Yaudheya

Yaudheya Coin Depicting Mahasena (Kartikeyan)
Yaudheya Coin Depicting Mahasena (Kartikeyan)/Wikimedia
Yaudheya is an ancient military confederation. Their confederacy was spread between the lands of the Indus river and the Ganges river and was known as Bahudhanyaka with its main capital in Khokrakot (modern day Rohtak).

The information about Yaudheyas comes from their coins that were found in East Punjab, and North Rajasthan, and Western Uttar Pradesh.

Puranas such as Brahmanda Purana, Vayu Purana, Brahma Purana and Harivamsha describe Yaudheyas as the descendants of Usinara and Nrigu. They are also mentioned in other Hindu texts such as the Mahabharata, Mahamayuri, Brihatsamhita, Puranas, Chandravyakarana and Kashika. In addition, they are also mentioned in Pāṇini's Ashtadhyayi and Ganapatha.

Rise of the Republic
They first emerged as the Republic following the fall of Kuru Empire. They quickly captured the Kuru regions including their former capitals Indraprastha, Hastinapur, and Āsandīvat. At that time, their coins bear the legend Bahudhanyaka Yaudheyanam.

Maurya Empire
They were part of Mauryan army. It seems Mauryan army have a high representation of Yaudheyas. Yaudheya chiefs and elites were appointed at the high position in Mauryan Administration. They also stayed loyal to their Mauryan Kings and helped Chandragupta Maurya to expand the Mauryan territories to far north.

Post-Maurya Empire
However after the fall of Shunga Dynasty, (or even after Maurya Empire), they declared themselves independent. Yaudheya coins mention their victory of Arjunayanas. Later, the Junagadh rock inscription (150 CE) acknowledged their military might. However, the inscription also claims, they were defeated by the Saka ruler Rudradaman I.

After the fall of Saka empire, they became part of Kushan empire and slowly started grasping the power again. Perhaps, they were appointed to high ranking administrative positions in Kushan empire and allowed to manage their territories internally, similar to Mauryan empire. This is emboldened by the appearance of Mahasena (Kartikeya) in Kushan Coins. Kartikeya was an important diety to Yaudheyas.

They flourished till the end of fourth century, but their reign came to end when they lost their territories to Samudragupta of Gupta Dynasty.