# The Gupta kingdom was enlarged enormously by Chandragupta Ⅰ’s son and successor Samudragupta. # The Allahabad Pillar Inscription (Prayaga – Prashasti) gives a detailed account of his achievements. He followed the policy of war and conquest. This long inscription was composed by his court poet, Harisena, in chaste Sanskrit. The inscription is engraved on the same pillar that carries the inscription of peace-loving Ashoka. # Much of the Indian subcontinent was directly or indirectly under his control – from kingdoms in Nepal and Punjab in the north to the Pallava kingdom at Kanchipuram in the southeast. The last vestiges of the Kushana rule, like the Shakas, the Murundas and even the independent territory of Simhala (Sri Lanka) acknowledged his suzerainty. The places and the territories conquered by Samudragupta can be divided into five groups: -Group Ⅰ – Includes rulers of Ganga-Yamuna doab, who were defeated. He uprooted nine Naga rulers and annexed their territories. -Group Ⅱ – Includes rulers of the eastern Himalayan states and some frontier states such as the princes of Nepal, Assam, Bengal, etc. who surrendered to his might. It also includes parts of Punjab. -Group Ⅲ – Includes the forest kingdom situated in the Vindhya region (central India) known as atavika rajyas and forced their rulers into servitude. The conquest of this region helped him to move towards the south. - Group Ⅳ – Includes twelve rulers of eastern Deccan and south India who were defeated and his power reached as far as Kanchi (Tamil Nadu), where the Pallavas were forced to recognise his suzerainty. It is important to mention that Virasena was the commander of Samudragupta during his southern campaign. In the south, he adopted the policy of political conciliation and reinstated the defeated kings on their thrones. These states acknowledged his suzerainty and paid him tributes and presents. -Group Ⅴ – Includes the Shakas of western India and Kushana rulers of north-west India and Afghanistan. Samudragupta swept them out of power. # Though he had spread his influence over a vast area, and even received tributes from many kings of south-east Asia, Samudragupta exercised direct administrative control mainly over the Indo-Gangetic basin. According to Chinese sources, Meghavarman, the ruler of Sri Lanka, sent a missionary to Samudragupta for permission to build a Buddhist temple at Bodh Gaya. # After conquering the territories, Samudragupta celebrated by performing the asvamedha (horse sacrifice). He issued coins with the legend “restorer of the asvamedha”. It is because of his military achievements that Samudragupta was hailed as the ‘Indian Napoleon’. # He was equally great in his personal accomplishments. The Allahabad Pillar Inscription speaks of his magnanimity to his foes, his polished intellect, his poetic skills, and his proficiency in music. He is known by the title Kaviraja (king among poets) because of his ability in composing verses. His image depicting him with veena (lyre) is found in the coins issued by him. He is also credited with promoting Sanskrit literature and learning, characteristic of his dynasty. # He was an ardent follower of Vaishnavism but was tolerant of other religions. He showed a keen interest in Buddhism and was the patron of the great Buddhist scholar Vasubandhu. # Legends on his coins include epithets such as Apratirathah (invincible), Vyaghra-Parakramah (brave as a tiger), Parakramah (brave).