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The Gupta Empire
Empire
was an ancient Indian empire, which existed at its zenith from approximately 240 to 605 CE and covered much of the Indian subcontinent.[1] This period is called the Golden Age
Golden Age
of India.[2][note 1] The ruling dynasty of the empire was founded by Sri Gupta; the most notable rulers of the dynasty were Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, and Chandragupta II. The 5th-century CE Sanskrit
Sanskrit
poet Kalidasa
Kalidasa
credits the Guptas with having conquered about twenty-one kingdoms, both in and outside India, including the kingdoms of Parasikas, the Hunas, the Kambojas, tribes located in the west and east Oxus
Oxus
valleys, the Kinnaras, Kiratas, and others.[4][non-primary source needed] The high points of this period are the great cultural developments which took place during the reign of Chandragupta II. All literary sources, such as Mahabharata
Mahabharata
and Ramayana, were canonised during this period.[5] The Gupta period produced scholars such as Kalidasa, Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Vishnu Sharma
Vishnu Sharma
and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields.[6][7] Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era. The period gave rise to achievements in architecture, sculpture, and painting that "set standards of form and taste [that] determined the whole subsequent course of art, not only in India
India
but far beyond her borders".[8] Strong trade ties also made the region an important cultural center and established the region as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in Burma, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.[9][unreliable source?] The Puranas, earlier long poems on a variety of subjects, are also thought to have been committed to written texts around this period.[8] The empire eventually died out because of many factors such as substantial loss of territory and imperial authority caused by their own erstwhile feudatories, as well as the invasion by the Huna peoples ( Kidarites
Kidarites
and Alchon Huns) from Central Asia.[10][11] After the collapse of the Gupta Empire
Empire
in the 6th century, India
India
was again ruled by numerous regional kingdoms. A minor line of the Gupta clan continued to rule Magadha
Magadha
after the disintegration of the empire. These Guptas were ultimately ousted by the Vardhana ruler Harsha, who established his empire in the first half of the 7th century.[citation needed]

Contents

1 Origin

1.1 Original homeland of the Guptas

2 History

2.1 Srigupta and Ghatotkacha 2.2 Chandragupta I 2.3 Samudragupta 2.4 Ramagupta 2.5 Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
"Vikramaditya"

2.5.1 Chandragupta II's Campaigns against Foreign Tribes 2.5.2 Faxian

2.6 Kumaragupta I 2.7 Skandagupta 2.8 Decline of the empire

3 Military organization 4 Religion 5 Gupta administration 6 Legacy of the Gupta Empire 7 Art and architecture 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External links

Origin[edit] Main article: Origin of the Gupta dynasty

Gupta Empire 320 CE–550 CE

Sri Gupta (240 – 280)

Ghatotkacha (280 – 319)

Chandragupta I (320 – 335)

Kachagupta (335)

Samudragupta (335 – 380)

Ramagupta

Chandragupta II (380 – 413/415)

Kumaragupta I (415 – 455)

Skandagupta (455 - 467)

Purugupta (467 – 473)

Kumaragupta II (473 - 476)

Budhagupta (476 – 495)

Narasimhagupta (495 – ?)

(Bhanugupta) (circa 510)

Vainyagupta (circa 507)

Kumaragupta III (circa 530)

Vishnugupta (540 – 550)

