Sunday , May 26 2024

9 Facts You Must Know About Samudragupta – The Napoleon Of India

Samudragupta, the second emperor of the Gupta dynasty, is known to one of India’s best rulers. His brilliant leadership and valiant victories earned him the title of ‘Napoleon of India’. According to respectable professor Dr. HC Roychowdhury, Samudragupta was more versatile than King Ashoka. Ashoka was proficient in scriptures only, but the versatility of Samudragupta lies in the fact that Samudragupta was proficient in all facets of art and culture.

Let’s turn the pages of ancient Indian history to know why he must not be forgotten.

1. He was the real Maharajadhiraja

Samudragupta was the ‘King of Kings’ because he politically unified India and brought it under his power. His territories extended from the Himalayas in the north to the river Narmada in the south and from the Brahmaputra River in the east to the Yamuna River in the west. He defeated the Naga kings in the north and humbled as many as twelve princes in the south.

2. He was a great patron of art

Samudragupta had renowned poet Harisena in his court who inscribed the king’s bravery on the famous Allahabad Pillar. It is also mentioned that Samudragupta liked playing the lute and loved listening to poems. He was titled ‘Kaviraj’ for his love for poems.

3. He issued seven different types of coins

He started minting seven different types of coins – 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 Gupta king had the monetary system fairly sorted in his kingdom.

4. His period of rule was called the Swarn Yug (Golden Age) of India

Even though he conquered many provinces, Samudragupta saw to it that he maintained peace and amity among his people. He was on friendly terms with neighbouring kings. He permitted the king of Ceylon to build a Buddhist monastery at Bodh-Gaya for the convenience of the Buddhist monks.

5. His entire body was covered with war wounds

Samudragupta fought every battle with smart strategy and great valour. It is said that his fit body was covered with the marks of a hundred wounds caused by the blows of battle axes, arrows, spears, pikes, barbed darts, swords, lances, javelins, iron arrows and many other weapons!

6. He produced the largest military army of his time

The army that Samudragupta built was capable of matching the prowess of the Mauryan Empire’s military that had diminished centuries ago. He is also known for constructing walled towns and restoring border outposts that had been inactive for a long time.

7. He staunchly followed his religion

The only flaw in the Vaishnav king was that his economic, religious and social thoughts gave rise to the caste system in Hinduism in the long run.

8. He performed an Ashwamedha Yajna

Samudragupta sacrificed horses to strengthen the position of the Brahmanas and their powerful impact over the society. By performing the Yajna, he intimidated other kings to subjugate and to accept his supremacy and his superior position.

9. He was compared to Napoleon Bonaparte

Art Historian V.A. Smith has referred to Samudragupta as the Napoleon of India for all his victories. However, many other historians disagreed on the fact that unlike Napoleon, Samudragupta was not power-hungry. But like Napoleon, he was never defeated nor sent to exile or jailed.

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