away, Huns safely entered into Sialkot region and Eastern Malwa.

  

 

SKANDAGUPTA

  • Skandagupta, son and successor of Kumaragupta I is generally considered to be the last of the great Gupta rulers.  
  • He assumed the titles of Vikramaditya and Kramaditya.  
  • He defeated the Pushyamitra threat, but then was faced with invading Hephthalites or "White Huns", known in India as the Huna, from the northwest.  
  • He repulsed a Huna attack c. 455, but the expense of the wars drained the empire's resources and contributed to its decline.  
  • Skandagupta died in 467 and was succeeded by his agnate brother Purugupta. 

 

GUPTA ARTS

1. Architecture

  • By evolving the Nagara and Dravida styles, the Gupta art ushers in the history of Indian architecture a formative and creative age with unlimited scope for future development and elaboration. Rock-cut Caves:
  • The rock-cut caves continue the old forms largely, but possess striking novelty by bringing about extensive changes in the ornamentation of the façade and in the designs of the pillars in the interior.
  • The most notable groups of rock-cut caves are found at Ajanta and Ellora (Maharashtra) and Bagh (M.P.). The Udayagiri caves (Orissa) are also of this type.
  • Structural Temples:  The following five groups may be distinguished among the structural temples:
    1. Flat-roofed square temple;
    2. Flat-roofed square temple with a second storey (vimana) above;
    3. Square temple with a curvilinear tower (sikhara) above; (iv)        Rectangular temple; and (v)       Circular temple.
  • The second group of temples shows many of the characteristic features of the Dravida style. The importance of third group lies in the innovation of a ‘sikhara’ that caps the sanctum sanctorium, the main feature of the Nagara style.

 

  • Stupas: Stupas were also built in large numbers, but the best are found at Sarnath (U.P.), Ratnagiri (Orissa) and Mirpur Khan Sind).

 

2. Sculpture

Stone Sculpture:

    1. A good specimen is the well-known erect Buddha from Sarnath.
    2. Of the Brahmanical images perhaps the most immediately impressive is the Great Boar (Varaha) at the entrance of a cave at Udayagiri.

Metal Statues:  

      • The art of casting statues on a large-scale by the cire process was practiced by Guptan craftsmen with conspicuous success.
      • A copper image of the Buddha is about eighteen feet high situated at Nalanda in Bihar.  At Sultanganj, the image of Buddha is of seven-and-half feet.

3. Painting

      • The art of painting seems to have been more in general practice and popular demand in the Gupta period than the art of stone sculpture.
      • Remains of paintings of this period are found at Ajanta, Bagh, Badami and other places.
      • From the point of technique, the surface of these paintings was perhaps done in a very simple way. In fact, the mural paintings of Ajanta are not true frescoes, for a fresco is painted while the plaster is still damp and the murals of Ajanta were made after it had set.
      • However, the art  of Ajanta and Bagh shows the ‘Madhyadesa School’ of painting at its best.

 

 

4. Terracottas and Pottery

      • Clay figurines were used both for religious and secular purposes. We have figurines of Vishnu, Kartikeya, Surya, Durga, Kubera, Nagas, etc.
      • Gupta pottery remains found at Ahichchhatra, Rajgarh, Hastinapur and Bashar afford an outstanding proof of the excellence of pottery. The most distinctive class of pottery of this period is the ‘red ware’.

 

ADMINISTRATION

      • It was during the Gupta rule that the village headmen became more important than before. In towns, organised professional bodies (Guilds) were given considereable share in the share in the administration of artisans, merchants and scribes conducted the affairs of the town.
      • The kumaramatyas were the most important officers of the Gupta period who were in charge of several portfolios. It was from then the Mantris, Senapate, Mahadandanayaka and Sandhi Vigrahika (minister of war and peace) were generally chosen.

 

RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENTS

      • Under the patronage of Gupta ruler, Vaishanavism became very popular.
      • Their unions activated the Gods with the respective consorts. Thus Laxmi got her association with Vishnu (Skandagupta time) and Parvati got her association with Shiva (Kumargupta’s time).
      • This was the period of evolution of Vajrayanism and Buddhist tantric cults.

