Kushan Empire

The Kushan Empire (Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία Κοσσανῶν; Bactrian: Κυϸανο, Kushano; Kuṣāṇa Sāmrājya; BHS: Guṣāṇa-vaṃśa; Chinese: 貴霜帝國; Parthian: Kušan-xšaθr[11]) was a syncretic empire, formed by the Yuezhi, in the Bactrian territories in the early 1st century. It spread to encompass much of Afghanistan,[12] and then the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent at least as far as Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares), where inscriptions have been found dating to the era of the Kushan Emperor Kanishka the Great.[13] Emperor Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism. He played an important role in the establishment of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent and its spread to Central Asia and China.

The Kushans were one of five branches of the Yuezhi confederation,[14][15] a possibly Iranian[16][17] or Tocharian,[18][19][20][21][22][23] Indo-European[22][24][25][26] nomadic people who migrated from Gansu and settled in ancient Bactria.[15] The Kushans possibly used the Greek language initially for administrative purposes, but soon began to use Bactrian language.[3] Kanishka sent his armies north of the Karakoram mountains, capturing territories as far as Kashgar, Khotan and Yarkant, in the Tarim Basin of modern-day Xinjiang, China. A direct road from Gandhara to China remained under Kushan control for more than a century, encouraging travel across the Karakoram and facilitating the spread of Mahayana Buddhism to China.

The Kushan dynasty had diplomatic contacts with the Roman Empire, Sasanian Persia, the Aksumite Empire and the Han dynasty of China. While much philosophy, art, and science was created within its borders, the only textual record of the empire's history today comes from inscriptions and accounts in other languages, particularly Chinese.[27]

The Kushan empire fragmented into semi-independent kingdoms in the 3rd century AD, which fell to the Sasanians invading from the west, establishing the Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom in the areas of Sogdiana, Bactria and Gandhara. In the 4th century, the Guptas, an Indian dynasty also pressed from the east. The last of the Kushan and Kushano-Sasanian kingdoms were eventually overwhelmed by invaders from the north, known as the Kidarites, and then the Hepthalites.[8]

Kushan Empire

Κυϸανο  (Bactrian)
Βασιλεία Κοσσανῶν (Greek)
30–375
Kushan territories (full line) and maximum extent of Kushan dominions under Kanishka the Great (dotted line), according to the Rabatak inscription.[1]
Kushan territories (full line) and maximum extent of Kushan dominions under Kanishka the Great (dotted line), according to the Rabatak inscription.[1]
StatusNomadic empire
CapitalBagram (Kapiśi)
Peshawar (Puruṣapura)
Taxila (Takṣaśilā)
Mathura (Mathurā)
Common languagesGreek (official until ca. 127)[2]
Bactrian[3] (official from ca. 127)
Sanskrit[4]
Religion
Buddhism[5]
Hinduism[6]
Zoroastrianism[7]
GovernmentMonarchy
Emperor 
• 30–80
Kujula Kadphises
• 350–375
Kipunada
Historical eraClassical Antiquity
• Kujula Kadphises unites Yuezhi tribes into a confederation
30
• Subjugated by the Sasanians, Guptas, and Hepthalites[8]
375
Area
200 est.[9]2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi)
200 est.[10]2,500,000 km2 (970,000 sq mi)
CurrencyKushan drachma
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Indo-Parthian Kingdom
Indo-Scythians
Sasanian Empire
Gupta Empire
Hephthalite Empire
Khasa kingdom
Nagas of Padmavati

Origins

Chinese sources describe the Guishuang (貴霜), i.e. the Kushans, as one of the five aristocratic tribes of the Yuezhi, with some people claiming they were a loose confederation of Indo-European peoples,[28] though many scholars are still unconvinced that they originally spoke an Indo-European language. As the historian John E. Hill has put it: "For well over a century ... there have been many arguments about the ethnic and linguistic origins of the Great Yuezhi or Da Yuezhi (大月氏), Kushans (貴霜), and the Tochari, and still there is little consensus".[29]

Koshanoy
The ethnonym "KOϷϷANOV" (Koshshanou, "Kushans") in Greek alphabet (with the addition of the letter Ϸ, "Sh") on a coin of the first known Kushan ruler Heraios (1st century CE).

