The Imperial Guptas (A Multidisciplinary Political Study)

Item Code: IDJ496
Author: S.R. Goyal
Publisher: Kusumanjali Book World, Jodhpur
Edition: 2005
Pages: 520 (Plates throughout in Black & White)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.6" X 5.6"
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Book Description

About the Book

The present research work on the Imperial Guptas by Professor S.R. Goyal will blaze, we believe, a new trail in the historiography of ancient Indian political history, for it looks upon the history of the Imperial Guptas not from the traditional 'what and when happened approach' but from multidisciplinary integral standpoint in which main political developments and events are put in their proper context by an analysis of their determining influences- social, economic, religious, geographical, etc. with the help of other branches of knowledge, of course without overlooking the need of reconsidering the 'what and when happened' problems afresh, whatever necessary. For example, on such problems as the social origin and original home of the Guptas, location of their capital, Chandragupta I-Kumaradevi coins, early and later chronology of the Guptas, place of Kacha in Gupta history, nature of Samudragupta's conquests and empire, place of Ramagupta in Gupta history, nature of Samudragupta's conquests and empire, place of Ramagupta in Gupta dynasty, identity of Chandra of the Meharauli prasasti, place of Prakasaditya in Gupta history, Gupta-Vakataka relations, impact of religion and feudalism on Gupta history and political ideology and culture, contribution of the Guptas to the Vikramaditya legend, etc. the author has made interesting and cogent suggestions.

Unlike Marxist historians who explain political events and developments by looking at them only in the light of changes in production relations, the author of the present work has tried to study the color scheme of the variegated canvas of the Gupta history in totality and read the meaning of the relation of the central picture with every component of its background. In such a venture none can claim finality but the author of the present work hopes and believes that his work is the most up-to-date study of the political history of the Guptas, that it takes into consideration the recent-most discoveries of sources and that solutions he has offered to various problems are not logical but are also without prejudice to other alternatives which may be offered by other scholars now or when fresh data and new facts come to light.

About the Author

Professor S.R. Goyal is the retired Professor and Head, Department of History, J.N.V. University, Jodhpur. Described as 'one of the five best recent historians of ancient India' by Professor David N. Lorenzen, the great Mexican Orientalist, Professor Goyal combines all the qualities associated with scientific scholarship. He has authored more than thirty-five voluminous research works and over 150 research papers, which cover so diverse fields as political history, religious history, literary history, biographies, numismatics and epigraphy. He was honoured with the General Presidentship of the Silver Jubilee Congress of the Epigraphical Society of India held at Udupi in April, 1999, and was elected the Honorary Fellow of the Society.

Professor Goyal has been deeply involved with the study of Gupta history. Between 1967 and 2004 he produced as many as eight works on the Gupta age, including A History of the Imperial Guptas, his Doctoral thesis, described by Professor A.L. Basham (National Professor of Australia) as 'the best analysis of the Gupta period which I have ever read' and as 'imaginative', 'well-written' and 'a model of historiography' by Professor Eleanor Zelliot (Minnesota, U.S.A.). The various theories propounded in it were described by Professor R.C. Majumdar as 'deserving very careful consideration'.

Among other major works of Professor Goyal are included three volumes on ancient Indian inscriptions, two volumes respectively on Kautilya and Megasthenes, a three volume authoritative study of ancient Indian history in about two thousand pages, a three volume study of ancient Indian numismatics and four volumes on great rulers of ancient India. His Guptakalina Abhilekha, described as a 'corpus-like' volume on Gupta inscriptions, was appreciated by such eminent epigraphists as Professor D.C. Sircar, Dr. G. S. Gai and Dr. K. V. Ramesh and his An Introduction to Gupta Numismatics has been admired by all for its high quality.

Professor Goyal has been honoured with several festschrifts, including Reakppraising Gupata History for S.R. Goyal (ed. By Bahadur Chandra Chhabra et al), S.R. Goyal : His Multidimensional Historiography (ed. By Jagannath Agarwal and Shankar Goyal), Rajasthan Bharati (in two volumes) and a two thousand page Sriramabhinandanam (Reconstructing Indian History for S. R. Goyal) in four volumes.


