Skandagupta succeeded his father Kumaragupta I as the ruler of Gupta empire. He ruled from 455 A.D. to 467 A.D. His rule was marked by wars against the Pushyamitras and the Hunas. He had defeated the Hunas once as the crown-prince but the penetration of the Hunas into the Indian territories continued. Skandagupta defeated them again in about 460 A.D. and they did not attack the Gupta Empire for nearly fifty years.

According to some sources it is believed that most important competitor of Skandagupta was his stepbrother Purugupta. He was the son of queen Anantadevi. Purugupta was the immediate successor of Kumaragupta. Historians have presumed that when Skandagupta was busy campaigning against the Pushyamitras, Purugupta took the advantage of Skandagupta's absence and his father's illness, in the process of usurping the throne. According to historians since Skandagupta's mother was not the chief queen of Kumaragupta, he was not the legitimate aspirant of the throne. Therefore he had to fight with Purugupta for the throne.

Skandagupta was a great warrior and defended his kingdom from Pushyamitras and the Hunas. But the Hunas war and possibly other wars must have proved a great strain on the financial resources of the empire. This is reflected in the coins of Skandagupta. The gold coins issued by the Skandagupta were comparatively small in number and of only single type. They also show depreciations in the purity of gold.

Skandagupta died in 467 A.D. and was succeeded by his half-brother Purugupta.