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CHANDRAGUPTA II (also known as CHANDRAGUPTA VIKRAMADITYA) was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
in India
India
. His rule spanned c. 380 – c. 415 CE during which the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
reached its peak. Art, architecture, and sculpture flourished, and the cultural development of ancient India
India
achieved new heights. The period of prominence of the Gupta dynasty
Gupta dynasty
is often referred to as the "Golden Age" of India
India
. Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
was the son of the previous ruler, Samudragupta
Samudragupta
. He attained success by pursuing both a favourable marital alliance and an aggressive expansionist policy in which his father and grandfather ( Chandragupta I
Chandragupta I
) set the precedent. Samudragupta
Samudragupta
set the stage for the emergence of classical art, which occurred under the rule of Chandragupta II. Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
extended great support to the arts.

From 388 to 409 he subjugated Gujarat
Gujarat
, the region north of Mumbai
Mumbai
, Saurashtra , in western India, and Malwa
Malwa
, with its capital at Ujjain .

CONTENTS

* 1 Early life * 2 Military victories * 3 Visit of Fa hien * 4 Religion * 5 Coinage * 6 Iron pillar of Delhi

* 7 Identification with the legendary Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya

* 7.1 Vikram Samvat * 7.2 Navaratnas

* 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 External links

EARLY LIFE

Coin of Vikramadytia Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
with the name of the king in Brahmi
Brahmi
script, 380–415 CE.

Chandragupta II's mother, Datta Devi, was the chief queen of Samudragupta
Samudragupta
.

Dhruvadevi was Chandragupta II's chief queen, as seen in the Vaisali Terracotta Seal that calls her "Mahadevi" (Chief Queen) Dhruvasvamini. The Bilsad Pillar Inscription of their son Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
(r. 414–455 CE) also refers to her as "Mahadevi Dhruvadevi". The fragment from Vishakhadatta 's play "Natya-darpana" mentions that Ramagupta , the elder brother of Chandragupta II, decided to surrender Dhruvadevi to the Saka
Saka
ruler Rudrasimha III of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty, when faced with a military defeat. Chandragupta himself went to Rudrasimha III disguised as the queen, and then assassinated the enemy rulers. According to D. C. Sircar , the only facts in this story are that Dhruvadevi was Chandragupta's queen and the Saka
Saka
ruler Rudrasimha III held power in western India. Everything else is "Vishakhadatta's own imagination or some current popular legends embellished by his imagination". Mathura
Mathura
inscription of Chandragupta II.

The Allahabad Pillar inscription mentions the marriage of Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
with a Naga princess Kuberanaga . A pillar from Mathura
Mathura
referring to Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
has recently been dated to 388 CE.

Chandragupta II's daughter, Prabhavatigupta
Prabhavatigupta
, by his Naga queen Kuberanaga was married to the powerful Vakataka dynasty
Vakataka dynasty
ruler Rudrasena II
Rudrasena II
(r.380–385 CE). His son-in-law died in 385 CE after a very short reign, following which Queen Prabhavatigupta
Prabhavatigupta
(r. 385–405) ruled the Vakataka kingdom as a regent on behalf of her two sons. During this twenty-year period, the Vakataka realm was practically a part of the Gupta empire
Gupta empire
.

MILITARY VICTORIES

Gold coins of Chandragupta II. The one on the left is the obverse of a so-called "Chhatra" type of Chandragupta II, while the one on the right is the obverse of a so-called "Archer" type of Chandragupta II.

Chandragupta is believed to have defeated the Western Kshatrapas led by Rudrasimha III , capturing Malwa
Malwa
and Gujarat
Gujarat
in the process. The geographical location of the Vakataka kingdom allowed Chandragupta II to take the opportunity to defeat the Western Kshatrapas once for all. Many historians refer to this period as the Vakataka-Gupta Age.

Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
controlled a vast empire, from the mouth of the Ganges
Ganges
to the mouth of the Indus River
Indus River
and from what is now North Pakistan
Pakistan
down to the mouth of the Narmada . Pataliputra
Pataliputra
continued to be the capital of his huge empire but Ujjain
Ujjain
too became a sort of second capital. The large number of beautiful gold coins issued by the Gupta dynasty
Gupta dynasty
are a testament to the grandeur of that age. Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
also started producing silver coins in the Western Satrap tradition in his western territories.

Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
was succeeded by his second son Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
, born of Mahadevi Dhruvasvamini.

VISIT OF FA HIEN

Faxian
Faxian
(337 – c. 422 CE) was the first of three great Chinese pilgrims who visited India
India
from the fifth to the seventh centuries CE, in search of knowledge, manuscripts and relics. Fa hien arrived during the reign of Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
and gave a general description of North India
India
at that time. Among the other things, he reported about the absence of capital punishment, the lack of a poll-tax and land tax. Most citizens did not consume onions, garlic, meat, and wine.

Fa hien wrote, "The people were rich and prosperous and seemed to emulate each other in the practice of virtue. Charitable institutions were numerous and rest houses for travelers were provided on the highway. The capital possessed an excellent hospital." Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
goes forth to war

RELIGION

From Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
kings of Gupta dynasty
Gupta dynasty
are known as Parama Bhagavatas or Bhagavata Vaishnavas. The Bhagavata Purana
Bhagavata Purana
entails the fully developed tenets and philosophy of the Bhagavata tradition wherein Krishna gets fused with Vasudeva
Vasudeva
and transcends Vedic Vishnu and cosmic Hari to be turned into the ultimate object of bhakti .

COINAGE

Silver coin of Chandragupta II, minted in his Western territories, in the style of the Western Satraps
Western Satraps
. OBV:Bust of king, with corrupted Greek legend "OOIHU". REV: Legend in Brahmi
Brahmi
, "Chandragupta Vikramaditya, King of Kings, and a devotee of Vishnu
Vishnu
", around Garuda, the mythic eagle and dynastic symbol of the Guptas. 15mm, 2.1 grams. Mitchiner 4821–4823.

Chandragupta continued issuing most of the gold coin types introduced by his father Samudragupta
Samudragupta
, such as the Sceptre type (rare for Chandragupta II), the Archer type, and the Tiger-Slayer type. However, Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
also introduced several new types, such as the Horseman type and the Lion-slayer type, both of which were used by his son Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
.

In addition, Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
was the first Gupta king to issue silver coins, such as the one illustrated at right. These coins were intended to replace the silver coinage of the Western Kshatrapas after Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
defeated them, and were modelled on the Kshatrapa coinage. The main difference was to replace the dynastic symbol of the Kshatrapas (the three-arched hill) by the dynastic symbol of the Guptas (the mythic eagle Garuda
Garuda
). Further, Chandragupta also issued lead coins based on Kshatrapa prototypes and rare copper coins probably inspired by the coins of another tribe he defeated, the Nagas .

IRON PILLAR OF DELHI

Main article: Iron pillar of Delhi The iron pillar of Delhi
Delhi
, erected by Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II

Close to the Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar
is one of Delhi
Delhi
's most curious structures, an iron pillar, dating back to 4th century CE. The pillar bears an inscription which states that it was erected as a flagstaff in honour of the Hindu god Vishnu
Vishnu
, and in the memory of Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
(A derivation of "Natya-darpana" by Vishakadata states that the pillar had been put up by Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
himself after defeating Vahilakas. And after this great feat, he put up this pillar as a memory of the victory). The pillar also highlights ancient India
India
's achievements in metallurgy. The pillar is made of 98% wrought iron and has stood more than 1,600 years without rusting or decomposing.

IDENTIFICATION WITH THE LEGENDARY VIKRAMADITYA

Main article: Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya

Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
is a legendary emperor of ancient India, who is characterised as the ideal king, known for his generosity, courage, and patronage to scholars. A number of historians believe that at least some of the Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
legends are based on Chandragupta II. These historians include D. R. Bhandarkar , V. V. Mirashi and D. C. Sircar among others.

