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GUPTA DYNASTY PDF

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From the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta we learn that while the first two kings of the Gupta dynasty were merely mah¯ar¯ajas, Chandragupta I (c. treasures of the gupta empire A Catalogue of Coins of the Gupta Dynasty Sanjeev Kumar Treasures of the Gupta Empire A Catalogue of Coins of the Gupta. GUPTA( AD). The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire, existing from approximately to CE. This period is called the Golden Age of India.


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The Gupta Empire, which ruled the Indian subcontinent from to AD, ushered in a golden age of Indian civilization. It will forever be remembered as the. The Gupta Dynasty. By Vickie Chao. India had long been a divided country. For centuries, this Asian subcontinent was split among various smaller kingdoms. The decline of the Gupta dynasty a little after the fifth century A.D. triggered a process of political fragmentation in the whole subcontinent. Feudatories and.

Council of Ministers and other officials: The Guptas continued the traditional machinery of bureaucratic administration but it was not as elaborate as that of the Mauryas. The Mantri chief-minister stood at the head of civil administration.

Among other high imperial officers were included the Mahabaladikrta commander-in-chief , the Mahadandanayaka general and the Mahapratihara chief of the palace guards. The Mahabaladhikrta, probably corresponding to the Mahasenapati of the Satavahana kings, controlled a staff or subordinate officers such as the Mahashvapati chief of cavalry , Mahapilupati officer in charge of elephants , Senapati and Baladhikrta. A high ranking official, heard for the first time in the Gupta records was the Sandhivigrahika the foreign minister.

A link between the central and the provincial administration under the Guptas is furnished by the class of officers called Kumaramatyas and Ayuktas. The Kumaramatyas were the high officers and the personal staff of the emperor and were appointed by the king in the home provinces and possibly paid in cash.

This naturally weakened the royal control. The Ayuktas were entrusted with the task of restoring the wealth of kings conquered by the emperor and sometimes placed in charge of districts or metropolitan towns. Army: The numerical strength of the Gupta army is not known. In contrast to the Mauryas, the Guptas do not seem to have possessed a big organized army.

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Probably troops supplied by the feudatories constituted the major portion of the Gupta military strength. Also, the Guptas did not enjoy a monopoly of elephants and horses, which were essential ingredients of military machinery.

All this lead to the increasing dependence on feudatories, who wielded considerable authority at least on the fringes of the empire. Chariots receded into the background, and cavalry came to the forefront. The Mahabaladhikrta commander-in-chief controlled a staff or subordinate officers as mentioned above. The army was paid in cash and its needs were well looked after by an officer-in-charge of stores called Ranabhandagarika.

Another prominent high official was Pustapala record-keeper. The Gupta kings maintained a regular department for the proper survey and measurement of land as well as for the collection of land revenue. Provinces, Districts and Villages: The provinces or divisions called bhuktis were governed by Uparikas directly appointed by the kings.

The province was often divided into districts known as Vishayas which were ruled by Kumaramatyas, Ayuktas or Vishayapatis. His appointment was made by the provincial governors. Gupta inscriptions from Bengal shows that the Municipal board — Adhisthanadhikarana associated with itself renresentation from major local communities: the Nagarasresthi guild president , the chief merchant Sarthavaha, the chief artisan — Prathama Kulika and the chief scribe — Prathama Kayastha.

Besides them were the Pustapalas — officials whose work was to manage and keep records. The lowest unit of administration was the village. In eastern India, the vishayas were divided into vithis, which again was divided into villages. The Gupta inscriptions from north Bengal show that there were other units higher than the villages such as the Rural Board — Asthakuladhikarana which comprised of the village elders — Mahattaras and also included the village headman — Gramika and the householders Kutumbins.

With the absence of any close supervision of the state, village affairs were now managed by the leading local elements. No land transactions could be affected without their consent. The village disputes were also settled by these bodies with the help of Grama-vriddhas or Mahattaras village elders. The town administration was carried on by the mayor of the city called Purapala. Gupta Economy: Agriculture: The agricultural crops constituted the main resources which the society produced and the major part of the revenue of the state came from the agriculture.

