Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Indo-Greek Kingdom or Greco-Indian Kingdom

Indo-Greek Neptune


Indo-Greek Kingdom or Greco-Indian Kingdom was ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic kings at the various parts of the northwest and northern Indian subcontinent during a period from the 2nd century BCE to the beginning of the 1st century CE. They were often in conflict with each other.

The Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded India early in the second century BC; and formed the kingdom, in this context at the boundary of India. There were numerous cities, such as Taxila, Pakistan's Punjab, or Pushkalavati, Sagala and a number of dynasties in their times based on Ptolemy's Geography and the nomenclature of later kings.

The Indo Greeks remained in India for two centuries (upto first century AD) and later paving the way for the Shakas (Scythians), Pahlavas (Parthians) and the Kushanas (Yuezhi).

Indo-Greek Kingdom:
Demetrius, son of the Greco-Bactrian king Euthydemus I, led his troops across the Hindu Kush around 200 BCE when the invasion of northern India, and the establishment of "Indo-Greek kingdom" started. Apollodotus, may have made advances in the south, while Menander, led later invasions further east.

The Bactrian king Euthydemus and his son Demetrius crossed the Hindu Kush and began the conquest of Northern Afghanistan and the Indus valley. For a short time, they wielded great power: a great Greek empire seemed to have arisen far in the East. But this empire was fallen off by internal argument and continual usurpations. When Demetrius advanced far into India one of his generals, Eucratides, made himself king of Bactria, and soon in every province there arose new usurpers, who proclaimed themselves kings and fought one against the other.
Most of them were from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and known only by their coins. By these wars, the dominant position of the Greeks was weakened even more quickly than would otherwise have been the case. After Demetrius and Eucratides, the kings abandoned the Attic standard of coinage and introduced a native standard, no doubt to gain support from outside the Greek minority.

In India, Milinda/ Menander I the Indo-Greek king, converted to Buddhism. His successors managed to cling to power until the last known Indo-Greek ruler, a king named Strato II, who ruled in the Punjab region until around 55 BCE. However other sources place the end of Strato II's reign as late as 10 CE.

Written evidence of the initial Greek invasion survives in the Greek writings of Strabo and Justin and in Sanskrit in the records of Patanjali, Kālidāsa, and in the Yuga Purana, among others. Coins and architectural evidence also attest to the extent of the initial Greek campaign.

They ruled for two centuries, combined the Greek and Indian languages and symbols which can be seen on their coins, and blended ancient Greek, Hindu and Buddhist religious practices, as seen in the archaeological remains of their cities.

The Indo-Greeks ultimately disappeared as a political entity around 10 AD following the invasions of the Indo-Scythians, although pockets of Greek populations probably remained for several centuries longer under the subsequent rule of the Indo-Parthians and Kushans.

Various Indian records describe Yavana attacks on Mathura, Panchala, Saketa, and Pataliputra. The term Yavana is thought to be a transliteration of "Ionians" and is known to have designated Hellenistic Greeks (starting with the Edicts of Ashoka, where Ashoka writes about "the Yavana king Antiochus"), but may have sometimes referred to other foreigners as well after the 1st century AD.

Patanjali, a grammarian and commentator on Panini around 150 BC, describes in the Mahābhāsya, the invasion in two examples using the imperfect tense of Sanskrit, denoting a recent event: "Arunad Yavanah Sāketam" and "Arunad Yavano Madhyamikām".
Also the Brahmanical text of the Yuga Purana, which describes Indian historical events in the form of a prophecy, but is thought to be likely historical, relates the attack of the Indo-Greeks on the capital Pataliputra, a magnificent fortified city with 570 towers and 64 gates according to Megasthenes, and describes the ultimate destruction of the city's walls.
After the Greco-Bactrians militarily occupied parts of northern India from around 180 BC, numerous instances of interaction between Greeks and Buddhism are recorded.

Seated Boddhisatva, Gandhara
Besides the worship of the Classical pantheon of the Greek deities found on the coins (Zeus, Herakles, Athena, Apollo), the Indo-Greeks were involved with local faiths, particularly with Buddhism, but also with Hinduism and Zoroastrianism.
Menander I, converted to Buddhism, and is described as a great benefactor of the religion, on a par with Ashoka or the future Kushan emperor Kanishka. The wheel he represented on some of his coins was probably Buddhist, and he is famous for his dialogues with the Buddhist monk Nagasena, transmitted to us in the Milinda Panha, which explain that he became a Buddhist arhat
Another Indian text, the Stupavadana of Ksemendra, mentions in the form of a prophecy that Menander will build a stupa in Pataliputra. Plutarch also presents Menander as an example of benevolent rule, and explains that upon his death, the honour of sharing his remains was claimed by the various cities under his rule, and they were enshrined in "monuments" (μνημεία, probably stupas), in a parallel with the historic Buddha.

In general, the art of the Indo-Greeks is poorly documented, and few works of art (apart from their coins and a few stone palettes) are directly attributed to them. The coinage of the Indo-Greeks however is generally considered as some of the most artistically brilliant of Antiquity. The Hellenistic heritage (Ai-Khanoum) and artistic proficiency of the Indo-Greek world would suggest a rich sculptural tradition as well, but traditionally very few sculptural remains have been attributed to them. On the contrary, most Gandharan Hellenistic works of art are usually attributed to the direct successors of the Indo-Greeks in India in 1st century AD, such as the nomadic Indo-Scythians, the Indo-Parthians and, in an already decadent state, the KushansIn general, Gandharan sculpture cannot be dated exactly, leaving the exact chronology open to interpretation.

The possibility of a direct connection between the Indo-Greeks and Greco-Buddhist art has been reaffirmed recently as the dating of the rule of Indo-Greek kings has been extended to the first decades of the 1st century AD, with the reign of Strato II in the Punjab. Also, Foucher, Tarn, and more recently, Boardman, Bussagli and McEvilley have taken the view that some of the most purely Hellenistic works of northwestern India and Afghanistan, may actually be wrongly attributed to later centuries, and instead belong to a period one or two centuries earlier, to the time of the Indo-Greeks in the 2nd-1st century BC.

This also seems to be corroborated by Ranajit Pal's suggestion that the Indo-Greek king Diodotus I was the great Ashoka.

Afghanistan, an area which "might indeed be the cradle of incipient Buddhist sculpture in Indo-Greek style" Referring to one of the Buddha triads in Hadda, in which the Buddha is sided by very Classical depictions of Herakles/Vajrapani and Tyche/Hariti, Boardman explains that both figures "might at first (and even second) glance, pass as, say, from Asia Minor or Syria of the first or second century BC (...) these are essentially Greek figures, executed by artists fully conversant with far more than the externals of the Classical style".

Alternatively, it has been suggested that these works of art may have been executed by itinerant Greek artists during the time of maritime contacts with the West from the 1st to the 3rd century AD.

The Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, beyond the omnipresence of Greek style and stylistic elements which might be simply considered as an enduring artistic tradition, offers numerous depictions of people in Greek Classical realistic style, attitudes and fashion (clothes such as the chiton and the himation, similar in form and style to the 2nd century BC Greco-Bactrian statues of Ai-Khanoum, hairstyle), holding contraptions which are characteristic of Greek culture (amphoras, "kantaros" Greek drinking cups), in situations which can range from festive (such as Bacchanalian scenes) to Buddhist-devotional.

Uncertainties in dating make it unclear whether these works of art actually depict Greeks of the period of Indo-Greek rule up to the 1st century BC, or remaining Greek communities under the rule of the Indo-Parthians or Kushans in the 1st and 2nd century AD. Benjamin Rowland thinks that the Indo-Greeks, rather than the Indo-Scythians or the Kushans, may have been the models for the Bodhisattva statues of Gandhara.

It is also thought that Greeks contributed to the sculptural work of the Pillars of Ashoka and more generally to flourish the Mauryan art.

Very little is known about the economy of the Indo-Greeks, although it seems to have been rather vibrant. The abundance of their coins would tend to suggest large mining operations, particularly in the mountainous area of the Hindu-Kush, and an important monetary economy. The Indo-Greek did strike bilingual coins both in the Greek "round" standard and in the Indian "square" standard, suggesting that monetary circulation extended to all parts of society. The adoption of Indo-Greek monetary conventions by neighbouring kingdoms, such as the Kunindas to the east and the Satavahanas to the south, would also suggest that Indo-Greek coins were used extensively for cross-border trade.

Trade with China:
An indirect testimony by the Chinese explorer Zhang Qian, who visited Bactria around 128 BC, suggests that intense trade with Southern China was going through northern India. Zhang Qian explains that he found Chinese products in the Bactrian markets, and that they were transiting through northwestern India, which he incidentally describes as a civilization similar to that of Bactria.

Indian Ocean trade:
Maritime relations across the Indian ocean started in the 3rd century BC, and further developed during the time of the Indo-Greeks together with their territorial expansion along the western coast of India. By the time Indo-Greek rule was ending, up to 120 ships were setting sail every year from Myos Hormos to India.

Armed forces:
The coins of the Indo-Greeks provide rich clues on their uniforms and weapons. Typical Hellenistic uniforms are depicted, with helmets being either round in the Greco-Bactrian style, or the flat kausia of the Macedonians (coins of Apollodotus I).
Military technology.

Their weapons were spears, swords, longbow (on the coins of Agathokleia) and arrows. The recurve bow becomes a standard feature of Indo-Greek horsemen by 90 BC, as seen on some of the coins of Hermaeus.

Generally, Indo-Greek kings are often represented riding horses, as early as the reign of Antimachus II around 160 BC. The equestrian tradition probably goes back to the Greco-Bactrians, who are said by Polybius to have faced a Seleucid invasion in 210 BC with 10,000 horsemen. War elephants never represented on their coins.

Diodotus Gold Coin

There are coin finds of several dozen Indo-Greek rulers in India; exactly how many is complicated to determine, because the Greeks did not number their kings, and the eastern Greeks did not date their coins. For example, there are a substantial number of coin finds for a King Demetrius, but authors have postulated one, two, or three Demetrii, and the same coins have been identified by different enquirers as describing Demetrius I, Demetrius II, or Demetrius III. The following deductions have been made from coins, in addition to mere existence:
• Kings who left many coins reigned long and prosperously.
• Hoards which contain many coins of the same king come from his realm.
• Kings who use the same iconography are friendly, and may well be from the same family,
• If a king overstrikes another king's coins, this is an important evidence to show that the overstriker reigned after the overstruck. Overstrikes may indicate that the two kings were enemies.
• Indo-Greek coins, like other Hellenistic coins, have monograms in addition to their inscriptions. These are generally held to indicate a mint official; therefore, if two kings issue coins with the same monogram, they reigned in the same area, and if not immediately following one another, have no long interval between them.

