Epigraphic evidence suggests that Samudragupta was succeeded by his son Chandragupta II Vikramaditya, also called Narendra Chandra, Simha Chandra, Narendra Simha and Simha Vikrama, born of queen Dattadevi. However, other sources indicate that transition between the reigns of Samudragupta and Chandragupta II was shrouded in mystery.
The discovery of a few passages of a lost drama Devi Chandragupta, ascribed to Vishakhadatta, has thrown a new light on this problem. From the available extracts we learn that Ramagupta, a coward and impotent (kliba) king, agreed to surrender his queen Dhruvadevi to a Shaka invader. But the prince Chandragupta, the younger brother of the king, resolved to go to the enemy’s camp in the guise of the queen with a view to kill the hated enemy.
The combined testimony of the Harshacharita of Bana, the Kavyamimamsa of Rajashekhar, the Sanjan, the Cambay and the Sangli copper plates of the Rashtrakuta rulers, indicates that Chandragupta had succeeded in killing Ramgupta, and not only seized his kingdom but also married his widow.
In recent years, the discovery of some copper coins from Vidisha-Airikina region bearing the name of Ramagupta has added new dimension tot problem. After a detailed analysis of the met! implied by the court historians and Brahman’ injunctions Goyal has come to the conclusion after the death of Samudragupta, his younger somehow managed to establish his authority whole of the empire except the eastern part Malwa where Ramgupta, the legitimate claim to the throne, declared his independence.
However he was under constant threat from the Sir Chandragupta II exploited this situation and in name of the security of the Gupta empire inva eastern Malwa. In the course of the war Ramagu was killed. Later on, his widow Dhruvadevi because the consort of the emperor.
Chandragupta II turned out to be a v successful and able ruler. Apart from the about mentioned names, he is also known as Deva and referred to as Devagupta, Devaraja or Devashri the east, the frontiers of the empire were kept int:; and in the west, the empire stretched beyond river Yamuna.
In the west of Mathura, the irr states were gradually merged into the imperi system. Out of 1821 gold coins yielded by Bayana hoard, as many as 983 belonged to ‘ various types issued by Chandragupta II. Till shows his hold over this part of India. For the r of his empire he was able to maintain the empi as created by Samudragupta.
Chandragupta II thus, not only kept his pater empire intact, but also added to it the provinces Kathiawar or Saurashtra and northern Gujarat, was the conquest of these regions which gave his access to the ports of the western coast and play him in direct touch with the highly lucrative borne commerce with the countries west of India The immediate cause of the westward expansion of the empire was probably his desire to put ane to the hated Scythian (Shaka) yoke on the wests part of the country.
In the meantime, Chandragupta II gave’ daughter Prabhavatigupta in marriage to t’ Vakataka crown-prince Rudrasena II, the son Prithvisena I (c. AD 360-85). This matrimonial alliance proved to be a great boon to the Gupta Empire. With the advantage of this kinship, Chandragupta II easily captured the area held by the Shakas. The process was completed in c. AD 412.
Another important event of his reign was the matrimonial alliance with the Nagas. Chandragupta II married Kuberanaga, a princess of Naga lineage i and Prabhavatigupta was his daughter from this I wife. Thus Chandragupta II had at least two wives Dhruvadevi and Kuberanaga. The first queen was the mother of Govinda Gupta and Kumara Gupta I. He is also said to have got his son married to a Kuntala princess.
Other exploits of Chandragupta II depend on the identification and interpretation of the Mehrauli pillar inscription containing the eulogy of a king called Chandra also known as Dhava. He is said to have fought a battle in the Vanga country and defeated the enemies who, uniting together, came against him.
He also crossed the seven faces or feeders of the river Sindhu and defeated the Vahlikas. This king was devoted to Vishnu, and set up the pillar as a standard of that god on the hill called Vishnupada.
This king has variously been identified with the Gupta kings Chandragupta I and II, king Chandravarman of the Varman family of Mandasor, and with the Kushana king Kanishka who had a second name Chandra. The identification with Chandragupta 1 and Chandravarman has not been accepted, as there are no good grounds to believe that either of them was powerful enough to carry on conquests from Bengal to Sindhu.
The identity with Kanishka is not favoured on the ground that the alphabet of the Mehrauli pillar inscription appears to be later than that of the Kanishka period. Goyal has identified Chandra with Samudragupta. However, at present, scholars are generally in favour of identifying King Chandra with Chandragupta II.
If this identification is accepted, a few more conquests go to his credit. This means that some of the kingdoms which either enjoyed a subordinate position such as daivaputrashahi-shahanushahi or were frontier tributary states such a Samatata were incorporated by now and formed an integral part of the Gupta Empire.
Like Samudragupta, he also issued wide varieties of gold coins. The differences in design are very often significant. Thus, Chandragupta II is represented as slaying a lion on some coins with the legend simha-vikrama whereas Samudragupta is shown as slaying a tiger.
This may be indicative of former’s authority over Gujarat. The figure of Chandragupta II seated on a couch resembles that of his father playing on a lyre, but instead of the musical instrument he holds a flower in his uplifted right hand with the legend rupakriti.
On many of his coins Chandragupta II has the title Vikramaditya. In certain records of the twelfth century AD he is represented as the lord of the city of Ujjaini as well as Pataliputra. Because of his fights with the Shakas and by his execution of their kings in their own cities he gained the epithets ‘sahasanka’ and ‘shakar-V.
This has led some scholars to identify him with the Vikramaditya Shakari of the legends, whose court is said to have been adorned by ‘nine gems’ including Kalidasa and Varahamihira. The tradition about the nine gems which included Virasena Shaba and Acharya Dignaga is of a later origin.
It is uncertain if all of them actually flourished about the same time. Another notable contemporary of Chandragupta II was Fa-hien, the celebrated Chinese pilgrim who wrote about the kingdom and administration in the Madhya-desh.
The last known date of Chandragupta II is 93 (AD 412-13) and he did not rule much longer after this date as his son Kumaragupta was on the throne in the year 96 (AD 415-16). He thus had a long reign of more than 32 years.