Administration of Satavahana Kingdom

The administration of Satavahanas can be studied from the inscriptions found at Nasik and Usmangarh. The Arthashastra of Kautilya, Kamasutra of Vatsayana and the Dharmasastra of Manu also have some references for the administration of Satavahanas. Their administration is somewhat similar to the administration of the Mauryan Empire. However, some changes were made to the position of the king from human to superhuman and many titles were honored upon him as well. Eventually, the king was raised from the position of human to a position equivalent to a mighty god.

Central Administration of Satavahana Kingdom

The king is the supreme head and he is equivalent to a god. His position is far higher and superior to any other in his kingdom. He was assisted by many ministers and there use to be four main ministers for main departments and other ministers too to assist the king in his affairs of ruling the kingdom. The four main departments and their respective heads were detailed hereunder;

  • Viswamatya: He is the Prime Minister to the king and advises him in almost every issue.
  • Rajamatya: His prime duty is to implement the policies framed by the king.
  • Mahamatya: He is the minister of finance.
  • Amatyas: They are many in number who heads and looks after the aharas or administrative divisions of the kingdom.

There are many other heads who were assigned to different departments and they are as follows;

  • Bandagarika: He works in the finance department and collects taxes. All the taxes which were paid in the form of produce were collected by him.
  • Haranika: He works in the finance department too but collects the taxes which were paid in the form of money.
  • Nibandanakara: He preserves and safeguards the official records and documents of the administration.
  • Mahadharmika: He heads the departments of education and religious institutions.
  • Maharyaka: He heads the legal department. He looks after the legal disputes too.
  • Lekhaka: His duty is to prepare the important letters of the king and prepares the inscriptions as told directly by the king.
  • Mahatalawara: He is the commander of the military.
  • Dutha: He is the diplomat of the kingdom.
  • Prathihara: His duty is to look after the safety and security of the fort from external aggression.
  • Rajyabhashaka: He measures the land and imposes the taxes.
  • Akshapataka: His duty is to write the orders as told by the king and stores them safely.

The entire kingdom was divided into Aharas, Aharas were divided into Visheshas and Visheshas were further divided into Gramas/ villages.

Town Administration of Satavahana Kingdom

Nighamas were the towns situated in the kingdom. The administration of the towns was carried by the Nighama Sabhas. The members of the Nighama Sabha were called Gahapathis. The inscription installed at Bhattiprolu gives detailed information about the Nighamas. Megasthenes in his book, Indica, had given references about these towns and their administration.

Village Administration of Satavahana Kingdom

The administration of villages can be studied from the inscription at Mekhadhoni. Grama Sabhas were organized for the administration of the villages. The head of the village was called as Gulmika. The cluster of villages is termed Gulma. The Gulmikas were also assigned with the duty to head the guards who secure the borders. To solve the problems in the villages, they use to have an official called Mahakaryaka.

Military Administration of Satavahana Kingdom

The kings of satavahanas made several expeditions against border kingdoms. With this statement, conclusive evidence can be drawn that the satavahanas have a good standing army.

Hathigumpha inscription of the kalinga king Kharavela gives an account of the military power of the satavahanas. Military performances of satavahanas and their strategies of planning can be studied from the sculptures at Amaravati. Some military terms related to the satavahanas were; Skandavaram which means temporary military camps and Katakam which means military cantonments.

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