The Yuezhi were described in the Records of the Great Historian 史記 and the Book of Han 漢書 as living in the grasslands of Gansu, in the northwest of modern-day China, until their King was beheaded by the Huns from Siberia (the Xiongnu 匈奴) who were also at war with China, which eventually forced them to migrate west in 176–160 BCE.[30] The five tribes constituting the Yuezhi are known in Chinese history as Xiūmì (休密), Guìshuāng (貴霜), Shuāngmǐ (雙靡), Xìdùn (肸頓), and Dūmì (都密).

The Yuezhi reached the Hellenic kingdom of Greco-Bactria (in northern Afghanistan and Uzbekistan) around 135 BC. The displaced Greek dynasties resettled to the southeast in areas of the Hindu Kush and the Indus basin (in present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan), occupying the western part of the Indo-Greek Kingdom.

Early Kushans

KushanHead
Head of a Kushan prince (Khalchayan palace, Uzbekistan)

Some traces remain of the presence of the Kushans in the area of Bactria and Sogdiana. Archaeological structures are known in Takht-I-Sangin, Surkh Kotal (a monumental temple), and in the palace of Khalchayan. Various sculptures and friezes are known, representing horse-riding archers,[31] and, significantly, men with artificially deformed skulls, such as the Kushan prince of Khalchayan[32] (a practice well attested in nomadic Central Asia). The Chinese first referred to these people as the Yuezhi and said they established the Kushan Empire, although the relationship between the Yuezhi and the Kushans is still unclear. On the ruins of ancient Hellenistic cities such as Ai-Khanoum, the Kushans are known to have built fortresses.

Heraios profile
The first known Kushan king Heraios (1-30 CE)

The earliest documented ruler, and the first one to proclaim himself as a Kushan ruler, was Heraios. He calls himself a "tyrant" in Greek on his coins, and also exhibits skull deformation. He may have been an ally of the Greeks, and he shared the same style of coinage. Heraios may have been the father of the first Kushan emperor Kujula Kadphises.

Ban Gu's Book of Han tells us the Kushans (Kuei-shuang) divided up Bactria in 128 BC. Fan Ye's Book of the Later Han "relates how the chief of the Kushans, Ch'iu-shiu-ch'ueh (the Kujula Kadphises of coins), founded by means of the submission of the other Yueh-chih clans the Kushan Empire, known to the Greeks and Romans under the name of Empire of the Indo-Scythians."[33]

The Chinese Hou Hanshu 後漢書 chronicles gives an account of the formation of the Kushan empire based on a report made by the Chinese general Ban Yong to the Chinese Emperor c. 125 AD:

More than a hundred years later [than the conquest of Bactria by the Da Yuezhi], the prince [xihou] of Guishuang (Badakhshan) established himself as king, and his dynasty was called that of the Guishuang (Kushan) King. He invaded Anxi (Indo-Parthia), and took the Gaofu (Kabul) region. He also defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puda (Paktiya) and Jibin (Kapisha and Gandhara). Qiujiuque (Kujula Kadphises) was more than eighty years old when he died. His son, Yangaozhen [probably Vema Tahk (tu) or, possibly, his brother Sadaṣkaṇa], became king in his place. He defeated Tianzhu [North-western India] and installed Generals to supervise and lead it. The Yuezhi then became extremely rich. All the kingdoms call [their king] the Guishuang [Kushan] king, but the Han call them by their original name, Da Yuezhi.

— Hou Hanshu[34][35]

Diverse cultural influences

Kushan script
Greek alphabet (narrow columns) with Kushan script (wide columns)
KushanDevoteeFullLength
A Buddhist devotee in Kushan dress, Mathura, 2nd century. The Kushan dress is generally depicted as quite stiff, and it is thought it was often made of leather (Francine Tissot, "Gandhara").

In the 1st century BCE, the Guishuang (Ch: 貴霜) gained prominence over the other Yuezhi tribes, and welded them into a tight confederation under yabgu (Commander) Kujula Kadphises. The name Guishuang was adopted in the West and modified into Kushan to designate the confederation, although the Chinese continued to call them Yuezhi.

Gradually wresting control of the area from the Scythian tribes, the Kushans expanded south into the region traditionally known as Gandhara (an area primarily in Pakistan's Pothowar and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region but going in an arc to include the Kabul valley and part of Qandahar in Afghanistan) and established twin capitals in Begram[36] and Peshawar, then known as Kapisa and Pushklavati respectively.