 

  

THE POST GUPTA PERIOD HARSHVARDHANA (606-647 AD)

      • Harsha belonged to Pushyabhuti dynasty, which ruled from Thaneswar.  
      • Pushyabhutis were the feudatories of the Gupta’s but had assumed independence after the Huna invasion.
      • His reign is comparatively well documented, thanks to his court poet Bana, who was the author of works such as ‘Harsacharitra’ (an account of Harsha’s rise to power), ‘Kadambri’ and ‘Paravatiparinay’.
      • Harsha’s drems such as ’Retnavli’, ‘Nagannanda’ and Pryadarsika’ give us information about the political condition of those days.
      • Harshs’s ambition of extending his power to the Deccan and Sothern India were stopped by Pulakesin ll, the Chlukya king of Vatapi in Northern Mysore.

 

PALLAVAS (560-903 AD)

      • There is controversy regarding the origion of Pallavas. Possibly the Pallavas were a local tribe, who established their authority in the Tondainadu or the land of creepere.  
      • They were orthodox Brhamanical Hindus and their capital was at Kanchi.
      • Both Chalukyas and Pallavas tried to establish their supremacy over land between Krishna and Tungabhadra.
      • Pallav king Narsimhavarman (630-668 AD) occupied Chalukan capital a Vatapi in about 642 AD and assumed the title Vatapikonda.

 

THE CHOLA EMPIRE (9th-12th CENTURY)

      • The founder of Chola Dynasty was Vijayala, who was at first a feudatory of the Pallavas. He captured Tanjore in 850 AD.
      • The great Chola rulers were Rajaraja (985-1014 AD) and his son Rajendra I (1014-1044 AD).
      • Rajendra l assumed the title of Gangaikondachola and built a city called Gangaikondacholapuram.

 

CHALUKYAS (543-757 AD)

      • They established their capital act Vatapi (Badami) in district of Bijapur in Karnataka.
      • Pulakesin ll was able to check Harasha’s design to conquer Deccan.
      • Aihole inscription is a eulogy written by his court poet Ravi kiriti.
      • The Chinese Pilgrim Hiuen Tsang visited the kingdom.
      • Pallava ruler Narimhavaraman l invaded the Chalukya kingdom, killed Pulakesh ll and captured Badami.

 

  

THE RAJPUTS

      • Rose to political importance in ninth and tenth centuries AD.
      • It is thought that they were of foreign origin that came as conquerors and settled in W.India.
      • Of all the Rajput clans, four clans-
      1. Pratihara or Pariharas of S.Rajasthan.
      2. Chauhans of E. Rajasthan.
      3. Chalukyas or Solankis of Kathiarwar.
      4. Parmaras or Pawars of Malwa.
      • Claimed descent from a mythical figure that arose out of a sacrificial fire pit near Mt.

Abu. So they were called Agnikula or fire family.

    • Two main clans of Rajput are :-
    1. Suryavansha (Sun family)
    2. Chandra Vansha (Moon family)

 

 

SCHOOLS OF ART

A. Gandhara School

1. Period, Place and Patrons

  • It flourished from about the middle of the 1st century BC to about the 5th century AD in the Gandhara region (north-western India) and hence known as the ‘Gandhara School’. 
  • It owed its origin to the Indo-Greek rulers, but the real patrons of the school were the Sakas and the Kushanas, especially Kanishka.

 

2. Influence of Mahayanism

Because of its intimate connections with Mahayana Buddhism, it is also called the ‘GraecoBuddhist School’.

 

3. Gandhara Sculputure

  • Specimens of Gandhara sculpture have been found extensively in the ruins of Taxila and the various ancient sites in Afghanistan and the north-western India.
  • They were executed in black stone. Gandhara School has the following main features:
    • A tendency to mould the human body in a realistic manner with great attention to accuracy of physical details, especially the delineation of muscles, the addition of moustaches, curly hair, etc.
    • The representation of thick drapery with large and bold fold lines; § Rich carving, elaborate ornamentation and complex symbolism.

