Conquests of Samudragupta
In the beginning Samudragupta attacked his neighbouring kingdoms Shichchhatra (Rohilakhand) and Padmavati. He won over Bengal, some kingdoms in Nepal and put Assam under his suzerainty. He had also conquered some tribalstates like the Malwas, Yaudheyas, Arjunayanas, Abhiras and Maduras. Later Kushanas and Sakas paid him tribute. After his victory he reinstated his enemies as the tributary kings. He possessed a powerful navy along with his mighty army. Samudragupta also proceeded along the coast of Bay of Bengal and conquered Pithapuram's Mahendragiri, Kanchi's Vishnugupta, Khosla's Mahendra and many more until he reached the River Krishna.
Samudragupta also expanded his kingdom towards west over Khandesh and Palghat. He preferred to maintain friendly terms with Vatakata in Central India. Samudragupta's sovereign extended from the Himalaya Mountains in the north to the River Narmada in the south and from the River Brahmaputra in the east to River Yamuna in the west. He passed through the forest of Madhya Pradesh, crossed the Odisha coast, marched through Ganjam, Vishakhapatnam, Godavari, Krishna and Nellore districts and might have gone as far as Kanchipuram.
Monetary System under the Rule of Samudragupta
Samudragupta changed the monetary system of Gupta dynasty. He began the minting of eight different types of coins which included the standard type, the battle-axe type, the archer type, the Ashwamedha type, the tiger slayer type, the king and queen type, the lyrist type and the kacha type. All these coins exhibited an extreme delicate sculptural and technical finesse. Much about Samudragupta is known through these coins issued by him. They were made of pure gold. The coin-making expertise was acquired from his acquaintance with the Kushans.
Inscriptions of Samudragupta
The inscriptions, which have been found from the Samudragupta’s reign, are Allahabad Pillar Inscription and Eran Stone Inscription. The inscriptions are written in fine Gupta script- a later version of Brahmi. The inscriptions describe the political and military achievements of Samudragupta and praise the Gupta emperor and his reign. The other two inscriptions are Nalanda Inscription and Gaya Inscription, though they are much disputed about their time of writing.
Personality of Samudragupta
Samudragupta was a great warrior as well as an openhearted person. He showed great magnanimousness towards the kings who were defeated in the battle. He allowed various tribal states for autonomous rule under his protection. He is known to have been a man of culture. He was a celebrated poet and a musician. His court was full of poets and scholars. Samudragupta had a keen interest in music and he himself was probably a renowned lyrist. His coins depict him playing the Veena. He took effective actions to propagate religious, artistic and literary aspects of Indian culture. Though he followed Hinduism like the other Gupta kings, he was well known for his tolerant spirit towards other religions. This was proved when he gave permission to the king of Ceylon to build a Buddhist monastery for the pilgrims in Bodh Gaya. After the death of Samudragupta, his son Chandragupta II or Vikramaditya was enthroned who reigned from 380 to 413 AD and the Gupta Dynasty still flourished with its glory and prosperity under his rule.