The Gupta dynasty was founded by Srigupta in circa AD 240. He was succeeded by his son Ghatotkacha. We do not have enough and reliable sources to construct the history of the period. Now Read about Gupta Kings in brief.
The Main Gupta Kings are
- He is regarded as one of the greatest Gupta rulers.
- He adopted the title of maharajadhiraja or the king of the kings.
- He extended the boundaries of his empire through matrimonial alliances by marrying the Lichchavi princess, Kumaradevi.
- He was an able conqueror and extended the limits of his empire by annexing many territories.
- Chandragupta I was succeeded by his son Samudragupta. The Allahabad Pillar inscription gives us insight into his annexations and abilities. He ruled from AD 335 to AD 375. His empire extended from River Brahmaputra in the east to rivers Yamuna and Chambal in the west. The Himalayas formed the boundary of his kingdom in the north, and River Narmada marked the southern frontiers.
- Because of his bravery and leadership skills, he is also known as ‘Napoleon of India’. He defeated the Naga kings of Mathura, Gwalior, and Ahichhatra. He defeated many southern states but allowed them to rule after asking them to accept his sovereignty. The Allahabad Pillar inscription describes four types of kingdoms that existed during this period. The Pillar also mentions the policies of Samudragupta. These were
- Samudragupta defeated nine rulers of Aryavrata and made their territories part of his empire.
- He also defeated twelve kings of Dakshinpatha, but they were allowed to rule their states.
- Kingdoms in Assam, coastal Bengal, Nepal and many republic states in the northwest paid annual tribute to him, followed his orders and attended his court.
- According to Harishena, who was Samudragupta’s court poet, he performed ashvamedha yajna or horse sacrifice.
- Samudragupta was not only an able conqueror and an administrator but was also a musician and a poet. He also issued eight types of gold coins.
Chandragupta II or Vikramaditya
- Chandragupta II was known as Vikramaditya. He continued the policy of expansion of his father. He defeated the Sakas and took over the ports of Cambay (Khambhat), Bharuch and Sopara. He was thus given the title of Sakari or the conqueror of the Sakas.
- He also occupied Saurashtra and Malwa. This gave him access to the ports of western India and gave him direct access to seaborne commerce with Europe through Egypt.
- He entered into matrimonial alliance with the Naga family which further helped him to extend the influence of his empire. The marriage of Chandragupta’s daughter Prabhavati with the Vakataka ruler helped him to establish his political influence in the Deccan.
- He was also a great patron of art and literature. His court at Ujjain had numerous scholars such as Kalidasa and Amarasimha. It was during his reign that the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hien visited India and left a detailed account of the condition of society during this time.
- He issued gold coins of wide varieties. His court was adorned by ‘nine gems’ including Kalidasa, Varahamihira and Amarsimha.
- Chandragupta II was succeeded by Kumaragupta in AD 414. It was during his reign that the Huns, a barbarian tribe of Central Asia, invaded India for the first time.
- The Huns later attacked India during the rule of Skandgupta and were defeated by him.
Also, Read The Age of the Guptas