 

4. Gandhara Architecture

  1. Buddhist Monasteries: 

A very large number of Buddhist monasteries were built in the early centuries of the Christian era. 

Ruins of about 15 monasteries have been found in the neighborhood of Peshawar and Rawalpindi, while in the Kabul valley alone there are some 50 examples.

  1. Buddhist Stupas:  

The Graeco-Roman architectural impact modified the structure of the ‘stupa’. 

The orthodox Indian design of the ‘stupa’ was developed into an architectural composition of fine proportions and character. 

The height of the ‘stupa’ was raised enormously by elevating it and a high platform and by elongating it main body upwards. 

Besides, plastic ornamentation was added to the structure of the ‘stupa’. All this provided the ‘stupa’ effective and colourful appearance.

 

5. Significance

The main theme of Ghandhara School can be said to be the new form of Buddhism, viz. Mahayanism and its most important contribution was the evolution of an image of the Buddha.

 

 

B. Mathura School

  1. Period and Place: 
    • The school of art that developed at Mathura (U.P.) has been called the ‘Mathura School’.
    • Its origin has been traced back to the middle of the 2nd century BC, but it was only in the 1st century AD that its genuine progress began.  
    • The artists of Mathura used the spotted red sandstone for making images.

 

  1. Its Relationship with Other Schools:  
    • Though the Mathura school owed much to the earlier Indian traditions (Bharhut, Gaya and Sanchi), it also borrowed from the Gandhara school and adopted more than one Graeco-Roman motif.

 

  1. Jaina Images:  

In its early phase, the Mathura school was probably inspired by Jainism as we find that many figures of cross-legged naked ‘tirthankaras’ in meditation were carved by Mathura craftsmen.

 

  1. Buddhist Images:  
    • The early Buddhas and Bodhaisattvas of the Mathura school are fleshy figures with little spirituality about them, but later they developed in grace and religious feeling.
    • The attempt to display spiritual strength by a circle behind the faces of the images, in fact, began with the Mathura school.

 

  1. Brahmanical Images:  
    • The Mathura artists also carved out images of Brahmanical divinities. 
    • Popular Brahmanical gods, Siva and Vishnu, were represented alone and sometimes with their consorts, Parvati and Lakshmi respectively.  
    • Images of many other Brahmanical deities were also faithfully executed in stone.

 

  1. Female Figure:   
    • The most striking remains are the beautiful female figures of Yaksinis, Naginis and Apsaras. These richly jeweled women stand in pert attitudes reminiscent of the Indus dancing girl.

 

  1. Royal Statues:  
    • Most of the Kushana royal statues were found at the village of Mat (near Mathura) where the Kushana kings had a winter palace, with a chapel in which the memory of former monarchs and princes was revered.  
    • Almost all the figures have been broken by the rulers of the succeeding dynasties, and that of the great Kanishka, the most striking of the statues, unfortunately lacks its head.

 

C. Amaravati School

  1. Period and Place: 
    • In the region between the lower valleys of the Krishna and Godavari, which became an important centre of Buddhism at least as early as the 2nd century BC, a separate school of art, known as the ‘Amaravati School’, flourished.  
    • Though it had its beginning in the middle of the 2nd century BC, it matured only in the later Satavahana period (2nd and 3rd centuries AD) and declined by the end of the 4th century AD.  
    • Its main centres were Amaravati, Nagarjuna Konda and Jaggayyapeta. Its artists mainly used white marble.

 

  1. Buddhists Statues:  
    • The great ‘stupa’ of Amaravati was adorned with limestone reliefs depicted scenes of the Buddha’s life and surrounded with freestanding Buddha figures.

 

  1. Secular Statues:  
    • Amaravati artists created beautiful human images, which outnumber those of religious nature.  
    • The figures and images of males and females carved under the influence of this school have been regarded as some of the best amongst the contemporaries not only from the point of view of their size, physical beauty and expression of human emotions, but from the point of view of composition.  
    • The female figures in different moods and poses are in particular its best creations. Even men, animals and vegetation have been treated elegantly.

