The Guptas

Guptas, emerged in the fourth century to take the Kushans’ place.  Its founder, Chandra Gupta I, brought Northern India under his rule while states in the Deccan and Sri Lanka agreed to become the Guptas’ vassals.The Gupta Empire was one of the largest political and military empires in the world. It was ruled by members of the Gupta dynasty from around 320 to 600 CE and covered most of Northern India, the region presently in the nation of Pakistan and what is now western India and Bangladesh.

The Gupta period is seen as a golden age of Indian culture. Indian astronomers came up with the idea of a round earth rotating on its axis.  Indian mathematicians developed such concepts as Pi, negative numbers, a decimal system with place value digits, zero, and quadratic equations. In literature, India’s two greatest epic poems, the Ramayana, and Mahabharata, which itself contains possibly the most revered work in Indian literature, the Bhagavad Gita, were written down in their final forms. India’s greatest playwright, Kalidasa, flourished at this time.  Unlike Greek drama, the point of Indian drama is to delight the audience and leave it with a serene and peaceful feeling.  Both Buddhist and the emerging Hindu art and architecture also thrived.  Once again, Greek influence can still be seen in the simplicity and serenity of Buddhist art.  Hindu temples were modeled after caves, which Indians always considered sacred and were decorated with sculptures.During this time, a major shift took place in the religious climate of India.  The Guptas, like many rulers before them, had been active supporters of Buddhism.  This, and their popularity among the rich middle classes, led to large contributions to Buddhist monaste

1. Chandragupta I was the first Gupta king to issue gold coins. Designs were influenced by the coins of the earlier Kushan Empire
The gold coins attributed to Chandragupta bear portraits of Chandragupta and Kumaradevi, and the legend Lichchhavayah (“the Lichchhavis”). Their son Samudragupta is described as Lichchhavi-dauhitra (“Lichchhavi daughter’s son”) in the Gupta inscriptions.
Imperial Guptas
1. Gold Coins of Chandergupta 1 (320-35 AD.) and
Kumaradevi and the Lichchhavis
Script: Late Brahmi of the northern class.
Language: Sanskrit
References: Allan Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the
British Museum – Coins of the Gupta dynasty, D.C. Sircar, Select Inss, Pt I, pp.261-62,
A.S. Altekar, Coinage of Gupta empire, BHU 1957, pp-26 ff, Pl I, 8-13,
Chandergupta 1 standing to left, wearing close fitting coat, trousers and head dress, ear-rings and armlets, holding in left hand a crescent-topped
standard bound with fillet, and with right hand, offering an object (which on some coins appears to be a ring) to Kumaradevi, who stands on the
left. To right wearing loose robe, ear-rings, necklace and armlets and tight-fitting head dress, both nimbate Legend:- Right. on either side
of the standard)
चं (गु ) द्र (प्त )
(Left) कुम दे ब
1. Other variations of the legend are चन्द्र
on some specimens and देवी श्री
on others
Reverse Lakshmi nimbate, wearing long loose rob, seated facing on lion couched to right or left.
holding fillet in outstretched right hand and cornucopia in left arm; her
feet rest on lotus behind her on 1, are traces of the back of throne on most specimens, border of dots
legend. (लि) च्छवय
2. Lyrist type Gold Coins of Samudragupta (c. 335-76 A D.)
Reference:- J Allan. B.M.C Gupta Coins, pp.18 ff.. Pl.V.
King nimbate, seated to 1. cross-legged on high backed couch,wearing waist cloth, close-fitting cap, necklace, earrings, and armlets, playing.
Lchchhavi connection is Particularly emphasised in Gupta inscriptions, where the genealogies always call
Samadragupta, a Lchchhavi-dauhitra. The powerful tribe of Lchchhavis was ruling over north bihar and
Nepal The accretion of power by the guptas was, it appears due to Lchchhavi help, which was thus
gratefully acknowledged in Inscriptions. Magadha was either given as a wedding gift to Chandragupta by the
Lchchhavis or they helped him annex it to his dominions,
which were confined to ganga valley including Panchala.
(Ganga, Yamuna Doab) Mathura and Prayaga at the time the
Puranika accounts were compiled.
2. From B.M.C.. P1-V. No. 3.

Vina supported on knees beneath couch a footstool. Legend
in late northern brahmi: महाराजाधिराज – श्री – समुद्रगुप्त :
Rev: Lakshmi, nimbate seated to 1. on a wicker stool, wears loose
robe, close-fitting cap and jewellery; holding fillet in Outstretched hand and corsucopia in left arm.
legend in Late brahmi. समुद्रगुप्त :
3. Asvamedha type old Coins of Samudragupta (335-76 A.D.)
References: J. Allan, B.M.C. Gupta Coins, pp 21 ff.
Observation: Sacrificial horse to left. before a sacrificial post (Yupa)
from which pennons flutter over its back;
beneath the horse Brahmi. Brahmi legend
राजाधिराज: पृथ्वी मवित्वा दिवं जयत्व प्रतिवार्य वीर्य
Rev: Chief queen Dattadevi standing left., wearing loose robe and jewelry, holding chowrie over right shoulder
in right hand, left hand hangs by her sides on 1. is a
1. This confirms Samudragupta’s claim in the Prayagraj
Prasasti to mastery of music and other fine arts: निशितविदग्द – मति – गंधर्वा ललितै व्रीडित त्रीदशप तिगुरु तुम्बुरू – नारदादे (Infra II, 5)
2. engraved on the footstool in some specimens Ie may be what is known as, mint-mark.
3. From J. Allan, B.M.C. Gupta Coins Pl.V.l0. See also Nos.9-13. Asvamedha is not mentioned in the Allahabad
Prasasti and hence the conclusion that it is a late event in his reign.
4. Reading on another specimen is: राजाधिराज: पृथ्वी विजित्य दिवं जय त्या हृत वाजि मेध:
The legend is a half verse in the
upajati (indravajra upendravajra) metre.
sacrificial spear bound with fillet around the pedestal on which the queen stands & chain of flowers
extending round the pillar on some
specimen round at her feet brahmi legends

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