The Satavahanas (Andhra or Andhra-jatiya of the historical sections of the Puranas) occupy a pre-eminent position in early Deccanese history comparable only to that of the Kushanas of North India who were almost contemporaries. However, despite scholarly efforts for over a century and half, numerous basic issues appertaining them including the original seat of their power, total duration of their rule and number of monarchs of the imperial line and chronology, especially the epoch of their rise to power, not to speak of minor problems, have continued baffling historians for long for want of dependable data. The present volume represents a cooperative effort of known authorities to highlight and solve these issues in the light of fresh evidence as well as a reinterpretation of the known data occasioned by this new material.
Also included in this volume are important contributions on numismatics, epigraphy, and cultural and archaeological facets. These writings have turned the volume into an indispensable source-book for students of Satavahanas and Deccanese history in particular and early Indian history in general. Hopefully it would be found interesting and thought-provoking by discerning readers.
Prof. Ajay Mitra Shastri (1934-2002), a reputed historian, epigraphist, numismatist and Indologist, retired as Professor of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology from Nagpur University. A former Editor of the Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, he had also been the Editor of the Numismatic Digest. He had been the Chairman of the Indian Coin Society, Vice-Chairman of the Epigraphical Society of India, Convener of the Inscriptions of India Programme of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, and Chairman of the Advisory Board (Ancient Period) and as such a member of the National Commission for History of Science, Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi.
Prof. Shastri had been Sectional President of the Indian History Congress (1978), Andhra Pradesh History Congress (1980), Maharashtra Itihas Parishad (1986) and the All-India Oriental Conference (1994) and General President of the Numismatic Society of India (1981), Epigraphical Society of India (1987), Third International Colloquium of 'Coinage, Trade and Economy' at the Indian Institute of Research in Numismatic Studies, Nasik, Tamil Nadu Numismatic Society, Indian History and Culture Society (1991), the Vidvat Parishad of the Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Samiti (1994) and South Indian Numismatic Society (1997). He had been felicitated by the Numismatic Society of India with its Akbar Silver Medal (1984) and Altekar Gold Medal (1995); presented with a plaque of honour by the Coin Study Circle, Calcutta (1989), a copper-plate by the Epigraphical Society of India (1992), James Campbell Memorial Gold Medal by the Asiatic Society of Bombay (1996), Jijamata Vidvat Puraskar of the Chhatrapati Pratishthan, Nagpur (1997) and honoured with a couple of festschrifts: one published from Indore (1988) and the other in two tomes from Delhi (1989). He had also delivered numerous prestigious endowment lectures.
If one were asked as to which dynasty played the most pivotal role in the formation and development of the general life and culture of the Deccan and South India in early phases and contributed to develop the region into a well-knit political entity, the unanimous answer would undoubtedly credit these significant achievements to the Satavahanas called Andhra or Adhra-jatiya in the dynastic sections of the Puranas. And as we have no dependable written account of the dynasty, total uncertainty reigns supreme its chequered annals. The nature of the extant evidence is such as to occasion an unending debate even about such basic issues as the correct nomenclature, the epoch of its political authority, total duration of its rule and the number of rulers, the region where it launched itself on its political career, the order of succession and even actual identity of some of the members, not to speak of comparatively minor problems such as correct forms of individual names and regnal periods of a few of its members much of which is accentuated by the highly defective manuscript tradition which has totally vitiated what otherwise would have formed the rock-solid base of its history. And in the absence of trustworthy written sources, the history of the Satavahanas, like that of most other ruling families of early India, has to be reconstructed from an integral study and interpretation of the oncoming data as they surface from time to time, and thus our historical knowledge has to keep growing with the passage of time. It is therefore imperative to take stock of the new material periodically. It was with this object that in 1970 Nagpur University's Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology hosted a national dialogue on the Satavahana coinage and again after a lapse of twenty-four years, to be exact on 26-28 February, 1994 (last three days of my formal association with the University) another seminar on the Satavahanas with a wider perspective encompassing all the problems and with many more scholars contributing to it. And the seminar was a great success as would be evident even from a cursory glance at the contents of the present volume embodying the results of its deliberations. It would reveal how richer our information about the Satavahanas is and how nearer we are to the final answer to some of the relevant problems as compared to some two decades back. In the light of the new information it has been possible to reassess the data known earlier.
Unfortunately, two of the contributors, Professors S. B. Deo and Y.B. Singh, have passed away recently and could not see their valuable papers published. We take this opportunity to pay our homage to them.
We have received precious help in the preparation of this volume from several quarters, and it is our pleasant duty to acknowledge the same. First and foremost, we are grateful to the learned scholars who willingly responded to our invitation and participated in the seminar and contributed to the success of our venture. Some of them could not attend the seminar personally due to some unforeseen reasons but were good enough to contribute their papers for publication. We are thankful to the University Grants Commission but for whose munificent grant it would not have been possible to hold the seminar.
In the organisation of the seminar our distinguished colleagues Drs. Chandrashekhar Gupta and I. Kellellu were of immense help. The duo extended voluntary help in the publication of this volume also, the first by arranging the illustrations and finalising certain other preliminary matters, and both helped us in going through the proofs.
Shri Vikas Arya, the enterprising proprietor of Aryan Books International, New Delhi, deserves our appreciation and sincere thanks for taking keen enlightened interest in the publication of the present volume.
If this volume generates scholarly interest in the history of the Satavahanas with all its varied facets and takes us some steps further in solving some of the relevant issues, we shall deem our efforts amply rewarded.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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