The time period between the Mauryans up till the coming of the Gupta's was a very dark period in Indian history. During the Gupta Empire period, Indian art and architecture building was at its peak. Overall, it was a 400-500 year time period of peace and prosperity as well as a peak in the history of India.
One of the contributions of this period came from Panina. He wrote a book which is till date referred to as the bible of the Sanskrit language; the foundation.
Who they were:
I) Some historians believe that Guptas were from the Jat tribe which is in Punjab
II) Others believe that they were from the Kshtriya tribe.
III) Some believed that Guptas were officials in Bengal, and one officer (Sri Gupta) overthrew the king of Bengal.
IV) The last belief is that they believed Guptas were officials from Magadha, and that Sri Gupta overthrew the king.
It is known as a fact that Sri Gupta was the first king. But he died soon after his empire was established, before he could expand it. The kings who ruled are:
I) Maharaja- Sri Gupta
II) Maharaja- Sri Ghatotakutcha Gupta
III) Maharajadhiraja- Sri Chandragupta Vikramaditya
IV) Maharajadhiraja- Sri Samudra Gupta
The greatness of a king could be told by the length of their titile.
How we know about the Guptas:
1. Puranas, which were historical books which contained information about a king or a queen. It is considered sacred to some due to the style in which it was written. It was written after an event in future tense, so it appeared prophetic to the common man. There were 40 + Purnanas, and out of them, the 4 which talked about the Guptas included: