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Saka-satavahana Conflict

1. There is controversy about the name 'Sakas'. Some hold the view that they were probably. One branch of them was known as kshabaratas. Some say Nahapana was a pahlava and Ghasmotika the father of Chashtana was Scythian. It was from the Gupta period that the name 'saka' came to be applied to this family of people.

2. The one reason that was responsible for the southward thrust of the sakas was the Kushan pressure from the north.

3. To begin with they established themselves in western Rajputana, Gujarat and Kathiawad. Then they took malva and even northern Maharashtra from the Satavahanas. At one time they even got southern Maharashtra as far as Vijayanti from the Satavahanas.

4. The earliest known king of the Kshaharatas, a branch of the Sakas, was Bhumaka. He ruled over Gujarat, Kathiawad and north Konkancoins belonging to him are found.

5. His successor was Nahapana-title Raja-numerous coins-advanced at the expense of Satavahanas-this advance began five years before the end of Nahapana's rule. After Nahapana defeated the Satavahana he assumed the title of Maha Kshatrapa. A Jaina work mentions Broach as the capital of Nahapana.

6. Ushavadata was the general and son-in-law of Nahapana and he succeeded him as the Saka ruler. He took western deccan including Malva. It is not known whether Paithan, the capital of Satavahanas was lost or not. He defeated Satavahana rulers were Sundara Satakarni, Chakora Satakarni and Siva sati.

It is interesting to note that Ushavadata following Puranic Hinduism gve cows to brahmins - visited Pushiar - gave religious benefactions - also gave viallages to Buddhists - Saka country was divided into districts.

7. It was Gautamiputra Satakarni who revived the glories of Satavahanas. He defeated the successor of Nahapana, Ushavadata was killed. Some say that he defeated Nahapana. Also a Jaina work speaks of Nahapana's defeat and death at the hands of Satavahanas. The coins of Nahapana were re-issued by Gautamiputra Satakarni. Some land grants also confirm this victory. It is said that the Satavahana king made preparations for 16 years to defeat the Sakas.

8. The coflict was re-opened during the days of Pulumayi II, the king after Gautamiputra Satakarni, as well as, Sri Pulumayi.

9. After this Ghamotika appeared on the stage who ruled over Kathiwad. His successor, Ghashtana also infliceted defeats on the Satavahanas. Rudraman too defeated the Satavahanas. The victory of Rudraman and Ghastana around 150 A.D. (cofirmed by Junagarh inscription) mad the Patavahanas lose all their northern conquests.


(1) The conflict between the Sakas and Satavahanas was inevitable as such conflicts were natural in feudal times. Probably the Sakas were perforce dieven to expand southward because of the establishment of Kushan empire. The Saka-Satavahana conflict was because of the basic factors working in the political dynamic of the day.

(2) The Sakas issued coins of great artistic value. Gatuamiputra Satakarni re-issued the coins of Nahapana. In other words, the Sakas had a better artistic sense.

(3) Evidence shows that the Sakas introduced new ideas and institutions in south-silver coins, free use of Sanskrit and Vigorour patronage of Buddhists and brahmins. Kshaharatas used Khoreshthi - alphabet of extreme north-west.

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