All of these arguments are arguments of probability, and have exceptions; one of Menander's coins was found in Wales.

The exact time and progression of the Bactrian expansion into India is difficult to ascertain, but ancient authors name Demetrius, Apollodotus, and Menander as conquerors.

The Arjunayanas (area of Mathura) and Yaudheyas mention military victories on their coins ("Victory of the Arjunayanas", "Victory of the Yaudheyas"). During the 1st century BC, the Trigartas, Audumbaras and finally the Kunindas also started to mint their own coins, usually in a style highly reminiscent of Indo-Greek coinage.

It would also seem that some of the coins emitted by the Indo-Greek kings, particularly those in the monolingual Attic standard, may have been used to pay some form of tribute to the Yuezhi tribes north of the Hindu-Kush. This is indicated by the coins finds of the Qunduz hoard in northern Afghanistan, which have yielded quantities of Indo-Greek coins in the Hellenistic standard (Greek weights, Greek language), although none of the kings represented in the hoard are known to have ruled so far north. Conversely, none of these coins have ever been found south of the Hindu-Kush.

While all Indo-Greek kings after Apollodotus I mainly issued bilingual (Greek and Kharoshti) coins for circulation in their own territories, several of them also struck rare Greek coins which have been found in Bactria. The later kings probably struck these coins as some kind of payment to the Scythian or Yuezhi tribes who now ruled there, though if as tribute or payment for mercenaries remains unknown.

Indo-Greek territory circa 175 BC

Preliminary Greek presence in India:
In 326 BC Alexander the Great conquered the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent as far as the Hyphasis River, and established satrapies as well as several cities, such as Bucephala, until his troops refused to go further east.

In 305 BC, Seleucus I led an army to the Indus, where he encountered Chandragupta. The confrontation ended with a dynastic marriage or an agreement for intermarriage between Indians and Greeks. Accordingly, Seleucus Nicator offered to Chandragupta his northwestern territories (Sandrocottus), possibly as far as Arachosia and received 500 war elephants (which played a key role in the victory of Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus)

Also several Greeks, such as the historian Megasthenes, Deimachus and Dionysius, were sent to reside at the Mauryan court. On these occasions, Greek populations within Chandragupta's grandson Ashoka (Mauryans) realm also had converted to Buddhism.

Again in 206 BC, the Seleucid emperor Antiochus led an army into India (Caucasus/Kush), where he received war elephants and presents from the king Sophagasenus.

Greek rule in Bactria:
Alexander had also established several colonies in neighbouring Bactria, such as Alexandria on the Oxus (modern Ai-Khanoum) and Alexandria of the Caucasus (medieval Kapisa, modern Bagram). The death of Alexander gave rise to the kingdom of his general Seleucus Nicator who ruled parts of northern India. He was subsequently weakened in the Indian sub continent by the Maurya Empire. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Bactria became a Satrapy of the Seleucid Empire.

In 250 BC the Satrap Diodotus of Bactria rebelled against the Seleucids (Antiochus) and declared himself King of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. Antiochus was ignoring his territory in the Indian sub continent due to his concentration in the east Mediterranean region. Taking advantage, Diodotus set up his independent rule in Bactria.

Later, another satrap, Euthydemus defeated the Diodotus’s son and founded the Euthydemid dynasty. His son Demetrius I (186-5 BC) led his Indo Greek armies to the south east of the Hindukush Mountains. Demetrius was followed by Agathocles (rule.190-180BC). He may have been a contemporary or successor of Panteleon (probably the younger brother of Demetrius), whom he replaced. He was in charge of Paropamisade (between Bactria and India). His throne was usurped by Eucratides, who pushed Agathocles back to Bactria and established his own lineage in Paropamisade.

Then there was Antimachus I (185-170), probably a brother of Demetrius, who ruled Bactria and lower Kabul. Parts of his kingdom were probably annexed by Eucratides.
Diodotus' son was overthrown by Euthydemus I/ Eucratides in 230 BC, who pushed Agathocles back to Bactria and established his own lineage in Paropamisade and founded the Euthydemid Dynasty. The Greco-Bactrians maintained a strong Hellenistic culture at the door of India during the rule of the Mauryan Empire in India, as exemplified by the archaeological site of Ai-Khanoum.

The Greeks in Bactria (Greco-Bactrians) remained in close contact with the Greeks in the Mauryan Empire. When the Mauryan Empire was overthrown by the Sunga Dynasty around 185 BC, an army led by King Demetrius I of Bactria invaded India and seized the lands of the Kabul Valley.

Rise of the Sungas (185 BC):
The Maurya Dynasty was overthrown around 185 BC when Pusyamitra Sunga, the commander-in-chief of Mauryan Imperial forces and a Brahmin, assassinated the last of the Mauryan emperors Brhadrata. Pusyamitra Sunga then ascended the throne and established the Sunga Empire, which extended its control as far west as the Punjab.

Demetrius I was the son of Euthydemus I of Bactria; there is an inscription from his father's reign already officially hailing him as victorious. He also has one of the few absolute dates in Indo-Greek history: after his father held off Antiochus III for two years, 208-6 BC, the peace treaty included the offer of a marriage between Demetrius and Antiochus' daughter, Coins of Demetrius I have been found in Arachosia and in the Kabul Valley; the latter would be the first entry of the Greeks into India, as they defined it. There is also literary evidence for a campaign eastward against the Seres and the Phryni; but the order and dating of these conquests is uncertain. Demetrius I seem to have conquered the Kabul valley, Arachosia and perhaps Gandhara; he struck no Indian coins, so either his conquests did not penetrate that far into India or he died before he could consolidate them. On his coins, Demetrius I always carries the elephant-helmet worn by Alexander, which seems to be a token of his Indian conquests.

Bopearachchi believes that Demetrius received the title of "King of India" following his victories south of the Hindu Kush. He was also given, though perhaps only posthumously, the title ανικητος ("Anicetos", lit. Invincible) a cult title of Heracles, which Alexander had assumed; the later Indo-Greek kings Lysias, Philoxenus, and Artemidorus also took it Finally, Demetrius may have been the founder of a newly discovered Greek Era, starting in 186/5 BC.

After the death of Demetrius, the Bactrian kings Pantaleon and Agathocles (c. 185-170 BC) struck the first bilingual coins with Indian inscriptions found as Far East as Taxila. The Bactrian kingdom seems to have included Gandhara.

Several Bactrian kings followed after Demetrius' death, and it seems likely that the civil wars between them made it possible for Apollodotus I (from c. 180/175 BC) to make himself independent as the first proper Indo-Greek king. He did not rule from Bactria. Pushed Agathocles back to Bactria and established his own lineage in Paropamisade.

Large numbers of his coins have been found in India, and he seems to have reigned in Gandhara as well as western Punjab.

Apollodotus I was succeeded by or ruled alongside Antimachus II (170BC), likely the son of the Bactrian king Antimachus I. He had fought with the usurper Eucratides. He ruled over the vast territory from Hindukush to Punjab. He is credited to the use of Tax receipts.

The next important Indo-Greek king was Menander or Milinda (from c. 165/155 BC or c.155-130 BC) whose coins are frequently found even in eastern Punjab. Menander seems to have begun a second wave of conquests, and since he already ruled in India, it seems likely that the easternmost conquests were made by him. Menander's reign saw the end of the Indo-Greek expansion.

Menander is considered to have been probably the most successful Indo-Greek king, and the conqueror of the largest territory. The finds of his coins are the most numerous and the most widespread of all the Indo-Greek kings. Menander is also remembered in Buddhist literature, where he called Milinda Milinda achieved fame due to the Buddhist text, ‘Milinda Panha’. It is an account of a long discussion conducted between Milinda and Nagasena, a Buddhist monk. This led to Milindas acceptance of Buddhism. Milinda also created a vast empire from central Afghanistan upto western and central India. His capital remained Sakala (Sialkot). Milinda proved himself a patron of Buddhism and himself was a reputed scholar. He enjoyed tremendous popularity amongst his subjects. He also introduced a new coin type, with Athena Alkidemos ("Protector of the people") on the reverse, which was adopted by most of his successors in the East.

The Indo-Greek states, shielded by the Hindu Kush range, were saved from the invasions, but the civil wars which had weakened the Greeks continued. Menander I, died around the same time, and even though the king himself seems to have been popular among his subjects, his dynasty was at least partially dethroned. Probable members of the dynasty of Menander include the ruling queen Agathokleia, her son Strato I, and Nicias, though it is uncertain whether they ruled directly after Menander. Other kings emerged, usually in the western part of the Indo-Greek realm, such as Zoilos I, Lysias, Antialcidas and Philoxenos. These rulers may have been relatives of either the Eucratid or the Euthydemid dynasties.

There are however no historical recordings of events in the Indo-Greek kingdom after Menander's death around 130 BC, since the Indo-Greeks had now become very isolated from the rest of the Graeco-Roman world. The later history of the Indo-Greek states, which lasted to around the shift BC/AD, is reconstructed almost entirely from archaeological and numismatical analyses.

After Milindas there were many kings, notably Zoilus I (130-120 BC- ruled Paropamisade/Arochosia, from the Euthydemus line). Lysias (120-110 BC) was a close successor of Zoilus , and claimed lineage from Demetrius I.

There was a Strato I, son of the Indo Greek queen Agathokleia , also considered (disputed by some) the widow of Menander I (ruled from 120-110 BC in the areas of Gandhara and Punjab ) , probably a contemporary of Lysias .

The important Bactrian king Eucratides seems to have attacked the Indo-Greek kingdom during the mid 2nd century BC. A Demetrius, called "King of the Indians", seems to have confronted Eucratides in a four month siege, reported by Justin, but he ultimately lost.

In any case, Eucratides seems to have occupied territory as far as the Indus, between ca. 170 BC and 150 BC. His advances were ultimately checked by the Indo-Greek king Menander I.

The Indo-Greek kingdom then divided into Parpamisade/Arachosia and Gandhara/ Punjab. Thus there were Antialcidas of Parapamisade and Heliocles of Gandhara (110-100 BC), Polyxenius of Parapamisade and Demetrius III (100 BC) of Gandhara. Again there was the king Philoxenus (100-95 BC) who ruled entire regions from Parpamisade to Punjab , Diomedes ruled Paropamisade and Amyntas ruled Afghanistan and Epander ruled Punjab (95-90 BC) , Theophilos of Parapamisade and Peukolas of Gandhara and Thraso (90 BC) ruled central and western Punjab, Nicias of Parapamisade and Menander II ruled Arachosia and Gandhara and Artemediros (r.90-85 BC), Hermaeus ruled Parapamisade and Archabios ruled Gandhara and Pushkalavati / Peshawar , between 90-70 BC. (He is also disputed by some as a son of Maues the Scythian king).