The political history of the imperial Guptas has been an attractive area of investigation for researchers since a long while and now a veritable library of research monographs and articles on this subject has come into being. But most of these works tread the well-known path of traditional history writing devoted to the reconstruction of history as it was with 'what and when happened' approach. However, the present monograph has been written with a new angle of vision as it looks upon the political history of the imperial Guptas from the standpoint of multidisciplinary integral approach in which main political developments of a period are to be put in their proper context by an analysis of the determining influences-social, economic, religious, geographical etc. Unlike the Marxist historians who explain political developments and events by looking at them only in the light of changes in production relations, we have tried to study the colour scheme of the variegated canvas of the Gupta history in its totality and attempted to read the meaning of relation between the central picture and every component of its background. In such a venture none can claim finality, but it is hoped that we have suggested everywhere in intelligible explanation based on a critically analysed evidence which seeks to prepare an integral picture with the help of multidisciplinary approach. We hope that the solutions we have offered are not only logical but also without any prejudice to other alternatives which may be offered by other scholars now or when fresh data and new facts come to light. This is what we believe multidisciplinary integral approach is all about.

The present work is divided into twelve chapters. In the first chapter we have surveyed the approach of the earlier historians of Gupta history and have explained the necessity and relevance for out own times of studying political history of this period with a multidisciplinary integral approach.

In the second chapter we have analysed the methods and techniques of studying the various types of data for the reconstruction of the Gupta history. In that context we have emphasized the fact that the authors of the historical works and early medieval inscriptions were greatly influenced by the contemporary ideas of history and the methods of interpretation and inference current in the literary world of the time. Without a proper understanding of this fact one cannot appreciate the contents of digvijaya prasastis and the significance of the literary works of historical genre such as the drama Devi-chandraguptam.

Chapter three and four of the work are devoted to the study of the early Gupta age covering the reigns of the first three rulers. The problem of the original home of the imperial Guptas has been studied afresh and we have reiterated our view (which is now accepted by numerous scholars) that they originally belonged to the eastern part of the present Uttar Pradesh with Prayaga as the early center of their power. The problem has also been discussed in the context of various factors leading to the rise of this region. The question of the social milieu of the Guptas has also been studied afresh and it has been shown, with new evidences that they most probably belonged to the Brahmana order. This theory of ours is now generally accepted. In this context significance of the popularity of the Vedico-Agamic movement and the predominance of the Brahmans in the administrative structure and its effects on Gupta history have also been highlighted. Then, the emergence of the Gupta dynasty as an imperial power under Chandragupta I is studied against the background of the contemporary political situation and various other factors. In that connection, the history of some of the contemporary powers, specially that of the Vakatakas, has been dealt with specially in the light of our interpretation of the termdauhitra used in the Gupta and Vakataka genealogies-an interpretation which is now accepted by several scholars. The chapter also contains three appendices the first of which deals with the early chronology of the Gupta dynasty wherein it has been shown that the Gupta-Lichachhavi alliance was contracted by Ghatotkacha, that the Gupta era was initiated by Chandragupata II though it was reckoned from the date of the accession of Chandragupta I and that Samudragupta ascended the throne in c.350 A.D. Appendix ii is concerned with the problem of the authenticity of the Nalanda and Gaya grants of Samudragupta and Appendix iii with the problem of the attribution of the Chandragupta-Kumaradevi type of coins.

Chapter five to seven are devoted to the reign of Samudragupta parakramanka. In chapter five, probably for the first time, the nature of Gupta conquests and of the resultant empire have been studied and the impact of the geo-political factors, Vedic and Vaishnava chakravarti ideals and fast emerging feudalism on the Gupta political structure has been delineated.

In chapter six the revolt of Kacha has been studied against the background of various pulls and pressures that marked the debut of Samudragupta as an emperor. The conquests of Samudragupta in the different parts of the country have been studied in the context of the various political, geographical, economic and religious factors. Specially, the contribution of religion in the making of political decisions in that age has been determined with some precision. Further, it has been shown that Samudragupta led more than one expedition in the South, that he invaded Kalinga in c.359-60 A.D. and that the aim of his adventures in that part of the country was the acquisition of wealth.