Sho uc lc
The Kushan writing system used the Greek alphabet, with the addition of the letter Sho (associated with the Greek Sampi).

The Kushans adopted elements of the Hellenistic culture of Bactria. They adopted the Greek alphabet to suit their own language (with the additional development of the letter Þ "sh", as in "Kushan") and soon began minting coinage on the Greek model. On their coins they used Greek language legends combined with Pali legends (in the Kharoshthi script), until the first few years of the reign of Kanishka. After that date, they used Kushan language legends (in an adapted Greek script), combined with legends in Greek (Greek script) and legends in Prakrit (Kharoshthi script).

The Kushans "adopted many local beliefs and customs, including Zoroastrianism and the two rising religions in the region, the Greek cults and Buddhism".[37] From the time of Vima Takto, many Kushans started adopting aspects of Buddhist culture, and like the Egyptians, they absorbed the strong remnants of the Greek culture of the Hellenistic Kingdoms, becoming at least partly Hellenised. The great Kushan emperor Vima Kadphises may have embraced Shaivism (a sect of Hinduism), as surmised by coins minted during the period.[6] The following Kushan emperors represented a wide variety of faiths including Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Shaivism.

The rule of the Kushans linked the seagoing trade of the Indian Ocean with the commerce of the Silk Road through the long-civilized Indus Valley. At the height of the dynasty, the Kushans loosely ruled a territory that extended to the Aral Sea through present-day Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan into northern India.

The loose unity and comparative peace of such a vast expanse encouraged long-distance trade, brought Chinese silks to Rome, and created strings of flourishing urban centers.

Territorial expansion

Kushan king or prince
Kushan king or prince, Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, 2nd-3rd century CE

Rosenfield notes that archaeological evidence of a Kushan rule of long duration is present in an area stretching from Surkh Kotal, Begram, the summer capital of the Kushans, Peshawar, the capital under Kanishka I, Taxila, and Mathura, the winter capital of the Kushans.[38]

Other areas of probable rule include Khwarezm,[38] Kausambi (excavations of Allahabad University),[38] Sanchi and Sarnath (inscriptions with names and dates of Kushan kings),[38] Malwa and Maharashtra,[39] and Odisha (imitation of Kushan coins, and large Kushan hoards).[38]

A picture of Sirsukh Texila by Usman Ghani
Remains of a Kushan fortress in Sirsukh, Pakistan

Kushan invasions in the 1st century CE had been given as an explanation for the migration of Indians from the Indian Subcontinent toward Southeast Asia according to proponents of a Greater India theory by 20th-century Indian nationalists. However, there is no evidence to support this hypothesis.[40]

The recently discovered Rabatak inscription confirms the account of the Hou Hanshu, Weilüe, and inscriptions dated early in the Kanishka era (incept probably 127 CE), that large Kushan dominions expanded into the heartland of northern India in the early 2nd century CE. Lines 4 to 7 of the inscription[41] describe the cities which were under the rule of Kanishka, among which six names are identifiable: Ujjain, Kundina, Saketa, Kausambi, Pataliputra, and Champa (although the text is not clear whether Champa was a possession of Kanishka or just beyond it).[42][43][44] The Kushan state was bounded to the south by the Pārata state of Balochistan, western Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan was known for the kushan Buddhist city of Merv.[38] As late as the 3rd century AD, decorated coins of Huvishka were dedicated at Bodh Gaya together with other gold offerings under the "Enlightenment Throne" of the Buddha, suggesting direct Kushan influence in the area during that period.[45]

Northward, in the 2nd century AD, the Kushans under Kanishka made various forays into the Tarim Basin, where they had various contacts with the Chinese. Both archaeological findings and literary evidence suggest Kushan rule, in Kashgar, Yarkand, and Khotan.[46]

Main Kushan rulers

BodhGayaEnlightmentThroneOfferingAndHuvishkaCoin
Offerings found in Bodh Gaya under the "Enlightenment Throne of the Buddha", with an impression of an imitation of a coin of the Kushan emperor Huvishka, 2nd century CE. British Museum

Kujula Kadphises (c. 30 – c. 80)

...the prince [elavoor] of Guishuang, named thilac [Kujula Kadphises], attacked and exterminated the four other xihou. He established himself as king, and his dynasty was called that of the Guishuang [Kushan] King. He invaded Anxi [Indo-Parthia] and took the Gaofu [Kabul] region. He also defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puda [Paktiya] and Jibin [Kapisha and Gandhara]. Qiujiuque [Kujula Kadphises] was more than eighty years old when he died."

