The social system that was followed during the satavahanas was the patriarchal system. The family system that was predominant during the same was the joint family. Varna system with four divisions was prevalent in the society during their period. Slavery was prevalent and the system of Sati was also evident during the reign of Satavahanas. Hereunder go through more about the social conditions during the satavahana dynasty.
Varna System during Satavahanas
The varna system was prevalent. There were four varnas during satavahanas. The four varnas namely; Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Sudras were evident in the society. The caste system too has begun its shaping during this period. The caste system emerged basing on the works done by the people. So, it is evident that the division was primarily based on the work. Kings of Satavahanas respected Brahmins and treated them as a symbol of Vedic dharma. Brahmins were educated with Vedic dharmas and carried the rituals and other related in the society, this information was evident from the inscription of Nanaghat. Tax-free villages were donated by the kings to the Brahmins.
Family System during Satavahanas
Joint family system was predominantly followed by the people during satavahanas as mentioned in Gathasaptasati. The social system that was prevalent was patriarchy and the information about the same was again coming from Gathasaptasati. The same information was also coming from the records at Mahachaitya in Amaravathi.
Marriage system during Satavahanas
The system of marriage during the satavahanas has got sanctity. Polygamy was followed by the people in upper varnas. It was polygyny, however. The widows use to spend the rest of their life alone.
Position of women during Satavahanas
The position of women was equal to that of men during festivals, congregations, assemblies, etc. The women use to make donations to Buddhist chaityas, buddhist viharas and buddhist aramas. Gautami Balasri, the mother of Gautamiputra Satakarni, made donations to the Buddha Vihara at Bhadrayana Konda. Women during this period wrote their contributions to Gathasaptasati. Madhavi, Revathi, Anupama Labba, Anulakshmi were few contributors as mentioned by Hala in his writings.
Sati during Satavahanas
It is presumed that the system of sati was prevalent in society. At Nagarjunakonda, a statue of a woman who followed Sati was explored. The information about the Sati during the Satavahanas was given by Strabo in his writings.
Slavery during Satavahanas
During Satavahanas slavery exists in society. This information about slavery in the society during Satavahanas was coming from Kamasutra of Vatsyayana. Brihatkatha of Gunadhya also has references about slavery during the period of Satavahanas. The slaves used to work at the house of the rich, prisons, agriculture fields and in shops of the rich merchants.