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Chandragupta I

While his two ancestors were given the title of Maharaja, Chandra Gupta I is described in his inscriptions as Maharajadhiraja. He can therefore be considered the first Gupta emperor. According to the Puranas the Guptas ruled over territories (referred to as Janapadas) such as Prayaga, Saketa and Magadha. This description of the Gupta dominion precedes the reign of Samudragupta and hence must refer to the territories ruled over by Chandragupta I.

Chandragupta's rule over Magadha has been attributed to his marital alliance with the Lichchhavis. This alliance surely benefited him materially as well. In fact in one of his inscriptions, his successor Samudragupta proudly refers to himself as Lichchhavidauhitra (this refers to the fact that his mother was a Lichchhavi). It is significant that Samudragupta would refer to his maternal lineage instead of the more common referrence to paternal lineage. There are also several coins issued by Samudragupta that commemorate the marriage of Chandragupta to Kumaradevi, the Lichchhavi princess.

Most records indicate that Chandragupta reigned in the period c. 319-335 A.D.