Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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The Nagas of Vidisha, Padmavati, Kantipuri and Mathura, Excerpt from Dimensions of Human Cultures in Central India
Professor S.K. Tiwari Felicitation Volume
Editor Professor A. A. Abbasi
2001

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Coin of Ramadatta. Obv. Elephant facing. Rev. Standing figure with symbols.

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Coin of Sivadatta, minted in Almora. Obv: railing with symbol between the posts. Obv: Sivadatasa, uncertain central symbol, margin: deer and tree within railing.

The Datta dynasty is a dynasty of ruler who flourished in the northern India in the areas of Mathura and Ayodhya around the 1st century BCE – 1st century CE. [History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE – 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.170.] They are named after the "-datta" ending of their name, and essentially only known through they coins. It is thought that they replaced the Deva dynasty, which had originated with the rise of Sunga Empire Pushyamitra, and that they were in turn replaced by the Mitra dynasty.

The known Datta rulers are: [Dimensions of Human Cultures in Central India, A. A. Abbasi, Sarup & Sons, 2001, p.145-146]

• Seshadatta
• Ramadatta
• Sisuchandradatta
• Sivadatta.

The coins of Ramadatta usually represent a Lakshmi standing, and facing elephants. [Dimensions of Human Cultures in Central India, A. A. Abbasi, Sarup & Sons, 2001, p.145-146] In the archaeological excavations of Sonkh, near Mathura, the earliest coins of the Northern Satraps level were those of Hagamasha and Ramadatta. [Hartel, Herbert (2007). On The Cusp Of An Era Art In The Pre Kuṣāṇa World. BRILL. p. 324. ["This item is no longer available. Items may be taken down for various reasons, including by decision of the uploader or due to a violation of our Terms of Use," i.e. CONTENT REMOVED!]
The Northern Satraps (Brahmi: [x], Kṣatrapa, "Satraps" or [x], Mahakṣatrapa, "Great Satraps"), or sometimes Satraps of Mathura, or Northern Sakas, are a dynasty of Indo-Scythian rulers who held sway over the area of Eastern Punjab and Mathura after the decline of the Indo-Greeks, from the end of the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE. They are called "Northern Satraps" in modern historiography to differentiate them from the "Western Satraps", who ruled in Gujarat and Malwa at roughly the same time and until the 4th century CE. They are thought to have replaced the last of the Indo-Greek kings in the Eastern Punjab, as well as the Mitra dynasty and the Datta dynasty of local Indian rulers in Mathura.

The Northern Satraps were probably displaced by, or became vassals of, the Kushans from the time of Vima Kadphises, who is known to have ruled in Mathura in 90–100 CE, and they are known to have acted as Satraps and Great Satraps in the Mathura region for his successor Kanishka (127–150 CE).


Northern Satrap rulers

In central India, the Indo-Scythians are thought to have conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings, presumably the Datta dynasty, around 60 BCE. Due to being under the scrutiny of the Kushan Empire, as a satrapy and not wholly independent, they were called the Northern Satraps. Some of their first satraps were Hagamasha [Hagamasha, from Saka *Frakāmaxša "whose chariot proceeds in front", was an Indo-Scythian Northern Satrap (ruled in Mathura in the 1st century BCE, probably after 60 BCE). In the archaeological excavations of Sonkh, near Mathura, the earliest coins of the Kshatrapa levels were those of Hagamasha.] and Hagana [Hagana, (from Saka *Frakāna "leader, chief") was an Indo-Scythian Northern Satrap (ruled in Mathura in the 1st century BCE, probably after 60 BCE)], they were in turn followed by Rajuvula [Rajuvula from Saka *Rāzavara, meaning "ruling king") was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap (Mahākṣatrapa), one of the "Northern Satraps" who ruled in the area of Mathura in the northern Indian Subcontinent in the years around 10 CE] who gained the title Mahakshatrapa or great satrap. However, according to some authors, Rajuvula may have been first.

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Coin of satrap Hagamasha. Obv. Horse to the left. Rev. Standing figure with symbols, legend Khatapasa Hagāmashasa. 1st century BCE.

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Joint coin of Hagana and Hagamasha. Obv.: Horse to left. Rev. Thunderbolt, legend Khatapāna Hagānasa Hagāmashasa. 1st century BCE.

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Coin of Sodasa [son of Rajuvula, the Great Satrap of the region from Taxila to Mathura], early 1st century CE. The coinage of Sodasa is cruder and of local content: it represents a Lakshmi standing between two symbols on the obverse with an inscription around Mahakhatapasa putasa Khatapasa Sodasasa "Satrap Sodassa, son of the Great Satrap". On the reverse is a standing Abhiseka Lakshmi (Lakshmi standing facing a Lotus flower with twin stalks and leaves) anointed by two elephants sprinkling water, as on the coins of Azilises.

-- Northern Satraps, by Wikipedia

Section III. The Kings of the North, Excerpt from ART. XXIX.—The Conquests of Samudra Gupta
by Vincent A. Smith, M.B.A.S., Indian Civil Service.

SECTION III.—THE KINGS OF THE NORTH.

Having completed his enumeration of the temporary conquests in the south, our chronicler returns to the subject of the more permanent conquests in Northern India, which had already been briefly touched upon in the poetical introduction to the inscription.

In line 21 the writer records that the emperor "abounded in majesty that had been increased by violently exterminating

Rudradeva,
Matila,
Nagadatta,
Candravarman,
Ganapati Naga,
Nagasena,
Acyuta,
Nandin,
Balavarman,

and many other kings of the land of Aryavarta."

The name Aryavarta is well known to be the equivalent of the modern Hindustan, or India north of the Narmada river. The language of the record plainly indicates that in this vast region the kings named were thoroughly vanquished, and that their dominions were included in the conqueror's empire.

Unfortunately, the historical documents for the early history of Northern India are so few and meagre that it is at present impossible to identify most of the kings named in the inscription. The names of their kingdoms are not stated.

Acyuta was probably, for the reasons given above (ante, p. 862), a king of Ahichatra in Panchala, the modern Rohilkhand. Nagasena is mentioned along with Acyuta in the early part of the inscription, and the two princes may be supposed to have been neighbours. Nagasena may perhaps have been a member of the same dynasty as Virasena of earlier date, whose coins are tolerably common in the North-Western Provinces and the Panjab.1 [1 "Coins of Ancient India," p. 89; "Catalogue of Coins in Lahore Museum," part iii, 128 ; " Catalogue of Coins in Indian Museum," iii, 32.] Nagadatta may belong to the same dynasty as Ramadatta and Purusadatta, whose coins are obscurely connected with those of the Northern Satraps.2 [2 "Coins of Ancient India," p. 88; J.R.A.S. for July, 1894, p. 541; "Catalogue of Coins in Lahore Museum," iii, 122; "Catalogue of Coins in Indian Museum," iii, 31.]

Candravarman is probably the Maharaja of that name whose fame is preserved by a brief inscription on the rock at Susunia in the Bankura District of Bengal, seventeen miles SSW. from the Raniganj railway station.3 [3 Proc. A.S.B. for 1895, p. 177.]

Concerning the identity of Rudradeva, Matila, Nandin, and Balavarman, I am at present unable to offer even a conjecture.

The only name among the nine names in the list which can be identified with certainty is that of Ganapati Naga. Cunningham has shown that this prince must be one of the dynasty of seven or nine Nagas, whose capital was Narwar, between Gwaliar and Jhansi. Although the coins of Ganapati, which have been found in thousands, do not bear the word Naga, there can be no doubt that they were issued by a member of the Naga dynasty. Their practical identity in type and style with the coins which bear the names of the Maharajas Skanda Naga, Brhaspati Naga, and Deva Naga leaves no room for scepticism. The coins of all these Naga kings are found at Narwar.1 [Cunningham, "Reports," ii, 307-310; "Coins of Mediaeval India,"pp. 21-4.] The language of the inscription which describes Ganapati as one of the kings who were "violently exterminated" induces me to consider him the last of his dynasty.

The "kings of the forest countries" (1. 21), who were compelled to become the servants of the conqueror, and are associated in the text with the "kings of Aryavarta," were no doubt the chiefs of the Gonds and other wild tribes north of the Narmada. To this day there is a large extent of forest country north of the Narmada in Bundelkhand, Central India, and the Central Provinces.

The position of the southern forest kingdom of Mahakantaraka has been discussed above (ante, p. 866).


Excerpt from Art. XVIII. The Northern Kshatrapas
by Pandit Bhagvanlal Indraji, Ph.D., M.R.A.S.
Edited by E. J. Rapson, M.A., M.R.A.S., Late Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge.
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1894
Pg. 525

P. 541

Art. XVIII .—The Northern Kshatrapas. By Pandit Bhagvanlal Indraji, Ph.D., M.R.A.S. Edited by E. J. Rapson, M.A., M.R.A.S., Late Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge.  

Editor’s Preface.

[Since the publication in this Journal of Pandit Bhagvanlal’s article on the Western Kshatrapas, a period of no less than four years has elapsed. The delay in issuing this, the final portion of his notes, is due to the fact that a study of these notes convinced me of the impossibility of publishing them in anything like their original form; and my task was postponed, until Dr. Buhler most generously undertook to revise the most important part of the Pandit’s work, viz. that which deals with the inscriptions engraved on the Lion Capital. Dr. Buhler’s results, which are published in another article in the present number, have enabled me to deal with the rest of the work. While I have been obliged to omit some portions and to correct others, I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to give a concise and connected exposition of the Pandit’s own views.

One of the omissions which I have made needs a few words of explanation. All friends of the Pandit will remember that, among his coins, there was a specimen in gold on which he laid the greatest value, and from the evidence of which he made some important historical deductions. In the following article no mention of this coin will be found. There can be no doubt that the Pandit was mistaken in regarding it as a genuine specimen. Its falsity, which is proved by the strongest evidences of fabric and inscriptions, was fully recognised by the greatest of all Indian numismatists, the late Sir Alexander Cunningham, and appears to me to be absolutely beyond question. The coin itself may be seen among the selected specimens from the Pandit’s collection in the British Museum.

The Pandit’s manuscript "will now be entrusted to the care of the Librarian of the Royal Asiatic Society.—E. J. Rapson.]

The Datta rulers are never mentioned as "king" or Raja on their coins, suggesting that they may only have been local rulers subservient to another king. Since the Indo-Greeks were in control of Mathura around the same time frame (150–50 BCE) according to the Yavanarajya inscription, it is thought that there may have been a sort of tributary relationship between the local Datta or Mitra dynasty and the Indo-Greek kings.[History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE – 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.8–10] Alternatively, the Datta and Mitra dynasties of rulers may simply have replaced Indo-Greek rule in the region, before the advent of the Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps and then the Kushans.
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"Alternatively, the Datta and Mitra dynasties of rulers may simply have replaced Indo-Greek rule in the region, before the advent of the Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps and then the Kushans." -- How to Get Your Foot in the Door of Indian History ("Myths R Us")

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Coin of Uttamadatta.

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Coin of Purushadatta.

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Coin of Ramadatta.

-- Datta dynasty, by Wikipedia


The Nagas of Vidisha, Padmavati, Kantipuri and Mathura

The origin and the account of the rule of the Nagas with their capitals at Vidisha, Padmavati (modern Pawaya in Gwalior district), Kantipuri (Kutwar in Gwalior district) and Mathura are still shrouded by considerable obscurity. Whatever little we know about this dynasty is that it began its political career sometime towards the close of the second century A.D., and emerging into prominence when the foreign Kushana power was disintegrating, succeeding in driving it out from the Gangetic valley. This was the time when a number of indigenous powers, like the Yaudheyas, the Arjunayanas and the Malavas were gaining strength. None of the rulers belonging to the Naga dynasty ruling at the above mentioned places have left any epigraphic record. No doubt some of them issued coins, on the basis of which attempts have been made by scholars to re-construct their history. An additional source of information is the evidence supplied by the Puranas.
[N]either the Vedas, the Upanishads, nor the Purans, profess to be historical compositions; and the ascribing this character to the latter, in particular, is a most erroneous opinion, for, with the exception of the genealogies of the princes of the solar and lunar races, the Purans contain nothing which has the slightest semblance of history ... It is true that each Puran contains a description of the division of time according to the Hindu system; but the chronology of no event is fixed more precisely than by referring it generally to such a Kalpa, or Manvantara, or Yug, as the particular year is never mentioned. The attempting, therefore, to extract either chronology or history from such data, must be an operation attended with equal success as the extraction of sunbeams from cucumbers by the sages of Laputa" -- Vans Kennedy 1831: 130.

-- Frederick Eden Pargiter: Excerpt from The Puranas, by Ludo Rocher

The evidence of the Puranas about the rulers of this dynasty is vague and carries little practical value and it has given rise to sharp differences of opinions amongst scholars. The Vishnu Purana, for example, discloses the existence of nine (nava) Naga Kings who ruled at Padmavati, Kantipuri and Mathura and this account is corroborated by the Vayu Purana, which mentions only two houses of the Nagas -- one at Padmavati and the other at Mathura, the number of Kings at each of the places being stated to be nine and seven respectively.2 The rulers of the Naga dynasty at Vidisha have also been referred to by the Puranas.3

K.P. Jayaswal in his important work entitled: The History of India, 150-350 A.D. has made a serious attempt to reconstruct the history of the Naga ruling at the above mentioned places. Not only the Pauranic and the numismatic evidences have been harnessed by him to draw conclusions, he has taken into account the statements contained in the inscriptions of the Vakatakas and the Guptas.


The Vakataka Empire (IAST: Vākāṭaka) was a dynasty from the Indian subcontinent that originated from the Deccan in the mid-3rd century CE. Their state is believed to have extended from the southern edges of Malwa and Gujarat in the north to the Tungabhadra River in the south as well as from the Arabian Sea in the west to the edges of Chhattisgarh in the east. They were the most important successors of the Satavahanas in the Deccan and contemporaneous with the Guptas in northern India.

Information about the Satavahanas comes from the Puranas, some Buddhist and Jain texts, the dynasty's inscriptions and coins, and foreign (Greek and Roman) accounts that focus on trade. The information provided by these sources is not sufficient to reconstruct the dynasty's history with absolute certainty. As a result, there are multiple theories about the Satavahana chronology.

-- Satavahana dynasty, by Wikipedia


The Vakataka dynasty was a Brahmin dynasty.

Little is known about Vindhyashakti (c. 250 – c. 270 CE), the founder of the family. Territorial expansion began in the reign of his son Pravarasena I. It is generally believed that the Vakataka dynasty was divided into four branches after Pravarasena I. Two branches are known and two are unknown. The known branches are the Pravarapura-Nandivardhana branch and the Vatsagulma branch. The Gupta emperor Chandragupta II married his daughter into Vakataka royal family and with their support annexed Gujarat from the Saka Satraps in 4th century CE. The Vakataka power was followed by that of the Chalukyas of Badami in Deccan. The Vakatakas are noted for having been patrons of the arts, architecture and literature. They led public works and their monuments are a visible legacy. The rock-cut Buddhist viharas and chaityas of Ajanta Caves were built under the patronage of Vakataka emperor, Harishena.

The founder of the dynasty was Vindhyashakti (250-270), whose name is derived from the name of the goddess Vindhyavashini. The dynasty may be originated there. Almost nothing is known about Vindhyashakti, the founder of the Vakatakas. In the Cave XVI inscription of Ajanta he was described as the banner of the Vakataka family and a Dvija. It is stated in this inscription that he added to his power by fighting great battles and he had a large cavalry. But no regal title is prefixed to his name in this inscription. The Puranas say that he ruled for 96 years. He was placed variously at south Deccan, Madhya Pradesh and Malwa. K.P. Jayaswal attributes Bagat, a village in the Jhansi district as the home of Vakatakas. But after refuting the theory regarding the northern home of the Vakatakas, V.V. Mirashi points out that the earliest mention of the name Vakataka occurs in an inscription found on a fragment of a pillar at Amravati which records the gift of a Grihapati (householder) Vakataka and his two wives. This Grihapati in all probability was the progenitor of Vidhyashakti. It appears from the Puranas that Vindhyasakti was a ruler of Vidisha (in the present day Madhya Pradesh state) but that is not considered to be correct.[unreliable source?]

As per Dr Mirashi, who has rejected the identification of Rudra deva in the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudra Gupta with Rudra sena I. He has also pointed out there are no coins of Vakataka and there are no inscriptions of them in the north of Vindhyas.
Hence, a south home of Vakatakas is correct. However, it is true that they have ruled on some of these places, since the epigraphs were available in MP etc.[citation needed]

The next ruler was Pravarasena I (270-330), who maintained the realm as a great power, he was the first Vakataka ruler, who called himself a Samrat (universal ruler) and conducted wars with the Naga kings. He has become an emperor in his own right, perhaps the only emperor in the dynasty, with his kingdom embracing a good portion of North India and whole of Deccan. He carried his arms to the Narmada in the north and annexed the kingdom of Purika which was being ruled by a king named Sisuka. In any case, he certainly ruled from Bundelkhand in the north (though Dr Mirashi does not accept that he has crossed the Narmada) to the present Andhra Pradesh in the south. The puranas assign him a reign of 60 years....

The Puranas say that Pravarasena I had four sons. He married his son Gautamiputra to a daughter of King Bhavanaga of the powerful Bharashiva family, which might have proved to be helpful. However, Gautamiputra predeceased him and he was succeeded by his grandson Rudrasena I, the son of Gautamiputra. His second son, Sarvasena set up his capital at Vatsagulma (the present day Washim)....

Not much is known about Rudrasena I, the son of Gautamiputra, who ruled from Nandivardhana, near Ramtek hill, about 30 km from Nagpur. There is a mention of Rudradeva in the Allahabad pillar inscription
, bundled along with the other rulers of Aryavarta. A number of scholars, like A.S. Altekar do not agree that Rudradeva is Rudrasena I, since if Rudrasena I had been exterminated by Samudragupta, it is extremely unlikely that his son Prithivishena I would accept a Gupta princess (Prabhavatigupta) as his daughter-in-law. Secondly, no inscription of Rudrasena I has been found north of the Narmada. The only stone inscription of Rudrasena I's reign discovered so far was found at Deotek in the present-day Chandrapur district, so he cannot be equated with Rudradeva of the Allahabad pillar inscription, who belonged to the Aryavarta.[size]

Rudrasena I was succeeded by his son named Prithivishena I (355-380), and Prithivishena I was succeeded by his son named Rudrasena II.

Rudrasena II (380–385) is said to have married Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of the Gupta King Chandragupta II (375-413/15). Rudrasena II died fortuitously after a very short reign in 385 CE, following which Prabhavatigupta (385 - 405) ruled as a regent on behalf of her two sons, Divakarasena and Damodarasena (Pravarasena II) for 20 years. [size=120]During this period the Vakataka realm was practically a part of the Gupta Empire. Many historians refer to this period as the Vakataka-Gupta age. While this has been widely accepted more than 30 years ago, this line of argument has no proper evidence. Prabhavati Gupta's inscription mentions about one "Deva Gupta" who is her father and the historians equated him with Chandra Gupta II. However, there is no other source to prove that Deva Gupta is really Chandra Gupta II....


The highest number of so far discovered copperplate inscriptions of the Vakataka dynasty (in all 17) pertain to Pravarasena II. He is perhaps the most recorded ruler of ancient India after Ashoka the Great....

Pravarasena II (c. 400 - 415) was the next ruler of whom very little is known except from the Cave XVI inscription of Ajanta, which says that he became exalted by his excellent, powerful and liberal rule. He died after a very short rule and succeeded by his minor son, who was only 8 years old when his father died. Name of this ruler is lost from the Cave XVI inscription....

Harishena (c. 475 - 500) succeeded his father Devasena. He was a great patron of Buddhist architecture, art and culture. The World Heritage monument Ajanta Caves is surviving example of his works. The rock cut architectural cell-XVI inscription of Ajanta states that he conquered Avanti (Malwa) in the north, Kosala (Chhattisgarh), Kalinga and Andhra in the east, Lata (Central and Southern Gujarat) and Trikuta (Nasik district) in the west and Kuntala (Southern Maharashtra) in the south. Varahadeva, a minister of Harishena and the son of Hastibhoja, excavated the rock-cut vihara of Cave XVI of Ajanta. [unreliable source?] Three of the Buddhist caves at Ajanta, two viharas - caves XVI and XVII and a chaitya - cave XIX were excavated and decorated with painting and sculptures during the reign of Harishena. According to an art historian, Walter M. Spink, all the rock-cut monuments of Ajanta excluding caves nos. 9,10,12,13 and 15A (Ref: Page No. 4, Ajanta-A Brief History and Guide - Walter M. Spink) were built during Harishena's reign though his view is not universally accepted....

According to the eighth ucchvāsaḥ of the Dashakumaracharita of Dandin, which was written probably around 125 years after the fall of the Vakataka dynasty, Harishena's son, though intelligent and accomplished in all arts, neglected the study of the Dandaniti (Political Science) and gave himself up to the enjoyment of pleasures and indulged in all sorts of vices. His subjects also followed him and led a vicious and dissolute life. Finding this a suitable opportunity, the ruler of the neighbouring Ashmaka sent his minister's son to the court of the Vakatakas. The latter ingratiated himself with the king and egged him on in his dissolute life. He also decimated his forces by various means. Ultimately, when the country was thoroughly disorganised, the ruler of Ashmaka instigated the ruler of Vanavasi (in the North Kanara district) to invade the Vakataka territory. The king called all his feudatories and decided to fight his enemy on the bank of the Varada (Wardha). While fighting with the forces of the enemy, he was treacherously attacked in the rear by some of his own feudatories and killed. The Vakataka dynasty ended with his death.

Although the Vakatakas replaced the Satavahanas, it does not seem that they continued their coin-minting tradition. As of today, no Vakataka coins have ever been identified.


-- Vakataka dynasty, by Wikipedia


While discussing the history of the Nagas and their relationship with the Vakatakas, he has discussed exhaustively the question of their coinage which deserves careful consideration, as they have an important bearing on the contemporary history. The coinage of the Vakatakas were quite unknown till recent times.

As of today, no Vakataka coins have ever been identified.

-- Vakataka dynasty, by Wikipedia


The coins of a number of Naga rulers like Bhimanaga, Skandanaga, Brihaspatinaga, Vyaghranaga, Vasunaga, Devanaga, and Ganapalinaga were published by Cunningham as early as 1865 A.D. but all these rulers belonged to the period, c. 250 to 350 A.D.4 Dr. Jayaswal, however, refers in his history to an earlier Naga coinage extending from c. 100 B.C. to 50 A.D., and maintains that the coins usually attributed to kings Seshadatta, Ramadatta, Sisuchandradatta of Mathura, are really the issues of the Naga rulers of Vidisha mentioned in several Puranas, bearing the names of Sesha, Ramachandra and Sisunandi respectively. The coins of Purushadatta, Uttamadatta, Kamadatta, Bhavadatta, and Sivanandi, which also occur in the Mathura series, are also attributed by him to the early Naga rulers of Vidisha. The discovery of these coins in the territory around Mathura is attributed by him to the circumstance that Mathura has been a mart for ancient coins from adjoining territories like Ahichchhatra, Padmavati and Vidisha; he has no doubt that these kings were ruling with their capital in Vidisha in eastern Malwa. When his reading Bhavanaga was challenged by Sir Richard Burn, Dr. Jayaswal published a new coin of the Kausambi series from the cabinet of Babu Sri Nath Sah of Benares, which he averred, clearly bears the legend Bhavanaga.5 A.S. Altekar has critically examined this theory of Jayaswal with interesting conclusions.6

The Pauranic evidence undoubtedly makes it appear that there was a Naga dynasty ruling at Vidisha, some members of which belonged to the pre-Sunga and some to the post-Sunga period. The question at issue, as Altekar points out, is whether we can identify any or some of the Naga rulers of Vidisha with any or some rulers of the 'Datta' dynasty, which is usually taken to have ruled at Mathura.

The Puranas mention the following Naga kings, as ruling at Vidisha before the overthrow of the Sunga power in c.31 B.C:


Bhogi,

Sadachandra Ramachandra or Vamachandra),

Dhanadharma or Dhanavarma.

Vangara (who is expressly described as the fourth in the dynasty), and Bhutinanda.

It is also stated that Sesharaja was the father of Bhogi, but according to Altekar, it is likely that he was more a mythical than a real ruler. If he had ruled before Bhogi, Vangara would become the fifth ruler of the dynasty and the Puranas could not have described him as the fourth king of the house. If Sesha-Nagaraja was at all a historical ruler, his importance relative to his son must have been like that of Ghatokachagupta to Chandragupta I.

After the overthrow of the Sungas, the Puranas mention the following Naga rulers as ruling at Vidisha:-


Sisunandi,

His younger brother, Nandiyasas,

In his line Sisuka, the daughter's son.

Jayaswal argues that out of these Naga rulers of Vidisha, we should identify Sesha Naga-raja, Ramachandra, Sisunandi and Sivanandi with kings Seshadatta, Ramadatta, Sisuchandradatta and Sivadatta of the Mathura series, which in his opinion is really a series of Naga coins issued from Vidisha. He further maintains that Kings Purushadatta, Uttamadatta, Ramadatta, Bhavadatta, and Sivanandi, occurring in the same series, are also Naga rulers of Vidisha, whose names are not given in the Pauranic lists.

? MATHURA.

(?) SISUCANDRATA [SISUCHANDRADATTA]

14. Obv. Elephant standing to r. with trunk upraised; above, 'Taurine' symbol represented horizontally.

Rev. In incuse

Image

(Rajasa

Image

sucamdatasa).

B.M.; Lady Clive Bayley. AE -55; Pl. 14.

No coin of this kind seems to have been hitherto published; and almost all that can be said as to its attribution is that, in its general character — fabric, shape, size, and epigraphy — it seems to be not far removed from the coins of Virasena [Naga], one specimen of which is described below. Cunningham, probably from considerations of provenance, assigned the coins of Virasena generally to the district of Mathura (Coins of Anc. Ind,, p. 89, pl. viii, 18), and, on the assumption that this attribution is approximately correct, we may, provisionally, place the coins of (?) Sisucandrata in the same class.

-- Hindu Princes of Mathura (Indian Coins, § 52), Excerpt from Art. VII. -- Notes on Indian Coins and Seals. Part I, by E.J. Rapson, M.A., M.R.A.S., The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1900

The Audumbras, or Audumbaras (Hindi;ओदुम्बर) were a north Indian tribal nation east of the Punjab, in the Western Himalaya region. They were the most important tribe of the Himachal, and lived in the lower hills between Sirmaur, Chamba and Yamuna [Jamuna].

-- Audumbaras, by Wikipedia

In the neighbourhood of Jamuna, Sutlej and Beas the Kuninda tribe was ruling. To this Lahaul-Spiti must have been a part. Kulu was inhabited by Kulutas. Territory to the east of Kangra was occupied by Audumbaras. Nagas were the rulers between Ganga and Jamuna valleys on the north.

-- Lahaul-Spiti: A Forbidden Land in the Himalayas, by S.C. Bajpai

According to Altekar this theory is not tenable. At the outset he points out that there is no evidence to justify the conclusion that Seshadatta, Ramadatta, Sisuchandradatta and other rulers of the Mathura series were ruling at Vidisha. Their copper coins have been usually found only in the territory round about Mathura and, therefore, they are rightly regarded as being the rulers of that city. The contention that the discovery of the coins of these rulers at Mathura is due purely to the circumstance of that city being a well-known mart for ancient coins would have had some force if they had been found also at Vidisha and some other ancient sites in and near Malwa. Such however is not the case at all. The coins of the above Mathura rulers are conspicuous by their absence in Malwa. Cunningham found hundreds of ancient coins of this period in Malwa, but he could not get a single coin of the Mathura series, alleged to be issued from Vidisha. Thousands of coins of the Malwas were found at Nagari, but this site yielded only one coin of Ramadatta.7 When Dr. D. R. Bhandarkar carried out his excavations at Besnagar or ancient Vidisha, he found 56 copper coins, 49 of which were korshapanas, two were the issues of the Kshatrapas, and five of the Naga rulers Bhimanaga and Ganapatinaga. No coins of any rulers of the Mathura series like Ramadatta, Seshadatta, or Sisuchandradatta were found. There is therefore no shred of evidence to show that the above rulers were ruling with Vidisha as their capital. If such was the case, why should their coins be totally absent in and round about Vidisha? We cannot therefore prima facie identify them with the members of the Naga dynasty, which was ruling at Vidisha before the rise of the later Nagas in the 3rd century A.D.

According to Altekar another important thing to note is this: while the names of the rulers of the later Naga dynasty like Bhimanaga, Skandanaga, etc. all end in naga, the names of none of the rulers of the Mathura series has a naga-ending. It may be pointed out that the coins of the later Naga rulers are very small in size; and yet their engravers never failed to add the epithet Naga after their names. The coins of the Mathura rulers, Ramadatta, Seshadatta, etc. are much bigger in size; why then should the epithet Naga not have appeared on them after the proper names? If these rulers were really Nagas like the later rulers of Padmavati, why should they have omitted the generic term Naga? Not only do they do this, but most of them add the epithet 'datta' after their names.

In order to forestall the argument that these Mathura rulers belonged to a 'Datta' and not to a 'Naga' dynasty, Jayaswal avers that the last two letters on the Mathura coins are to be read as data and not as datta or data. Data says Jayaswal, stands for data or datri, meaning donor or liberal sacrificer. The legends therefore are to be read not as Sesha-data, Rama-data, etc. meaning king Sesha, the celebrated donor, king Rama, the celebrated donor, etc.

In reply Altekar points out that the suffix data or datri at the end of the names of the rulers of a dynasty is not known to be occurring anywhere either in inscriptions or in Puranas. The coins in question further make it clear that the last two letters are data and not data; the horizontal stroke of medial a can nowhere be detected on the letter da.

Altekar further pointed out that if, agreeing with Jayaswal, we identify Ramadatta, Sisuchandradatta, and Sivadatta with Ramachandra, Sisunandi and Sivanandi of the Puranas, we shall have to suppose that the coin engravers were permitted to take all kinds of liberties with the names of their employers. In the case of king Ramachandra, they supplant the suffix chandra with data. Perhaps it may be said that in the interest of abbreviation, the uninteresting suffix chandra is dropped and the more significant suffix data i.e. data is added. But abbreviation is not the governing principle; in the case of Sisunandi, nandi has been dropped, but two new suffixes, chandra and data are added. It is very doubtful if the coin engravers would ever have been permitted to change and supplant important suffixes in royal names in this way. We cannot therefore subscribe to the view that Sivadatta and Sisuchandradatta of the coins are identical with Sisunandi and Sivanandi of the Puranas. In the case of Ramachandra, Jayaswal's counterpart of Ramadatta of the coins, it has to be further observed that only the Vishnupurana spells his name as Ramachandra; others read it as Sadachandra or Vamachandra. Sesha Nagaraja, Jayaswal's counterpart of Seshadatta of coins, was most probably a mythical person, as the Puranas do not include him in counting the Naga kings of Vidisha. No king of the earlier Naga dynasty of Vidisha can thus be identified with any ruler belonging to the Mathura coin series.

Altekar then examines the other arguments advanced by Jayaswal to assign the Mathura rulers to the Naga dynasty ruling in Vidisha. He points out that the Vidisha Naga rulers, are described as vrishas, 'Bulls' by the Puranas, and so on their coins. Siva's Nandi or bull and trisula are to be seen figuring prominently. The figure of the Naga or serpent also makes its appearance, often completing the name of the king in a symbolic manner.

He points out at the outset that it is only some Mss. of the Vayu-purana, which describe the Vidisha Naga rulers as vrishas; other Mss. of this Purana as well as all the Mss. of the Brahmanda-Purana describe them as nripas, kings, and not as vrishas or bulls. Vrisha in fact is the scribe's mistake for nripa and it was quite a natural one in early palaeography. But granting for the sake of argument that these Naga rulers of Vidisha are really described as vrishas, do we find the bull and trisula of Siva prominently figuring on their coins, as averred by Dr. Jayaswal? An examination of the Mathura coins shows that such is not the case at all. Out of the coins of the five Mathura rulers who have been ascribed to the Vidisha Naga dynasty, the bull appears only on one variety of the coins of Ramadatta; it does not at all appear on the coins of any of the remaining four rulers. On the coins of Ramadatta too, Lakshmi standing (obv.) and three elephants facing (rev.) are the usual and prominent symbols: the bull appears as an unimportant element on the obverse of only the variety.8

As per Altekar the symbol of the trisula does not at all appear on the coins of any of the five Naga rulers of Jayaswal. On the coins of Ramadatta, Kamadatta and Purushadatta we have a symbol partially resembling trisula. But it cannot be described as a trisula at all. It has only three prongs but no handle. We have undoubted instances of trisulas on the coins of Dhanadeva of Kausambi9 and Sivadasa, Mahadeva and Rudravarma of the Audumbaras10 where we see the three prongs and a long handle, which latter is absent in the case of the symbol on the Mathura coins. The symbol, which Dr. Jayaswal mistakes for a trisula is, in fact exactly identical with the second of the three Panchala symbols.

To see whether the serpent symbol appears on any of the Mathura coins under discussion, rendering their attribution to a Naga dynasty probable, Altekar points out at the outset that on the coins of the rulers of Padmavati, who invariably attach the suffix Naga to their names, the serpent symbol does not appear at all. Curiously enough on some of their coins the symbol of Peacock, the traditional enemy of the serpent, makes its appearance. Wheel, Dagger, Bull, trisula are other symbols appearing on their coins, but the serpent is conspicuous by its absence. This would be quite clear from a glance at Pl. II of Cunningham's Coins of Medieval India, where the coins of Bhimanaga, Skandanaga, Brihaspatinaga, Ganapatinaga, Vyaghranaga and Devanaga have been illustrated.

But even if we grant for the sake of argument that the serpent symbol may connect a coinage with the Naga dynasty, Altekar points out that it does not occur on the coins of the five Mathura rulers who are taken to be the members of the Naga dynasty by Jayaswal. There is no serpent symbol on the coins of Seshadatta, unless we suppose that the tree in the field on the left on the reverse is a serpent standing on its tail.11 The serpent is ususally represented in this way when its hood is to be shown. But there is nothing like a hood at the top of this symbol; it is clearly a tree. On the coins of Sivadatta also there is a short wavy perpendicular line, which can hardly be mistaken for a serpent.12 On only one out of the four varieties of the coins of Ramadatta, there is a horizontal wavy line, looking like a serpent.13 But such a line occurs also on the reverse of the Western Kshatrapa coins. It is not a serpent but a kind of decorative platform for the symbols shown above it. But granting even that this wavy line stands for a serpent, Altekar points out that it occurs only on one variety of the coins of Ramadatta. As far as the coins of the other Mathura rulers like Kamadatta, Uttamadatta, etc. are concerned, there is nothing on them like a wavy or a perpendicular line which by any stretch of imagination can be supposed to be a serpent symbol.

In Altekar's opinion, the argument, therefore, that the rulers of the Mathura series are Naga rulers of Vidisha because of the occurrence of the serpent symbol on their coins, completely fails. If the occurrence of a wavy line were to be regarded as proving the Naga origin of the rulers issuing the coins concerned, we shall have to conclude that king Dhanadeva of Ayodhya, Brihaspatimitra of Kausambi, and the Kuninda, Yaudheya and Western Kshatrap rulers were all Nagas, because a wavy line in some form or other occurs on their coins.14

Altekar thus makes it clear that the arguments advanced to prove that the 'Datta' rulers of the Mathura series were the Naga rulers of Vidisha are all untenable. There are some other cogent reasons also which go against such a theory. These coins are not to be found in Vidisha and Narwar, which have yielded hundreds of contemporary coins of other types. If the 'Datta' rulers of the Mathura series were the rulers of Vidisha in Malwa, the 'Ujjayini' symbol should have appeared on their coins, as it does on almost all the coins hailing from Malwa. It is conspicuous by its absence. It is worth noting that many of the non-'Datta' rulers of Mathura, who have not been assigned to Vidisha by Jayaswal, like Gomitra, Dridhamitra, Suryamitra and Brahmanitra, put the 'Ujjayini' symbol on their coins; it is only on the coins of the so-called Vidisha rulers of Jayaswal that it has been replaced by a symbol resembling the Brahmi letter sa. This deliberate supplanting of the 'Ujjayini' symbol on the coins of the 'Datta' group will show that they had no connection with Malwa or Vidisha.

The symbols on the coins of the 'Datta' group of kings show that they were closely connected with one another. There is therefore no sufficient reason to explain why the names of only some of them should have been mentioned in the Puranas, and why kings like Purushadatta, Utlamadatta, Kamadatta and Bhavadatta should have been omitted. Jayaswal can suggest the identification of five of the rulers with the Naga kings of Vidisha only after taking considerable liberty with their names. Their coins are not found in Vidisha and bear no 'Ujjayini' or Naga symbols. Altekar therefore concludes that the theory that the Mathura series of coins was issued by the Naga rulers of Vidisha belonging to the Sunga times has to be abandoned as untenable.

According to Altekar really there are no coins of the Naga rulers, who according to the Puranas, ruled contemporaneously with the Sungas and the Kanvas. He next examines whether there are any coins of the Naga rulers of the post-Kanva period, who according to Jayaswal, belonged to the different branches of the Bharasiva Naga family, ruling at Mathura, Padmavati and Kantipuri.

Jayaswal's theory is that the Bharasiva Naga dynasty was founded by a Naga ruler named Navanaga, who ruled from c. 140 to 170 A.D. Coins, the legends on which have been wrongly read as Devasa or Nevasa are to be attributed to this Naga ruler, the correct reading being Nevasa. Some of these coins are dated in his regnal year 27. Navanaga was succeeded by Virasenanaga, who was a powerful ruler and succeeded in ousting the Kushanas from the upper U.P., Mathura and the eastern Punjab. Coins bearing the legend Virasena were issued by this ruler, his tribal name Naga being suggested by the serpent symbol occurring on the reverse of his coins. Some of them bear his regnal year 34. After Virasenanaga, the Naga kingdom was divided into three branches which ruled at Mathura, Padmavati and Kantipuri. Mathura rulers have left no coins. The coins of Naga rulers of Padmavati have been already published by Cunningham in C.M.I., pl.II. The Naga rulers of Kantipuri have left us their coinage, but it was so far not recognised by scholars. Hayanaga, Trayanaga, Barhinanaga, Chharajanaga, Bhavanaga, and Rudrasena belonged to this branch. Some of their coins can be seen in the section on 'Unassigned miscellaneous coins of Northern India' published in the Indian Museum Catalogue of Coins Vol. I, pp. 205-207. Many of these coins are also dated.15

Jayaswal has raised various problems connected with the Bharasivas in his History without going into them. Altekar examines whether the coins referred to by Jayaswal were issued by Naga rulers and whether they belonged to Bharasiva stock.