The fall of Bactria and death of Menander:
From the mid-2nd century BC, the Scythians and then the Yuezhi, following a long migration from the border of China, started to invade Bactria from the north. Around 130 BC the last Greco-Bactrian king Heliocles was probably killed during the invasion and the Greco-Bactrian kingdom proper ceased to exist. The Parthians also probably played a role in the downfall of the Bactrian kingdom.

Later History:
Throughout the 1st century BC, the Indo-Greeks progressively lost ground to the Indians in the east, and the Scythians, the Yuezhi, and the Parthians in the West. About 20 Indo-Greek kings are known during this period, down to the last known Indo-Greek ruler, a king named Strato II.
He ruled in the Punjab region until around 55 BC. Other sources, however, place the end of Strato II's reign as late as 10 AD

Loss of Eastern territories (circa 100 BC):
Scythian invasions (80 BC-20 AD) Around 80 BC, an Indo-Scythian king named Maues (85-60 BC), possibly a general in the service of the Indo-Greeks, ruled for a few years in northwestern India before the Indo-Greeks again took control. He conquered Taxila and established his kingdom in modern Pakistan. He seems to have been married to an Indo-Greek princess.

Then again, there was the Indo Greek line continuing. Telephos ruled Gandhara (probably was an brief Indo greek successor to Maues), and Apollodotus II who belonged to the dynasty of Menander I (75-70 BC) ruled Punjab , Hippostratos ruled Punjab, Peshawar and Dionysios ruled east Punjab( 65-55 BC) , Zoilos II (55-35 BC) ruled east Punjab, Appolophanes(55-35) , Strato II (25-10) who ruled eastern Punjab. Strato II was the last Indo Greek king after being invaded by the Indo Scythian king Rajuvula of Mathura (Uttar Pradesh state).

There is also a mention of Heliodorous who was either the king of Taxilla or the kings envoy. Heliodorous was a devotee of Lord Vasudeva ( or Vishnu - an primary Hindu God). Heliodorous erected a structure, ‘Garuda Dhwaja’ in the honour of Lord Vasudeva.

Indo Greeks introduced a lot of innovations in the coins that they made. They used the technique of die striking in the manufacture of coins. Their coins had portraits of their rulers.
King Hippostratos (65-55 BC) seems to have been one of the most successful subsequent Indo-Greek kings until he lost to the Indo-Scythian Azes I, who established an Indo-Scythian dynasty.Various coins seem to suggest that some sort of alliance may have taken place between the Indo-Greeks and the Scythians. Although the Indo-Scythians clearly ruled militarily and politically, they remained surprisingly respectful of Greek and Indian cultures. Their coins were minted in Greek mints, continued using proper Greek and Kharoshthi legends, and incorporated depictions of Greek deities, particularly Zeus. The Mathura lion capital inscription attests that they adopted the Buddhist faith, as do the depictions of deities forming the vitarka mudra on their coins. Greek communities, far from being exterminated, probably persisted under Indo-Scythian rule. The Indo-Greeks continued to rule a territory in the eastern Punjab, until the kingdom of the last Indo-Greek king Strato was taken over by the Indo-Scythian ruler Rajuvula around 10 AD.

Western Yuezhi or Saka expansion (70 BC-):
One of the last important kings in the Paropamisadae was Hermaeus (ruled 90-70 BC), who ruled until around 80 BC; soon after his death the Yuezhi or Sakas took over his areas from neighbouring Bactria.

After the death of Hermaeus, the Yuezhi or Saka nomads became the new rulers of the Paropamisadae, and minted vast quantities of posthumous issues of Hermaeus up to around 40 AD, when they blend with the coinage of the Kushan king Kujula Kadphises. The first documented Yuezhi prince, Sapadbizes, ruled around 20 BC, and minted in Greek and in the same style as the western Indo-Greek kings, probably depending on Greek mints and celators.
The later king Hippostratus may however also have held territories in the Paropamisadae.
The last known mention of an Indo-Greek ruler is suggested by an inscription on a signet ring of the 1st century AD in the name of a king Theodamas, from the Bajaur area of Gandhara, in modern Pakistan. No coins of him are known, but the signet bears in kharoshthi script the inscription "Su Theodamasa", "Su" being explained as the Greek transliteration of the ubiquitous Kushan royal title "Shau" ("Shah", "King")

Sirkap Stupa

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kingdom of Maurya

The Mauryan Empire was the first major empire in the history of India, ruled by Maurya dynasty from 321 BC to 185 BCE.

At that time, Magadh was ruled by the Nanda dynasty. Chanakya, also known as Kautilya was a pious, learned and determined brahman, who didn’t have a pleasant appearance but had an intelligent brain. He managed to terminate the existing King Mahapadm Nand and his eight sons and made Chandragupt the King of Magadh who was also the legitimate heir of the throne. Chandragupta founded the Mauryan Empire by overthrowing the Nanda dynasty with the help of Chanakya who was an important minister in the court of the Nanda rulers. Chanakya was ill treated by the Nanda king and he vowed to destroy their kingdom. He met the young Chandragupta in the Vindhya forest. Chanakya was well versed in politics and the affairs of the state. He groomed Chandragupta and helped him raise and organize an army. Thus, with the help of Chanakya, Chandragupta overthrew the last Nanda ruler and became the king and Chanakya became the chief minister in his court.

Important rulers of this dynasty were Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara, and King Ashoka. This empire reached its peak under King Ashoka. However, this mighty empire crumbled rapidly, under its own weight, soon after the death of Ashoka.

Maurya Empire was originated from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic plains which is currently a part of modern Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bengal (eastern side). It was ruled through the capital Patliputra (modern Patna).

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the dynasty (322 BC) who had overthrown the Nanda Dynasty and rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India by taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great’s Greek and Persian armies. By 320 BC the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

It was one of the largest empires to rule the Indian subcontinent, stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east stretching into what is now Assam. To the west, it reached beyond modern Pakistan, annexing Balochistan and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and Kandahar provinces.

Maurya Dynasty:
Magadh was the fourth dynasty after the Mahabharat war (3139 BC). Chandragupt Maurya was the first king and founder of the Maurya dynasty. His mother’s name was Mur, so he was called Maurya in Sanskrit which means the son of Mur, and thus, his dynasty was called Maurya dynasty.

Some bramhanical texts, like the ‘Puranas’ consider him from a lower (Shudra) caste, there are the Buddhist and Jain texts which speak of him as a member of the ‘Kshatriya’ (warrior)’ Moriya’ clan related to the ‘Shakyas’.

Another story known about Chandragupta was the son of king Mahanandin and Mura, and whose second wife Sunanda was the mother of the Nandas. Apparently with the help of a barber, Mahapadmananda she murdered her husband and Chandraguptas brothers and installed Mahapadmananda as the king. Mura escaped with her young son, who grew up and swore revenge.

Also another source calls Chandragupta’s father a commander to Mahapadmananda’s forces, whom Mahapadmananda had murdered by deceit.

Some texts have called Chandragupta a grandson of a headman of a village of peacock tanners, while some (‘Vishnu purana’ and the play ‘Mudrarakshasa’) refer to him as the illegitimate son of the woman named Mora and a Nanda prince (incidently the puranas also refer to the Nandas as offsprings of low birth).

However the most popular version holding fort is that, Chandragupta belonged to a ‘kshatriya’ (warrior) clan called ‘Moriya’, originally ruling, ‘Pipallivana’(Uttar Pradesh), a forest kingdom.

Most of our knowledge about the Mauryan period in general and the rule of Chandragupta in particular is obtained from two important literary sources: the Arthashastra, written by Chanakya, and Indica, written by the ancient Greek writer Megasthenes (who was an ambassador of Seleucus Nikator and had come to the court of Chandragupta).

Chandragupta's minister Kautilya Chanakya wrote the Arthashastra, one of the greatest treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and religion ever produced in the India. Archaeologically, the period of Mauryan rule in South Asia falls into the era of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW). The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are primary sources of written records of the Mauryan times. The Mauryan Empire is considered one of the most significant periods in Indian history. The Lion Capital of Asoka at Sarnath, is the emblem of India.

The Arthashastra talks about the principles of governance and lays down rules of administration. It also discusses in detail the role of the king, his duties, rate of taxation, use of espionage, and laws for governing the society. The Indica of Megasthenes, on the other hand, gives a vivid description of the Mauryan society under the rule of Chandragupta. Megasthenes described the glory of the Mauryan capital of Pataliputra. He also talked of the lifestyle in the cities and villages and the prosperity of the Mauryan cities.

Square silver coins issued between 321 and 181 BC in ancient India by the Mauryan Empire, which was created after the death of Alexander the Great
Chandragupta had united the whole of northern India under one rule. Mauryan Empire was the first large, powerful, centralized state in India. The Arthashastra laid the foundation of the centralized administration of Mauryan governance. The empire was divided into administrative districts or zones, each of which had a hierarchy of officials. The top most officers from these districts or zones directly reported to the Mauryan ruler. These officials were responsible for collecting taxes, maintaining the army, completing irrigational projects, and maintaining law and order.

During Chandragupta reign, the state regulated trade, levied taxes, and standardized weights and measures. Trade and commerce also flourished during this time. The state was responsible for providing irrigational facilities, succor, sanitation, and famine relief to its masses. Megasthenes, in his writings, has praised the efficient Mauryan administration.

Before the Kalinga war, the Mauryan administration under Ashoka was not different from that of his predecessors. Ashoka, like previous Mauryan kings, was at the head of the centralized administrative system. He was helped by a council of ministers that was in charge of different ministries like taxation, army, agriculture, justice, etc. The empire was divided into administrative zones, each one having its hierarchy of officials. The top most officers at the zonal level had to keep in touch with the king. These officers took care of all aspects of administration (social welfare, economy, law and order, military) in the different zones. The official ladder went down to the village level.

Emperor Chandragupta Maurya became the first major Indian monarch to initiate a religious transformation at the highest level when he embraced Jainism, a religious movement resented by orthodox Hin dupriests that usually attended the imperial court. At an older age, Chandragupta renounced his throne and material possessions to join a wandering group of Jain monks. However his successor, Emperor Bindusara preserved Hindu traditions and distanced himself from Jain and Buddhist movements.

