|Who is it?||Ruler of the Gupta Empire|
|Reign||c. 335 – c. 380 CE|
|Issue||Chandragupta II, Ramagupta|
(Lines 22–23) (Samudragupta, whose) formidable rule was propitiated with the payment of all tributes, execution of orders and visits (to his court) for obeisance by such frontier rulers as those of Samataṭa, Ḍavāka, Kāmarūpa, Nēpāla, and Kartṛipura, and, by the Mālavas, Ārjunāyanas, Yaudhēyas, Mādrakas, Ābhīras, Prārjunas, Sanakānīkas, Kākas, Kharaparikas and other (tribes)."— Allahabad Pillar Samudragupta inscriptions
Much is known about Samudragupta through coins issued by him and inscriptions. These were of eight different types and all made of pure gold. His conquests brought him the gold and also the coin-making expertise from his acquaintance with the Kushana. Samudragupta is the father of Gupta monetary system. He started minting different types of coins, known as the Standard Type, the Archer Type, the Battle Axe Type, the Ashvamedha Type, the Tiger Slayer Type, the King and Queen Type and the Lyre Player Type. They exhibit a fine quality of technical and sculptural finesse. At least three types of coins — Archer Type, Battle-Axe and Tiger type — represent Samudragupta in martial armour. The coins bearing the epithets like parakramah (valour), kritanta-parashu (deadly battle-axe), vyaghra parakramah (valourous tiger), prove his being a skilful warrior. Samudragupta's Asvamedha type of coins commemorate the Ashvamedha sacrifices he performed and signify his many victories and supremacy.
Samudragupta was chosen as Emperor by his father over other contenders and apparently had to repress revolts in the early years of his rule. On pacifying the kingdom, which probably then reached from what is now Allahabad (in present-day Uttar Pradesh state) to the borders of Bengal, he began a series of wars of expansion from his northern base near what is now Delhi. In the southern Pallava kingdom of Kanchipuram, he defeated King Vishnugopa, then restored him and other defeated southern kings to their thrones on payment of tribute. Several northern kings were uprooted, however, and their territories added to the Gupta empire. At the height of Samudragupta’s power, he controlled nearly all of the valley of the Ganges (Ganga) River and received homage from rulers of parts of east Bengal, Assam, Nepal, the eastern part of the Punjab, and various tribes of Rajasthan. He exterminated 9 monarchs and subjugated 12 others in his campaigns. That Samudragupta was a brilliant commander and a great conqueror is proved by Harisena's description of his conquests. He mentions that Samudragaupta exterminated nine north Indian states, subdued eithteen Atavika kingdoms near Bajalpur and Chhota Nagpur, and in his blitz-like campaign humbled the pride of twelve South Indian Kings, Nine border tribes, and five frontier states of Smatata, Devaka, Karupa, Nepal and Krtripur 'paid taxes, obeyed orders and performed obeisance in person to the great Samudragupta'. The conquests made him the lord-paramount of India. Samudragupta is reputed to have never been defeated in any battle. His Eran inscription also emphasizes on his being 'invincible' in battle.