According to Altekar the Pauranic passage referring to the Naga rulers ruling on the eve of the rise of the Gupta power reads as follows:

Nava nagastu bhokshyanti Purim Padmavatim16 nripah
Mathuram cha purim ramyam Naga bhokshyanti supta vai.


The mention of the seven Naga rulers of Mathura mentioned in the second half of the above verse makes it almost certain that first half refers to nine (nava) Naga rulers of Padmavati and not to new (nava) Naga rulers of that city. It may, however be assumed for the sake of argument that the expression Nava nagah refers to new Naga rulers of Padmavati founded by king Navanaga and proceed to examine whether the coins concerned can be attributed to him.

Altekar observes at the outset that the legend on the coins under discussion does not read as Devasa as supposed by Smith; Jayaswal's reading Navasa seems to be the correct one and has been accepted by Allan also, though it cannot be denied that on some coins the first letter appears to be ne and not na. The medial e stroke may be due to the carelessness of the engraver and we may tentatively accept the reading Navasa as the correct one.

To describe the coins of Nava, on the reverse there is the Bull which appears almost invariably on Kausambi coins. On the obverse, in the upper half, there is Tree within railing in the centre with a symbol on either side. On the coin illustrated in the I.M.C. Pl.XXIII. 15, the symbol to left no doubt appears like the one for 20 and that on right as the one for 7, and both Smith and Jayaswal naturally take them to stand for the number 27. But in the case of a large number of coins illustrated in the B.M. Catalogue of Coins of Ancient India, Pl.XXXI, 4-8 as well as those examined by Altekar in the valuable collections of Babu Srinath Sah of Benares and Rai Bahadur B.M. Vyas of Allahabad, one of these symbols appears to be a spear and the other is indistinct and is taken as a chouri by Allan.17 It would therefore be hazardous to conclude from the solitary specimen in Indian Museum that the coins of Nava are dated in his regnal years. It is however immaterial for the present purpose to decide as to whether these coins are dated; it has to find out whether king Nava or Neva, who issued these coins, is identical with Jayaswal's Navanaga, the founder of the Naga dynasty.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Altekar confesses that the various arguments adduced by Jayaswal to support his view do not carry any conviction. Jayaswal ascribes this type to king Navanaga because there is the figure of a Naga or serpent with raised hood above the legend (p. 18). It is interesting to point out that Jayaswal takes this symbol to right of the tree on the obverse once for numeral 7. when he wants to argue that the coins bear the date of issue, 27, and then again for the hood of a serpent when he wants to prove that king Nava, who issued them, was a Naga ruler.18 The symbol in question cannot obviously stand both for the numeral 7 and for the hood of a snake. Altekar has examined a large number of these coins and have found that the symbol in question is too indistinct to interpret with confidence. It is only on the solitary specimen published in the I.M.C. that it appears as the hood of a serpent.

But even if it is assumed that the serpent's hood appears on all the coins of Nava its occurrence will not prove that he was a Naga ruler. On none of the coins issued by the Naga rulers of Padmavati, the serpent or its hood makes its appearance. On the other hand as already shown before, symbol which looks like a serpent or its hood makes its appearance on the coins of Dhanadeva of Ayodhya,19 Brihaspatimitra II of Kausambi,20 and the rulers of the Western Kshatrapa dynasty and the Yaudheya republic,21 none of whom belonged to a Naga family, even according to Jayaswal.

It must be further remembered that according to Jayaswal, Navanaga was the founder of a new Naga house, which emerged into prominence by ousting the Kushanas from eastern U.P. Navanaga therefore would have taken effective and unmistakable measures to proclaim his Naga origin on his coins; he would not have left it to be inferred by serpent's hood on his coins but would have announced it by adding the unmistakable suffix naga to his name, as has been done by the Naga rulers of Padmavati.

The next argument advanced by Jayaswal to ascribe these coins to a Naga dynasty is their close affinity to the coinage of the Naga dynasties of Mathura, Vidisa and Padmavati (p. 19 . It has been shown already how the so-called Mathura-Vidisha series of Jayaswal was not issued by any Naga ruler at all. But even supposing that the 'Datta' coins are the issues of Naga rulers, it has to be pointed out that they bear no resemblance whatsoever with the coins of king Nava. On the 'Datta' series of coins of Mathura, the legend is either circular or in a straight line at the top; on the coins of king Nava it is always at the bottom. On the 'Datta' coins, there is usually standing Lakshmi on the obverse and three elephants on the reverse; on none of the coins of Nava does either of these objects make its appearance. They have on the other hand tree within railing on one side and Bull on the other, which do not figure on 'Datta' coins at all. The average weight of the coins of Nava is about 65 grains, that of the coins of the 'Datta' series is about 110 grains. There is therefore no affinity at all between 'Datta' coins of Jayaswal's so called Mathura-Vidisha series and the coins of Nava.

Regarding any kind of affinity existing between the coins of king Nava and the rulers of Padmavti, who undoubtedly belonged to a Naga family, the only point of similarity, according to Altekar, is the occasional appearance of the bull on the reverse of the coins of the Naga rulers of Padmavati. Bull however is an invariable element of the coins of Nava, whereas it is often replaced by Peacock, Wheel or Trident on the Naga coins of Padmavati. The Tree within railing, which is an invariable element on the coins of king Nava, is conspicuous by its absence on the Padmavati Naga coins; and Peacock, Wheel and Trident which often figure on the latter, are never to be seen on the coins of Nava. The legend on this ruler's coins is always at the bottom and in a straight line, that on the coins of the Naga rulers of Padmavati is generally circular, and covering the entire surface of the coin. The Padmavati rulers prefix the title Maharaja to their names; Nava never takes up this or any other royal title. The suffix Naga, which invariably occurs on the coins of Padmavati rulers, is always absent on the coins of Nava. The Padmavati coins are usually tiny in size and weight. They were apparently issued in three denominations weighing 9, 18 and 36 grains; only Skandanaga has issued a few coins weighing about 50 grains. The coins of Nava on the other hand are never so tiny; they usually weigh about 65 grains. There is therefore no affinity at all between the coins of the Naga rulers of Padmavati and those of king Nava in order to justify the latter's attribution to a Naga family.

The Puranas place their Nava-Nagas at Padmavati and their statement can be well accepted, for, coins of ten Naga rulers have been found at that place. If we agree with Jayaswal and hold that Navanaga was the founder of this house, we should find some of his coins at Padmavati. This place has yielded a large number of Naga coins, but not a single coin of Nava has been found there. This would be indeed strange if king Nava was a Naga ruler and the ultimate founder of the Padmavati dynasty.

The coins of Nava have been found only in the eastern U.P., and mostly at Kausambi. The Tree within railing on one side and the bull on the other side of the coins of this ruler also show that he hailed from Kausambi, for both these symbols occur on most of the coins issued from that city. King Nava was therefore most probably a Kausambi ruler and had no connection with the Naga family of Padmavati. Nor was he himself of Naga extraction. He does not care to add to his name the epithet Naga, as was done by other Naga rulers. There is no Naga symbol on his coins. Kausambi, which was his capital, is not mentioned by Puranas as the seat of any Naga family of rulers, though they mention Mathura, Padmavati, Kantipuri and Champa as the seats of Naga families. His coins are not found at Mathura and Padmavati and there is no evidence at all to show that he was the founder of the Naga families ruling at these places. If the Bharasiva dynasty was a Naga one, there is no evidence to show that king Nava was its founder.

According to Jayaswal king Navanaga was succeeded in c. 170 A.D. by king Virasena, who was also a Naga ruler. King Nava had ousted the Kushanas from eastern U.P.; king Virasena drove them from the western U.P. also and regained independence for the Madhyadesa. He was the immediate founder of the Naga families which according to the Puranas, were ruling at Mathura, Padmavati and Kantipuri.22 His coins are common at Mathura and also round in Eta, Farukkabad and Bulandshahar districts of U.P.; sometimes they are to be met with even in the eastern Punjab. It is therefore clear that he had wrested these areas from the Kushanas. This Virsena, who was a Naga ruler, is however to be distinguished from another ruler, whose coins are illustrated in I.M.C., Pl.XXII No.19, and who was a later ruler. Smith is quite wrong in reading the legend on this coin as Virasena; the correct reading of the legend is Pravarasena, and the issuer is to identified with Pravarasena I, the Vakataka emperor.23

Altekar is of opinion that Jayaswal is right in maintaining that Virasena was a ruler of Mathura. But we have no evidence to show that he was himself a Naga ruler and was the founder of the Naga dynasties of Mathura, Kantipuri and Padmavati. Though the size of the coins of the Padmavati Naga rulers is very small, every ruler of that house takes care to see that the epithet Naga was engraved after his name on his coins. Though the size of the coins of Virasena is much larger, the legend does not contain the epithet Naga after the king's name; it is simply Virasenasa. This would be rather inexplicable if Virasena was the founder of the Naga greatness and the establisher of three Naga houses. Jayaswal contends that the Naga figure on the reverse of the coins Virasena symbolically suggest his Naga extraction. Even when their Naga origin had quite well-known in later times, the rulers of Padamavati never thought of indicating their family name in this symbolical fashion; could then Virasena, the founder of the house, have remained content by suggesting his descent or family name in this dubious manner, when it was practically unknown to his contemporaries? He would have naturally adopted the least unequivocal and the most obvious method proclaiming his Naga descent by adding the epithet Naga after his name, as has been done by the Naga rulers of Padmavati.

Altekar notes that what Jayaswal takes to be the Naga symbol occurs not on the obverse of these coins, where the names of the king Virasena has been engraved, but on their reverse. If the Naga symbol was intended to complete the legend Virasena into Virasenanaga, it should have occurred at least on the same side as the legend. But this is not the case on a single coin on Virasena.

Altekar points out that it is extremely doubtful whether there is Naga symbol on these coins. On their reverse we have no doubt a vertical wavy line by the side of the deity, which can no doubt be taken to be the representation of a serpent. But it can as well be regarded as the long stalk of a flower held by the standing goddess Lakshmi in her hand. On many Gupta coins we have the representation of a Lakshmi holding a lotus with a long stalk in the same manner as is done on the coins of Virasena. See Allan, Catalogue of Gupta Coins, Pl. VII, Nos.6 and 15; Pl. VIII, Nos.6,7 etc. In order to exclude the obvious view that on the reverse we have Lakshmi with a lotus of long stalk, Jayaswal maintains that this goddess is the Ganges. There is however no evidence to support this theory. Makara, the vahana of the Ganges, is nowhere represented on the reverse by the side of the deity. And Hindu mythology is unaware of the symbolism of serpent holding its hood as a canopy on the Ganges, as Jayaswal wants to interpret the reverse of the coins of Virasena.

According to Altekar, Jayaswal held that Virasena was the immediate founder of the three Naga families of Mathura, Kantipuri and Padmavati, it was necessary for him to show that his coins are found at Padmavati also, as they are found at Mathura. In order therefore to show that Virasena is also represented in the Padmavati Naga coinage, Jayaswal attributes the coins illustrated in Pl.II,13 and 14 of Cunningham's Coins of Medieval India to king Virasena. There is however no sufficient evidence to do so. Only the first letter of the legend can be read on each of these coins. On the coin in Pl.II, 13, it is distinctly kha and so it cannot be attributed to Virasena. On the coin in Pl.II 14, the letter is probably va and the name of the issuer may have begun with that letter. But though there is ample space over the head of this letter, it does not show any trace of the mark for medial i. On the other Naga coins of Padmavati, medial vowels are invariably indicated and there is no reason why this should not have been done on the present coin, if it was really issued by Virasena, especially when there was ample space to accommodate the medial mark for i.

Perhaps in order to render his theory plausible that Virasena was a great ruler who ruled gloriously for a long time, Jayaswal observes24 that he has issued coins of four different varieties, illustrated in I.M.C., Vol.I, Pl. XXII 15, Cunningham, C.A.I., VIII, 18, J.R.A.S., 1900. fig. 15 facing p.97 and Cunningham C.M.I., Pl. II 13,14 respectively. Altekar points out in this connection that the first three of the coins referred to above are practically identical in type. All of them are rectangular in size and have on the reverse a female figure standing or sitting under a canopy with a flower of long stalk to left. On the obverse of all of them there is the inscription at the top in a straight line and a palm tree below. Only in the case of the coin illustrated by Rapson in J.R.A.S., 1900, there does not appear any palm tree on the obverse. The coin in question is however considerably worn out and it is quite possible that the palm tree symbol may have been obliterated. Virasena has therefore issued coins of only one variety and not of four, as mentioned by Dr. Jayaswal.

To conclude, Altekar observes that Virasena had issued coins of one variety only which are found usually in the upper Doab, rarely in the eastern Punjab and not at all at Padmavati. There is no evidence to show that he was a Naga ruler. What is taken to be a serpent raising its hood (on the reverse of his coins) is more likely to be a lotus flower with a long stalk held by Lakshmi in her hand. He is not represented among the numerous Naga coins found at Padmavati and Vidisha. Nor do his coins show any resemblance to the coinage of the Naga rulers of Padmavati. The coins of Virasena are rectangular in size, those of the Naga rulers are circular. The coin legend on the one is at the top and in a straight line, that on the other is circular and covering the entire face. Palm tree of Virasena's coins never occurs on the Naga coins, as also Lakshmi standing under a canopy with a flower of a long stalk in her hand. Bull, Peacock, Wheel and Trident which appears on the different Naga coins never figure on the coins of Virasena.

The coins of Virasena thus bear no resemblance whatsoever to any known Naga coinage. There is no evidence, epigraphical, numismatic, or literary, to show that he was a Naga ruler, and the founder of the Naga families of Padmavati, Kantipuri, and Mathura. The view therefore that he was a Naga ruler and the founder of the Bharasiva Naga family cannot be upheld.25

According to Jayaswal, the Naga family of Virasena was divided into three branches after his death, the first ruling at Padmavati, the second at Kantipuri and the third at Mathura. The Mathura rulers, he says, have left no coins. The coins of the rulers of the Padmavati house are well known and have been published by Cunningham in J.A.S.B., 1865 and require no comments. Jayaswal however maintains that the Kantipuri Naga family, ruling at Kantit in Mirzapur district, was the Bharasiva family; Hayanaga, Trayanaga, Barhinanaga, Chharajanaga and Bhavanaga were its members. Jayaswal maintains that these rulers have left their coins behind; only we failed to notice and identify them. The coins of the first four of the above rulers have been discussed and illustrated by Jayaswal in his History, pp. 24-28. Later on when Sir Richard Burn challenged some of Jayaswal's readings, he published two new coins in J.B.O.R.S. Vol. XXII , pp.70-76 and Pl. I, which he claimed were the coins of Bhavanaga and Bhimanaga respectively. Altekar proceeds to see whether the above coins relied upon by Dr. Jayaswal as Naga coins really be attributed to any Naga dynasty.

Jayaswal claims that among the unassigned, miscellaneous coins of northern India, published in the Indian Museum Catalogue, Vol. I. on pp. 205-6 and illustrated on Pl. XXIII, have the coins of Hayanaga, Trayanaga, Barhinanaga and Chharajanaga. Numismatics failed to read properly the legends on these coins and so the fact of their being issued by a Naga dynasty remained undetected so long.

Altekar points out that as far as the coins from the Indian Museum relied upon by Dr. Jayaswal are concerned, it may be observed that their facsimilies published both by Smith in the I.M.C. and Jayawal in his History are very indistinct and no confident readings can be proposed with their help. Altekar took an opportunity to study the original coins in the Indian Museum in 1935 and found that only one of them, Serial No. 10, could probably be attributed to a Naga ruler. Among the letters of the legend can be read Trayanaga or Eyanaga on the original coin but not in its photograph. There are however some letters preceding this legend. It may however be agreed with Jayaswal and tentatively assign this coin to a Naga ruler named Trayanaga. It has however to be pointed out that this legend cannot be read in the photoprint of this coin reproduced by Jayaswal in Pl. I or his History.

As far as the coins attributed to Chharajanaga and Barhinanaga are concerned, Altekar points out that the facsimiles reproduced by Dr. Jayaswal in his Pl. I, are too indistinct to permit any confident reading of their legends. When Altekar examined the original coins in 1935, he was unable to read the legends as proposed by Jayaswal. As a matter of fact the coins are in a very poor state of preservation and no confident reading of their legends is possible, unless better preserved specimens are forthcoming.

Pl. VIII, 10-11 published in J.N.S.I., V are attributed to Chharajanaga by Jayaswal. The second line on the obverse of no:10 reads Nagasa, and above the lion on the reverse, it is contended, there are figure symbols for 20 and 8. "It is a coin of Chharaja Naga, dated in his 28th year." On coin No.11 one can read Chharaja, but the reading on No.10 seems to be Srichhaja. But the point at issue is not whether Chharajs or Chhaja is the correct reading, but whether this name is followed by the epithet Nagosa in a second line. Jayaswal does not state where exactly is this second line to be looked for. Smith did not suspect its existence nor could Altekar succeed in detecting it when he examined the coin in 1935. To the left of the Tree on the obverse there is most probably the figure of a man or a woman coming to worship it; see Pl. VIII, 10. It is to the right hand side of the legend Chharaja and has been mistaken by Jayaswal for the letters nagasa, very roughly executed. But it is certain that there is no legend here, but the figure of a devotee coming to worship the tree. The coin affords no evidence to prove that Chharaja was a Naga ruler. Jayaswal's numerical symbol for 20 on the reverse is obviously the railing of a tree.

Coins published in I.M.C. Vol. I, Plate XXIII, Nos.9 and 12 ( Pl. VIII. 9,12 of JNSI-V) are taken by Jayaswal, to be the issues of Hayanaga. Altekar has examined these coins; they are in a very poor state of preservation and a confident reading of their legends is impossible. The facsimiles given both in the I.M.C. and Jayaswal's History are useless to control and verify the reading. The legend on Pl. VIII, 12 of J.N.S.I. V has been read by Smith as ratha yana-gicham [i] ta [sa] ( ? ). Jayaswal reads the same legend as [Sri] Haya-Nagasa , 20, 10, and observes, 'What Smith read as ra is probably a part of Sri.' What he read as tha is really a ha and his nagi is naga. What he read as chha Altekar reads as the figure for 20. His ma stands for 10. Jayaswal contends that this is a coin of Hayanaga issued in his 30th regnal year. Altekar points out that the coin and its photos are too indistinct to permit a confident reading but it may be observed that Jayaswal's reading is rendered extremely suspicious by his assumption of their being the two numerical symbols, 20 and 10. As is well known, there was one symbol for 30, and in the whole range of Indian epigraphy and numismatics there is not a single instance of 30 being denoted by two separate symbols for 20 and 10. The symbols concerned are obviously letters tha and ma; this would render the reading of the whole legend as proposed by Jayaswal extremely dubious.

On I.M.C. Vol. I, Pl. XXIII, No. (Pl. VIII, 9 of J.N.S.I-V,) Jayaswal can read the legend Hayasa only by supposing that the legend is reversed; he reads it sayaha. Reversed legends on ancient Indian coins are not quite unknown; but they are very rare. The facsimile in the I.M.C. however shows that the letters sayaha also cannot be read. What is taken to be a sa (at X ) is most probably a cross of the Ujjayini symbol joined to a depression at the top of the coin. Hayanaga flourished according to Jayaswal in c. 250 A.D., the second letter (at VII) looks like ya of the 3rd century B.C. and not of the 3rd century A.D. It is most probably a na as was supposed by Smith. What is taken to be a ha (at VI) is clearly a railing. The reading sayaha is therefore impossible and it cannot therefore be attributed to Haya even by supposing that the legend is reversed. It is further to be noted that the epithet naga does not appear after the name of the ruler.

I.M.C., Vol.I, Pl. XXIII No. 13, (Pl. VIII, 13 of JNSI-V ) is taken by Jayaswal to be a coin of Barhinanaga. Here again it has to be noted that the facsimile is poor and the legend not free from doubt. Smith doubtfully read the legend on the obverse as (?) gabhemanapa, adding that only bha and na were certain. Jayaswal reads it as Sri Ba [r] hinasa. A glance at Pl. VIII, 13 of J.N.S.I-V or at the plate either of Smith or of Jayaswal shows that we cannot hope to check either of these readings from the facsimiles. The coin itself is too blurred to permit any confident reading. There is a peacock on the reverse of this coin, which perhaps may be supposed to lend support to the view that the coins is of Barhinanaga. But we have peacocks on the coins of rulers who did not bear this name, as is shown by the coins of Bhimanaga and Skandanaga of the Padmavati series. On the reverse of this coin Jayaswal reads the legend (na) ga (sa). He is sure only of the letter ga. On the facsimile we can however read the letter pa at II. The reading Nagasa is therefore very problematical even on Jayaswal's admission. It is therefore extremely doubtful whether this coin was issued by Barhina, and if so, whether this ruler was a Naga prince.

Out of the four Naga successors of Virasena postulated by Jayaswal, it is thus seen that Trayanaga alone is perhaps probable. The legend on the coins attributed to Hayanaga, Barhinanaga and Chharajanaga are extremely blurred and cannot be read with any reasonable certainty or probability. Nor are the findspots of these coins known; there is therefore no evidence to show that these kings were ruling at Kantit or Kantipuri and belonged to the Bharasiva house.


The last ruler of the Bharasiva dynasty, according to Jayaswal, was Bhavanaga. At the time of the publication of his History Jayaswal could rely only on the references to this ruler in the Vakataka records; later on, however, he published a coin of this ruler also in J.B.O.R.S., Vol. XXII, pp. 72-73, belonging to the collection of Babu Sri Nath Sah of Benares. As the facsimile published by Jayaswal along with this paper could not prima facie support his reading of the legend, Altekar requested Babu Sri Nath Sah to lend him this coin for study and permit him to publish it afresh with a better facsimile. He was kind enough to accede to his request, and the coin is illustrated in Pl. VIII. 17 of J.N.S.I-V.

On the reverse of this coin Jayaswal reads the legend [Sri] Bhavanago in front of the Bull. He observes, 'The head of the first syllable Sri is worn off leaving only traces. The box on the heads of bha, va and na exists in outlines, and the syllable go has become faint: all the other letters still stand out in bold relief. The hanging line of bha was cut thinner in the original mould'.

Altekar points out that there is no doubt that this coin bears an inscription. It is one of those rare Lankey Bull types of Kausambi coins which are inscribed. Allan has published another inscribed coin of this type with the legend Kosa [m] bi (Catalogue, Introduction, pp. xcviii-xcix ). The point at issue is not then whether Lankey Bull types of coins are inscribed, but whether the inscription on the present coin can be read as Sribhavanago, as contended by Jayaswal. He admits that the first letter (at II), taken as Sri by him, is worn off. Altekar has examined the original coin carefully and to him it appears more like a ma than sri. The facsimile published by Jayaswal, as also the new one publ shed in Pl. VIII, 17 of J.N.S.I.,V show that this letter is most probably a ma. One cannot be however certain about it. In the facsimile published by Jayaswal, as well as on the original coin, the second letter certainly appears as a ka and not as a bha. The right hand horizontal limb of ka is slightly shorter than the left hand one. But it can be c early seen in Jayaswal's facsimile also. There it appears slightly detached from the vertical of ka: but such is not the case on the original coin, as can be seen from its fresh facsimile (Pl. VIII, 17 of J.N.S.I., V). Jayaswal pleads that the hanging line of bha was cut thinner; it can hardly be detected in his facsimile and does not exist at all on the original coin. The third letter is taken by Jayaswal as va; but his own facsimile as well as the one published in J.N.S .I., V show that it can be vi and nothing else. The fourth letter is no doubt na or na, but there is no letter after it.

Nor has any of these letters a box-head as cont ended by Jayaswal. The right hand limb of ka and the medial i mark of vi are taken by Jayaswal as parts or the box-heads over these letters. A glance at the Vakataka plates in box-headed characters will however show that the 'boxes' were always engraved to the left side of each letter and not to its right side, as assumed here by Jayaswal. Prima facie therefore what Jayaswal has taken to be box-heads cannot be so regarded at all. An examination of the enlarged facsimile of this coin published by Jayaswal will show that the second and third letters of the legend are ordinary forms of ka and vi and not box-headed forms of bha and va. This will be absolutely clear from the fascimile of the coin published in JNSI V.

To conclude, Altekar points out that the legend on this so-called coin of Bhavanaga is partly obliterated and no definite reading can be proposed of the whole of it. But it is absolutely certain that the letters taken to be bha and va are ka and vi respectively. The name Bhavanaga cannot be read on the coin and it cannot be attributed to him. He has read the legend as ma (?) kavina (na?).

Along with the so-called coin of Bhavanaga, Jayaswal has published another coin, which he attributes to Bhimanaga. This coin also belongs to the valuable collection of Babu Sri Nath Sah of Benares, who was good enough to lend it to Altekar for study and publication in JNSI, V, Pl. VIII.18.

As per Altekar, Jayaswal reads the legend Bhimasa on the elephant side of this coin, but does not state where exactly we can find it. Altekar saw no traces of any of the letters bhi, ma or sa, either in Jayaswal's facsimile or on the original coin. On the head of the elephant there are probably traces of triratna symbol, which is quite common on the Kausambi coins of this type. It is probably traces of this symbol which may have been regarded as parts of a legend by Jayaswal. Altekar examined both the obverse and reverse of this coin carefully and found no traces of any legend anywhere.

To conclude, Altekar is of opinion that the coins of the rulers of Mathura with datta-ending names cannot be attributed to any Naga family ruling before the Christian era. Kings Nava and Virasena have issued coins and were ruling in the Gangetic Doab, but there is no evidence whatsoever to show that they were Naga rulers, or were the founders of the Bharasiva dynasty. Coins attributed to Hayanaga, Barhinanaga and Chharajanaga are so blurred that no definite readings can be proposed of the legends partially legible on them. Most probably they are not Naga coins; even if they are supposed to be Naga issues, there is no evidence to connect the issuers with the Kantipuri Bharasiva family of Jayaswal. The coin attributed to Bhimanaga bears no inscription and the one attributed to Bhavanaga bears the legend ma (7) kavlna , and so ca nnot have been an issue of Bhavanaga, the maternal grandfather of the Vakataka ruler Rudrasena. If Nagas were powerful rulers who had ousted the Kushanas and performed ten horse sacrifices, they have left no coins which can lend any support to such a claim.


According to Altekar so far no coins of any Naga families ruling either at Mathura or at Kantipuri have been found. The only Naga coins known so far are the Naga coins of the rulers of Padmavati. When Cunningham published them in 1865 A.D., seven rulers of the series were known, -- Bhimanaga, Skandanaga, Brihaspatinaga, Vyaghranaga, Vasunaga, Devanaga and Ganapatinaga. Subsequently coins of Prabhakaranaga were discovered and published by Rapson in J.R.A.S., 1901, p. 116 and accompanying Pl. In number IV of JNSI, Altekar has published the coins of two new Naga rulers, Vibhunaga and Bhavanaga, and shown that Bharasiva Bhavanaga most probably belonged to the Naga family of Padmavati. In JNSI, V, V.S. Agrawala has published a coin of another new Naga ruler named Pumnaga.

Though not conclusive, a major breakthrough in the subject has been made by H. V. Trivedi, who, after conducting a detailed examination of thousands of Naga coins preserved in the Gwalior Museum has published Catalogue of the Coins of the Naga Kings of Padmavati,26 bringing to light the names of twelve Naga rulers. Also, he has framed a tentative chronology of these rulers.

According to Trivedi, with the scanty material which we have at our disposal, what we are able to know is that the Naga house probably originated at Vidisha in east Malwa, from where they moved to the north up to Padmavati, Kantipuri and Mathura; and also that they were one of the leading powers in ousting the Kushans from part of the Gangetic valley. It is not possible to know definitely whether the three houses ruling at these three places were related to each other or it was one and the same house which moved on and on from Padmavati to Kantipuri (modern Kutwar in Gwalior District) and from there to Mathura in their successful attacks on the Kushanas. But the latter of these alternatives can be inferred from the epigraphical statement in a Vakataka inscription describing them as obtaining the holy water of the Ganges for their coronation, winning it from the prowess of their arms.27

The same inscription goes on to state that the Naga rulers performed ten horse sacrifices; and this performances may be not only to commemorate their victories over the Kushans but also to proclaim their liberating mlechchhas by the staunch indigenous people. Jayaswal is probably right in holding that "the Kushanas tried to put an end to the Hindu social system by imposing on them a non-Brahmanical system"; thus it was the age of "national calamity",28 and in view of this, the Naga house aptly deserves the credit of liberating a major part of the country from the foreign yoke and also of reviving the age-hallowed Hindu cultural tradition.

It is rather strange that this illustrious house has left not even a single epigraphical record and even the names of the members belonging to it are known only from their coins or from stray references to some of them in the epigraphical and literary sources. As seen above, the Puranas state that there were nine rulers in the Naga house of Padmavati, but the coins reveal the names of twelve; they are: Vrisha, Bhima, Skanda, Vasu, Brihaspati, Vibhu, Ravi, Bhava, Prabhakara, Deva, Vyaghra and Ganapati. At Pawaya the coins of all these rulers have been found with the exception of Vyaghra, who is so far known only from a solitary specimen which was discovered at Narwar and published by Cunningham.29

Of the names mentioned above, only two, viz, Bhava and Ganapati, figure in epigraphical documents, the references being only accidental. The Vakataka record referred to above states that Rudrasena I of that dynasty was the daughter's son of king Bhavanaga. From this reference Jayaswal infers that Bhavanaga, the maternal grandfather of the Vakataka Rudrasena, was a member of the Bharasiva house, and Dr. Altekar has given strong reasons to show that he was no other than the Bhavanaga whose coins are found at Padmavati and who belonged to the same stock as of Bhima, Skanda and Ganapati.30


Rudrasena was on the Vakataka throne from c. 335 to 355 A.D. and therefore his maternal grandfather Bhavanaga, as rightly observed by Dr. Altekar, must have flourished in the earlier years of the fourth century A.D. Trivedi assigns him a long reign of about 25 years in view of the large number of types and varieties of coins issued by him. Thus he appears to have been on the throne from c. 310 to c. 335 A.D.

The other Naga ruler about whom we have definite historical information is Ganapati. This name has been included in the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta in the list of kings whom he violently exterminated, and in view of this statement Ganapati may be regarded as the last of the Naga kings whose kingdom was annexed to the Gupta empire.

The Allahabad Pillar inscription mentions two more names, Nagadatta and Nagasena, as kings of Aryavarta who were destroyed by him. We have no means to identify the first of these rulers, but Nagasena is referred to in the Harsha-Charita, which tells us that he was a Naga ruler of Padmavati. Neither of these rulers is known to have issued any coin.

There is no means to determine the chronological order of succession among these rulers; however, Dr. H.V. Trivedi has ventured to make an attempt in this respect.


According to Dr. Trivedi31 the originator of the house appears to be Vrisha, whose coin he has published in the J.N.S.I., XV, p.121. Referring to the Pauranic statement "Vaidesikastu Vrishabhah", he has concluded that he began to rule at Bhilsa and the palaeography of the legend on his coin shows his time to be the latter part of the second century A.D.
About his Naga lineage he was not then certain, but this became more definite in view of more coins of this ruler discovered at Padmavati. Bhilsa appears to have been a strong-hold of the house; a number of Naga coins were found in excavations at that place by D.R. Bhandarkar,32 and even to-day a very large number of this series of coins, obtained from the ancient site of Vidisha, can be seen in the local market.

Vrisha or Vrishabhava seems to have been followed by Bhima, whose coins bear the legend in two horizontal lines, and not in a circle around the edge, as we find on those of the other members of the house. His legend is in Prakrit, ending in sa, and the palaeography is earlier. The epithet of Maharaja and the way of engraving the legend in two horizontal lines reminds of the coins which were found at Pawaya and were published by Dr. Trivedi in J.N.S.I.33 Thus it is possible to hold that Bhima, who was probably the earliest of the rulers to shift to that place may have imitated this design.

Dr. K.P. Jayaswal tentatively placed Bhima from c.210 to c.230 A.D.; and Dr. Trivedi's examination of the palaeography of the legend on his coins goes to support the same.

Bhima's immediate successor, according to Jayaswal, was Skanda. The learned scholar gave no reasons for holding this view, but on the evidence of the peacock emblem and the study of the palaeography of the letters in his legend, Dr, Trivedi tempted to agree with him.
It is true that identity of types and palaeography of letters are not sure grounds for fixing the order of succession among rulers; but in the absence of any other evidence, this alone is the guide.


The "dagger and the peacock emblem" was adopted by three ruling members belonging to this house, viz. by Bhima, Skanda and Vasu. Thus Skanda and Vasu do not appear to have been far removed in time from Shima who may have adopted it originally. They were his successors, as they give the legend ending in sya, unlike Bhima, on whose coins it ends in Prakrit, in sa, as seen above.

The coins of Skanda and Vasu are marked by another peculiarity; a number of them appear to be re-struck or counter-struck, their original devices being obliterated beyond recognition, leaving only traces to be detected. This may go to indicate some political disturbance, the nature of which is unknown.

Dr. Trivedi assigns the next member of the house to be Brihaspati, whose coins show a slight advancement in palaeography. He also issued coins with the symbol of a couchant bull, as we find on those issued by Skanda, whose peacock type connects with Bhima on the one hand, and the bull type, with Brihaspati, on the other.

Dr. Trivedi presumes that if the order of succession among these five rulers, viz. Vrisha, Bhima, Skanda, Vasu and Brihaspati, is correct, the last of these kings appears to have closed his reign sometime about the end of the third century A.D., calculating each of the reigns to be of about 20 years.

Dr. Trivedi notes that excepting Vrisha no other ruler from among those mentioned above uses the honorific Sri with his name. Another peculiarity is that each of the rulers beginning from Bhima issued coins with the emblem used by his predecessor and added at least one device of his own. Thus on the coins of Bhima and Vasu the peacock always faces the left, whereas Skanda, who also issues coins with the emblem of a bull, always to right, depicts on his coins the figure of a peacock facing right also; and Brihaspati. who follows the bull type, introduces the trident type. All these points go to show that these five rulers belonged to the earlier stock of the Naga house of Padmavati.

From about the close of the third to that of the fourth century A.D., towards which the house was exterminated by Samudragupta, Dr. Trivedi places the following rulers: Vibhu, Ravi, Prabhakara, Bhava, Deva, and Ganapati. Of these, Ravi, only three of whose coins were made available to Dr. Trivedi, appears to have had a very short reign. Bhava has been known to be ruling from c. 310 to c. 345 A.D., and Deva, who uses 'Indra' with his name, like Ganapati, may be placed just before him. About the relative priority between Vibhu and Prabhakara, nothing can be definitely stated; the former of these may perhaps be placed before the latter, in view of the fact that the animal on his coins is exactly similar to that on those of the latter, who also uses the new device of a lion. After Bhava, Trivedi places Deva between him and Ganapati. Prabhakara seems to have been a successor of Bhava in view of the study of palaeography of the letters of their legends. In the light of the above discussion, the order of succession among these rulers may, as proposed by Trivedi, be as follows: -- Vibhu, Ravi, Bhava, Prabhakara, Deva and Ganapati.

On the basis of numismatic evidence, Dr. Trivedi presumes34 that there was only one single Naga Kingdom with its capital at Padmavati and that Mathura and Kantipuri were subsidiary capitals or important places in the Naga territory, The statement of the Vishnu Purana mentioning the Nagas as ruling at the three places does not make any distinction in this respect; and the seven Naga rulers who are mentioned in the Vayu Purana as holding and sway over Mathura may have been out of the same nine who flourished at Padmavati. Coins of the same house are found at all the three places. In this connection it may be pointed out that Dr. Trivedi's suggestions are only tentative and nothing final may be said at this stage till strong evidences come.
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Northern Satraps
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/20/21



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Northern Satraps
60 BCE–2nd century CE
The Northern Satraps ruled the area from Eastern Punjab to Mathura.[1]
Capital: Sagala/ Mathura
Religion: Buddhism; Hinduism; Jainism
Government: Monarchy
Historical era: Antiquity
• Established: 60 BCE
• Disestablished: 2nd century CE
Preceded by: Indo-Greeks; Mitra dynasty
Succeeded by: Kushan Empire
Today part of: India; Pakistan

The Northern Satraps (Brahmi: [x], Kṣatrapa, "Satraps" or [x], Mahakṣatrapa, "Great Satraps"), or sometimes Satraps of Mathura,[2] or Northern Sakas,[1] are a dynasty of Indo-Scythian rulers who held sway over the area of Eastern Punjab and Mathura after the decline of the Indo-Greeks, from the end of the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE. They are called "Northern Satraps" in modern historiography to differentiate them from the "Western Satraps", who ruled in Gujarat and Malwa at roughly the same time and until the 4th century CE. They are thought to have replaced the last of the Indo-Greek kings in the Eastern Punjab, as well as the Mitra dynasty and the Datta dynasty of local Indian rulers in Mathura.

The Northern Satraps were probably displaced by, or became vassals of, the Kushans from the time of Vima Kadphises, who is known to have ruled in Mathura in 90–100 CE, and they are known to have acted as Satraps and Great Satraps in the Mathura region for his successor Kanishka (127–150 CE).

Northern Satrap rulers

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Coins of contemporary Indo-Greek ruler Strato (r.c.25 BCE to 10 CE, top) and Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura Rajuvula (r.c.10 BCE to 10 CE, bottom) discovered together in a mound in Mathura.[3][4] The coins of Rajuvula were derived from those of Strato.[5]

In central India, the Indo-Scythians are thought to have conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings, presumably the Datta dynasty, around 60 BCE. Due to being under the scrutiny of the Kushan Empire, as a satrapy and not wholly independent, they were called the Northern Satraps. Some of their first satraps were Hagamasha and Hagana, they were in turn followed by Rajuvula who gained the title Mahakshatrapa or great satrap. However, according to some authors, Rajuvula may have been first.[citation needed].

Rajuvula

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Indo-Scythian ruler Rajuvula, from his coinage.