It is argued by many scholars that the state was the exclusive owner of the land. The most decisive argument in favour of the exclusive state ownership of land is in the Paharpur copper plate inscription of Buddhagupta. Various types of land are mentioned in the inscriptions; land under cultivation was usually called Kshetra, Khila was the uncultivable land, Aprahata was the jungle or forest land, Gopata Sarah was the pasture land and Vasti was the habitable land.

Different land measures were known in different regions such as Nivartana, Kulyavapa and Dronavapa. The importance of irrigation to help agriculture was recognized in India from the earliest times.

According to Narada, there are two kinds of dykes the bardhya which protected the field from floods and the Khaya which served the purpose of irrigation. The canals which were meant to prevent inundation were also mentioned by Amarasimha as jalanirgamah.

The tanks were variously called, according to their sizes, as the vapi, tadaga and dirghula. Another method for irrigation was the use of ghati-yantra or araghatta. Land Grants: The sources of the Gupta period suggest that certain important changes were taking place in the agrarian society. Started in the Deccan by the Satavahanas, the practice became a regular affair in Gupta times.

Religious functionaries were granted land, free of tax, forever, and they were authorised to collect from the peasants all the taxes which could have otherwise gone to the emperor. Religious grants were of two types: Agrahara grants were meant for the Brahmanas which meant to be perpetual, hereditary and tax-free, accompanied with the assignment of all land revenue. The Devagrahara grants were made to secular parties such as writers and merchants, for the purpose of repair and worship of temples.

The secular grants were made to secular parties and are evident from a grant made by the Uccakalpa dynasty. According to it, two villages were bestowed as a mark of favour, in perpetuity with fiscal and administrative rights upon a person called Pulindabhatta. Epigraphic evidence of land grants made to officers for the administrative and military services is lacking, though such grants cannot be ruled out.

Position of Peasantry: The land grants paved the way for feudal development in India.

Several inscriptions refer to the emergence of serfdom, which meant that the peasants were attached to their land even when it was given away. Thus in certain parts of the country the position of independent peasants were under- mined, and they were reduced to serfs or semi-serfs. The repression of the peasantry was also caused by the right of subinfeudation granted to the recipients of land grants.

They were often authorised to enjoy the land, to get it enjoyed, to cultivate it or get it cultivated. The donated land could thus be assigned to tenants on certain terms. The practice of subinfeudation therefore reduced the permanent tenants to the position of ten- ants-at-will.

The position of peasants was also undermined from the Gupta period onwards on account of the imposition of forced labour Vishti and several new levies and taxes.

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Crafts Production and Industry: Crafts production covered a wide range of items. Texts like Amarakosha of Amarasimha and Brihat Samhita which are generally dated to this period, list many items, give their Sanskrit names and also mention different categories of craftsmen who manufactured them.

Many important sites like Taxila, Ahichchhatra, Mathura, Rajghat, Kausambi and Pataliputra have yielded many craft products like earthen wares, terracottas, beads made of different stones, objects of glass, items made of metals, etc. Different varieties of silk, cloth, called Kshauma and Pattavastra are mentioned in the text of this period. An inscription of fifth century from Mandasor in western Malwa refers to a guild of silk weavers who had migrated from south Gujarat and settled in the Malwa region.

The Amarakosha gives a comprehensive list of metals. Of all the metals, iron was the most useful, and blacksmiths were only next to the peasants in the rural community. The most eloquent evidence of the high stage of development which metallurgy had attained in the Gupta period is the Mehrauli iron pillar of King Chandra, usually identified as Chandragupta II.

Contemporary literature also testifies to the wide use of jewellery by the people of the time.

A significant development of the period in metal technology was the manufacture of seals and statues, particularly of the Buddha. Ivory work remained at a premium, as did stone cutting and carving, sculpture being very much in favour at this time.

The cutting, polishing and preparing of a variety of precious stones — jasper, agate, carnelian, quartz, lapis — lazuli, etc. Pottery remained a basic part of industrial production, though the elegant black — polished ware was no longer used, instead an ordinary red ware with a brownish slip was produced in large quantities, some of it being made to look more opulent by the addition of mica in the clay which gave the vessels a metallic finish.

Trade and Commerce: There was not much material change in the trade routes, commercial organization, currency systems, trade practices, etc. Like the previous phase, we have reference to two types of merchants in the Gupta period, namely Sresthi who was usually settled at a particular place and enjoyed an eminent position and the Sarthavaha who was a caravan trader.

The articles of internal trade included all sorts of commodities for everyday use, chiefly sold in villages and town markets. On the other hand, luxury goods formed the principal articles of long distance trade. Narada and Brihaspati laid down many regulations to govern the trade practices of the time. Compared to the earlier period, there was a decline in long-distance trade. Silk and spices were the chief Indian export articles of Indo-Roman trade. But by the middle of the sixth century silk worms were secretly brought overland from China and introduced into the Byzantine Empire.

Indian merchants meanwhile had begun to rely more heavily on the South-East Asian trade. The establishment of Indian trading stations in various parts of South-east Asia meant the diversion of income to this region. The commercial prosperity of the Gupta era was the concluding phase of the economic momentum which began in the preceding period.

Guilds, nigama, sreni continued as the major institution in the manufacture of goods and in commercial enterprise. Each guild had a president called Prathama or Pravara.

The Buddhist church or Sangha was by now rich enough to participate in commercial activities. The rate of interest on loans varied according to the purpose for which money was required.

The high rates demanded during the Mauryan period on loans to be used for overseas trade were no longer demanded, indicating an increased confidence in overseas trade.

The average rate was now twenty percent per annum as against two hundred and forty of the earlier period.

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The lowering of the rate of interest also indicates the greater availability of goods and the consequent decrease in rates of profit. Commercial decline is indicated by the paucity of coins of common use. The Guptas issued the largest number of gold coins dinaras in ancient India; but these hardly flowed into day-to-day private economic relations.

History of the Gupta Dynasty 15 Dates as proposed by other key scholars and historians 16 3. The Role of Coins in rewriting Gupta History 25 4. Coins and Currency of the Gupta Era 67 9. Poses and Postures as seen on Gupta Coins Tamagha's and Symbols on Gupta coins Javelin vs.

Gupta Kings after Skandagupta Jaya Gupta? Chandragupta IV Vainyagupta Narasimhagupta II Kumaragupta III Vishnugupta They are struck in gold, silver, copper and lead. Starting from the first of the Gupta monarchs, Chandragupta I, the powerful Gupta kings succeeded in creating a coinage that was unrivaled by anything in Hindu India prior to or after them.

The coins of the Kushana dynasty originating in the northwestern regions of the greater Indian subcontinent present day Pakistan and Afghanistan in the first century AD, served as the inspiration for the beautiful coin designs struck in the 4th century AD by the Gupta kings, who proceeded to issue and replace the local currency with their new currency as the Gupta Empire grew.

These new and innovative coin designs served both as an economic currency as well as a medium of propaganda for the Gupta kings to proclaim themselves as the most devout, valorous, just and all-powerful kings of the land.

This was a period in ancient India when powerful and long-lasting religious changes were taking place in the revival of the Vedic beliefs and rituals, the conflict between the Brahamanic belief systems and Buddhist and Jain forms of worship. The period from the 4th to 6th century AD was a time when Hindu iconography was also evolving, and firm rules governing the imagery of the Hindu gods and goddesses were being established. This evolution of design, primarily influencing Gupta art, is captured in the designs of the Gupta gold coins and provides us with a window into the vast tidal wave of change sweeping through ancient India.

This book is designed to serve as a guide for collectors, scholars and historians alike to fully appreciate the vast and beautiful coinage of the Gupta Empire, as well as to fully understand its important contribution to the writing of history today. The book served as the primary guide for researchers and scholars and for the first time laid out the coinage of the Gupta Dynasty based primarily on the collection in the British Museum supplemented by coins from other museum collections.