v t e

According to many scholars and historians, the Gupta Dynasty was of Vaishya
Vaishya
origin.[12][13] Historian Ram Sharan Sharma
Ram Sharan Sharma
asserts that the Vaishya
Vaishya
Guptas "appeared as a reaction against oppressive rulers".[14] A.S. Altekar, a historian and archaeologist, who has written several books on Gupta coinage,[15] also regarded the caste of the Guptas as Vaishya
Vaishya
on the basis of the ancient Indian texts on law, which associate the Gupta name suffix with a member of the Vaishya
Vaishya
caste. According to historian Michael C. Brannigan, the rise of the Gupta Empire
Empire
was one of the most prominent violations of the caste system in ancient India.[13] However Gupta Empire
Empire
records and Chinese records provided by the later I-Tsing, furnished the names of the first three rulers of the Gupta Dynasty: Maharaja Sri Gupta, Maharaja Sri Ghatotkacha and Ghatotokacha's son, and Maharajadhiraja
Maharajadhiraja
Sri Chandragupta, who is considered the first Gupta emperor. Recently, the historian Ashvini Agarwal, on the basis of the matrimonial alliances of the Guptas with the Vakataka, assumed that they belong to the Brahmin
Brahmin
caste.[16] Another modern historian, S. Chattopaddhyaya, has put forth a different theory about the ancestry of the Guptas. According to him, in the Panchobh
Panchobh
Copper Plate, some kings bearing the title Guptas and related to the imperial Gupta Dynasty, claimed themselves as Vaishyas. Nepalese historian D. R. Regmi says that the imperial Guptas were descendants of Abhira Guptas who had ruled the Kathmandu valley in present-day Nepal.[17][18] Original homeland of the Guptas[edit] There is controversy among scholars about the original homeland of the Guptas. Jayaswal has pointed out that the Guptas were originally inhabitants of Prayaga
Prayaga
(Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh, in north India, as the vassal of the Nagas or Bhaarshivas. Thereafter they rose in prominence. Another scholar, Gayal supported the theory of Jayaswal, suggesting that the original home of the Guptas was Antarvedi
Antarvedi
and embracing the regions of Oudh and Prayag. These historians have derived their theory from several Gupta Dynasty coins found in those regions, and this study of numismatic evidence led to the theory that the Guptas were the original inhabitants of that region of northeastern India. However, another historian of this time in Indian history, D. K. Ganguly, has offered a different view about the original Gupta homeland. According to him the Guptas' homeland is further south, the Murshidabad
Murshidabad
region of Bengal, and not Magadha
Magadha
in Bihar. He based his theory on the statement of the Chinese Buddhist monk, Yijing (I-Tsing), who visited India
India
during 675 and 695 CE. J. F. Fleet and other historians, however, criticize Ganguly's theory because Sri Gupta
Sri Gupta
ruled during the end of the 3rd century, but Yijing placed him at the end of the 2nd century. Hence the theory of historians, who have provided their views based on the accounts of Yijing, are considered less valid than theories based on other sources such as coinage. From these theories, several conflicting opinions about the original homeland and the Empire
Empire
of the Guptas are available. According to John Allan and a few other scholars, the Guptas were initially concentrated in the region of Magadha
Magadha
and from there they extended their sway to Bengal. According to other groups, the original homeland of the Guptas was Varendri
Varendri
or the Varendra Bhumi in Bengal, wherefrom they extended their Empire
Empire
to Magadha. Whatever the theory is, the rule of the Guptas initiated the Golden Age
Golden Age
in history of ancient India
India
and with passage of time they became the sole authority of entire Northern India. Bengali historians like HC Raychoudhuri the Guptas originated from the Varendri
Varendri
region which is now part of Rangpur and Rajshahi Division
Rajshahi Division
of modern-day Bangladesh. D.C. Ganguly, on the other hand, considers the surrounding region of Murshidabad
Murshidabad
as the original home of the Guptas.[19] History[edit] Srigupta and Ghatotkacha[edit] The most likely time for the reign of Sri Gupta
Sri Gupta
is c. 240–280.[20] The Murundas, who were feudal lords of Kushans, provided or granted land to Sri Gupta. He can be considered the first person of Gupta's empire, but not the founder of the empire. His son and successor Ghatotkacha ruled presumably from c. 280–319. He challenged other feudal lords and conquered their lands. In contrast to his successor, Chandragupta I, who is mentioned as Maharajadhiraja, he and his son Ghatotkacha are referred to in inscriptions as Maharaja.[21] At the beginning of the 4th century, the Guptas established and ruled a few small Hindu
Hindu
kingdoms in Magadha
Magadha
and around modern-day Bihar. Yijing[22] also mentioned Sri Gupta
Sri Gupta
in his writings. He was succeeded by his son Ghatotkacha. Chandragupta I[edit] Main article: Chandragupta I

Queen Kumaradevi and King Chandragupta I, depicted on a coin of their son Samudragupta, 335–380.

Ghatotkacha reigned from about 280 CE to 319 CE, and had a son named Chandragupta (reigned c. 320–335 CE) His son is not to be confused with Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya
(322–298 BCE), founder of the Mauryan Empire. In a breakthrough deal, Chandragupta was married to Kumaradevi, a Lichchhavi princess—the main power in Magadha. With a dowry of the kingdom of Magadha
Magadha
(capital Pataliputra) and an alliance with the Licchavis of Nepal, Chandragupta set about expanding his power, conquering much of Magadha, Prayaga, and Saketa. He established a realm stretching from the Ganges River
Ganges River
to Prayaga
Prayaga
(modern-day Allahabad) by 321. He assumed the imperial title of Maharajadhiraja. He expanded his empire through marriage alliances. Samudragupta[edit] Main article: Samudragupta

Coin
Coin
of Samudragupta, with Garuda
Garuda
pillar. British Museum.