But when Ashoka embraced Buddhism following the Kalinga War, he renounced expansionism and aggression, and the harsher injunctions of the Arthashastra on the employ of force, intensive policing and ruthless measures for tax collection and against rebels. Ashoka sent a mission led by his son and daughter to Sri Lanka, whose king Tissa was so charmed with Buddhist ideals that he adopted it himself and made it the state religion. Ashoka sent many Buddhist missions to West Asia, Greece and South East Asia, and commissioned the construction of monasteries, schools and publication of Buddhist literature across the empire. He is believed to have built as many as 84,000 stupas across India, and increased the popularity of Buddhism inAfghanistan. Ashoka helped convene the Third Buddhist Council near his capital, that undertook much work of reform and expansion of the Buddhist religion.

While himself a Buddhist, Ashoka retained the membership of Hindu priests and ministers in his court, and maintained religious freedom and tolerance, although the Buddhist faith grew in popularity with his patronage. Indian society began embracing the philosophy of ahimsa, and given the prosperity and law enforcement, crime and internal conflicts reduced dramatically. Also greatly discouraged was the caste system and orthodox discrimination, as Hinduism began inculcating the ideals and values of Jain and Buddhist teachings. Social freedom began expanding in an age of peace and prosperity.

Mauryans implemented a common economic system and enhanced trade and commerce, with increased agricultural productivity under the able guidance of Chanakya. Hundreds of earlier kingdoms, many small armies, powerful regional chieftains, and internecine warfare, gave way to this disciplined central authority. Like in Arthashastra (by Kautilya)said, the king was the supreme head of the state. His duty was mainly ensuring the welfare and happiness of his subjects. He was to work almost 18-19 hours a day and was to be at the service of his people, courtiers, and officers any time of the hour. The country prospered during Mauryan rule.

The Council of ministers consisted of 3-12 members, each being the head of a department. Then there was the State council which could have 12,16 or 20 members. Besides, there was the bureaucracy consisting of the ‘Sannidhata’ (treasury head), ‘Samaharta’ (chief revenue collector), ‘Purohita’ (head priest),’Senapati’(commander of the army),’ Pratihara’ (chief of the palace guards),’Antarvamisika’ (head of the harem guards),’Durgapala’(governor of the fort), ‘Antahala’ (governor of the frontier),’Paur’(governor of the capital),’Nyayadhisha’ (chief justice),’Prasasta’ (police chief). Then there were the ‘Tirthas’, ‘Amatyas’ i.e officers in charge of accounts (controlled by the chief minister‘Mahaamatya’) of the: treasury, records, mines, mints, commerce, excise agriculture, toll, public utility, armory etc.

The governors or viceroys of provinces were called ‘Mahamatras’ and if the designation was held by a prince then he was called ‘Kumara mahamatra’. Assisting them were the ‘Yutas’ (tax collectors), ‘Rajukas’(revenue collectors),’Sthanikas’ and’Gopas’(district officers). Then there was the local village head called’ Gramika’ under whom the village assembly operated.
The civil courts were called ‘Dharmasthiya’ and criminal courts were called ‘Kantakshodhana’.
An international network of trade expanded during Ashoka's reign under the Indo-Greek friendship treaty. Like the Khyber pass, on the boundary of Pakistan and Afghanistan became important port of trade and intercourse with the outside world. Greek states and Hellenic kingdoms in West Asia became important trade partners of India. Trade also extended through the Malay peninsula into Southeast Asia. India's exports included silk goods and textiles, spices and exotic foods. The Empire was enriched further with an exchange of scientific knowledge and technology with Europe and West Asia. Ashoka also sponsored the construction of thousands of roads, waterways, canals, hospitals, rest-houses and other public works. The easing of many overly-rigorous administrative practices, including those regarding taxation and crop collection, helped increase productivity and economic activity across the Empire. In many ways, the economic situation in the Maurya Empire is comparable to the Roman Empire several centuries later, which both had extensive trade connections and both had organizations similar to corporations.

Fourteen Rock Edicts found at eight different places which are. Shahbazgarhi (seventh edict engraved on a bowl ,Peshawar, Pakistan presently displayed in the Prince of Wales museum, Mumbai),Manshera (Hazara),Kalsi (Dehradun, Uttarakhand),Girnar (Junagadh, Gujrat),Sopara(Thana, Maharashtra), Dhauli and Jaugada(Orissa) and erragudi(Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh). Minor Rock Edicts found at thirteen different places which are. Roopnath(Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh), Bairat(Jaipur, Rajasthan), Sasaram(Shahbad district, Bihar), Maski (Raichur, Karnataka), Gavimath and Palkigundu(Mysore, Karnataka), Gujarra(Datia district , Madhya Pradesh), Ahraura (Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh), Rajulamandagiri (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh), Yerragudi and three neighbouring places in Chitaldurga district, Mysore. Seven Pillar Edicts found on a single pillar (Topra, presently displayed in Delhi).Rest were found in northern Bihar. The remaining inscriptions were engraved on rocks, pillars and cave walls.

The most important of these being the engravings on a pillar found at Rumindei (Nepal) which mentions Ashoka’s visit to the birthplace of Gautam Buddha at Lumbini. Two short inscriptions written in Aramaic have also been found at Taxilla and Jalalabad(Afghanistan). A bilingual inscription written in Greek and Aramaic has been found on a rock at Shar-i-Kuna(Kandahar, Afghanistan). Four edicts (one in Kharoshti script derived from Aramaic, used in Iran and others in perhaps, Prakrit, rest found in the country being in Brahmi) have been found in Shalatak and Qargha (Afghanistan).

The thirteenth rock edict gives a vivid account of Ashokas conquest of Kalinga (260 BC), after a prolonged war, in which 1,50,000 persons were captured, 1,00,000 killed and many times that number perished. Ashoka was said to have been filled with great remorse and guilt after witnessing the misery and bloodshed his war cost.

The reign of Ashoka was followed for 50 years by a succession of weaker kings. Brhadrata, the last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty, ruled territories that had shrunk considerably from the time of emperor Ashoka, but he was still upholding the Buddhist faith. He was assassinated in 185 BCE during a military parade by the commander-in-chief of his guard, the Brahmin general Pusyamitra Sunga, who then took over the empire.

Maurya Kings:
Chandragupt Maurya (322-298 BC)
Chandragupt Maurya ruled for 34 years. It is generally thought that Chandragupta married Seleucus's daughter, or a Greek Macedonian princess, a gift from Seleucus to formalize an alliance. In a return gesture, Chandragupta sent 500 war-elephants, a military asset which would play a decisive role at the Battle of Ipsus in 302 BC. In addition to this treaty, Seleucus dispatched an ambassador, Megasthenes, to Chandragupta, and later Deimakos to his son Bindusara, at the Mauryan court at Pataliputra (modern Patna in Bihar state). Later Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt and contemporary of Ashoka the Great, is also recorded by Pliny the Elder as having sent an ambassador named Dionysius to the Mauryan court.

Mainstream scholarship asserts that Chandragupta received vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern day Afghanistan, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Kandhahar in southern Afghanistan. The invasion of the northwestern part of India by Alexander in 326 BC and the subsequent establishment of the rule of Seleucus Nikator (one of Alexander's general) was a thorn in the eyes of Chandragupta. He first stabilized his power in Magadh and then began his campaign against Seleucus.

After a prolonged struggle, Chandragupta was able to defeat Seleucus in 305 BC and extended his territories extended from present day Afghanistan-Pakistan to the southern Indian state of Karnataka and right upto the east till Bengal and Assam. According to the peace treaty with Seleucus, Chandragupta also got Kabul, Gandhara, and parts of Persia and married his daughter. In this way, Chandragupta became the undisputed ruler of Northern India. His fame was so widespread that rulers from far off kingdoms send their envoys to his court. Chandragupta also conquered parts of Central India and united the whole of northern India under Mauryan rule. After ruling for about 25 years, he became a Jain ascetic and left his throne to his son Bindusara (296 BC-273 BC).

Chandragupta then, retired to the forests of Shravana Belgola (near Mysore city, Karnataka state) along with his religious guru Bhadrabahu and several followers, where he renounced his life after a fast unto death as per Jain traditions.

Bindusar (296 BC-273 BC)
Son of Chandragupta Maurya ruled 28 years. He inherited a vast empire that spanned parts of modern-day Afghanistan in the northwest, to parts of Bengal in the east. It also spread through large parts of central India.

Bindusara extended the Mauryan Empire southwards in the Indian peninsula as far as Mysore. He defeated and annexed 16 small kingdoms, thus extending his empire from sea to sea. The only regions that were left out on the Indian subcontinent were that of Kalinga (Orissa) and the kingdoms to the extreme south of the Indian peninsula. As these southern kingdoms were friendly, Bindusara did not annex them, but the Kingdom of Kalinga was a problem for the Mauryan Empire.

The administration under Bindusara functioned smoothly. During his reign, Mauryan Empire had good relation with Greeks, Syrians, and Egyptians.

Empire of Ashok Maurya

Ashokvardhan / Ashoka (273 BC-232 BC)
Bindusara was succeeded by his son Ashoka, the most famous of the Mauryan Kings. He ruled for 36 years. The Mauryan Empire reached its peak under the rule of Ashoka. He undertook military campaign against Kalinga and, after defeating it in a bloody war, extended it.
However, the sight of the large-scale carnage moved Ashoka, and he embraced Buddhism. The war of Kalinga was the turning point in the life of Ashoka to the extent that he shunned all forms of violence and became a strict vegetarian.

Ashoka believed in high ideals, which, according to him, could lead people to be virtuous, and peace loving. This he called Dhamma (which is a Prakrit form of the Sanskrit word Dharma). His rock edicts and pillar inscriptions propagated the true essence of Dhamma. Ashoka asked the different religious groups (Brahmins, Buddhist and Jain) to live in peace. His lofty ideals also included shunning violence and war, stopping animal sacrifice, respect for elders, respect of slaves by their masters, vegetarianism, etc. Above all, Ashoka wanted peace in his empire.
Ashoka sent edicts to different parts of the empire, where they engraved on rocks or pillars, for the common people to see and read them which were in different scripts. The language was generally Prakrit, as it was spoken by the common people, where as Sanskrit was spoken by educated upper caste people. Also they used Greek and Aramaic language for the inscription.
Ashoka sent his son Mahendra to Sri Lanka to preach Buddhism there. He propagated Buddhism to Chola and Pandya kingdoms, which were at the extreme southern part of the Indian peninsula then Buddhist missions to Burma and other Southeast Asian countries too.

The war with Kalinga transformed Ashoka both on a personal as well as public level. He made a number of changes in the administration. Ashoka introduced a new cadre of officials, by the name of Dhamma Mahamatta, who was sent across the empire to spread the message of Ashoka's Dhamma (dharma).