The theme of the seventh chapter is Gupta political influence beyond the imperial frontiers. Here the evidence of the Prayaga prasasti on Samudragupta's relations with the North-western foreign potentates has been connected with the tribal movements that took place in Bactria and North-Western India in his reign and also with the evidence of the Meharauli pillar inscription of 'Chandra' who, we believe, was no other than Samudragupta himself. This view of ours is now shared by a large number of scholars. In this chapter we have also discussed the important of commerce as a factor in Samudragupta's relations with Ceylon and 'other islands' and shown the necessity of interpreting correctly prayaga prasasti's reference to these regions. The three appendices of this chapter are concerned with the capital of the Gupta Empire, the date and patron of the two Vasubandhus and the date of Kalidasa. We have placed the great poet in the later half of the fourth century A.D. in the reigns of samudragupta and Chandragupta II both.

Chapter eight deals with the reign of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya. In the reign of Chandragupta II western India became the major stage of the drama of political history. In that context the problem of Ramagupta, who, we believe, revolted in eastern Malwa, is studied and a solution based on more logical interpretation of the archaeological, numismatic and literary data is proposed. Then the causes of the Saka war of Chandragupta II are analyses and his relations with the Vakatakas are discussed and put in their proper historical perspective. In this context the evidence of the newly discovered Vakataka inscriptions, specially the Ramtek Prabhavatigupta memorial inscription, with which scholars are not yet generally conversant, has been highlighted and necessary changes in the pattern of Gupta Vakataka relations have been suggested.

In this chapter we have also discussed the problem of the Hunza inscriptions of the time of Deva Sri Chandra and have shown that he cannot be identified with Chandragupta II. Here it has also been shown that the age of Chandragupta II (and also of Kumaragupta I) was the period of transformation of the Gupta royalty and the repercussions of this change on the political developments have been pointed out.

The next chapter, number nine, discusses the reign of Kumaragupta I. In it we have further highlighted the influence of Dhruvadevi on Gupta politics in general and on the accession of Kumaragupta I in particular. An important problem of the reign of Kumaragupta-I is the place of Govindagupta, his brother, in Gupta political set up. Unlike most other historians we have given reasons to believe that no final solution of this problem is possible in the present state of our knowledge.

The reign of Kumaragupta I also witnessed the unsuccessful revolt of Ghatotkachagupta, who now turns out to be his brother or stepbrother and also a son-in-law of Prabhavati. He, now it seems, revolted in East Malwa with the help of his Vakataka in-law. This fact is now known from the aforesaid undated Ramtek Prabhavatigupta memorial inscription and has been studied in an appendix of this nature perhaps for the first time. We have also shown that Ghatotkachagupta's revolt was followed by the Gupta offensive against the Vakatakas revealing a new alignment of powers in the Deccan.

Chapter ten in devoted to the study of the transformation and decline of the Gupta Empire in the period from the rise of Skandagupta to the death of Budhagupta. The chapter deals with the factors in the royal succession and the identity of Skandagupta's rivals. Herein it is suggested that the invasion of the Pushyamitras on the Gupta Empire and the invasion of the Vakatakas on Malwa were connected events and were the results of the aggressive policy of the Guptas against the Vakatakas in the preceding reign. The Huna invasion, which shook Skandagupta's empire, has been studied afresh and the nature of Skandagupta's achievements is more precisely determined. In an appendix of this chapter Vikramaditya legend as a record of the achievements and personalities of Gupta Vikramadityas has been analysed. In no work on Gupta history this problem has been studied with this angle in detail.

Chapter eleven is concerned with the immediate successors of skandagupta upto Budhagupta. It also deals with the problem of further decline of the empire. It also deals with the problem of further decline of the empire. Herein we have shown that the influence of Buddhism had much to do with the weaking of the central authority in this period. The growth of the feudal-federal structure of the empire and its influence on the fortunes of the state are also discussed. In an appendix of this chapter the problem of the place of Baladityas in the Gupta history is studied afresh.