Samudragupta, Parakramanka succeeded his father in 335, and ruled for about 45 years, until his death in 380. He took the kingdoms of Ahichchhatra and Padmavati early in his reign. He then attacked the Malwas, the Yaudheyas, the Arjunayanas, the Maduras and the Abhiras, all of which were tribes in the area. By his death in 380, he had incorporated over twenty kingdoms into his realm and his rule extended from the Himalayas
Himalayas
to the river Narmada
Narmada
and from the Brahmaputra to the Yamuna. He gave himself the titles King of Kings and World Monarch. Historian Vincent Smith described him as the "Indian Napoleon".[23] He performed Ashwamedha Yajna in which a horse with an army is sent to all the nearby territories of friends and foes. These territorial kings on arrival either accept the king's alliance, who is performing this Yajna, or fight if they do not. The stone replica of the horse, then prepared, is in the Lucknow Museum. The Samudragupta Prashasti inscribed on the Ashokan Pillar, now in Akbar’s Fort at Allahabad, is an authentic record of his exploits and his sway over most of the continent. Samudragupta
Samudragupta
was not only a talented military leader but also a great patron of art and literature. He conquered what is now Kashmir
Kashmir
and Afghanistan, enlarging the empire.[24] The critical scholars present in his court were Harishena, Vasubandhu, and Asanga. He was a poet and musician himself. He was a firm believer in Hinduism
Hinduism
and is known to have worshipped Lord Vishnu. He was considerate of other religions and allowed Sri Lanka's Buddhist
Buddhist
king Sirimeghvanna to build a monastery at Bodh Gaya. That monastery was called by Xuanzang
Xuanzang
as the Mahabodhi Sangharama.[25][unreliable source?] He provided a gold railing around the Bodhi Tree. Ramagupta[edit]

Head of Tirthankara, Mathura
Mathura
Museum

Main article: Ramagupta Although, the narrative of the Devichandragupta is not supported by any contemporary epigraphical evidence, the historicity of Rama Gupta is proved by his Durjanpur inscriptions on three Jaina images, where he is mentioned as the Maharajadhiraja. A large number of his copper coins also have been found from the Eran- Vidisha
Vidisha
region and classified in five distinct types, which include the Garuda,[26] Garudadhvaja, lion and border legend types. The Brahmi
Brahmi
legends on these coins are written in the early Gupta style.[27] In the opinion of art historian Dr. R. A. Agarawala, D. Litt., Rama Gupta may be the eldest son of Samudragupta. He became king because of being the eldest. It is possible that he was dethroned because of being considered unfit to rule, and his younger brother Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
took over. Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
"Vikramaditya"[edit] Main article: Chandragupta II

Krishna
Krishna
fighting the horse demon Keshi, 5th century

According to the Gupta records, amongst his sons, Samudragupta nominated prince Chandragupta II, born of queen Dattadevi, as his successor. Chandragupta II, Vikramaditya (the Sun of Power), ruled from 375 until 415. He married a Kadamba princess of Kuntala and of Naga lineage (Nāgakulotpannnā), Kuberanaga. His daughter Prabhavatigupta
Prabhavatigupta
from this Naga queen was married to Rudrasena II, the Vakataka
Vakataka
ruler of Deccan.[28] His son Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
was married to a Kadamba princess of the Karnataka region. Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
expanded his realm westwards, defeating the Saka
Saka
Western Kshatrapas
Western Kshatrapas
of Malwa, Gujarat
Gujarat
and Saurashtra in a campaign lasting until 409. His main opponent Rudrasimha III
Rudrasimha III
was defeated by 395, and he crushed the Bengal chiefdoms. This extended his control from coast to coast, established a second capital at Ujjain
Ujjain
and was the high point of the empire.

Gold coins of Chandragupta II.