— Hou Hanshu[34]

These conquests probably took place sometime between 45 and 60 and laid the basis for the Kushan Empire which was rapidly expanded by his descendants.

Kujula issued an extensive series of coins and fathered at least two sons, Sadaṣkaṇa (who is known from only two inscriptions, especially the Rabatak inscription, and apparently never ruled), and seemingly Vima Takto.

Kujula Kadphises was the great-grandfather of Kanishka.

Vima Taktu or Sadashkana (c. 80 – c. 95)

Vima Takto (Ancient Chinese: 閻膏珍 Yangaozhen) is mentioned in the Rabatak inscription (another son, Sadashkana, is mentioned in an inscription of Senavarman, the King of Odi). He was the predecessor of Vima Kadphises, and Kanishka I. He expanded the Kushan Empire into the northwest of South Asia. The Hou Hanshu says:

His son, Yangaozhen [probably Vema Tahk (tu) or, possibly, his brother Sadaṣkaṇa], became king in his place. He defeated Tianzhu [North-western India] and installed Generals to supervise and lead it. The Yuezhi then became extremely rich. All the kingdoms call [their king] the Guishuang [Kushan] king, but the Han call them by their original name, Da Yuezhi.

— Hou Hanshu[34]

Vima Kadphises (c. 95 – c. 127)

Vima Kadphises (Kushan language: Οοημο Καδφισης) was a Kushan emperor from around 95-127 CE, the son of Sadashkana and the grandson of Kujula Kadphises, and the father of Kanishka I, as detailed by the Rabatak inscription.

Vima Kadphises added to the Kushan territory by his conquests in Afghanistan and north-west Pakistan. He issued an extensive series of coins and inscriptions. He issued gold coins in addition to the existing copper and silver coinage.

Kanishka I (c. 127 – c. 140)

The rule of Kanishka the Great, fourth Kushan king, lasted for about 13 years from c. 127. Upon his accession, Kanishka ruled a huge territory (virtually all of northern India), south to Ujjain and Kundina and east beyond Pataliputra, according to the Rabatak inscription:

In the year one, it has been proclaimed unto India, unto the whole realm of the governing class, including Koonadeano (Kaundiny, Kundina) and the city of Ozeno (Ozene, Ujjain) and the city of Zageda (Saketa) and the city of Kozambo (Kausambi) and the city of Palabotro (Pataliputra) and so long unto (i.e., as far as) the city of Ziri-tambo (Sri-Champa).

— Rabatak inscription, Lines 4–6

His territory was administered from two capitals: Purushapura (now Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan) and Mathura, in northern India. He is also credited (along with Raja Dab) for building the massive, ancient Fort at Bathinda (Qila Mubarak), in the modern city of Bathinda, Indian Punjab.

The Kushans also had a summer capital in Bagram (then known as Kapisa), where the "Begram Treasure", comprising works of art from Greece to China, has been found. According to the Rabatak inscription, Kanishka was the son of Vima Kadphises, the grandson of Sadashkana, and the great-grandson of Kujula Kadphises. Kanishka's era is now generally accepted to have begun in 127 on the basis of Harry Falk's ground-breaking research.[47][48] Kanishka's era was used as a calendar reference by the Kushans for about a century, until the decline of the Kushan realm.

Vāsishka (c. 140 – c. 160)

Vāsishka was a Kushan emperor who seems to have had a 20-year reign following Kanishka. His rule is recorded as far south as Sanchi (near Vidisa), where several inscriptions in his name have been found, dated to the year 22 (the Sanchi inscription of "Vaksushana" – i.e., Vasishka Kushana) and year 28 (the Sanchi inscription of Vasaska – i.e., Vasishka) of the Kanishka era.

Huvishka (c. 160 – c. 190)

Huvishka (Kushan: Οοηϸκι, "Ooishki") was a Kushan emperor from about 20 years after the death of Kanishka (assumed on the best evidence available to be in 140) until the succession of Vasudeva I about thirty years later. His rule was a period of retrenchment and consolidation for the Empire. In particular he devoted time and effort early in his reign to the exertion of greater control over the city of Mathura.

Vasudeva I (c. 190 – c. 230)

Vasudeva I (Kushan: Βαζοδηο "Bazodeo", Chinese: 波調 "Bodiao") was the last of the "Great Kushans". Named inscriptions dating from year 64 to 98 of Kanishka's era suggest his reign extended from at least 191 to 225 AD. He was the last great Kushan emperor, and the end of his rule coincides with the invasion of the Sasanians as far as northwestern India, and the establishment of the Indo-Sasanians or Kushanshahs in what is nowadays Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India from around 240 AD.

Kushan deities

Kumara, The Divine General LACMA M.85.279.3
Kumara/Kartikeya with a Kushan devotee, 2nd century CE
Gandhara, omaggio di un re kushana al bodhisattva, II-III sec
Kushan prince making a donation to a Boddhisattva

The Kushan religious pantheon is extremely varied, as revealed by their coins that were made in gold, silver, and copper. These coins contained more than thirty different gods, belonging mainly to their own Iranian, Greek, and Indo-Aryan worlds as well. Kushan coins had images of Kushan Kings, Buddha, and figures from the Indo-Aryan and Iranian pantheons.[49] Greek deities, with Greek names are represented on early coins. During Kanishka's reign, the language of the coinage changes to Bactrian (though it remained in Greek script for all kings). After Huvishka, only two divinities appear on the coins: Ardoxsho and Oesho (see details below).

The Iranian entities depicted on coinage include:

  • Αρδοχþο (ardoxsho, Ashi Vanghuhi)
  • Aþαειχþo (ashaeixsho, Asha Vahishta)
  • Αθþο (athsho, Atar)
  • Φαρρο (pharro, Khwarenah)
  • Λροοασπο (lrooaspa, Drvaspa)
  • Μαναοβαγο, (manaobago, Vohu Manah)
  • Μαο (mao, Mah)
  • Μιθρο, Μιιρο, Μιορο, Μιυρο (mithro and variants, Mithra)
  • Μοζδοοανο (mozdooano, Mazda *vana "Mazda the victorious?")
  • Νανα, Ναναια, Ναναϸαο (variations of pan-Asiatic nana, Sogdian nny, Nana)
  • Οαδο (oado Vata)
  • Oαxþo (oaxsho, "Oxus")
  • Ooρoμoζδο (ooromozdo, Ahura Mazda)
  • Οραλαγνο (orlagno, Verethragna)
  • Τιερο (tiero, Tir)

Representation of entities from Greek mythology and Hellenistic syncretism are:

The Indic entities represented on coinage include:

  • Βοδδο (boddo, Buddha)
  • Μετραγο Βοδδο (metrago boddo, bodhisattava Maitreya)
  • Mαασηνo (maaseno, Mahasena)
  • Σκανδo koμαρo (skando komaro, Skanda Kumara)
  • þακαμανο Βοδδο (shakamano boddho, Shakyamuni Buddha)
  • Οηϸο (oesho), long considered to represent Indic Shiva,[50][51][52] but also identified as Avestan Vayu conflated with Shiva.[53][54]
  • Two copper coins of Huvishka bear a 'Ganesa' legend, but instead of depicting the typical theriomorphic figure of Ganesha, have a figure of an archer holding a full-length bow with string inwards and an arrow. This is typically a depiction of Rudra, but in the case of these two coins is generally assumed to represent Shiva.
ZeusSerapisOhrmazdWithWorshipperBactria3rdCenturyCE

Kushan worshipper with Zeus/Serapis/Ohrmazd, Bactria, 3rd century CE.[55]

PharroAndWorshipperBactria3rdCenturyCE

Kushan worshipper with Pharro, Bactria, 3rd century AD.[55]

ShivaOeshoBactria3rdCenturyCE

Kushan worshipper with Shiva/Oesho, Bactria, 3rd century CE.[55]

MahasenaHuvishka

Mahasena on a coin of Huvishka

CoinOfHuvishkaWithOisho

Four-faced Oesho

CoinOfHuvishkaWithRishtiAsRoma

Rishti

Manaobago

Manaobago

CoinOfHuvishkaWithPharro

Pharro

CoinOfHuvishkaWithArdochsho

Ardochsho

KanihkaIOishoShiva

Oesho or Shiva

KanihkaIOishoShivaCoin2

Oesho or Shiva with bull

SkandaAndVisakhaHuvishkaCoin

Skanda and Visakha

Coin of Kanishka I

Gold coin of Kanishka the Great, with a depiction of the Buddha, with the legend "Boddo" in Greek script;Ahin Posh

Dinar, Kushan Empire, Depiction of Hercules, 152-192 AD

Herakles.