Chapter twelve, which is the last chapter of this work, deals with the disintegration and collapse of the Gupta Empire. This, we propose, was the age of the Tripartite Struggle between the Guptas, Hunas and Aulikaras of Malwa for the imperial status. In recent years much new light has been thrown not only on the Huna activities in Rajasthan, Malwa and Gujarat but also on the Aulikaras of the house of Yasodharman by the Risthal inscription of 515 A.D. of Adhiraja Prakasadharman and the three Sanjeli grants one of which refers to be third year of Toramana. All these have necessitated a reconstruction of the history of the Tripartite Struggle between the Guptas, Hunas and Aulikaras. We have therefore studied the invasion of the Hunas under Toramana and Mihirakula against this background and given it an entirely new treatment. Further, the expansion of the Huna power has been put in its geographical context and the religious aspect of the Gupta Huna struggle has been analysed in detail. It has also been shown how the influence of Buddhist ideology and the feudalization of state structure undermined the central authority and led to the rise of new powers. In that context, the history of some of the new powers. In that context, the history of some of the new powers has been dealt with. In the appendix of this chapter, which deals with the order of succession after the death of Budhagupta, a rational solution of the problem of the place of Prakasaditya in Gupta history has been suggested.

We have given above only the main points that we have emphasized in this work. We would humbly request the readers to consider further our treatment of minor details here and there not forgetting that wherever possible we have tried to study political events and developments with a multidimensional integral approach, something which is quite new in Gupta historiography.

We are painfully aware that inspite of our best efforts and care some misprints have crept into the work. For this we crave the indulgence of our readers.




