Facts of Ancient India

  1. Gauthamiputra Satakarni (A.D. 106 TO 130)

He defeated the Sakas and also many Kshaharata rulers. Nahapana who belong to Kshaharata lineage was also defeated by him. Because more than 8000 -silver coins of Nahapana are found in Nasik which were re-struck by Satakarni. His empire extended to Malwa and Kathiawar which were under the control of the Sakas. Hence it extended from Malwa in the north to Karnataka in south up to Andhra Pradesh.

  • Vashishta putra Pulumayi

His immediate successor was Vashishta putra Pulumayi (A.D 130- 154). His inscriptions were found in Andhra. His Capital was at Paithan or pratishthan on the Godawari in Aurangabad District.

Rudradaman I (A.D 130 -150) the Saka ruler defeated the Satavahanas twice but did not destroy as they had matrimonial relations.

  • Yajna Sri Satakarni (A.D.165-194)

Tthe last great king of Satavahanas. Satakarni recovered North Konkan and Malwa from Shakas. He was a patron of trade and navigation, which is reflected in his coins with ship symbol. His coins are found in Andhra,

  • Samudra Gupta

He was the son of Chandra Gupta I and Kumaradevi. He was the most  distinguished ruler. The Allahabad inscription was composed by Harisena which gives an elaborate account about the ruler. He ruled nearly for half a century. He earned the title “The Indian Napoleon” given by V A Smith for his military accomplishments. It was his dream to bring about the political unification of India.

  • Chandra Guptha

He was the son of Samudra Gupta. Like his father, he entered in a career of conquest and consolidation (Devi Chandraguptam and some coins indicate that Samudragupta was immediately succeeded by Rama Gupta).

He strengthened his position by matrimonial alliances. He married Kuberanga, a Naga princess. Chandra Gupta’s daughter Prabhavati Gupta through Kuberanga married Rudrasena II, the Vakataka king of Berar.

He ruled over an extensive empire. Although Pataliputra continued to be the capital, yet for all practical purposes, Ujjain became his second capital. His period is called as the Golden Age or the Classical Age of Guptas.

  • FA HIEN’S VISIT (b. 377 – d. ca. 422, aged 85)

The famous Chinese pilgrim visited India during the period of Chandra Gupta II (his visits to sub-continent were between 399 – 412 C.E). He spent 9 years in India. The places he visited in India were: Peshawar, Mathura, Kanauj, Shravasti, Benaras, Kapilavastu, Kusinagara, Vaisali, Pataliputra.

The main mission of his life was to visit the sacred sites connected with the life of Buddha and also seeking tenants/relics. He also focused on the economic, social, moral life of the people and the administration prevailing under the Guptas. The travel accounts of Fa Hien is a very valuable source of information for the study of the Guptas.

He spent 3 years in Pataliputra.

  • Kumara Gupta I

He was the son of Chandra Gupta II. He did not make any acquisition to the empire. He performed  the sacrifice and assumed the title of Mahendraditya.

He issued a number of coins. He laid the foundation of the Nalanda University. He was a staunch

  • Skanda Gupta (455 – 467 C.E)

He was the son of Kumara Gupta II. He saved the empire by defeating the Pushyamitra. He was the last great ruler of the dynasty. He was a staunch Vaishnavite and intolerant of other faiths.

He successfully repelled the Huns invasion of India. It was after that a section of the Huns, who later went to Rome and pulled down the mighty Roman Empire. After the death of Skanda Gupta, the empire began disintegrating.

  • Vihara

The most Vihara caves are found at Ajanta – these caves are remarkable for art and architecture of the Guptas. The beauty and variety of the pillars, as well as the fresco – paintings.

The walls and ceilings were decorated.

The Gupta sculptures marked its development. The inspiration and the characteristic features of the Buddha figurines had a tremendous impact on Indian colonies in the far – east. The best specimen of Hindu culture are to be found at Deogarh temple; containing mythological themes of Rama, Vishnu and Narayana.

10. Sittannavasal

The art of painting attained a high degree of proficiency during the period of the Guptas. The specimens of Gupta paintings are preserved at Ajanta, Dibagh caves at Gwalior, the Sittannavasal temple at Pudukottai. The Gupta art is the culmination of an established tradition which absorbed the classical art of Mathura and Amaravati.

The chief characteristics of Gupta art were refinement, simplicity of expression, and religious character.

The intellectual elements dominates the Gupta art. The Gupta art influenced the art of Central Asia, Cambodia and neighbouring islands of Java, Sumatra and other islands in the east.

  1. Kalidasa

Gupta period is the classical period of Sanskrit literature. Classical Sanskrit reached its perfection through Kalidasa. According to tradition, he was one of the Navaratnas, who graced the court of Vikramaditya (Chandra Gupta II). He wrote the plays of Shakuntalam, Malavikagnimitra, Vikrama – Urvasiyam.

  1.  Shakuntalam, Malavikagnimitra, Vikrama – Urvasiyam.

Shakuntalam deals with the love story of king Dushyantah and Shakuntala. Vikramaurvasiyam deals with the love story of king Puruvana with the nymph Urvasi. Malavikagnimitram is a play dealing with the love story of Agnimitra and Malavika. Kalidasa also wrote 2 lyric poems: Meghadoota (the cloud messenger) deals with the way, a lover in central Asia sends his love messages to his wife in the Himalayas through a cloud. Rtusamhara is the cycle of the seasons which are explained in verses.

  1.  Vishakhadutta

Vishakhadutta wrote the plays: Mudrarakshasa and Devi – Chandraguptam. The former deals with how Mauryans came to power after putting an end to the unpopular rule of the Nandas. The latter being a political drama. Bharavi was another poet of eminence, who wrote Kiratarjuniyam, besides Panchatantram is also assigned to the Gupta age. It is a collection of stories having moral values and has been translated into a number of languages.

  1.  Buddhist literature

In Buddhist literature, the works of Vasubandhu, Aryadeva, Asana, Dina are famous.

  1.  Jain writers

The Jain writers are Siddhasena, Vatsyayana (author of Kama sutra), Umasvathi.

  1. The Nalanda University

 The Nalanda University was started by Kumara Gupta, which attracted scholars from around the world.

  1. Aryabhatta

The formulation of the theory of zero and the evolution of decimal system are to credited to the thinkers of this age. Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta were the foremost astronomers and mathematicians of the world.

 Aryabhatta wrote Suryasiddhanta. In this, he explains the true causes of solar and lunar eclipses. Aryabhatta was the first Indian astronomer who discovered and declared that the earth rotates on its axis. His famous work Aryabhattiyam, which was written in 449 C.E which deals with Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry.

  1. Varahamihira

Varahamihira dealt with Astronomy, physical Geography, Botany, natural History. His other works are Pancasiddhanta, Brihajjataka, Laghujataka.

  1. Brahmagupta,

Brahmagupta, another famous astronomer and mathematician anticipated Newton by declaring that all things fall to the earth by law of nature; for it is the nature of the earth to attract and keep things.

  1. Charaka and Sushruta

The medical schools of Charaka and Sushruta are of the Gupta age. Another author Palakapya had written Hastyayurveda on veterinary science.

  • Nagarjuna

Nagarjuna was a famous Buddhist scholar as well as a great student of medicine, chemistry and metallurgy. He discovered new medicines. During the Gupta period Dhanvantari was a renowned physician of Ayurvedic medicine.