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Gupta Dynasty

 

Gupta Dynasty

Origin of the Gupta Dynasty:

                        The decline of the Mauryan Empire led to the emergence of the Kushanas in the north and the Satavahanas in the south.The two empires played an important role in establishing political and economic unity within their respective regions.Kushan rule in north India came to an end in 230.The Murundas, believed to be relatives of the Kushanas, captured much of central India within 25 to 30.In the last ten years of the 3rd century AD, in 275 AD, the Gupta dynasty came to power.The Guptas captured the erstwhile territories held by the Kushanas and Satavahanas.

                     From 335 AD to 455 AD, the Guptas, belonging to the Vaishya caste, maintained political unity in north India.The Guptas are regarded as the descendants of the Kushanas and are often  regarded as the king of the little blue.The core of the Gupta Empire consisted of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.Prayag (present-day Allahabad, B.) It was the capital of the Gupta Dynasty.The Guptas extended their rule to the fertile plains of Madhya Pradesh, also known as Anuganga (central Gangetic basin).The main areas under the control of the Guptas were the Saketa (e.g.B.), Prayag (e.B.), and includes Magadha (Bihar).

Shri Gupta:

                      Shri Gupta was the founder of the Gupta Dynasty (AD  240-280).He succeeded with the help of his son.The period of reign is not clear, and different historians have kept it from the middle to late 3rd century AD .But the early Guptas are mentioned as Shivagupta in the Nasik inscription and Puru Gupta  in the Karle  inscription.Srigupta was known as Maharajah (“Great King“).

Katotkacha:

                         After Shri Gupta, his son Katotkacha, roughly  ruled from AD   280 to 319.The Allahabad Pillar inscription describes him as maharaja (“great king”).The use of the title maharaja led to suggestions that Shri Gupta and Katotkachar may have had a slave status under the  Kushan Empire.

Chandragupta I:

                                                     Chandragupta I, the son of Katotkachar.He ruled from AD  319 to 335.He is known as the first emperor of the Buddhist dynasty.He married Kumara Devi, a princess of the tribal Liksavi clan.With this, the kingdom of the Guptas was expanded.He assumed the title of Maharajada Raja (King of all kings  ). He created the Gupta kingdom as a great kingdom. He established the capital at Pataliputra.This period was called  the  “Golden Age of India by historians below.The Allahabad Pillar inscription was written by the Hari Sena on the instructions of Chandragupta I.

 Samudragupta:

  • AD  In 335, Chandragupta I appointed his son Samudra Buddha as his successor.The Allahabad Pillar inscription gives a detailed knowledge of his achievements.
  • In a long tribute to him with an Ashoka pillar inscribed on it, it is said that he belongs to the Mauryan tradition.He conquered the four kings of Delhi and Merku Uttar Pradesh. The kings of the south and the east bowed down to him and paid tribute to him.
  • His reign extended as far as East Kancheepuram.In the western part of the Gangetic plain, he conquered 9 kings by force.Historians called Chandragupta the “Indian Napoleon”.Chandragupta ruled for 40 years.
  • He was a lover of poetry and music and was also awarded the title of Kaviraja.He  followed Vaishnavism.He  was a supporter of Vasubandhu because of his interest in Buddhism.Chandragupta was a Vishnu devotee.
  • He forced the tribal chieftains of central India and the Deccan to pay tribute  to the kings of eastern regions such as Assam and Bengal, and to the petty kings of parts like Nepal and  The Punjab.In addition to this, the Kushanas, the Sagar kingdom and  foreign governments such as the Government of Ceylon bowed down to him and paid tributes to him.
  • Eastern Himalaya, the Adavika kingdom, the Ganges-Doab region, the Sagars and the Kushanas defeated all  the 12 rulers of South India and captured their territories.

