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History: Central Asian contact and their results, Indo-Greek relations, Gupta Dynasty
Central Asian contacts with Greek, Kushan, Shaka, and the Gupta Dynasty
- The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander (165 – 145 BC)
- Greeks were the first to issue coins which are attributed to the kings, and also the first to issue gold coins in India.
- Nagsen a Buddha Bhikshu composed Milind Pancho which was in Question-Answer form between Nagsen and Menander.
The Shakas or Scythians
- The Greeks were followed by the shakes, who controlled a larger part of India than the Greek did.
- Vikramaditya defected Shak in 58 BC, on this occasion he started Vikram era.
- The most famous Parthian King Gondophernes ( AD 19-45), During his Period, in AD 1stcentury, 1st Christian missionary under St Thomas visited India.
The Kushans (AD45)
- Kushans come from north-central Asia near China. Their empire included a good part of central Asia, a portion of Iran, a portion of Afghanistan, Pakistan and almost the whole of north India.
- Kanishka was their most famous king at that time.
- He patronized the following persons:-
- Ashwaghosha ( wrote ‘Buddhacharita’)
- Vasumitra (chairman of fourth Buddhist Council)
- Charaka (a physician, wrote ‘charak Sanhita’)
- He started an era in AD 78, which is now known as Saka era is used by the Govt. of India.
The Gupta Dynasty
- The first two kings of the dynasty were Srigupta and Ghatotkacha.
Chandragupta I (AD 319-350)
- He is the first important king of the Gupta dynasty.
- Started the Gupta era in AD 319-320.
Samudragupta (AD 350-375)
- The Gupta kingdom was enlarged enormously by Chandragupta's son & successor Samudragupta.
- Samudragupta is called the ‘Napoleon’ of India.
Chandragupta II (AD 375-415)
- His court was adorned by celebrated nine gems (navaratnas) including Kalidas, Amarsimha, Varahmihira, and Dhanvantri.
- Chinese pilgrim Fahian visited India at this time.
Kumargupta I (AD 415-455)
- At that time he founded Nalanda University (a renowned university of ancient India).
Skandagupta (AD 455-467)
- Kumargupta-I was followed by Skandagupta.
- After his death, the great days of the Guptas were over.
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