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date: 19 February 2020


  • Michael D. Willis


Dynasty that ruled most of northern India from the mid-4th century to the late 5th century ad. The Gupta dynasty had its origin in eastern India and first appeared as a significant power under Chandragupta I (regc. 319–35). He probably established the Gupta era, a calendar that began in ad 319–20 and was used until the 7th century. The Guptas conquered the greater part of northern India during the reigns of Samudragupta (regc. 335–76) and Chandragupta II (regc. 380–415). The high-point of Gupta power is often placed in the long reign of Kumaragupta I (regc. 415–55). By the third quarter of the 5th century, the Gupta realm was beginning to crumble. Considerable instability is suggested by the near simultaneous appearance of Govindagupta, Purugupta and Kumaragupta II between 467 and 477. Budhagupta (regc. 477–500) checked the decline of the house, but he was the last of the ‘imperial Guptas’, and after his death most of northern India was overrun by the Huna people. A Varaha image at ...

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