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Gupta Period – Chandragupta II

  • Named after his grandfather, Chandragupta II was a capable ruler, who ruled for 40  years from 375 to 415 CE.
  • He came to power after a succession struggle with his brother Rama Gupta.
  • He is also known as Vikramaditya.
  • With the capital at Pataliputra, Chandragupta II extended the limits of the Gupta Empire by conquest and matrimonial alliances.
  • He married off his daughter Prabhavati to a Vakataka prince, who ruled the strategic lands of Deccan. This alliance was highly useful when he proceeded against the Saka rulers of western India.
  • Chandragupta  II conquered western Malwa and Gujarat by defeating the Saka rulers who had reigned for about four centuries in the region.
  • The kingdom’s prosperity grew out of its trade links with Roman Empire.
  • After establishing himself in eastern and western India, Chandragupta II defeated northern rulers like the Huns, Kambojas and Kiratas.
  • He was a great conqueror and an able administrator as well.
  • His other names (as mentioned in coins) include Vikrama, Devagupta, Devaraja, Simhavikrama, Vikramaditya and Sakari.
  • His court had nine jewels or navaratnas, that is, nine eminent people in various fields of art, literature and science. This included the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, the Sanskrit scholar Harisena, the lexicographer Amarasimha, and the physician Dhanvantari.
  • Fahien, the Buddhist scholar from China, visited India during his reign. He records the prosperity of the Gupta Empire.
  • Chandragupta II was the first Gupta ruler to issue silver coins. His rule thus formed the peak period of Gupta’s territorial expansion.

Other Rulers

  • Chandragupta II was  succeeded  by his son Kumara Gupta I, who founded the Nalanda University. He was also called Sakraditya.
  • The last great king of the Gupta dynasty, Skanda Gupta, was the son of Kumara Gupta I. He was able to repulse an attack by the Huns, but the recurrence of Huns’ invasion strained his empire’s coffers.
  • The Gupta Empire declined after the death of Skanda Gupta in 467 CE.
  • He was followed by many successors who hastened the end of the Gupta Empire.
  • The last recognised king of the Gupta line was Vishnu Gupta who reigned from 540 to 550 CE.

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