Rajuvula is considered as one of the main Northern Satraps. He was a Great Satrap (Mahakshatrapa) who ruled in the area of Mathura in northern India in the years around 10 CE, under the authority of the Indo-Scythian king Azilises.[6] In Mathura, he sometimes used the term "Basileus" (king) next to his title of Satrap, which implies a higher level of autonomy from the Indo-Scythian center in northwestern India.[6] On the obverse of his coinage, he often uses in the Greek script the title "King of Kings, the Saviour".[7][2]

In Mathura, Rajuvula established the famous Mathura lion capital, now in the British Museum, which confirms the presence of Northern Satraps in Mathura, and sheds some light on the relationships between the various satraps of Northern India.[8] His coins are found near Sankassa along the Ganges and in Eastern Punjab. Their style is derived from the Indo-Greek types of Strato II.[8][6] Rajuvula conquered the last remaining Indo-Greek kingdom, under Strato II, around 10 CE, and took his capital city, Sagala. Numerous coins of Rajuvula have been found in company with the coins of the Strato group in the Eastern Punjab (to the east of the Jhelum) and also in the Mathura area:[9] for example, 96 coins of Strato II were found in Mathura in conjunction with coins of Rajuvula, who also imitated the designs of Strato II in the majority of his issues.[10]

The coinage of the period, such as that of Rajuvula, tends to become very crude and barbarized in style. It is also very much debased, the silver content becoming lower and lower, in exchange for a higher proportion of bronze, an alloying technique (billon) suggesting less than wealthy finances.

Mathura lion capital

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The Mathura lion capital, a dynastic production, advertising the rule of Rajuvula and his relatives, as well as their sponsorship of Buddhism. 2 BCE-6 CE.[11]

The Mathura lion capital, an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital in crude style, from Mathura in Central India, and dated to the 1st century CE, describes in kharoshthi the gift of a stupa with a relic of the Buddha, by Queen Nadasi Kasa, the wife of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, Rajuvula.[citation needed]

The capital describes, among other donations, the gift of a stupa with a relic of the Buddha, by Queen Ayasia, the "chief queen of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, satrap Rajuvula". She is mentioned as the "daughter of Kharahostes" (See: Mathura Lion Capital inscriptions). The lion capital also mentions the genealogy of several Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura. It mentions Sodasa, son of Rajuvula, who succeeded him and also made Mathura his capital.[citation needed]

Sodasa and Bhadayasa

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Coin of Northern Satrap Bhadayasa.
Obv:Greek legend [x] "Saviour King Zoilos", an imitation of the legend of Zoilos II
Rev: Maharajasa Tratarasa Bhadrayashasa, "Saviour king Bhadayasha"[12]


Sodasa, son of Rajuvula, seems to have replaced his father in Mathura, while Bhadayasa ruled as Basileus in Eastern Punjab.[13][14][15] Bhadayasa has some of the nicest coins of the Northern Satraps, in direct inspiration from the coins of the last Indo-Greek kings.[citation needed]

The coinage of Sodasa is cruder and of local content: it represents a Lakshmi standing between two symbols on the obverse with an inscription around Mahakhatapasa putasa Khatapasa Sodasasa "Satrap Sodassa, son of the Great Satrap". On the reverse is a standing Abhiseka Lakshmi (Lakshmi standing facing a Lotus flower with twin stalks and leaves) anointed by two elephants sprinkling water, as on the coins of Azilises.[13][16]

Sodasa is also known from various inscriptions where he is mentioned as ruler in Mathura, such as the Kankali Tila tablet of Sodasa.

Contribution to Sanskrit epigraphy

Main article: Sanskrit

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Mirzapur stele inscription in the reign Sodasa, circa 15 CE, Mirzapur village (in the vicinity of Mathura). Mathura Museum. The inscription refers to the erection of a water tank by Mulavasu and his consort Kausiki, during the reign of Sodasa, assuming the title of "Svami (Lord) Mahakshatrapa (Great Satrap)".[17]

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The names of the Mahakshatrapa ("Great Satrap") Kharapallana and the Kshatrapa ("Satrap") Vanaspara in the year 3 of Kanishka (circa 123 CE) were found on this statue of the Bala Bodhisattva, dedicated by "brother (Bhikshu) Bala".

In what has been described as "the great linguistical paradox of India", Sanskrit inscriptions first appeared much later than Prakrit inscriptions, although Prakrit is considered as a descendant of the Sanskrit language.[18] This is because Prakrit, in its multiple variants, had been favoured since the time of the influential Edicts of Ashoka (circa 250 BCE).[18]

Besides a few examples from the 1st century BCE, most of the early Sanskrit inscriptions date to the time of the Indo-Scythian rulers, either the Northern Satraps around Mathura for the earliest ones, or, slightly later, the closely related Western Satraps in western and central India.[19][20] It is thought that they became promoters of Sanskrit as a way to show their attachment to Indian culture.[20] According to Salomon "their motivation in promoting Sanskrit was presumably a desire to establish themselves as legitimate Indian or at least Indianized rulers and to curry the favor of the educated Brahmanical elite".[21]

The Sanskrit inscriptions in Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) are dated to the 1st and 2nd-century CE.[19] The earliest of these, states Salomon, are attributed to Sodasa from the early years of 1st-century CE. Of the Mathura inscriptions, the most significant is the Mora Well Inscription.[19] In a manner similar to the Hathibada inscription, the Mora well inscription is a dedication inscription and is linked to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. It mentions a stone shrine (temple), pratima (murti, images) and calls the five Vrishnis as bhagavatam.[19][22] There are many other Mathura Sanskrit inscriptions overlapping the era of Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps and early Kushanas, although they are still dwarfed by the number of contemporary inscriptions in Prakrit.[19] Other significant 1st-century inscriptions in reasonably good classical Sanskrit include the Vasu Doorjamb Inscription and the Mountain Temple inscription.[23] The early ones are related to the Brahmanical and possibly Jain traditions, as in the case of an inscription from Kankali Tila,[24][25] and none are Buddhist.

The development of Sanskrit epigraphy in western India under the Western Satrap, is also thought to have been the result of the influence of the Northern Satraps on their western relatives.[26]

Successors

Several successors are known to have ruled as vassals to the Kushans, such as the Mahakshatrapa ("Great Satrap") Kharapallana and the Kshatrapa ("Satrap") Vanaspara, who are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath, and dated to the 3rd year of Kanishka (c. 130 CE), in which Kanishka mentions they are the governors of the eastern parts of his Empire, while a "General Lala" and Satraps Vespasi and Liaka are put in charge of the north.[27][28][29] The inscription was discovered on an early statue of a Boddhisattva, the Sarnath Bala Boddhisattva, now in the Sarnath Museum .[30]

Art of Mathura under the Northern Satraps (circa 60 BCE-90 CE)

Main article: Art of Mathura

From around 70 BCE, the region of Mathura fell to the Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps under Hagamasha, Hagana and then Rajuvula.[31] During this time, Mathura is described as "a great center of Śaka culture in India".[32] Little is known precisely from that period on terms of artistic creation. The Indo-Scythian Rajuvula, ruler of Mathura, created coins which were copies of the contemporary Indo-Greek ruler Strato II, with effigy of the king and representation of Athena on the obverse.[5] Indo-Scythians are known to have sponsored Buddhism, but also other religions, as visible from their inscriptions and archaeological remains in northwestern and western India, as well as from their contributions to pre-Kushana sculpture in Mathura.[33] Mathura became part of the Kushan Empire from the reign of Vima Kadphises (90-100 CE) and then became the southern capital of the Kushan Empire.

End of 1st century BCE

See also: Mathura lion capital

Some works of art dated to the end of the 1st century BCE show very delicate workmanship, such as the sculptures of Yakshis.[34] A the very end of this period the Indo-Scythian ruler Rajuvula is also known for the famous Mathura lion capital which records events of the Indo-Scythian dynasty as well as their support of Buddhism. It is also an interesting example of the state of artistic attainment in the city of Mathura at the turn of our era. The capital portrays two lions reminiscent of the lions of the Pillars of Ashoka, but in a much cruder style. It also displays at its center a Buddhist triratana symbol, further confirming the involvement of Indo-Scythian rulers with Buddhism. The triratna is contained in a flame palmette, an element of Hellenistic iconography, and an example of Hellenistic influence on Indian art.[35]

The fact that the Mathura lion capital is inscribed in Kharoshthi, a script used in the far northwest around the area of Gandhara, attests to the presence of northwestern artists at that time in Mathura.[36]

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Yashi with onlookers, dated 20 BCE.[37]

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Yashi with onlookers (detail), dated 20 BCE.

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Yashi with onlookers (detail), dated 20 BCE.

Mathura sculpture styles in the 1st century CE

The abundance of dedicatory inscriptions in the name of Sodasa, the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, and son of Rajuvula (eight such inscriptions are known, often on sculptural works),[38] and the fact that Sodasa is known through his coinage as well as through his relations with other Indo-Scythian rulers whose dates are known, means that Sodasa functions as a historic marker to ascertain the sculptural styles at Mathura during his rule, in the first half of the 1st century CE.[39][35] These inscriptions also correspond to some of the first known epigraphical inscriptions in Sanskrit.[18][40] The next historical marker corresponds to the reign of Kanishka under the Kushans, whose reign began circa 127 CE.[39] The sculptural styles at Mathura during the reign of Sodasa are quite distinctive, and significantly different from the style of the previous period circa 50 BCE, or the styles of the later period of the Kushan Empire in the 2nd century CE.[39]

In-the-round statuary

Mora sculptures (c. 15 CE)

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The Mora well inscription of Great Satrap Sodasa (15 CE) is associated with three statue remains and a decorated doorjamb, all thought to be related to a temple built for the Vrishni heroes.[41] Left: torso said to be probably a figure of one of the five Vrishni heroes, Mora, circa 15 CE, Mathura Museum.[42][43][44][45] Right: Mora carved doorjamb with grapevine design, also circa 15 CE.[46]

Several examples of in-the-round statuary have been found from the period of Sodasa, such as the torsos of "Vrishni heroes", discovered in Mora, about 7 kilometers west of Mathura.[47] These statues are mentioned in the Mora Well Inscription nearby, made in the name of the Northern Satrap Sodasa circa 15 CE, in which they are called Bhagavatam.[48][49][50] The statue fragments are thought to represent some of the five Vrishni heroes, possibly ancient kings of Mathura later assimilated to Vishnu and his avatars,[43][51] or, equally possible, the five Jain heroes led by Akrūra, which are well attested in Jain texts.[47] In fact, the cult of the Vrishnis may have been cross-sectarian, much like the cult of the Yakshas.[47]

The two uninscribed male torsos that were discovered are both of high craftsmanship and in Indian style and costume.[51] They are bare-chested but wear a thick necklace, as well as heavy hearrings.[47] The two torsos that were found are similar with minor variations, suggesting they may have been part of a series, which is coherent with the Vrishni interpretation.[45] They share some sculptural characteristics with the Yaksha statues found in Mathura and dating to the 2nd and 1st century BCE, such as the sculpting in the round, or the clothing style, but the actual details of style and workmanship clearly belong to the time of Sodasa.[47][43] The Vrishni statues also are not of the colossal type, as they would only have stood about 1.22 meters complete.[47] The Mora Vrishnis function as an artistic benchmark for in-the-round statues of the period.[47]

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1st Jaina Tirthankara Rishabhanatha torso - Circa 1st Century

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Four-fold Jain image with Suparshvanath and three other Tirthankaras - Circa 1st Century CE

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Goat-headed [Panther-headed?] Jain Mother Goddess, circa 1st Century CE

Jain reliefs

Kankali Tila tablet of Sodasa

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Jain Kankali Tila tablet of Sodasa or "Amohini relief", inscribed "in the reign of Sodasa", circa 15 CE. State Museum Lucknow, SML J.1[46]

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Brahmi inscription in the tablet:
[x]
Mahakṣatrapasa Śodāsa
"Great Satrap Sodasa"


Many of the sculptures from this period are related to the Jain religion, with numerous relief showing devotional scenes, such as the Kankali Tila tablet of Sodasa in the name of Sodasa.[39] Most of these are votive tablets, called ayagapata.[52]

Jain votive plates, called "Ayagapatas", are numerous, and some of the earliest ones have been dated to circa 50-20 BCE.[53] They were probably prototypes for the first known Mathura images of the Buddha.[54] Many of them were found around the Kankali Tila Jain stupa in Mathura.

Notable among the design motifs in the ayagapatas are the pillar capitals displaying "Persian-Achaemenian" style, with side volutes, flame palmettes, and recumbent lions or winged sphinxes.[55][56]

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The Jina Parsvanatha ayagapata, Mathura circa 15 CE, Lucknow Museum.[54][57]

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"Sihanāṃdikā ayagapata", Jain votive plate, dated 25-50 CE.[58][59]

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Jain votive plaque with Jain stupa, the "Vasu Śilāpaṭa" ayagapata, 1st century CE, excavated from Kankali Tila, Mathura.[60]

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Jain relief showing monks of the ardhaphalaka sect. Early 1st century CE.[61]

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Jain decorated tympanum from Kankali Tila, Mathura, 15 CE.[62]

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"Persian Achaemenian" style capitals appearing in ayagapatas, Mathura, 15-50 CE.[63][64][65]

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The Jina Parsvanatha (detail of an ayagapata), highly similar to the Isapur Buddha, Mathura circa 15 CE, Lucknow Museum.[66][57]

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Sivayasa Ayagapata, with Jain stupa fragment, Kankali Tila, 75-100 CE.

Grapevine and garland designs (circa 15 CE)

A decorated doorjamb, the Vasu doorjamb, dedicated to deity Vāsudeva, also mentions the rule of Sodasa, and has similar carving to the Mora doorjamb, found in relation with the Mora well inscription in a similar chronological and religious context. The decoration of these and many similar doorjambs from Mathura consists in scrolls of grapevines. They are all dated to the reign of Sodasa, circa 15 CE and constitute a secure dated artistic reference for the evaluation of datation of other Mathura sculptures.[46] It has been suggested that the grapevine design had been introduced from the Gandhara area in the northwest, and maybe associated with the northern taste of the Satrap rulers.[67] These designs may also be the result of the work of northern artists in Mathura.[67] The grapevine designs of Gandhara are generally considered as originating from Hellenistic art.[68]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 2

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The Vasu doorjamb, dedicated to Vāsudeva "in the reign of Sodasa", Mathura, circa 15 CE. Mathura Museum, GMM 13.367[46]

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Reliefs of the Mora doorjamb with grapevine design, Mora, near Mathura, circa 15 CE. State Museum Lucknow, SML J.526.[46] Similar scroll designs are known from Gandhara, from Pataliputra, and from Greco-Roman art.

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Garland bearers and Buddhist "Romaka" Jataka, in which the Buddha in a previous life was a pigeon.[69] 25-50 CE.[70] Similar garland-bearer designs are known from Gandhara, from Amaravati and from Greco-Roman art.

Calligraphy (end 1st century BCE - 1st century CE)

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A sample of the new calligraphic style introduced by the Indo-Scythians: fragment of the Mirzapur stele inscription, in the vicinity of Mathura, circa 15 CE.[17][71]

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Svamisya Mahakṣatrapasya Sudasasya
"Of the Lord and Great Satrap Sudasa"[72][73]


The calligraphy of the Brahmi script had remained virtually unchanged from the time of the Maurya Empire to the end of the 1st century BCE.[71] The Indo-Scythians, following their establishment in northern India introduced "revolutionary changes" in the way Brahmi was written.[71] In the 1st century BCE, the shape of Brahmi characters became more angular, and the vertical segments of letters were equalized, a phenomenon which is clearly visible in coin legends and made the script visually more similarly to Greek.[71] In this new typeface, the letter were "neat and well-formed".[71] The probable introduction of ink and pen writing, with the characteristic thickenned start of each stroke generated by the usage of ink, was reproduced in the calligraphy of stone inscriptions by the creation of a triangle-shaped form at the beginning of each stroke.[71][74] This new writing style is particularly visible in the numerous dedicatory inscriptions made in Mathura, in association with devotional works of art.[71] This new calligraphy of the Brahmi script was adopted in the rest of the subcontinent of the next half century.[71] The "new-pen-style" initiated a rapid evolution of the script from the 1st century CE, with regional variations starting to emerge.[71]

First images of the Buddha (from circa 15 CE)

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The "Isapur Buddha", probably the earliest known representation of the Buddha (possibly together with the Butkara seated Buddha statue at the Butkara Stupa, Swat), on a railing post, dated to circa 15 CE.[75]

From around the 2nd-1st century BCE at Bharhut and Sanchi, scenes of the life of the Buddha, or sometimes of his previous lives, had been illustrated without showing the Buddha himself, except for some of his symbols such as the empty throne, or the Chankrama pathway.[76] This artistic device ended with the sudden appearance of the Buddha, probably rather simultaneously in Gandhara and Mathura, at the turn of the millennium.[76]

Possibly the first known representation of the Buddha (the Bimaran casket and the Tillya Tepe Buddhist coin are other candidates), the "Isapur Buddha" is also dated on stylistic grounds to the reign of Sodasa, circa 15 CE; he is shown on a relief in a canonical scene known as "Lokapalas offer Alms Bowls to the Buddha Sakyamuni".[77] The symbolism of this early statue is still tentative, drawing heavily on the earlier, especially Jain, pictural traditions of Mathura, still far from the exuberant standardized designs of the Kushan Empire.[77] It is rather unassuming and not yet monumental compared to the Buddha sculptures of the following century, and may represent one of the first attempts to create a human icon, marking an evolution from the splendid aniconic tradition of Buddhist art in respect to the person of the Buddha, which can be seen in the art of Sanchi and Bharhut.[77] This depiction of the Buddha is highly similar to Jain images of the period, such as the relief of Jina Parsvanatha on an ayagapata, also dated to circa 15 CE.[66][57]

It is thought that the images of Jain saints, which can be seen in Mathura from the 1st century BCE, were prototypes for the first Mathura images of the Buddha, since the attitudes are very similar, and the almost transparent very thin garment of the Buddha not much different visually from the nakedness of the Jinas.[54] Here the Buddha is not wearing the monastic robe which would become characteristic of many of the later Buddha images.[54] The cross-legged sitting posture may have derived from earlier reliefs of cross-legged ascetics or teachers at Bharhut, Sanchi and Bodh Gaya.[78] It has also been suggested that the cross-legged Buddhas may have derived from the depictions of seated Scythian kings from the northwest, as visible in the coinage of Maues (90-80 BCE) or Azes (57-10 BC).[78]

There has been a recurring debate about the exact identity of these Mathura statues, some claiming that they are only statues of Bodhisattavas, which is indeed the exact term used in most of the inscriptions of the statues found in Mathura. Only one or two statues of the Mathura type are known to mention the Buddha himself.[79] This could be in conformity with an ancient Buddhist prohibition against showing the Buddha himself in human form, otherwise known as aniconism in Buddhism, expressed in the Sarvastivada vinaya (rules of the early Buddhist school of the Sarvastivada): ""Since it is not permitted to make an image of the Buddha's body, I pray that the Buddha will grant that I can make an image of the attendant Bodhisattva. Is that acceptable?" The Buddha answered: "You may make an image of the Bodhisattava"".[80] However the scenes in the Isapur Buddha and the later Indrasala Buddha (dated 50-100 CE), refer to events which are considered to have happened after the Buddha's enlightenment, and therefore probably represent the Buddha rather than his younger self as a Bodhisattava, or a simple attendant Bodhisattva.[81]

Other reliefs

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"Indrasala architrave", detail of the Buddha in Indrasala Cave, attended by the Vedic deity Indra. 50-100 CE.[82]

The Buddhist "Indrasala architrave", dated 50-100 CE, with a scene of the Buddha at the Indrasala Cave being attended by Indra, and a scene of devotion to the Bodhi Tree on the other side, is another example of the still hesitant handling of the human icon of the Buddha in the Buddhist art of Mathura.[82] The Buddhist character of this architrave is clearly demonstrated by the depiction of the Bodhi Tree inside its specially built temple at Bodh Gaya, a regular scene of Buddhist since the reliefs of Bharhut and Sanchi.[82] The depiction of the Buddha in meditation in the Indrasala Cave is also characteristically Buddhist.[82] The Buddha already has the attributes, if not the style, of the later "Kapardin" statues, except for the absence of a halo.[83]

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Buddhist "Indrasala architrave", with Buddha and Bodhi Tree in the center of each side, dated 50-100 CE, before the Kushan period.[82][84] The Buddha is attended by Vedic deity Indra on the side of the Indrasala Cave.[82]

Vedic deities

Besides the hero cult of the Vrishni heroes or the cross-sectarian cult of the Yakshas, Hindu art only started to develop fully from the 1st to the 2nd century CE, and there are only very few examples of artistic representation before that time.[85] The three Vedic gods Indra, Brahma and Surya were actually first depicted in Buddhist sculpture, as attendants in scenes commemorating the life of the Buddha, even when the Buddha himself was not yet shown in human form but only through his symbols, such as the scenes of his Birth, his Descent from the Trāyastriṃśa Heaven, or his retreat in the Indrasala Cave.[85] These Vedic deities appear in Buddhist reliefs at Mathura from around the 1st century CE, such as Indra attending the Buddha at Indrasala Cave, where Indra is shown with a mitre-like crown, and joining hands.[85]

Early "Kapardin" statuary (end of 1st century CE)

Early "Kapardin" statuary

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Katra fragment of a Buddha stele in the name of a "Kshatrapa lady" named Naṃda (Mathura Katra fragment A-66 inscription 'Namdaye [x] Kshatrapa).[83][86][87]

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"Katra Bodhisattava stele" with inscription, dated to the Northern Satraps period.[83]

The earliest types of "Kapardin" statuary (named after the "kapardin", the characteristic tuft of coiled hair of the Buddha) showing the Buddha with attendants are thought to be pre-Kushan, dating to the time of the "Kshatrapas" or Northern Satraps.[83] Various broken bases of Buddha statues with inscriptions have been attributed to the Kshatrapas.[83] A fragment of such a stele was found with the mention of the name of the donor as a "Kshatrapa lady" named Naṃda who dedicated the Bodhisattva image "for the welfare and happiness of all sentient beings for the acceptance of the Sarvastivadas", and it is considered as contemporary with the famous "Katra stele".[83][87]

One of these early examples shows the Buddha being worshipped by the Gods Brahma and Indra.[83]

The famous "Katra Bodhisattava stele" is the only fully intact image of a "Kapardin" Bodhisattva remaining from the Kshatrapa period, and is considered as the foundation type of the "Kapardin" Buddha imagery, and is the "classical statement of the type".[83]

In conclusion, the canonical type of the seated Bodhisattva with attendants commonly known as the "Kapardin" type, seems to have developed during the time the Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps were still ruling in Mathura, before the arrival of the Kushans.[88] This type continued during the Kushan period, down to the time of Huvishka, before being overtaken by fully-dressed types of Buddha statuary depicting the Buddha wearing the monastic coat "Samghati".[88]

Rulers

Ruler / Image / Title / Approx. dates / Mentions

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Hagamasha / [x] / Satrap / 1st century BCE / In the archaeological excavations of Sonkh, near Mathura, the earliest coins of the Kshatrapa levels were those of Hagamasha.[89]

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Hagana / [x] / Satrap / 1st century BCE / --

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Rajuvula / [x] / Great Satrap / early 1st century BCE / --

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Bhadayasa / [x] / Satrap / 1st century CE / Possible successor of Rajuvula in Eastern Punjab

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Sodasa / [x] / Satrap / 1st century CE / Son of Rajuvula in Mathura

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Kharapallana / [x] / Great Satrap / c. CE 130 / Great Satrap for Kushan ruler Kanishka I

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Vanaspara / [x] / Satrap / c. CE 130 / Satrap for Kushan ruler Kanishka I


Coinage

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Coin of satrap Hagamasha. Obv. Horse to the left. Rev. Standing figure with symbols, legend Khatapasa Hagāmashasa. 1st century BCE.

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Joint coin of Hagana and Hagamasha. Obv.: Horse to left. Rev. Thunderbolt, legend Khatapāna Hagānasa Hagāmashasa. 1st century BCE.

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Coin of Rajuvula, c. 10 CE

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Coin of Bhadayasha, early 1st century CE

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Coin of Sodasa, early 1st century CE

References

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2. Naskar, Satyendra Nath (1996). Foreign Impact on Indian Life and Culture (c. 326 B.C. to C. 300 A.D.). Abhinav Publications. p. 11. ISBN 9788170172987.
3. The journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Bishop's College Press. 1854. pp. 689–691 Plate XXXV.
4. Allan, John (1936). Catalogue of the coins of ancient India. pp. cxv.
5. Rosenfield, John M. (1967). The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans. University of California Press. p. 135.
6. History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.170 [1]
7. Sircar, D. C. (2008). Studies in Indian Coins. Motilal Banarsidass Publisher. p. 373. ISBN 9788120829732.
8. The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans, by John M. Rosenfield, University of California Press, 1967 p.135 [2]
9. Mathurā and Its Society: The ʼSakæ-Pahlava Phase, Bratindra Nath Mukherjee, Firma K.L.M., 1981, p.9
10. Bibliography of Greek coin hoards, p. 194-195
11. Dated 2 BCE-6 CE in Fig.213 in Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 171. ISBN 9789004155374.
12. Senior ISCH vol. II, page 129.
13. The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans, John M. Rosenfield, University of California Press, 1 janv. 1967, p.136 [3]
14. Marshall, J. (2013). A Guide to Taxila. Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 9781107615441. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
15. "CNG: Printed Auction CNG 93. INDO-SKYTHIANS, Northern Satraps. Bhadrayasha. After 35 BC. AR Drachm (17mm, 2.10 g, 1h). (CNG Coins notice)". cngcoins.com. Retrieved 5 December2016.
16. Foreign Influence on Ancient India, Krishna Chandra Sagar, Northern Book Centre, 1992, p.126 [4]
17. Buddhist art of Mathurā , Ramesh Chandra Sharma, Agam, 1984 Page 26
18. Salomon 1998, pp. 86–87.
19. Salomon 1998, pp. 87–88.
20. Salomon 1998, pp. 93–94.
21. Salomon 1998, p. 93.
22. Sonya Rhie Quintanilla (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL Academic. pp. 260–263. ISBN 978-90-04-15537-4.
23. Sonya Rhie Quintanilla (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL Academic. p. 260. ISBN 978-90-04-15537-4.
24. Inscription No21 in Janert, l (1961). Mathura Inscriptions.
25. Salomon 1998, p. 88.
26. Salomon 1998, pp. 86–93.
27. Ancient Indian History and Civilization, Sailendra Nath Sen New Age International, 1999, p.198 [5]
28. Foreign Influence on Ancient India, Krishna Chandra Sagar, Northern Book Centre, 1992 p.167 [6]
29. Source: "A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc..." Rapson, p ciii
30. Papers on the Date of Kaniṣka, Arthur Llewellyn Basham, Brill Archive, 1969, p.271 [7]
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32. Paul, Pran Gopal; Paul, Debjani (1989). "Brahmanical Imagery in the Kuṣāṇa Art of Mathurā: Tradition and Innovations". East and West. 39 (1/4): 130. JSTOR 29756891.
33. Neelis, Jason (2011). Early Buddhist Transmission and Trade Networks - PDF. Boston: Brill. p. 110.
34. Dated 20 BCE in Fig.200 in Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 171. ISBN 9789004155374.
35. Kumar, Ajit (2014). "Bharhut Sculptures and their untenable Sunga Association". Heritage: Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies in Archaeology. 2: 223‐241.
36. Bracey, Robert (2018). Problems of Chronology in Gandhāran Art: Proceedings of the First International Workshop of the Gandhāra Connections Project, University of Oxford, 23rd-24th March, 2017. The Classical Art Research Centre. Archaeopress. University of Oxford. p. 143.
37. Dated 20 BCE in Fig.200 in Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. Fig.200. ISBN 9789004155374.
38. Śrivastava, Vijai Shankar (1981). Cultural Contours of India: Dr. Satya Prakash Felicitation Volume. Abhinav Publications. p. 95. ISBN 9780391023581.
39. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 168–179. ISBN 9789004155374.
40. Damsteegt, Th (1978). Epigraphical Hybrid Sanskrit: Its Rise, Spread, Characteristics and Relationship to Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. BRILL. p. 209. ISBN 9789004057258.
41. Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India. p. 437. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0.
42. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 211–213. ISBN 978-90-04-15537-4.
43. "We have actually discovered in the excavations at the Mora shrine stone torsos representing the Vrishni Heroes (...) Their style closely follows that of the free-standing Yakshas in that they are carved in the round. They are dressed in a dhoti and uttaraya and some types of ornaments as found on the Yaksha figures, their right hand is held in ahbayamudra..." in "Agrawala, Vasudeva Sharana (1965). Indian Art: A history of Indian art from the earliest times up to the third century A.D. Prithivi Prakashan. p. 253.
44. This statue appears in Fig.51 as one of the statues excavated in the Mora mound, in Rosenfield, John M. (1967). The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans. University of California Press. pp. 151–152 and Fig.51.
45. Lüders, H. (1937). Epigraphia Indica Vol.24. pp. 199–200.
46. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 171. ISBN 9789004155374.
47. Dated 15 CE in Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 211–214. ISBN 978-90-04-15537-4.
48. Doris Srinivasan (1997). Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes: Origin, Meaning, and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art. BRILL Academic. pp. 211–214, 308–311 with footnotes. ISBN 90-04-10758-4.
49. Sonya Rhie Quintanilla (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL Academic. p. 260. ISBN 978-90-04-15537-4.
50. Lavanya Vemsani (2016). Krishna in History, Thought, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. pp. 202–203. ISBN 978-1-61069-211-3.
51. Rosenfield, John M. (1967). The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans. University of California Press. pp. 151–152 and Fig.51.
52. The Jain stûpa and other antiquities of Mathurâ by Smith, Vincent Arthur Plate XIV
53. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 403, Fig. 146. ISBN 9789004155374.
54. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 200–201. ISBN 9789004155374.
55. The Jain stûpa and other antiquities of Mathurâ by Smith, Vincent Arthur Plate VII
56. "The Ayagapata which had been set up by Simhanddika, anterior to the reign of Kanishka, and which is assignable to a period not later than 1 A.D., is worth notice because of the typical pillars in the Persian-Achaemenian style" in Bulletin of the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery. The Museum. 1949. p. 18.
57. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 406, photograph and date. ISBN 9789004155374.
58. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 410, Fig. 156. ISBN 9789004155374.
59. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2000). "Āyāgapaṭas: Characteristics, Symbolism, and Chronology". Artibus Asiae. 60 (1): 79–137 Fig.21. doi:10.2307/3249941. ISSN 0004-3648. JSTOR 3249941.
60. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2000). "Āyāgapaṭas: Characteristics, Symbolism, and Chronology". Artibus Asiae. 60 (1): 79–137 Fig.26. doi:10.2307/3249941. ISSN 0004-3648. JSTOR 3249941.
61. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 174–176. ISBN 9789004155374.
62. Dated 15 CE in Fig.222 in Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. Fig.222. ISBN 9789004155374.
63. "the massive pillars in the Persian Achaemenian style" in Shah, Chimanlal Jaichand (1932). Jainism in north India, 800 B.C.-A.D. 526. Longmans, Green and co.
64. "The Ayagapata which had been set up by Simhanddika, anterior to the reign of Kanishka, and which is assignable to a period not later than 1 A.D., is worth notice because of the typical pillars in the Persian-Achaemenian style" in Bulletin of the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery. Baroda Museum. 1949. p. 18.
65. Kumar, Ajit (2014). "Bharhut Sculptures and their untenable Sunga Association". Heritage: Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies in Archaeology. 2: 223‐241.
66. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 201. ISBN 9789004155374.
67. Bracey, Robert (2018). Problems of Chronology in Gandhāran Art: Proceedings of the First International Workshop of the Gandhāra Connections Project, University of Oxford, 23rd-24th March, 2017. The Classical Art Research Centre. Archaeopress. University of Oxford. pp. 142–143.
68. "Honeysuckle, grapevine, triton and acanthus mouldings are some of the Hellenistic features." in Sharma, Ramesh Chandra; Ghosal, Pranati (2004). Buddhism and Gandhāra Art. Indian Institute of Advanced Study. p. 148. ISBN 978-81-7305-264-4.
69. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura, ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 226. ISBN 978-90-474-1930-3.
70. Dated 25-50 CE in Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. Fig. 288. ISBN 9789004155374.
71. Verma, Thakur Prasad (1971). The Palaeography Of Brahmi Script. pp. 82–85.
72. Sharma, Ramesh Chandra (1984). Buddhist art of Mathurā. Agam. p. 26.
73. The former calligraphic style would have been: [x]
74. Salomon, Richard (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the other Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-19-535666-3.
75. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 199–206, 204 for the exact date. ISBN 9789004155374.
76. "This aniconic tradition was shortly to disappear and the iconic types of the Buddha made their sudden appearance apparently simultaneously in the so-called Hellenic school of Gandhara and the Indian school of Mathura." Bhattacharyya, Narendra Nath (1993). Buddhism in the History of Indian Thoughts. Manohar Publishers & Distributors. p. 266. ISBN 978-81-7304-017-7.
77. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 199–206. ISBN 9789004155374.
78. "It has also been suggested that the early seated Buddha images owe something to the first-century BC representations of seated kings, as seen on coins of the northwest (nos 27 and 28)." Maues sitting cross-legged and Azes sitting cross-legged in Errington, Elizabeth; Trust, Ancient India and Iran; Museum, Fitzwilliam (1992). The Crossroads of Asia: transformation in image and symbol in the art of ancient Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ancient India and Iran Trust. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-9518399-1-1.
79. Rhi, Ju-Hyung (1994). "From Bodhisattva to Buddha: The Beginning of Iconic Representation in Buddhist Art". Artibus Asiae. 54 (3/4): 207–225. doi:10.2307/3250056. JSTOR 3250056.
80. Rhi, Ju-Hyung (1994). "From Bodhisattva to Buddha: The Beginning of Iconic Representation in Buddhist Art". Artibus Asiae. 54 (3/4): 220–221. doi:10.2307/3250056. JSTOR 3250056.
81. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 237, text and note 30. ISBN 9789004155374.
82. Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 237–239. ISBN 9789004155374.
83. Myer, Prudence R. (1986). "Bodhisattvas and Buddhas: Early Buddhist Images from Mathurā". Artibus Asiae. 47 (2): 111–113. doi:10.2307/3249969. ISSN 0004-3648. JSTOR 3249969.
84. Mathura Museum Catalogue. 1910. p. 163.
85. Paul, Pran Gopal; Paul, Debjani (1989). "Brahmanical Imagery in the Kuṣāṇa Art of Mathurā: Tradition and Innovations". East and West. 39 (1/4): 125. ISSN 0012-8376. JSTOR 29756891.
86. For a modern image see Figure 9 in Myer, Prudence R. (1986). "Bodhisattvas and Buddhas: Early Buddhist Images from Mathurā". Artibus Asiae. 47 (2): 121–123. doi:10.2307/3249969. ISSN 0004-3648. JSTOR 3249969.
87. Lüders, Heinrich (1960). Mathura Inscriptions. pp. 31–32.
88. Myer, Prudence R. (1986). "Bodhisattvas and Buddhas: Early Buddhist Images from Mathurā". Artibus Asiae. 47 (2): 114. doi:10.2307/3249969. ISSN 0004-3648. JSTOR 3249969.
89. Hartel, Herbert (2007). On The Cusp Of An Era Art In The Pre Kuṣāṇa World. BRILL. p. 324.
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Western Satraps
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/21/21

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Approximate territory of the Western Kshatrapas (35-405).

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Northern Satraps, 60 BCE–2nd century CE


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Western Satraps
35–405 CE
Approximate territory of the Western Satraps (35–405) in dark green, circa 350 CE.[1]
Capital: Ujjain; Barygaza
Common languages: Pali (Kharoshthi script); Sanskrit, Prakrit (Brahmi script)
Religion: Hinduism, Buddhism
Government: Monarchy
Satrap, King
• c. 35: Abhiraka
• 388–395: Rudrasimha III
Historical era: Antiquity
• Established: 35
• Disestablished: 405 CE
Preceded by: Indo-Scythians
Succeeded by: Gupta Empire
Today part of: India; Pakistan

The Western Satraps, or Western Kshatrapas (Brahmi: [x], Mahakṣatrapa, "Great Satraps") were Indo-Scythian (Saka) rulers of ancient India who ruled over the region of Sindh, Makran, Saurashtra and Malwa (in modern Sindh, Balochistan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh of India and Pakistan), between 35 and 405 CE. The Western Satraps were contemporaneous with the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, and were possibly vassals of the Kushans. They were also contemporaneous with the Satavahana (Andhra) who ruled in Central India.

[x]

-- On the edge of empire: form and substance in the Satavahana dynasty, by Carla M. Sinopoli


They are called "Western Satraps" in modern historiography in order to differentiate them from the "Northern Satraps", who ruled in Punjab and Mathura until the 2nd century CE.

The power of the Western Satraps started to decline in the 2nd century CE after the Saka rulers were defeated by the Emperor Gautamiputra Satakarni of the Satavahana dynasty.[2] After this, the Saka kingdom revived, but was ultimately destroyed by Chandragupta II of the Gupta Empire in the 4th century CE.[3]

Altogether, there were 27 independent Western Satrap rulers during a period of about 350 years.

Name

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The rulers of the Western Satraps were called Mahākhatapa ([x], "Great Satrap") in their Brahmi script inscriptions, as here in a dedicatory inscription by Prime Minister Ayama in the name of his ruler Nahapana, Manmodi Caves, circa 100 CE. Nahapana was also attributed the titles of Raño ("King") and Sāmi ("Lord") conjointly.[4]
They are named Western Satraps in contrast to the "Northern Satraps" who ruled around East Punjab and the area of Mathura, such as Rajuvula, and his successors under the Kushans, the "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara.[5]

Although they called themselves "Satraps" on their coins, leading to their modern designation of "Western Satraps", Ptolemy in his 2nd century "Geographia" still called them "Indo-Scythians".[6] The word Kṣatrapa has the same origin as the word satrap and are both descended from Median xšaθrapāvan-, which means viceroy or governor of a provincem and according to John Marshall, the word "kṣatrapa" means the viceroy of the "King of kings". The title of the "Mahakṣatrapa" or the "Great Satrap" was given to the ruling Satrap, and the title of "kṣatrapa" was given to the heir apparent. The western Kshatrapas were also known as Sakas to Indians.[7]

The title "Kṣaharāta" by which the Western Satraps styled themselves is a derivation of an Old Iranian term *xšaθra-pati-, meaning "lord of the country", and was likely the Saka synonym for the Indian title Kṣatrapa.[8]

The Sakas of Western India spoke the Saka language, also known as Khotanese as it is first attested in the Tarim Basin.[9]

First expansion: Kshaharata dynasty (1st century CE)

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Coin of Bhumaka (?–119). Obv: Arrow, pellet, and thunderbolt. Kharoshthi inscription Chaharasada Chatrapasa Bhumakasa: "Ksaharata Satrap Bhumaka". Rev: Capital of a pillar with seated lion with upraised paw, and wheel (dharmachakra). Brahmi inscription: Kshaharatasa Kshatrapasa Bhumakasa.

