Sources for the study of Satavahana rulers can be classified into various heads. They include; Puranas, Buddhist texts, Jain texts, indigenous and foreign texts, coins and inscriptions. Here under find all the information about the sources of the Satavahana Dynasty accordingly.
Satavahana dynasty sources in Puranas
Matsya purana, Vishnu purana, vaayu purana, brahmanda purana gives valuable information about the rule of satavahana dynasty. In puranas the satavahanas were mentioned as andhras. According to vayu purana, 17 kings of satavahanas ruled for 300 years. According to matsya purana, 30 kings ruled this dynasty for 450 years. Other puranas such as Vishnu purana, bhagavata purana mentions that this satavahana dynasty ruled for 456 years altogether.
Satavahana dynasty sources in Buddhist texts
Buddist jataka tales have got good information about the dynasty of satavahanas. Nasik cave temple, karle cave temple and kanheri cave temple of Buddhists during the period of satavahanas gives information about the rule of satavahanas. Chaityas and stupas found in battiprolu, nagarjuna konda and amaravati gives information about the satavahanas.
Satavahana dynasty sources in Jain texts
Dwatramsika Puttalika is a Jain text that has got information about the satavahana ruler Srimukha. It makes a mention that Srimukha is the founder of the satavahana dynasty. It also gives an account that Srimukha, the founder of satavahana dynasty patronized Jainism and he himself followed the Jain religion. There is also information which states that during Srimukha reign Kolanupaka in Andhra Pradesh in an important holy place for Jains.
Literary sources for the study of Satavahana dynasty
Kathasaritsagaram was written by Somadevasuri made a mention about the satavahana dynasty for the first time.
Bruhat katha of Gunadya, Kamasutra of vatsayana, Katanatra vyakaranam of Sarva Varma, Leelavati parinayam of Kuthuhala, Bruhatkatha Manjari of Kshemendra, Bruhatkatha Sokam of Hari Sena have got references about the satavahana dynasty.
Kamasutra of vatsayana has got information about the satavahana ruler Kuntala Satakarni.
Megasthenes who wrote Indica also has given some references about the satavahana dynasty. Megasthenes made a mention about the satavahana administration in his book Indica. He also stated that there were 30 towns in the kingdom of satavahana.
Pliny who wrote Natural History also made a mention about the satavahanas. Information about the Satavahana dynasty and their trade with the Roman Empire was mentioned in his book Natural History.
Periplus of Erythrean Sea was a book written by a sailor has got information about the rule of satavahanas. Guide to Geography of Ptolemy also has got information about the rule of satavahanas. Si-Yu-Ki of Hiuen Tsang also has got information about the satavahana dynasty.
Inscription sources for the study of Satavahana dynasty
Nanaghat inscription and Nasik inscription were the two inscriptions that have got very good information about the satavahanas. Nanaghat inscription was issued by Devi Naganika in which she made a mention about her husband Satakarni I and his reign. Nasik inscription was issued by Gautami Balasri in which she gave information about her son, Gautami Putra Satakarni and his reign.
Hatigumpa inscription of Karavela, Girnar inscription of Rudradaman, Erragudi inscription of Ashoka, Mekadhoni inscription of Pulomavi III were the other inscriptions that has got good information about the rule of satavahanas.
The language used in the inscriptions issued by satavahanas was Prakrit and the script they used was Bramhi.
Coin sources for the study of Satavahana dynasty
Satavahana coins were mostly excavated in the regions of Deccan Plateau. They were mainly made up of Potin, silver, and lead. Coins made up of lead were dominant during this period.
Karshapanas were a kind of coins used by satavahana rulers. Karshapanas were coins made up of copper and silver. One gold coin is equal to 35 karshapanas.
Early satavahana rulers used Prakrit on their coins. The later satavahana rulers and last kings of satvahana dynasty used Tamil also on their coins. Most common symbols found on the coins of satavahana rulers were a horse, elephant, lion, bull/ox and Buddhist chaityas.
In Kotilingala of Karimnagar district the coins of Srimukha and Satakarni I were excavated. Coins of Srimukha and Satakarni I were excavated in Kanheri also. Coins excavated in Kondapur of Medak district has a not over them which reads as Siri Chimukha Saata. In Vinukonda of Srikakulam district many coins of satavahana dynasty were excavated.
Coins and inscriptions of Gautami Putra Satakarni were excavated in the regions of Gantasala and Amaravati. The statue of Gautami Putra Satakarni was also found in Amaravati. Coins of Gautami Putra Satakarni were found in Nagarjuna Konda area also. Also, in the same place the instruments used to mint the coins were excavated.
Coins of Satakarni I have got reference of Ashwamedha Yaga. Coins of Satakarni I and Gautami Putra Satakarni hava got the picture of the city Ujjaini struck upon them. Some coins of satakarni I have got struck with his face over them.
Coins of Yagyasri Satakarni have got the symbol of ship yard struck over them which symbolizes that the satavahana rulers have got trade relations with their foreign contemporary dynasties.