 

  1. Its Relationship with Other Schools:  
    • The Amaravati School had great influence. Its products were carried to Ceylon and South East Asian countries and had a marked effect on the indigenous styles.        Its influence on later south Indian sculpture is also very evident.

 

 

THE SANGAM AGE FIRST SANGAM

 

  • Venue                                                   Tenmadurai
  • Presided over by                                     August
  • Patrons                                                 89 Kings
  • Number of members                               4449
  • Period                                                   4400 years
  • Texts compiled                                        Aktiyan, Paripadal, Mridunare, Mridukugu,   Kalriyaviruai, Agatayam (Grammer). No text is available.
  • No. of poets participated                          4499

 

SECOND SANGAM

 

  • Venue                                                   Kavatapuram/Alvi (Submerged in sea)
  • Presided over by                                     August & Tolkappiyar
  • Patrons                                                 59 Kings, 5 were poets
  • No. of members                                     59
  • Period                                                   3700 years
  • Texts compiled Aktriyam                          Mapuranam. Ese-Nunukam. Bhutpuranam.

Keli, Kuruk, Vendhali, Vayalamlaya.

Tolkapiyam (Grammar). Tolkapiyam by Tolkappiyar is the only available text, the oldest Tamil grammer.

  • No. of poets participated                          3700

 

THIRD SANGAM

 

  • Venue                                                   Madurai
  • Partons                                                 Nakkirar
  • Patrons                                                 49
  • No. of mambers                                     49
  • Period                                                   1850 years
  • Texts                                          Nenudutogai, Kurontogai, Nanuru. Ankurutrur

Paditrupptru, Nutramibathu, Paripadal, Vari, Parisai Sirisai. Most of them are lost. Available Tamil texts are associated with this Sangam.

  • No. of poets participated                          449
  • Eminent poets          Eraiyaner, Kapilar, Parnar, Sittalal Samanar,

Udra.

 

FACTS ABOUT SANGAM AGE

 

  • Sangam …............................A college /assembly of literary tigures
  • Agam …...............................Love
  • Puram …..............................Everything except love
  • Tinai …................................Tamil land
  • Kurinji …..............................Hills
  • Palai ….................................Dry lands
  • Mullai …................................Forest land
  • Manudam …...........................Cultivated plains
  • Neydal …...............................Tempre
  • Kandu …..............................Planted log of wood, which served as an object of worship.
  • Yupas …................................Sacrificial ports
  • Sravakas …...........................Lay followers of Jainism
  • Vaisigas …............................Commercial community (reference in TOLKAPPIYAM)
  • Kalavu …..............................Secret marriage
  • Eripatti ….............................Tank
  • Eyinar …..............................Hunters
  • Kalams ….............................A unit of measurement
  • Kaikkilai …............................Unilateral love
  • Perundinai ….........................Improper love
  • Kadaisiyar ….........................Agriculture labours
  • Pulaiyans …..........................Rope makers
  • Variyar ….............................Tax collector
  • Arasar …..............................Ruling class
  • Enadi …...............................Title given to military commanders 
  • Avai ….................................Imperial court
  • Perunal ….............................Royal birthday
  • Avanam …............................Market place at smaller towns
  • Angadi …..............................Market place at larger towns
  • Puhar …................................Harbour area
  • Salai ….................................Trunk road
  • Cheri …................................Village
  • Mashanam …........................Members of five Mahasabhas (council) for different works.
  • Karai …................................Land tax
  • Ulgu ….................................Custom duty
  • Ekhai …................................Additional taxes

 

SANGAM AGE-POLITICAL SYSTEM

 

  • King was known as - Ko, Maham, Iraivan, Korravan, Vendan etc.
  • Monarchy was a regular pattem of the government.
  • Law of Primogeniture was established
  • Five qualities of a king were - knowledge of the vedas, right speech, knowledge of astrology and control over senses.
  • Titles of various kings were as follows.