For the rest of his life, Ashoka preached the principles of Buddhism not only in his vast empire, but also sent missions abroad. Ashoka built a number of rock edicts and pillars to spread the gospel of Buddhism.

The great Mauryan Empire did not last long after the death of Ashoka and ended in 185 BC. Weak kings on one hand and the unmanageability of a vast empire on the other caused the rapid decline of the Mauryas. A number of small kingdoms emerged from the edifice of the Mauryan Empire.

Modern Indias national emblem is a gift from Ashokas heritage.
Ashoka visited the various places considered holy by the Buddhists. He is said to have begun the propogation of the Buddhist doctrines through his specially appointed officers called ‘Dharmamahamatras’. Ashokas ‘dhamma’ (in Prakrit) or ‘dharma’ (in Sanskrit) is still considered reflecting his character and philosophy.

Dasaratha Maurya (232 - 224 BCE)
Dasaratha Maurya was the Emperor of the Mauryan dynasty from 232 BCE to 224 BCE. According to the Matsya Purana, he succeeded his grandfather Ashoka the Great. He succeeded Ashoka after his uncle Kunala became blind, which made him unfit to rule.
Daśaratha was only about twenty years old, when he ascended to the throne with the help of ministers. According to the Puranas, he reigned for eight years.
Daśaratha dedicated three caves in the Nagarjuni Hills to the Ajivikas. Three inscriptions ordered by Devanampiya Daśaratha state that the caves were dedicated immediately on his succession.

Dasaratha's son did not succeed him, instead Kunala's son Samprati did.

Samprati (224 - 215 BCE)
He was the son of Ashoka's blind son, Kunala. He succeeded his cousin, Dasharatha as emperor of the Mauryan Empire and ruled almost the entire present-day Indian subcontinent. Kunala was the son of Ashoka's first queen, Padmavati (who was Jain), but was blinded in a conspiracy to remove his claim to the throne. Thus Kunal was replaced by Dasharatha as the heir to the throne. Ashoka had many wives: his premier wife was Jain and the others were Buddhist. Kunala lived in Ujjain with his "Dhai Maa". Samprati was brought up there. Years after being denied the throne, Kunala and Samprati approached Ashok's court in an attempt to claim the throne. Ashoka could not deliver the throne to his blind son, but was impressed by Samprati's skills as a warrior and administrator and declared Samprati the successor to Dasharatha. After Dasharatha's death, Samprati inherited the throne of the Mauryan empire.

According to the Puranas, Samprati reigned for nine years The Jaina text, Pariśiṣṭaparvan mentions that he ruled both from Pataliputra and Ujjain, but unfortunately, we have no inscriptional or other evidences to support these accounts. According to the Jaina tradition he ruled for 53 years. Samprati was influenced by the teachings of a Jain monk, Suhastin. He also sent Jain scholars abroad to spread Jainist teachings. But research is needed to learn where those scholars went and their influence. Until now, this has not been accomplished. According to the Puranas, he was succeeded by Śāliśuka, who according to the Yuga Purana was a cruel, wicked and unrighteous ruler.

Emperor Samprati is poorly highlighted in history. He is regarded as the "Jain Ashoka" for his patronage and efforts to spreading Jainism in east India. Samprati, according to Jain historians, is considered more powerful and famous than Ashoka himself. The historical authenticity of Samprati is proved because Samprati Vihär, after the name of Samprati, existed at Vadamänu in the Krishna Valley during the second century CE. Under the influence of Suhastin (the disciple of Acharya Sthulibhadra, the leading saint of the Jain community under Mahagiri, Samprati was again converted to Jainism, the Mauryas' ancestral religion. He spread Jainism by every means, working hard for Jainism as scriptures. He had decided to rinse his mouth in the morning, only after hearing that another new temple had been built. Besides, he got all the old and existing temples repaired and set up in all of them holy statues made of gold, stone, silver, brass and of a mixture of fine metals and performed their Anjankala ceremony: i.e., declared them fit for worship. It is said that Samprati built thousands of Jain Temples in India, many of which are still in use, such as the Jain temples at Viramgam and Palitana (Gujarat), Agar Malwa (Ujjain). Within three and a half years, he got one hundred and twenty-five thousand new temples built, thirty-six thousand repaired, twelve and a half million murtis, holy statues, consecrated and ninety-five thousand metal murtis prepared. Samprati is said to have erected Jain temples throughout his empire. He founded Jain monasteries even in non-Aryan territory, and almost all ancient Jain temples or monuments of unknown origin are popularly attributed to him. It may be noted that all the Jain monuments of Rajasthan and Gujarat, with unknown builders are also attributed to Emperor Samprati.

According to Jaina tradition, King Samprati had no children. He considered it the consequence of earlier Karma and observed the religious customs more scrupulously

Salisuka ( 215 - 202 BCE)
Salisuka Maurya was a ruler of the Indian Mauryan dynasty. He was the successor of Samprati Maurya. The Yuga Purana section of the Gargi Samhita mentions him as wicked, quarrelsome, unrighteous ruler, who cruelly oppressed his subjects. According to the Puranas he was succeeded by Devavarman.

Devavarman (202 - 195 BCE)
Devavarman Maurya was a king of the Mauryan empire. He was the successor of Salisuka Maurya.

Satadhanvan (195 - 187 BCE)
king of the Mauryan empire, ruled from 195-187 BCE. He was the successor of Devavarman Maurya.

Brihadratha (187 - 185 BCE)
He was the last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty. He was killed by his senapati (commander-in-chief), Pusyamitra Sunga.

According to the Puranas, Brihadratha succeeded Śatadhanvan and he ruled for seven years. Mauryan territories, centered on the capital of Pataliputra, had shrunk considerably from the time of the great Emperor Ashoka when Brihadratha came to the throne. In 180 BCE, northwestern India (parts of modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan) were attacked by the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius. He established his rule in the Kabul Valley and parts of the Punjab in modern-day Pakistan. The Yuga Purana section of the Gargi Samhita says that the Yavana (Greco-Bactrian) army led by King Dhamamita (Demetrius) invaded the Mauryan territories during Brihadratha's reign and after occupying Panchala region and the cities of Saketa and Mathura, they finally captured Pataliputra. But soon they had to leave to Bactria to fight a fierce battle (probably between Eucratides and Demetrius).

He was killed in 180 BCE and power usurped by his commander-in-chief, the Brahmin general Pusyamitra Sunga, who then took over the throne and established the Sunga dynasty. Banabhatta in his Harshacharita says, Pushyamitra, while parading the entire Mauryan army before Brihadratha on the pretext of showing him the strength of the army, crushed his master, Brihadratha Maurya, because he was too weak to keep his promise (probably to repulse the Yavanas).

The Ancient Sculpture of Maurya Empire

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kingdom of Kadambas

File:Hangal Tarakeshwara pillars.jpg
Hangal Tarakeshwara Temple

The Kadamba Dynasty (345 - 525 CE) was a primeval majestic dynasty of Karnataka that ruled from Vaijayanti or Banavasi in present day Uttara Kannada district. The decline of the Satavahana power in the Deccan was followed by the rule of many lesser dynasties like the Chutus, the Abhiras and the Ikshvakus during the third century A.D. the Karnataka area, however emerged out of this political confusion in the following century, when the Kadambas of Banavasi rose to prominence. The dynasty later continued to rule as a feudatory of larger Kannada empires, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta empires for over five hundred years, during which time they branched into Goa, Hanagal, and Chandavar. Mauryas, Satavahanas and Chutus were the pre Kadamba rulers where the ruling families were not natives of the region. Kadamba dynasty is important because it was the first indigenous dynasty to use Kannada at an administrative level. Kadambas kept paying nominal allegiance to other major power brokers of Deccan like Yadavas and Hoysalas of Dorasamudra and thus mantained their independence. Four different families of Kadambas ruled in southern India which was Kadamabas of Hangal, Kadambas of Goa, Kadambas of Belur and Kadambas of Banvasi.

Kadamba dynasty was founded by Mayurasharma in 345 AD. Their ancestors were said to have migrated from the foothills of the Himalayas. Kakusthavarma the successor of this dynasty was a powerful ruler. Gupta dynasty of northern India cultivated marital relationship with the family for their fair indication of the sovereign nature of this kingdom. Due to tiring endless battle and bloodshed, king Shivakoti, a descendent from this dynasty adopted Jainism. The Kadamba kings called themselves Dharmamaharajas and an absolute autonomy was formed by the Kadambas.
Kangavarma the successor of Mayurasharma was defeated by Vakataka Prithvisena who had to fight the Vakataka might to protect Kuntala. But he managed to maintain his freedom. His son Bhagiratha is said to have retrieved his father’s losses. His son Raghu who died fighting the Pallavas was succeeded by his brother Kakusthavarma who was the most ferocious and powerful ruler of the kingdom. He maintained marital relations with even the imperial Guptas of the north, according to the Talagunda inscription. One of his daughters was married to Kumara Gupta's son Skanda Gupta. His other daughter was married to a Vakataka king Narendrasena. He maintained similar relations with the Bhatari, the Alupas of South Canara and the Western Ganga Dynasty of Gangavadi according to the Talagunda inscription. The great poet Kalidasa had visited his court.

After Kakusthavarma only Ravivarma who came to the throne in 485 was able to build upon the kingdom. His rule was marked by a series of clashes within the family, and also against the Pallavas and the Gangas. He is also credited with a victory against the Vakatakas, which extended his Kingdom as far north as the river Narmada. The crux of their kingdom essentially consisted of most of Karnataka, Goa and southern areas of present day Maharashtra. After his death, the kingdom went into decline due to family feuds.

The Birur plates of Kadamba Vishnuvarman call Shantivarman "The master of the entire Karnataka region".

The Triparvatha branch that broke away in 455 ruled from Murod in Belgaum for some time and merged with the main Banavasi kingdom during rule of Harivarma. Finally the kingdom fell to the prowess of the Badami Chalukyas. The Kadambas thereafter became feudatories of the Badami Chalukyas and later the Rashtrakutas and Kalyani Chalukyas. The successors of Mayurasharma took to the name "varma" to indicate their Kshatriya status.

Prakrit had the status of an official language under the early Kadamba rulers. But by the time of Kakusthavarma, Sanskrit came to be increasingly adopted. Kannada too was assuming greater importance by the 5th century A.D. as evidenced by the Halmidi inscription.

Origin of Kadambas:
There are two theories to the origin of the Kadamba dynasty, a native Kannadiga origin and the other a north Indian origin. North Indian Origin of Kadambas was found only in the later records of their offshoot descendent dynasty and is considered legendary. Family name is derived from the Kadamba tree is commonly known about this Dynasty in South India region.

