Friday, May 6, 2011

Samudragupta: The Greatest Gupta Emperor

Samudragupta, was greatest ruler of the Gupta dynasty. He was son and successor of Chadragupta I. He succeeded to the throne in c. 350 AD. He ruled for about 25 years. A skillful military leader and administrator as well as a patron of learning, Samudragupta is called Indian Napolean.
His court poet Harishena composed an eloquent eulogy of him which is contained in the Allahabad pillar inscription (API).
Samudragupta is credited to have uprooted Nagasena, Achyuta and Ganapatinaga, (identified with the rulers of Padmavati, Ahichchhatra and Mathura respectively). He is said to have captured the prince of the Kota family (Bulandshahr region) and besieged the city of ‘Pushpa’(probably Kanyakubja).
Apart from these conquests, Samudragupta brought under his control a large number of kings and vassals. According to Historian K. P. Jaiswal, Samudragupta forced Rudrasena I of the Vakatava dynasty to cede his North Indian possession to the Gupta Empire. To commemorate this victory the Gupta emperor built a temple dedicated to Vishnu at Earn (an ancient Indian historical city in Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh).
A Chinese text mentions that the Sri Lanka ruler Shrimeghavarna sent an embassy to Samudraguta requesting him to allow for the erection of a monastery for the Simhalese pilgrims at Bodha-Gaya (in the state of Bihar.)
Samudragupta was a great promoter of art and learning. He himself has authored a poetical work called the Krishan Charitam. On one of his gold coins, he has been represented as seated on a high-backed couch playing in a vina (lyre or lute) which lies on his knees. All these show that he has rightly earned the title of Kaviraja.

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