  Publisher's Preface vii
  Author's Preface xv
  Acknowledgements xxi
  Detailed Synopsis of Chapters xxv
  List of Plates xxxv
  Abbreviations xxxvii
1. Changing Attitudes of Historians to Gupta History and the Need of a Multidisciplinary Integral Approach 1-28
  1. Early Schools 1
  2. Western Historians: Vincent A. Smith 3
  3. Pan-Aryanism of E.B. Havell 4
  4. Louis de la Vallee Poussin 5
  5. Detached Attitude of A.L. Basham 6
  6. Nationalist Historians 6
  7. Scientism of R.G. Bhandarkar 8
  8. Impact of the School of R.G. Bhandarkar 9
  9. Major Historians of Pre-Independence Decades 10
. 10. Post-1947 Historiography of the Gupta Age: Growth in the Popularity of the Classical and Golden Age Models 13
  11. Our A History of the Imperial Guptas and Other Works on Gupta History 20
  12. Rise of Multidisciplinary Integral Approach to Political History 22
2. Sources of Gupta History: New Methods of Interpretation 29-65
Epigraphic Evidence
  1. Decipherment of the Gupta Script 29
  2. Work of the Early Epigraphists 30
  3. Achievements of General Cunningham 32
  4. Nature of the Epigraphic Evidence 33
  5. Private Inscriptions 34
  6. Royal Records 34
  7. Provenance of the Epigraphs 35
  8. Genealogies in the Royal Records 36
  9. Literary Motifs in the Royal Epigraphs 36
  10. Interpretation of the Digvijaya Prasastis 37
  11. Palaeographical Peculiarities 44
Numismatic Evidence
  12. Work of the Early Numismatists 45
  13.Work of the Later Numismatists 47
  14. Nature of the Numismatic Evidence 51
  15. Internal Aspects of the Numismatic Evidence 51
  16. External Aspects of the Numismatic Evidence 54
Literary Evidence
  17. Methods of the Medieval Court-Historians and Theologians 58
  18. Indian Texts 60
  19. Evidence of Foreign Literatures 63
Archaeological Evidence
3. Original Home and Social Milieu of the Imperial Guptas 66-103
Location of the Original Gupta Kingdom
  1. I-tsing's Evidence 66
  2. Analysis of I-tsing's Statement 68
  3. Our Approach: Use of Numismatic and Epigraphic Data 69
  4. The Puranic Evidence 74
  5. Location of the Lichchhavi State 77
Social Antecedents of the Imperial Guptas
  6. Brahmans as a Political Force 78
  7. Various Theories Regarding the Social Milieu of the Guptas 81
  8. Guptas were Brahmanas 84
Factors Leading to the Rise of a Miliant
Brahmana Family of Eastern U.P. to the Imperial Status
  9. Geo-Political Factors 88
  10. Magadha and the Murundas 90
  11. Weaknesses of the Tribal States 94
  12. Brahmanical Revival in the Upper Ganga Valley 96
  13. Nationalist Character of the Brahmanical Revival 97
  14. Area-Association of the Brahmanical Revival 101
  15. Economic Factor 102
4. Rise of the Gupta Dynasty: The First Three Rulers 104-140
  1. Sources for the First Three Rulers 104
  2. Maharaja Gupta and Maharaja Ghatotkacha 106
  3. Chandragupta I: The First Maharajadhiraja 108
  4. Vakataka-Bharasiva Alliance and the Significance of the Term Bhavanaga-dauhitra 111
  5. Gupta-Lichchhavi Alliance and the Significance of the Term Lichchhavi dauhitra 115
  6. Economic Aspects of Gupta-Lichchhavi Alliance 119
  7. Other Achievements of Chandragupta I 120
Appendix i: Early Chronology of the Gupta Dynasty 123
Appendix ii: Nalanda and Gaya Records of Samudragupta 131
Appendix iii: Chandragupta I-KumaradeviCoin-Type 135
5. Samudragupta Parakramanka (i): Factors Determining the Nature of his conquests and Empire Sources for the History of Samudragupta 141-181
  1. Epigraphic Sources 141
  2. Coinage of Samudragupta 144
  3. Samudragupta in Literature 147
Outline of the Conquests of Samudragupta as Described in the Prayaga Prasasti
  4. Description of a War (Naga War?) in the 7th Verse 150
  5. The Four Lists 150
Relative chronology of Samudragupta's Campaigns
  6. Harishena's Description is Neither Geographical in Nature nor Chronological 155
  7. Harishena has Grouped the Vanquished States and Rulers According to the Policies Adopted towards them or by Them towards the Guptas: Verse 7 Describes a War; It does not give a list 157
Nature of Gupta Conquests and Resultant Empire
  8. Meaning and Concept of Empire 159
  9. Geo-Political Factors in Gupta Conquests 161
  10.Economic Considerations in Gupta Politics 162
  11. Religious Factor in Gupta Imperialism: The Vedic Chakravarti Ideal 163
  12. The Vaishnava Chakravarti Ideal 163
  13. Expression of the Vaishnava Chakravarti Ideal in Gupta Art 170
  14. Impact of the Emerging Feudalism on the Nature of Gupta Imperial Structure 175
6. Samudragupta Parakramanka(ii): Chakravarti of the Gupta Dynasty 182-216
Revolt of Kacha
  1. Internal Pulls and Pressures in the Last Days of Chandragupta I 182
  2. Probable Place of Kacha in Gupta History 183
  3. Factors and Forces in the Internecine Struggle and Factionalism in the Gupta Court and Royal Family 187
  4. Shortlived Success of Kacha 190
Samudragupta's Victory Over Nagas and Vakatakas
  5. Samudragupta and the Nagas 190
  6. Gupta-Vakataka Conflict: Defeat of the Vakatakas 192
The First Line of Defence
  7. Geographical and Economic Factors in the Conquest of Bengal: Opening a Window to the South-East 198
  8. Other Pratyanta and Tribal States 201
  9. Process of Sanskritization of pratyanta and Tribal States and Preference to Vaishnava Faithfuls in the Appointment of Vassals and Governors 204
Lure of the Deccan Wealth and South Indian Sea-ports
  10. Date of the Kalinga Expedition 209
  11. Theories Regarding the Motive in the Deccan Policy of Samudragupta 210
  12. Factors Conditioning Samudraguptas Deccan Policy: Geographical Difficulties and Lure of the Deccan Wealth 212
  13. Number of the Southern Campaigns 214
7. Samudragupta Parakramanka (iii): Gupta Political Influence Beyond the Imperial Frontiers 217-255
Expansion of Gupta Influence in the North-West
  1. The Second Line of Defence: North-Western Powers 217
  2. Rise of the Kushanas: A Politico-Economic Threat to the Parthians 217
  3. Rise of the Kidara Kushanas 219
  4. Invasion of the Hephthalites 221
  5. Evidence of the Allahabad Inscription 223
  6. First Invasion of the White Huns (Vahlikas) Repulsed: Evidence of the Meharauli Prasasti 225
  7. Problem of the Identity of King 'Chandra' of the Meharauli Prasasti 227
Spread of Samudragupta's Influence and Fame Beyond the Seas
  8. Commerce as a Factor in Samudragupta's Relations with Ceylon and 'Other Islands' 235
  9. Correct Interpretation of the Prayaga Prasasti's Reference to Ceylon and Other Islands 237
Samudragupta's Place in History
  10. Samudragupta's Comparison with Napoleon: Nature of His Empire 239
  11. His Chakravartitva: Performance of Chirotsanna Asvamedha 240
  12. His Dharmavijaya Ideal 242
  13. His Titles Parakrama and Vikrama 243
  14. Samudragupta's Assessment 243
Appendix i: Capital of the Gupta Empire 246
Appendix ii: The Two Vasubandhus and the Guptas 250
Appendix iii: The Date of Kalidasa 253
8. Chandragupta II Vikramaditya: Further Expansion of the Empire 256-299
  1. Sources for the History of Chandragupta II 257
  2. Pull of the West 259
Ramagupta's Unsuccessful Revolt in Eastern Malwa
  3. The Literary Evidence on Ramagupta 261
  4. Numismatic and Epigraphic Evidence and Correlation of the Data 263
  5. Method of the Court-Historians 266
  6. Characterization of the Hero and the Villain 268
  7. Chandragupta's Marriage with Dhruvadevi 270
  8. Ramagupta's Place in Gupta History 272
Matrimonial Alliance with the Vakatakas and Spread of Gupta Influence in the South
  9. Marriage of Prabhavati with Rudrasena II 274
  10. Regency of Prabhavatigupta 277
  11. Political Influence of the Guptas on the Vakatakas During the Regency of Prabhavatigupta 278
The Saka War
  12. Economic Factor in the Saka War 281
  13. Other Possible Causes of the Saka War 284
  14. Date of the Saka War: Numismatic Evidence 284
  15. Date of the Saka War: Epigraphic Evidence 285
Chandragupta II and the North-West
  16. Did Chandragupta II Invade Kashmir?: Problem of the Hunza Inscriptions of the Time of Deva Sri Chandra 287
  17. Some Other Evidences 291
Chandragupta II's Place in History
  18. Four Tests for Assessing a Ruler: Chandragupta II as a Conqueror: The Seemingly All-India Character of His Empire 292
  19. Chandragupta II's Assessment on the Basis of Other Tests 295
  20. Transformation of the Gupta Royalty and Gupta Political Culture 297
9. Kumaragupta I Mahendraditya: Pinnacle of Gupta Glory 300-326
  1. Sources for Kumaragupta's History 300
  2. Early Career of Kumaragupta I 303
  3. Role of Dhruvadevi in Kumaragupta's Accession 304
  4. Extent of Empire in the Early Decades of Kumaraguptas Reign 305
Status of Govindagupta in Gupta History
  5. The Problem 306
  6. Various Theories Regarding the Place of Govindagupta in Gupta History 308