Despite the creation of the empire through war, the reign is remembered for its very influential style of Hindu
Hindu
art, literature, culture and science, especially during the reign of Chandragupta II. Some excellent works of Hindu
Hindu
art such as the panels at the Dashavatara Temple
Dashavatara Temple
in Deogarh serve to illustrate the magnificence of Gupta art. Above all it was the synthesis of elements that gave Gupta art its distinctive flavour. During this period, the Guptas were supportive of thriving Buddhist
Buddhist
and Jain
Jain
cultures as well, and for this reason there is also a long history of non- Hindu
Hindu
Gupta period art. In particular, Gupta period Buddhist art
Buddhist art
was to be influential in most of East and Southeast Asia. Many advances were recorded by the Chinese scholar and traveller Faxian
Faxian
(Fa-hien) in his diary and published afterwards. The court of Chandragupta was made even more illustrious by the fact that it was graced by the Navaratna (Nine Jewels), a group of nine who excelled in the literary arts. Amongst these men was the immortal Kālidāsa
Kālidāsa
whose works dwarfed the works of many other literary geniuses, not only in his own age but in the years to come. Kalidasa was mainly known for his subtle exploitation of the shringara (romantic) element in his verse. Chandragupta II's Campaigns against Foreign Tribes[edit] The 4th century Sanskrit
Sanskrit
poet Kalidasa
Kalidasa
credits Chandragupta Vikramaditya with conquering about twenty one kingdoms, both in and outside India. After finishing his campaign in East and West India, Vikramaditya (Chandragupta II) proceeded northwards, subjugated the Parasikas, then the Hunas
Hunas
and the Kambojas
Kambojas
tribes located in the west and east Oxus
Oxus
valleys respectively. Thereafter, the king proceeded into the Himalaya
Himalaya
mountains to reduce the mountain tribes of the Kinnaras, Kiratas, as well as India
India
proper.[4][non-primary source needed] The Brihatkathamanjari of the Kashmiri writer Kshemendra states, King Vikramaditya (Chandragupta II) had "unburdened the sacred earth of the Barbarians like the Sakas, Mlecchas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Tusharas, Parasikas, Hunas, and others, by annihilating these sinful Mlecchas completely".[29][non-primary source needed][30][31][unreliable source?] Faxian[edit] Faxian
Faxian
(or Fa Hsien etc.), a Chinese Buddhist, was one of the pilgrims who visited India
India
during the reign of the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II. He started his journey from China
China
in 399 and reached India
India
in 405. During his stay in India
India
up to 411, he went on a pilgrimage to Mathura, Kannauj, Kapilavastu, Kushinagar, Vaishali, Pataliputra, Kashi, and Rajagriha, and made careful observations about the empire's conditions. Faxian
Faxian
was pleased with the mildness of administration. The Penal Code was mild and offenses were punished by fines only. From his accounts, the Gupta Empire
Empire
was a prosperous period. And until the Rome- China
China
trade axis was broken with the fall of the Han dynasty, the Guptas' did indeed prosper. His writings form one of the most important sources for the history of this period. Kumaragupta I[edit] Main article: Kumaragupta I

Silver coin of the Gupta King Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
( Coin
Coin
of his Western territories, design derived from the Western Satraps). Obv: Bust of king with crescents, with traces of corrupt Greek script.[32][33] Rev: Garuda
Garuda
standing facing with spread wings. Brahmi
Brahmi
legend: Parama-bhagavata rajadhiraja Sri Kumaragupta Mahendraditya.

Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
was succeeded by his second son Kumaragupta I, born of Mahadevi Dhruvasvamini. Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
assumed the title, Mahendraditya.[34] He ruled until 455. Towards the end of his reign a tribe in the Narmada
Narmada
valley, the Pushyamitras, rose in power to threaten the empire. The Kidarites
Kidarites
as well probably confronted the Gupta Empire
Empire
towards the end of the rule of Kumaragupta I, as his son Skandagupta
Skandagupta
mentions in the Bhitari pillar inscription his efforts at reshaping a country in disarray, through reorganization and military victories over the Pushyamitras
Pushyamitras
and the Hunas.[35] He was the founder of Nalanda
Nalanda
University which on July 15, 2016 was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site.[36] Skandagupta[edit] Main article: Skandagupta Skandagupta, son and successor of Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
is generally considered to be the last of the great Gupta rulers. He assumed the titles of Vikramaditya and Kramaditya.[37] He defeated the Pushyamitra threat, but then was faced with invading Kidarites
Kidarites
(sometimes described as the Hephthalites or "White Huns", known in India
India
as the Sweta Huna), from the northwest. He repelled a Huna attack around 455 CE, but the expense of the wars drained the empire's resources and contributed to its decline. The Bhitari Pillar inscription of Skandagupta, the successor of Chandragupta, recalls the near-annihilation of the Gupta Empire following the attacks of the Kidarites.[38] The Kidarites
Kidarites
seem to have retained the western part of the Gupta Empire.[38] Skandagupta
Skandagupta
died in 467 and was succeeded by his agnate brother Purugupta.[39] Decline of the empire[edit]

The Alchon Huns
Alchon Huns
under Toramana
Toramana
and his son Mihirakula
Mihirakula
(here depicted) gravely weakened the Gupta Empire.

