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Samudragupta's coins represent him both as a warrior and a peace-loving artist, with relevant suitable titles.

Samudragupta was a ruler of the Gupta Empire of Ancient India. He ruled over the country from 350-375 CE. It was under his rule that Ancient India peaked in all aspects and was came to known as the "Golden age of India". Samudragupta is known to be one of the best rulers of India. He is famous for his versatility and excellence in all fields from art and music to political and military knowledge. The son of King Chandra Gupta I and the Licchavi princess Kumaradevi personified the Indian conception of the hero in every way, shape, and form, he is pictured to be a muscular warrior, a poet, and a musician who displayed "marks of hundreds of wounds received in battle."

Upon his succession, he expanded the Gupta dynasty's boundaries through several conquests and battles. His empire stretched far and wide on the Indian subcontinent only excluding Kashmir, Western Punjab, and Western Rajputana and the region lying south of the Narmada river. From East to West, it spanned from the Brahmaputra River to the Arabian Sea. Samudragupta's conquest strategy was guided by the prevailing political and economic conditions. In the North was known as Digvijay which meant conqueror of the quarters, he conquered and annexed their territories, meanwhile in the south, it was Dharma Vijay which meant righteous conqueror, he defeated the kings but did not annex their territories as long as they give their throne to the empire as a tribune. He defeated the Naga kings of the north and humbled as many as twelve princes in the south. He politically unified India and brought it under his power. He was given the title "Maharajadhiraja" which translates to Kind of Kings. The British historian Vincent Smith who studied the inscriptions of the Allahabad pillar composed by a high-ranking official named Harishena made his comparison to the famous French military general Napoleon. He called Samudragupta "The Napolean of India".

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Samudragupta's inscpritions on Allahabad Pillar The British historian Vincent Smith studied the inscriptions of the Allahabad pillar called Samudragupta "The Napolean of India".Wikipedia

Samudra Gupta, being as versatile as he was; was devoted to the arts and music. He had a great love for poetry since he was a highly intellectual person and an accomplished poet. He was a great musician and excelled at playing Vina which is an Indian stringed traditional instrument trembling a lyre with large aplomb. He granted permission to the Sri Lankan king to build a Buddhist monastery and rest house for Sri Lankan pilgrims at Bodhgaya. His Empire led to a revival of art and culture to unprecedented heights. Economic motives of trade and tribute and political motives of fortifying India's frontier against foreign invasion lay far behind his policy of expansionism. It was under Gupta Empire that scholars like Kalidasa and Aryabhatta were given to this world. Samudragupta was a philosopher too. He is described as one who wanted to go deep into the tattvas or the wisdom of the sastras to be worthy of the company of the wise.

He issued a large number of gold coins under his Empire. His coins represent him both as a warrior and a peace-loving artist, with relevant suitable titles. Seven different types of coins were being minted- Standard Type, the Archer Type, the Battle Axe Type, the Aashvamedha Type, the Tiger Slayer Type, the King and Queen Type, and the Lyrist Type. The economic and political policies under his rule made his rule named "Swarn Yug" meaning "The Golden Era". The only flaw of the ruler was that he was an orthodox Hindu and a believer in the Brahminical systems of worship and rituals. But, in the true spirit of Indian tolerance, he was still liberal to all other religions.

ALSO READ: The Heritage of Southern Dynasties

Undoubtedly Samudragupta was one of the greatest monarchs in Indian history. As a soldier, a warrior, a conqueror, a king, an administrator, and a patron of culture, he stands eminent among all the rulers of the country. Some regard him as the greatest emperor of the Gupta dynasty.

Keywords: Samudragupta, Gupta dynasty, Golden era, the great conqueror, art and culture.



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