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Ancient History / Post-Mauryan Era

Sunga Dynasty History


    The founder of Sunga dynasty was Pushyamitra Sunga. He was the senapati (commander-in-chief) of Mauryan empire and established Sunga empire by assassinating the last Mauryan ruler, Brihadratha Maurya. The capital of Sunga dynasty was initially Pataliputra and later Besnagar (modern Vidisha).



    Rulers of Sunga Dynasty

    • Pushyamitra Sunga was a Brahmin by caste. About 10 rulers of Sunga dynasty ruled Sunga kingdom.

    • Pushyamitra Sunga defeated Yavanas twice and performed two Asvamedha Yagas. Divyavadana picturized Pushyamitra Shunga as a cruel king who destroyed 84,000 Buddhist stupas built by Ashoka.

      But other accounts state that he built many Buddhist monuments.

    • Agnimitra, who is the son of Pushyamitra Sunga, ascended the throne after him. He is the hero of the drama "Malavikagnimitram" written by Kalidasa. After the death of Agnimitra, the empire got disintegrated rapidly.

    • Mahabhasya and Yoga Sutras were composed by Patanjali during Sunga period. Stupas at Bharhut and Sanchi were rebuilt in this period.

    • Bhagabhadra, the sixth king, had an Indo-Greek ambassador in his court, named Heliodorus. In Besnagar, a pillar inscription is written in the name of Heliodorus.

      In this Besnagar inscription, Bhagabhadra is mentioned as "Kasiputra Bhagabhadra, the saviour".

    • The last ruler of Sunga dynasty, Devabhuti was assassinated by his own minister named Vasudeva Kanva and Kanva dynasty was established.