Following Skandagupta's death, the empire was clearly in decline.[40] He was followed by Purugupta
Purugupta
(467–473), Kumaragupta II
Kumaragupta II
(473–476), Budhagupta
Budhagupta
(476–495), Narasimhagupta
Narasimhagupta
(495—?), Kumaragupta III (530—540), Vishnugupta (540—550), two lesser known kings namely, Vainyagupta
Vainyagupta
and Bhanugupta. In the 480's the Alchon Huns
Alchon Huns
under Toramana
Toramana
and Mihirakula
Mihirakula
broke through the Gupta defenses in the northwest, and much of the empire in the northwest was overrun by the Huns by 500. The empire disintegrated under the attacks of Toramana
Toramana
and his successor Mihirakula. It appears from inscriptions that the Guptas, although their power was much diminished, continued to resist the Huns. The Hun invader Toramana
Toramana
was defeated by Bhanugupta
Bhanugupta
in 510.[41][42] The Huns were defeated and driven out of India
India
in 528 by king Yashodharman
Yashodharman
from Malwa, and possibly Gupta emperor Narasimhagupta.[43]

The much-weakened Late Guptas, circa 550 CE.

These invasions, although only spanning a few decades, had long term effects on India, and in a sense brought an end to Classical Indian civilization.[44] Soon after the invasions, the Gupta Empire, already weakened by these invasions and the rise of local rulers such as Yashodharman, ended as well.[45] Following the invasions, northern India
India
was left in disarray, with numerous smaller Indian powers emerging after the crumbling of the Guptas.[46] The Huna invasions are said to have seriously damaged India's trade with Europe
Europe
and Central Asia.[44] In particular, Indo-Roman trade relations, which the Gupta Empire
Empire
had greatly benefited from. The Guptas had been exporting numerous luxury products such as silk, leather goods, fur, iron products, ivory, pearl, and pepper from centers such as Nasik, Paithan, Pataliputra, and Benares. The Huna invasion probably disrupted these trade relations and the tax revenues that came with them.[47] Furthermore, Indian urban culture was left in decline, and Buddhism, gravely weakened by the destruction of monasteries and the killing of monks, started to collapse.[44] Great centers of learning were destroyed, such as the city of Taxila, bringing cultural regression.[44] During their rule of 60 years, the Alchons are said to have altered the hierarchy of ruling families and the Indian cast system. For example, the Hunas
Hunas
are often said to have become the precursors of the Rajputs.[44] The succession of the 6th-century Guptas is not entirely clear, but the tail end recognized ruler of the dynasty's main line was king Vishnugupta, reigning from 540 to 550. In addition to the Hun invasion, the factors, which contribute to the decline of the empire include competition from the Vakatakas
Vakatakas
and the rise of Yashodharman
Yashodharman
in Malwa.[48] The last known inscription by a Gupta emperor is from the reign of Vishnugupta (the Damodarpur copper-plate inscription),[49] in which he makes a land grant in the area of Kotivarsha
Kotivarsha
( Bangarh
Bangarh
in West Bengal) in 542/543 CE.[50] This follows the occupation of most of northern and central India
India
by the Aulikara
Aulikara
ruler Yashodharman
Yashodharman
circa 532 CE.[50] Military organization[edit]

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Gold coin of Gupta era, depicting Gupta king Kumaragupta holding a bow.

Sculpture of Vishnu
Vishnu
(red sandstone), 5th century CE

The Imperial Guptas couldn't have achieved their successes through force of arms without an efficient martial system. Historically, the best accounts of this not only come from Indian sources themselves but from Chinese and Western observers. However, a contemporary Indian document, regarded as a military classic of the time, the Siva-Dhanur-veda, offers some insight into the military system of the Guptas.[citation needed] The Guptas seem to have relied heavily on infantry archers, and the bow was one of the dominant weapons of their army. The Indian version of the longbow was composed of metal, or more typically bamboo, and fired a long bamboo cane arrow with a metal head.[citation needed] Unlike the composite bows of Western and Central Asian foes, bows of this design would be less prone to warping in the damp and moist conditions often prevalent to the region. The Indian longbow was reputedly a powerful weapon capable of great range and penetration and provided an effective counter to invading horse archers. Iron shafts were used against armored elephants and fire arrows were not part of the bowmen's arsenal, contrary to popular belief. India
India
historically has had a prominent reputation for its steel weapons. One of these was the steel bow. Because of its high tensility, the steel bow was capable of long range and penetration of exceptionally thick armor. These were less common weapons than the bamboo design and found in the hands of noblemen rather than in the ranks. Archers were frequently protected by infantry equipped with shields, javelins, and longswords. The Guptas also had knowledge of siegecraft, catapults, and other sophisticated war machines.[citation needed] The Guptas apparently showed little predilection for using horse archers, despite the fact these warriors were a primary component in the ranks of their Scythian, Parthian, and Hepthalite (Huna) enemies. However, the Gupta armies were probably better disciplined. Able commanders such as Samudragupta
Samudragupta
and Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
would have likely understood the need for combined armed tactics and proper logistical organization. Gupta military success likely stemmed from the concerted use of elephants, armored cavalry, steel bow and foot archers in tandem against both Hindu
Hindu
kingdoms and foreign armies invading from the Northwest. The Guptas also maintained a navy, allowing them to control regional waters.[citation needed] The collapse of the Gupta Empire
Empire
in the face of the Huna onslaught was due not directly to the inherent defects of the Gupta army, which after all had initially defeated these people under Skandagupta. More likely, internal dissolution sapped the ability of the Guptas to resist foreign invasion, as was simultaneously occurring in Western Europe
Europe
and China.[citation needed] During the reign of Chandragupta II, Gupta Empire
Empire
maintained a large army consisting of 500,000 infantry, 50,000 cavalry, 20,000 charioteers and 10,000 elephants[citation needed] along with a powerful navy with more than 1200 ships[citation needed]. Chandragupta II controlled the whole of the Indian subcontinent;[1] the Gupta empire was the most powerful empire in the world during his reign, at a time when the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in the West was in decline.[citation needed] Religion[edit]