The historians claim that this kingdom was belong to Brahmin caste through Talagunda inscription or were of tribal of origin called Kadambu. The Kadambas promptly gave administrative and political importance to their language, Kannada, after coming to power. It is claimed that the family of the Kadambas were undoubtedly of Kanarese descent. The Naga descent of the Kadambas has been stated in early inscriptions of King Krishna Varma I too, which confirms the family was from Karnataka.

Gold coin with symbol of Lion at one side and die-striking to the other side

The Talagunda, Gundanur, Chandravalli, Halasi and Halmidi’s Sanskrit and Kannada inscription are some of the important inscriptions that throw light on Kadamba dynasty. They minted coins a large number of interesting coins with Nagari, Kannada and Grantha legends. The majority of these are of gold coins and some copper coins. Most of the coins were produced by the punching method. Each alphabet or symbol on the coins has been punched with a different punch. The main device or design is punched at the centre of the coin. Often, this is punched so deeply that the coin assumes the shape of a concave saucer or cup.

The Kadamba coins are generally known as padmatankas (lotus coins) as the central symbol on the obverse of most of them is the lotus (padmtt). The obverse of some Kadamba coins features the lion instead of the lotus.

The Talagunda inscription narrates in detail about how Mayurasarma proceeded to Kanchi, along with his guru, Virasarma to prosecute his Vedic studies at a Ghatika. There a quarrel arose between him and Pallava guard due to some misunderstanding, in which Mayurasarma was humiliated. In high rage, the Brahmana discontinued his studies, left Kanchi, swearing vengeance on the impudent Pallavas, and had recourse to arms. It was an open rebel against the Pallava authority and arrogance. Mayurasarma collected an army and routed the Pallava officers guarding the frontier and occupied the area of Sriparvata (Srisailam). He then subdued the Brihad-Bana and other kings and collected tributes from them. Unable to tame the power of Mayura, the Pallava rulers thought it wise to compromise with him and acknowledged his sway over the territory from the Western Ocean to Prehara. It also states that Mayurasharma was a native of Talagunda, (in present day Shimoga district) and his family got its name from the Kadamba tree that grew near his home.

Halmidi inscription of 450 is an evidence that Kadambas were the first rulers to use Kannada as an additional official administrative language. Three Kannada inscriptions from their early rule from Banavasi have been discovered, also several early Kadamba dynasty coins bearing the Kannada inscription Vira and Skandha was found in Satara collectorate. A gold coin of King Bhagiratha (390-415 CE) bearing the old Kannada legend Sri and Bhagi also exists. Recent discovery of 5th century Kadamba copper coin in Banavasi with Kannada script inscription Srimanaragi on it proves the usage of Kannada at the administrative level further.

The recently discovered Gudnapur inscription states that Mauryasharma's grandfather and preceptor was Virasarma and his father Bandhushena developed the character of a Kshatriya.

Administration of kingdom:
Dr. Mores has identified various cabinet and other positions in the kingdom from inscriptions. The prime minister (Pradhana), Steward (Manevergade), secretary of council (Tantrapala or Sabhakarya Sachiva), scholarly elders (Vidyavriddhas), physician (Deshamatya), private secretary (Rahasyadhikritha), chief secretary (Sarvakaryakarta), chief justice (Dharmadhyaksha) and other officials (Bhojaka and Ayukta).

The army consisted of officers like Jagadala, Dandanayaka and Senapathi.

The kingdom was divided into Mandalas (provinces) or Desha. Under a Mandala was Vishayas (districts). A total of nine Vishaya have been identified. Under a Vishaya were Mahagramas (Taluk) and Dashagramas (Hobli). Mahagrama had more villages than Dashagramas. Total one sixth of land produce was collected as tax. Taxes were collected as Perjunka (levy on load), Vaddaravula (social security tax for royal family), Bilkoda (salex tax), Kirukula (land tax), Pannaya (betel tax) and other professional taxes on traders etc.

The Kadamba dynasty was followers of Vedic Hinduism. The founder of the kadamba kingdom, Mayurasharma was a Brahmin by birth but later his successors changed their surname to Varma to indicate their Kshatriya status. Some Kadamba kings like Krishna Varma performed the horse sacrifice (Ashwamedha).

Inscription of Talagunda starts with an invocation of Lord Shiva, while the Halmidi and Banavasi inscriptions start with an invocation of Lord Vishnu. Madhukesvara temple built by Kadambas is considered as their family deity. Many records like the Kudalur, Sirsi records speak of grants made by them to scholarly Brahmins as well as made to Buddhist viharas.

The Kadambas also patronised Jainism. Several of the latter Kadamba kings adopted the Jainism, and built numerous Jain Basadis (temples) that are scattered around Banavasi, Belgaum, Mangalore and Goa. Kadamba Kings and Queens supported the literature, arts and liberal grants to temples and educational institutions. Adikavi Pampa highly spoke of this kingdom in his writings.

“Kadambotsava” or “The festival of Kadamba” feted every year by the Karnataka Government in remembrance of Kadamba empire.

Tambdi Surla temple

The contribution of the Kadambas to the architectural heritage of Karnataka is certainly worthy of recognition. The Kadamba style can be identified, but has a few things in common with the Chalukyan and the Pallava styles and some architectural tradition of the Satavahanas. The most prominent feature of their architecture their Shikara called Kadamba Shikara. The Shikara is pyramid shaped and rises in steps without any decoration with a Stupika or Kalasha at the top. The architecture of Shikara is used several centuries later in the Doddagaddavalli Hoysala temple and the Mahakuta temples at Hampi. Temples use perforated screen windows which is pointed out in architecture and sculpture which Kadambas contributed to the foundation of the later Chalukya-Hoysala style.

The Madhukeshwara temple (temple of Shiva) still exists in Banavasi which is built by Kadambas in 10th century and renovated many times. It is a very good piece of art. The stone cot with wonderful carvings is one of the main tourist attractions in the temple.
Doddagaddavalli Hoysala temple, the Mahakuta temples in Hampi, the Madhukeshwara (Lord Shiva) temple in Banavasi are noteworthy.

Kadamba Kingdom of Banavasi (345-525)
Banavasi is an ancient temple town in Uttara Kannada District bordering Shivamogga district in the south Indian state of Karnataka having main attraction of Madhukeshwara Temple built in the 9th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva the supreme God in Shaivism which is known as a major branch of Hinduism.

Recently a 5th century copper coin was discovered here with an inscription in the Kannada script which is considered as a one of the oldest coin ever discovered. The Directorate of Archaeology and Museums said that the coin's inscription in archaic Kannada proves beyond doubt that Banavasi had a mint in the 5th century. The coin's discovery supports those seeking classical status for the Kannada language.

Adikavi Pampa, the first poet of Kannada, wrote his epic poems in Banavasi.
The town once was the capital of the Kadamba rulers, an ancient royal dynasty of Karnataka. They established themselves there in A.D. 345 and ruled for two centuries.

Mayurasharma/ Mayurasharman/ Mayuravarma) (345 - 365 C.E)
According to Talagunda inscription Mayurasharma was a Vaidika Brahmin scholar who belonged to an orthodox Brahmana family which derived its descent from Hariti and belonged to the Manavya Gotra. The family was deeply devoted to the Vedic studies and the performance of Vedic sacrifices. The Kadamba tree that grew near their house gave the family its name. He was the son of Bandhushena, grandson of his guru (teacher) Veerasharma and a student at the Agrahara (place of learning) in Talagunda(in modern Shimoga district). The Gudnapur inscription further confirms Mayurasharma's parentage and that he acquired the character of a Kshatriya. He was the founder of the Kadamba Kingdom of Banavasi. It was the earliest native kingdom to rule over state Karnataka.

Talagunda inscription also tells that Mayurasharma went to Kanchi the capital of the Pallavas to pursue his Vedic studies accompanied by his guru and grandfather Veerasharma. Kanchi was an important Ghatikasthana (centre of learning) at that time. There, having been humiliated by a Pallava guard (horseman), in a rage Mayurasharma gave up his Brahminic studies and took to the sword to avenge which can be concluded as a successful rebellion of Brahmins against the domination of the Kshatriya power as wielded by the Pallavas of Kanchi.

Mayurasharma first succeeded in establishing himself in the forests of Shriparvata (possibly modern Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh) by defeating the Antharapalas (guards) of the Pallavas and subduing the Banas of Kolar. The Pallavas under Skandavarman were unable to contain Mayurasharma and recognised him as a sovereign in the regions from the Amara Ocean (Western Ocean) to Prehara (Malaprabha River). Some historians feel that Mayurasharma was initially appointed as a commander (dandanayaka) in the army of the Pallavas, as the inscription uses such terms as Senani and calls Mayurasharma Shadanana (six-faced god of war). After a period of time, due of the confusion caused by the defeat of Pallava Vishnugopa by Samudragupta (Allahabad inscriptions), Mayurasharma formed his kingdom at Banavasi (near Talagunda) as his capital. It is also known that in other battles, Mayurasharma defeated the Traikutas, Abhiras, Sendrakas, Pallavas, Pariyathrakas, Shakasthana, the Maukharis and Punnatas.

To celebrate his successes, Mayurasharma performed many horse sacrifices and granted 144 villages (known as Brahmadeyas) to Brahmins of Talagunda. With an effort to rejuvenate the ancient Brahminic faith and to perform the royal rituals and the related functions of the empirical government, Mayurasharma invited many learned Vaidika Brahmins from Ahichchathra in northern India. The Havyaka Brahmins claim descent from these early Brahmin settlers of the 4th century.

Kangavarma (365 - 390)
Mayurasarma was succeeded by his son Kangavarma in C.365 A.D.He changed the family name from Sharma to Verma. He had to suffer the discomfiture of losing a portion of the Kuntala to the powerful Vakatakas.

Bagitarha (390 - 415)
He was Kangaverma’s son and successor of Kadambas. He is said to have retrieved the losses of the family, although the Vakataka inscriptions do not substantiate this proud claim.

Raghu (415 - 435)
Bagitarha’s son Raghu succeeded him, and after a hectic rule is said to have lost his life in a contest against the Pallavas. He died childless.