  7. Our Conclusion 312
  Gupta-Vakataka Relations Till 435 A.D.  
  8. Possibility of Kumaragupta's Invasion of the Deccan 313
  9. Relations with the Vakatakas 314
  10. Gupta-Vakataka Relations after 435 A.D.: Revolt of Ghatotkachagupta with he Help of the Vakatakas 315
  11. Failure of the Revolt of Ghatotkachagupta 317
  12. Gupta Offensive against the Vakatakas 318
  13. The Century of Gupta-Vakataka Relations: A Resume 320
  14. Kumaragupta I: An Estimate 322
Appendix: Political Data as Gleaned from the Ramtek Prabhavatigupta Memorial Stone Inscription 323
10. Skandagupta Vikramaditya: Empire under Internal and External Pressures 327-372
  1. Sources for the History of Skandagupta 327
  2. The Period of Crisis 330
  3. Enemies of Skandagupta 331
  4. Chronology of the Wars of Skandagupta 333
Struggle for Succession
  5. Purugupta and Other Rivals of Skandagupta 336
  6. Purugupta Ruled for a Short Period after Kumaragupta I as a Rival of Skandagupta 338
  7. Revolt of Ghatotkachagupta 340
  8. Samudragupta II: Another Rebellious Prince? 340
  9. Factors in Gupta Royal Succession: Law of primogeniture and Nomination by the Royal Father 340
  10. Question of Legitimacy was Never a Relavant consideration for Ambitious Princes 343
  11. Other Relevant Factors 344
Victory Over the Pushyamitras
  12. The Problem of the Identification of the Pushyamitras 346
  13. Epigraphic Evidence 347
The Second Huna Invasion
  14. Geographical Factor in the North-Western Policy of the Guptas 349
  15. Gradual Increase in the Huna Menace 351
  16. India and Central Asia 352
  17. Route of the Huna Invasion 354
Skandagupta and Malwa
  18.Non-mention of Skandagupta in the Mandasor inscription of 472 A.D. 356
  19. Place of Prabhakara in the History of Dasapura 358
  20. Estimate of Skandagupta 360
Appendix: The Vikramaditya Legend as a Record of the Achievements and Personalities of Gupta Vikramadityas in Popular Memory 363
11. Immediate Successors of Skandagupta upto Budhagupta: Beginning of the Decline and Disintegration of the Empire 373-404
  1. Narasimhagupta I Baladitya, Kumaragupta II Kramaditya and Budhagupta 373
  2. Inscriptions and Coins of Budhagupta 374
Factors in the Decline and Disintegration of the Empire in the Post-Skandagupta Period
  3. Influence of the Buddhist Ideology 377
  4. Further Growth of Feudal-Federal Structure 379
  5. Rise of Brahmana Feudatories 383
  6. Increase in the Power of Feudatories and Hereditary Officers 384
Appendix: Problem of Narasimhagupta Baladityas in Gupta History 390
12. Successors of Budhagupta: The Tripartite Struggle and the Collapse of the Gupta Empire 405-456
  1. New Aspirants for the Imperial Status 405
  2. Dissensions in the Imperial Gupta Family 407
The Third Huna Invasion
  3. Geographical Factor in the Huna Invasion: Their Arrival in Gandhara and Punjab 408
Toramana and the Imperial Guptas
  4. Toramana in Panchala: Harigupta, the Guru of Toramana 410
  5. Huna Conquest of the Heartland of the Gupta Empire: Kausambi 411
  6. Huna Conquest of East Malwa: Defeat of Bhanugupta at the Hands of Toramana 411
  7. Acceptance of Toramana's Overlordship by Prakasaditya 412
Toramana and the Aulikaras
  8. Early History of the Aulikaras 413
  9. Toramana and the Aulikaras 414
Mihirakula and the Guptas
  10. Mihirakula and the Persecution of the Buddhists 416
  11. Saivite Leanings of Mihirakula versus Buddhist Faith of Baladitya 420
  12. Victory of the Guptas Over Mihirakula 421
  13. Chronology of Gupta-Mihirakula Struggle 422
  14. Successors of Narasimhagupta II Baladitya 423
Gupta-Aulikara Struggle
  15. Conquests of Yasodharman 425
  16. Problem of Dravyavardhana 427
Rise of Regional Powers
  17. Eastward Shift of the Gupta Power 429
  18. Gradual Shift of Center of Political Gravity in North India towards Kanauj 430
  19. Kamarupa and Bengal 430
  20. Orissa 432
  21. Maitrakas of Valabhi 432
  22. Later Guptas of the Malava Janapada of Rajasthan 434
  23. Maukharis of Kanauj and the prospects of the Rise of a New Imperial Dynasty in North India 436
  24. Elevation of the Maukharis to the Imperial Dignity and the Collapse of the Aulikara Empire 440
  25. Conclusion 441
Appendix : Order of Succession after Budhagupta 444
  Select Bibliography 457-468
  Genealogy of the Imperial Guptas 469
  Chronology 470-474
  Index 475-480
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