[History] The Gupta Period

The Kushana realm remained a centre of culture until its demise in the late thirdcentury in the hands of a new native dynasty – The Guptas.
  • The founder of the Gupta Dynasty was Sri Gupta
  •  Chandragupta who built his Empire through some conquests & marriagealliance with the Lachavis.
  • His son Samudragupta is known as the Indian Napolean as he extended the Gupta Empire far & wide. His military conquests& personality are known the rough the Prayag Prashasti or the Allabhabadpillar inscription written by Harisena nearly 1700 yrs. ago.

  • Prashasti, a Sanskrit word meaning“in praise of” is an inscription of special kind composed for some of therulers.
  • The poet Harisena praised SamundraGupta in glowing terms - as a warrior, who was learned & best of poets, asa king who won many battles & also described him as equal to the gods.
  • Harisena’s inscription gives adetailed account of the conquests of his royal master, which contains a longlist of states, kings & tribes that were conquered & bought undervarious degree of subjugation 
  • Some other qualities of Samudra Guptaare shown on coins like the one in which he is shown playing the Veena.
  • The variety of gold coins issued bySamudragupta not only indicates his power, wealth & grandeur of the empirebut also indicates the personal qualities of the king.
  • The Prashasti also mentions theanasters of Samudragupta. His father Chandragupta was the first Gupta ruler toadopt the title Maharaj-adhiraj, a title which Samudragupta used.
  • Samudragupta’s court was full oflearned people, - Kalidasa the poet, Aryabhata the astronomer.
Whilewe learn about the Guptas from inscriptions & coins, we can find out aboutsome kings from biographics.  
  • Harshavardhana was one such roler whoruled 1400 years ago from 606 CE to 647 CE.
  • Banabhatta, his court poet wrote hisbiography, the Harshacharita, in Sanskrit.
  • He became the king of Thaneswar,after the death of his father & elder brother & led an army against theBenjal roler Sasanka. Successful in Bengal & Magadh, his March into theDeccan was stopped by his defeat at the hands of Polaksin II, the Chalukya king.
  • Harsha was patron of Buddhion,(Constructed Buddist stopas), supported art & literature, made severaldonations to Nalanda University.
  • In 641 B.C., he sent a mission tochina which helped in establishing first diplomatic relation upto Chain &India.

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