Chandragupta II

Chandragupta II
Vikramaditya, Bhattaraka, Maharajadhiraja
An 8 gm gold coin featuring Chandragupta II astride a caparisoned horse with a bow in his left hand.[1] The name Cha-ndra-gu-pta appears in the upper left quadrant.
Gupta Emperor
Reignc. 375 – c. 415 CE
PredecessorSamudragupta, possibly Ramagupta
SuccessorKumaragupta I
SpouseDhruvadevi, Kuberanaga

Chandragupta II (Gupta script: Gupta allahabad c.svgGupta allahabad ndr.jpgGupta allahabad gu.jpgGupta allahabad pt.jpg Cha-ndra-gu-pta, r. c. 380 – c. 415 CE), also known by his title Vikramaditya, was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta Empire in northern India.

Chandragupta continued the expansionist policy of his father Samudragupta: historical evidence suggests that he defeated the Western Kshatrapas, and extended the Gupta empire from the Indus River in the west to the Bengal region in the east, and from the Himalayan foothills in the north to the Narmada River in the south. His daughter Prabhavatigupta was a queen of the southern Vakataka kingdom, and he may have had influence in the Vakataka territory during her regency.

The Gupta empire reached its zenith during the rule of Chandragupta. Chinese pilgrim Faxian, who visited India during his reign, suggests that he ruled over a peaceful and prosperous kingdom. The legendary figure of Vikramaditya is probably based on Chandragupta II (among other kings), and the noted Sanskrit poet Kalidasa may have been his court poet.

Names and titles

"Chandra" inscriptions
The name "Chandra" on a coin of Chandragupta II (left), and on the Iron Pillar of Delhi (right). Gupta script: letter "Cha" Gupta allahabad c.svg, followed by the conjunct consonant "ndra" Gupta allahabad ndr.jpg formed of the vertical combination of the three letters n Gupta allahabad n.svg d Gupta allahabad d.svg and r Gupta ashoka r.svg.[2][3]
The full name "Chandragupta" in Gupta script (Gupta script: Gupta allahabad c.svgGupta allahabad ndr.jpgGupta allahabad gu.jpgGupta allahabad pt.jpg Cha-ndra-gu-pta(ḥ), on coinage.[3]

Chandragupta II was the second ruler of the dynasty to bear the name "Chandragupta", the first being his grandfather Chandragupta I. He was also simply known as "Chandra", as attested by his coins.[4] The Sanchi inscription of his officer Amrakardava states that he was also known as Deva-raja. The records of his daughter Prabhavatigupta, issued as a Vakataka queen, call him Chandragupta as well as Deva-gupta.[5] Deva-shri (IAST: Devaśri) is another variation of this name.[6] The Delhi iron pillar inscription states that king Chandra was also known as "Dhava": if this king Chandra is identified with Chandragupta (see below), it appears that "Dhava" was another name for the king. Another possibility is that "dhava" is a mistake for a common noun "bhava", although this is unlikely, as the rest of the inscription does not contain any errors.[7]

A passage in the Vishnu Purana suggests that major parts of the eastern coast of India - Kosala, Odra, Tamralipta, and Puri - were ruled by the Devarakshitas around the same time as the Guptas. Since it seems unlikely that an obscure dynasty named Devarakshita was powerful enough to control substantial territory during the Gupta period, some scholars, such as Dasharatha Sharma, theorize that "Deva-rakshita" (IAST: Devarakṣita) was another name for Chandragupta II. Others, such as D. K. Ganguly, oppose this theory, arguing that this identification is quite arbitrary, and cannot be explained satisfactorily.[8]

Chandragupta assumed the titles Bhattaraka and Maharajadhiraja, and bore the epithet Apratiratha ("having no equal or antagonist"). The Supiya stone pillar inscription, issued during the reign of his descendant Skandagupta, also calls him "Vikramaditya".[6]

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