Based on some coins and the Supia pillar inscription, it is believed that Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
adopted the title "Vikramaditya". The Khambat and Sangli plates of the Rashtrakuta
Rashtrakuta
king Govinda IV use the epithet "Sahasanka" for Chandragupta II. The name "Sahasanka" has also been applied to the legendary Vikramaditya.

The legendary Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
is said to have defeated the Śaka invaders, and was therefore, known as Śakari ("enemy of the Śakas). Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
conquered Malwa
Malwa
after defeating the Western Kshatrapas (a branch of Śakas); he also expelled the Kushanas from Mathura
Mathura
. His victory over these foreign tribes was probably transposed on upon a fictional character, resulting in the Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
legends.

According to most legends, Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
had his capital at Ujjain, although some legends mention him as the king of Pataliputra. The Guptas had their capital at Pataliputra. According to D. C. Sircar, Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
may have defeated the Shaka invaders of Ujjain, and placed his son Govindagupta as a viceroy there. As a result, Ujjain might have become a second capital of the Gupta empire, and subsequently, legends about him (as Vikramaditya) might have developed. Guttas of Guttavalal, a minor dynasty based in present-day Karnataka, claimed descent from the imperial Guptas. The Caudadanapura inscription of the Guttas alludes to the legendary Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
ruling from Ujjayni, and several Gutta royals were named "Vikramaditya". According to Vasundhara Filliozat, their reference to the legendary Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
is simply because they confused him with Chandragupta II. However, D. C. Sircar sees this as further proof that the legendary Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya
was based on Chandragupta II.

VIKRAM SAMVAT

Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
320 CE–550 CE

Sri Gupta
Sri Gupta
(240 – 280)

Ghatotkacha (280 – 319)

Chandragupta I
Chandragupta I
(320 – 335)

Kachagupta (335)

Samudragupta
Samudragupta
(335 – 380)

Ramagupta

Chandragupta II (380 – 413/415)

Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
(415 – 455)

Skandagupta
Skandagupta
(455 - 467)

Purugupta (467 – 473)

Kumaragupta II (473 - 476)

Budhagupta
Budhagupta
(476 – 495)

Narasimhagupta (495 – ?)

( Bhanugupta ) (circa 510)

Vainyagupta (circa 507)

Kumaragupta III (circa 530)

Vishnugupta (540 – 550)

* v * t * e

Vikrama Samvat
Vikrama Samvat
, an Indian calendar era beginning in 57 BCE, is associated with the legendary Vikramaditya. However, this association did not exist before 9th century CE. The earlier sources call this era by various names, including Kṛṭa, the era of the Malava tribe , or simply, Samvat. Scholars such as D. C. Sircar and D. R. Bhandarkar believe that the name of the era changed to "Vikram Samvat" after the reign of Chandragupta II, who had adopted the title Vikramaditya.

NAVARATNAS

Jyotirvidabharana (22.10), a treatise attributed to Kalidasa
Kalidasa
, states that nine famous scholars known as the Navaratnas ("nine gems") attended the court of the legendary Vikramaditya. Besides Kalidasa himself, these included Amarasimha , Dhanvantari
Dhanvantari
, Ghatakarapara, Kshapanaka, Shanku, Varahamihira , Vararuchi , and Vetala Bhatta . However, there is no historical evidence to show that these nine scholars were contemporary figures or proteges of the same king. Jyotirvidabharana is considered a literary forgery of a date later than Kalidasa
Kalidasa
by multiple scholars. There is no mention of such "Navaratnas" in earlier literature, and D. C. Sircar calls this tradition "absolutely worthless for historical purposes".

Nevertheless, multiple scholars believe that one of these Navaratnas – Kalidasa
Kalidasa
– may have indeed flourished during the reign of Chandragupta II. These scholars include William Jones , A. B. Keith , and Vasudev Vishnu
Vishnu
Mirashi among others.

