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The Shunga (Sunga) Empire succeeded the Maurya Empire in 185 BCE. Originating from Magadha, it controlled much of the central and eastern part of the Indian subcontinent until 73 BCE. The empire was known for its cultural legacies such as Patanjali’s Mahabhashya (Great Commentary) and the expansion of the Great Stupa at Sanchi.
See the fact file below for more information on the Shunga Empire or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Shunga Empire worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE FALL OF THE MAURYA EMPIRE
- The Shunga Empire’s capital was in Pataliputra. It controlled the area of Magadha stretching into the central and eastern region of the Indian subcontinent.
- It was established in 185 BCE when Pushyamitra Shunga assassinated Brihadratha, the last Mauryan ruler, at a military parade. While emperor Brihadratha was reviewing the Guard of Honors, Pushyamitra, a Brahman and a high-ranking official of the military, attacked him.
GOVERNMENT and CULTURE
- Pushyamitra Shunga reigned for 36 years. He was succeeded by his son, Agnimitra, in 149 BCE.
- Agnimitra was known for his success with the Empire’s war with Vidarbha, a kingdom independent from the Mauryan Empire.
- A total of ten leaders were documented to have reigned the Shunga Empire until its downfall in 73 BCE. After the death of Agnimitra, the Empire rapidly declined.
- Limited information was known about the kingdom, but its leaders were mentioned by Kalidasa, a classic Sanskrit writer, in his writings.
- In administering the empire, the Shunga leaders continued the Mauryan system in which the throne was passed through royal blood.
- Nuclear kingdoms sprouted along the empire, signifying a decentralized system of governing. This was indicated through the inscriptions and coins that were discovered.
- The Shunga empire also engaged in several campaigns against other kingdoms such as the Yavanas. They were Indo-Greeks who tried to expand into India from Bactria, a region in central Asia.
- Other campaigns were also noted, such as with the Kalinga and the Satavahana dynasty.
- Art flourished in the Shunga empire. Small terracotta images, monuments, and pillars were some of the archaeological evidence.
- The Heliodorus Pillar is a prominent one for it signified the empire’s relation with the Indo-Greeks. It was named after the Heliodorus, the ambassador of the Indo-Greek king Antialcidas. Initially, the pillar supported a statue of Garuda, a legendary bird in the Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain mythology.
- The empire expanded to the renowned Great Stupa at Sanchi from its original area created during the reign of Ashoka. Moreover, the four gateways were also created and carved. They were decorated with images of fertility spirits. Some images also depicted the past lives of Siddhartha Gautama.
- In literature, Yoga Sutras and Mahabhashya by Patanjali were composed in this period.
- It is believed that Pushyamitra Shunga persecuted Buddhists during his time and revived Brahmanism. Buddhism only became amenable during the reigns of later emperors.
- In 73 BCE, the last Shunga ruler, Devabhuti, was assassinated by his minister Vasudeva Kanva. The empire was succeeded by the Kanva dynasty.
Shunga Empire Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Shunga Empire across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Shunga Empire worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Shunga (Sunga) Empire which succeeded the Maurya Empire in 185 BCE.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Locating the Shunga Empire
- Shunga Empire Word Hunt
- What am I?
- Odd One Out
- Shunga Empire: 187 – 73 BCE
- The Heliodorus Pillar
- Shunga Empire and Kalidasa
- Shunga Empire’s Way of Life
- Cultural Legacy
- In a Nutshell
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Link will appear as Shunga Empire Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 7, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.