Kakusthavarma (435 - 455)
Raghu’s younger brother, Kakustha Varma succeeded him. He had functioned as a Yuvaraja, came to the throne. Dr. G. M. Moraes thinks that under him the "Kadamba Empire reached the acme of its greatness". The Talagunda inscription hails him as "the ornament of the Kadamba Family". He is described as a "formidable warrior" who defied every danger. His political influence is reflected in the fact that he was able to conclude matrimonial alliances with many prominent ruling families of the day. The Talagunda inscription states that he maintained such relationship with the imperial Guptas. It is possible that Kakusthavarma's daughter was married to Kumara Gupta's son, Skanda Gupta. His daughter Ajjhitabhattarika was married to the Vakataka ruler, Narendrasena. Similar alliances were concluded with the Bhatari chief, the Alupas and the Gangas. It extended the Kadamba influence among a number of ruling powers. The Halsi plates and the Hamidi inscription refer to the abilities, industry and magnanimity of Kakusthavarma, and tributes to his greatness.

After Kakusthavarma, the Kadamba Kingdom was divided between his two sons, Santivarma and Krishna Varma I, who commenced their independent rule simultaneously at Banavasi and Triparvata respectively.

Santivarma (455 -460)
Santivarma was associated with his father's administration, had a brief reign.

Mrigeshavarma (460 - 480)
He was the eldest son of Santivarm and the successor. . He crossed his sword against the Gangas and the Pallavas, married a princess from the Kekeyi family, and earned a reputation as impartial administrator of justice.

Shivamandhativarma (480 – 485)
After the death of Mrigeshavarma his brother Shivamandhativarma acted as a regent to the Mrigeshavarma’s son Ravivarma.

Ravivarma (485 – 519)
He was the son of Mrigeshavarma and the successor who came to the throne in C. 485 A. D. His rule was marked by a series of clashes against the Triparvata branch of the family, and also against the Pallavas and the Gangas. He is also credited with a victory against the Vakatakas, which extended his Kingdom as far north as the river Narmada and consisted of most of Karnataka, Goa and Southern areas of present day Maharashtra.

Harivarma (519 – 525)
After the death of Ravivarma in C. 519, he was succeeded by his son Harivarma. Harivarma’s brief, undistinguished rule was brought to an end by Krishnavarma II of the Triparvata line. But, by then, the Kadamba power had been considerably weakened by many political and economic forces, and was soon eclipsed by the growing power of the Chalukyas and the Pallavas. He was a contemporary of the Chalukyan king Pulakeshi who set up his kingdom at Badami.

kingdom of Triparvatha
Capital Triparvata founded by Krishna Varma is identified as Halebid by Dr. G. M. Moraes and as Murgod in Belgaum district by K. P. Pathak.

Krishnavarma I (455)
He was the son of Kakushtavarma. He was the founder of Triparvata branch of the Kadambas, who was an energetic and a successful ruler. He performed the Aswamedha sacrifice.

Vishnuvarma( 445-475), Simhavarma(475-510) and Krishna Varma II (510-540)
After Krishnavarma I, rulers like Vishnuvarma, Simhavarma and Krishnavarma II managed the affairs of the Triparvata branch. They fought wars against the Banavasi branch, which must have led to considerable exhaustion, and that in turn, led to the decline of the Kadamba power. Krishnavarma defeated Harivarma of the Kadambas and merged the families. He was killed by Pulakeshi.

Ajayvarma (540-550)
Ajayvarman had to submit to Chalukya king Pulakeshi. He was having two sons Bhogivarma and VishwavarmaII.

This was the end of Kadamba kingdom. Bhogivarma and Vishwavarma II however continued as individual chiefs, feudatories.

File:Hangal Tarakeshwara temple half (back).jpg
Hangal Tarakeshwara Temple

Kadambas of Hangal (980-1031)
Hangal was also called as Hanungal. It is a town in Haveri district in the state of Karnataka. It is on the left bank of the Dharma River, and has ruins of some fortification on the river bank. The town has a huge Tarakeshwara temple as well as other temples like Ganesha temple, Virabhadra, Billeshwara and Ramalinga are the important temples, and a famous Veerashaiva Kumaraswami matha.

Hangal was the capital of the Hangal Kadambas. It is mentioned as Panungal in early records and identified by tradition with Viratanagara of Mahabharata days.

Chattadeva was the founder of Kadambas of Hangal. He was a feudatory of the western Chalukyas. The Western Chalukyas (in 973) rose to power by defeating the Rashtrakutas with the help of Kadambas. Then Kadambas chief Chatta Deva was allowed by Taila II to rule Banavasi, he (during 980 - 1031 AD), consolidated his domain in the western Tungabhadra river basin under Chalukya shelter.

Chatta Deva’s successors enjoyed considerable independence and were almost sovereign rulers of Goa and Konkan till 14th century AD. The successors of Chatta Deva occupied both Banavasi and Hangal and are known as Kadambas of Hangal.

Hangal attained significance under the Kalyani Chalukyas who were the chief powers in the Deccan (10th - 12th century), and was later comes under the Hoysalas with the decline of the Chalukyas. Bileshwara temple at hangal is in the Hoysala style.

Kadambas started reigning the upper part of Tungabhadra basin from its capital in Banavasi soon after the Chutus were thrown out of power. Around 5th century, they had their capital at Dwarasmudra and had expanded the terriroty to Cauvery basin. Their northern frontier was bordered to the river Krishna. At around 530 AD, they lost part of their region to the feudatory Pulakesin –I, the Chalukya of Badami. It was during Ajayvarma Kadamba, they were made to acknowledge their suzerainty to the Chalukyas. In 607 AD, the Kadambas were extinguished by Pulakeshi II and thur earlier Kadamba dynasty ceased to exist once for all, either leaving no traces of their coinage or with the unattributed coins.

Kadambas of Hangals rulers:
Irivabedangadeva (967-980)
Irivabedangadeva was a feodary of Chalukyas. He distinguished himself against Rashtrakutas. He re-established Kadamba dynasty.

Chattadeva (980-1031)
Chattadeva was the son of Irivabedabgadeva. He distinguished himself against Cholas.

Jayasimha (1031-1037)
Jayasimha was the son of Chattadeva, married to Akkadevi from the Chalukya kings. He lost his life in one of the battles against the Cholas.

Mayurvarma II (1037-1048)
Mayurvarma II was the son of Jayasimha. Reigned peacedfully. Died Childless.

Toyimadeva or Taila I (1048-1075)
Brother of Mayurvarma. He helped to rule by his mother Akkadevi. He fought against the Cholas. During Toyimadeva's (Taila) reign, the capital was moved from Banavasi to Hangal. He issued first die struck gold coins. These coins are similar in weight and size to Kadambas of Goa. Compared to Goa Kadambas, coins of Kadambas of Hangal are relatively scarce and never been studied in greater details.

Son of Taila I. He was previously governor of Banavasi, and became the ruler of Banavasi. He fought against his uncle Santivarma, eventually reconciled for Banavasi. He fought and lost against combined might of Kadambas of Goa and Chalukyas, when he tried to extend his boundries and ended up becoming a feudatory of Chalukyas.

Shantivarma or Santivarma (1075-1094)
He was the youngest brother of Taila I at Hangal, had a dispute with his brother’s son Kirtivarma. However he continued as ruler of Hangal after intervention of the Goa Kadamba king Jayakeshi I. Kirtivarma was given Banavasi.

Taila II (1094-1116)
Son. After the death of Kirtivarma of Banavasi, Taila II remerged both the kingdoms of Hangal and Banavasi. He formed a alliance with Pandya's of Uchchangi through marital knot, which further empowered him to sustain his power against Hoysala's troubles atleast for some time. But later, Vishnuvardhana Hoysala battled with him and captured both Banavasi and Hangal. He assisted the Pandyas against Hossala, Pandyas lost and the Hoysala (Vishnuvardhana) ire fell on Kadambas. They captured Banavasi and late Hangal. Taila-II was put to death by Vishnuvardhana and Pandyas of Uchchangi ceased to exist anymore.

Taila III (1116-1130)
Son. Resistance against Hoysala continued.

Mayurvarma III (1130-1132)

Brother. Hoysala drove out the Hoysalas.

Tailama (1146-1151)

Kirtideva (1151-1180)

Kamadeva (1180-1217)
Son. There was a battle between Kalachuri and Hoysalas which was strong enough to deteriorate their powers, and Kamadeva was a opportunist to ascend the throne independently. Later, during Chalukya's restoration, he acknowledged the suzerainty to Chalukyas. But the subsequent fall of Chalukyas by the Yadavas made him to change over the acknowledgement of suzerainty to Yadavas. In 1310, the crushing defeat of Yadavas in the hand of Ala-al-din Mohammad Khilji, the Yadavas ceased to exist and so the Kadambas of Hangal. Kadamba family was still in picture by ruling ruins of the kingdom, as witnessed by the inscriptions which mentions the ruler Purandara of Hangal Kadamba family.

Mallideva (1217-1252)

Ramadeva (1252-1260)

Kavadeva (1260-1315)
Nephew. Son of Mallideva.

Purandara raya (1315-1347)

Kadambas of Goa:
It was a sub branch that ruled Goa for around 300 years during the reign of Kadambadynasty in early 11th century, minted one of the finest example of medieval Indian coinage. The rulers of this dynasty often took the title, Malava-rama-ri which means rulers/conquerors of Malava (perhaps Malvan region of Konkan).

During this time Goa took shape as a distinct political entity for the first time. There were fourteen rulers amongst the Kadambas of Goa, which were Guhaaldeva III, Jayakeshi II, Shivachitta, Vishnuchitta, Jayakeshi III.

Under Jayakeshi II the Kadamba rule reached its peak and this is testified by the gold coins that are stamped with their lion crest. Until 1310 Chandrapur was made their capital and after that it was shifted on the banks of the Zuari River to a new port city called Govepure or Gopakapattanam Today’s Goa Velha where the ruins of their port still exist. After the death of Jayakeshi III, the Kadambas of Goa became vassals of the Yadavas of Devagiri Yadavas appointed a puppet king in Goa by the name of Kamadeva who managed to survive till 1313 AD. Kadambas lost power in 1334 AD. For six years there was chaos until the Bahamani muslim rulers annexed Goa.

List of Kadambas of Goa
He was a Chalukyan feudatory

Nagavarma was son and successor of Kantakacharya. He was proficient in political science and Vedas.

Guhaladeva I
Son. He was a powerful king and was an ally of south Silharas.

Shasthadeva I or Chaturbhuja(996-980)
Son. Contemporary of Irivabedanga of Hangal Kadamba. He fought along with Chalukyas and the other Kadambas against Rashtrakutas. His capital was Chandrapura or Chandor.

Guhaladeva II (980-1005)
Son. He extended boundries towards the Western Ghats.

Shasthadeva II (1005-1050)
Son. Captured Konkan, Goa from the Northern Silhars and made them his vassals.

