Regents Prep: Global History: Golden Ages:
Gupta Empire
Background
The Golden Age of India occurs under the rule of the Gupta Dynasty (320 - 550 CE) The Gupta established a strong central government which also allowed a degree of local control.  Gupta society was ordered in accordance with Hindu beliefs.  This included a strict caste system, or class system.  The peace and prosperity created under Gupta leadership enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors.

Math & Science
Gupta mathematicians developed the concept of zero in the use of math, and also developed the decimal system based on the number 10.  They also created a number writing system that was later adopted by the Islamic Empire.  This system became known as Arabic Numerals, but is really a Gupta achievement.  This is the number writing system used throughout the world today. 

Medicine
Gupta physicians developed herbal remedies to treat various illnesses.  They also developed a form of plastic surgery for the treatment of facial injuries.  Physicians vaccinated against smallpox, a practice later used in China (10th century) and Europe (17th century.)

Arts & Literature
Gupta architecture was dedicated to building stone temples to the various Hindu gods.  Also, Buddhists built shrines to house the remains of select holy people.  These structures were called Stupas.  This form of architecture made its way to China where it was altered slightly and renamed the pagoda.

Gupta literature consists of fables and folktales written in Sanskrit.  These stories spread west to Persia, Egypt, and Greece, and became the basis for many Islamic literary works such as, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and Aladdin and his Magic Lamp.

The Gupta Dynasty declined due to weak rulers and a series of invasions, but many of their cultural and intellectual achievements were saved and transmitted to other cultures and live on today.

 

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