Meditating Buddha
Buddha
from the Gupta era, 5th century CE.

The Guptas were traditionally a Hindu
Hindu
dynasty.[51] They were orthodox Hindus, but did not force their beliefs on the rest of the population, as Buddhism
Buddhism
and Jainism
Jainism
also were encouraged.[52] Sanchi
Sanchi
remained an important center of Buddhism.[52] Kumaragupta I
Kumaragupta I
(c. 414 – c. 455 CE) is said to have founded Nalanda.[52] Some later rulers however seem to have especially favoured Buddhism. Narasimhagupta
Narasimhagupta
Baladitya (c. 495-?), according to contemporary writer Paramartha, was brought up under the influence of the Mahayanist philosopher, Vasubandhu.[51] He built a sangharama at Nalanda
Nalanda
and also a 300 ft (91 m) high vihara with a Buddha
Buddha
statue within which, according to Xuanzang, resembled the "great Vihara
Vihara
built under the Bodhi tree". According to the Manjushrimulakalpa
Manjushrimulakalpa
(c. 800 CE), king Narasimhsagupta became a Buddhist
Buddhist
monk, and left the world through meditation (Dhyana).[51] The Chinese monk Xuanzang
Xuanzang
also noted that Narasimhagupta
Narasimhagupta
Baladitya's son, Vajra, who commissioned a sangharama as well, "possessed a heart firm in faith".[53]:45[54]:330 Gupta administration[edit] A study of the epigraphical records of the Gupta empire shows that there was a hierarchy of administrative divisions from top to bottom. The empire was called by various names such as Rajya, Rashtra, Desha, Mandala, Prithvi and Avani. It was divided into 26 provinces, which were styled as Bhukti, Pradesha and Bhoga. Provinces were also divided into Vishayas and put under the control of the Vishayapatis. A Vishayapati administered the Vishaya with the help of the Adhikarana (council of representatives), which comprised four representatives: Nagarasreshesthi, Sarthavaha, Prathamakulike and Prathama Kayastha. A part of the Vishaya was called Vithi.[55] There were also trade links of Gupta business with the Roman empire. Legacy of the Gupta Empire[edit]

Later image of Krishna
Krishna
and Radha
Radha
playing chaturanga on an 8 × 8 Ashtāpada

Scholars of this period include Varahamihira
Varahamihira
and Aryabhata, who is believed to be the first to come up with the concept of zero, postulated the theory that the Earth moves round the Sun, and studied solar and lunar eclipses. Kalidasa, who was a great playwright, who wrote plays such as Shakuntala, and marked the highest point of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literature is also said to have belonged to this period. The Sushruta
Sushruta
Samhita, which is a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
redaction text on all of the major concepts of ayurvedic medicine with innovative chapters on surgery, dates to the Gupta period. Chess
Chess
is said to have originated in this period,[56] where its early form in the 6th century was known as caturaṅga, which translates as "four divisions [of the military]" – infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry – represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. Doctors also invented several medical instruments, and even performed operations. The Indian numerals
Indian numerals
which were the first positional base 10 numeral systems in the world originated from Gupta India. The ancient Gupta text Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra
by the Indian scholar Vatsyayana is widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature. Aryabhata, a noted mathematician-astronomer of the Gupta period proposed that the earth is round and rotates about its own axis. He also discovered that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight. Instead of the prevailing cosmogony in which eclipses were caused by pseudo-planetary nodes Rahu
Rahu
and Ketu, he explained eclipses in terms of shadows cast by and falling on Earth.[57] Art and architecture[edit]

A tetrastyle prostyle Gupta period temple at Sanchi
Sanchi
besides the Apsidal hall with Maurya
Maurya
foundation, an example of Buddhist architecture. 5th century CE.

