Most of the post-Mauryan states were small when compared with the Mauryan Empire. They could not arrange a centralized control over their territories. The disintegration of the Mauryan Empire led to the revival of a few republics in Rajasthan and Punjab, but their coins show a progressive tendency towards monarchisation.

Thus the existence of a large number of small monarchies, republics and chieftainships forced the two larger kingdoms, i.e. the Satavahanas and the Kushanas, to enter into feudatory relations with smaller kings.

The Satavahanas had maharathis and Iksvaku as feudatories and the Kushanas had sahis as tribute paying kingdoms. Apart from this, we have evidence of the functioning of almost autonomous governments in nearly a dozen cities such as Taxila, Kausambi, Tripuri, Mahismati, Vidisa, Eran, Bhagila, Madhyamika, Vemaka, Varanasi etc. These towns lost their autonomous character with the establishment of Satavahana and Kushana rule.