The Gupta Empire was established around 320 CE and lasted until 550 CE. The Gupta period is known as the Golden Age as it was during their rule that there was political unity and harmony, there was peace and prosperity in the kingdom.
During the Gupta kingdom rule, the chariots had been substituted by mounted cavalry. They continued using mounted cavalry despite the fact that their opponents like the Scythians, Parthian and Hunas were using horse archers. The Gupta rulers maintained a standing army and the use of cavalry and horse archery was given importance.
During the Gupta period, the territories on the border of the empire were kept under watchful eyes. The Gupta rulers largely depended on infantry archers. The bow was one of the primary weapons in the Gupta army. The longbow used by the Gupta army was made either from metal or bamboo. The longbow was considered to be a potent weapon and was capable of cutting through the thick armor worn by the soldiers.
The longbow also provided a long range to counter the enemy. It also had a good resistant quality and they were designed in such a manner that they would be less exposed to damaging in the damp and moist conditions. Thus, the shell- life of these weapons was very long.
The use of fire arrows during that period is also known. The Gupta army used iron shafts against armored elephants. Like the longbow, steel bow was also considered to be capable of long range and cutting through the thick armor. However, the steel bows were rare and were only used by the noblemen. Some of the steel weapons used by the Gupta army were broadswords, axes and the khanda.
The usage of breast plate and helmet was common. The archers generally provided protection by infantry equipped with shields, javelins and long swords. The Gupta army was aware of sophisticated war machines like siege craft, catapults and other weapons. The coastal areas were guarded by the navy. The Gupta Empire was however defeated by the Hunas. This defeat marked the end of the Gupta Empire.