History Notes on Gupta Empire

By Neha Uppal|Updated : January 28th, 2021

History forms a very important part of the General Awareness section of every competitive exam. In continuation to our previous posts on History notes, here are some very useful History notes on "Gupta Empire and it's Details". Follow these notes to excel in the upcoming Railway and SSC exams

History forms a very important part of the General Awareness section of every competitive exam. In continuation to our previous posts on History notes, here are some very useful History notes on "Gupta Empire and it's Details". Follow these notes to excel in the upcoming Railway and SSC exams

The Rise and Growth of the Gupta Empire

Background

After the fall of Mauryan empire, the Kushans in the North and Satavahanas in the south had held power. Gupta empire replaced the Kushans in the North with its center of power at Prayag and gave political unity for more than a century (335AD-455AD). It was founded by Sri Gupta. Gupta strength laid in the use of horses and material advantage of fertile land and natural resources abundant region.

  1. Chandragupta I (319-334 AD)
    • He was the first great ruler of Gupta Dynasty. He assumed the title Maharajadhiraja. Married Licchhavi princess
    • Started the Gupta Era by 319-20 AD
    • The original type of Gold coins Dinaras was issued.
  2. Samudragupta (335-380 AD)
    • He followed a policy of violence and conquest which led to enlargement of Gupta empire
    • Harisena, his court poet, vividly mentions his military exploits in Allahabad inscriptions
    • He reached Kanchi in the south which was ruled by Pallavas
    • Meghavarman, the ruler of Srilanka, sent a missionary for permission to build a Buddhist temple at Gaya
    • Samudragupta is called as Napoleon of India
  3. Chandragupta II (380-412 AD)
    • He adopted the title Vikramaditya
    • He conquered Malwa and Gujarat which provided him access to the sea which enabled trade and commerce. Ujjain was made as the second capital
    • His court was adorned by the Navaratnas including Kalidasa and Amarasimha.
    • His exploits are glorified in Iron Pillar at Qutub Minar
    • Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien (399-414AD) visited India during his period.

Life in Gupta Age

  1. System of Administration
    • They adopted Pompous titles such as Paeamabhattaraka and Maharajaadhiraja
    • The administration was highly decentralized with feudal lords ruling over minor provinces
    • Civil and criminal laws were highly demarcated
    • Kumaramatyas were the most important officers. But Guptas lacked elaborate bureaucracy like Mauryas. These offices also became hereditary in nature.
    • Grant of fiscal and administrative concessions to priests was also in practice. Agrahara grants and Devagraha grants were practiced.
  2. Trends in trade and agrarian economy
    • Guptas issued a large number of Gold coins which were called as Dinars
    • There was a decline in the long distance trade with Romans which led to lesser gold content in the Dinars.
    • Land grants made to the priests brought many virgin lands under cultivation
  3. Social developments
    • Brahmana supremacy continued during Gupta period
    • The Huns came to be recognized as one of the 36 clans of the Rajputs
    • The position of Shudras improved as they were permitted to hear Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas
    • The number of untouchables, the Chandalas, increased
    • The position of women improved as they were permitted to hear Ramayana, Mahabharata and worship Krishna. But the first example of Sati also appears in the Gupta period.
  4. State of Buddhism
    • Buddhism did not receive royal patronage in Gupta Period, still stupas and Viharas were constructed and Nalanda became a center for Buddhist learning
  5. Origin and growth of Bhagavatism
    • Worship of Vishnu and Narayana merged to form Bhagavatism or Vaishnavism
    • It was marked by Bhakti (loving devotion) and Ahimsa
    • Religious teachings were mentioned in Bhagavadgita, Vishnu Purana and Vishnu Smriti
    • Idol worship became a common feature of Hinduism
    • Gupta rulers followed a principle of tolerance
  6. Art: Gupta period is called Golden age of ancient India. Art was mostly inspired by Religions
    • Rock cut caves – Ajanta, Ellora and Bagh caves
    • Structural temples – Dashavatar temple of Deogarh, Laxman temple of Sirpur, Vishnu temple and Varah temple of Eran. The growth of Nagara style also enabled the development of temple architecture in India
    • Stupas – Dhammek stupa of Sarnath, Ratnagiri stupa of Orissa, Mirpur Khas in Sindh developed in this period.
    • Paintings – Ajanta paintings and Bagh caves paintings
    • Sculpture – the Bronze image of Buddha near Sultanganj, Sarnath and Mathura school flourished during this period which supports the growth of Mahayana Buddhism and Idol worship.
    • Images of Vishnu, Shiva and some other Hindu gods were also found.
  7. Literature
    • Religious – Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vayu Purana etc were re-written. Dignaga and Buddhagosha were certain Buddhist literature written in this period
    • Secular
      1. Mudrarakshasha by Vishakadatta
      2. Malavikagnimitra, Vikramorvashiyam, AbhijanaShakuntalam – Dramas by Kalidasa
      3. Ritusamhar, Megadoot, Raghuvamsam, Kumarasambhavam – Poetries by Kalidasa
      4. Mricchakatika by Sudraka
      5. Kamasutra by Vatsyayana
      6. Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma
    • Scientific
      1. Aryabhatiya and Surya Siddhanta by Aryabhatta
      2. Romaka Siddhanta
      3. Mahabhaskarya and Laghubhaskarya by Bhaskara
      4. Pancha Siddhanta, Vrihat Jataka, Vrihat Samhita by Vrahamihira

Fall of the empire

  1. Huns invasion during the reign of Skandagupta and his successors greatly weakened his empire
  2. Rule of Yashodharman dealt a severe blow to Gupta empire.
  3. The rise of feudatories and Governors becoming independent led to the disintegration of Gupta empire. Loss of western India had crippled them economically.

 

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Neha UppalNeha UppalMember since Oct 2018
4+ Years of experience as a mentor and content developer for SSC & Railways exam. Cleared various exams including SSC CHSL & SSC CGL exams.
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Subhendu Das

Subhendu DasMar 10, 2020

Sir does it enough ...?
Sai Thanay

Sai ThanayMar 20, 2020

thank you sir
Akash Kale

Akash KaleMar 30, 2020

Iska Pdf chaiye tha muze
Sushmit Kammili
Scored 628/700 IN CGL 2018. One of the mentors whose notes & quizzes   I followed diligently . Thanks a ton 🙏🖤
...Read More
Raj

RajMar 29, 2021

Last gupta empire

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