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 Home >> Subject >> History >> Study Material >> Chandragupta I & Samudragupta

CHANDRAGUPTA I :

Early in the 4th century Lichchhavi princes was married to the ruler in Magadha, who bore the historic name of Chandragupta. This alliance enhanced his power. Soon he was able tod extend dominion over Oudh as well as Magadha and along the Ganges as far as Prayag or Allahabad. Chandragupta I assumed the high-sounding title of Maharajadhiraja (Great king of Kings.)

Conceding the importance of his wife, Chandragupta issued gold coins in the joint names of himself, his queent Kumaradevi and the Lichchhavi nation. Emboldened by his success he establish a new era. The Gupta which was used in parts of India for several centuries to come.

In all likelihood, the region of Chandragupta I ended about 335 A.D. Even his son was careful to describe himself as the son of the daughter of Lichchhavi. There is some dispute regarding his succession since a few gold coins have been found in the name of Kacha. It is generally held that his name is Samudragupta.

SAMUDRAGUPTA :

Samudragupta had a long reign of 40 or 45 years. He succeeded in making himself the paramount ruler of northern India. To begin with, he subdued the princes of the Gangetic plain who failed to acknowledge his authority. The Allahabad inscription, composed by the court poet Harisena in praise of Samundragupta's spectacular victories, lists the names of kings and countries defeated by the Gupta ruler. Samudragupta succeeded in conquering nine kings of Aryavarta (in the Ganges Valley) and twelve kings from Dakshinapatha, that is a reigon of southern India. In the inscription is also made of two kings of the Nava dynasty, rulers of Ahichhtra. In the next stage he brought the wild forest tribes under his control. Finally, he carried a brilliant expedition into south reaching as far as the Pallava Kingdom. Samudragupta's southern campaign was successful to began with defeated the king of southern Koshala, Mahendra and then the rulers of the region now known or Orissa, in the civinity of the river Godavari, and the Pallava King, Vishnugopa, whose seat of power was Kanchi. The other areas mentioned in the inscription have not yet been identified. He did not annex the territories in the Deccan and South, but he performed An Asvameda sacrifice which had been long in abeyance in order to claim imperial rank. Interestingly, gold medals were struck in commoration of his Vedicsacrifices.

During Samudragupta's reign the Gupta empire became one of the largest in the East. Its fluence spread and close ties were established with many other stages. Not without reason did the court poet Harisena writes his eulogyof the valour and might of his king, who, in the words of the inscrption, subdued the world. This assessment made by the court poet of old has considerable influence on many modern scholars whotend to idealise Samudragupta and described him as did Vincent A. Smith as the (as the Indian Nepolian) an outstanding individual possessed of remarkable qualities.

By the close of Samudragupta careers his empire extended in the north to the base of them mountains. Excluding Kashmir, probably the eastern limit was the Brahamaputra which the Narmada may be regarded as the frontior in the south. And in the west, the Jamuna and Chambal rivers marked the limits of his empire, Nevertheless, various tribal states in the Punjab and Malwa powers Tributes and homage were paid by the rulers of five frontier kingdoms - Samatata (delta of the Brahamaputra), Davaka (Possibly eastern Bengal), Kamarupa (equivalent to Assam), Kartripura (probably Kumaon and Gharwal) and Nepal.

Apart from the vastness of his kingdom, Samudragupta received homage from a handful of foreign kings. The Kushans princes of the North-West ruled in peach beyond. The Indus basin also, friendly relations were maintained with the King Mahendra of Ceylon who had built a splendid monestary at Bodh Gaya after obtaining the permission of Samudragupta.

Samudragupta was a man of exceptional abilities and unusual varied gifts - warrior, statesman, general, poet and musician, philanthropist, he was all in one. As a patron of arts and letters, he epitomized the spirit of his age. Coins and inscription of Gupta period bear testimony to his "versatile talents and ' Indefatigable energy".

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