This section is from the book "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Also available from Amazon: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.
The state of things foreshadowed in the previous section is confirmed by the history of the decadence of the power of the Andhras who held sway for more than three centuries in the whole of the Dakhan extending even into the Tamil country round Kanchl. According to Professor Rapson an elaborate study of the coins and inscriptions relating to this dynasty leads to the conclusion that after the long reign of Yagna-Sri Satakarni the empire broke up into two. The Puranas mention only three names after this Satavahana. One of the names Sri Chandra could be read on coins found in the Andhradesa proper. There are three other names also traceable in the coins of this region and in the Chanda district of the Central Provinces. The coins of neither of these groups have been found in western India. This distribution of the coins of the later Andhras seems to justify the conclusion that the Empire was divided.
What is more, this investigation seems to confirm what the Matsya Purana has to say regarding the dynasties that succeeded the Andhras. This portion of the dynastic list according to the version common to several manuscripts of the Matsya, Vayu and Brahmanda Puranas begins, "Andhranam Samasthie rajye tesam bhrty anvaya nrpah Sapt-aiv-Andhra bhavisyanti" meaning that while the Andhras were still ruling a family of their servants who were themselves Andhras ruled for seven generations. One version of the Matsya Purana, however, has "Andhrah Sriparvatlyas ca te dvi-panqasatam samah" that the Sri Parvatiya Andhras ruled for 52 years. Taking the two together we get to this. That one section of the Andhras who could be designated Sri Parvatiya Andhras who were subordinate to the authority of Yagna-Sri asserted their independence and ruled for 52 years in the region round Sri Parvata, that is, the home territory if it may be so called, of the Andhras. There is no mention in that list of what had happened to the western portion of their territory unless we take the next following passage to refer to what probably happened to that part. Ten Abhlras. servants of the Andhras as the others, ruled for 67 years. We have an Abhira governor of the Mahakshatrapa Rudra Simha, son of Rudra Daman with a date 103 which is equivalent to AD. 181. The Abhira 23 concerned here is the General Rudra Bhuti, son of the general Bapaka, the Abhira.'1
The Puranas seem to be correct to this extent that the Abhira feudatories in the region of Gujarat set up rule on their own account in the later years of the Andhras, in all probability in the years following Yagna-Sri. This would have reference to the early years of the third century A.D., and if the Abhiras ruled for 67 years it would bring them practically to the end of the third century. The inscription of the Abhira king Isvara Sena at Nasik is a clear indication that that part of the Andhra country was under the rule of the Abhiras. Isvara Sena himself was the son of the Abhira Sivadatta. If with Professor Rapson we can take these Abhiras to be identical with the members of the Traikutaka dynasty, the Traikutaka era beginning A.D. 249 would be the era of the Abhiras as well. The Abhira Isvara Sena may therefore be referable to about the same time. The inscription found in Jaggayya-petta of one Sri Vira-Purusha Datta of the family of Ikshvaku, and dated in his 20th year shows that even the eastern territory of the Andhras was passing into other hands. This inscription is referable on pal geographical grounds to the period of the later Andhras. What is most
1 'Luder's list of Brahmi inscriptions. Ep. Ind., X., No. 963. (Southern list.) important to our present purpose here is that the southern portion, and perhaps by far the largest portion of the Empire of the Andhras, passed into the hands of a family of feudatories who called themselves Satakarnis as well, and had for their capital Banavase (VaijayantI). This is the famous Cutu dynasty who give themselves the name Naga as well, and who have for their crest an extended cobra hood. Their inscriptions are found in Kanheri, in Kanara and in the Shimoga district of Mysore. Prom their inscriptions so far made available to us we know of three generations of these and two reigns, namely, that of Haritiputra Vishnukada Cutukulananda Satakarni and his grandson by the daughter Sivaskanda Varman, also called Siva Skanda Naga Sri in the Banavase inscription, and Skanda Naga Satavahana in the Kanheri inscription. These two rulers appear to have preceded the Kadambas almost without any interval. It would appear as though the Kadambas made the conquest of the territory which became associated with them from this Siva Skanda Varman himself. The inscriptions of this dynasty at Kanheri may be taken as an indication of the extent of the territory to which they had become heir when the Satavahana power decayed. These were themselves Satakarnis, and almost from the commencement of the rule of the Satavahana held possession of the southern viceroyalty for them. Their ascent to independent power would again support the statement of the Puranas that it was the Andhrabhrityas that ascended to power and independence while yet the Andhras were still ruling. It is these Cutukula successors of the Andhras in the territory immediately adjoining that of the Pallavas that must be the Naga family by a marriage alliance with which Vlra-kurcha was able to make good his position as ruler of the south-eastern viceroyalty of the Andhras. Probably the Pallavas in the locality of the Prakrit charters fought and took possession, of the territory from the later Andhras. It may be that the Sri Parvatiya Andhras and the Pallavas of the Sanskrit charters, at least the early members among them, either felt it necessary, or considered it advantageous, to get their possession validated by this alliance with, and countenance of, perhaps the most powerful among the successors of the Andhras. It may be possible even that the Princess mother of Sivaskanda Varman Skanda Naga had married the Pallava chieftain perhaps a Mahabhoja, as holding an important viceroyalty of the Andhras. If this surmise should turn out correct, as we have as yet no direct evidence to confirm it, Sivaskanda Naga Sri of the western inscriptions would be the Skandasishya of the Pallava inscriptions. Such a position for Skanda Varman would be in accordance with the tradition associated with the foundations of the dynasty of the Kadambas.