Samudra Gupta (reign ca. 335-375)Samudra Gupta (reign ca. 335-375) - Third emperor of the Gupta Empire, he was considered a military genius and one of India's greatest rulers. Many rank him up there with Ashoka and he ushered in a period known as the "Golden Age of India." Unlike Ashoka, however, who inherited an empire mostly intact (except for the state of Kalinga), as well as a reign marked almost entirely by peace (except for the Kalinga War), Samudra Gupta had to conquer several territories before he was able to rule over the majority of the subcontinent, and his reign was marked by almost constant warfare. For his efforts, he is remembered as probably India's greatest military commander (sometimes called "India's Napoleon"). We have almost no record of his early years, so virtually nothing is known of him before his reign. What is known is that he was not the only son of his predecessor, Chandragupta I, and not the oldest. As a result, it is speculated that civil war broke out after his father's death and he emerged victorious. His military prowess would support this theory. Once he became emperor, he went to work conquering neighboring territories. Starting with Achichatra and Prayāga. He expanded east all the way to Bengal. This secured his position in northern and central India. After than, he turned his attention to the kingdoms of the south. First Madhya Pradesh, then Odisha (the former Kalinga State). That took him to the East Coast of India, where he turned south and captured much of Andhra Pradesh. In all, he conquered no fewer than 20 kingdoms, and turned several others into tribute states. By the end of his reign, the Gupta Empire nearly reached its maximum extent, allowing it turn its focus to cultural pursuits. Samudra Gupta himself could be considered somewhat of a "warrior poet" as he devoted much of his time to the study of music and literature. After a short reign by his elder son, Ramagupta, he was succeeded by a younger son, Chandra Gupta II, who ruled at the height of India's golden age.