Jayakeshi I (1050-1080)
Son. Made Gopakapattana (Goa) his capital after killing the rebel N.Silhara king of Kapardidwipa. Defeated the Chandas and the Cholas. His daughter was married to Chalukya king Vikramaditya.

Guhaladeva III (1080-1100)

Vijayaditya I (1100-1104)

Jayakeshin II (1104-1147/8)
Son. Many conquests Kadamba Goa rule at its zenith.

Permadi (1147/8-1181)

Vijayaditya II (1147/8-1187/8)

Jayakeshin III (1187/8-1216)
Son. Vassals of Yadavas of Devagiri.


Shasthadeva III
Son. A daughter married to Kamadeva (1260-1310)
Son ? (1310/1-1328)
Son? (1328-1340)

Kadambas of Bayalnad

Kadamba Bayalnad emerged as a rule in the 11th century. The Cholas had just then subdued the Gangas of Talakad and brought their dynasty to an end. Kadambas under their chief Raviyammarasa seem to have formed for themselves an independent kingdom in Bayalnad. One of these kings made the city of Kirttipura in Punnad Ten thousand their capital as per one inscription. This province which lays claim to a well-known antiquity thus became the principality of the Kadmbas.

Kadambas of Bayalnad bore all the titles that usually accompany Kadamba rulers like mahamandalesvara rajadhiraja, means from royal dynasty. They were independent kings. Inscriptions attribute to them the lion seal, the monkey flag and the bull signet, the last of which was the dynastic symbol of Pallavas.

Their kings style himself “the boon lord of Dvaravatipura”. This city was the last capital of Hoysala Monarchs, known in the history as Dvarasmudra or Dorasamudra which was Triparvata.

He was the first ruler of the dynasty; the period was end of the tenth century and the beginning of the eleventh. We do not hear of any successors of Raviyammarasa for a period of seventy years. This long gap in their history is perhaps due to the fact that they were defeated and disposed of their kingdom by the Cholas.

With the fall of Cholas however the Kadambas of Bayalnad again appear as rulers of their old province. Ancient city of Kirttipura was the capital of the Kadambas of Bayalnad.

Kadavamma (1079/83)
Kadavamma ruled over a fairly extensive kingdom. It extended in the east as far as Budapadi which is probably Budikote in Betmangala Taluqua, Kolar District. In the north it included kikki-nad, with probably kikere in the Mysore district for its capital; in the west it seems to have embraced part of Kerala and in the south it stretched into the Tamil country, of which division Terumangala was the administrative headquarters.

The sudden emergence of the kadambas as rulers of this vast kingdom in the south is not at all strange; however Kandavamma gathered the scattered remnants of the old and fallen Chola Empire, and brought them under this royal scepter.

Kanthirava (1090)
He was the successor and son of kandavarmma. He has described as a ruling Chagi-Bayalnad. The vast kingdom was reduced in size by incessant encroachments pf the Hoysala chiefs.

He was the successor. He is associated with the government of Bira-Bayalnad, which was another part of the Bayalnad province.

Mahamandalesvara Mukkanna Kadamba was the last rule of this line with which history is acquainted.
Information later Kadambas of Bayalnad is not available after this for centuries until the name of a feudatory chieftain (Sangama Dynasty, Vijaynagar), by the name of Immadi Kadamba Raya Vodeyayya appears.

Kadambas of Belur
It was a branch of Kadamba dynasty that profited by the decline of the power of the Gangas in the beginning of the 11th century. This dynsty is generally known as the Dynasty of the Manjarabad Kadambas. The old Kadamba ruler of this province had their capital little westwards at a place now called Hale-Belur. Kadambasara was the first king of this line seems to have availed himself of the weakness of the central government to establish an independent kingdom to the east of the Ganga dominions. He was very likely a descendant of the old Kadamba line of the Dakshinapatha, Belur Kadambas were closely related to this branch.

The Kadambas of Belur were the ancestors of the Rajas of Coorg. The puranic account of the foundation of the state and Monarchy of Coorg, given in the kaveri-Mahatmya connects it with a prince named Chandravarmma the son of a king of the Matsya country, who was succeeded by his son Deva-kanta. Now Matsya has been identified with Hangal, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that Chandravarmma was a Kadamba prince. He was probably the son of Krishnavarmma II who after transferring his government to Banavasi, appointed Chandravarmma viceroy of the Dakshinapatha, of which Triparvata was the capital. During the weak rule of Ajavarmma, this Chandravarmma probably freed himself of the control of the Banavasi ruler and established heredity succession at Tripura.

The Kadambas of Belur had the usual titles of the Kadambas. They were called mahamandalesvaras, the boon-lords of Banavasipura. They were worshipper of Shiva. Their dynastic symbol seems to have been the peacock.

Kadambasara (1000 A.D.)
First king of Kadambas of Belur lineage.

Niti-maharaja (1015?-1035)
He was the successor of Kadambasara. He passed away on A.D.1035.

Changinripala (1035-1070)

Dudharasa (died in 1095)
He was the next successor of Belur. And can be concluded as an independent king by the inscriptions. He was having two queens. His first queen Chilkala-devi requested him to built a Chatram for the Brahmans and brought some uncultivated land under cultivation. His second wife was mother of his three sons, stthiga-nripa, Changi-maharaja, and Dayasimha. She was daughter of Banki-Balarita and Karavati Cheluveyarasi. He was succeeded by his youngest son Dayasimha.

He acknowledged the suzerainty of the Chalukyas, and bore the title of Tribhuvanamalla. This indicates that he was the feudatory of the latter.

No information about later kingdom is available. Probably the kingdom came under the Hoysala dynasty(under Vinayaditya).

Kadambas of Nagarkhanda
Nagarkhanda is the district to the north-east if Banavasi. It is described as a country surrounded with leafy woods like the ring round the eyes of a girl or noted for its betel vines, and the fruit of its areca palms and orange trees in the inscriptions.

Kadambas of Nagarkhanda claimes to be the descendents of Mayuravarmma. They have titled themselves “the boon lords of Banavasi-pura”. Their capital was Bandhavapura. Their family god was Shiva.

During the first few years the Kadambas of Hangal did not acknowledge the suzerainty o the Kalachuri kings, which led them into a war with the kadambas. So may be the reason Kalachuryas helped Soma-deva in declaring himself independent of his overlord. In an inscription of 1159 Soma-deva is mentioned as a immediate subordinate of the Kalachuryas. So may be in the course of war between the Kadambas and the Kalachuryas the latter conquered the Banavasi province and probably handed it over to Soyi-deva which was the year 1165 as per the inscription.

Kings of Kadambas of Nagarkhanda
He was the first king of this branch. He was related to the main branch of Kadambas by the records of his grandson Soyi-deva. He was enjoying the independent kingdom as the record describe him as a “the sole ruler of the world”. His wife Kalala-devi was described in the inscription as “an abode of learning” and “ to her dependents a cow of plenty”.

Boppa-deva/ Boppasara (1112-1138 A.D.)
Son and successor of Bammasara. The inscription mentioned him “as in great bravery like Arjun, in liberty like Karna, in purity like Bhimsa”. In his reign the Nagarkhanda Kadambas lost their independence. A record refers of him to Tailapa II of the Hangal Kadamba dynasty as his overlord. As per the inscriptions he was partly a contemporary of Tailapa and Boppasara’s son in A.D.. 1139 survived his overlord.

Soma-deva/ Soyi-deva
Soma-deva was the son of Boppasara and Sri-devi. He was the officer in charge of the Nagarkhanda Seventy under Madhukasara of the Hangal Kadamba kings. He soon freed himself of the control of his liege lords. In an inscription of 1159, Soma-deva is noted as subordinate of the Kalachuri kingdom. An inscription connect soyi-deva with the Kalachuryas by telling us that the whole Kadamba family sprang from a Kalachurya King named Soma. He proceeded against the Santara king Jaga-deva under the orders of his over-lord Bijjala. He challenged the Changalva king and put him into chains. For his bravery he acquired the titles of Kadamba Rudra, Gandaradavani, mandalika Bhairava, Nigalanka-malla, and Satya-pataka. Malla-deva’s queen Padumala-devi having become hostile to Soyi-devi. He was having two wives, one was Lichchala-devi , who bore a son named Boppan and other wife was Malala-devi, who bore a daughter called Lichchala-devi.

He was successor of Soma-deva. During his reign the Kadambas of Nagarkhanda transferred their allegiance to the Hoysalas. The inscription of Boppa refers to Ballala as the overlord of the former. It says that Sankama-deva, the general of Boppa forces marched away and joined the king Ballala.

He was the son of Boppa-deva and the successor. He was the feudatory of the Hoysala king Vira-Bailala II by the inscription of 1204.

From the inscription 1207 concluded that the kingdom was deprived of their territories at about this period. The Hoysala appointed a certain Malli-deva of the Kaysapa gotra as the governor of Nagarkhanda Seventy and he made the city of Bandhavapura his capital. The family of Nagarkhanda would have a long ceased to posses this province. A grant about 1235 mentions a king named Kadambaraya probably belong to this dynasty.
In 1412, there is a reference of Madhukanna (son of Kadamba Soyidevrasa of Bandalike),his son Baicharasa ,son in law Surappa being slain in a battle. Probably they were the last of the Nagarkhanda Kadambas.

Kadambas of Uchchangi
They were only titular kings of Banavasi, as the real power was with the Hangal Kadambas (who in turn were feudatories of the Chalukyas.

Ajavarmmarasa first king in this dynasty.987-1032 AD.
Manneya Ghatiyarrasa (1049)
Bancharasa deva (1110)
Between 1110-45 the kingdom was captured by Pandyas (Tribhuvanamalla Pandya).Kadambas of Uchchcangi became their vassals.Pandyas wered defeated by the Hoysalas. After the death of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, Pandyas (Vijaya Pandya) reconquered the kingdom and once again made Kadambas of Uchchangi their representatives in that kingdom of Uchchangi.
Ketarasa (1146)
Nagatinripala (son)1171
Harirasa (brother)
Pandyas were again overthrown by Hoysala king Vir Ballala II, consequently eclipsing the rule of their feudatories , the Kadambas of Uchchcangi as well.

Kadambas of Kalinga
They began as small revenue officers of the Gangas but were later given large regions to administer. They ruled a small principality , Panchavishaya (region of five districts) under the overlordship of the Ganga kings of Kalinga. they also had matrimonial relations with the Gangas. They were also known as the Khedis.
Bhamakhedi AD 1054
Dharmakhedi (son)
Udayadityadeva (son)1181
Mahasamata Nagakhedi last known ruler.

Halmidi inscription with Buddhist wheel at the top.