Gupta Empire

  • The founder of the Gupta dynasty was Sri Gupta. He was succeeded by Ghatokacha.
  • These two were called Maharajas.
Chandragupta I (320-330 A.D.):-
  • Was the first independent ruler & called himself 'Maharajadhiraja' (the great king of kings).
  • Married the Lichchavi Princess, Kumaradevi, which was politically very strategic for Gupta empire.
  • He is considered to be the founder of the Gupta era which starts with his accession in A.D. 320.
Samudragupta (330-380 A.D.):-
  • Title - Vikramanka. Also called Dharma Prachar Bandhu ; Licchavi-dauhitra.
  • An inscription engraved on the Ashokan Pillar at Allahabad dating to 4th century A.D., known as the Allahabad Pillar Inscription or  Prayaga Prashasti (composed by his court poet, Harisena) , gives us information about Samudragupta's accession & conquests.
  • Performed Asvamedha sacrifice after his military victories.
  • Because of his military achievements, Samudragupta was hailed as "Indian Napoleon" by V.A.Smith.
  • Virasena- was his commander in Southern Campaign.
  • Samudragupta's issued eight types of Gold coins. They were of Yupa type.
  • Shown playing the lute or Veena on some of his coins.
  • Also called Kaviraja because of his ability in composing verses.
  • Samudragupta wrote Krishna Charitam.
  • He was an ardent follower of Vaishnavism but was tolerant of other creeds.
  • He evinced keen interest in Buddhism & was the patron of the great Buddhist scholar Vasubandu (author of Abhidharamakosa).
  • He granted permission to the Buddhist king of Ceylon, Meghavarman to build a monastry at Bodh Gaya & was hence given the title of "Anukamparan" (Full of Compassion).
Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya, 380-415 A.D.):-
  • Disputed succession followed him between his sons, Ramagupta & Chandragupta II according to a drama, Devichandraguptam by Visakhadatta.
  • Mehrauli Iron Pillar inscription (belongs to Chandragupta II; Brahmi script ; in honour of vishnu) claims his authority over North-western India & a good portion of Bengal. 
  • Fa-Hien (Chinese Pilgrim) travelled during his period.
  • First Gupta ruler to issue Silver coins.
  • He defeated the last saka ruler Rudra Simha III & annexed territories of Western Malwa & Gujarat.
  • He also took the title of Simhavikrama
  • Made ujjain the second capital of empire.
  • His court was adorned by the Navratnas-
  1. Kalidasa - Shakuntala (Sanskrit drama) ; Malavikagnimitra ; Vikramorvasiya ; Raghuvamsa ; Kumarasambhava ; Ritusamhara ; Meghaduta.
  2. Harisena - Allahabad Pillar Inscription or Prayaga Prashasti .
  3. Kahapanaka - was an astrologer.
  4. Shanku - in the field of Architecture.
  5. Dhanvantri - was a great Physician. Nighantu was his work.
  6. Vetalbhatta - was a magician.
  7. Amarsimha - compiled a lexicon called Amarkosa.
  8. Vararuchi - Prakrit Prakasha (first grammar of Prakrit Language).
  9. Varahamihira - Pancha Siddhantika (five astronomical systems) ; Brihadsamhita ; Brihadjataka.
Kumaragupta I (415-455 A.D.):-
          • Title - Mahendraditya.
          • Important Inscription - Mandsor & Copper plate inscription.
          • He also performed an Asvamedha Sacrifice.
          • He founded the Nalanda University.
          • First Hun invasion took place during his reign.
          Skandagupta (455-467 A.D.):-
          • 5th century A.D.- Huns, called Ephthalties were defeated by him & sent back for a century to come.
          • Junagarh inscription mentions that his Governor, Parhadatta got the Sudarshana lake repaired.
          • Adopted the title - Vikramaditya.
          • Succeeded by Buddhagupta & Vishnugupta was the last ruler of the imperial Guptas.
          • The Gupta Empire was divided into Various administrative units-
          1. Empire - Central of the King ; assisted by Mantri or Sachiva - Chief Minister ; Senapatis - Military Officers.
          2. Provinces were known as Bhuktis & provincial governors as Uparikas.
          3. Bhuktis were subdivided into Vishyas or districts & governed by Vishyapatis.
          4. Sub-district - Peth.
          5. Villages - Grama ; under Gramika & Mahattar.
          • Nagara Sreshits were the officers looking after the city administration.
          • Religious grants , called Agraharas were made to Brahmins, which were hereditary & tax free perpetually. Example - Nalanda & Gaya grants of Samudragupta.
          • Guptas also made Devagrahara & secular grants which led to the beginning of the process of Sub infeudation.
          • Land revenue was the main source of state income. Both kalidasa & the author of Narada smriti state that one-sixth of the produce should be claimed as the royal revenue.
          • Sandhivigrahika - War & peace ; Pilupati - head of elephants ; Asvapati - head of horses ; Narapati - head of foot soldiers ; Ranabhandagarika - officer-in-charge of stores ; Akshapataladhikrita - Accounts ; Pustapala - Records ; Vishti - Forced Labor.

          1:- Visakhadatta
          Author of two Sanskrit dramas – Mudrarakshasa & Devichandraguptam.
          2:- Sudraka
          3:- Bharavi
          4:- Vishnusarma
          Panchatantra Stories.
          5:- Amarasimha
          6:- Dandin
          Kavyadarsa  & Dasakumaracharita.
          7:- Subhandhu
          8:- Kalidasa
          9:- Aryabhatta
          Aryabhattiyam (deals with mathematics  & astronomy)
          10:- Varamihira
          Pancha Siddhantika ; Brihadsamhita (delas with astronomy, astrology, geography etc) ; Brihadjataka (standard work on astrology).
          Ashtangasamgraha (summary of the eight branches of medicine).
          12:- Vasubandhu
          13:- Harisena
          Prayaga Prasasti ; Brihatkatha kosha.
          14:- Kamandaka
          Nitisara (Arthasastra of Gupta Period).
          15:- Brahmagupta
          Brahmagupta siddhanta ; Khanda Khadyaka.

          Gupta Empire Gupta Empire Reviewed by GK Scientist on April 05, 2019 Rating: 5

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