The Napoleon of India

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  1. Coin of Samudragupta


Garuda is described as the king of birds and a kite-like figure.[5][6] He is shown either in zoomorphic form (giant bird with partially open wings) or an anthropomorphic form (man with wings and some bird features). Garuda is generally a protector with the power to swiftly go anywhere, ever watchful and an enemy of the serpent.[1][6][7] He is also known as Tarkshya and Vynateya.[8]

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2. Gupta Empire

The Gupta inscriptions suggest that Samudragupta had a remarkable military career. The Eran stone inscription of Samudragupta states that he had brought “the whole tribe of kings” under his suzerainty, and that his enemies were terrified when they thought of him in their dreams.[15] The inscription does not name any of the defeated kings (presumably because its primary objective was to record the installation of a Vishnu idol in a temple), but it suggests that Samudragupta had subdued several kings by this time.[16] The later Allahabad Pillar inscription, a panegyric written by Samudragupta’s minister and military officer Harishena, credits him with extensive conquests.[17] It gives the most detailed account of Samudragupta’s military conquests, listing them in mainly geographical and partly chronological order.[18] It states that Samudragupta fought a hundred battles, acquired a hundred wounds that looked like marks of glory, and earned the title Prakrama (valourous).[19] The Mathura stone inscription of Chandragupta II describes Samudragupta as an “exterminator of all kings”, as someone who had no equally powerful enemy, and as a person whose “fame was tasted by the waters of the four oceans”.[16]

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3. Allahabad Pillar

The Allahabad pillar is an Ashoka Stambha, one of the pillars of Ashoka, an emperor of the Maurya dynasty who reigned in the 3rd century BCE. While it is one of the few extant pillars that carry his edicts,[3] it is particularly notable for containing later inscriptions attributed to the Gupta emperor, Samudragupta (4th century CE).[4] Also engraved on the stone are inscriptions by the Mughal emperor, Jahangir, from the 17th century.[2]

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4. Eran Inscription

there was Samudragupta, equal to (the gods) Dhanada and Antaka in (respectively) pleasure and anger; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by policy; (and) [by whom] the whole tribe of kings upon the earth was [overthrown] and reduced to the loss of the wealth of their sovereignty;—
(L. 13.)— [Who], by . . . . . . . . . satisfied by devotion and policy and valour,—by the glories, consisting of the consecration by besprinkling, &c., that belong to the title of ‘king,’— (and) by . . . . . . . . . . . combined with supreme satisfaction, — ……………… (was) a king whose vigor could not be resisted;—

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5. King Samudragupta

chandragupta_maurya_by_mrinal_ ...

He amply justified his father’s selection by proving himself a great conqueror and a mighty monarch. His title of parakramanka indicates his power. The Eran Inscription states that “the whole tribe of kings upon the earth was overthrown and reduced to the loss of wealth of their sovereignty by Samudragupta. Allahabad Pillar Inscription, the most important source of information for the history of Samudragupta’s invasion and conquest throws light on the Digvijaya of Samudragupta. Harisena the court poet being the author of this Inscription and holding several important offices of the empire describe the achievements of the Warrior King.

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6. King of Kings Samugraupta


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.

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7. Art curator


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.

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8. 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 neighboring kings. He permitted the king of Ceylon to build a Buddhist monastery at Bodh-Gaya for the convenience of the Buddhist monks.

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9. The religious man


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.

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10. Napoloean of India


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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11. Samudragupta the making of an emperor

4th Century CE. India. A prince is born to the Chandragupta I, the third in succession to the Gupta dynasty, ruling over a small kingdom. Predating Napoleon by more than a thousand years, he grows up to become as crafty on the battlefield as a Hannibal, as adept at annexation as a Bismarck, and, towering over all of them in statecraft. Samudragupta. The Emperor who ushered in India’s Golden Age and laid the foundations of the greatest empire since the Mauryas: He brought peace and prosperity to a land divided, not only by religion but also by small and large kingdoms and empires in the subcontinent. And survived plots against him. The novel relates how Samudragupta, a middle son, becomes the Crown Prince, inheritor of politically fused kingdoms, and battles divisive forces to confirm his own way to greatness.

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12. In the court of Samudragupta

The artist has painted the court of Emperor Samudragupta successfully. The painting is not terrifying, it is even serene. The royal grandeur is brought out as much by the court crowd and splendor as by the use of soft velvety colors. With this technique, the artist has made a creation. For the first time the tradition of placing the emperor and empress in the middle is done away with. The style of the scene, especially in the court scene of Pulakeshinu, is clearly influenced by Gupta coins and Ajanta paintings. Some traits have also been taken from Samudragupta’s Prashasti.

13. Gold Coins of King Samudra Gupta

Gold coins of King Samudra Gupta, 4th century. : News Photo

Gold coins of Samudragupta (c. AD 335 – 375), copying Kushan designs, 4th century. (Photo by CM Dixon/Print Collector/Getty Images)

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14. Cartoon versions of Samudragupta & Napolean

Samudragupta and Napoleon napoleon leaders conquerors character design illustration

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15. Samudragupta in full jewelry

Achievements of Samudragupta

Samudragupta was an imperialist by every inch of his body. Smith has remarked about him that though usurping a kingdom is the business of a king, yet Samudragupta did not act as a naked imperialist. The political unification of India, establishment of peace and order were the fruits of his imperialism. His Empire led to a revival of art and culture to unprecedented heights. Economic motives of trade and tribute and political motives of fortifying India’s frontier against foreign invasion lay far behind his policy of expansionism.

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16. A bust of Samudragupta

The Nanda Dynasty was overthrown in 322 B.C. by Chandragupta Maurya who founded The Maurya Empire and rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great’s Greek and Persian armies. By 320 B.C. the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

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