Chandragupta-1 (319-335 AD):

Altekar in Altekar was invited by the Maharaja of Bharatpur to study and curate the 1, gold coins that had been recovered and his study of the hoard and his subsequent books have served as the main reference works for the study of the Gupta coinage for the last sixty years. His second book The Coinage of the Gupta Empire quickly became the go-to reference book for Gupta coins.

While it was the most complete work to date, covering the vast number of coins types and varieties, it became outdated in the following decades as more hoards and new coins came to light. With new discoveries and new coins, copper-plates and inscriptions, the need for a more complete and updated reference book on Gupta coins became obvious. It had taken Dr. Altekar over ten years to complete his book, and over time, his classification had developed and morphed. In , P. Gupta and S. Srivastava published their catalogue of Gupta Gold Coins in the Bharat Kala Bhavan, where they applied Altekar's classification to group Gupta gold coins.

In , Dr. Chhabra catalogued coins in the National Museum, Delhi, again using Dr. Altekar's classification. Similarly in , B. Mukherjee catalogued the coins in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. In , Ellen Raven published her thesis. Gupta Gold Coins with a Garuda Banner, a study of only a small subset of Gupta coins that included the Garuda standard.

While each of these books, covering subsets of the coinage, were excellent works and added to our knowledge of coinage of the Gupta Empire, no one had attempted to publish a comprehensive and complete catalogue of the entirety Gupta coinage, which is no doubt a massive undertaking, requiring time, resources and above all access to the major museums, private collections and good libraries.

The fact that no one had attempted this in the last 60 years should be quite telling. The political history of the Gupta Dynasty has been pieced together over the past century and is still incomplete. Some of the key works discussing the political history have been published by scholars like B. Chhabra, S. Goyal and K. Thaplyal, and their books are a must-read for the student of Gupta dynasty, as they provide multiple views of the many controversies encountered in Gupta history.

This book is a summary of over two decades of dedicated study to understand Gupta numismatics and the evidence and clues it provides to better piece together the history of their Empire. It is laid out for the reader in a simple and efficient format, to help guide collectors and researchers alike, as they try to navigate through complex maze of the different types and varieties that are evident when studying this complex coinage.

Initially the book was an attempt to create a catalog of just the Gupta gold coins for my own personal use to serve as a guide for my study. Over time, it was apparent that such a formidable project could not exist in a vacuum of just the gold coinage, as the silver and base metal coins formed an integral part in understanding the chronology of the Gupta kings.

Only then can one fully grasp the true nature of events transpiring during this time. For the first time, this book catalogues the entire gold, silver, copper and lead coinage of the Gupta dynasty. It includes many new coin types and new coin varieties which are published here for the first time, using my own personal database, as well as a database jointly developed by Dr. The book, for the first time, illustrates coins from the key collections of Gupta coins from around the world, including many of the famous collections such as the J.

The majority of these have never been published before. In addition, this book takes into account the coins from a large number of private collections around the world: The coins illustrated in the pages ahead, are labelled with data, as was available at the time of publication.

The Guptas continued to rule till about A. The empire disintegrated under the attacks of Toramana and his successor Mihirakula. These invasions, although only spanning a few decades, had long term effects on India, and in a sense brought an end to Classical Indian civilization. Soon after the invasions, the Gupta Empire, already weakened by these invasions and the rise of local rulers such as Yashodharman, ended as well. Following the invasions, northern India was left in disarray, with numerous smaller Indian powers emerging after the crumbling of the Guptas.

In particular, Indo-Roman trade relations, which the Gupta Empire had greatly benefited from. The Guptas had been exporting numerous luxury products such as silk, leather goods, fur, iron products, ivory, pearl, and pepper from centres such as Nasik, Paithan, Pataliputra, and Benares.

The Huna invasion probably disrupted these trade relations and the tax revenues that came with them. Great centres of learning were destroyed, such as the city of Taxila, bringing cultural regression. In addition to the Hun invasion, the factors, which contribute to the decline of the empire include competition from the Vakatakas and the rise of Yashodharman in Malwa.

The last known inscription by a Gupta emperor is from the reign of Vishnugupta in which he makes a land grant in the area of Kotivarsha.