The Western Satraps are thought to have started with the rather short-lived Kshaharata dynasty (also called Chaharada, Khaharata or Khakharata depending on sources).[10] The term Kshaharata is also known from the 6 CE Taxila copper plate inscription, in which it qualifies the Indo-Scythian ruler Liaka Kusulaka. The Nasik inscription of the 19th year of Sri Pulamavi also mentions the Khakharatavasa, or Kshaharata race.[11]

The earliest Kshaharata for whom there is evidence is Abhiraka, whose rare coins are known. He was succeeded by Bhumaka, father of Nahapana, who only used on his coins the title of Satrap, and not that of Raja or Raño (king). Bhumaka was the father of the great ruler Nahapana (whose rule is variously dated to 24-70 CE, 66-71 CE, or 119–124 CE), according to one of the latter's coins. His coins bear Buddhist symbols, such as the eight-spoked wheel (dharmachakra), or the lion seated on a capital, a representation of a pillar of Ashoka.

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Coin of Nahapana (whose rule is variously dated to 24-70 CE, 66-71 CE, or 119–124 CE), a direct derivation from Indo-Greek coinage. British Museum.[12]

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The Greco-Prakrit title "RANNIO KSAHARATA" ([x]", Prakrit for "King Kshaharata" rendered in corrupted Greek letters) on the obverse of the coinage of Nahapana.[13][14]

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Location of Western Satrap inscriptions in Buddhist rock-cut caves, indicating the southern extent of their territory, circa 120 CE.[15]

Nahapana succeeded him, and became a very powerful ruler. He occupied portions of the Satavahana empire in western and central India. Nahapana held sway over Malwa, Southern Gujarat, and Northern Konkan, from Bharuch to Sopara and the Nasik and Poona districts.[16] His son-in-law, the Saka Ushavadata (married to his daughter Dakshamitra), is known from inscriptions in Nasik and Karle and Junnar (Manmodi Caves, inscription of the year 46) to have been viceroy of Nahapana, ruling over the southern part of his territory.[17][15]

Nahapana established the silver coinage of the Kshatrapas.

Circa 120 CE, the Western Satraps are known to have allied with the Uttamabhadras in order to repulse an attack by the Malavas, whom they finally crushed.[18] The claim appears in an inscription at the Nashik Caves, made by the Nahapana's viceroy Ushavadata:

...And by order of the lord I went to release the chief of the Uttamabhadras, who had been besieged for the rainy season by the Malayas, and those Malayas fled at the mere roar (of my approaching) as it were, and were all made prisoners of the Uttamabhadra warriors.

— Inscription in Cave No.10 of the Nashik Caves.[19]


Support of Indian religions

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Karla Caves, inscription of Nahapana.

An important inscription related to Nahapana in the Great Chaitya at Karla Caves (Valukura is thought to be an ancient name for Karla Caves) shows his support of Buddhist as well as Brahmanical religions:

Success!! By Ushabadata, the son of Dinaka and the son-in-law of the king, the Kshaharata, the Kshatrapa Nahapana, who gave three hundred thousand cows, who made gifts of gold and a tirtha on the river Banasa, who gave to the Devas and Brahmanas sixteen villages, who at the pure tirtha Prabhasa gave eight wives to the Brahmanas, and who also fed annually a hundred thousand Brahmanas- there has been given the village of Karajika for the support of the ascetics living in the caves at Valuraka without any distinction of sect or origin, for all who would keep the varsha.

— Inscription of Nahapana, Karla Caves.[20]


Construction of Buddhist caves

The Western Satraps are known for the construction and dedication of numerous Buddhist caves in Central India, particularly in the areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat.[21][22] It is thought that Nahapana ruled at least 35 years in the region of Karla, Junnar and Nasik, giving him ample time for construction works there.[23]

Numerous inscriptions in the caves are known, which were made by the family of Nahapana: six inscriptions in Nasik Caves, one inscription at Karla Caves, and one by Nahapana's minister in the Manmodi Caves at Junnar.[24][25] At the same time, "Yavanas", Greeks or Indo-Greeks, also left donative inscriptions at the Nasik Caves, Karla Caves, Lenyadri and Manmodi Caves.[26]

Great Chaitya hall at Karla Caves

See also: Karla Caves

In particular, the chaitya cave complex of the Karla Caves, the largest in South Asia, was constructed and dedicated in 120 CE by the Western Satraps ruler Nahapana.[21][27][28]

Great Chaitya hall at Karla

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Hall of the Great Chaitya Cave at Karla (120 CE)[21]

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Right row of columns

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Chaitya roof

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Capitals

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Donative inscription by a Yavana ("Indo-Greek") named Vitasamghata.[29]

Cave No.10 of Nasik, the 'Nahapana Vihara'

See also: Nasik Caves and Nasik inscription of Ushavadata

Parts of the Nasik Caves, also called Pandavleni Caves, were also carved during the time of Nahapana.[22]

The inscriptions of cave no.10 in the Nasik Caves near Nasik, reveal that in 105-106 CE, Kshatrapas defeated the Satavahanas after which Kshatrapa Nahapana’s son-in-law and Dinika's son- Ushavadata donated 3000 gold coins for this cave as well as for the food and clothing of the monks. Usabhdatta's wife (Nahapana's daughter), Dakshmitra also donated one cave for the Buddhist monks. Cave 10 - 'Nahapana Vihara' is spacious with 16 rooms.

Nasik Caves, cave No. 10

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Front

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Veranda

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Interior

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Chaitya and Umbrellas

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Inscription

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Nasik Cave inscription No.10. of Nahapana, Cave No.10.

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One of the pillars built by Ushavadata, viceroy of Nahapana, circa 120 CE, Nasik Caves, cave No10.

Two inscriptions in Cave 10 mention the building and the gift of the whole cave to the Samgha by Ushavadata, the Saka[30] son-in-law and viceroy of Nahapana:

Success! Ushavadata, son of Dinika, son-in-law of king Nahapana, the Kshaharata Kshatrapa, (...) inspired by (true) religion, in the Trirasmi hills at Govardhana, has caused this cave to be made and these cisterns.

— Inscription No.10 of Nahapana, Cave No.10, Nasik[31]


Success! In the year 42, in the month Vesakha, Ushavadata, son of Dinika, son-in-law of king Nahapana, the Kshaharata Kshatrapa, has bestowed this cave on the Samgha generally....

— Inscription No.12 of Nahapana, Cave No.10, Nasik[32]


According to the inscriptions, Ushavadata accomplished various charities and conquests on behalf of his father-in-law. He constructed rest-houses, gardens and tanks at Bharukachchha (Broach), Dashapura (Mandasor in Malva), Govardhana (near Nasik) and Shorparaga (Sopara in the Thana district).

Junnar dedication

A dedication in the Lenyadri complex of the Junnar caves (inscription No. 26 in Cave VI of the Bhimasankar group of caves), mentions a gift by Nahapana's prime minister Ayama in the "year 46":

The meritorious gift.... of Ayama of the Vachhasagotra, prime minister of the King Mahakshatrapa the lord Nahapana

— Junnar inscription No. 26, 124 CE[33]


This inscription, the last one of the reign of Nahapana, suggests that Nahapana may have become an independent ruler since he is described as a King.[33]

International trade: the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea

Nahapana is mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea under the name Nambanus,[34] as ruler of the area around Barigaza:

Beyond the gulf of Baraca is that of Barygaza and the coast of the country of Ariaca, which is the beginning of the Kingdom of Nambanus and of all India. That part of it lying inland and adjoining Scythia is called Abiria, but the coast is called Syrastrene. It is a fertile country, yielding wheat and rice and sesame oil and clarified butter, cotton and the Indian cloths made therefrom, of the coarser sorts. Very many cattle are pastured there, and the men are of great stature and black in color. The metropolis of this country is Minnagara, from which much cotton cloth is brought down to Barygaza.

— Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Chap. 41 [35]


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Nahapana coin hoard.

Under the Western Satraps, Barigaza was one of the main centers of Roman trade with India. The Periplus describes the many goods exchanged:

There are imported into this market-town (Barigaza), wine, Italian preferred, also Laodicean and Arabian; copper, tin, and lead; coral and topaz; thin clothing and inferior sorts of all kinds; bright-colored girdles a cubit wide; storax, sweet clover, flint glass, realgar, antimony, gold and silver coin, on which there is a profit when exchanged for the money of the country; and ointment, but not very costly and not much. And for the King there are brought into those places very costly vessels of silver, singing boys, beautiful maidens for the harem, fine wines, thin clothing of the finest weaves, and the choicest ointments. There are exported from these places spikenard, costus, bdellium, ivory, agate and carnelian, lycium, cotton cloth of all kinds, silk cloth, mallow cloth, yarn, long pepper and such other things as are brought here from the various market-towns. Those bound for this market-town from Egypt make the voyage favorably about the month of July, that is Epiphi.

— Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Chapter 49.[36]

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The Western Satraps under Nahapana, with their harbour of Barigaza, were among the main actors of the 1st century CE international trade according to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
Goods were also brought down in quantity from Ujjain, the capital of the Western Satraps:

Inland from this place and to the east, is the city called Ozene, formerly a royal capital; from this place are brought down all things needed for the welfare of the country about Barygaza, and many things for our trade: agate and carnelian, Indian muslins and mallow cloth, and much ordinary cloth.

— Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Chapter 48.[36]


Some ships were also fitted out from Barigaza, to export goods westward across the Indian Ocean:

Ships are also customarily fitted out from the places across this sea, from Ariaca and Barygaza, bringing to these far-side market-towns the products of their own places; wheat, rice, clarified butter, sesame oil, cotton cloth (the monache and the sagmatogene), and girdles, and honey from the reed called sacchari. Some make the voyage especially to these market-towns, and others exchange their cargoes while sailing along the coast.

— Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Chapter 14.[36]


Pompei Lakshmi

An Indian statuette, the Pompeii Lakshmi, was found in the ruins of Pompei and is thought to have been the result of Indo-Roman trade relations in the 1st century CE.[37] There is a possibility that the statuette found its way to the west during the rule of Western Satrap Nahapana in the Bhokardan area, and was shipped to Rome from the port of Barigaza.[38]

Defeat by Gautamiputra Satakarni

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The "Saka-Yavana-Palhava" (Brahmi script: [x]) defeated by Gautamiputra Satakarni, mentioned in the Nasik cave 3 inscription of Queen Gotami Balasiri (end of line 5 of the inscription).[39]

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Coin of Gautamiputra Yajna Satakarni struck over a drachm of Nahapana. Circa 167-196 CE. Ujjain symbol and three arched mountain symbol struck respectively on the obverse and reverse of a drachm of Nahapana.

Nahapana and Ushavadata were ultimately defeated by the powerful Satavahana king Gautamiputra Satakarni. Gautamiputra drove the Sakas from Malwa and Western Maharashtra, forcing Nahapana west to Gujarat. His victory is known from the fact that Gautamiputra restruck many of Nahapana's coins (such a hoard was found in Jogalthambi, Nashik District),[40]) and that he claimed victory on them in an inscription at Cave No. 3 of the Pandavleni Caves in Nashik:

Gautamiputra Satakarni (…) who crushed down the pride and conceit of the Kshatriyas; who destroyed the Sakas (Western Satraps), Yavanas (Indo-Greeks) and Pahlavas (Indo-Parthians),[41] who rooted out the Khakharata family (the Kshaharata family of Nahapana); who restored the glory of the Satavahana race.

— Inscription of Queen Mother Gautami Balashri at Cave No. 3 of the Pandavleni Caves in Nashik.


Colonization of Java and Sumatra

It seems that the Indian colonization of the islands of Java and Sumatra took place during the time of the Western Satraps.[42] People may have fled the sub-continent due to the conflicts there. Some foundation legends of Java describe the leader of the colonists as Aji Saka, a prince from Gujarat, at the beginning of the Shaka era (which is also the Java era).[42]

Kardamaka dynasty, family of Castana (1st–4th century)

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Coin of the Western Satrap Chastana (c. 130 CE). Obv: King in profile. The legend typically reads "[x]" (corrupted Greek script), transliteration of the Prakrit Raño Kshatrapasa Castana: "King and Satrap Castana".

A new dynasty, called the Bhadramukhas or Kardamaka dynasty, was established by the "Satrap" Castana. The date of Castana is not certain, but many believe his reign started in the year 78 CE, thus making him the founder of the Saka era.[43] This is consistent with the fact that his descendants (who we know used the Saka era on their coins and inscriptions) would use the date of their founder as their era. Castana was satrap of Ujjain during that period. A statue found in Mathura together with statues of the Kushan king Kanishka and Vima Taktu, and bearing the name "Shastana" is often attributed to Castana himself, and suggests Castana may have been a feudatory of the Kushans. Conversely, the Rabatak inscription also claims Kushan dominion over Western Satrap territory (by mentioning Kushan control over the capital Ujjain) during the reign of Kanishka (c. 127–150 CE).

Territory under Chastana

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Statue of Chastana, with costume details. The belt displays designs of horsemen and tritons/anguipeds, the coat has a highly ornate hem. Inscription "Shastana" (Middle Brahmi script: [x] Ṣa-sta-na).[44] Mathura Museum.[45]

The territory of the Western Satraps at the time of Chastana is described extensively by the geographer Ptolemy in his "Geographia", where he qualifies them as "Indo-Scythians". He describes this territory as starting from Patalene in the West, to Ujjain in the east ("Ozena-Regia Tiastani", "Ozene/Ujjain, capital of king Chastana"),[46] and beyond Barigaza in the south.

Moreover the region which is next to the western part of India, is called Indoscythia. A part of this region around the (Indus) river mouth is Patalena, above which is Abiria. That which is about the mouth of the Indus and the Canthicolpus bay is called Syrastrena. (...) In the island formed by this river are the cities Pantala, Barbaria. (...) The Larica region of Indoscythia is located eastward from the swamp near the sea, in which on the west of the Namadus river is the interior city of Barygaza emporium. On the east side of the river (...) Ozena-Regia Tiastani (...) Minnagara.

— Ptolemy, Geographia, Book Seven, Chapter I


Rudradaman I (130-150 CE)

Victory against the Satavahanas


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Silver coin of Rudradaman I (130–150). Obv: Bust of Rudradaman, with corrupted Greek legend "[x]". Rev: Three-arched hill or Chaitya with river, crescent and sun. Brahmi legend: Rajno Ksatrapasa Jayadamasaputrasa Rajno Mahaksatrapasa Rudradamasa: "King and Great Satrap Rudradaman, son of King and Satrap Jayadaman" 16mm, 2.0 grams.

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The Junagadh rock contains inscriptions of Ashoka (fourteen of the Edicts of Ashoka), Rudradaman I (the Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman)and Skandagupta.[47]

Around 130 CE, Rudradaman I, grandson of Chastana, took the title "Mahakshatrapa" ("Great Satrap"), and defended his kingdom from the Satavahanas. The conflict between Rudradaman and Satavahanas became so gruelling, that in order to contain the conflict, a matrimonial relationship was concluded by giving Rudradaman's daughter to the Satavahana king Vashishtiputra Satakarni. The inscription relating the marriage between Rudradaman's daughter and Vashishtiputra Satakarni appears in a cave at Kanheri:

Of the queen ... of the illustrious Satakarni Vasishthiputra, descended from the race of Karddamaka kings, (and) daughter of the Mahakshatrapa Ru(dra)....... .........of the confidential minister Sateraka, a water-cistern, the meritorious gift.

— Kanheri inscription of Rudradaman I's daughter.[48]


The Satavahanas and the Western Satraps remained at war however, and Rudradaman I defeated the Satavahanas twice in these conflicts, only sparing the life of Vashishtiputra Satakarni due to their family alliance:

Rudradaman (...) who obtained good report because he, in spite of having twice in fair fight completely defeated Satakarni, the lord of Dakshinapatha, on account of the nearness of their connection did not destroy him.

— Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman[49]


Rudradaman regained all the previous territories held by Nahapana, probably with the exception of the southern areas of Poona and Nasik (epigraphical remains in these two areas at that time are exclusively Satavahana):[50]

Rudradaman (...) who is the lord of the whole of eastern and western Akaravanti (Akara: East Malwa and Avanti: West Malwa), the Anupa country, Anarta, Surashtra, Svabhra (northern Gujarat), Maru (Marwar), Kachchha (Cutch), Sindhu-Sauvira (Sindh and Multan districts), Kukura (Eastern Rajputana), Aparanta ("Western Border" – Northern Konkan), Nishada (an aboriginal tribe, Malwa and parts of Central India) and other territories gained by his own valour, the towns, marts and rural parts of which are never troubled by robbers, snakes, wild beasts, diseases and the like, where all subjects are attached to him, (and) where through his might the objects of (religion), wealth and pleasure (are duly attained).

— Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman.[49] Geographical interpretations in parentheses from Rapson.[51]


Victory against the Yaudheyas

Later, the Junagadh rock inscription (c. 150 CE) of Rudradaman I[52] acknowledged the military might of the Yaudheyas "who would not submit because they were proud of their title 'heroes among the Kshatriyas'", before explaining that they were ultimately vanquished by Rudradaman I.[53][54]

Rudradaman (...) who by force destroyed the Yaudheyas who were loath to submit, rendered proud as they were by having manifested their title of 'heroes among all Kshatriyas'.

— Junagadh rock inscription of Rudradaman[49]


Recently discovered pillar inscriptions describe the presence of a Western Satrap named Rupiamma in the Bhandara district of the area of Vidarbha, in the extreme northeastern area of Maharashtra, where he erected the pillars.[55]

Rudradarman is known for his sponsoring of the arts. He is known to have written poetry in the purest of Sanskrit, and made it his court language. His name is forever attached to the inscription by Sudharshini lake.

He had at his court a Greek writer named Yavanesvara ("Lord of the Greeks"), who translated from Greek to Sanskrit the Yavanajataka ("Saying of the Greeks"), an astrological treatise and India's earliest Sanskrit work in horoscopy.[56]

Jivadaman (178-181 CE, 197-198 CE)

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A coin dated to the beginning of the first reign of Jivadaman, in the year 100 of the Saka Era (corresponding to 178 CE).

King Jivadaman became king for the centenary of the Saka Era, in the year 100 (corresponding to 178 CE). His reign is otherwise undocumented, but he is the first Western Satrap ruler who started to print the minting date on his coins, using the Brāhmī numerals of the Brāhmī script behind the king's head.[57] This is of immense value to date precisely Western Satrap rulers, and to clarify perfectly the chronology and succession between them, as they also mention their predecessor on their coins. According to his coins, Jivadaman seems to have ruled two times, once between Saka Era 100 and 103 (178-181 CE), before the rule of Rudrasimha I, and once between Saka Era 119 and 120 (197-198 CE).

Rudrasimha I (180-197)

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Coin of the Western Kshatrapa ruler Rudrasimha I (178 to 197).

An inscription of Rudrasimha I (178-197) was recently found at Setkhedi in Shajapur district, dated to 107 Saka Era, that is 185 CE, confirming the expansion of the Western Satraps to the east at that date.[58] There is also an earlier inscription related to Saka rule in Ujjain,[58] as well as a later one, the Kanakerha inscription, related to Saka rule in the area of Vidisha, Sanchi and Eran in the early 4th century.[58]

Great Satrap Rupiamma (2nd century CE)

Main article: Rupiamma

A memorial pillar with an inscription in the name of "Mahakshatrapa Kumara Rupiamma" has been recovered in Pauni in the central region of Vidharba,[59] and is dated to the 2nd century CE.[60] Although this Great Satrap is not otherwise known from coinage, this memorial pillar is thought to mark the southern extent of the conquests of the Western Satraps, much beyond the traditionally held boundary of the Narmada River.[60] The use of the word "Kumara" may also mean that Rupiamma was the son of a Great Satrap, rather than holding the title himself.[61]

Loss of southern territories to the Satavahanas (end of 2nd century CE)

The south Indian ruler Yajna Sri Satakarni (170-199 CE) of the Satavahana dynasty defeated the Western Satraps in the late 2nd century CE, thereby reconquering their southern regions in western and central India, which led to the decline of the Western Satraps.[62]

Yajna Sri Satakarni left inscriptions in Nasik Caves, Kanheri and Guntur, testifying to the renewed extent of Satavahana territory.[63] There are two inscriptions of Yajna Sri Satakarni at Kanheri, in cave No. 81,[64] and in the Chaitya cave No. 3.[65] In the Nasik Caves, there is one inscription of Sri Yajna Satakarni, in the 7th year of his reign.[66]

There is a possibility, however, that the areas of Poona and Nasik had remained in the hands of the Satavahanas since the time of Gautamiputra Satakarni after his victory over Nahapana, as there are no epigraphical records of the Kardamakas in this area.[50]

Rudrasena II (256–278)

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Rudrasena II (256-278 CE). Head right, wearing close-fitting cap / Three-arched hill; group of five pellets to right.[67]

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Western Satrap territory extended from the west coast of India to Vidisha/ Sanchi and Eran, from the time of Rudrasena II (256–278) well into the 4th century.[68] Marital alliances with the Ikshvaku of southern India are mentioned in inscriptions at Nagarjunakonda (3rd century CE).[69][70]

The Kshatrapa dynasty seems to have reached a high level of prosperity under the rule of Rudrasena II (256–278), 19th ruler of Kshatrapa.

A marital alliance between the Andhra Ikshvaku and the Western Satraps seems to have occurred during the time of Rudrasena II, as the Andhra Ikshvaku ruler Māṭharīputra Vīrapuruṣadatta (250-275 CE) seems to have had as one of his wives Rudradhara-bhattarika, the daughter of "the ruler of Ujjain", possibly king Rudrasena II.[71][69][72][73] According to an inscription at Nagarjunakonda, Iksvaku king Virapurushadatta had multiple wives,[74] including Rudradhara-bhattarika, the daughter of the ruler of Ujjain (Uj(e)nika mahara(ja) balika).[71][69][70]

The region of Sanchi-Vidisha was again captured from the Satavahanas during the rule of Rudrasena II (255-278 CE), as shown by finds of Rudrasena II's coinage in the area.[68] The region would then remain under Western Satrap rule until the 4th century CE, as attested by the Kanakerha inscription.[68]

The last Kshatrapa ruler of the Chastana family was Visvasena (Vishwasen, r.293–304 CE), brother and successor to Bhartrdaman and son of Rudrasena II. A coin of Visvasena was found in excavations at the Ajanta Caves, in the burnt-brick monastery facing the caves on the right bank of the river Waghora.[75]

Rudrasimha II family (304-396 CE)

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Head of Buddha Shakyamuni, Devnimori, Gujarat (375-400). Derived from the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, an example of the Western Indian art of the Western Satraps.[76][77]

A new family took over, started by the rule of Rudrasimha II (304-348 CE). He declared on his coins to be the son of a Lord (Svami) Jivadaman.[78]

His rule is partly coeval with that of other rulers, who were his sons as written on their coins, and may have been sub-kings: Yasodaman II (317–332) and Rudradaman II (332–348).

Contributions to Buddhism

Under Rudrasimha II, the Western Satraps are known to have maintained their presence in the Central Indian areas of Vidisha/Sanchi/Eran well into the 4th century: during his rule, in 319 CE, a Saka ruler inscribed the Kanakerha inscription,[79] on the hill of Sanchi mentioning the construction of a well by the Saka chief and "righteous conqueror" (dharmaviyagi mahadandanayaka) Sridharavarman (339-368 CE).[68] Another inscription of the same Sridhavarman with his military commander is known from Eran.[68] These inscriptions point to the extent of Saka rule as of the time of Rudrasimha II.

The construction of Buddhist monuments in the area of Gujarat during the later part of Western Satrap rule is attested with the site of Devnimori, which incorporates viharas and a stupa. Coins of Rudrasimha were found inside the Buddhist stupa of Devnimori.[80] The Buddha images in Devnimori clearly show the influence of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara,[76] and have been described as examples of the Western Indian art of the Western Satraps.[76] It has been suggested that the art of Devnimori represented a Western Indian artistic tradition that was anterior to the rise of Gupta Empire art, and that it may have influenced not only the latter, but also the art of the Ajanta Caves, Sarnath and other places from the 5th century onward.[80]

Overall, the Western Satraps may have played a role in the transmission of the art of Gandhara to the western Deccan region.[81]

Sasanian expansion in the northwest

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Location of the Sasanian coinage of Sindh, circa 400 CE, in relation with the other polities of the time.

After a period of control of the areas as far as Gandhara by the Kushano-Sasanians, the Sasanian Empire further expanded into the northwest of the subcontinent, particularly in the regions of Gandhara and Punjab, from the time of Shapur II circa 350 CE.[82] Further south, as far as the mouth of the Indus river, the Sasanians exerted some sort of control or influence, as suggested by the Sasanian coinage of Sindh.[83][84] It is probable that the Sasanian expansion in India, which put an end to the remnants of Kushan rule, was also made in part at the expense of the Western Satraps.[85]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 2

Defeat by the Guptas (c. 350-415 CE)

Central India conquered by Samudragupta (r.336-380 CE)


The Central Indian region around Vidisha/ Sanchi and Eran had been occupied by a Saka ruler named Sridharavarman, who his known from the Kanakerha inscription at Sanchi, and another inscription with his Naga general at Eran.[68] At Eran, it seems that Sridharavarman's inscription is succeeded by a monument and an inscription by Gupta Empire Samudragupta (r.336-380 CE), established "for the sake of augmenting his fame", who may therefore have ousted Sridharavarman's Sakas in his campaigns to the West.[86] Sridharavarman is probably the "Saka" ruler mentioned in the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta, as having "paid homage" to the Gupta Emperor,[87] forced to "self-surrender, offering (their own) daughters in marriage and a request for the administration of their own districts and provinces".[88]

Gujarat campaign

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Coin of the last Western Satrap ruler Rudrasimha III (388–395).

Rudrasimha III seems to have been the last of the Western Satrap rulers.[89] A fragment from the Natya-darpana mentions that the Gupta king Ramagupta, the elder brother of Chandragupta II, decided to expand his kingdom by attacking the Western Satraps in Gujarat.

The campaign soon took a turn for the worse and the Gupta army was trapped. The Saka king, Rudrasimha III, demanded that Ramagupta hand over his wife Dhruvadevi in exchange for peace. To avoid the ignominy, the Guptas decided to send Madhavasena, a courtesan and a beloved of Chandragupta, disguised as the queen. However, Chandragupta changed the plan and himself went to the Saka King disguised as the queen. He then killed Rudrasimha and later his own brother, Ramagupta. Dhruvadevi was then married to Chandragupta.

Conquests of Chandragupta II (r.380–415 CE)

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The victorious Sanchi inscription of Chandragupta II (412-413 CE).

The Western Satraps were eventually conquered by emperor Chandragupta II. Inscriptions of a victorious Chandragupta II in the year 412-413 CE can be found on the railing near the Eastern Gateway of the Great Stupa in Sanchi.[90]

The glorious Candragupta (II), (...) who proclaims in the world the good behaviour of the excellent people, namely, the dependents (of the king), and who has acquired banners of victory and fame in many battles

— Sanchi inscription of Chandragupta II, 412-413 CE.[91]


The Gupta ruler Skandagupta (455-467 CE) is known for a long inscription where he describes himself as "the ruler of the earth" on a large rock at Junagadh, in Gujarat, next to the older inscriptions of Ashoka and Rudradaman I, confirming the Gupta hold on the western regions.[92]

Following these conquests, the silver coins of the Gupta kings Chandragupta II and his son Kumaragupta I adopted the Western Satrap design (itself derived from the Indo-Greeks) with bust of the ruler and pseudo-Greek inscription on the obverse, and a royal eagle (Garuda, the dynastic symbol of the Guptas) replacing the chaitya hill with star and crescent on the reverse.[93]

Gupta Empire coins on the model of the Western Satraps

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Coin of Gupta ruler Chandragupta II (r.380–415) in the style of the Western Satraps.[93]

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Coin of Gupta ruler Kumaragupta I (r.414–455) (Western territories).[93]

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Coin of Gupta ruler Skandagupta (r.455-467), in the style of the Western Satraps.[93]

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Coin of Gupta ruler Buddhagupta (r.476–495) in Malwa, derived from the style of the Western Satraps.[93]

The campaigns of Chandragupta II brought an end to nearly four centuries of Saka rule on the subcontinent. This period also corresponds to the wane of the very last Kushan rulers in the Punjab and the arrival of the Kidarite Huns, the first Huna invaders from the steppes of Central Asia. Less than a century later, the Alchon Huns in turn invaded northern India, bringing an end to the Gupta Empire and the Classical period of India.

Coinage

The Kshatrapas have a very rich and interesting coinage. It was based on the coinage of the earlier Indo-Greek Kings, with Greek or pseudo-Greek legend and stylized profiles of royal busts on the obverse. The reverse of the coins, however, is original and typically depict a thunderbolt and an arrow, and later, a chaitya or three-arched hill and river symbol with a crescent and the sun, within a legend in Brahmi. These coins are very informative, since they record the name of the King, of his father, and the date of issue, and have helped clarify the early history of India.

Regnal dates

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Coin of Damasena. The minting date, here 153 (100-50-3 in Brahmi script numerals) of the Saka era, therefore 232 CE, clearly appears behind the head of the king.

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Coin of the Western Kshatrapa ruler Rudrasimha I (178–197). Obv: Bust of Rudrasimha, with corrupted Greek legend "..OHIIOIH.." (Indo-Greek style). Rev: Three-arched hill or Chaitya, with river, crescent and sun, within Prakrit legend in Brahmi script:Rajno Mahaksatrapasa Rudradamnaputrasa Rajna Mahaksatrapasa Rudrasihasa "King and Great Satrap Rudrasimha, son of King and Great Satrap Rudradaman".

From the reigns of Jivadaman and Rudrasimha I, the date of minting of each coin, reckoned in the Saka era, is usually written on the obverse behind the king's head in Brahmi numerals, allowing for a quite precise datation of the rule of each king.[94] This is a rather uncommon case in Indian numismatics. Some, such as the numismat R.C Senior considered that these dates might correspond to the much earlier Azes era instead.

Also the father of each king is systematically mentioned in the reverse legends, which allows reconstruction of the regnal succession.

Languages

Kharoshthi, a script in use in more northern territories (area of Gandhara), is employed together with the Brahmi script and the Greek script on the first coins of the Western Satraps, but is finally abandoned from the time of Chastana.[95] From that time, only the Brahmi script would remain, together with the pseudo-Greek script on the facing, to write the Prakrit language employed by the Western satraps. Occasionally, the legends are in Sanskrit instead.

The coins of Nahapana bear the Greek script legend "PANNIΩ IAHAPATAC NAHAΠANAC", transliteration of the Prakrit "Raño Kshaharatasa Nahapanasa": "In the reign of Kshaharata Nahapana". The coins of Castana also have a readable legend "PANNIΩ IATPAΠAC CIASTANCA", transliteration of the Prakrit "Raño Kshatrapasa Castana": "In the reign of the Satrap Castana". After these two rulers, the legend in Greek script becomes denaturated, and seems to lose all signification, only retaining an aesthetic value. By the 4th century, the coins of Rudrasimha II exhibit the following type of meaningless legend in corrupted Greek script: "...ΛIOΛVICIVIIIΛ...".[96]

Influences

The coins of the Kshatrapas were also very influential and imitated by neighbouring or later dynasties, such as the Satavahanas, and the Guptas. Silver coins of the Gupta kings Chandragupta II and his son Kumaragupta I adopted the Western Satrap design (itself derived from the Indo-Greeks) with bust of the ruler and pseudo-Greek inscription on the obverse, and a royal eagle (Garuda, the dynastic symbol of the Guptas) replacing the chaitya hill with star and crescent on the reverse.[93]

The Western Satrap coin design was also adopted by the subsequent dynasty of the Traikutakas (388–456).

Monuments

Sudarshan Lake of the Satrap period is mentioned in major rock edicts of Junagadh but no trace of it remains. Six inscription-stones called Lashtis of 1st century were recovered from a hillock near Andhau village in the Khavda region of Kutch and were moved to the Kutch Museum in Bhuj. They are the earliest dated monuments of the Satrap period and were erected in the time of Rudradaman I.[97]

The large number of stone inscriptions from Kutch and Saurastra as well as hundreds of coins throughout Gujarat are found belonging to the Satrap period. The earlier caves at Sana, Junagadh, Dhank, Talaja, Sidhasar, Prabhas Patan and Ranapar in the Barada Hills are mostly plain and austere in looks except some carvings in the Bava Pyara Caves of Junagadh. They are comparable to Andhra-Satrap period caves in Deccan. As they have almost no carvings, the determination of their date and chronology is difficult. The Uparkot Caves of Junagadh and the Khambhalida Caves belong to the later years of the Satraps.[98] The stupas excavated at Boria and Intwa near Junagadh belonged to the Satrap period. The stupa excavated at Shamlaji probably belonged to this period or to the Gupta period.[99]

Contribution to Sanskrit epigraphy

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The inscription of Ushavadata, son-in-law of Nahapana, runs the length of the entrance wall of one of the Nasik caves, over the doors, and is here visible in parts between the pillars. Actual image, and corresponding rubbing. Cave No.10, Nasik Caves.

Main article: Sanskrit

In what has been described as "the great linguistical paradox of India", Sanskrit inscriptions first appeared much later than Prakrit inscriptions, although Prakrit is considered as a descendant of the Sanskrit language.[100] This is because Prakrit, in its multiple variants, had been favoured since the time of the influential Edicts of Ashoka (circa 250 BCE).[100]

Besides a few examples from the 1st century BCE, most of the early Sanskrit inscriptions date to the time of the Indo-Scythian rulers, either the Northern Satraps around Mathura for the earliest ones, or, slightly later, the closely related Western Satraps in western and central India.[101][102] It is thought that they became promoters of Sanskrit as a way to show their attachment to Indian culture: according to Salomon "their motivation in promoting Sanskrit was presumably a desire to establish themselves as legitimate Indian or at least Indianized rulers and to curry the favor of the educated Brahmanical elite".[102]

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The Junagadh rock inscription, inscribed by Rudradaman I circa 150 CE, is "the first long inscription recorded entirely in more or less standard Sanskrit".[103]

In western India, the first known inscription in Sanskrit appears to have been made by Ushavadata, son-in-law of the Western Satrap ruler Nahapana, at the front of Cave n°10 in the Nasik Caves. The inscription dates to the early 2nd century CE, and has hybrid features.[104]

Scythian warriors

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"Scythian" soldier, Nagarjunakonda Palace site, circa 2nd century CE.[105][106][107]

The Junagadh rock inscription of Western Satraps ruler Rudradaman I (c. 150 AD, Gujarat) is the first long inscription in fairly standard Sanskrit that has survived into the modern era. It represents a turning point in Sanskrit epigraphy, states Salomon, being "the first extensive record in the poetic style" in "more or less standard Sanskrit".[104] The Rudradaman inscription is "not pure classical Sanskrit", but with few epic-vernacular Sanskrit exceptions, it approaches high classical Sanskrit.[104] It is important because it is likely the prototype of the extensive Sanskrit inscriptions of the Gupta Empire era.[104] These inscriptions are also in the Brāhmī script.[108] During the reign of Rudradaman, circa 150 CE, it is also known that the Greek writer Yavanesvara translated the Yavanajataka from Greek to Sanskrit, for "the use of those who could not speak Greek", a translation which became an authority for all later astrology works in India.[109]

The spread of the usage of Sanskrit inscriptions to the south can also probably be attributed to the influence of the Western Satraps, who were in close relation with southern Indian rulers: according to Salomon "a Nagarjunakonda memorial pillar inscription of the time of King Rudrapurusadatta attests to a marital alliance between the Western Ksatrapas and the Iksvaku rulers of Nagarjunakonda".[102][73] The Nagarjunakonda inscriptions are the earliest substantial South Indian Sanskrit inscriptions, probably from the late 3rd-century to early 4th-century CE. These inscriptions are related to Buddhism and to the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism, and parts of them reflect both standard Sanskrit and hybridized Sanskrit.[110] An earlier hybrid Sanskrit inscription found on Amaravati slab is dated to the late 2nd-century, while a few later ones include Sanskrit inscriptions along with Prakrit inscriptions related to Hinduism and Buddhism.[111] After the 3rd-century CE, Sanskrit inscriptions dominate and many have survived.[112]

Possible vassalage to the Kushans

Statue of Chastana

Mathura Museum


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Image
Inscribed statue of Saka King Chastana, with inscription "Shastana" (Middle Brahmi script: Sha-sta-na).[44] Kushan Period.

It is still unclear whether the Western Satraps were independent rulers or vassals of the Kushan Empire (30–375 CE). The continued use of the word "Satrap" on their coin would suggest a recognized subjection to a higher ruler, possibly the Kushan emperor.[113]

Image
The Western Satraps (orange) and the Kushan Empire (green), in the 2nd century CE

Also, a statue of Chastana was found in Mathura at the Temple of Mat together with the famous statues of Vima Kadphises and Kanishka. The statue has the inscription "Shastana" (Middle Brahmi script: [x] Sha-sta-na).[44] This also would suggest at least alliance and friendship, if not vassalage. Finally Kanishka claims in the Rabatak inscription that his power extends to Ujjain, the classical capital of the Western Satrap realm. This combined with the presence of the Chastana statue side by side with Kanishka would also suggest Kushan alliance with the Western Satraps.

Finally, following the period of the "Northern Satraps" who ruled in the area of Mathura, the "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara are known from an inscription in Sarnath to have been feudatories of the Kushans.[5]

Generally, the position taken by modern scholarship is that the Western Satraps were vassals of the Kushans, at least in the early period until Rudradaman I conquered the Yaudheyas, who are usually thought to be Kushan vassals. The question is not considered perfectly settled.

