Friday, September 3, 2010

Rashtrakuta Summary:

By Sanderson Beck

The Rashtrakuta Dantidurga married a Chalukya princess and became avassal king about 733; he and Gujarat's Pulakeshin helped Chalukyaemperor Vikramaditya II repulse an Arab invasion, and Dantidurga'sarmy joined the emperor in a victorious expedition against Kanchi andthe Pallavas. After Vikramaditya II died in 747, Dantidurga conqueredGurjara, Malwa, and Madhya Pradesh. This Rashtrakuta king thenconfronted and defeated Chalukya emperor Kirtivarman II so that bythe end of 753 he controlled all of Maharashtra. The next Rashtrakutaruler Krishna I completed the demise of the Chalukya empire and wassucceeded about 773 by his eldest son Govinda II. Absorbed inpersonal pleasures, he left the administration to his brother Dhruva,who eventually revolted and usurped the throne, defeating the Ganga,Pallava, and Vengi kings who had opposed him.

Dhruva returned to the south with booty and was succeeded by histhird son Govinda III in 793. Govinda had to defeat his brotherStambha and a rebellion of twelve kings, but the two brothersreconciled and turned on Ganga prince Shivamira, whom they returnedto prison. Supreme over the Deccan, Govinda III left his brotherIndra as viceroy of Gujurat and Malava and marched his army northtoward Kanauj, which Vatsaraja's successor Nagabhata II had occupiedwhile Dharmapala's nominee Chakrayudha was on that throne. Govinda'sarmy defeated Nagabhata's; Chakrayudha surrendered, and Dharmapalasubmitted. Govinda III marched all the way to the Himalayas,uprooting and reinstating local kings.

Rashtrakuta supremacy was challenged by Vijayaditya II, who hadbecome king of Vengi in 799; but Govinda defeated him and installedhis brother Bhima-Salukki on the Vengi throne about 802. ThenGovinda's forces scattered a confederacy of Pallava, Pandya, Kerala,and Ganga rulers and occupied Kanchi, threatening the king of SriLanka, who sent him two statues. After Govinda III died in 814,Chalukya Vijayaditya II overthrew Bhima-Salukki to regain his Vengithrone; then his army invaded Rashtrakuta territory, plundering anddevastating the city of Stambha. Vijayaditya ruled for nearly half acentury and was said to have fought 108 battles in a 12-year war withthe Rashtrakutas and the Gangas. His grandson Vijayaditya III ruledVengi for 44 years (848-892); he also invaded the Rashtrakuta empirein the north, burning Achalapura, and it was reported he took gold byforce from the Ganga king of Kalinga. His successor Chalukya-Bhima Iwas king of Vengi for 30 years and was said to have turned hisattention to helping ascetics and those in distress. Struggles withhis neighbors continued though, and Chalukya-Bhima was even capturedfor a time.

The Great Amoghavarsha:
In 814 Govinda III was succeeded as Rashtrakuta ruler by his sonAmoghavarsha, only about 13 years old; Gujarat viceroy Karkka actedas regent. Three years later a revolt led by Vijayaditya II, who hadregained the Vengi throne, temporarily overthrew Rashtrakuta poweruntil Karakka reinstated Amoghavarsha I by 821. A decade later theRashtrakuta army defeated Vijayaditya II and occupied Vengi for abouta dozen years. Karkka was made viceroy in Gujarat, but his son DhruvaI rebelled and was killed about 845. The Rashtrakutas also fought theGangas for about twenty years until Amoghavarsha's daughter married aGanga prince about 860. In addition to his military activitiesAmoghavarsha sponsored several famous Hindu and Jain writers andwrote a book himself on Jain ethics. Jain kings and soldiers made anexception to the prohibition against killing for the duties ofhanging murderers and slaying enemies in battle.

Expansion after Amoghavarsha:
He died in 878 and was succeeded by his son Krishna II, who marriedthe daughter of Chedi ruler Kokkalla I to gain an ally for his manywars with the Pratiharas, Eastern Chalukyas, Vengi, and the Cholas.

Krishna II died in 914 and was succeeded by his grandson Indra III,who marched his army north and captured northern India's imperialcity Kanauj. However, Chandella king Harsha helped the PratiharaMahipala regain his throne at Kanauj. Indra III died in 922; but hisreligious son Amoghavarsha II had to get help from his Chedirelations to defeat his brother Govinda IV, who had usurped thethrone for fourteen years. Three years later in 939 Krishna IIIsucceeded as Rashtrakuta emperor and organized an invasion of Cholaand twenty years later another expedition to the north.

The end:
The Rashtrakutas reigned over a vast empire when he died in 967; butwith no living issue the struggle for the throne despite the effortsof Ganga king Marasimha III resulted in the triumph of Chalukya kingTaila II in 974. That year Marasimha starved himself to death in theJain manner and was succeeded by Rajamalla IV, whose ministerChamunda Raya staved off usurpation. His Chamunda Raya Puranaincludes an account of the 24 Jain prophets.

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