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Ancient India
The Gupta Dynasty



The Gupta Dynasty
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.5

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    assertion, commemoration, following, matrimonial, far-fetched, regime, profound, subcontinent, unification, eradicate, demise, revolutionary, vigor, norm, misery, establishment
     content words:    Sri Gupta, Narbana River, Brahamaputra River, Yamuna River, After Samudragupta, Chandragupta II, Kumaragupta I., Golden Age, Sri Lanka


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The Gupta Dynasty
By Vickie Chao
  

1     India has long been a divided country. For centuries, this Asian subcontinent was split among various smaller kingdoms. With every ruler eager to wage wars against each other, peace and unification were two far-fetched ideals. Nonetheless, both of these ideals came true during the Mauryan dynasty (321 B.C. - 185 B.C.). After the last Mauryan emperor was assassinated, chaos and civil wars once again loomed over India. The misery went on for nearly 600 years. It finally ended with the establishment of the Gupta dynasty (320 A.D. - 550 A.D.).
 
2     Much about the origin of the Gupta dynasty is still an open debate. Many historians regarded Chandragupta I (pronounced "chun-druh-GOOP-tuh") as the dynasty's founder. But others challenged this notion. They believed that his grandfather, Sri Gupta, who built the kingdom in 240 A.D., was the real founder. Though the academics may never find enough substantial evidence to solve the mystery, they all unanimously agree that Chandragupta I was the one who really made a name for the Gupta dynasty.
 
3     Chandragupta I was born in 305 A.D. When he was in his teens, he married a Lichchhavi (present-day Nepal) princess named Kumaradevi. Through this matrimonial alliance, he gained enormous power and used it to his great advantage. He launched a series of military expansions, pushing the kingdom's boundaries westward. By 320 A.D., he had managed to eradicate many of his enemies and extend the territory to Prayaga (present-day Allahabad in north central India). He proclaimed himself Maharajadhiraya (meaning: king of kings, pronounced "ma-ha-ra-ja-DHEE-ra-ya") in the same year. Interestingly, this very assertion is why many historians consider 320 A.D. the beginning of the Gupta dynasty.

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