Cheras …............................ Vannauar/ Villavar/ Kuddavar

Cholas …............................ Sennis / Valavan / Killi

Pandyas ….......................... Minavar / Panchvar /Tennai

 

  • Royal emblems

Pandayas …........................ Carp

Cholas …............................ Tiger

Cheras …............................ Bow        There were five councils to assist king.

  • The members to five councils where known as Mashanan.
  • Ministers bore the title Kavidi.
  • Imperial court was known as - Ava. 

 

 

Officials 

                Amaichochar                                Ministers

                Purohit                                        Priests

                Senappatiyar                               Military camp

          Dutar                                         Emrags

          Orrar 

 

Division 

 

 

 

Spies

Mandalam

 

 

 

Kingdom

          Nadu 

 

 

 

Provinces

                Urs      

 

 

 

Towns

Sirur 

 

 

 

Small Village

Perur 

 

 

 

Big Village 

Mudur 

 

 

 

Old Village

Manarams

 

 

 

Local assemblies

 

 

SANGAM AGE-SOCIETY

 

  • Cast – division was prevalent
  • Brahming were a part of society. They were ambassadors. Priests, Ascetics, Merchants, Judicial advisors
  • Kashatriya & vaishya were - not regular
  • Society was not priest-dominated
  • Ruler was known ARSAR, the brahamin ANDANAR, the VENIGAR the agriculturist VELLALLS.
  • Pulaiyans - Rope makers
  • Vellalas (especially agriculturists) were important part of society
  • Kadaisiyar – agricultural labourer
  • Women enjoyed good status, had right for education as is evident from a number of women poets.
  • Sati was common especially among the higher classes.
  • Remarriage not allowed.
  • “Kannagi or Pattini Cult” was an established institution. Images of Pattini Devi were placed in temples.
  • Level of material culture was high.

 

SANGAM AGE-RELIGION

 

  • Influence of Brahmanism, manifested in performance of vedic sacrifices and adoption of vedic gods by higher classes, sraddha & Pinda to dead
  • Buddhism & Jainism too began to spread but there subordinate to Brahmanism.
  • Indignous cults and religious believes continued.
  • Temples were in vogue (known as KOIL/KOTTAM/ PURAI/ NAGAE).
  • ANIMISM was an important aspect of Sangam religion – worship of stones, water, star, planets etc.
  • The name SHIV is rarely mentioned in Sangam literature but many of his attributes have been given
  • Temple of Indra was known as Vajrakkottam and Temple of Vishnu was known as Vinnagare of Vishnugriha.
  • Both Inhumation with or without ums and cremation (Aryan influence were practiced) VARIOUS DEITIES

 

  • Murugan                                       The god par excellence. Also known as Subramany.

He is god of hillock worshipped by hunters 

  • Tirunal                                         The god considered to be competitor of Murugan
  • Devardana     A group of five gods Murugan, Shiva, Krishna,

Balram & Indra.

  • Indra                                God of agriculturists
  • Varuna                                        God of fishemen and people of coastal areas
  • Korraval                                      Diety representing death
  • Kannagi                                       Goddess of chastity
  • Tirumal                                        Another name of Lord Vishnu
  • Kadurai Kadavul                            Goddess of forest, Identified with Durga.
  • Kubera                                        God of Wealth
  • Yama                                God of death
  • Balram

                     

 

SANGAM AGE - MISCELLAEOUS FACTS

 

