In the social hierarchy there were at least four classes. The mahabhojas, the
maharathis and the mahasena-pati were the cream of the society. The
officials like the amatyas, mahamatras, and the bhandagarikas and non-
officials like naigama (merchant), sarthavaha (head of the traders), and the
sresthin (chief of the trade guild) comprised the second class. While the third
class consisted of the vaidya (physician), lekhaka (scribe), suvarnakara
(goldsmith), gandhika (perfumer), halakiya (cultivator), the fourth class
embracing the malakara (gardener), vardhaki (carpenter), dasaka
(fishennan), lohavanja (blacksmith), etc. was the lowest rung of the society.
Economic Conditions
The Satavahana period witnessed commercial intercourse with and the
colonisation of the Far East. The entire coastal tract from Kaveripattinam to
Tamralipti was the centre of commercial activity. In the second century AD,
Ptolemy mentions many places in Malaya and Indo-China as well as many
ports in eastern Deccan and the Chola territory. The important ports in the
eastern Deccan were Kantakossyla (Kantakasela). Koddura (modern Gudur)
and Allosynge. At Chinna Ganjam (Prakasam district) near the sea-shore was
found a pillar inscription of the time of Yajna Sri Satakarni. In Kollitippa, a
few miles to the north of Chinna Ganjam, was found another fragment of a
stupa pillar. Motupalli was another port, situated three miles to the north-east
of Chinna Ganjam. The greatest port in Satavahana western Deccan was
Kalyana, the Calliena of the Periplus, near Bombay. Barygaza and Sopara
were other important ports on the western coast.
Religious Developments
The Satavahanas patronised Buddhism and Brahmanism. The excellent Karle
chaitya caves belong to the first century BE. But what constituted the most
glorious epoch of Buddhism in the Deccan was the period of Satavahana
recovery spanning 90-180 AD. In western Deccan the Kshaharatas and their
rivals, the Satavahan emulated each other in building chaityas and viharas
and in making grants of villages and lands to the monks at Nasik and Karle.
The Satavahanas also paid attention to Amaravati and other stupa complexes
in the eastern Deccan which were    either built or enlarged during this period.