Shatadhanvan Maurya was the second last ruler of the Mauryan Dynasty. He ruled the empire for only eight years, from 195 BCE to 187 BCE. His predecessor, Devavarman Maurya 202 – 195 BC, had also ruled for 8 years. Shatadhanvan ascended the throne while the Mauryan Dynasty was under immense pressure from invasions and conflicting policies. The empire was on the brink of total collapse. The main reasons which cited for the collapse of the Mauryan Empire are the Pro-Buddhist policies of King Asoka (268 – 232 BCE) which irked the Brahmins.
Shatadhanvan Maurya – The Collapse of the Mauryan Empire
There was not much that Shatadhanvan Maurya could have done. The Mauryan Dynasty was inevitably going to an end and lost many of the territories that it possessed.
The main threat to their territories was the rise of the Kalinga leader Kharavela, also known as Kharabeja. Kalinga was the republic in Central and East India, comprising of parts of present day Andhra Pradesh, most of Odisha and portions of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. These parts had been annexed by King Asoka during his reign, but after his death the region regained independence. Kharavela was born in an independent Kalinga empire and fought back against the Mauryans. Shatadhanvan Maurya was helpless and had to watch his empire declining rapidly. Most of the empire in Central and East India was under the control of Kharavela who ruled from 193 BC to 170 BC.
Result of Shatadhanvan rule and his Successor
The Mauryan Empire further declined and weakened during Shatadhanvan Maurya rule. He was succeeded by Brihadratha Maurya (187 – 180 BCE) who ruled for the next 13 years. But Brihadratha Maurya life came to a sudden halt when the chief commanding officer of his armed forces shot him down. This was how the famous Mauryan Empire came to an end. The chief commanding officer was Pushyamitra Sunga (185 – 149 BCE). He founded the Sunga Dynasty which succeeded the Mauryan Dynasty. The Sunga Dynasty continued from 185 BC to 75 BC and ruled for the next 110 years. Initially they had to face the wrath of King Kharavela, who had conquered large regions of Central and East India, and the Greco-Bactrian from the West. The Greco-Bactrian ruler Demetrius conquered parts of Kabul and proceeded towards regions in India. Historians believe that a huge war took place between Pushyamitra Sunga and Demetrius (200 – 180 BCE). However, when it comes to the result of the war, historians have no clue about it, but, going by the duration of the Sunga dynasty’s reign, it can be safely assumed that Sunga had won the war.