  • The earliest reference to the term Sangam comes from the book lraiyanar Agapporul Ural.
  • According to tradition, the father of Tamil literature is AGASTYA
  • Sangam age corresponds to the Post-Maurya and Pre-Gupta period of ancient India  TIRUKKURAL is considered the fifth Veda.
  • Romaris trading with Sangam Kingdom built a temple of Augustus's at Muziris.
  • The two recurring causes of warfare in Sangam Age were cattle lifting and refusal to give prices in mamage.
  • In first, second and third Sangams: 89, 59 and 49 Pandays respectively participated.             The reference to a woman ruler of Pandayan kingdom comes from Megasthanes.
  • Tolkappiyam, a Tamil grammer book is based on the Sanskrit grammer of AINDRA SCHOOL.
  • The references of ADIMANDI, the daughter of the chola king Karikola and ATTAN ATTI, the chera Prince are found in SILAPPADIKARAN.
  • Pandayan kings maintained in their courts, a body of eminent literary man and poets. This body later came to be known as Sangam.
  • Pandayan kings shifted their capital from TEN-MADURAI to KAPATAPURAN and then finally to MADURAI.
  • The first literary evidence about the South Indian Kings is found in Megasthenes Indika.
  • Important Tamil works on grammer are TOLKAPPIYAN, AGATTIYAM, and PANANI.
  • 'URAIYUR' was famous for Pearis and Muslim.
  • ‘YAVANAPRIYA’ a Sanskrit term, which came to be used for Indian pepper.
  • The coin of AUGUSTUS and TIBERUS predominate the Roman coins found in India.
  • The earliest scripts that the Tamils used were, BRAHMI; from late ancient period they began to use a new angular script known as GRANTHA.
  • Referances about the Sangam Age are found from the Greek and Roman writers of 100200 AD. They are PTOLEMY, PLINY, STRABO and anonymous writer of the PERIPLUS OF THE ERYTHREAN SEA.
  • Sangam Age existed roughly between 300 BC AD.
  • Sangam literature seems to have produced during the period 300 BC – 300 AD though it was finally compiled in the form what we find today during 400 AD to 500 AD.       Tirrukural written by TIRRUVALLUVAR is considered the “Bible of Tamil land”.
  • The Saiva saint TIRUNARUKKARASU NAYANAR also known as APPAR used the word SANGAM for the first time.
  • The cholas were the most powerful among the there kingdoms.
  • Reference of the Sangam Age comes from HATHINGUMPHA INSCRIPTION as well.
  • IInd and XIIIth Rock Edicts of Ashoka give reference to this period.
  • Megasthenes mention that the Pandayan Kingdom was famous for pearls.

 

 

SANGAM LITERATURE

Epics

 

MANIMEGALLAI

 

  • Written by poet Settanar of Madurai.
  • Contents: Manimegalai's (the daughter of Kovalan & Madhavi) efforts to preserve her chastity and her conversion to a Buddhist nun.
  • References of development of fine arts in Sangam age.

 

 

SILAPPADIGARAM

 

  • Oldest and greatest of sangam epics
  • Literal meaning: The Jewelled Acklet.
  • Written by Illango Avadigal (grandson of the Chola king Karikala).
  • Date : 200 AD
  • Contents: Story of Kovalan (a merchant) of Puhar, who talles in love with dancer Mahdavi and ignores his wife Kannagi Kannagi avenges the death of Kovalan at the hands of the Pandayan king and becomes a goddess with her begins Kannagi/Patni cult.
  • It is a love story.

 

SIVAGA SINDAMANI/KAVAK CHINTAMANI

 

  • Written by liruttakkadevar (a Jain by religion) - Vaisya from Madura.
  • Contents: Story of Sivaga/Jivaka who possesses superpowers and wins a new bride for his harem. At the end of his life, he becomes a Jain monk.
  • Exhibits the influence of Sanskrit style.
  • It is known as a marriage book

 

Tolkappiyam

 

  • Written by Tokapiyar, one of the 12 deciples of saint Aqastya
  • Work on Tamil grammer

 

AGATTIYAM

 

  • Written by Saint Agattiyar 
  • Work on grammer of letter & life
  • Practically extinct

 

Pannirupadalam

 

  • Written by the 12 desciples of Saint Agastya.
  • Gramatical work on puran literature
  • Practically extinct

 

Kakkipadiniyam

 

  • Written by an anonymous writer
  • Work on prosody
  • Practically extint

 

THE SATAVAHANAS IMPORTANT KINGS SIMUKA

  • Founder of the Satavahana dynasty.
  • Made Paithan or Pratisthan as capital located on the bank of Godavari River. 
  • Driven out by shaka chief Nahapana, whose coins are found at Nasik.

 

KANINA

  • Known as Krishna also.