Chandragupta II:

  • Ramagupta   ruled from AD  370 to 375. Later, his brother Chandragupta II and he had a succession contest from which Samudragupta II became the king.Chandragupta II, who took the name of his grandfather, was also a very capable and great king.He ruled for 40 years from AD   375 to 415.
  • He ruled with Pataliputra as his capital.He expanded the boundaries of the Buddhas through war and matrimonial relations.He married his daughter Prabhavati to the Vakataka prince who ruled the Deccan region.
  • The state prospers through trade with the Roman empires.Chandragupta II also  conquered the kings of the north such as the Hunas, Kambojas and Kiratas.
  • There were also names like Vikrama, Devagupta, Devarajan, Narendra Simha, Devashri,  Simhachandra, Simhavikrama, Vikramaditya  .His court consisted of nine scholars called Navaratnams, who excelled in the fields of art, literature and science .

Nine scholars known as Navaratnams:

Name Field Achievements
Kalidasa poet He has written masterpieces such as Abhignanasakundalam and Meghadhootham.  He is regarded as one of the greatest Sanskrit poets.
Amarasimha Lexicographer & Poet He wrote Amaragosha, a Sanskrit vocabulary of nearly 10,000 words.
Dhanvantri doctor He is recognized as the father of ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine.
Gatakarapara Architect & Sculptor Although no significant architectural works have been definitively identified.
siren Architect He is the author of The Shilpa Shastra, an influential book on Indian architecture and sculpture.
Kahapanaka Astrologer & Astronomer He wrote the Jyotishya Shastra, a book on astrology and astronomy.
Vararuchi Grammarian & Linguist He composed prakrit prakasam, the first grammar of prakrit language.
Vedala Patta Wizard & Scholar He is the author of mantra shastra, a text on mantra recitation and rituals.
Varahmihira Astronomer and Mathematician He wrote a comprehensive treatise on astronomy called Panchasiddhantika.

 

       It was during his reign that  a Buddhist scholar named Bashiyan came to the Indian court from China.Chandragupta II was the first Gupta king to issue silver coins.

Kumaragupta I :

                   Kumaragupta was born to the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II and Queen Dhruva Devi.Kumaragupta’s reign ranged from AD   415 to 455.He protected the empire from the Pushyamitra tribes and the Kidarits.He performed ashwamedha yajnas.Shakratidya” and “Mahendraadityawere called by the titles.He laid the foundation stone of Nalanda University.After his reign, the signs of the decline of the Gupta Empire began to show.

Skandagupta:

                             Skandagupta was the son of Kumaragupta I. AD 455 to 467.He is considered to be  the last great Gupta  ruler during the Gupta period. There were also titles such as Vikramaditya and Kramaaditya.AD  In 455, Hunar defeated the attack.

VishnuGupta:

                        The last recognized king of the Gupta Empire (AD  540 to 550).Vishnugupta’s reign lasted only 10 years.He was the son of Kumaragupta III and the grandson of Narasimha Buddha. A portion of his clay seal has been discovered through excavations in Nalanda. In Kodevarsha, vishnu gupta’s land grant and important information are mentioned in the inscription.

The administrative system of the Gupta Dynasty:

                          The kings were called by titles such as Maharajadhiraja, Parama-Bhattaraka andThey were associated as gods by adjectives such as Parama-Thaivada (the supreme devotee of God) and   Parama-Bhagavata  (the supreme devotee of Vasudeva Krishna).In the Allahabad inscription, Samudragupta is compared to the deity Purusha.In the Allahabad inscription, a group called Sabha  is said to have helped the Gupta  government.The judiciary and the army were in the hands of the so-called Dandanayaka or Maha Dandanayaka.He has lost his position as Mahaashwadapati (chief of the cavalry).

                                  The Gupta empire  was divided into states called ‘nation’ or ‘bugti’.  These were ruled by governors who were called uparikaIt is mentioned in the Damodarpur copper plates that three Uparis had the title of Maharaja. The Guptas divided it into districts called “Vishyawhich was ruled by Vishyapati.Below the district levels there were different kinds of administrative officers such as Vidhi, Bhoomi, Patha, Beeda, etc. It is ruled by officers  called Mahadhara.There were officers like Gramika and Adyasha to rule the village.The Damodarpur copper plate of the Gupta period refers to the Ashtakula-Adhikari headed by Mahadhara  as having 8 members.Inscriptions and seals refer to military positions such as Baladikritya and Mahapaladikrutya (infantry and cavalry ).A Vaishali mudra refers to Ranabandhakar, the army office. Another Vaishali mudra refers to the office of an officer named Danda Bashika.