Main rulers

Western Satraps
1st c. – 4th c. CE[/b]

Abhiraka / 1st c. CE
Bhumaka / ?–119
Nahapana / 119–124
Chastana / c. 78-130
Jayadaman / c. 130
Rudradaman I / c. 130–150
Damajadasri I / 170–175
Jivadaman / 178-181
Rudrasimha I / 180–188
Rudrasimha I (restored) / 191–197
Satyadaman / 197-198
Jivadaman (restored) / 197–199
Rudrasena I / 200–222
Prthivisena / 222
Samghadaman / 222–223
Damasena / 223–232
Damajadasri II / 232–239
Viradaman / 234–238
Isvaradatta / 236–239
Yasodaman I / 239
Vijayasena / 239–250
Damajadasri III / 251–255
Rudrasena II / 255–277
Visvasimha / 277–282
Bhartrdaman / 282–295
Visvasena / 293–304
Rudrasimha II / 304–348
Yasodaman II / 317–332
Rudradaman II / 332–348
(Sridharavarman) / 339-368
Rudrasena III / 348–380
Simhasena / 380–384/5
Rudrasena IV / 382–388
Rudrasimha III / 388–395


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Genealogical table of the Western Satraps

Kshaharata dynasty

• Yapirajaya
• Hospises
• Higaraka
• Abhiraka (Aubhirakes)
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• Bhumaka (?–119)
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• Nahapana (119–124)
• Viceroy Ushavadata

Bhadramukhas or Kardamaka dynasty

Family of Chastana:


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• Chastana (c. 78-130) , son of Ysāmotika
Image
• Jayadaman, son of Chastana
Image
• Rudradaman I (c. 130–150) , son of Jayadaman
Image
• Damajadasri I (170–175)
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• Jivadaman (178-181, d. 199)
Image
• Rudrasimha I (180–188, d. 197)
Image
• Rudrasimha I (restored) (191–197)
Image
• Satyadaman (197-198)
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• Jivadaman (restored) (197–199)
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• Rudrasena I (200–222)
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• Prthivisena (222)
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• Samghadaman (222–223)
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• Damasena (223–232)
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• Damajadasri II (232–239) with
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• Viradaman (234–238)
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• Isvaradatta (236–239)
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• Yasodaman I (239)
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• Vijayasena (239–250)
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• Damajadasri III (251–255)
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• Rudrasena II (255–277)
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• Visvasimha (277–282)
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• Bhartrdaman (282–295)
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• Visvasena (293–304)

Family of Rudrasimha II:

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• Rudrasimha II (304–348) , son of Lord (Svami) Jivadaman, with
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• Yasodaman II (317–332)
• Rudradaman II (332–348) No coins known
• (Sridharavarman (339-368)) No coins known
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• Rudrasena III (348–380)
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• Simhasena (380–384/5)
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• Rudrasena IV (382–388)
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• Rudrasimha III (388–395)

See also

• History of India
• Indo-Greek Kingdom
• Indo-Scythians
• Indo-Parthians
• Kushan Empire
• Rulers of Malwa

Notes

1. Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 145, map XIV.1 (h). ISBN 0226742210.
2. World history from early times to A D 2000 by B .V. Rao: p.97
3. Ancient India by Ramesh Chandra Majumdar p. 234
4. Burgess, Jas (1883). Archaeological Survey Of Western India. p. 103.
5. Kharapallana and Vanaspara are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath, and dated to the third year of Kanishka, in which they were paying allegiance to the Kushanas. Source: "A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc." Rapson, p ciii
6. Ptolemy, "Geographia", Chap 7
7. Marshall, John (1936). A guide to Sanchi. Patna: Eastern book House. p. 16. ISBN 978-81-85204-32-1.
8. Harmatta, Janos 1999, Languages and scripts in Graeco-Bactria and the Saka kingdoms in Harmatta, J, BNPuri and GF Etemadi (eds), History of civilizations of Central Asia,volume II, The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 BC to AD 250, Motilal Banarsidas, Delhi, p. 400.
9. Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet A Key To The History Of Mankind. p. 350.
10. Rapson, p. CVII
11. "Kharoshthi inscription, Taxila copper plate of Patika", Sten Konow, p25
12. Alpers, Edward A.; Goswami, Chhaya (2019). Transregional Trade and Traders: Situating Gujarat in the Indian Ocean from Early Times to 1900. Oxford University Press. p. 99. ISBN 9780199096138.
13. Cribb, Joe (2013). Indian Ocean In Antiquity. Routledge. p. 310. ISBN 9781136155314.
14. Alpers, Edward A.; Goswami, Chhaya (2019). Transregional Trade and Traders: Situating Gujarat in the Indian Ocean from Early Times to 1900. Oxford University Press. p. 99. ISBN 9780199096138.
15. Tripathi, Rama Shankar (1942). History of Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 216. ISBN 9788120800182.
16. "The Satavahanas did not hold the western Deccan for long. They were gradually pushed out of the west by the Sakas (Western Khatrapas). The Kshaharata Nahapana's coins in the Nasik area indicate that the Western Kshatrapas controlled this region by the 1st century CE. By becoming master of wide regions including Malwa, Southern Gujarat, and Northern Konkan, from Broach to Sopara and the Nasik and Poona districts, Nahapana rose from the status of a mere Kshatrapa in the year 41 (58 AD) to that of Mahakshatrapa in the year 46 (63 AD)." in "History of the Andhras"
17. "Catalogue of Indian coins of the British Museum. Andhras etc." Rapson. p. LVII
18. Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen p.188
19. Epigraphia Indica Vol.8 p.78-79
20. Epigraphia Indica Vol.7, Hultzsch, E. p.58
21. World Heritage Monuments and Related Edifices in India, Volume 1 ʻAlī Jāvīd, Tabassum Javeed, Algora Publishing, 2008 p.42
22. Foreign Influence on Ancient India, Krishna Chandra Sagar, Northern Book Centre, 1992 p.150
23. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay. Asiatic Society of Bombay. 1986. p. 219. If Konow is right, then the length of time for Ksatrapa rule in the Nasik-Karla-Junnar region would be at least thirty-fire years.
24. Cultural and Religious Heritage of India: Zoroastrianism, Suresh K. Sharma, Usha Sharma, Mittal Publications, 2004 p.112
25. The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans, John M. Rosenfield p.131
26. Religions and Trade: Religious Formation, Transformation and Cross-Cultural Exchange between East and West. BRILL. 2013. p. 97. ISBN 9789004255302.
27. Southern India: A Guide to Monuments Sites & Museums, by George Michell, Roli Books Private Limited, 1 mai 2013 p.72
28. "This hall is assigned to the brief period of Kshatrapas rule in the western Deccan during the 1st century." in Guide to Monuments of India 1: Buddhist, Jain, Hindu - by George Michell, Philip H. Davies, Viking - 1989 Page 374
29. Epigraphia Indica Vol.18 p.326 Inscription No1
30. Ushavadata also presents himself as a Saka in inscription 14a of Cave No.10 of the Nasik Caves: "[Success !] By permanent charities of Ushavadata, the Saka, [son of Dinika], son-in-law of king Nahapana, the [Kshahara]ta Kshatrapa...." in Epigraphia Indica p.85-86
31. Epigraphia Indica p.78-79
32. Epigraphia Indica p.82-83
33. Cultural and Religious Heritage of India: Zoroastrianism, by Suresh K. Sharma,Usha Sharma p.114
34. "History of the Andhras", Durga Prasad Source
35. Source
36. Source
37. Pollard, Elizabeth Ann (7 August 2013). "Indian Spices and Roman "Magic" in Imperial and Late Antique Indomediterranea". Journal of World History. 24 (1): 1–23. doi:10.1353/jwh.2013.0012. ISSN 1527-8050.
38. Brancaccio, Pia (2010). The Buddhist Caves at Aurangabad: Transformations in Art and Religion. BRILL. p. 64 Note 94. ISBN 978-9004185258.
39. Hultzsch, E. (1906). Epigraphia Indica Vol.8. p. 60.
40. Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India. p. 383. ISBN 9788131711200.
41. V.D, Mahajan (2016). Ancient India. S. Chand Publishing. ISBN 9789352531325.
42. Foreign Influence on Ancient India, Krishna Chandra Sagar, Northern Book Centre, 1992 p.131
43. A. Jha and D. Rajgor: Studies in the Coinage of the Western Ksatraps, Nashik: Indian Institute of Research in Numismatic Studies, 1992, p. 7.
44. Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society. The Society. 1920. "The three letters give us a complete name, which I read as Ṣastana (vide facsimile and cast). Dr. Vogel read it as Mastana but that is incorrect for Ma was always written with a circular or triangular knob below with two slanting lines joining the knob"
45. The Dynastic Art of the Kushans, John Rosenfield, University of California Press, xxxiv
46. Allchin, F. R.; Erdosy, George (1995). The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia: The Emergence of Cities and States. Cambridge University Press. p. 279. ISBN 9780521376952.
47. Artefacts of History: Archaeology, Historiography and Indian Pasts, Sudeshna Guha, SAGE Publications India, 2015 p.50
48. Burgess, James; Bühler, Georg (1883). Report on the Elura cave temples and the Brahmanical and Jaina caves in western India; completing the results of the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons' operations of the Archaeological survey, 1877-78, 1878-79, 1879-80. Supplementary to the volume on "The cave temples of India.". London, Trübner & Co. p. 78.
49. Source Archived 23 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
50. Sircar, D. C. (2005). Studies in Indian Coins. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 118. ISBN 9788120829732.
51. Rapson, "Indian coins of the British Museum" p.lx
52. Junagadh Rock Inscription of Rudradaman I Archived 23 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, accessed on 23 March 2007.
53. Rosenfield, "The dynastic art of the Kushans", p132
54. Rapson, "A catalogue of the Indian coins in the British Museum", p.lx
55. "Vidarbha also was under the rule of another Mahakshatrapa named Rupiamma, whose pillar inscription was recently discovered at Pavni in the Bhandara district [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. IV, p. 109 f.]. It records the erection of a chhaya-stambha or sculptured pillar at the place. The Satavahanas had, Therefore, to leave Western Maharashtra and Vidarbha. They seem to have repaired to their capital Pratishthana where they continued to abide waiting for a favourable opportunity to oust the Shaka invaders." Source
56. Mc Evilley "The shape of ancient thought", p385 ("The Yavanajataka is the earliest surviving Sanskrit text in astrology, and constitute the basis of all later Indian developments in horoscopy", himself quoting David Pingree "The Yavanajataka of Sphujidhvaja" p5)
57. Rapson, p.cxxiv
58. Misra, Om Prakash (2003). Archaeological Excavations in Central India: Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Mittal Publications. p. 6. ISBN 9788170998747.
59. "Siddham. The Asian Inscription Database, Pauni (पवनी Bhandara district). Memorial Pillar (OBNAG0032) with Inscription (INNAG0031) of Rupiamma".
60. Mirashi, V. V. (1965). "A Pillar Inscription of Mahakshatrapa Rupiamma from Pawni". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 27: 51–54. ISSN 2249-1937. JSTOR 44140583.
61. "The pillar inscription of Rupiamma from Pauni (1-41) may present a similar example. In it, Rupiamma is described as Mahakhattava-kumära ; he is a son or prince of the mahäksatrapa; the title in itself is felt to be sufficient identification" Vienna Journal of South Asian Studies (in German). E.J. Brill. 1974. p. 21.
62. "later Satavahana named Yajna Satakarni seems to have conquered the Southern Dominions of the Western Satraps. His coins contain figures of ships, probably indicating the naval power of the Andras. He not only ruled Aparanta, but probably also the eastern part of the Central Provinces". Majumdar, p. 135
63. Sen, Sailendra Nath (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age International. p. 174. ISBN 9788122411980.
64. Burgess, James; Bühler, Georg (1883). Report on the Elura cave temples and the Brahmanical and Jaina caves in western India; completing the results of the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons' operations of the Archaeological survey, 1877-78, 1878-79, 1879-80. Supplementary to the volume on "The cave temples of India.". London, Trübner & Co. p. 79.
65. Burgess, James; Bühler, Georg (1883). Report on the Elura cave temples and the Brahmanical and Jaina caves in western India; completing the results of the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons' operations of the Archaeological survey, 1877-78, 1878-79, 1879-80. Supplementary to the volume on "The cave temples of India.". London, Trübner & Co. p. 75.
66. Burgess, Jas (1883). Archaeological Survey Of Western India. p. 114.
67. CNG Coins Coin image
68. Buddhist Landscapes in Central India: Sanchi Hill and Archaeologies of Religious and Social Change, c. Third Century BC to Fifth Century AD, Julia Shaw, Routledge, 2016 p58-59
69. "Another queen of Virapurusha was Rudradhara-bhattarika. According to D.C. Sircar she might have been related to Rudrasena II (c. a.d. 254-74) the Saka ruler of Western India" in Rao, P. Raghunadha (1993). Ancient and medieval history of Andhra Pradesh. Sterling Publishers. p. 23. ISBN 9788120714953.
70. (India), Madhya Pradesh (1982). Madhya Pradesh District Gazetteers: Ujjain. Government Central Press. p. 26.
71. K. Krishna Murthy 1977, p. 6.
72. Subramanian, K. R. (1989). Buddhist Remains in Andhra and the History of Andhra Between 225 and 610 A.D. Asian Educational Services. p. 82. ISBN 9788120604445.
73. Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra (1986). Vakataka - Gupta Age Circa 200-550 A.D. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 66. ISBN 9788120800267.
74. K. Krishna Murthy 1977, p. 5.
75. Mitra, Debala (2004). Ajanta. Archaeological Survey of India. pp. 94–95.
76. The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Volume 4 1981 Number I An Exceptional Group of Painted Buddha Figures at Ajanṭā, p.97 and Note 2
77. Los Angeles County Museum of Art description
78. Catalogue of the coins of the Andhra dynasty, the Western Ksatrapas, the Traikutaka dynasty, and the "Bodhi" dynasty, by British Museum. Dept. of Coins and Medals; Rapson, E. J. (Edward James) p.170
79. Marshall, The Monuments of Sanchi p.392
80. Schastok, Sara L. (1985). The Śāmalājī Sculptures and 6th Century Art in Western India. BRILL. pp. 23–31. ISBN 978-9004069411.
81. Brancaccio, Pia (2010). The Buddhist Caves at Aurangabad: Transformations in Art and Religion. BRILL. p. 107. ISBN 978-9004185258.
82. Ghosh, Amalananda (1965). Taxila. CUP Archive. pp. 790–791.
83. Schindel, Nikolaus; Alram, Michael; Daryaee, Touraj; Pendleton, Elizabeth (2016). The Parthian and Early Sasanian Empires: adaptation and expansion. Oxbow Books. pp. 127–128. ISBN 9781785702105.
84. Senior, R.C. (1991). "The Coinage of Sind from 250 AD up to the Arab Conquest" (PDF). Oriental Numismatic Society. 129 (June–July 1991): 3–4.
85. Mahajan, Vidya Dhar (2016). Ancient India. S. Chand Publishing. p. 335. ISBN 9789352531325.
86. "During the course of this expedition he is believed to have attacked and defeated the Saka Chief Shridhar Varman, ruling over Eran-Vidisha region. He then annexed the area and erected a monument at Eran (modern Sagar District) "for the sake cf augmenting his fame"." in Pradesh (India), Madhya; Krishnan, V. S. (1982). Madhya Pradesh: District Gazetteers. Government Central Press. p. 28.
87. Mirashi, Vasudev Vishnu (1955). Corpus inscriptionum indicarum vol.4 pt.2 Inscriptions of the Kalachuri Chedi Era. Archaeological Society of India. pp. 605–611.
88. Lines 23-24 of the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta: "Self-surrender, offering (their own) daughters in marriage and a request for the administration of their own districts and provinces through the Garuḍa badge, by the Dēvaputra-Shāhi-Shāhānushāhi and the Śaka lords and by (rulers) occupying all Island countries, such as Siṁhala and others."
89. The Cambridge Shorter History of India. CUP Archive. p. 93.
90. Marshall, The Monuments of India p.388
91. Marshall, The Monuments of India p.388 inscription 833
92. "Junagadh Rock Inscription of Rudradaman", Project South Asia. Archived 23 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
93. "Evidence of the conquest of Saurastra during the reign of Chandragupta II is to be seen in his rare silver coins which are more directly imitated from those of the Western Satraps... they retain some traces of the old inscriptions in Greek characters, while on the reverse, they substitute the Gupta type ... for the chaitya with crescent and star." in Rapson "A catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. The Andhras etc.", p.cli
94. Rapson CCVIII
95. Rapson p. CIV
96. Rapson, "A Catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc.", p.cxcii
97. Hasmukh Dhirajlal Sankalia (1941). The Archaeology of Gujarat: Including Kathiawar. Natwarlal & Company. p. 46. Alt URL
98. Nanavati, J. M.; Dhaky, M. A. (1 January 1969). "The Maitraka and the Saindhava Temples of Gujarat". Artibus Asiae. Supplementum. 26: 15–17. doi:10.2307/1522666. JSTOR 1522666.
99. Nanavati, J. M. (March 1961). "A Kshatrapa Head from Saurashtra". In Sandesara, B. J. (ed.). Journal Of Oriental Institute Baroda Vol.10. X. Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. pp. 223–224.
100. Salomon 1998, pp. 86–87.
101. Salomon 1998, pp. 87–88.
102. Salomon 1998, pp. 93–94.
103. Salomon 1998, p. 89.
104. Salomon 1998, p. 89.
105. "In Nagarjunakonda Scythian influence is noticed and the cap and coat of a soldier on a pillar may be cited as an example.", in Sivaramamurti, C. (1961). Indian Sculpture. Allied Publishers. p. 51.
106. "A Scythian dvarapala standing wearing his typical draperies, boots and head dress. Distinct ethnic and sartorial characteristics are noreworthy.", in Ray, Amita (1982). Life and Art of Early Andhradesa. Agam. p. 249.
107. "National Portal and Digital Repository: Record Details". museumsofindia.gov.in.
108. Salomon 1998, pp. 10, 86–90
109. Selin, Helaine (2013). Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Westen Cultures. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 906. ISBN 9789401714167.
110. Salomon 1998, pp. 90–91.
111. Salomon 1998, pp. 90-91 with footnote 51.
112. Salomon 1998, pp. 91–93.
113. "The titles "Kshatrap" and "Mahakshatrapa" certainly show that the Western Kshatrapas were originally feudatories" in Rapson, "Coins of the British Museum", p.cv

References

• Rapson, "A Catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc."
• John Rosenfield, "The dynastic art of the Kushans", 1976
• Claudius Ptolemy, "The geography", Translated and edited by Edward Luther Stevenson, Dover Publications Inc., New York, ISBN 0-486-26896-9

Sources

• Salomon, Richard (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509984-3.
• K. Krishna Murthy (1977). Nāgārjunakoṇḍā: A Cultural Study. Concept. OCLC 4541213.

External links

• [3] History of the Andhras, Prasad 1988 With many references to Western Satrap rule
• Online catalogue of Western Kshatrapa coins
• Coins of the Western Kshatrapas
• The Kshatrapas in Nasik
• The Origins of the Indian Coinage Tradition at Academia.edu
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Part 1 of 2

Indo-Scythians
by JatLand.com
Accessed: 9/22/21

For specific research-work on the Scythian origin of the Jats, please visit: Indo-Scythian origin of the Jats.

Image
Territories (full line) and expansion (dotted line) of the Indo-Scythians Kingdom at its greatest extent

The Indo-Scythians are a branch of the Indo-Iranian Sakas (Scythians) were rulers in Central Asia. [1] They migrated from southern Siberia into Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, Gandhara, Kashmir, Punjab, and into parts of Western and Central India, Gujarat and Rajasthan, from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE. The first Saka King in India was Maues or Moga who established Saka power in Gandhara and gradually extended supremacy over north-western India. Indo-Scythian rule in India ended with the last Western Satrap Rudrasimha III in 395 CE.

Herodotus reveals that the Scythians as far back as the 5th century B.C. had political control over Central Asia and the northern subcontinent up to the river Ganges. Later Indo-Scythic clans and dynasties (e.g. Mauryas, Rajputs) extended their control to other tracts of the northern subcontinent.
The largest Saka imperial dynasties of Sakasthan include the Satraps (204 BC to 78 AD), Kushanas (50 AD - 380), Virkas (420 AD - 640) while others like the Mauryas (324 - 232 BC) and Dharan-Guptas (320 AD - 515) expanded their empires towards the east.[2]

According to Ethnographers and historians like Cunningham, Todd, Ibbetson, Elliot, Ephilstone, Dahiya, Dhillon, Banerjea, etc., the agrarian and artisan communities (e.g. Jats, Gujars, Ahirs, Rajputs, Lohars, Tarkhans etc.) of the entire west are derived from the war-like Scythians;[2] who settled north-western and western South Asia in successive waves between 500 BC to 500 AD.

Trevaskis put the date of Scythian migrations into India approximately from 600 BC to 600 AD. Trevaskis wrote, "Their (Scythians') successive onslaughts proved the ruin of Assyria, and soon after the fall of Nineveh, BC 606, a vast horde of them burst into Punjab."[3]

The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica says that a Scythian horde was seated at Pattala on the Indus, in 625 BC; this may have been the Sibi.


It is worth noticing that as early as Pāṇini's (पाणिनि) era, the places in-and-around Sialkot are known to have Sakian etymology i.e. ending in "kantha" — Chihankantha, Madarakantha, etc. Even the Archaeological Survey Report of India unearths the fact that the ancient name for Sialkot was Sakala.[4][5] Also, Sakala is thought to be "Saka" town by Przyluski and Tarn.[6][7]

Saka clan is found in Afghanistan. Saka, usually associated with the Ladi, represents the Sakai (Sacae) of the Persians and Greeks, after whom Sistan was named Sakastan[8]

H. W. Bellew writes that Ishak, the Musalman disguise of Saka or Sak, represents the Persian Saka and Greek Sakai, the Skythian conquerors who gave their name to Sistan, the Sagistan of Arab writers, and Sakasthan of Indians. Another branch of Saka Skythians is found in the Sagpae and Sagpue Hazara clans, before noticed. [9]

The invasion of India by Scythian tribes from Central Asia, often referred to as the Indo-Scythian invasion, played a significant part in the history of India as well as nearby countries. In fact, the Indo-Scythian war is just one chapter in the events triggered by the nomadic flight of Central Asians from conflict with Chinese tribes which had lasting effects on Bactria, Kabol, Parthia and India as well as far off as Rome in the west.

The Scythian groups that invaded India and set up various kingdoms, may have included besides the Sakas other allied tribes, such as the Parama Kambojas, Bahlikas, Rishikas and Paradas.


Origins

The ancestors of the Indo-Scythians are thought to be Sakas (Scythian) tribes, originally settled in southern Siberia, in the Ili river area.

Legendary Origins of the Scythians

N. S. Gill writes:

"A rightly skeptical Herodotus says the Scythians claimed the first man to exist in the region -- at a time when it was desert and about a millennium before Darius of Persia -- was named Targitaos. He was the son of Zeus and the daughter of the river Borysthenes. Targitaos had three sons from whom the tribes of the Scythians sprang. Another legend Herodotus reports connects the Scythians with Hercules and Echidna."[10]


Etymology

N. S. Gill writes:

"The Greek epic poet Hesiod called the northern tribes hippemolgi 'mare milkers'. The Greek historian Herodotus refers to the European Scythians as Scythians and the eastern ones as Sacae. The name Scythians and Sacae applied to themselves was Skudat 'archer'. Later, the Scythians were sometimes called Getae. The Persians also called the Scythians, Sakai. Scythians, who attacked the kingdom of Urartu in Armenia, were called Ashguzai or Ishguzai by the Assyrians. The Scythians may have been the Biblical Ashkenaz."[11]


"The first to describe the life style of these tribes was a Greek researcher, Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century BCE. Although he concentrates on the tribes living in modern Ukraine, which he calls Scythians, we may extrapolate his description to people in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and possibly Mongolia, even though Herodotus usually calls these eastern nomads 'Sacae'. In fact, just as the Scythians and the Sacae shared the same life style, they had the same name: in their own language, which belonged to the Indo-Iranian family, they called themselves Skudat ('archers'?). The Persians rendered this name as Sakâ and the Greeks as Skythai. The Chinese called them, at a later stage in history, Sai."[12][13]

Yuezhi expansion

In the second century BCE, a fresh nomadic movement started among the Central Asian tribes, producing lasting effects on the history of Rome in Europe and Bactria, Kabol, Parthia and India in the east. Recorded in the annals of the Han dynasty and other Chinese records, this great tribal movement began after the Yuezhi Chinese tribe fled westwards after their defeat by the neighbouring Hiung-nu, creating a domino effect as the Yuezhi displaced other central Asian tribes in their path.

According to these ancient sources Mao-tun of the Hsiung-nu tribe of Mongolia attacked the Yue-chi and evicted them from their homeland Kansu (Nan-shan).[14] Leaving behind a remnant of their number, most of the population moved westwards, and following the route north of Takla Makan, entered the lands of the Haumavarka Sakas of Issyk-kul Lake through the passes of Tien-shan. Unable to withstand the assault, the Haumavarka Sakas allowed the Yue-chi to settle in their lands. In the years to come, the Haumavarka Sakas (Sakas of Wu-sun?) sought the help of the Hsiung-nu people and evicted the Yue-chi.

Even so, the initial clash with the invading Yue-chi caused a large group of the Haumavarka Shakas to leave their ancestral home. These Sakas journeyed through Tashkent and Ferghana (Sogdiana) (inhabited by the Sugud or Shulik tribe of the Iranians) and occupied the Doab of Oxus and Jaxartes, also overrunning the Greek kingdom of Bactria, occupying most of its western parts.[15] Others suggest Tukhara (India and Central Asia, 1955, p 125, Dr P. C. Bagch). Dr D. C. Sircar reconciles the difference by suggesting that Ta-hia referred to Tukhara and the eastern parts of Bactria.[16]

After being defeated and evicted by the joint forces of the Wu-sun and Hsiung-nu people, the Ta Yue-chis also moved southwards, overrunning in their path the Rishikas, Parama-Kambojas, Lohas and other allied Scythian clans living in the Transoxian regions as far Fargana. Many fled in a southwesterly direction and joined the Haumavarka Sakas in Bactria. The Yue-chi followed behind. Once again under extreme pressure, the Sakas and other allied Scythian groups including the Kambojas were forced to leave Bactria.

They first tried to enter India via the Kabol valley but were vigorously opposed by the Greek powers there. Rebuffed, the clans turned westwards to Herat and then took a southerly direction, reaching Helmund valley (Sigal) in south-west Afghanistan, the region later called Sakasthan or Seistan. Scholars believe that this Scythian migration through Herat to Drangiana was accompanied by groups of Kambojas (Parama-Kambojas), Rishikas and other allied tribes from Transoxiana that were also displaced by the Yue-chi.[17][18]


Around 175 BCE, the Yuezhi tribes (probable related to the Tocharians) who lived in eastern Tarim Basin area, were defeated by the Hiung-nu (Huns) tribes, and had to migrate towards the West into the Ili river area. There, they displaced the Sakas, who had to migrate south into Ferghana and Sogdiana. According to the Chinese historical chronicles (who call the Sakas, "Sai" 塞):

"The Yuezhi attacked the king of the Sai who moved a considerable distance to the south and the Yuezhi then occupied his lands" (Han Shu 61 4B).

Sometime after 155 BCE, the Yuezhi were again defeated by an alliance of the Wusun and the Hiung-nu, and were forced to move south, again displacing the Scythians, who migrated south towards Bactria, and south-west towards Parthia and Afghanistan.

The Sakas seem to have entered the territory of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom around 145 BCE, where they burnt to the ground the Greek city of Alexandria on the Oxus. The Yuezhi remained in Sogdiana on the northern bank of the Oxus, but they became suzerains of the Sakas in Bactrian territory, as described by the Chinese ambassador Zhang Qian who visited the region around 126 BCE.


In Parthia, between 138 BCE-124 BCE, the Sakas tribes of the Massagetae and Sacaraucae came into conflict with the Parthian Empire, winning several battles, and killing successively king Phraates II and king Artabanus I of Parthia.

The Parthian king Mithridates II of Parthia finally retook control of Central Asia, first by defeating the Yuezhi in Sogdiana in 115 BCE, and then defeating the Scythians in Parthia and Seistan around 100 BCE.

After their defeat, the Yuezhi tribes migrated into Bactria, which they were to control for several centuries, and from which they later conquered northern India to found the Kushan Empire. The area of Bactria they settled came to be known as Tokharistan, since the Yuezhi were called Tocharians by the Greeks.


DNA study on Y-STR Haplogroup Diversity in the Jat Population

David G. Mahal and Ianis G. Matsoukas[19] conducted a scientific study on Y-STR Haplogroup Diversity in the Jat Population of which brief Conclusion is as under:

The Jats represent a large ethnic community that has inhabited the northwest region of India and Pakistan for several thousand years. It is estimated the community has a population of over 123 million people. Many historians and academics have asserted that the Jats are descendants of Aryans, Scythians, or other ancient people that arrived and lived in northern India at one time. Essentially, the specific origin of these people has remained a matter of contention for a long time. This study demonstrated that the origins of Jats can be clarified by identifying their Y-chromosome haplogroups and tracing their genetic markers on the Y-DNA haplogroup tree. A sample of 302 Y-chromosome haplotypes of Jats in India and Pakistan was analyzed. The results showed that the sample population had several different lines of ancestry and emerged from at least nine different geographical regions of the world. It also became evident that the Jats did not have a unique set of genes, but shared an underlying genetic unity with several other ethnic communities in the Indian subcontinent. A startling new assessment of the genetic ancient origins of these people was revealed with DNA science.

The human Y-chromosome provides a powerful molecular tool for analyzing Y-STR haplotypes and determining their haplogroups which lead to the ancient geographic origins of individuals. For this study, the Jats and 38 other ethnic groups in the Indian subcontinent were analyzed, and their haplogroups were compared. Using genetic markers and available descriptions of haplogroups from the Y-DNA phylogenetic tree, the geographic origins and migratory paths of their ancestors were traced.

The study demonstrated that based on their genetic makeup, the Jats belonged to at least nine specific haplogroups, with nine different lines of ancestry and geographic origins. About 90% of the Jats in our sample belonged to only four different lines of ancestry and geographic origins:

1. Haplogroup L (36.8%)- The origins of this haplogroup can be traced to the rugged and mountainous Pamir Knot region in Tajikistan.

2. Haplogroup R (28.5%): From somewhere in Central Asia, some descendants of the man carrying the M207 mutation on the Y chromosome headed south to arrive in India about 10,000 years ago (Wells, 2007). This is one of the largest haplogroups in India and Pakistan. Of its key subclades, R2 is observed especially in India and central Asia.

3. Haplogroup Q (15.6%): With its origins in central Asia, descendants of this group are linked to the Huns, Mongols, and Turkic people. In Europe it is found in southern Sweden, among Ashkenazi Jews, and in central and Eastern Europe such as, the Rhône-Alpes region of France, southern Sicily, southern Croatia, northern Serbia, parts of Poland and Ukraine.

4. Haplogroup J (9.6%): The ancestor of this haplogroup was born in the Middle East area known as the Fertile Crescent, comprising Israel, the West Bank, Jordon, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Middle Eastern traders brought this genetic marker to the Indian subcontinent (Kerchner, 2013).

5.-9. Haplogroups E, G, H, I, T (9.5%): The ancestors of the remaining five haplogroups E, G, H, I, and T can be traced to different parts of Africa, Middle East, South Central Asia, and Europe (ISOGG, 2016).


Therefore, attributing the origins of this entire ethnic group to loosely defined ancient populations such as, Indo-Aryans or Indo-Scythians represents very broad generalities and cannot be supported. The study also revealed that even with their different languages, religions, nationalities, customs, cuisines, and physical differences, the Jats shared their haplogroups with several other ethnic groups of the Indian subcontinent, and had the same common ancestors and geographic origins in the distant past. Based on recent developments in DNA science, this study provided new insights into the ancient geographic origins of this major ethnic group in the Indian subcontinent. A larger dataset, particularly with more representation of Muslim Jats, is likely to reveal some additional haplogroups and geographical origins for this ethnic group.

Jat clans from Sakas

Hukum Singh Panwar [20] writes:

The next source at our disposal is "The Political and social Movements in Ancient Panjab" written by Dr. Buddha Prakash who has meticulously sorted out the Saka tribes which were assimilated in our society. However, with a few exceptions, he does not declare them Jats whereas our experience and a perusal of the names or Gotras of the Jat tribes unerringly attest that they also are included in the Jats. According to him, the Saka Tigarkhauda are the Massagetae (Maha Jats) and the Soma or Haumavarka Sakas or the Amyrgians of the Greek writers (V.S. Aggarwal, 1963: 443,467) or the Sakaraucae of Wessendonk or the Sakarucae of Marquart are the Baltis or Ladakhis Somas of Afghanistan and the Virkas of the Panjab, the last two of whom are undoubtedly Jats.

The Srnjayas or the Parthians of the Mahabharata and of Shafer (1954: 138.) or the Sarangai of Herodotus or the Zranke of the Achaemenian Inscriptions or the Sir-re-anke of the Elamite records or the Saragoi of Arrian or the Dragiane of Strabo (in Seistan) or the descendents of Narishyanta, the progenitor of the Sakas, (are the Jats), known in the Mahabharata and the Rigveds as Srnjayas, the sons of the Sickle (Hewitt, 1972: 481) (survived by the Siringi or Singar or Singhar or Singhal or Sangar or Sanghar tribes in the Jats).

The Neuris (Nur or Nuri Jats), Salva (Salu Jats), Arjunayan or the Kathoi and Kathoi and Kathroi (Kshatriyas or Khatri Jats) are the Jun and Rajayan tribes in the Jats. The Karaskaras (Upadhyaya, 1973: 84-Guptas or Karaskara Jats) are modern Khokhars. The Thakurs or Thakaras or Thakran or Thagora or Taugara or Tokhi are from the Tukharas (Yueh-Chih) and the Soi and Sikkas, Kajal or Kuzul or Khosla, Kanka, now Kangs; Sulikas or Solgi or Solkah or Solanki or Sulki; Lampaka or Lambaka or Lamba; Kirata (or Kira or Kirah) are mostly from the Sakas of Sogdiana. The Mehra and Moga or Mogha are from the Megas (the Saka Brahmans). Chaul (or Chol or Cholak), Jaula, Tomar, Khatri, Khan or Khanua and Sahi, Wusun or Wasan or

The Jats: Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations: End of page 325

Wassan are from the White Ephthalites or Huns. Hun or Hoon is also a tribe of the Jats and Khatris. The Her Jats are the descendants of the Heraios Kushanas from the Sakas.

According to Vishwa Mitra Mohan (1976: 84f), the Gakhar Jats are a fierce Scythian tribe spread over Sindh, eastern and western Panjab up to Khyber pass in the Frontier Province. The Khar or Kher or Kharata or Khareta and possibly the Kharb Jats are the descendants of the Saka Ksharatas mentioned in the Indian Epigraphs or the Karatai Scythians. In the end, it may be said that B.S. Dahiya has done a good job and his book is a compendium of the Jat tribes living in India and abroad. But lack of space does not allow us to repeat what he has laboured to bring before us from the misty lap of time and space.

Settlement in Sakastan

Image
Map of Sakastan around 100 BCE

The Sakas settled in areas of southern Afghanistan, still called after them Sakastan. From there, they progressively expanded into the Indian subcontinent, where they established various kingdoms, and where they are known as "Indo-Scythians".

The Arsacid emperor Mithridates II (c 123-88/87 BCE) had scored many successes against the Scythians and added many provinces to the Parthian empire,[21] and apparently the Bactrian Scythian hordes were also conquered by him. A section of these people moved from Bactria to Lake Helmond in the wake of Yue-chi pressure and settled about Drangiana (Sigal), a region which later came to be called "Sakistana of the Skythian (Scythian) Sakai",[22] towards the end of first century BCE.[23] The region is still known as Seistan.

Sakistan or Seistan of Drangiana may not only have been the habitat of the Saka alone but may also have contained population of the Pahlavas and the Kambojas.[24] The Rock Edicts of king Ashoka only refer to the Yavanas, Kambojas and the Gandharas in the northwest, but no mention is made of the Sakas, who immigrated in the region more than a century later. It is thus likely that the immigrant Saka populations who settled in Afghanistan did so among or near the Kambojas and nearby Greek cities.[25] Numerous scholars believe that during centuries immediately preceding Christian era, there had occurred extensive social and cultural admixture among the Kambojas and Yavanas; the Sakas and Pahlavas; and the Kambojas, Sakas, and Pahlavas etc.... such that their cultures and social customs had become almost identical.

The presence of the Sakas in Sakastan in the 1st century BCE is mentioned by Isidore of Charax in his "Parthian stations". He explained that they were bordered at that time by Greek cities to the east (Alexandria of the Caucasus and Alexandria of the Arachosians), and the Parthian-controlled territory of Arachosia to the south:


"Beyond is Sacastana of the Scythian Sacae, which is also Paraetacena, 63 schoeni. There are the city of Barda and the city of Min and the city of Palacenti and the city of Sigal; in that place is the royal residence of the Sacae; and nearby is the city of Alexandria (and nearby is the city of Alexandropolis), and six villages." Parthian stations, 18.[26]


Kantha Ending names

V. S. Agrawala[27] writes that Panini mentions village name in category ending Kanthā (IV.2.142) - Panini gives the interesting information that Kantha ending was in use in Ushinara (II.4.20)

[p.68]: and Varnu (Bannu (IV.2.103). He names the following places:

Chihaṇakantha, Maḍarakantha, Vaitulakantha, Paṭatkakantha, Vaiḍalikarṇakantha, Kukkuṭakantha, Chitakaṇakakantha.

Kanthā was a Saka word for a town as in the expression kadahvara= kanthāvara occurring in a Khroshthi inscription. "Here belongs Sogdian expression kanda- "city" and Saka kantha "city" earlier attested in Markantha". H W Bellew also points out that Persian word Kand, Khotanese Kanthā, Sogdian, Buddhist Sanskrit kndh Pasto Kandai, Asica (the dialect of Rishikas or Yuchi) kandā are all akin to Sanskrit Kanthā.

It may be noted that in the time of Panini and as stated by Darius I, in his Inscriptions, the Shakas were living beyond Oxus. That region naturally still abounds in Kanthā-ending place names, such as Samarkand, Khokand, Chimkand, Tashkent, Panjkand, Yarkand, all indicating Saka influence.