 

SATAKARNI I

  • Allied with Maharathi chieftains of western Dection.
  • Symbolized his sovereign power by performing Ashvamedha Yajna. (horse sacrifice)  Dhamyakataka on the bank of the Krishna river was developed as second capital.  adopted the title of Dakshinapathapati

 

HALA

  • stopped Varnasamkara (intermixing to caste)
  • encouraged the interest of the Vaishya
  • Wrote Gathasaptashati/Saptsati/satsai in Paisachi Prakrit.
  • Amaravati Stupa was expanded.
  • Gunadhya, the writer of Brihad Katha was in his court.

          

GAUTAMIPUTRA SATAKARNI

  • Greatest ruler of the Satavahana line
  • Defeated the Shakas and aquired the best territoriest of Malwa and Kathiawad.
  • Restructed the coins of Nahapana, the Shaka ruler
  • Called himself as a destroyer of Shakas (Scythians), Yavanas (Greek) and Pahalavas (Parthians).
  • Called’ Lord of the West’
  • Set up an empire extending from Malwa in the north to Kanarese country in the south.  Called himself “Ekbrahmin”

 

VAISHISHTHAPUTRA SHATAKARNI

  • Married the daughter of Rudradaman, a shaka rula of Ujjain
  • Later Rudradaman gave him a crushing defeat
  • Mentioned in Junagarh Rock Inscription of Rudradarman.
  • Revived the power of the Satavahanas
  • Recovered north Konkan and Malwa from the Shakas
  • Lover of trade and navigation
  • His coins bear impression of ship, fish and shell  He was the last important ruler of the line.

 

SUCCEEDING POWERS

  • Abhiras (Nasik)
  • Vakatakas (Bearar)
  • Lkshavakus (Krishna Jistrict)
  • Shatankayanas (western Godavari district)
  • Pallavas (Kanchi)
  • Kadambas (Vaijayanti or Banavasi)

 

MISCELLANEOUS FACTS

  • Satavahanas tried to establish rule according to the Dharmashastra
  • Kings represented themselves as possessing qualities of mythical heroes such as Rama, Krishna, Bhima, etc.
  • This was done to claim divinity for kingship
  • Important officials were called Mahamatras and Amatyas
  • District was called Ahara
  • Administration of the rural areas under an official called Gautamikas
  • Senapatis were appointed as governor of the provinces
  • Feudal traits founds its beginning
  • Revenue free villages were granted to Brahmanas and Buddhist monks
  • In the Satavahana empire three types of feudatories existed

     (a) Raja, (b) Mahabhoja, (c) Senapati                        

  • Kataka and Skandhavaras are terms used in the inscription for military settlements and camps. These also acted as centre of administration as long as the king stayed there.
  • Satavahanas exploited iron mines of Waragal and Karimnagar.
  • Black smith’s shops were found in Karimnagar District.
  • Issued coins mostly of lead also potin, copper, bronze    Did not issue gold coins.
  • Andhra region became famous for cotton products (foreign accounts)
  • A coin mould has been found by which six coins could be struck at a time.
  • At Peddabankur in Karimnagar district evidence of regular use of fire, baked bricks were found.
  • Matrilineal social structure, but rulling dynasty was patriarchal.
  • satavahans were tribal people, but later brahmanised
  • They were first rulers to grant revenue free land to brahmanas.
  • Gandhikas or the performers are referred as donors.

A fortified settlement for the first time emerges in Deccan during the time of Satvahanas.

  • Satavahanas were ardent champions of Brahmanism
  • Performed a number of Vedic sacrifices Ashvamedh, Vajapeya etc.
  • Worshiper of Vaishnavite god, particularly Krishna and Vasudeva
  • Followed tolerant attitude towards other religions
  • Kings also donated to Buddhist monks
  • Nagarjunkonda and Amaravati emerged as centres of Buddhist culture and learning
  • At Nasik, three monasteries (Viharas) carry inscriptions of Nahapana (shaka ruler) and Gautamiputra Shatakarni).
  • Official language Prakrit and script-Brahmi