Satavahana Dynasty

Satavahana Dynasty (circa 52 BC - 220 AD) were also called Salivahanas and Satakarnis.

Satavahanas ruled from its earliest capital Kotilingala, Karimnagar in Telangana and then moved to the other popular capitals like Paithan and Amaravati (Dharanikota).

The coins issued by the Satavahana kings Simuka, Siri Satavahana, Satakani I, Satasiri, Satakani II, Vasittiputta Pulumayi, Vasittiputta Satakani and their governors were discovered in Kotilingala. These discoveries testify the fact that Telangana was the nucleus of Satavahana Empire.

Founder of Satavahana dynasty Simukha became independent after killing last kanva ruler susarman in about 30 BC.

Prakrit was the official language of communication used by the Satavahana Kings

The Satavahanas resisted the attack of foreigners and established peace in the country after the decline of Mauryan Empire.

Literature like Gathasaptashati, painting like Ajanta flourished during the Satavahana rule.

The Satavahanas patronized Hinduism. They formed a cultural link and played a very important part in trade and the transfer of ideas and culture. 

To establish their rule, they had to compete with the Sungas and after that the Kanvas of Magadha. Later, protected a huge part of India against foreign attackers like the Pahlavas, Yavanas and Sakas. The rulers of the Satavahana Dynasty, Sri Yajna Satakarni and Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated the overseas invaders such as the Western Kshatrapas and stopped their expansion. The Empire was split into smaller states in the 3rd century CE.

The Satavahanas ruled a powerful and large empire which withstood the attacks from Central Asia. Apart from their military power, their naval activity and commercialism helped them to establish Indian colonies in Southeast Asia. 

Circa 52 BC – 29 BC : Simuka
Simuka appears to have been a very shrewd politician. He realised that to overthrow the Kanvas was a difficult task and hence entered into an alliance with maharathi Tranakayira whose daughter was married to his son Satakarni. Tranakayira was a Naga, possibly, a vassal under the last Kanva ruler. The several servants combined together to overthrow the Kanva regime and the powerful among them ultimately won the crown. He is named as Balipuccha in some texts

29 BC - 12 BC : Krishna Brother of Simuka

12 BC - 44 BC : Satakarni I son of Simuka


Satakarni II


20 AD - 24 AD : Hala
Hala is mentioned by Vatsyayana in his Kamasutra and Rajasekhara in his Kavya Mimamsa. Hala patronises literature and the arts, and the Prakrit work, Saptasati, is ascribed to him. Gunadhya, the author of Brihat Katha, is his contemporary. As he is a patron of poets, he is known by the title 'Kavivatsala'. He marries a Ceylonese princess on the banks of the River Sapta-Godavari-Bhima.

106 AD - 130 AD : Gautamiputra Satakarni
Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated the Western Satrap ruler Nahapana, restored the status of his dynasty by recapturing a large part of the former dominions of the Satavahanas.
Gautamiputra was the first Satavahana ruler to issue the portrait-type coins. He was succeeded by his son, Vashishtiputra Pulumavi.

130 AD - 158 AD : Vasisthiputra Pulamavi / Pulumavi III

158 AD - 165 AD : Vashishtiputra Satakarni, Gautamiputra's brother, married the daughter of Rudradaman I of the Western Satraps dynasty. Around 150 CE, Rudradaman I, waged war against the Satavahanas. 

As a consequence of his victories, Rudradaman recaptured all the former territories previously controlled by Nahapana. Satavahanas were restricted to their original base in the Deccan and around Amaravati. 

165 AD - 172 AD : Shivaskanda Satakarni

172 AD - 201 AD : Yajna Sri Satakarni, the last great king of this dynasty, recaptured their southern regions in western and central India. The Satavahanas regained some prosperity during the reign of Sri Yajna Satakarni but around the middle of the 3rd century, the dynasty ended.

201 AD - 207 AD : Vijaya Satakarni

207 AD - 224 AD : Chandra Shri Satakarni

217 AD - 224 AD : Pulumavi IV

Four or five kings succeeded Yajna Satakarni. However, due to a decline in central power, dynasty’s feudatories rose and soon the dynasty ended.

After Satakarni-II,Satavahana Kings seemed to have left Kotalingala, Dhulikatta and Peddabunkur, but appeared to have stayed at Kondapur.

Vassals of Satavahanas
Abhiras in the western part of the kingdom. 
Pallavas of Kanchipuram. 
Chutus of Banavasi in North Karnataka. 
Western Satraps in the northwestern part of the kingdom. 

Some Early Dynasties of South India

By Sudhakar Chattopadhyaya