NOTES

* ^ *1910,0403.26 * ^ A B C D Kulke, Hermann ; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004). A History of India
India
(Fourth ed.). Routledge. pp. 91–92. Retrieved 1 October 2014. * ^ A B "Chandra Gupta II". Encyclopædia Britannica. * ^ Sircar 1969 , p. 139. * ^ Falk, Harry. (2004) "The Kaniṣka era in Gupta Records." Silk Road Art and Archaeology 10. Kamakura: The Institute of Silk Road Studies, pp. 167–176. * ^ A B "The conquest is indicated by the issue of the new Gupta silver coinage modelled on the previous Saka
Saka
coinage showing on observe the King's head, Greek script, and dates as on Saka
Saka
coins" in Early history of Jammu region: pre-historic to 6th century A.D. by Raj Kumar p.511 * ^ A B "Evidence of the conquest of Saurastra during the reign of Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
is to be seen in his rare silver coins which are more directly imitated from those of the Western Satraps
Western Satraps
... they retain some traces of the old inscriptions in Greek characters, while on the reverse, they substitute the Gupta type (a peacock) for the chaitya with crescent and star." in Rapson "A catalogue of Indian coins in the British Museum. The Andhras etc...", p.cli. Most people now realize that Rapson was mistaken in identifying the central bird as a peacock; rather, it is the mythic eagle Garuda, the dynastic symbol of the Guptas. For example, A.S. Altekar says: "... the three-arched hill in the cntre is replaced by Garuda, which was the imperial insignia of the Guptas. The view of earlier writers ... that the bird is a peacock is clearly untenable." in Altekar: The Coinage of the Gupta Empire, Varanasi: Banaras Hindu University, 1957, p. 151. * ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5 , pp.191–200 * ^ A B Sen, Sailendra (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Delhi: New Age International. p. 216. ISBN 978-8122411980 . * ^ Kalyan Kumar Ganguli: (1988). Sraddh njali, Studies in Ancient Indian History: D.C. Sircar Commemoration: Puranic tradition of Krishna. Sundeep Prakashan. ISBN 81-85067-10-4 . p.36 * ^ A B C D Kailash Chand Jain (1972). Malwa
Malwa
Through the Ages, from the Earliest Times to 1305 A.D. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 156–165. ISBN 978-81-208-0824-9 . * ^ A B C Vasudev Vishnu
Vishnu
Mirashi ; Narayan Raghunath Navlekar (1969). Kalidasa: Date, Life And Works. Popular. pp. 8–29. ISBN 978-81-7154-468-4 . * ^ Sircar 1969 , p. 130. * ^ Alf Hiltebeitel (2009). Rethinking India\'s Oral and Classical Epics. University of Chicago Press. pp. 254–275. ISBN 9780226340555 . * ^ Maurice Winternitz; Moriz Winternitz (1963). History of Indian Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 42. ISBN 978-81-208-0056-4 . * ^ Sircar 1969 , p. 131. * ^ Vasundhara Filliozat (1995). The Temple of Muktēśvara at Cauḍadānapura. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts / Abhinav. p. 7. ISBN 978-81-7017-327-4 . * ^ Sircar 1969 , p. 136. * ^ Ashvini Agrawal (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 174–175. ISBN 978-81-208-0592-7 . * ^ A B C M. Srinivasachariar (1974). History of Classical Sanskrit Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 94–111. ISBN 9788120802841 . * ^ Sircar 1969 , p. 165-166. * ^ Sircar 1969 , pp. 120–123. * ^ Vasudev Vishnu
Vishnu
Mirashi and Narayan Raghunath Navlekar (1969). Kālidāsa; Date, Life, and Works. Popular Prakashan. pp. 1–35. * ^ Chandra Rajan (2005). The Loom of Time. Penguin UK. pp. 268–274.

REFERENCES

* India
India
portal * History portal * Monarchy portal * Biography portal

* R. K. Mookerji, The Gupta Empire, 4th edition. Motilal Banarsidass, 1959. * R. C. Majumdar , Ancient India, 6th revised edition. Motilal Banarsidass, 1971. * Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, A History of India, 2nd edition. Rupa and Co, 1991. * Sircar, D. C. (1969). Ancient Malwa
Malwa
and the Vikramaditya Tradition. Munshiram Manoharlal. ISBN 978-8121503488 .

EXTERNAL LINKS

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