The Ikshavakus: Myth Meets History in Andhra (3rd CE - 4th CE)
Anyone familiar with the Indian epics and the Puranas will know of the Ikshavaku. After all, Lord Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, was a proud scion of this clan, named after the legendary king Ikshavaku mentioned in the Vedas.
But centuries after the writing of the epics, there was another dynasty, in the South, in peninsular India, that took this title. The Ikshavakus, who ruled the present-day region around Andhra Pradesh way back in the 3rd and 4th centuries CE, were undoubtedly trying to seek divine legitimacy by appropriating the name of this ancient clan. But was there a deeper connection? After all, there was a legend that the Ikshavaku of the Vedas was the son of the ruler of the southern kingdoms and hence also the protector of the five territories of the non-sacrificing, non-Aryan, pre-Aryan peoples. The Atharva Veda and the Brahmanas also refer to them as ‘non-Aryans’ and this led the well-known Orientalist of the late 19th-early 20th century CE, F E Pargiter, to associate them with the Dravidian people.