Śuṅga Dynasty


Śuṅga Dynasty

▪ Indian dynasty
      Indian ruling house founded by Puṣyamitra about 185 BC, which replaced the Mauryan dynasty. Puṣyamitra assassinated Bṛhadratha, the last Mauryan ruler, at a military parade and assumed royal power. Puṣyamitra was a Brahmin, and, though he is said to have persecuted Buddhists, Buddhism still flourished in many areas under his control.

      Most of the traditional accounts of Puṣyamitra's reign are late in date. According to these, his rule extended over the cities of Pāṭaliputra, Ayodhyā, and Vidiśā and perhaps over Jālandhara and Śākala as well. The Mauryan system of administering the provinces through princes of royal blood continued, and royal power tended to decentralize in the form of the establishment of nuclear kingdoms within the empire. Puṣyamitra conducted several campaigns against the Yavanas, or the Indo-Greeks, who were trying in this period to expand from Bactria into northwestern India.

      Śuṅga history after Puṣyamitra, who ruled for roughly 36 years, is largely uncertain. Nothing substantial is known about his successor, Agnimitra, the hero of Kālidāsa's play Mālavikāgnimitra. According to the Purāṇas, Agnimitra's successors, in genealogical order, were: Sujyeṣṭha (or Vasujyeṣṭha), Vasumitra, Andhraka (or Bhadraka), Pulindaka, Ghoṣa, Vajramitra, Bhāgavata, and Devabhūmi (Devabhūti). If the Purāṇic account is to be believed, the total tenure of Śuṅga rule was 112 years, coming to an end about 73 BC.

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