Officers:

Name Situation Incident
Kumaramathia Chief Minister He presided over the cabinet, advised the king on all matters, and supervised the other ministers.
Chandivikrahika Minister of War and Peace He oversaw military affairs, made negotiating agreements, and handled foreign relations.
Mahakshanapala Chancellor of the Treasury Managing the treasury, collecting taxes, overseeing financial affairs.
Sachiwa State Secretary He handled administrative tasks, maintained records, and coordinated the coordination between the king and various departments.
Danda-Naicker Head of Police and Justice Maintaining law and order, overseeing the judiciary, enforcing punishments.
Rajuka Governor of a Province (Bugti) Managing the assigned province, ensuring efficient administration, collecting taxes, overseeing the local authorities.
Vijayapathi District Officer Administered a district (Visaya) within a province, overseeing agriculture, tax collection, public works.
Gramika Village Headman Leading the village, maintaining records, resolving minor disputes, monitoring tax collection, representing the village to higher authorities.

 

Gupta Dynasty –Agriculture:

                           Paddy, wheat,  barley, groundnut, grain, crop, sugarcane, oil and seeds were cultivated during the Gupta According to the Paharbar copper plates, an officer named Ustapala is said to have preserved all the documents related to the transfer of land in the district. The Basharpur copper plate  shows that the king was the sole owner of the land.The village accountant maintained the documentation of the lands in the village.They made India aware of the importance of irrigation even in the earliest times.There are two types of anicuts mentioned in the book Naradasmriti, ‘Kara‘,  which was helped by Bandiya‘ which protected  the field from.

Agriculture Officers:

Tenure / Official Incident Important Factors
Krishikara: Farmer or farmer – the primary farmers of the land. Paying taxes to the government and providing workers for public works. It was the backbone of the Gupta economy.
Kshetrapati: The village head or supervisor – who is responsible for agricultural production in a village. Supervised agricultural practices, water management and land distribution. Collect taxes from farmers and inform higher authorities.
Anger: The cowherd or the cattle herder – played an important role in agriculture. Take care of and rear cattle for milk, fertilizer and traction. There is also a responsibility to protect the crops from being damaged by the cattle.
Jalapati: Irrigation supervisor – essential for agricultural success in most regions. Management of irrigation canals and water supply systems. To ensure fair and efficient use of water among the farmers.
Bhumiba: Landlord or owner – agricultural land owned or controlled. The share of rent or produce obtained from the farmers. , Often had considerable social and economic power.
  • Amarasimha notes that there was  a drainage system called  Aila nirgama to prevent water logging.

Gupta Dynasty Taxes:

 Name

Nature Description
Baga Share of produce King received 1/6th of the agricultural produce
Kobaka Category Line The villages occasionally offered fruits, firewood and flowers to the king.
Kara Periodic Tax Tax on the villagers, not as part of the annual estimate
Sulka Customs Duty The king’s share in the goods brought by the merchants
Hiranya Gold Tax The tax levied on gold coins, sometimes paid with specific grains
sacrifice Voluntary (then mandatory) tax Initially voluntary, then became forced and oppressive
Udayanka Police Line / Water Tax Uncertain scope, potential tax for police or water maintenance
Extras Additional Tax The purpose and details are not clear, and scholars offer different explanations
Vada-Bhutta Ritual Line Lyrics for rituals to satisfy spirits and air
Halivakara Ploughing Tax Money paid by farmers who own ploughing machines
glypta; Upakalypta Sales Tax Taxes levied at the time of land registration

 

Gupta Dynasty  Literature:

                  The religious texts were written in the Language of Prandritam. Later,  it switched to Sanskrit language.Navaratnas like Kalidasa, Amarasimha,  Lord Vishakha and Dhanvantri adorned his court.Sanskrit literature flourished under the Guptas. The court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya had the great poet and playwright Kalidasa. He composed great epics such as Abhignanasakuntalam, Kumarasambhavam, Malavikagnimitram, Ritusamharam, Meghadhootham, Vikramorvasiyam and  Raghuvamsa.Nathar, Vishnu, Bhrigaspati Katyana and The Smritis were composed during the Gupta period.