The Mahabharata speaks of the Sakas as living in this region, named by it as Sakadvipa, and particularly mentions places like Chakshu (=Oxus), Kumud (=Komedai of Herodotus, a mountain in the Shaka country), Himavat (=Hemodan mountain), Sita (=Yarkand River, Kaumara (=Komarai of Herodotus), Mashaka (=Masagetai of Strabo, Rishika (=Asioi, Tushara (=Tokarai).

Panini must also have known Shakas, not in Seistan but in their original home in Central Asia.

[p.69]: How a string of kanthā-ending place names was found in Ushinara country in the heart of Punjab, is an unexplained problem. It points to an event associated with Shaka history even before Panini, possibly an intrusion which left its relics in place names before the Saka contact with India in the second century BC. Katyayana mentions Shakandhu and Karkandhu, two kinds of wells of the Shakas and Karkas (Karkians), which may be identified as the stepped well (vāpī) and the Persian wheel (arghaṭṭa) well respectively.

Lastly we owe to the Kasika the following names ending in kanthā: Saushamikantha and Āhvarakantha both in Ushinara country in Vahika (II.4.20).

Indo-Scythian kingdoms

Abiria to Surastrene


The first Indo-Scythian kingdom in the Indian subcontinent occupied the southern part of Pakistan (which they accessed from southern Afghanistan), in the areas from Abiria (Sindh) to Surastrene (Gujarat), from around 110 to 80 BCE. They progressively further moved north into Indo-Greek territory until the conquests of Maues, circa 80 BCE.

The 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea describes the Scythian territories there:


"Beyond this region (Gedrosia), the continent making a wide curve from the east across the depths of the bays, there follows the coast district of Scythia, which lies above toward the north; the whole marshy; from which flows down the river Sinthus, the greatest of all the rivers that flow into the Erythraean Sea, bringing down an enormous volume of water (...) This river has seven mouths, very shallow and marshy, so that they are not navigable, except the one in the middle; at which by the shore, is the market-town, Barbaricum. Before it there lies a small island, and inland behind it is the metropolis of Scythia, Minnagara."[28]


The Indo-Scythians ultimately established a kingdom in the northwest, based in Taxila, with two Great Satraps, one in Mathura in the east, and one in [Surastrene (Gujarat) in the southwest.

In the southeast, the Indo-Scythians invaded the area of Ujjain, but were subsequently repelled in 57 BCE by the Malwa king Vikramaditya. To commemorate the event Vikramaditya established the Vikrama era, a specific Indian calendar starting in 57 BCE. More than a century later, in 78 CE the Sakas would again invade Ujjain and establish the Saka era, marking the beginning of the long-lived Saka Western Satraps kingdom.[29]


Vikramaditya (IAST: Vikramāditya) was an emperor of ancient India. Often characterized as a legendary king, he is known for his generosity, courage, and patronage of scholars. Vikramaditya is featured in hundreds of traditional stories including those in Baital Pachisi and Singhasan Battisi. Many describe him as a universal ruler, with his capital at Ujjain (Pataliputra or Pratishthana in a few stories).

According to popular tradition, Vikramaditya began the Vikrama Samvat era in 57 BCE after defeating the Shakas, around the first century BCE. However, this era is identified as "Vikrama Samvat" after the ninth century CE....

Proponents of this theory say that Vikramaditya is mentioned in works dating to before the Gupta era, including Brihatkatha and Gatha Saptashati....

Critics of this theory say that Gatha Saptashati shows clear signs of Gupta-era interpolation [an entry or passage in a text that was not written by the original author.]. According to A. K. Warder, Brihatkathamanjari and Kathasaritsagara are "enormously inflated and deformed" recensions of the original Brihatkatha. The early Jain works do not mention Vikramaditya and the navaratnas have no historical basis as the nine scholars do not appear to have been contemporary figures. Legends surrounding Vikramaditya are contradictory, border on the fantastic and are inconsistent with historical facts; no epigraphic, numismatic or literary evidence suggests the existence of a king with the name (or title) of Vikramaditya around the first century BCE. Although the Puranas contain genealogies of significant Indian kings, they do not mention a Vikramaditya ruling from Ujjain or Pataliputra before the Gupta era. There is little possibility of an historically-unattested, powerful emperor ruling from Ujjain around the first century BCE among the Shungas (187–78 BCE), the Kanvas (75–30), the Satavahanas (230 BCE–220 CE), the Shakas (c. 200 BCE – c. 400 CE) and the Indo-Greeks (180 BCE–10 CE)....

Max Müller believed that the Vikramaditya legends were based on the sixth-century Aulikara king Yashodharman. The Aulikaras used the Malava era (later known as Vikrama Samvat) in their inscriptions. According to Rudolf Hoernlé, the name of the Malava era was changed to Vikramaditya by Yashodharman. Hoernlé also believed that Yashodharman conquered Kashmir and is the Harsha Vikramaditya mentioned in Kalhana's Rajatarangini. Although Yashodharman defeated the Hunas (who were led by Mihirakula), the Hunas were not the Shakas; Yashodharman's capital was at Dasapura (modern Mandsaur), not Ujjain. There is no other evidence that he inspired the Vikramaditya legends....

Some legends describe him as a liberator of India from mlechchha invaders; the invaders are identified as Shakas in most, and the king is known by the epithet Shakari (IAST: Śakāri; "enemy of the Shakas")....


Kshemendra's Brihatkathamanjari and Somadeva's 11th-century Kathasaritsagara, both adaptations of Brihatkatha, contain a number of legends about Vikramaditya. Each legend has several fantasy stories within a story, illustrating his power.

The first legend mentions Vikramaditya's rivalry with the king of Pratishthana. In this version, that king is named Narasimha (not Shalivahana) and Vikramaditya's capital is Pataliputra (not Ujjain). According to the legend, Vikramaditya was an adversary of Narasimha who invaded Dakshinapatha and besieged Pratishthana; he was defeated and forced to retreat. He then entered Pratishthana in disguise and won over a courtesan. Vikramaditya was her lover for some time before secretly returning to Pataliputra. Before his return, he left five golden statues which he had received from Kubera at the courtesan's house. If a limb of one of these miraculous statues was broken off and gifted to someone, the golden limb would grow back....

Paramara-era legends associate the Paramara rulers with legendary kings, in order to enhance the Paramara imperial claims. The Bhavishya Purana, an ancient Hindu text which has been edited till as late as 19th century, connects Vikramaditya to the Paramaras. According to the text (3.1.6.45-7.4), the first Paramara king was Pramara (born from a fire pit at Mount Abu, thus an Agnivansha). Vikramaditya, Shalivahana and Bhoja are described as Pramara's descendants and members of the Paramara dynasty....

Few references to Vikramaditya exist in Jain literature before the mid-12th century, although Ujjain appears frequently. After the Jain king Kumarapala (r. 1143–1172), Jain writers started to compare Kumarapala to Vikramaditya. By the end of the 13th century, legends featuring Vikramaditya as a Jain emperor began surfacing. A major theme in Jain tradition is that the Jain acharya Siddhasena Divakara converted Vikramaditya to Jainism.....

Many legends, particularly Jain legends, associate Vikramaditya with Shalivahana of Pratishthana (another legendary king). In some he is defeated by Shalivahana, who begins the Shalivahana era; in others, he is an ancestor of Shalivahana. A few legends call the king of Pratishthana "Vikramaditya". Political rivalry between the kings is sometimes extended to language, with Vikramaditya supporting Sanskrit and Shalivahana supporting Prakrit....

In a medieval Tamil legend Vikramaditya has 32 marks on his body, a characteristic of universal emperors. A Brahmin in need of Alchemic quicksilver tells him that it can be obtained if the emperor offers his head to the goddess Kamakshi of Kanchipuram. Although Vikramaditya agrees to sacrifice himself, the goddess fulfills his wish without the sacrifice....

In Jyotirvidabharana (22.10), a treatise attributed to Kalidasa, nine noted scholars (the Navaratnas) were at Vikramaditya's court...

However, many scholars consider Jyotirvidabharana a literary forgery written after Kalidasa's death. According to V. V. Mirashi, who dates the work to the 12th century, it could not have been composed by Kalidasa because it contains grammatical errors. There is no mention of such Navaratnas in earlier literature, and D. C. Sircar calls Jyotirvidabharana "absolutely worthless for historical purposes".

-- Vikramaditya, by Wikipedia


Gandhara and Punjab

The presence of the Scythians in north-western India during the 1st century BCE was contemporary with that of the Indo-Greek Kingdoms there, and it seems they initially recognized the power of the local Greek rulers.

Maues first conquered Gandhara and Taxila around 80 BCE, but his kingdom disintegrated after his death. In the east, the Indian king Vikrama retook Ujjain from the Indo-Scythians, celebrating his victory by the creation of the Vikrama Era (starting 58 BCE). Indo-Greek kings again ruled after Maues, and prospered, as indicated by the profusion of coins from kings Apollodotus II and Hippostratos. Not until Azes I, in 55 BCE, did the Indo-Scythians take final control of northwestern India, with his victory over Hippostratos.

Mathura area ("Northern Satraps")

In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE. Some of their satraps were Hagamasha and Hagana, who were in turn followed by the Saca Great Satrap Rajuvula.

The Mathura lion capital, an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital in crude style, from Mathura in Central India, and dated to the 1st century CE, describes in kharoshthi the gift of a stupa with a relic of the Buddha, by Queen Nadasi Kasa, the wife of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, Rajuvula. The capital also mentions the genealogy of several Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura.

Rajuvula apparently eliminated the last of the Indo-Greek kings Strato II around 10 CE, and took his capital city, Sagala.


The coinage of the period, such as that of Rajuvula, tends to become very crude and barbarized in style. It is also very much debased, the silver content becoming lower and lower, in exchange for a higher proportion of bronze, an alloying technique (billon) suggesting less than wealthy finances.

The Mathura Lion Capital inscriptions attest that Mathura fell under the control of the Sakas. The inscriptions contain references to Kharaosta Kamuio and Aiyasi Kamuia. Yuvaraja Kharostes (Kshatrapa) was the son of Arta as is attested by his own coins.[30] Arta is stated to be brother of king Moga or Maues.[31] Princess Aiyasi Kambojaka, also called Kambojika, was the chief queen of Shaka Mahakshatrapa Rajuvula. Kamboja presence in Mathura is also verified from some verses of epic Mahabharata which are believed to have been composed around this period.[32] This may suggest that Sakas and Kambojas may have jointly ruled over Mathura/Uttara Pradesh. It is revealing that Mahabharata verses only attest the Kambojas and Yavanas as the inhabitants of Mathura, but do not make any reference to the Sakas.[33] Probably, the epic has reckoned the Sakas of Mathura among the Kambojas (Dr J. L. Kamboj) or else have addressed them as Yavanas, unless the Mahabharata verses refer to the previous period of invasion occupation by the Yavanas around 150 BCE.

The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the "Northern Satraps", in opposition to the "Western Satraps" ruling in Gujarat and Malwa. After Rajuvula, several successors are known to have ruled as vassals to the Kushans, such as the "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara, who are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath, and dated to the 3rd year of Kanishka (circa 130 CE), in which they were paying allegiance to the Kushans.[34]

Pataliputra

The text of the Yuga Purana describes an invasion of Pataliputra by the Scythians sometimes during the 1st century BCE, after seven greats kings had ruled in succession in Saketa following the retreat of the Yavanas. The Yuga Purana explains that the king of the Sakas killed one fourth of the population, before he was himself slain by the Kalinga king Shata and a group of Sabalas (Sabaras).[35]

Kushan and Indo-Parthian conquests

After the death of Azes II, the rule of the Indo-Scythians in northwestern India finally crumbled with the conquest of the Kushans, one of the five tribes of the Yuezhi who had lived in Bactria for more than a century, and were now expanding into India to create a Kushan Empire. Soon after, the Parthians invaded from the west. Their leader Gondophares temporarily displaced the Kushans and founded the Indo-Parthian Kingdom that was to last towards the middle of the 1st century CE.

The Kushans ultimately regained northwestern India from around 75 CE, and the area of Mathura from around 100 CE, where they were to prosper for several centuries.

Western Kshatrapas legacy

The Indo-Scythians continued to hold the area of Seistan until the reign of Bahram II (276-293 CE), and held several areas of India well into the 1st millennium: Kathiawar and Gujarat were under their rule until the 5th century under the designation of Western Kshatrapas, until they were eventually conquered by the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II (also called Vikramaditya).

The Brihat-Katha-Manjari of the Kshmendra (10/1/285-86) informs us that around 400 CE the Gupta king Vikramaditya (Chandragupta II) had unburdened the sacred earth of the Barbarians like the Shakas, Mlecchas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Tusharas, Parasikas, Hunas, etc. by annihilating these sinners completely.

The 10th century CE Kavyamimamsa of Raj Shekhar (Ch 17) still lists the Shakas, Tusharas, Vokanas, Hunas, Kambojas, Bahlikas, Pahlavas, Tangana, Turukshas, etc. together and states them as the tribes located in the Uttarapatha division.

Indo-Scythian coinage

Image
Silver tetradrachm of the Indo-Scythian King Maues (85-60 BCE).

Indo-Scythian coinage is generally of a high artistic quality, although it clearly deteriorates towards the desintegration of Indo-Scythian rule around 20 CE (coins of Rajuvula). A fairly qualitative but rather stereotypes coinage would continue with the Western Satraps until the 4th century CE.

Indo-Scythian coinage is generally quite realistic, artistically somewhere between Indo-Greek and Kushan coinage. It is often suggested Indo-Scythian coinage benefited from the help of Greek celators (Boppearachchi).

Indo-Scythian coins essentially continue the Indo-Greek tradition, bu using the Greek language on the obverse and the Kharoshthi language on the reverse. The portrait of the king is never shown however, and is replaced by depictions of the king on horse (and sometimes on camel), or sometimes sitting cross-legged on a cushion. The reverse of their coins typically show Greek divinities.

Buddhist symbolism is present throughout Indo-Scythian coinage. In particular, they adopted the Indo-Greek practice since Menander I of showing divinities forming the vitarka mudra with their right hand (as for the mudra-forming Zeus on the coins of Maues or Azes II), or the presence of the Buddhist lion on the coins of the same two kings, or the triratana symbol on the coins of Zeionises.

Depiction of Indo-Scythians

Image
Azilises on horse, wearing a tunic.

Besides coinage, few works of art are known to indisputably represent Indo-Scythians. Indo-Scythians rulers are usually depicted on horseback in armour, but the coins of Azilises show the king in a simple, undecorated, tunic.

Several Gandharan sculptures also show foreigner in soft tunics, sometimes wearing the typical Scythian cap. They stand in contrast to representations of Kushan men, who seem to wear thicks, rigid, tunics, and who are generally represented in a much more simplistic manner[36]

Buner reliefs

Indo-Scythian soldiers in military attire are sometimes represented in Buddhist friezes in the art of Gandhara (particularly in Buner reliefs). They are depicted in ample tunics with trousers, and have heavy straight sword as a weapon. They wear a pointed hood (the Scythian cap or bashlyk), which distinguishes them from the Indo-Parthians who only wore a simple fillet over their bushy hair,[37] and which is also systematically worn by Indo-Scythian rulers on their coins. With the right hand, some of them are forming the Karana mudra against evil spirits. In Gandhara, such friezes were used as decorations on the pedestals of Buddhist stupas. They are contemporary with other friezes representing people in purely Greek attire, hinting at an intermixing of Indo-Scythians (holding military power) and Indo-Greeks (confined, under Indo-Scythian rule, to civilian life).

Another relief is known where the same type of soldiers are playing musical instruments and dancing, activities which are widely represented elsewhere in Gandharan art: Indo-Scythians are typically shown as reveling devotees.

Image
Indo-Scythians pushing along the Greek god Dyonisos with Ariadne.[38]

Image
Hunting scene.

Image
Hunting scene.

Image
Hunting scene.

Stone palettes

Main article: Stone palette

[x] File:ScythianStonePalette.jpg
Indo-Scythian stone palette, found in Sirkap, New-Delhi Museum. The lion with protruding tongue is highly reminiscent of those on the Mathura Lion Capital.

Numerous stone palettes found in Gandhara are considered as good representatives of Indo-Scythian art. These palettes combine Greek and Iranian influences, and are often realized in a simple, archaic style. Stone palettes have only been found in archaeological layers corresponding to Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian rule, and are essentially unknown the preceding Mauryan layers or the succeeding Kushan layers.[39]

Very often these palettes represent people in Greek dress in mythological scenes, a few in Parthian dress (head-bands over bushy hair, crossed-over jacket on a bare chest, jewelry, belt, baggy trousers), and even fewer in Indo-Scythian dress (Phrygian hat, tunic and comparatively straight trousers). A palette found in Sirkap and now in the New Delhi Museum shows a winged Indo-Scythian horseman riding winged deer, and being attacked by a lion.

The Indo-Scythians and Buddhism

Image
The Taxila copper plate records Buddhist dedications by Indo-Scythian rulers (British Museum).

The Indo-Scythians seem to have been followers of Buddhism, and many of their practices apparently continued those of the Indo-Greeks. They are known for their numerous Buddhist dedications, recorded through such epigraphic material as the Taxila copper plate inscription or the Mathura lion capital inscription.

Butkara Stupa

Image
Buddhist stupas during the late Indo-Greek/Indo-Scythian period were highly decorated structures with columns, flights of stairs, and decorative Acanthus leave friezes. Butkara stupa, Swat, 1st century BCE.[40]

Image
Possible Scythian devotee couple (extreme left and right, often described as "Scytho-Parthian"[41]), around the Buddha, Brahma and Indra.

Excavation at the Butkara Stupa in Swat by an Italian archaeological team have yielded various Buddhist sculptures thought to belong to the Indo-Scythian period. In particular, an Indo-Corinthian capital representing a Buddhist devotee within foliage has been found which had a reliquary and a coins of Azes II buried at its base, securely dating the sculpture to around 20 BCE.[42] A contemporary pilaster with the image of a Buddhist devotee in Greek dress has also been found at the same spot, again suggesting a mingling of the two populations.[43] Various reliefs at the same location show Indo-Scythians with their characteristics tunics and pointed hoods within a Buddhist context, and side-by-side with reliefs of standing Buddhas.[44]

Gandharan sculptures

Other reliefs have been found, which show Indo-Scythian men with their characteristic pointed cap pushing a cart on which is reclining the Greek god Dyonisos with his consort Ariadne.

Mathura lion capital

The Mathura lion capital, which associates many of the Indo-Scythian rulers from Maues to Rajuvula, mentions a dedication of a relic of the Buddha in a stupa. It also bears centrally the Buddhist symbol of the triratana, and is also filled with mentions of the bhagavat Buddha Sakyamuni, and characteristically Buddhist phrases such as:

"sarvabudhana puya dhamasa puya saghasa puya"
"Revere all the Buddhas, revere the dharma, revere the sangha"
(Mathura lion capital, inscription O1/O2)


[x]PilarImage4.jpg
Indo-Corinthian capital from Butkara Stupa, dated to 20 BCE, during the reign of Azes II. Turin City Museum of Ancient Art.

[x]DancingIndoScythians.jpg
Dancing Indo-Scythians (top) and hunting scene (bottom). Buddhist relief from Swat, Gandhara.

[x]ButkaraDoorJamb.jpg
Butkara door jamb, with Indo-Scythians dancing and reveling. On the back side is a relief of a standing Buddha[45]

[x]IndoScythiansAndBuddha.jpg
Devotees of the Buddha in Indo-Scythian clothes (top), and erotical scene (bottom), Butkara stupa.

Indo-Scythians in Western sources

[x]File:TabulaPeutingerianaIndo-Scythia.jpg
"Scythia" appears around the mouth of the river Indus and along the western coast of India, in the Roman period Tabula Peutingeriana.

The presence of Scythian territory in northwestern India, and especially around the mouth of the Indus is mentioned extensively in Western maps and travel descriptions of the period. The Ptolemy world map, as well as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mention prominently Scythia in the Indus area, as well as Roman Tabula Peutingeriana. The Periplus states that Minnagara was the capital of Scythia, and that Parthian king were fighting for it during the 1st century CE. It also distinguishes Scythia with Ariaca further east (centered in Gujarat and Malwa), over which ruled the Western Satrap king Nahapana.
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Indo-Scythians in Indian literature

[x]File:AzesCamel.jpg
King Azes I on a camel, holding the ankus, and wearing a Phrygian cap. From some of his square coins.[46]
Main article: Sakas


The Indo-Scythians were named "Shaka" in India, an extension on the name Saka used by the Persians to designate Scythians. From the time of the Mahabharata wars (1500-500 BCE) Shakas receive numerous mentions in texts like the Puranas, the Manusmriti, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Mahabhasiya of Patanjali, the Brhat Samhita of Vraha Mihira, the Kavyamimamsa, the Brihat-Katha-Manjari, the Katha-Saritsagara and several other old texts. They are described as part of an amalgam of other war-like tribes from the northwest.

"Degraded Kshatriyas" from the northwest

The Manusmriti, written about CE, groups the Shakas with the Yavanas, Kambojas, Paradas, Pahlavas, Kiratas and the Daradas etc..., and addresses them all as degraded warriors, or Kshatriyas (X/43-44). Anushasanaparava of the Mahabharata also views the Shakas, Kambojas, Yavanas etc. in the same light. Patanjali in his Mahabhasya regards the Shakas and Yavanas as pure Shudras (II.4.10).

The Vartika of the Katyayana informs us that the kings of the Shakas and the Yavanas, like those of the Kambojas, may also be addressed by their respective tribal names.

[x]File:Zeionises.jpg
Coin of Zeionises (circa 10 BCE - 10 CE).
Obv: King on horseback holding whip, with bow behind and Buddhist Triratna symbol.
Rev: Standing king, being crowned by the goddess Tyche.


The Mahabharata also associates the Shakas with the Yavanas, Gandharas, Kambojas, Pahlavas, Tusharas, Sabaras, Barbaras etc and addresses them all as the Barbaric tribes of Uttarapatha. In another verse, the epic groups the Shakas Kambojas and Khashas and addresses them as the tribes from Udichya i.e. north division (5/169/20). Also, the Kishkindha Kanda of the Ramayana locates the Shakas, Kambojas, Yavanas and Paradas in the extreme north-west beyond the Himavat (i.e. Hindukush) (43/12).

The Udyogaparava of the Mahabharata (5/19/21-23) tells us that the composite army of the Kambojas, Yavanas and Shakas had participated in the Mahabharata war under the supreme command of Sudakshina Kamboja. The epic repeatedly applauds this composite army as being very fierce and wrathful.

Invasion of India (180 BCE onward)

[x]File:SpalirisesStandingInArmour.jpg
King Spalirises standing in armour. From his coins [1] and [2]. He holds the ankus in the right hand.

The Vanaparava of the Mahabharata contains verses in the form of prophecy that the kings of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Bahlikas and Abhiras, etc. shall rule unrighteously in Kaliyuga (MBH 3/188/34-36).

This reference apparently alludes to the precarious political scenario following the collapse of Mauryan and Sunga dynasties in northern India and its occupation by foreign hordes of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas and Pahlavas.

Mahabharata references

Udyoga Parva of Mahabharata groups the Shakas, Pahlavas, Paradas with the ‘’Kamboja-rishikas’’ and attests them as living on sea-shore in western India.[47] Again Udyoga Parava of Mahabharata lists the Shakas, Kambojas and the Khashas together and calls them as tribes of Udichya or Uttarapatha.[48] The Shanti Parva of Mahabharata also associates the Shakas with the Kambojas, Yavanas, Gandharas, Pahlavas, Tusharas, Sabaras, Barbaras, etc. and addresses them all as the Barbaric tribes of Uttarapatha.[49] More importantly, the Shaka army had joined the Kamboja army and together they had participated in the Kurukshetra war under single and supreme command of Sudakshina Kamboja.[50]

Ramayana references

Kishkindha Kanda Sarga 43 of Valmiki Ramayana collocates the Kambojas with the Shakas, Yavanas, Paradas and the Uttarakurus in the extreme northwest. The Yavanas are in (Bactria) and Kambojas in Tajikstan, the Paradas are on river Sailoda in Xinjiang province of China. The Uttarakurus lie beyond the Pamirs. The Shakas of the Ramayana obviously refer to the Shakas of Issyk-kul Lake lying beyond Suguda.[51] Adi-Kanda of the Ramayana,[52] tells us that the Kambojas, Shakas, Pahlavas and some other allied tribes from northwest were 'created' at the request of sage Vasishta by the Divine cow Shavala to defend Vasishta sage from the forces of king Vishwamitra (Dr B. C. Law). All these Ramayanic references seem to closely connect the Kambojas and the Shakas together.

Puranic references

[x]File:CastanaMathura.jpg
Statue of Chastana, found at the Temple of Mat, Mathura, together with statues of Kushan rulers. This statue suggests that the Western Satraps were vassals to the Kushans.

Harivamsa Purana[53] and other Puranic literature[54] attest that Iksvaku king Bahu of Ayodhya was driven out of his dominions by Haihayas and Talajanghas with the assistance of Shakas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Pahlavas and Paradas Ayudhajivin Kshatriyas from Uttarapatha, popularly known as "five hordes" (ganah pāñca).[55]

Kalika Purana, one of the Upa-Puranas of the Hindus, refers to a war between Brahmanical king Kalika (supposed to be Pusyamitra Sunga) and Buddhist king Kali (supposed to be Maurya king Brihadratha (187-180 BCE)) and states the Shakas, Kambojas, Khasas, etc together as a powerful military allies of king Kali. The Purana further states that these Barbarians take the orders from their women.[56]

The Bhuvanakosha section of Puranic texts also lists the Kambojas with the Shakas, Paradas, Yavanas, Bahlikas, Sindhus, Soviras, Madrakas, Kekayas etc and place then all in the Udychya or northwest division.

Manusmiriti reference

Manusmriti places the Shakas with the Kambojas, Yavanas, Pahlavas, Paradas and labels them all as degraded Kshatriyas defying the Brahmanical codes and rituals.[57]

Mahabharata, too similarly groups the Shakas with the Kambojas and Yavanas and states that they were originally noble Kshatriyas but got degraded to vrishala status on account of their non-observance of the sacred Brahmanical codes.[58]

Mudrarakshas reference

The Buddhist drama Mudrarakshas by Visakhadutta and the Jaina works Parisishtaparvan refer to Chandragupta's alliance with Himalayan king Parvatka. This Himalayan alliance gave Chandragupta a powerful composite army made up of the north western tribes including the Shakas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Parasikas, Bahlikas etc.[59]

Other references

In the Brihat Katha of Pt. Kshmendra, Vedic king Vikramaditya had fought with the joint mlechcha forces of the Shakas, Kambojas, Hunas, Sabaras, Tusharas, Parasikas and had destroyed them completely.[60]

The Vartika of the Katyayana on Panini's Ashtadhyayi informs us that the kings of the Shakas and the Yavanas, like those of the Kambojas may similarly be addressed by their respective tribal names.[61]

There are numerous more similar references in ancient Sanskrit literature where the Kambojas and Shakas are listed together. All these references amply prove that the Shakas were closely allied to the Kambojas and both were living as close neighbors in the extreme of northwest division of ancient India.

Sai-Wang Scythian hordes of Chipin or Kipin

[x]File:AzesI.JPG
Coin of Azes II, with king seated, holding a drawn sword and a whip.

A section of the Central Asian Scythians (under Sai-Wang) is said to have taken southerly direction and after passing through the Pamirs it entered the Chipin or Kipin after crossing the Hasuna-tu (Hanging Pass) located above the valley of Kanda in Swat country.[62] Chipin has been identified by Dr Pelliot, Dr Bagchi, Dr Raychaudhury and some others with Kashmir[63] while other scholars identify it with Kapisha (Kafirstan).[64][65] The Sai-Wang had established his kingdom in Kipin. Dr S. Konow interprets the Sai-Wang as Saka Murunda of Indian literature, Murunda being equal to Wang i.e. king, master or lord,[66] but prof Bagchi who takes the word Wang in the sense of the king of the Scythians but he distinguishes the Sai Sakas from the Murunda Sakas.[67] There are reasons to believe that Sai Scythians were Kamboja Scythians and therefore Sai-Wang belonged to the Scythianised Kambojas (i.e. Parama-Kambojas) of the Transoxiana region and came back to settle among his own stock after being evicted from his ancestral land located in Scythia or Shakadvipa. King Moga or Maues could have belonged to this group of Scythians who had migrated from the Sai country (Central Asia) to Chipin.[68] The Mathura Lion Capital inscriptions attest that the members of the family of king Moga (q.v.) had last name Kamuia or Kamuio (q.v) which Khroshthi term has been identified by scholars with Sanskrit Kamboja or Kambojaka.[69] Thus, Sai-Wang and his migrant hordes which came to settle in Kabol valley in Kapisha may indeed have been from the transoxian Parama Kambojas living in Shakadvipa or Scythian land.[70]

Establishment of Mlechcha Kingdoms in Northern India

[x]File:BalaramaMauesCoin1stCenturyBCE.jpg
Coin of Maues depicting Balarama, 1st century BCE. British Museum.

The mixed Scythian hordes that migrated to Drangiana and surrounding regions, later spread further into north and south-west India via the lower Indus valley. Their migration spread into Sovira, Gujarat, Rajasthan and northern India, including kingdoms in the Indian mainland.

There are important references to the warring Mleccha hordes of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas and Pahlavas in the Bala Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana also[71].

Leading Indologists like Dr H. C. Raychadhury glimpses in these verses the struggles between the Hindus and the invading hordes of Mlechcha barbarians from the northwest. The time frame for these struggles is the second century BCE onwards. Dr Raychadhury fixes the date of the present version of the Valmiki Ramayana around or after the second century CE.[72]

This picture presented by the Ramayana probably refers to the political scenario that emerged when the mixed hordes descended from Sakasthan and advanced into the lower Indus valley via Bolan Pass and beyond into the Indian mainland. It refers to the hordes' struggle to seize political control of Sovira, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Malwa, Maharashtra and further areas of eastern, central and southern India.

Mahabharata too furnishes a veiled hint about the invasion of the mixed hordes from the northwest. Vanaparava by Mahabharata contains verses in the form of prophecy deploring that "......the Mlechha (barbaric) kings of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Bahlikas, etc shall rule the earth (i.e India) un-rightously in Kaliyuga..".[73]

According to Dr H. C. Ray Chaudhury, this is too clear a statement to be ignored or explained away.

Mahabharata's epic reference apparently alludes to the chaotic politics which followed the collapse of the Mauryan and Sunga dynasties in northern India and the area's subsequent occupation by foreign hordes of the Saka, Yavana, Kamboja, Pahlavas, Bahlika, Shudra and Rishika tribes from the northwest.

See also: Migration of Kambojas

Evidence about joint invasions

[x]File:AzesIIDepiction.jpg
Equipment of the Indo-Scythian king Azes II (r.35-12 BCE), as shown on his clearest coins.[74] He wears a type of Phrygian cap with flaps, and a web-like armour (a cataphract), on top of a thick tunic. He holds a whip in the right hand. The two threads behind his back are probably a sign of his royalty. The upper end of a recurve bow appears from the left side of the saddle (click image for reference).

The clans of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Pahlavas, Paradas, etc had been invading India from Central Asia many years before the Christian era. These peoples were all absorbed into the community of Kshatriyas of mainstream Indian society.[75]

The Shakas were formerly a people of trans-Hemodos region---the Shakadvipa of the Puranas or the Scythia of the classical writings. Isidor of Charax (beginning of first c AD) attests them in Sakastana (modern Seistan). First century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c AD 70-80) also attests a Scythian district in lower Indus with Minnagra as its capital. Ptolemy (c AD 140) also attests Indo-Scythia in south-western India which comprised Patalene, Abhira and the Surastrene (Saurashtra) territories.

The second century BCE Scythian invasion of India, was in all probability carried out jointly by the Sakas, Pahlavas, Kambojas, Paradas, Rishikas and other allied tribes from the northwest.[76] As a result, groups of these people who had originally lived in the northwest before the Christian era, were also found to have lived in southwest India in post-Christian times. All these groups of north-western peoples apparently entered Indian mainland following the Scythian invasion of India.

Main Indo-Scythian rulers

Northwestern India:


• Maues, c. 90-60 BCE
• Vonones, c. 75-65 BCE
• Spalahores, c. 75-65 BCE, satrap and brother of king Vonones, and probably the later king Spalirises.
• Spalirises, c. 60-57 BCE, king and brother of king Vonones.
• Spalagadames c.50 BCE, satrap, and son of Spalahores.
• Azes I, c. 57-35 BCE
• Azilises, c. 57-35 BCE
• Azes II, c. 35-12 BCE
• Zeionises, c.10 BCE-10 CE
• Kharahostes, c.10 BCE- 10 CE
• Indravarman
• Hajatria

Kshaharatas:

Main article: Kshaharatas

• Liaka Kusuluka, satrap of Chuksa
• Kusulaka Patika, satrap of Chuksa and son of Liaka Kusulaka
• Abhiraka
• Bhumaka
• Nahapana (founder of the Western Satraps)

Apracarajas (Bajaur area):

Main article: Apracarajas

• Vijayamitra (12 BCE - 15 CE)
• Itravasu (c.20 CE)
• Aspavarma (15 - 45 CE)

Paratarajas:

Main article: Paratarajas

• Kuvhusuvhume
• Spajhana
• Spajhayam
• Bhimajhuna
• Yolamira, son of Bagavera (2nd century)
• Arjuna, son of Yolamira (2nd century)
• Karyyanapa
• Hvaramira, another son of Yolamira(2nd century)
• Mirahvara, son of Hvaramira (2nd century)
• Miratakhma, another son of Hvaramira (2nd century)

"Northern Satraps" (Mathura area):

• Hagamasha (satrap, 1st century BCE)
• Hagana (satrap, 1st century BCE)
• Rajuvula, c.10 CE (Great Satrap)
• Sodasa, son of Rajuvula
• "Great Satrap" Kharapallana (circa 130 CE)
• "Satrap" Vanaspara (circa 130 CE)

Minor local rulers:

• Bhadayasa
• Mamvadi
• Arsakes

Western Satraps

Main article: Western Satraps

• Nahapana (119-124) 50px
• Chastana (c 120), son of Ghsamotika 50px
• Jayadaman, son of Chastana
• Rudradaman I (c 130-150), son of Jayadaman 50px
• Damajadasri I (170-175)
• Jivadaman (175 d 199)
• Rudrasimha I (175-188 d 197)
• Isvaradatta (188-191)
• Rudrasimha I (restored) (191-197)
• Jivadaman (restored) (197-199)
Image
• Rudrasena I (200-222)
• Samghadaman (222-223)
• Damasena (223-232)
• Damajadasri II (232-239) with
• Viradaman (234-238)
• Yasodaman I (239)
• Vijayasena (239-250)
• Damajadasri III (251-255)
• Rudrasena II (255-277)
• Visvasimha (277-282)
• Bhratadarman (282-295)50px with
• Visvasena (293-304)
• Rudrasimha II, son of Lord (Svami) Jivadaman (304-348) with
• Yasodaman II (317-332)
• Rudradaman II (332-348)
• Rudrasena III (348-380)
• Simhasena (380- ?)
• Rudrasena IV (382-388)
• Rudrasimha III (388-395)50px

Ch.8 Description of Darius-III's Army at Arbela against Alexander

Image
Map - Location of Arbīl

They come to the aid of Darius-III (the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia) and were part of alliance in the battle of Gaugamela (331 BC) formed by Darius-III in war against Alexander the Great at Arbela, now known as Arbil, which is the capital of Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq.

Arrian[77] writes....Alexander therefore took the royal squadron of cavalry, and one squadron of the Companions, together with the Paeonian scouts, and marched with all speed; having ordered the rest of his army to follow at leisure. The Persian cavalry, seeing Alexander, advancing quickly, began to flee with all their might. Though he pressed close upon them in pursuit, most of them escaped; but a few, whose horses were fatigued by the flight, were slain, others were taken prisoners, horses and all. From these they ascertained that Darius with a large force was not far off. For the Indians who were conterminous with the Bactrians, as also the Bactrians themselves and the Sogdianians had come to the aid of Darius, all being under the command of Bessus, the viceroy of the land of Bactria. They were accompanied by the Sacians, a Scythian tribe belonging to the Scythians who dwell in Asia.[1] These were not subject to Bessus, but were in alliance with Darius. They were commanded by Mavaces, and were horse-bowmen. Barsaentes, the viceroy of Arachotia, led the Arachotians[2] and the men who were called mountaineer Indians. Satibarzanes, the viceroy of Areia, led the Areians,[3] as did Phrataphernes the Parthians, Hyrcanians, and Tapurians,[4] all of whom were horsemen. Atropates commanded the Medes, with whom were arrayed the Cadusians, Albanians, and Sacesinians.[5] The men who dwelt near the Red Sea[6] were marshalled by Ocondobates, Ariobarzanes, and Otanes. The Uxians and Susianians[7] acknowledged Oxathres son of Aboulites as their leader, and the Babylonians were commanded by Boupares. The Carians who had been deported into central Asia, and the Sitacenians[8] had been placed in the same ranks as the Babylonians. The Armenians were commanded by Orontes and Mithraustes, and the Cappadocians by Ariaoes. The Syrians from the vale between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon (i.e. Coele-Syria) and the men of Syria which lies between the rivers[9] were led by Mazaeus. The whole army of Darius was said to contain 40,000 cavalry, 1,000,000 infantry, and 200 scythe-bearing chariots.[10] There were only a few elephants, about fifteen in number, belonging to the Indians who live this side of the Indus.[11] With these forces Darius had encamped at Gaugamela, near the river Bumodus, about 600 stades distant from the city of Arbela, in a district everywhere level;[12] for whatever ground thereabouts was unlevel and unfit for the evolutions of cavalry, had long before been levelled by the Persians, and made fit for the easy rolling of chariots and for the galloping of horses. For there were some who persuaded Darius that he had forsooth got the worst of it in the battle fought at Issus, from the narrowness of the battle-field; and this he was easily induced to believe.
________________________________________
1. Cf. Aelian (Varia Historia, xii. 38).
2. Arachosia comprised what is now the south-east part of Afghanistan and the north-east part of Beloochistan.
3. Aria comprised the west and north-west part of Afghanistan and the east part of Khorasan.
4. Parthia is the modern Khorasan. Hyrcania was the country south and south-east of the Caspian Sea. The Tapurians dwelt in the north of Media, on the borders of Parthia between the Caspian passes. Cf. Ammianus, xxiii. 6.
5. The Cadusians lived south-west of the Caspian, the Albanians on the west of the same sea, in the south-east part of Georgia, and the Sacesinians in the north-east of Armenia, on the river Kur.
6. "The Red Sea was the name originally given to the whole expanse of sea to the west of India as far as Africa. The name was subsequently given to the Arabian Gulf exclusively. In Hebrew it is called Yam-Suph (Sea of Sedge, or a seaweed resembling wool). The Egyptians called it the Sea of Weeds.
7. The Uxians occupied the north-west of Persis, and Susiana was the country to the north and west of Persis.
8. The Sitacenians lived in the south of Assyria. ἐτετάχατο. is the Ionic form for τεταγμἑνοι ἦσαν.
9. The Greeks called this country Mesopotamia because it lies between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. In the Bible it is called Paddan-Aram (the plain of Aram, which is the Hebrew name of Syria). In Gen. xlviii. 7 it is called merely Paddan, the plain. In Hos. xii. 12, it is called the field of Aram, or, as our Bible has it, the country of Syria. Elsewhere in the Bible it is called Aram-naharaim, Aram of the two rivers, which the Greeks translated Mesopotamia. It is called "the Island," by Arabian geographers.
10. Curtius (iv. 35 and 45) states that Darius had 200,000 infantry, 45,000 cavalry, and 200 scythed chariots; Diodorus (xvii. 53) says, 800,000 infantry, 200,000 cavalry, and 200 scythed chariots; Justin (xi. 12) gives 400,000 foot and 100,000 horse; and Plutarch (Alex., 31) speaks of a million of men. For the chariots cf. Xenophon (Anab., i 8, 10); Livy, xxxvii. 41.
11. This is the first instance on record of the employment of elephants in battle.
12. This river is now called Ghasir, a tributary of the Great Zab. The village Gaugamela was in the district of Assyria called Aturia, about 69 miles from the city of Arbela, now called Erbil.
p.154-157

In Puranas

Vishnu Purana[78] gives list of Kings who ruled Magadha. ...After these, various races will reign, as seven Ábhíras, ten Garddhabas, sixteen Śakas, eight Yavanas, fourteen Tusháras, thirteen Mundas, eleven Maunas, altogether seventy-nine princes , who will be sovereigns of the earth for one thousand three hundred and ninety years.