The sources of the Gupta period suggest that certain important changes were taking place in the agrarian society. Religious functionaries were granted land, free of tax, forever, and they were authorised to collect from the peasants all the taxes which could have otherwise gone to the emperor.

Religious grants were of two types: Agrahara grants were meant for the Brahmanas which meant to be perpetual, hereditary and tax-free, accompanied with the assignment of all land revenue. The Devagrahara grants were made to secular parties such as writers and merchants, for the purpose of repair and worship of temples. The secular grants were made to secular parties and are evident from a grant made by the Uccakalpa dynasty.

The Guptas seem to have relied heavily on infantry archers, and the bow was one of the dominant weapons of their army. The Indian version of the longbow was composed of metal, or more typically bamboo, and fired a long bamboo cane arrow with a metal head. The Indian longbow was reputedly a powerful weapon capable of great range and penetration and provided an effective counter to invading horse archers.

The steel bow was capable of long range and penetration of exceptionally thick armor.

GK> Important Points on Gupta Dynasty

These were less common weapons than the bamboo design and found in the hands of noblemen rather than in the ranks. Archers were frequently protected by infantry equipped with shields, javelins, and longswords.

The Gupta armies were probably better disciplined.

Able commanders such as Samudragupta and Chandragupta II would have likely understood the need for combined armed tactics and proper logistical organization.

Gupta military success likely stemmed from the concerted use of elephants, armored cavalry, steel bow and foot archers in tandem against both Hindu kingdoms and foreign armies invading from the Northwest.

During the reign of Chandragupta II, Gupta Empire maintained a large army consisting of , infantry, 50, cavalry, 20, charioteers and 10, elephants along with a powerful navy with more than ships. Chandragupta II controlled the whole of the Indian subcontinent;the Gupta empire was the most powerful empire in the world during his reign, at a time when the Roman Empire in the West was in decline.

Scholars of this period include Varahamihira and Aryabhata, who is believed to be the first to come up with the concept of zero, postulated the theory that the Earth moves round the Sun, and studied solar and lunar eclipses.

Kalidasa, who was a great playwright, who wrote plays such as Shakuntala, and marked the highest point of Sanskrit literature is also said to have belonged to this period. The Sushruta Samhita, which is a Sanskrit redaction text on all of the major concepts of ayurvedic medicine with innovative chapters on surgery, dates to the Gupta period.

Chess is said to have originated in this period , The Indian numerals which were the first positional base 10 numeral systems in the world originated from Gupta India. The ancient Gupta text Kama Sutra by the Indian scholar Vatsyayana is widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature. Aryabhata, a noted mathematician-astronomer of the Gupta period proposed that the earth is round and rotates about its own axis.

He also discovered that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight. The Gupta period is generally regarded as a classic peak of North Indian art for all the major religious groups. Although painting was evidently widespread, the surviving works are almost all religious sculpture. The period saw the emergence of the iconic carved stone deity in Hindu art, as well as the Buddha figure and Jain tirthankara figures, the latter often on a very large scale.

The two great centres of sculpture were Mathura and Gandhara, the latter the centre of Greco-Buddhist art. Both exported sculpture to other parts of northern India.

Earlier developments in plastic arts seem to have culminated in the Gupta sculpture. The most important contribution of Gupta sculpture is the evolution of the perfect types of divinities, both Buddhist and Brahmanical. A large number of Buddha images have been unearthed at Sarnath, and one of them is justly regarded as the finest in the whole of India.

Stone and bronze images of Buddha have also been found at Mathura and other places.These scholars discovered the inscriptions erected in the names of Gupta emperors and at the same time recognised the coins issued by their administrations.

Religious grants were of two types: Probably troops supplied by the feudatories constituted the major portion of the Gupta military strength. Chandragupta II was succeeded by his second son Kumaragupta I. The coins illustrated in the pages ahead, are labelled with data, as was available at the time of publication.

Some excellent works of Hindu art such as the panels at the Dashavatara Temple in Deogarh serve to illustrate the magnificence of Gupta art. The last known date of Skandagupta is A.

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