Dynasties of Ancient India

Dynasties of Ancient India like Nanda dynasty, Mauryan Dynasty, The Pandyas, The Cholas have come into the list of Dynasties of Ancient India. Following list is giving an insight into the Dynasties of Ancient India.

Dynasties of Ancient India

Haryanka Dynasty

  • Bimbisara was the founder, who expanded the Magadha kingdom by annexing Anga and entering into matrimonial alliances with Kosala and Vaishali. He was contemporary of Buddha. Capital-Rajgir (Girivraja).
  • Ajatshatru, came to power by killing his father. Annexed Vaishali, Kosala and Lichchhavi kingdom.
  • Udayin founded the new capital, Patliputra.

Must Read: Social Conditions in the Era of Mauryan Imperialism

Shishunaga Dynasty

  • Founded by Shishunaga; Kalashoka or Kakavarin convened 2nd Buddhist council. Their greatest achievement was destruction of Avanti.

Nanda Dynasty

  • Consider non-Kshatriyan dynasty, founded by Mahapadma Nanda. Alexander attacked during Dhana Nanda reign.
  • Cyrus was the first foreign invader of India.
  • Alexander, the king of Macedonia, invaded India in 326 BC and fought the Battle of Hydapses (Jhelum) with Porus (Purushottam) of Paurava dynasty.

Mauryan Dynasty

Chandragupta Maurya – The first ruler who overthrew Nanda dynasty with the help of Chanakya.

  • He has been called Sandrocottus by Greek scholars.
  • Chandragupta defeated Seleucus Nikator, the general of Alexander (30 BC), who later sent Megasthenese the author of ‘Indica’- to Chandragupta’s court.
  • Mother was Mura– a Shudra woman in Nanda’s court.
  • Mudrarakshasa was written by Vishakhadatta, describes about machinations of Chanakya against Chandragupta’s enemy.
  • Chandragupta maintained six wings armed forces.
  • He adopted Jainism and went to Sravanabelagola with Bhadrabahu. Bindusara was called Amitraghat by Greek writers; Greek ambassador, Deimachos visited his court; said to conquer the ‘land between the two seas’ – The Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

Also Read: Centralized Administration of Mauryan Empire

Ashoka

  • Ashoka was appointed the Viceroy of Texila and Ujjain by his father Bindusara.
  • He was called Devanampriya – dear to Gods.
  • The name Ashoka occurs only in copies of Minor Rock Edict I.
  • Languages (script) used on inscriptions – Brahmi (Sub-continent, deciphered by James Princep in AD 1837), Aramic and Kharosti (North-Western India), and Greek (Afghanistan).
  • Kalinga War (261 BC) mentioned in 13th Major Rock Edict – converted Asoka to Buddhism under Upagupta.
  • Sanchi Stupa was built by Ashoka.
  • Sri Lanka is called Tamrapani in Ashokan inscription.

The Indo-Greeks

  • The most famous Indo-Greeks was Menader (165-145 BC) also called Milinda, his capital was Sakala (modern Sialkot) in Punjab.
  • Converted to Buddhism by Nagasena as per Milindapanho – a pali text.
  • Greek were first to issue coins attributable to king, and also the first to issue gold coins in India; introduced Hellenistic art.

The Shakas

  • The most famous ruler was Rudradaman I (AD 130-150), who repaired Sudarshana lake in Kathiawar region, issued first ever inscription in Chaste Sanskrit (junagarh inscription). He defeated Satvahanas twice.
  • Vikramaditya, the king of Ujjain, was the only one who defeated the Shakas. To commemorate the victory, he started Vikram Samvat in 57 BC.
  • The Parthians – the most famous king was Gondophernes (AD 19-45), in whose reign St. Thomas visited India to Propagate Christianity.

Have a Look at: Timeline of Maurya Empire

The Kushans

  • Also called Yeuchi or Tocharians were nomadic people from the Steppes.
  • Kanishka was the greatest of the Kushans, who started the Saka Era in AD 78.
  • Kushans were the first ruler to issue goldcoins on wide scale known for metallic purity.
  • In the riyal court of Kanishka, a host of scholars found patronage, like parsva, Vasumitra, Asvaghosha, Nagarjuna, Charak 9Physician) and Mathura.

The Sunga Dynasty (185 BC – 73 BC)

  • Sunga Dynasty was established by Pushyamitra Sunga.
  • They were basically Brahmins. This period saw the revival of Bhagvatism.
  • Patanjali, wrote ‘Mahabhasya’, at this time.
  • In arts, the Bharhut stupa is the most famous monument of the Sunga period.

The Kanva Dynasty (73 BC – 28 BC)

  • In 73 BC, devabhuti, the last ruler of the Sunga dynasty, was murdered by his minister Vasudeva, who usurped the throne and founded the Kanva dynasty. Replaced by Satvahans.

The Satavahanas (or Andhras)

  • Simuka (60BC – 37 BC) was the founder of the Satavahanas dynasty.
  • Satavahanas were finally succeeded by the Ikshvakus in AD 3rd
  • Under the Satavahanas, many chaityas 9worship halls) and viharas (monasteries) were cut out from rocks mainly in North-West Deccan or Maharashtra the famous examples were nasik, Kanheri and Karle.
  • The official language of the Satavahanas was Prakrit.
  • The Satavahanas issued coins of lead (mainly), copper, bronze and potin.
  • Gautamiputra Satakarni was an important king.

The Pandyas

  • Their capital was Madurai. The Pandyas were first mentioned by Megasthanese, famous for pearls.
  • Trade with Raman Empire, sent embassies to emperor Augustus.

You May Also Read: Economic Condition During the Delhi Sultanate

The Cholas

  • The Chola kingdom called as Cholamandalam was situated to the North-East of Pandya kingdom between Pennar and velar rivers.
  • Capital was kaveripattanam/puhar.

The Cheras

  • Their capital was Vanji (also called Kerala country). It owed its important trade with Romans.

Sangam Age

  • Sangam Age corresponds to the post-Maurya and pre-Gupta period. Sangam was a college or assembly of Tamil poets held under Royal Patronage.

There Sangams were held

(i) at Madurai chaired by Agastya.

(ii) at Kapatpuram, chaired by Tolkappiyar.

(iii) at Madurai, chaired by Nakkirar.

  • Kural by Tiruvalluvar is called the ‘fifth Veda’ of The Bible of Tamil Land.

Don’t Miss: Indus Valley Civilization – 4700 years ago in Harappa and Mohenjodaro

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