The Gupta period is generally regarded as a classic peak of North Indian art
Indian art
for all the major religious groups. Although painting was evidently widespread, the surviving works are almost all religious sculpture. The period saw the emergence of the iconic carved stone deity in Hindu
Hindu
art, as well as the Buddha
Buddha
figure and Jain
Jain
tirthankara figures, the latter often on a very large scale. The two great centres of sculpture were Mathura
Mathura
and Gandhara, the latter the centre of Greco- Buddhist
Buddhist
art. Both exported sculpture to other parts of northern India. Unlike the preceding Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
there was no artistic depiction of the monarchs, even in the very fine Guptan coinage,[58] with the exception of some coins of the Western Satraps, or influenced by them.

The current structure of the Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple
dates to the Gupta era, 5th century CE. Marking the location where the Buddha
Buddha
is said to have attained enlightenment.

The most famous remaining monuments in a broadly Gupta style, the caves at Ajanta, Elephanta, and Ellora (respectively Buddhist, Hindu, and mixed including Jain) were in fact produced under later dynasties, but primarily reflect the monumentality and balance of Guptan style. Ajanta contains by far the most significant survivals of painting from this and the surrounding periods, showing a mature form which had probably had a long development, mainly in painting palaces.[59] The Hindu
Hindu
Udayagiri Caves
Udayagiri Caves
actually record connections with the dynasty and its ministers,[60] and the Dashavatara Temple
Dashavatara Temple
at Deogarh is a major temple, one of the earliest to survive, with important sculpture.[61]

Vishnu
Vishnu
reclining on the serpent Shesha
Shesha
(Ananta), Dashavatara Temple 5th century

Buddha
Buddha
from Sarnath, 5–6th century CE

The Colossal trimurti at the Elephanta Caves

Rock-cut temples at Ellora

Painting of Padmapani
Padmapani
Cave 1 at Ajanta

See also[edit]

Later Gupta dynasty Empire
Empire
of Harsha

Notes[edit]

