Gupta Empire: Indian History Study Notes

Gupta Empire: Indian History Study Notes

GUPTA EMPIRE (500 AD to 750 AD)

The Gupta Period is popularly known as the ‘Golden Age of India’ due to scientific and artistic achievements made possible by the sustained peace and prosperity.
  • They were initially Samantha of Kushans. Later they emerged as a independent kingdom.
  • The Gupta empire was founded by Sri Gupta who had a title as Maharaja.

IMPORTANT GUPTA EMPERORS:

CHANDRA GUPTA  I

  • The Gupta dynasty first rose to eminence under Chandragupta I
  • He ruled from 319 AD to 335 AD. This period is known as Gupta Era.
  • He attained the title Maharajadiraja.

SAMUDRA GUPTA:

  • He was the greatest ruler of Gupta Dynasty.
  • Samudra Gupta is known as the Napoleon of India by V.A. Smith a British historian He is considered to be the one of the greatest military geniuses in Indian history.
  • The Allahabad Pillar inscription was issued by Harisena who was sandivigrahaka(minister of externl affairs) of Samudra Gupta, contains details of his military conquest in stages.
  • Samudragupta was called by differen names, one of them was ‘Kaviraja’ because of his ability to compose verses.

CHANDRA GUPTA II

  • He defeated Sakas captured Ujjain and attained two titles namely Sakari and Vikramaditya.
  • Ujjain become cultural capital of Guptans.
  • In his reign, the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hien visited India.
  • According to the tradition there were Navaratnas in the court of Chandragupta II
  • The main scholar was Kalidasa is present in his court.
  • He also issued silver coins, first Gupta ruler to do so.
Gupta Empire: Indian History Study Notes

NAVARATNAS IN COURT OF CHANDRA GUPTA II

1. Kalidasa

  • Dramas :  Abhignana Sakunthalam
    • Malavikgnamitram
    • Vikrama Urvasi
  • Kavyas:   Megadhutam
    • Raghuvamsa
    • Kumara Sambhvam
    • Rutu Samharaa

2. Vishnu Sharma:

  •   Wrote a book called Panchatantra.

3. Amara Simha :

  •   Wrote a dictionary called Amarakosha in sanskrit language

4. Vara Ruchi :

  •   He wrote a book called Prakrutha Prakasha

5. Susruta :

  •   He is an doctor.
  •   He wrote a book on surgery called Susruta Samhitha.

6. Dhanavantri :

  •  He is a Doctor.
  •  He wrote a medical dictionary called Nighanthu
  •  One of the world’s first surgeons
  •  Discovered antiseptic properties of turmeric and preservative properties of salt  Pioneer of  plastic surgery

7. Aryabhatta :

  • He is a mathametician and astronomer of Gupta Period.
  • He wrote Aryabhattiya and Surya Siddhantha.
  • He explained eclipses, rotation,revolution,shape of earth amd gave important results in Maths too.
  • His discoveries in mathematics include-
    1. Value and irrationality of Pi
    2. Area of a triangle, concept of sine
    3. Sum of series
    4. Intermediate equations
  •  His discoveries relating to astronomy include-
    1. planets revolve around the Sun
    2. Calculated sidereal rotation (24 hrs) and sidereal year (365 days)
    3. Computed earth’s circumference
    4. Discovered cause of eclipses
  • Zero was invented by unknown Indian and was used by Aryabhatta in his book

8. Varaha Mihra :

  • He wrote Brihat Samhitha which is an encyclopedia of sciences.

9. Brahma Gupta:

  • He was known as Indian Newton.
  •  He wrote a book called Khandana Khanda Kavya
Kumara Gupta:
  • He laid the foundation of Nalanda University which later grew to become an international centre of learning.
  • He practiced Mahayana Buddhism
  • The Iron Pillar near Qutab Minar was erected by Kumar Gupta in memory of Chandragupta II
  • The last Gupta Ruler was Vishnu Gupta.

ADMINISTRATION

  • When compared to Mauryan Empire, Adminitration of Gupta Empire was decentralized.
  • They issued the largest number of gold coins in Ancient India, which were calledDinars. Silver coins were called rupyakas.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

  • The castes were further divided into sub-castes.
  • Vishti (forced labour) was there.
  • Position of women declined further. First instance of Sati took place at Eran, MP.
  • The practice of untouchability intensed. (Especially hatred for Chandalas). Fa-hien mentions that the Chandalas lived outside the village and were distanced by the upper class.

Hinduism:

  • A new way of life was developed.
  • The temple activities has come into existence.
  • Image worship was developed.
  • Dasavtaras, ten incarnations of Vishnu has come into existence.
  • Two important sects:
  1. Shaivism(worship of God Shiva)
  2. Vaishnavism.(worship of god Vishnu)
  • Bhakti and vedic rituals without animal sacrifice has accumulated during this period.

TEMPLE ARCHITECTURE :

Three styles of temple architectures were present :
  1. Nagara Style of temple architectures: North Indian Style, constructed in semi cylendrical shape. It is also called Shikara Style. Many temples are constructed by Guptans.
  2. Dravida Style of temple architectures: South Indian style, constructed in semi pyramidical style. Gopuram and koneru is present in this style. Buld mainly by the pallavas and Cholas.
  3. Vesara Style of temple architecture.: Composite Indian Style. They are present in Deccan Area.

Paintings:

  • Mural / Fresco paintings : Paintings on wall
  • Ajantha present in Maharashtra is very fmous cave paintings.
  • Stories of Buddhas and Bodistvas are painted on walls called  Jatakas.
  • 31 caves are present.
  • Bagh in Madhya Pradesh, 9 Buddhist cave temples are present.
  • First hindu cave in India was built by Guptains in Udayagiri Madhya Pradesh.
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