                  The poet Harisena also adorned the court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya. He wrote the Allahabad Prashasti (inscription).The essence of Justice of Kamantakar, written about the king’s finances and treasury.Vishnu Sharma of Panchatantra fame lived during this period.Amarasimha (grammarian and poet) composed amarakosa, a dictionary of Sanskrit.Vishakhadatta composed the Mudrakshasa. Vararuchi and Bhartrihari were among the other grammarians who contributed to the Sanskrit language. Notes of the Chinese traveler’s language.

Gupta Dynasty Science:

                       It was this period that scholars discovered the concept of scientific zero and invented the grammatical system of phenomenology as its price.In the fields of science, mathematics and astronomy also, the Gupta period saw interesting developments.Aryabhata, a great Indian mathematician and astronomer, wrote the surya siddhanta and aryapatya.He proposed that the earth is not flat, that it rotates on its own axis and that it revolves around the sun. He wrote in geometry, astronomy, mathematics, and trigonometry.The 10-based Indian numeral system, which is the current number system, evolved from the scholars of this era.Varahamihira wrote the Brihadsamhita. In it he mentioned astronomy, botany, nature and history. His other works are Panchasiddhatika and Brihad Jataka.The Guptas supported this age-old seat of learning.

            Brahma Gupta has written books on mathematics such as Brahmasputa Siddhanta and Kandakatyaka.The chemistry of the Gupta rule appears to have made great strides when one looks at what Varahamirudar has written to others on the use of mercury and iron.Hastyayurveda, a book written by Balakappaiah , deals with the medicine of animals.

Art and Architecture:

                                 During the Gupta period  , the arts developed in the Nagara Dravidian style.Many magnificent temples, palaces, paintings and sculptures were created.Deokar U.P.The Dasavatara Temple in Yil is one of the oldest surviving Hindu temples. This is a great example of Gupta architecture.Murals of Ajanta depicting the life of Buddha narrated in the jataka stories were created during this period. Places like Ajanta, Ellora, Mathura, Sarnath; And Anuradhapura and Sigiriya in Sri Lanka are examples of Gupta art and architecture.

  • The construction of the temples was found in the following aspects,
  1. Square temples with flat roofs
  2. Square temples with flat roofs with vimana
  3. Temples with arched towers
  4. Rectangular shaped temples
  5. Circular temples

                    The 7.5 feet tall bronze buddha is a product of the Gupta period.The Iron Pillar in Mehrauli, Delhi is a magnificent creation of this period.Smaller figures made of clay were used for non-religious purposes. We have found small dolls of Vishnu, Kartikeya, Durga, Nagar and many other male and female gods in clay figures.

The decline of the Gupta Dynasty:

                                                   Vishnugupta is known as the last king of the Kutta dynasty.He’s a ruled from AD  540 to 550.Differences within the royal family and internal uproars contributed to its spread.Narendrasena, the Vakadaka king of the western Deccan, invaded Mallawa, Mekala and Kosala. He later captured Gujarat. The Huns invaded northwest India. Skandagupta defeated  the Huns and, as  a result, the financial position of the empire deteriorated.The invasion of the Huns loosened the grip of the Guptas over the country.Yasodharma of Malwa, the Mukharis of Uttar Pradesh, the Maitrakas of Saurashtra, etc., began to form many small kingdoms.The Gupta Empire had shrunk to a great extent and ruled only in Magadha.At the beginning of the sixth century the empire disintegrated and became smaller areas ruled by regional chieftains.

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