^ a b Gupta Dynasty – MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009.  ^ N. Jayapalan, History of India, Vol. I, (Atlantic Publishers, 2001), 130. ^ Jha, D.N. (2002). Ancient India
Ancient India
in Historical Outline. Delhi: Manohar Publishers and Distributors. pp. 149–173. ISBN 81-7304-285-3.  ^ a b Raghu Vamsa v 4.60–75 ^ Gupta dynasty (Indian dynasty). Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2011-11-21. ^ Mahajan, p. 540; Keay, 132, 145-154 ^ Gupta dynasty: empire in 4th century. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2011-11-21. ^ a b Harle, 87 ^ Trade The Story of India
India
– Photo Gallery. PBS. Retrieved on 2011-11-21. ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5, pp.264–9 ^ Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire
Empire
of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. p. 69. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.  ^ Nehra, R.K. Hinduism
Hinduism
and Its Military Ethos. Lancer Publishers,2010. Retrieved 2012-08-25.  ^ a b Brannigan, Michael C. Striking a Balance: A Primer in Traditional Asian Values. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Retrieved 2012-08-25.  ^ Sharma, R.S. Early Medieval Indian Society: A Study in Feudalisation. Orient Blackswan. Retrieved 2012-06-06.  ^ List of Altekar's publications in the Open Library. ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5, pp.82-4 ^ Human rights in the Hindu- Buddhist
Buddhist
tradition By Lal Deosa Rai, Page no.155 [1] ^ "Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal: Inscriptions". google.com.  ^ " Gupta Rule". banglapedia.org.  ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5, pp.84–7 ^ Majumdar, p. 474 ^ "Founder of the Gupta Empire
Empire
Maharaja Sri Gupta". theindianhistory.org.  ^ Smith, Vincent A. (1999). The Early History of India: From 600 B.C. to the Muhammadan Conquest. Atlantic. p. 289. ISBN 81-7156-618-9.  ^ The Gupta Polity, pp.199 ^ Mahajan, p. 487 ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 153–9. ISBN 81-208-0592-5.  ^ Bajpai, K.D. (2004). Indian Numismatic
Numismatic
Studies. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. pp. 120–1. ISBN 81-7017-035-4.  ^ Raychaudhuri, p. 489 ^ ata shrivikramadityo helya nirjitakhilah Mlechchana Kamboja. Yavanan neechan Hunan Sabarbran Tushara. Parsikaanshcha tayakatacharan vishrankhalan hatya bhrubhangamatreyanah bhuvo bharamavarayate (Brahata Katha, 10/1/285-86, Kshmendra). ^ Kathasritsagara 18.1.76–78 ^ Cf:"In the story contained in Kathasarit-sagara, king Vikarmaditya is said to have destroyed all the barbarous tribes such as the Kambojas, Yavanas, Hunas, Tokharas and the, National Council of Teachers of English Committee on Recreational Reading – Sanskrit language. ^ Prasanna Rao Bandela (1 January 2003). Coin
Coin
splendour: a journey into the past. Abhinav Publications. pp. 112–. ISBN 978-81-7017-427-1. Retrieved 21 November 2011.  ^ "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... 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 ^ Agarwal, Ashvini (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0592-5, pp.191–200 ^ History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Ahmad Hasan Dani, B. A. Litvinsky, Unesco
Unesco
p.119 sq ^ " Nalanda
Nalanda
University Ruins Nalanda
Nalanda
Travel Guide Ancient Nalanda Site". Travel News India. 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2017-02-20.  ^ Raychaudhuri, p. 510 ^ a b The Huns, Hyun Jin Kim, Routledge, 2015 p.50 sq ^ Raychaudhuri, p. 516 ^ Sachchidananda Bhattacharya, Gupta dynasty, A dictionary of Indian history, (George Braziller, Inc., 1967), 393. ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen p.220 ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian Events & Dates by S. B. Bhattacherje p.A15 ^ Columbia Encyclopedia ^ a b c d e The First Spring: The Golden Age
Golden Age
of India
India
by Abraham Eraly p.48 sq ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra Nath Sen p.221 ^ A Comprehensive History Of Ancient India
Ancient India
p.174 ^ Longman History & Civics ICSE 9 by Singh p.81 ^ Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. New Delhi: Pearson Education. p. 480. ISBN 978-81-317-1677-9.  ^ Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum Vol.3 (inscriptions Of The Early Gupta Kings) p.362 ^ a b Indian Esoteric Buddhism: Social History of the Tantric Movement by Ronald M. Davidson p.31 ^ a b c A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India
India
by Upinder Singh p.521 ^ a b c The Gupta Empire
Empire
by Radhakumud Mookerji p.133 sq ^ Sankalia, Hasmukhlal Dhirajlal (1934). The University of Nālandā. B. G. Paul & co.  ^ Sukumar Dutt (1988) [First published in 1962]. Buddhist
Buddhist
Monks And Monasteries of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London. ISBN 81-208-0498-8.  ^ Mahajan, pp. 530–1 ^ Murray, H. J. R. (1913). A History of Chess. Benjamin Press (originally published by Oxford University Press). ISBN 0-936317-01-9. OCLC 13472872.  ^ Thomas Khoshy, Elementary Number Theory with Applications, Academic Press, 2002, p. 567. ISBN 0-12-421171-2. ^ Harle, 87-89 ^ Harle, respectively 118-122, 123-126, 129-135 ^ Harle, 92-97 ^ Harle, 113-114

References[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Gupta.

Harle, J.C. (1994). The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, 2nd ed., Yale University Press Pelican History of Art, ISBN 0300062176 Keay, John, India, a History, 2000, HarperCollins, ISBN 0002557177 Majumdar, R.C. (1977). Ancient India, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0436-8 Mahajan, Vidya Dhar, A History of India, 1990, State Mutual Book & Periodical Service, ISBN 0785511911, 9780785511915 Raychaudhuri, H.C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, ISBN 1-4400-5272-7 Tej Ram Sharma (1978). Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions. Concept Publishing Co., Delhi. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gupta Empire.

^ An idea contested by D. N. Jha.[3]

Coins of Gupta Empire Photo Feature on Gupta Period Art

Preceded by Kanva dynasty Magadha
Magadha
dynasties CE 240–550 Succeeded by possibly Pala dynasty

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Maitraka

Adivasi
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Culture Late-Classical Hinduism
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(tribes) Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras) Pandyan Kingdom(Revival) Pallava

 8th century Kabul Shahi

Pala Empire Pandyan Kingdom Kalachuri

 9th century

Gurjara-Pratihara

Rashtrakuta dynasty Pandyan Kingdom Medieval Cholas Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas) Chera Perumals of Makkotai

10th century Ghaznavids

Pala dynasty Kamboja-Pala dynasty

Kalyani Chalukyas Medieval Cholas Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas) Chera Perumals of Makkotai Rashtrakuta

References and sources for table

References

^ Samuel ^ Samuel ^ Michaels (2004) p.39 ^ Hiltebeitel (2002) ^ Michaels (2004) p.39 ^ Hiltebeitel (2002) ^ Micheals (2004) p.40 ^ Michaels (2004) p.41

Sources

Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press  Hiltebeitel, Alf (2002), Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture", Routledge  Michaels, Axel (2004), Hinduism. Past and present, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press  Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga
Yoga
and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press 

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