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Gupta Period – Sources

There are three types of sources for reconstructing the history of the Gupta period.

I. Literary sources

  • Narada, Vishnu, Brihaspati and Katyayana smritis.
  • Kamandaka’s Nitisara, a work on polity addressed to the king (400 CE)
  • Devichandraguptam and Mudrarakshasam by Vishakadutta provide details about the rise of the Guptas.
  • Buddhist and Jaina texts
  • Works of Kalidasa
  • Accounts of the Chinese traveller Fahien

II. Epigraphical Sources

  • Mehrauli Iron Pillar inscription – achievements of Chandragupta I.
  • Allahabad Pillar inscription – describing Samudragupta’s personality and achievements in 33 lines composed by Harisena and engraved in Sanskrit in Nagari script.

III. Numismatic Sources

  • Coins issued by Gupta kings contain legends and figures. These gold coins tell us about the titles the Guptas assumed and the Vedic rituals they performed.

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