Episode 6: North India from 200 BC to 200 AD

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The History of the Indian sub-continent continues.  Shrikanth and Maneesh are joined by Jay Vardhan Singh to talk about all things North of the Vindhyas in the period 200 BC to 200 AD. Tales of Bactrians in modern day central India, descendants of King Ashoka and of a king whose name ended up on an unfortunate Aircraft. Kalyan, a suburb of Mumbai, makes an appearance too.

@shrikanth_krish   @jayvtweets  @maneesht

References and Source Material:

1. Between the Empires: Society in India 300 BCE to 400 CE by Patrick Olivelle (Editor)
2. The age of imperial unity (The history and culture of the Indian people Vol 2)
3. Comprehensive History of India Vol.2, The Mauryas and the Satavahanas, Edited by K. A. Nilakanta Sastra
4. Political History of Ancient India, from the Accession of Parikshit to the Extinction of the Gupta Dynasty by Hem Chandra Raychaudhuri

1. Aśoka and the decline of the Mauryas by Romila Thapar

1. The Indo-Greeks by A. K. Narain
2. The Greek Experience of India: From Alexander to the Indo-Greeks by Richard Stoneman
3. The Greeks in India by George Woodcock
4. The Yavana Invader of the Gangetic Basin by Kailash Chandra Ojha (ARTICLE)

1. History of Civilization of Central Asia, Vol – II
2. The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia by René Grousset, Naomi Walford
3. The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans by John M. Rosenfield
4. ReOrienting the Sasanians: East Iran in Late Antiquity by Khodadad Rezakhani
5. The Age of the Parthians Edited By The Idea of Iran Volume II Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis and Sarah Stewart
6. The Khyber Pass: A History of Empire and Invasion by Paddy Docherty
7. Empires of Ancient Eurasia: The First Silk Roads Era, 100 BCE – 250 CE by Craig Benjamin
8. Mathurā: The Cultural Heritage
9. India under the Kushanas by B.N. Puri
10. From the Kushans to the Western Turks by Khodadad Rezakhani (ARTICLE)

1. Formative Phase of the Western Deccan Satavahanas and Kshaharatas by Ajay Mitra Shastri (ARTICLE)
2. Satavahana Chronology: A Re-examination by M. K. Dhavalikar (ARTICLE)

1. Epigraphica Indica Vol. XX
2. The Mahameghavahana dynasty by Shri Amar Chand (ARTICLE)
3. Bahasatimita of the Hathigumpha inscription by N.K Sahu (ARTICLE)

The article of Vidya Dahejia

Reference of Indian Steel exported to Rome

“Age of Imperial Unity”  – Volume 2 in the series on “History and Culture of the Indian People”. Jai has covered it in his list
Age of the Kushanas – A Numismatic study (Bhaskar Chatopadhyay)
A blogpost on Spitzer manuscript that we discussed in the call –
Geography – by Strabo
Book of Later Han
Yuga Purana – John E Mitchiner
Malavikagnimitram – Kalidasa
Manusmriti with commentary of Medathiti – Ganganatha Jha
The Questions of King Milinda
Inscriptions –
Hathigumpha inscription of Kharavela : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hathigumpha_inscription
Yavanarajya inscription of Mathura : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yavanarajya_inscription
Kanishka’s Rabatak inscription : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabatak_inscription
Heliodorus inscription on Garuda Pillar : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliodorus_pillar



11 thoughts on “Episode 6: North India from 200 BC to 200 AD”

    1. As i have said , as soon as a S-Indian crosses Vindhyas, he shoots his shot, and thinks of himself as a bona fide Punjabi. 😛

      1. Well, at least you admit that they would much rather fancy themselves as a steppe rich Punjabi than a Bimaru resident. Now, if we could get you to admit Cow belt’s BC&sOBCs are very low in the Steppe Race Hierarchy, we’d be making some progress.

        1. LOL, as Lalu Yadav once famously said, ‘I don’t care who happens to be Chanakya, as long I am Chandragupta’. Similarly we Gangetic folks don’t care about winning ‘Steppe Race’ but actual political power.

          But yes, you folks can keep on fighting and winning ‘Steppe Race’ or whatever 🙂

          1. “we Gangetic folks don’t care about winning ‘Steppe Race’”
            Could’ve fooled me! All i see you do is shit on S-Indians for lacking the steppe language that makes one “more” Hindu in your eyes.

            “you folks can keep on fighting and winning ‘Steppe Race’”
            Hey, you’re the one with the “less” and “More” Hindu concepts, not me.

  1. They patronized Indo Aryan language no ? Anyways MH has an sort of identity crisis whether it’s North or South Indian.

    Satavahanas came up here cause they sacked Patliputra and fought for decades with Kshatrapas.

    1. Lele Bhau

      What would pinch a Marathi more, being called a S-Indian or a N-Indian? I know, you know the answer. 🙂

    2. @gaurav
      Hard to think of a south indian polity that didn’t patronize indo-aryan languages. Satavahanas could be thought of as predecessors of most deccan polities. Their early capitals were in present day telangana prior to moving up the godavari to pratisthana. They were also known as “andhras” and its speculated that the ruling house were native speakers of proto-telugu. That said, not sure if linguistic categories alone determine cultural geographic classification. My test is, if your womenfolk wear flowers in their hair, you might be southern. 🙂

    3. We didn’t cover Satavahanas to be honest in this podcast

      They will be covered in the next podcast as well

  2. Koenraad Elst has been quite vocal in disputing the self-perception of the “hoary oral tradition”. Writing has been mentioned quite clearly in the 10th Mandala of the Rgveda. A few data points he collected –

    1. Rgveda mentions a cow having a “ashta-karni” – a ear shaped like 8.

    2. Atharva-veda mentions a holder for the Vedas as a “chest” – clearly a device for holding texts in their physical form.

    3. Satapatha Brahmana mentions the word “trya-likita” – thrice written down.

    Its slightly jarring to pretend that the Vedic composers did not use the mechanism of recording while composing. This would make them extraordinary shape rotators.

    Brahmi scripts make use of diacritics, which are conveniently called matra’s from Sanskrit – clearly a descriptor loan – which must have predated Brahmi.

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