• Ábhíras, 7, M.; 10, V;
• Avabhriti, 7, Bhág.
• Garddabhins, 10, M. V. Bhág.
• Śakas, 18, M. V.;
• Kankas, 16, Bhág.
• Yavanas, 8, M. V. Bhág.
• Tusháras, 14, M. V.;
• Tushkaras, 14, Bhág.
• Marúńdas, 13, V.;
• Purúńd́as, 13, M.;
• Surúńdas, 10, Bhág.
• Maunas, 18, V.;
• Húńas, 19, M.;
• Maulas, 11, Bhág.

Total--85 kings, Váyu; 89, Matsya; 76, and 1399 years, Bhág.

Footnotes

1. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter IV, p.341
2. Origin of the Saka Races - Collapse of the Brahminist Empire (Chapter 3) | by Khshatrapa Gandasa
3. Trevaskis (p. 40.)
4. Archaeological Survey Report of India, Vol II, Vanaras, p. 193.
5. Kumar, Raj (2008). Encyclopaedia Of Untouchables Ancient, Medieval And Modern. Gyan Publishing House. p. 144. ISBN 8178356643, 9788178356648
6. Przyluski
7. Tarn
8. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, The Oriental University Institute, Woking, 1891, p.185
9. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, The Oriental University Institute, Woking, 1891, p.161
10. Scythians - Who Were the Scythians
11. Scythians - Who Were the Scythians
12. Scythians - Livius
13. Scythian (Skythian) : Etymology
14. Ma-Twan-Lin's Chinese Encyclopedia of the 13th century AD states: "In ancient times, the Hiung-nu having defeated the Yue-chi, the latter went to the west and dwelt among the Ta-hia and the king of Sai went to southwards to live in Kipin. The tribes of Sai divided and dispersed so as to form here and there different kingdoms." Shin-chi, Chapter 123; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 691; History and Culture of Indian People, The Age of Imperial Unity, p 122.
15. Ch'ien Han-Shu's History of the first Han Dynasty says: “Formerly when the Hiung-nu conquered the Ta Yue-chi (Great Yue-chi), the latter migrated to the west and subjugated the Ta-hia whereupon the Sai-Wang went to South and ruled over Kipin” (Ch'ien Han-shu, Chapter 96A). The territory of the Wu-sun was originally the country of the Sai (Ch'ien Han-shu, Chapter 96B). The name of the Sai-Wang ruler is not given. Some scholars identify the Ta-hia in these records as Bactria(Cambridge History of India, Vol I, p 511, E. J. Rapson (Ed)).
16. The Age of Imperial Unity, History and Culture of Indian People, p122, (Ed.) Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar.
17. Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, pp 296-309, Dr J. L. Kamboj.
18. The joint resistance of the Saka, Kamboja Parama-Kamboja), Rishika, Loha, Parada and Bahlikas tribes to the Yue-chi and migration south-west together reflected the strong ties between the neighbouring tribes since remote antiquity. Early Indian literature records military alliances between the Sakas, Kambojas, Pahlavas and Paradas. The ancient Puranic traditions mentions several joint invasions of India by the Scythians. The conflict between the Bahu-Sagara of India and the Haihaya-Kamboja-Saka-Pahlava-Yavana-Parada is well known as the war fought by "five hordes" (pāňca-ganha). The Sakas, Yavanas, Tusharas and Kambojas also fought the Kurukshetra war under the command of Sudakshina Kamboja. The Valmiki Ramayana also attests that the Sakas, Kambojas, Pahlavas and Yavanas fought together against the Vedic, Hindu king Vishwamitra of Kanauj.
19. Y-STR Haplogroup Diversity in the Jat Population Reveals Several Different Ancient Origins
20. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The identification of the Jats,pp. 325-326
21. Justin XL.II.2
22. Isodor of Charax, Sathmoi Parthikoi, 18.
23. Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 693.
24. The Sakas in India, p 14, Dr S. Chattopadhyaya; The Development of Khroshthi Script, p 77, Dr C. C. Dasgupta; Hellenism in Ancient India, p 120, Dr G. N. Banerjee; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 308, Dr J. L. Kamboj; Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 169, S Kirpal Singh etc
25. Journal of Bohar and Orissa Research Society, Vol XVI, Parts III and IV, 1930, p 229; Hindu Polity, 1943, p 144, Dr K. P. Jayswal
26. Parthian stations
27. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.68-69
28. Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, 38
29. "The dynastic art of the Kushans", John Rosenfield, p.130
30. Kshatrapasa pra Kharaostasa Artasa putrasa. See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 398, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 307, Dr J. L. Kamboj; Ancient India, 1956, p 220-221, Dr R. K. Mukerjee; Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 168, S Kirpal Singh.
31. Ancient India, pp 220-221, Dr R. k. Mukerjee; Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, pp 168-169, S Kirpal Singh; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p p 306-09, Dr J. L. Kamboj; Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol II, Part 1, p 36, D S Konow
32. Dr Jayaswal writes:“Mathura was under outlandish people like the Yavanas and Kambojas... who had a special mode of fighting" (Manu and Yajnavalkya, Dr K. P. Jayswal); See also: Indian Historical Quarterly, XXVI-2, p 124. Prof Shashi Asthana comments: "Epic Mahabharata refers to the siege of Mathura by the Yavanas and Kambojas (see: History and Archaeology of India's Contacts with Other Countries, from Earliest Times to 300 B.C., 1976, p 153, Shashi Asthana). Dr Buddha Prakash observes: "Along with the Sakas, the Kambojas had also entered Indian mainland and spread into whole of North India, especially in Panjab and Uttar Pradesh. Mahabharata contains references to Yavanas and Kambojas having conquered Mathura (12/105/5)....There is also a reference to the Kambojas in the Mathura Lion Capital inscriptions of SakaSatrap (Kshatrapa) Rajuvula found in Mathura " (India and the World, p 154, Dr Buddha Parkash); cf: Ancient India, 1956, p 220, Dr R. K. Mukerjee
33. Mahabharata 12.101.5.
34. Source: "A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc..." Rapson, p ciii
35. A gap in Puranic history
36. Francine Tissot "Gandhara", p74
37. Wilcox and McBride (1986), p. 12.
38. Photographic reference here.
39. "Let us remind that in Sirkap, stone palettes were found at all excavated levels. On the contrary, neither Bhir-Mound, the Maurya city preceding Sirkap on the Taxila site, nor Sirsukh, the Kushan city succeeding her, did deliver any stone palettes during their excavations", in "Les palettes du Gandhara", p89. "The terminal point after which such palettes are not manufactured anymore is probably located during the Kushan period. In effect, neither Mathura nor Taxila (although the Sirsukh had only been little excavated), nor Begram, nor Surkh Kotal, neither the great Kushan archaeological sites of Soviet Central Asia or Afghanistan have yielded such objects. Only four palettes have been found in Kushan-period archaeological sites. They come from secondary sites, such as Garav Kala and Ajvadz in Soviet Tajikistan and Jhukar, in the Indus Valley, and Dalverzin Tepe. They are rather roughly made." In "Les Palettes du Gandhara", Henri-Paul Francfort, p91. (in French in the original)
40. Source:"Butkara I", Faccena
41. "Gandhara" Francine Tissot
42. The Turin City Museum of Ancient Art Text and photographic reference: Terre Lontane > O2
43. For the pilaster showing a man in Greek dress Image:ButkaraPilaster.jpg.
44. Facenna, "Sculptures from the sacred area of Butkara I", plate CCCLXXI. The relief is this one, showing Indo-Scythians dancing and reveling, with on the back side a relief of a standing Buddha (not shown).
45. Faccenna, "Sculptures from the sacred area of Butkara I", plate CCCLXXII
46. Coin reference, also, also, also.
47. .
Shakanam pahlavana.n cha daradanam cha ye nripah
Kambojarishika ye cha pashchimanupakash cha ye
(MBH 5/5/15.)
48. Udichya Kamboja Shakaih Khashaish cha (MBH 5/159/20) .
49. Mahabharata 12.65.13-14
50.
vibhuuamana vatena bahurupa ivambudah/
Sudakshinashcha Kambojo yavanaishcha shakaistatha|| 21
upajagama kauravyamakshauhinya visham pate |
tasya sena samavayah shalabhanamivababhau ||22
(MBH 5/19/21-22).
51.
Kaamboja Yavanaan caiva Shakaan pattanaani ca |
Anvikshya Varadaan caiva Himavantam vicinvatha || 12 ||
(Ramayana 4.43.12).
52. Ramayana 1/55/2-3
53. 14.01-19
54. e.g Vayu Purana 88.127-43; Brahma Purana (8.35-51); Brahamanda Purana (3.63.123-141); Shiva Purana (7.61.23); Vishnu Purana (5.3.15-21), Padama Purana (6.21.16-33) etc etc.
55. Ete hyapi 'ganah pancha' haihayarthe parakraman... (Brahama Purana 8.36).
56. Ref: Kalika Purana, III(6), 22-40).
57. Manusmiriti X.43-44
58. Mahabharata 13/33/20-2.
59. Mudrarakshas, II.
60. Brhatkatha 10.1.285-86
61. J Kambojadhybya iti vachyam Vartika (Katyayana); See: Some Kshatriya Tribes of Ancient India, 1924, p 234, Dr B. C. Law
62. Serindia, Vol I, 1980 Edition, p 8, M. A. Stein
63. Op cit p 693, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; Early History of North India, p 3, Dr S. Chattopadhyava; India and Central Asia, p 126, Dr P. C. Bagchi
64. Epigraphia Indiaca XIV, p 291 Dr S Konow; Greeks in Bactria and India, p 473, fn, Dr W. W. Taran; Yuan Chwang I, p 259-60, Watters; Comprehensive History of India, Vol I, p 189, Dr N. K. Sastri; History and Culture of Indian People, The Age of Imperial Unity, 122; History and Culture of Indian People, Classical Age, p 617, Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar.
65. Scholars like Dr E. J. Rapson, Dr L. Petech etc also connect Kipin with Kapisha. Dr Levi holds that prior to 600 AD, Kipin denoted Kashmir, but after this it implied Kapisha See Discussion in The Classical Age, p 671.
66. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, II. 1. XX f; cf: Early History of North India, pp 54, Dr S Chattopadhyaya.
67. India and Central Asia, 1955, p 124, Dr P. C. Bagch; Geographical Data in Early Puranas, 1972, p 47, Dr M. R. Singh.
68. See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p fn 13, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; Chilas, Islamabad, 1983, no 72, 78, 85, pp 98, 102, A. H. Dani
69. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol II, Part 1, p xxxvi, see also p 36; Bihar and Orisaa Research Society, Vol XVI, 1930, part III and IV, p 229 etc
70. J Dr Buddha Prakash has identified some of the modern castesof the Punjab with ancient tribes which came from Central Asiaand settled in India. Dr Prakash has correctly related the modern Kamboj/Kamboh to the Iranian Kambojas who belonged to the domain of Kumuda-dvipa of the Puranas or the Komdei of Ptolemy’s Geography (Political and Social Movements in Ancient Punjab, Dr. Buddha Prakash; See: Studies in Indian History and Civilization, Agra, p 351; India and the World, 1964, p 71, Dr Buddha Prakash; The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 92, 59/159, S. Kirpal Singh). This was the habitat of the Parama Kambojas referred to in Mahabharata (MBH 2.27.25) and were located in Transoxianaterritory in Shakadvipa (Ibid, S Kirpal Singh). Dr Buddha Prakash further states that the people of Soi clan of Punjab are descended from the Sai-Wang (Saka). It is not mere coincidence that modern Kamboj of Punjab have prominent clan names like Soi, Asoi and Sahi/Shahi: See link for Kamboj clan names: [[[kamboj#List of Kamboj Gotras .28clans.29|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamboj#List of Kamboj Gotras .28clans.29]]]. Clan name Soi can be linked to Sai-Wang as Dr Buddh Prakash has shown. Similarly, Asoi clan of Kamboj can also be very well related to or connected with Asii or Asio of Strabo (See: Strabo XI.8,2.) which clan name undoubtedly represents people connected with horse-culture, which the ancient Kambojas pre-eminently were. The above evidence thus again points to a connection of the Sai/Sai-wangmentioned in Chinese chronicles and the Asii/Asio clan mentioned in Strabo’s accounts with the Scythian Kambojas i.e.Parama Kambojas.
71.
taih asit samvrita bhuumih Shakaih-Yavana mishritaih || 1.54-21 ||
taih taih Yavana-Kamboja barbarah ca akulii kritaah || 1-54-23 ||
tasya humkaarato jatah Kamboja ravi sannibhah |
udhasah tu atha sanjatah Pahlavah shastra panayah || 1-55-2 ||
yoni deshaat ca Yavanah Shakri deshat Shakah tathaa |
roma kupesu Mlecchah ca Haritah sa Kiratakah || 1-55-3 ||.
72. Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 3-4.
73.
viparite tada loke purvarupa.n kshayasya tat || 34 ||
bahavo mechchha rajanah prithivyam manujadhipa |
mithyanushasinah papa mrishavadaparayanah || 35 ||
Andhrah Shakah Pulindashcha Yavanashcha naradhipah |
Kamboja Bahlikah Shudrastathabhira narottama || 36 ||
— (MBH 3.188.34-36).
74. Coin source
75. History and Culture of Indian People, The Vedic Age, pp 286-87, 313-14.
76. cf: Interaction Between India and Western World, pp 75-93, H. G. Rawlinson; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 306; cf: India and the World, p 154, Dr Buddha Parkash; cf: Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 159-60, 168-69, S Kirpal Singh.
77. The Anabasis of Alexander/3a, Ch.8
78. Vishnu Purana/Book IV:Chapter XXIV pp.474-476

References

• Bailey, H. W. 1958. "Languages of the Saka." Handbuch der Orientalistik, I. Abt., 4. Bd., I. Absch., Leiden-Köln. 1958.
• Faccenna D., "Sculptures from the sacred area of Butkara I", Istituto Poligrafico Dello Stato, Libreria Dello Stato, Rome, 1964.
• Foucher, M. A. 1901. "Notes sur la geographie ancienne du Gandhâra (commentaire à un chaptaire de Hiuen-Tsang)." BEFEO No. 4, Oct. 1901, pp. 322–369.
• Harmatta, János, ed., 1994. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
• Hill, John E. 2004. The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu. Draft annotated English translation.[3]
• Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. [4]
• Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
• Konow, Sten. Editor. 1929. Kharoshthī Inscriptions with Exception of those of Asoka. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. II, Part I. Reprint: Indological Book House, Varanasi, 1969.
• Litvinsky, B. A., ed., 1996. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
• Liu, Xinru 2001 “Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan: Interaction and Interdependence of Nomadic and Sedentary Societies.” Journal of World History, Volume 12, No. 2, Fall 2001. University of Hawaii Press, pp. 261–292. [5].
• Bulletin of the Asia Institute: The Archaeology and Art of Central Asia. Studies From the Former Soviet Union. New Series. Edited by B. A. Litvinskii and Carol Altman Bromberg. Translation directed by Mary Fleming Zirin. Vol. 8, (1994), pp. 37-46.
• Pulleyblank, Edwin G. 1970. "The Wu-sun and Sakas and the Yüeh-chih Migration." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 33 (1970), pp. 154-160.
• Puri, B. N. 1994. "The Sakas and Indo-Parthians." In: History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250. Harmatta, János, ed., 1994. Paris: UNESCO Publishing, pp. 191-207.
• Thomas, F. W. 1906. "Sakastana." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1906), pp. 181-216.
• Watson, Burton. Trans. 1961. Records of the Grand Historian of China: Translated from the Shih chi of Ssu-ma Ch'ien. Chapter 123: The Account of Ta-yüan, p. 265. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08167-7
• Yu, Taishan. 1998. A Study of Saka History. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 80. July, 1998. Dept. of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
• Yu, Taishan. 2000. A Hypothesis about the Source of the Sai Tribes. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 106. September, 2000. Dept. of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
• Political History of ancient India, 1996, Dr H. C. raychaudhury
• Hindu Polity, A Constitutional history of India in Hindu Times, 1978, Dr K. P. Jayswal
• Geographical Data in Early Puranas, 1972, Dr M. R. Singh
• Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, Dr J. L. Kamboj
• Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, S Kipal Singh
• India and Central Asia, 1955, Dr P. C. Bagchi
• Geography of Puranas, 1973, Dr S. M. Ali
• Greeks in Bactria and India, Dr W. W. Tarn
• Early History of North India, Dr S. Chattopadhyava
• Sakas in Ancient India, Dr S. Chattopadhyava
• Development of Kharoshthi script, C. C. Dasgupta
• Ancient India, 1956, Dr R. K. Mukerjee
• India and the World, p 154, Dr Buddha Parkash
• These Kamboj People, 1979, K. S. Dardi
• Ancient India, Vol III, Dr T. L. Shah
• Hellenism in Ancient India, Dr G. N. Banerjee
• Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol XLIII, Part I, 1884
• Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Vol XVI, Part III, & IV, 1930
• Manu and Yajnavalkya, Dr K. P. Jayswal
• Anabaseeos Alexanddrou, Arrian
• Geography, by Ptolemy
• Mathura Lion Capital Inscriptions
• Corpus Inscriptionium Indicarum, Vol II, Part I, Dr S Konow

See also

• Russia
• Siberia
• Ukraine
• Scythians
• Getae
• Massagetaeans
• Thyssagetae
• Goths
• Gutium
• Jutes
• Yuezhi
• Tillia tepe
• Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
• Indo-Greek Kingdom
• Indo-Parthian Kingdom
• Kushan Empire
• Kambojas
• Tarkhan (Punjab)

External links

• Y-STR Haplogroup Diversity in the Jat Population Reveals Several Different Ancient Origins David G. Mahal and Ianis G. Matsoukas
• Ancestral Scythian migration of Jatt people (or Jat people)
• "Indo-Scythian dynasties", RC Senior
• Coins of the Indo-Scythians
• Burner relief
• Scythians - Who Were the Scythians
• Scythian Gold From Siberia Said to Predate the Greeks - New York Times | By JOHN VAROLI - Published: January 09, 2002
• Frozen Siberian Mummies Reveal a Lost Civilization | Archaeology | DISCOVER Magazine - by Andrew Curry | From the July 2008 issue; published online June 25, 2008
• The place where Europe began: Spiral cities built on remote Russian plains by swastika-painting Aryans | Mail Online
• Bhim Singh Dahiya: "The Mauryas: Their Identity", Vishveshvaranand Indological Journal, Vol. 17 (1979), p.112-133.
• Origin of the Saka Races - Collapse of the Brahminist Empire (Chapter 3) | by Khshatrapa Gandasa
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Patala [Pattala]
by Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)
JatLand.com
Accessed: 9/22/21



For village see Patala Ghaziabad, for tree see Patala tree

Image
Location of Patala

Image
Alexander The Great campaign India 326 BC

Patala (पटल) was an ancient region in Sindh, Pakistan on the bank of Indus River around present Karachi and Hyderabad.[1] The identity of Patala is much debated among scholars.

Variants of name

• Haidarabad
• Hyderabad Sindh
• Lower Sindh
• Nerun (नेरून)
• Nirankot
• Nirun
• Nirunkot
• Patalam
• Patalpur
• Patasila
• Pitasila
• Pi-to-shi-lo (by Xuanzang)
• Patala पटल (AS, p.520)
• Pātala पाटल, सिंध, पाकिस्तान, (AS,p.541)
Regio Patalis
• Patalene
• Patal (पाताल)
• Pattala (पात्ताल)
• Patalpuri (पातालपुरी)


Origin of name

History


The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica says that a Scythian horde was seated at Pattala on the Indus, in 625 BC; this may have been the Sibi.

Regio Patalis is Latin for "the Region of Patala". It took its name from the ancient city of Patala at the mouth of the Indus River in Sindh, Pakistan. The historians of Alexander the Great state that the Indus parted into two branches at the city of Patala before reaching the sea, and the island thus formed was called Patalene, the district of Patala. Alexander constructed a harbour at Patala.[2][3]

While the Patala was well known to mariners and traders of the Ancient Mediterranean, by the European Middle Ages, mapmakers no longer knew its location. Regio Patalis appeared on late 15th and early 16th century maps and globes in a variety of increasingly erroneous locations, further and further east and south of India. It even appeared on some maps as a promontory of Terra Australis.

Some scholars identify Patala with Thatta, a one-time capital of Sindh. But the identity of Patala is much debated among scholars.

[x]

Balokshi = Baluchistan

Balokshi Avadana (बालोक्षी अवदान): There were four stupas at Pashana (पाषाण). The Lord erected a fifth one himself. At Balokshi (बालोक्षी) (Baluchistan) he induced a rich banker to erect a stupa, celebrated afterward a Balokshiya (बालोक्षीय) stupa. The Lord converted Dambara, the Yaksha of village village Dambara (दंबर) and Mallika (मल्लिका), a Chandali of Bhandaladrama (भण्डालग्राम). At Patala (पाटल) he made Potala (पोटल), a follower of his creed, to erect a splendid stupa on his hair and nails. The Lord said to Indra a king of Millinda will erect a stupa at Patala (पाटल). [8]

Chapter xvii. Musicanus executed — capture of Patala.

Arrian[9] writes....MEANTIME he was informed that Musicanus had revolted. He dispatched the viceroy, Peithon, son of Agenor, with a sufficient army against him, while he himself marched against the cities which had been put under the rule of Musicanus. Some of these he razed to the ground, reducing the inhabitants to slavery; and into others he introduced garrisons and fortified the citadels. After accomplishing this, he returned to the camp and fleet. By this time Musicanus had been captured by Peithon, who was bringing him to Alexander. The king ordered him to be hanged in his own country, and with him as many of the Brachmans as had instigated him to the revolt. Then came to him the ruler of the land of the Patalians, who said that the Delta formed by the river Indus was still larger than the Egyptian Delta.2 This man surrendered to him the whole of his own land and entrusted both himself and his property to him. Alexander sent him away again in possession of his own dominions, with instructions to provide whatever was needful for the reception of the army. He then sent Craterus into Carmania with the brigades of Attalus, Meleager, and Antigenes,3 some of the archers, and as many of the Companions and other Macedonians as, being now unfit for military service, he was despatching to Macedonia by the route through the lands of the Arachotians and Zarangians.4 To Craterus he also gave the duty of leading the elephants; but the rest of the army, except the part of it which was sailing with himself down to the sea, he put under the command of Hephaestion. He transported Peithon with the horse-javelin-men and Agrianians to the opposite bank of the Indus, not the one along which Hephaestion was about to lead the army. Peithon was ordered to collect men to colonize the cities which had just been fortified, and to form a junction with the king at Patala, after having settled the affairs of the Indians of that region, if they attempted any revolutionary proceedings. On the third day of his voyage, Alexander was informed that the governor of the Patalians’ had collected most of his subjects and was going away by stealth, having left his land deserted. For this reason Alexander sailed down the river with greater speed than before; and when he arrived at Patala, he found both the country and the city deserted by the inhabitants and tillers of the soil. He however despatched the lightest troops in his army in pursuit of the fugitives and when some of them were captured, he sent them away to the rest, bidding them to be of good courage and return, for they might inhabit the city and till the country as before. Most of them accordingly returned.

Visit by Xuanzang in 641 AD

Alexander Cunningham[10] writes about Patala or Nirankot: [p. 277]:The district of Pitasila, or Lower Sindh, is described by Hwen Thsang as being 3000 li, or 500 miles, in circuit, which agrees almost exactly with the dimensions of the Delta of the Indus from Haidarabad to the sea, including a small tract of country on both sides, extending towards the desert of Umarkot on the east, and to the mountains of Cape Monz on the west. Within these limits the dimensions of Lower Sindh are as follows. From the western mountains to the neighbourhood of Umarkot, 160 miles; from the same point to Cape Monz, 85 miles; from Cape Monz to the Kori mouth of the Indus, 135 miles; and from the Kori mouth to Umarkot, 140 miles; or altogether 520 miles. The soil, which is described as sandy and salt, produced plenty of corn and vegetables, but very few fruits and flowers, which is true of the Delta to the present day.

In the time of Alexander, the only place of note in the Delta was Patala; but he is said to have founded several towns himself1 [1 Curtius, Vita Alex., ix. 10: " Interim et urbes plcrasque ondidit."] during his long stay in Lower Sindh, waiting for the Etesian winds to start his fleet. Unfortunately the historians have omitted to give the names of these places. Justin alone notes that on his return up the Indus he built the city of Barce, 2 [2 Hist., xii. 10.] to which I shall hereafter refer. Ptolemy has preserved the names of several places, as Barbara, Sousikana, Bonis, and Kolaka, of which the first is most probably the same as the Barbarike emporium of the 'Periplus,' and perhaps also the same as the Barce of Justin. In the time of the author of the 'Periplus,' the capital of Lower Sindh was Minnagara, which the foreign merchants reached by ascending the river from Barbarike. In the middle of the seventh century, Hwen Thsang mentions only Pitasila, or Patala. But in the beginning of the eighth century, the historians of Muhammad bin Kasim's expedition add the names of Debal and Nirankot to our scanty list, which is still further increased by the Arab geographers of the tenth century, who place Manhatara, or Manhabari, or Manjabari, 3 [3 Sir Henry Elliot, ' Muhammadan Historians of India,' Dowson's edition, i. 35, quoting Ibn Haukal.] to the west of the Indus, and two days' journey from Debal, at the point where the road from Debal crosses the river. The position of these places I will now investigate in their order from north to south, beginning with Patala, at the head of the Delta.

Patala or Nirankot:

The position of Nirankot is fixed at Haidarabad by the concurrent testimony of M'Murdo, Masson, Burton, and Eastwiek. 1 [1 M'Murdo in Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc., i. 30; Masson, 'Travels,' i. 463 ; Burton, ' Sindh,' pp. 131, 376 ; and Eastwiek, ' Handbook for Bombay,' p. 483. See Map No. IX.] Sir Henry Elliot alone places it at Jarak, as he thinks that that locality agrees better with the descriptions of the native historians. But as Haidarabad is the modern name of the city, which the people still know as Nirankot, there would seem to be no doubt of its identity with the Nirun, or Nirunkot, of the Arab historians and geographers. Its position is described by Abulfeda as 25 parasangs from Debal, and 15 parasangs from Mansura, which accords with the less definite statements of Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, who simply say that it was between Debal and Mansura, but nearer to the latter. It was situated on the western bank of the river, and is described as a well-fortified but small town, with few trees. Now, Haidarabad is 47 miles from the ruined city of Brahmanabad, or Mansura, and 85 miles from Lari-bandar, which I will presently show to have been the most probable position of the ancient Debal; while Jarak is 74 miles from Brahmanabad, and only 60 miles from Lari-bandar. The position of Haidarabad, therefore, corresponds much better with the recorded distances than that of Jarak. At present the main channel of the Indus runs to the west of Haidarabad, but we know that the Phuleli, or eastern branch, was formerly the principal stream. According to M'Murdo, 1 [1 Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc, i. 236.] the change of the main stream to the westward of Haidarabad took place prior to a.h. 1000, or A.D. 1592, and was coincident with the decay of Nasirpur, which was only founded in a.h. 751, or A.D. 1350. As Nasirpur is mentioned by Abul Fazl 2 [2 ' Ayin Akbari,' ii. 272.] as the head of one of the subdivisions of the province of Thatha, the main channel of the Indus must have flowed to the eastward of Nirunkot or Haidarabad at as late a date as the beginning of the reign of Akbar.

Nirunkot was situated on a hill, and there was a lake in its neighbourhood of sufficient size to receive the fleet of Muhammad Kasim. Sir Henry Elliot identifies the former with the hill of Jarak, to the west of the Indus, and the latter with the Kinjur lake, near Helai, to the south of Jarak. But the Kinjur lake has no communication with the Indus, and therefore could not have been used for the reception of the fleet, which at once disposes of the only special advantage that Jarak was supposed to possess over Haidarabad as the representative of Nirunkot. Sir Henry 3 [Sir H. Elliot's ' Muhammadan Historians of India,' Dowson's edition, i. 400.] admits "that the establishment of its locality depends chiefly upon the sites which are assigned to other disputed cities, more especially to Debal and Mansura." The former he identifies with Karachi, and the latter with Haidarabad; and consistently with these emplacements he is obliged to fix Nirunkot at Jarak. But since he wrote his 'Appendix to the Arabs in Sindh,' the ancient city of Bambhra-ka-Thul has been found by Mr. Bellasis in the very position that was long ago pointed out by M'Murdo as the site of Brahmanabad. Its identification as the site of the famous cities of Mansura and Brahmanabad leaves Haidarabad, or the ancient Nirankot, available as the true representative of the Nirunkot of Biladuri and the Chach-nama. Its distance of 47 miles from Bambhra-ka-tul, and of 85 miles from Lari-bandar, agree almost exactly with the 15 and 25 parasangs of Abulfeda. It is also situated on a hill, so that it corresponds in position, as well as in name, with Nirunkot. The hill, called Ganja, is 1.5 mile long, and 700 yards broad, with a height of 80 feet. 1 [1 Wood, 'Journey to the Source of the Oxus,' p. 30.] The present fort was built by Mir Ghulam Shah in a.h. 1182, or a.d. 1768. 2 [2 M'Murdo, Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc, i. 234.] About one-third of the hill, at the southern end, is occupied by the fort, the middle portion by the main street and straggling houses of the city, and the northern end by tombs.

In A.D. 641, when the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Thsang visited Sindh, he travelled from Koteswara, the capital of Kachh, a distance of 700 li, or 117 miles, due north to Pi-to-shi-lo, 3 [3 ' [[Hiouen Thsang[[,' iii. 180.] from whence he proceeded 300 li, or 50 miles, to the north-east, to O.fan.cha, which I have already identified with Brahmanabad. M. Julien renders the Chinese syllables by Pitasila, but I should prefer Patasila, or the "flat rock," which is an accurate description of the long flat-topped hill on which Haidarabad is situated.

This name recalls that of Patalpur, which, according to Burton, 1 [1 ' Sindh,' chap, i, note 7.] was an old appellation of Haidarabad, or Nirankot; and as this city is exactly 120 miles to the north of Kotesar, in Kachh, and 47 miles to the southwest of Brahmanabad, I have no hesitation in identifying it with the Pitasila of the Chinese pilgrim. The size of the hill also, which is 1.5 mile in length, by 700 yards in breadth, or upwards of 3 miles in circumference, corresponds very closely with the dimensions of Pitasila, which, according to Hwen Thsang, was 20 li, or 3-1/3 miles, in circuit.

The names of Patalpur and Patasila further suggest the probability that Haidarabad may be the Pattala of Alexander's historians, which they are unanimous in placing near the head of the Delta. Now, the present head of the Delta is at the old town of Mattari, 12 miles above Haidarabad, where the Phuleli separates from the main channel of the Indus. But in ancient times, when the main stream, which is now called Purana, or the "Old River," flowed past Alor and Brahmanabad to Nirunkot, the first point of separation of its waters was either at Haidarabad itself, past which a branch is said to have flowed by Miani to Trikal, or 15 miles to the south-east of it where the Phuleli now throws off the Guni branch to the south, and then proceeds westerly to join the present stream of the Indus at Trikal. The true head of the old Delta was therefore either at Haidarabad itself, or 15 miles to the south-east of it, where the Guni, or eastern branch of the Indus, separated from the Phuleli, or western branch.

Now, the position of Patala can be determined by several independent data: —

1st. According to Ptolemy, the head of the Delta was exactly midway between Oskana and the eastern mouth of the Indus, called Lonibare ostium. This fixes Patala at Haidarabad, which is equidistant from the capital of Oxykanus, that is, from Mahorta near Larkana, and the Kori., or eastern mouth of the Indus, which is also the mouth of the Loni river, or Lonibare ostium.

2nd. The base of the Delta was reckoned by Aristobulus at 1000 stadia, or 115 miles; by Nearchus at 1800 stadia, and by Onesikritus at 2000 stadia1 [1 Strabo, Geogr., xv. i. 33.] But as the actual coast line, from the Ghara mouth on the west, to the Kori mouth on the east, is not more than 125 miles, we may adopt the estimate of Aristobulus in preference to the larger numbers of the other authorities. And as Onesikritus states that all three sides of the Delta were of the same length, the distance of Patala from the sea may be taken at from 1000 stadia, or 115 miles, up to 125 miles. Now, the distance of Haidarabad from the Ghara, or western mouth of the Indus, is 110 miles, and from the Kori, or eastern mouth, 135 miles, both of which agree sufficiently near to the base measurement to warrant the descriptions of Onesikritus that the Delta formed an equilateral triangle. Consequently, the city of Patala, which was either at or near the head of the Delta, may be almost certainly identified with the present Haidarabad.


3rd. From a comparison of the narratives of Arrian and Curtius, it appears that the Raja of Patala, having made his submission to Alexander at Brahmana, or the city of Brahmans, the conqueror sailed leisurely down the river for three days, when he heard that the Indian prince had suddenly abandoned his country and fled to the desert. 1 [1 Arrian, ' Anabasis,' vi. 17 ; Curtius, Vita Alex., ix. 8, 28, says that he fled to the mountains.] Alexander at once pushed on to Patala. Now, the distance from Brahmanabad to Haidarabad is only 47 miles by the direct land route; but as the old bed of the Indus makes a wide sweep round by Nasirpur, the route along the river bank, which was doubtless followed by the army, is not less than 55 miles, while the distance by water must be fully 80 miles. His progress during the first three days, estimated at the usual rate of 10 or 12 miles by land, and 18 or 20 miles by water, would have brought him within 19 miles of Haidarabad by land, and 26 miles by water, which distance he would have easily accomplished on the fourth day by a forced march. From Patala he proceeded down the western branch of the river for a distance of 400 stadia, or 46 miles, when his naval commanders first perceived the sea breeze. This point I believe to have been Jarak, which is 30 miles below Haidarabad by land, and 45 miles, or nearly 400 stadia, by water. There Alexander procured guides, and, pressing on with still greater eagerness, on the third day he became aware of his vicinity to the sea by meeting the tide. 2 [2 Curtius, Vita Alex., ix. 9, 29.] As the tides in the Indus are not felt more than 60 miles from the sea, I conclude that Alexander must then have reached as far as Bambhra, on the Ghara, or western branch of the river, which is only 35 miles from the sea by land, and about 50 miles by water. Its distance from Jarak by land is 50 miles, and by water 75 miles, which the fleet might have easily accomplished by the third day. From these details it is clear that Patala must have been at a considerable distance from the sea, that is, not less than the length of the tidal reach, plus three days' sail on the river, plus 400 stadia. These distances by land are respectively 33 miles, 50 miles, and 30 miles, or altogether 113 miles, which corresponds almost exactly with the measurement of Aristobulus of 1000 stadia, or 115 miles.

As these three independent investigations all point to the same place as the most probable representative of Patala, and as that place is called Patasila by Hwen Thsang in the seventh century, and is still known as Patalpur, I think that we have very strong grounds for identifying Haidarabad with the ancient Patala.

Image


In his account of the Indus, Arrian 1 [1 'Indica,' p. 2.] says, "this river also forms a delta by its two mouths, no way inferior to that of Egypt, which, in the Indian language, is called Pattala." As this statement is given on the authority of Nearchus, who had ample opportunities during his long detention in Sindh of intercourse with the people, we may accept it as the general belief of the Sindhians at that time. I would therefore suggest that the name may have been derived from Patala, the "trumpet-flower" (Bignonia suaveolens), in allusion to the "trumpet" shape of the province included between the eastern and western branches of the mouth of the Indus, as the two branches, as they approach the sea, curve outwards like the mouth of a trumpet.

I cannot close the discussion on the site of this ancient city without noticing another name of which the conflicting accounts appear to me to have a confused reference to Nirunkot. This name is the Piruz of Istakhri, the Kannazhur of Ibn Haukal, and the Firahuz of Edrisi. According to Istakhri, Piruz was 4 days' journey from Debal, and 2 days from Mehabari, which was itself on the western bank of the Indus, at 2 days' journey from Debal. Ibn Haukal and Edrisi agree that the road to Kannazbur, or Firabuz, lay through Manhabari, or Manjabari, which was on the western bank of the Indus, at 2 days from Debal; but they make the whole distance beyond Debal 14 days instead of 4. Now, Ibn Haukal and Edrisi place their city in Mekran, a position which they were almost forced to adopt by their long distance of 14 days, although the first two days' journey lie exactly in the opposite direction from Mekran. But if we take the shorter distance of 4 days from Debal, which is found in Istakhri, the earliest of the three geographers, the position of their unknown city will then accord exactly with that of Nirankot. Debal I will hereafter identify with an old city near Laribandar and Manhabari with Thatha, which is just midway between Lari-bandar and Haidarabad. Now, Ibn Haukal specially notes that Manjabari was situated "to the west of the Mihran, and there any one who proceeds from Debal to Mansura will have to pass the river, the latter place being opposite to Manjabari." 1 [1 Prof. Dowson's edition of Sir H. Elliot's Hist, of India, i. 37.] This extract shows that Manjabari was on the western branch of the Indus, and therefore on the high-road to Nirankot as well as to Piruz, or Kannezbur, or Firabuz. I would therefore suggest that the first of these names, which is thus mentioned in conjunction with Manhabari might possibly be intended for Nirun, and the other two for Nirunkot, as the alterations in the original Arabic characters required for these two readings are very slight. But there was certainly a place of somewhat similar name in Mekran, as Biladuri records that Kizbun in Mekran submitted to Muhammad Kasim on his march against Debal. Comparing this name with Ibn Haukal's Kannazbur, 1 and Edrisi's Firabuz, I think it probable that they may be intended for Panjgur, as suggested by M. Reinaud. The 14 days' journey would agree very well with the position of this place.

See also

• Nerun

References

1. Dr Naval Viyogi - "Nagas: the Ancient Rulers of India, p.330
2. Dani, Ahmad Hasan (1981), "Sindhu-Sauvira", in Hamida Khuhro (ed.), Sind through the centuries: proceedings of an international seminar held in Karachi in Spring 1975, Oxford University Press, pp. 35–42, ISBN 978-0-19-577250-0,p.37
3. Eggermont, Pierre Herman Leonard (1975), Alexander's Campaigns in Sind and Baluchistan and the Siege of the Brahmin Town of Harmatelia, Peeters Publishers, ISBN 978-90-6186-037-2, p. 13.
4. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.520-521
5. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.541
6. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.546
7. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.
8. Dr.Rajendralala Mitra: Sanskrit Buddhist Literature of Nepal, 1882, p. 60.
9. Arrian Anabasis Book/6b
10. Alexander Cunningham: The Ancient Geography of India/Western India, pp. 277-287
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Vikramaditya
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-- How to Get Your Foot in the Door of Indian History ("Myths R Us")

In the southeast, the Indo-Scythians invaded the area of Ujjain, but were subsequently repelled in 57 BCE by the Malwa king Vikramaditya. To commemorate the event Vikramaditya established the Vikrama era, a specific Indian calendar starting in 57 BCE. More than a century later, in 78 CE the Sakas would again invade Ujjain and establish the Saka era, marking the beginning of the long-lived Saka Western Satraps kingdom.

-- Indo-Scythians, by JatLand.com


Vikramaditya (IAST: Vikramāditya) was an emperor of ancient India. Often characterized as a legendary king, he is known for his generosity, courage, and patronage of scholars. Vikramaditya is featured in hundreds of traditional stories including those in Baital Pachisi and Singhasan Battisi. Many describe him as a universal ruler, with his capital at Ujjain (Pataliputra or Pratishthana in a few stories).

According to popular tradition, Vikramaditya began the Vikrama Samvat era in 57 BCE after defeating the Shakas, around the first century BCE. However, this era is identified as "Vikrama Samvat" after the ninth century CE.


Early years

Malava king


Rajbali Pandey, Kailash Chand Jain and others believe that Vikramaditya was an Ujjain-based Malava king. The Shakas advanced from Sindh to Malwa around the first century BCE, and were defeated by Vikramaditya. The Krita era, which later came to be known as Vikrama Samvat, marked this victory. Chandragupta II later adopted the title of Vikramaditya after defeating the Shakas. Proponents of this theory say that Vikramaditya is mentioned in works dating to before the Gupta era, including Brihatkatha and Gatha Saptashati. Vikramaditya cannot be based on Chandragupta II, since the Gupta capital was at Pataliputra (not Ujjain).[1] According to Raj Pruthi, legends surrounding this first-century king gradually became intertwined with those of later kings called "Vikramaditya" (including Chandragupta II).[2]

Critics of this theory say that Gatha Saptashati shows clear signs of Gupta-era interpolation.[3] According to A. K. Warder, Brihatkathamanjari and Kathasaritsagara are "enormously inflated and deformed" recensions of the original Brihatkatha.[4] The early Jain works do not mention Vikramaditya and the navaratnas have no historical basis as the nine scholars do not appear to have been contemporary figures.[1] Legends surrounding Vikramaditya are contradictory, border on the fantastic and are inconsistent with historical facts; no epigraphic, numismatic or literary evidence suggests the existence of a king with the name (or title) of Vikramaditya around the first century BCE. Although the Puranas contain genealogies of significant Indian kings, they do not mention a Vikramaditya ruling from Ujjain or Pataliputra before the Gupta era. There is little possibility of an historically-unattested, powerful emperor ruling from Ujjain around the first century BCE among the Shungas (187–78 BCE), the Kanvas (75–30), the Satavahanas (230 BCE–220 CE), the Shakas (c. 200 BCE – c. 400 CE) and the Indo-Greeks (180 BCE–10 CE).[5][1]

Gupta kings

A number of Gupta Empire kings adopted the title of Vikramaditya or its equivalent, such as Samudragupta's "Parakramanka". According to D. C. Sircar, Hem Chandra Raychaudhuri and others, the exploits of these kings contributed to the Vikramaditya legends. Distinctions among them were lost over time, and the legendary Shalivahana was similarly based on the exploits of several Satavahana kings.[6]

Chandragupta II

Some scholars, including D. R. Bhandarkar, V. V. Mirashi and D. C. Sircar, believe that Vikramaditya is probably based on the Gupta king Chandragupta II.[7][1] Based on coins and the Supia pillar inscription, it is believed that Chandragupta II adopted the title Vikramaditya.[7][8] The Khambat and Sangli plates of the Rashtrakuta king Govinda IV use the epithet "Sahasanka", which has also been applied to Vikramaditya, for Chandragupta II.[1] According to Alf Hiltebeitel, Chandragupta's victory against the Shakas was transposed to a fictional character who is credited with establishing the Vikrama Samvat era.[9]

In most of the legends Vikramaditya had his capital at Ujjain, although some mention him as king of Pataliputra (the Gupta capital). According to D. C. Sircar, Chandragupta II may have defeated the Shaka invaders of Ujjain and made his son, Govindagupta, a viceroy there. Ujjain may have become a second Gupta capital, and legends about him (as Vikramaditya) may have developed.[1][10] The Guttas of Guttavalal, a minor dynasty based in present-day Karnataka, claimed descent from the Gupta Empire. Their Chaudadanapura inscription alludes to Vikramaditya ruling from Ujjain, and several Gutta kings were named Vikramaditya. According to Vasundhara Filliozat, the Guttas confused Vikramaditya with Chandragupta II;[11] however, D. C. Sircar sees this as further proof that Vikramaditya was based on Chandragupta II.[12]

Skandagupta

The Vikramaditya of Ayodhya legend is identified as Skandagupta (r. 455 – 467 CE) by a number of scholars.[13][14] Book 18 of the Kathasaritsagara describes Vikramaditya as a son of Mahendraditya of Ujjain. According to D.C. Sircar, Kumaragupta I (r. 415–455 CE) adopted the title Mahendraditya. His son, Skandagupta, adopted the title Vikramaditya, and this set of legends may be based on Skandagupta.[15]

Other rulers

In the Kathasaritsagara recension of the 25 vetala stories, the king is mentioned as the ruler of Pratishthana. A. K. Warder notes that the Satavahanas were the only notable ancient dynasty who ruled from Pratishthana.[16] According to a Satavahana inscription, their king Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated the Shakas. One of Gautamiputra Satakarni's epithets was vara-varana-vikrama-charu-vikrama. However, according to D. C. Sircar, the epithet means "one whose gait is as beautiful as that of a choice elephant" and is unrelated to Vikramaditya. Most other Vikramaditya legends note the king's capital as Ujjain (or, less commonly, Pataliputra), but the Satavahanas never had their capital at these cities. Vikramaditya was also described as an adversary of the Pratishthana-based king Satavahana (or Shalivahana) in a number of legends.[17]

Max Müller believed that the Vikramaditya legends were based on the sixth-century Aulikara king Yashodharman. The Aulikaras used the Malava era (later known as Vikrama Samvat) in their inscriptions. According to Rudolf Hoernlé, the name of the Malava era was changed to Vikramaditya by Yashodharman. Hoernlé also believed that Yashodharman conquered Kashmir and is the Harsha Vikramaditya mentioned in Kalhana's Rajatarangini.[18] Although Yashodharman defeated the Hunas (who were led by Mihirakula), the Hunas were not the Shakas; Yashodharman's capital was at Dasapura (modern Mandsaur), not Ujjain. There is no other evidence that he inspired the Vikramaditya legends.[19][20]

Name and etymology

Vikramaditya means "the sun of valour" (vikrama means "valour" and aditya means "sun"). He is also known as Vikrama, Bikramjit and Vikramarka (arka also means "sun"). Some legends describe him as a liberator of India from mlechchha invaders; the invaders are identified as Shakas in most, and the king is known by the epithet Shakari (IAST: Śakāri; "enemy of the Shakas").[21]

Early legends

Although Vikramaditya is mentioned in a few works dated to before the Gupta period (240–550 CE), portions (including Vikramaditya) may be later Gupta-era interpolations.[3] The earliest work to mention Vikramaditya was probably Brihatkatha, an Indian epic written between the first century BCE and the third century CE in the unattested Paisaci language. Its existence (and its mention of Vikramaditya) is confirmed only by adaptations in surviving works dating to the sixth century and later and testimonials by contemporary poets. Since there is no surviving copy of Brihatkatha, it is not known if it contained the Vikramaditya legends; its post-Gupta adaptations, such as the Katha-Sarit-Sagara, may contain interpolations.[22]

Gaha Sattasai (or Gatha-Saptasati), a collection of poems attributed to the Satavahana king Hāla (r. 20 – 24 CE), mentions a king named Vikramaditya who gave away his wealth out of charity. However, many stanzas in this work are not common to its revisions and are apparent Gupta-period expansions.[23] The verse about Vikramaditya is similar to a phrase—Anekago-shatasahasra-hiranya-kotipradasya—found in Gupta inscriptions about Samudragupta and Chandragupta II (for example, the Pune and Riddhapur copper-plate inscriptions of Chandragupta's daughter, Prabhavatigupta); this phrase may have been a later, Gupta-era insertion in the work attributed to Hāla.[24]

The earliest uncontested mentions of Vikramaditya appear in sixth-century works: the biography of Vasubandhu by Paramartha (499–569) and Vasavadatta by Subandhu.[23] Paramaratha quotes a legend which mentions Ayodhya ("A-yu-ja") as the capital of king Vikramaditya ("Pi-ka-la-ma-a-chi-ta").[25] According to this legend, the king gave 300,000 gold coins to the Samkhya scholar Vindhyavasa for defeating Vasubandhu's Buddhist teacher (Buddhamitra) in a philosophical debate. Vasubandhu then wrote Paramartha Saptati, illustrating deficiencies in Samkhya philosophy. Vikramaditya, pleased with Vasubandhu's arguments, gave him 300,000 gold coins as well. Vasubandhu later taught Buddhism to Prince Baladitya and converted the queen to Buddhism after the king's death.[26] According to Subandhu, Vikramaditya was a glorious memory by his time.[23]

In his Si-yu-ki, Xuanzang (c. 602 – c. 664) identifies Vikramaditya as the king of Shravasti. According to his account, the king (despite his treasurer's objections) ordered that 500,000 gold coins be distributed to the poor and gave a man 100,000 gold coins for putting him back on track during a wild boar hunt. Around the same time, a Buddhist monk known as Manoratha paid a barber 100,000 gold coins for shaving his head. Vikramaditya, who prided himself on his generosity, was embarrassed and arranged a debate between Manoratha and 100 non-Buddhist scholars. After Manoratha defeated 99 of the scholars, the king and other non-Buddhists shouted him down and humiliated him at the beginning of the last debate. Before his death, Manoratha wrote to his disciple Vasubandhu about the futility of debating biased, ignorant people. Shortly after Vikramaditya's death, Vasubandhu asked his successor, Baladitya, to organise another debate to avenge his mentor's humiliation. In this debate, Vasubandhu defeated 100 non-Buddhist scholars.[27][28]

10th- to 12th-century legends

Brihatkatha adaptations


Kshemendra's Brihatkathamanjari and Somadeva's 11th-century Kathasaritsagara, both adaptations of Brihatkatha, contain a number of legends about Vikramaditya. Each legend has several fantasy stories within a story, illustrating his power.

The first legend mentions Vikramaditya's rivalry with the king of Pratishthana. In this version, that king is named Narasimha (not Shalivahana) and Vikramaditya's capital is Pataliputra (not Ujjain). According to the legend, Vikramaditya was an adversary of Narasimha who invaded Dakshinapatha and besieged Pratishthana; he was defeated and forced to retreat. He then entered Pratishthana in disguise and won over a courtesan. Vikramaditya was her lover for some time before secretly returning to Pataliputra. Before his return, he left five golden statues which he had received from Kubera at the courtesan's house. If a limb of one of these miraculous statues was broken off and gifted to someone, the golden limb would grow back.
Mourning the loss of her lover, the courtesan turned to charity; known for her gifts of gold, she soon surpassed Narasimha in fame. Vikramaditya later returned to the courtesan's house, where Narasimha met and befriended him. Vikramaditya married the courtesan and brought her to Pataliputra.[29]

Book 12 (Shashankavati) contains the vetala panchavimshati legends, popularly known as Baital Pachisi. It is a collection of 25 stories in which the king tries to capture and hold a vetala who tells a puzzling tale which ends with a question. In addition to Kathasaritsagara, the collection appears in three other Sanskrit recensions, a number of Indian vernacular versions and several English translations from Sanskrit and Hindi; it is the most popular of the Vikramaditya legends.[30] There are minor variations among the recensions; see List of Vetala Tales. In Kshemendra, Somadeva and Śivadāsa's recensions, the king is named Trivikramasena; in Kathasaritsagara, his capital is located at Pratishthana.[31] At the end of the story, the reader learns that he was formerly Vikramaditya. Later texts, such as the Sanskrit Vetala-Vikramaditya-Katha and the modern vernacular versions, identify the king as Vikramaditya of Ujjain.[16]

Book 18 (Vishamashila) contains another legend told by Naravahanadatta to an assembly of hermits in the ashram of a sage, Kashyapa. According to the legend, Indra and other devas told Shiva that the slain asuras were reborn as mlechchhas. Shiva then ordered his attendant, Malyavat, to be born in Ujjain as the prince of the Avanti kingdom and kill the mlechchhas. The deity appeared to the Avanti king Mahendraditya in a dream, telling him that a son would be born to his queen Saumyadarshana. He asked the king to name the child Vikramaditya, and told him that the prince would be known as "Vishamashila" because of his hostility to enemies. Malyavat was born as Vikramaditya; when the prince grew up, Mahendraditya retired to Varanasi. Vikramaditya began a campaign to conquer a number of kingdoms and subdued vetalas, rakshasas and other demons. His general, Vikramashakti, conquered the Dakshinapatha in the south; Madhyadesa in the central region; Surashtra in the west, and the country east of the Ganges; Vikramashakti also made the northern kingdom of Kashmira a tributary state of Vikramaditya. Virasena, the king of Sinhala, gave his daughter Madanalekha to Vikramaditya in marriage. The emperor also married three other women (Gunavati, Chandravati and Madanasundari) and Kalingasena, the princess of Kalinga.[32][33]

The Brihatkathamanjari contains similar legends, with some variations; Vikramaditya's general Vikramashakti defeated a number of mlechchhas, including Kambojas, Yavanas, Hunas, Barbaras, Tusharas and Persians. In Brihatkathamanjari and Kathasaritsagara, Malyavat is later born as Gunadhya (the author of Brihatkatha, on which these books are based).[4]

Rajatarangini

Kalhana's 12th-century Rajatarangini mentions that Harsha Vikramaditya of Ujjayini defeated the Shakas. According to the chronicle Vikramaditya appointed his friend, the poet Matrigupta, ruler of Kashmir. After Vikramaditya's death, Matrigupta abdicated the throne in favour of Pravarasena.[7] According to D. C. Sircar, Kalhana confused the legendary Vikramaditya with the Vardhana Emperor Harshavardhana (c. 606 – c. 47 CE); Madhusudana's 17th-century Bhavabodhini similarly confuses the two kings, and mentions that Harsha, the author of Ratnavali, had his capital at Ujjain.[15]

Other legends

According to Ananta's 12th-century heroic poem, Vira-Charitra (or Viracharita), Shalivahana (or Satavahana) defeated and killed Vikramaditya and ruled from Pratishthana. Shalivahana's associate, Shudraka, later allied with Vikramaditya's successors and defeated Shalivahana's descendants. This legend contains a number of mythological stories.[34][35]

Śivadāsa's 12th– to 14th-century Śālivāhana Kātha (or Shalivahana-Charitra) similarly describes the rivalry between Vikramaditya and Shalivahana.[36] Ānanda's Mādhavānala Kāmakandalā Kathā is a story of separated lovers who are reunited by Vikramaditya.[36] Vikramodaya is a series of verse tales in which the emperor appears as a wise parrot; a similar series is found in the Jain text, Pārśvanāthacaritra.[36] The 15th-century—or later—Pañcadaṇḍachattra Prabandha (The Story of Umbrellas With Five Sticks) contains "stories of magic and witchcraft, full of wonderful adventures, in which Vikramāditya plays the rôle of a powerful magician".[36] Ganapati's 16th-century Gujarati work, Madhavanala-Kamakandala-Katha, also contains Vikramaditya stories.[37]

Paramara legends

The Paramara kings, who ruled Malwa (including Ujjain) from the ninth to the fourteenth century, associated themselves with Vikramaditya and other legendary kings to justify their imperial claims.[9]

Simhasana Dvatrimsika

Simhasana Dvatrimsika (popularly known as Singhasan Battisi) contains 32 folktales about Vikramaditya. In this collection of frame stories, the Paramara king Bhoja discovers the ancient throne of Vikramaditya after several centuries. The throne has 32 statues, who are actually apsaras who were turned into stone by a curse. When Bhoja tries to ascend the throne, one apsara comes to life and tells him to ascend the throne only if he is as magnanimous as Vikramaditya (as revealed by her tale). This leads to 32 attempts by Bhoja to ascend the throne, with 32 tales of Vikramaditya's virtue; after each, Bhoja acknowledges his inferiority. Pleased with his humility, the statues finally let him ascend the throne.

The author and date of the original work are unknown. Since the story mentions Bhoja (who died in 1055), it must have been composed after the 11th century.[38] Five primary recensions of the Sanskrit version, Simhasana-dvatrimsika, are dated to the 13th and 14th centuries.[39] According to Sujan Rai's 1695 Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh, its author was Bhoja's wazir (prime minister) Pandit Braj.[40]

Vetala Panchavimshati and Simhasana Dvatrimsika are structurally opposite. In the Vetala tales, Vikramaditya is the central character of the frame story but is unconnected with the individual tales except for hearing them from the vetala. Although the frame story of the Throne Tales is set long after Vikramaditya's death, those tales describe his life and deeds.[41]

Bhavishya Purana

Paramara-era legends associate the Paramara rulers with legendary kings, in order to enhance the Paramara imperial claims.[42] The Bhavishya Purana, an ancient Hindu text which has been edited till as late as 19th century,[43] connects Vikramaditya to the Paramaras. According to the text (3.1.6.45-7.4), the first Paramara king was Pramara (born from a fire pit at Mount Abu, thus an Agnivansha). Vikramaditya, Shalivahana and Bhoja are described as Pramara's descendants and members of the Paramara dynasty.[9]

According to the Bhavishya Purana, when the world was degraded by non-Vedic faiths, Shiva sent Vikramaditya to earth and established a throne decorated with 32 designs for him (a reference to Simhasana Dvatrimsika). Shiva's wife, Parvati, created a vetala to protect Vikramaditya and instruct him with riddles (a reference to Baital Pachisi legends). After hearing the vetala's stories, Vikramaditya performed an ashvamedha (horse sacrifice). The wandering of the sacrificial horse defined the boundary of Vikramaditya's empire: the Indus River in the west, Badaristhana (Badrinath) in the north, Kapila in the east and Setubandha (Rameshwaram) in the south. The emperor united the four Agnivanshi clans by marrying princesses from the three non-Paramara clans: Vira from the Chauhan clan, Nija from the Chalukya clan, and Bhogavati from the Parihara clan. All the gods except Chandra celebrated his success (a reference to the Chandravanshis, rivals of Suryavanshi clans such as the Paramaras).[44]

There were 18 kingdoms in Vikramaditya's empire of Bharatavarsha (India). After a flawless reign, he ascended to heaven.[44] At the beginning of the Kali Yuga, Vikramaditya came from Kailasa and convened an assembly of sages from the Naimisha Forest. Gorakhnath, Bhartrhari, Lomaharsana, Saunaka and other sages recited the Puranas and the Upapuranas.[44] A hundred years after Vikramaditya's death, the Shakas invaded India again. Shalivahana, Vikramaditya's grandson, subjugated them and other invaders. Five hundred years after Shalivahana's death, Bhoja defeated later invaders.[9]

Jain legends

Several works by Jain authors contain legends about Vikramaditya, including:[45]

• Prabhachandra's Prabhavaka Charita (1127 CE)
• Somaprabha's Kumara-Pala-Pratibodha (1184)
• Kalakacharya-Katha (before 1279)
• Merutunga's Prabandha-Chintamani (1304)
• Jinaprabhasuri's Vividha-Tirtha-Kalpa (1315)
• Rajashekhara's Prabandha-Kosha (1348)
• Devamurti's Vikrama-Charitra (1418)
• Ramachandrasuri's Pancha-Danda-Chhattra-Prabandha (1433)
• Subhashila's Vikrama-Charitra (1442)
• Pattavalis (lists of head monks)

Few references to Vikramaditya exist in Jain literature before the mid-12th century, although Ujjain appears frequently. After the Jain king Kumarapala (r. 1143–1172), Jain writers started to compare Kumarapala to Vikramaditya. By the end of the 13th century, legends featuring Vikramaditya as a Jain emperor began surfacing. A major theme in Jain tradition is that the Jain acharya Siddhasena Divakara converted Vikramaditya to Jainism. He is said to have told Vikramaditya that 1,199 years after him, there would be another great king like him (Kumarapala).[46]

Jain tradition originally had four Simhasana-related stories and four vetala-related puzzle stories. Later Jain authors adopted the 32 Simhasana Dvatrimsika and 25 Vetala Panchavimshati stories.[45]

The Jain author Hemachandra names Vikramaditya as one of four learned kings; the other three are Shalivahana, Bhoja and Munja.[47] Merutunga's Vicarasreni places his victory at Ujjain in 57 BCE, and hints that his four successors ruled from 3 to 78 CE.[48]

Shalivahana-Vikramaditya rivalry

Many legends, particularly Jain legends, associate Vikramaditya with Shalivahana of Pratishthana (another legendary king). In some he is defeated by Shalivahana, who begins the Shalivahana era; in others, he is an ancestor of Shalivahana. A few legends call the king of Pratishthana "Vikramaditya". Political rivalry between the kings is sometimes extended to language, with Vikramaditya supporting Sanskrit and Shalivahana supporting Prakrit.[37]

In the Kalakacharya-Kathanaka, Vikramaditya's father Gardabhilla abducted the sister of Kalaka (a Jain acharya). At Kalaka's insistence, the Shakas invaded Ujjain and made Gardabhilla their prisoner. Vikramaditya later arrived from Pratishthana, defeated the Shakas, and began the Vikrama Samvat era to commemorate his victory.[7][2] According to Alain Daniélou, the Vikramaditya in this legend refers to a Satavahana king.[49]

Other Jain texts contain variations of a legend about Vikramaditya's defeat at the hands of the king of Pratishthana, known as Satavahana or Shalivahana. This theme is found in Jina-Prabhasuri's Kalpa-Pradipa, Rajashekhara's Prabandha-Kosha and Salivahana-Charitra, a Marathi work. According to the legend, Satavahana was the child of the Nāga (serpent) chief Shesha and a Brahmin widow who lived in the home of a potter. His name, Satavahana, was derived from satani (give) and vahana (a means of transport) because he sculpted elephants, horses and other means of transport with clay and gave them to other children. Vikramaditya perceived omens that his killer had been born. He sent his vetala to find the child; the vetala traced Satavahana in Pratishthana, and Vikramaditya led an army there. With Nāga magic, Satavahana converted his clay figures of horses, elephants and soldiers into a real army. He defeated Vikramaditya (who fled to Ujjain), began his own era, and became a Jain.[50][47][51] There are several variations of this legend: Vikramaditya is killed by Satavahana's arrow in battle; he marries Satavahana's daughter and they have a son (known as Vikramasena or Vikrama-charitra), or Satavahana is the son of Manorama, wife of a bodyguard of the king of Pratishthana.[50]

Tamil legends

In a medieval Tamil legend Vikramaditya has 32 marks on his body, a characteristic of universal emperors. A Brahmin in need of Alchemic quicksilver tells him that it can be obtained if the emperor offers his head to the goddess Kamakshi of Kanchipuram. Although Vikramaditya agrees to sacrifice himself, the goddess fulfills his wish without the sacrifice.[52]

In another Tamil legend, Vikramaditya offers to perform a variant of the navakhandam rite (cutting the body in nine places) to please the gods. He offers to cut his body in eight places (for the eight Bhairavas), and offers his head to the goddess. In return, he convinces the goddess to end human sacrifice.[52]

Chola Purva Patayam (Ancient Chola Record), a Tamil manuscript of uncertain date, contains a legend about the divine origin of the three Tamil dynasties. In this legend, Shalivahana (also known as Bhoja) is a shramana king. He defeats Vikramaditya, and begins persecuting worshipers of Shiva and Vishnu. Shiva then creates the three Tamil kings to defeat him: Vira Cholan, Ula Cheran, and Vajranga Pandiyan. The kings have a number of adventures, including finding treasures and inscriptions of Hindu kings from the age of Shantanu to Vikramaditya. They ultimately defeat Shalivahana in the year 1443 (of an uncertain calendar era, possibly from the beginning of Kali Yuga).[53]

Ayodhya legend

According to a legend in Ayodhya, the city was re-discovered by Vikramaditya after it was lost for centuries. Vikramaditya began searching for Ayodhya and met Prayaga, the king of tirthas. Guided by Prayaga, Vikramaditya marked the place but then forgot where it was. A yogi told him that he should free a cow and calf; Ayodhya would be where milk began to flow from the cow's udder. Following this advice, Vikramaditya found the site of ancient Ayodhya.[13]

According to Hans T. Bakker, present-day Ayodhya was originally the Saketa mentioned in Buddhist sources. The Gupta emperor Skandagupta, who compared himself to Rama and was also known as Vikramaditya, moved his capital to Saketa and renamed it Ayodhya after the legendary city in the Ramayana.[13] The Vikramaditya mentioned in Paramartha's fourth–fifth century CE biography of Vasubandhu is generally identified with a Gupta king, such as Skandagupta[14] or Purugupta.[28] Although the Gupta kings ruled from Pataliputra, Ayodhya was within their domain. However, scholars such as Ashvini Agrawal reject this account as inaccurate.[54]

Navaratnas

In Jyotirvidabharana (22.10), a treatise attributed to Kalidasa, nine noted scholars (the Navaratnas) were at Vikramaditya's court:[18]

1. Vidyasimha
2. Dhanavantari
3. Ghatakarapara
4. Kalidasa
5. Kshapanaka
6. Shanku
7. Varahamihira
8. Vararuchi
9. Vetala Bhatta

However, many scholars consider Jyotirvidabharana a literary forgery written after Kalidasa's death.[18] According to V. V. Mirashi, who dates the work to the 12th century, it could not have been composed by Kalidasa because it contains grammatical errors.[7] There is no mention of such Navaratnas in earlier literature, and D. C. Sircar calls Jyotirvidabharana "absolutely worthless for historical purposes".[55]

There is no historical evidence indicating that the nine scholars were contemporary figures or proteges of the same king.[7][1] Vararuchi is believed to have lived around the third or fourth century CE. Although Kalidasa's lifetime is debated, most historians place him around the fifth century; Varahamihira is known to have lived in the sixth century. Dhanavantari was the author of a medical glossary (a nighantu), but his lifetime is uncertain. Amarasimha cannot be dated with certainty either, but his lexicon uses works by Dhanavantari and Kalidasa; therefore, he cannot be dated to the first century BCE (Vikramaditya is said to have established an era in 57 BCE). Little is known about Shanku, Vetalabhatta, Kshapanaka and Ghatakarpara. Some Jain writers identify Siddhasena Divakara as Kshapanaka, but this is not accepted by historians.[56]

Kalidasa is the only figure whose association with Vikramaditya is mentioned in works earlier than Jyotirvidabharana. According to Rajasekhara's Kāvyamimāṃsa (10th century), Bhoja's Sringara Prakasa and Kshemendra's Auchitya-Vichara-Charcha (both 11th century), Vikramaditya sent Kalidasa as his ambassador to the Kuntala country (present-day Uttara Kannada). However, the historicity of these reports is doubtful.[57]

Legacy

See also: Baital Pachisi § Other media, and Vetala § In popular culture

Several Vikramaditya stories appear in the Amar Chitra Katha comic-book series.[58] Indian films on king Vikramaditya include G. V. Sane's Vikram Satvapariksha (1921), Nanubhai B. Desai's Vikram Charitra (1924), Harshadrai Sakerlal Mehta's Vikram Charitra (1933), Vikram Shashikala (1949), Vijay Bhatt's Vikramaditya (1945), Kemparaj Urs' Raja Vikrama (1950), Dhirubhai Desai's Raja Vikram (1957), Chandrasekhara Rao Jampana's Bhatti Vikramarka (1960), T. R. Raghunath's Vikramaadhithan (1962), Chakravarty Vikramaditya (1964), S. N. Tripathi's Maharaja Vikram (1965), G. Suryam's Vikramarka Vijayam (1971), Shantilal Soni's Vikram Vetal (1986), Krishna's Simhasanam and Singhasan (1986), Ravi Raja Pinisetty's Raja Vikramarka (1990), Rajiv Chilakalapudi's Vikram Betal (2004).[59]

Vikram Aur Betaal, which appeared on Doordarshan in the 1980s, was based on Baital Pachisi. Kahaniya Vikram aur Betaal Ki, a remake of the Doordarshan television show, aired on Colors TV in 2009. An adaptation of Singhasan Battisi was aired on Doordarshan during the late 1980s. In 2014, another adaptation was aired on Sony Pal.[60] Currently a series Vikram Betaal Ki Rahasya Gatha is running on &TV where popular actor Aham Sharma is playing the role of Vikramaditya.

The Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya was named in honour of Vikramaditya.[61] On 22 December 2016, a commemorative postage stamp honouring Samrat Vikramadittya was released by India Post.[62] Historical-fiction author Shatrujeet Nath retells the emperor's story in his Vikramaditya Veergatha series.[63]

Association with Vikrama Samvat

After the ninth century, a calendar era beginning in 57 BCE (now called the Vikrama Samvat) began to be associated with Vikramaditya; some legends also associate the Shaka era (beginning in 78 CE) with him. When Persian scholar Al-Biruni (973–1048) visited India, he learned that the Indians used five eras: Sri Harsha, Vikramaditya (57 BCE), Shaka (78 CE), Vallabha and Gupta. The Vikramaditya era was used in southern and western India. Al-Biruni learned the following legend about the Shaka era:

A Shaka ruler invaded north-western India and oppressed the Hindus. According to one source, he was a Shudra from the Almanṣūra city; according to another, he was a non-Hindu who came from the west. In 78 CE, the Hindu king Vikramaditya defeated him and killed him in the Karur region, located between Multan and the castle of Loni. The astronomers and other people started using this date as the beginning of a new era.[64]


Since there was a difference of over 130 years between the Vikramaditya era and the Shaka era, Al-Biruni concluded that their founders were two kings with the same name. The Vikramaditya era named after the first, and the Shaka era was associated with the defeat of the Shaka ruler by the second Vikramaditya.[64]

According to several later legends—particularly Jain legends—Vikramaditya established the 57 BCE era after he defeated the Shakas and was defeated in turn by Shalivahana, who established the 78 CE era. Both legends are historically inaccurate. There is a difference of 135 years between the beginning of the two eras, and Vikramaditya and Shalivahana could not have lived simultaneously. The association of the era beginning in 57 BCE with Vikramaditya is not found in any source before the ninth century. Earlier sources call this era by several names, including "Kṛṭa", "the era of the Malava tribe", or "Samvat" ("Era").[65][18] Scholars such as D. C. Sircar and D. R. Bhandarkar believe that the name of the era changed to Vikrama Samvat during the reign of Chandragupta II, who had adopted the title of "Vikramaditya" (see below). Alternative theories also exist, and Rudolf Hoernlé believed that it was Yashodharman who renamed the era Vikrama Samvat.[18] The earliest mention of the Shaka era as the Shalivahana era occurs in the 13th century, and may have been an attempt to remove the era's foreign association.[5]

References

Citations


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5. D. C. Sircar 1969, p. 112.
6. D. C. Sircar 1969, p. 161.
7. Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi; Narayan Raghunath Navlekar (1969). Kalidasa: Date, Life And Works. Popular. pp. 8–29. ISBN 978-81-7154-468-4.
8. D. C. Sircar 1969, p. 130.
9. Alf Hiltebeitel (2009). Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics. University of Chicago Press. pp. 254–275. ISBN 9780226340555.
10. D. C. Sircar 1969, pp. 130–131.
11. Vasundhara Filliozat (1995). The Temple of Muktēśvara at Cauḍadānapura. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts / Abhinav. p. 7. ISBN 978-81-7017-327-4.
12. D. C. Sircar 1969, p. 136.
13. Sarvepalli Gopal (15 October 1993). Anatomy of a Confrontation: Ayodhya and the Rise of Communal Politics in India. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-1-85649-050-4.
14. Stefan Anacker, ed. (1984). Seven Works of Vasubandhu, the Buddhist Psychological Doctor. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-81-208-0203-2.
15. D. C. Sircar 1969, p. 111.
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27. Samuel Beal (1906). Si-Yu-Ki Buddhist Records of the Western World. 1. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. pp. 107–108. ISBN 978-1-136-37657-3.
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29. D. C. Sircar 1969, pp. 109–110.
30. Rajan Chandra (1995). Śivadāsa: The Five-and-Twenty Tales of the Genie. Penguin Books. p. xvii. ISBN 978-0-14-045519-9.
31. Reinhold Rost, ed. (1864). Essays: Analytical, Critical and Philological by H.H. Wilson. Works. 2. Trübner. p. 153.
32. D. C. Sircar 1969, pp. 110–111.
33. N. M. Penzer, ed. (1924). "Book XVIII: Vishamasila". The ocean of story. IX. Translated by C. H. Tawney. Chas J. Sawyer. pp. 1–30.
34. Moriz Winternitz (1985). History of Indian Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 377. ISBN 9788120800564.
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41. A. N. D. Haksar (1998). Simhāsana Dvātriṃśikā: Thirty-Two Tales of the Throne of Vikramaditya. Penguin. p. x-xiii. ISBN 978-0-140-45517-5.
42. Indian Eras by Kota Venkatachelam (1956). pp. 63–70.
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50. D. C. Sircar 1969, pp. 117–118.
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52. Alf Hiltebeitel (2009). Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics. University of Chicago Press. pp. 436–437. ISBN 9780226340555.
53. William Cooke Taylor (1838). Examination and Analysis of the Mackenzie Manuscripts Deposited in the Madras College Library. Asiatic Society. pp. 49–55.
54. Ashvini Agrawal (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 247. ISBN 978-81-208-0592-7.
55. D. C. Sircar 1969, pp. 120–121.
56. D. C. Sircar 1969, pp. 121–123.
57. D. C. Sircar 1969, p. 123.
58. Sharada Nāyak; Mala Singh (1973). Children's Books on India: An Annotated Bibliography. Educational Resources Center. p. 78.
59. Screen World Publication's 75 Glorious Years of Indian Cinema: Complete Filmography of All Films (silent & Hindi) Produced Between 1913-1988. Screen World Publication. 1988.
60. Priyanka Bhadani (12 September 2014). "Fantasy World". Indian Express.
61. PM Narendra Modi dedicates largest warship INS Vikramaditya to the nation, pitches for self-reliance
62. Postage Stamps 2016, Government of India
63. A new face to Indian mythology
64. Edward C. Sachau (1910). Alberuni's India. Routledge / Trench, Trübner & Co. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978-1-136-38385-4.
65. Ashvini Agrawal (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 174–175. ISBN 978-81-208-0592-7.

Bibliography

• A. K. Warder (1992). "XLVI: The Vikramaditya Legend". Indian Kāvya Literature: The art of storytelling. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0615-3.
• D. C. Sircar (1969). Ancient Malwa And The Vikramaditya Tradition. Munshiram Manoharlal. ISBN 978-8121503488. Archived from the original on 17 June 2016.
• Hans T. Bakker (1984). Ayodhya. Institute of Indian Studies, University of Groningen. OCLC 769116023.
• Kailash Chand Jain (1991). Lord Mahāvīra and His Times. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0805-8.

External links

• Bawden, C. R. (1960), Tales of King Vikramaditya and the Thirty Two Wooden Men, International Academy of Indian Culture
• Edgerton, Franklin (1926), Vikrama's adventures : or, The thirty-two tales of the throne, Harvard University Press
• Tawney, C. H. (1880), The Katha Sarit Sagara; or Ocean of the Streams of Story, 1, Calcutta: J. W. Thomas, at the Baptist Mission Press
• Tawney, C. H. (1884), The Katha Sarit Sagara; or Ocean of the Streams of Story, 2, Calcutta: J. W. Thomas, at the Baptist Mission Press
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