AdshoCarnelianSeal

Kushan Carnelian seal representing the "ΑΔϷΟ" (adsho Atar), with triratana symbol left, and Kanishka the Great's dynastic mark right

Coin of Kujula Kadphises

Buddha

Four sets of Gold Coins of Vima Kadphises
Kushan coins showing half-length bust of Vima Kadphises in various poses, holding mace-scepter or laurel branch in right hand; flames at shoulder, tamgha to right or left. On the other side of coin is a deity with a bull. Some consider the deity as Shiva because he is in ithyphallic state, holds a trident, and the Nandi bull is his mount, as in Hindu mythology.[51][52][56] Alternatively, the deity, named Oesho on the coins, has been identified by some authors as the Zoroastrian Vayu.[57]

Kushans and Buddhism

Kanishka-Inaugurates-Mahyana-Buddhism
Kanishka the Great inaugurates Mahayana Buddhism. Illustration from 1910
BuddhistTriad
Early Mahayana Buddhist triad. From left to right, a Kushan devotee, Maitreya, the Buddha, Avalokitesvara, and a Buddhist monk. 2nd–3rd century, Gandhara

The Kushans inherited the Greco-Buddhist traditions of the Indo-Greek Kingdom they replaced, and their patronage of Buddhist institutions allowed them to grow as a commercial power.[58] Between the mid-1st century and the mid-3rd century, Buddhism, patronized by the Kushans, extended to China and other Asian countries through the Silk Road.

Kanishka is renowned in Buddhist tradition for having convened a great Buddhist council in Kashmir. Along with his predecessors in the region, the Indo-Greek king Menander I (Milinda) and the Indian emperors Ashoka and Harsha Vardhana, Kanishka is considered by Buddhism as one of its greatest benefactors.

During the 1st century AD, Buddhist books were being produced and carried by monks, and their trader patrons. Also, monasteries were being established along these land routes that went from China and other parts of Asia. With the development of Buddhist books, it caused a new written language called Gandhara. Gandhara consists of eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. Scholars are said to have found many Buddhist scrolls that contained the Gandhari language.[59]

The reign of Huvishka corresponds to the first known epigraphic evidence of the Buddha Amitabha, on the bottom part of a 2nd-century statue which has been found in Govindo-Nagar, and now at the Mathura Museum. The statue is dated to "the 28th year of the reign of Huvishka", and dedicated to "Amitabha Buddha" by a family of merchants. There is also some evidence that Huvishka himself was a follower of Mahāyāna Buddhism. A Sanskrit manuscript fragment in the Schøyen Collection describes Huvishka as one who has "set forth in the Mahāyāna."[60]

Kushan art

Taxila. Standing Female. 88.194
Standing Female, 1st century CE Terracotta. This lively female figure comes from an area of Pakistan where merchants from around the Mediterranean had long maintained trading posts. The area, known in antiquity as Gandhara, developed an unusual hybrid style of art and culture that was at once Hellenic and Indic. Brooklyn Museum

The art and culture of Gandhara, at the crossroads of the Kushan hegemony, continued the traditions of Greco-Buddhist art and are the best known expressions of Kushan influences to Westerners. Several direct depictions of Kushans are known from Gandhara, where they are represented with a tunic, belt and trousers and play the role of devotees to the Buddha, as well as the Bodhisattva and future Buddha Maitreya.

During the Kushan Empire, many images of Gandhara share a strong resemblance to the features of Greek, Syrian, Persian and Indian figures. These Western-looking stylistic signatures often include heavy drapery and curly hair,[61] representing a composite (the Greeks, for example, often possessed curly hair).

In the iconography, they are never associated however with the very Hellenistic "Standing Buddha" statues, which might therefore correspond to an earlier historical period.

Contacts with Rome

BegramGladiator
Greco-Roman gladiator on a glass vessel, Begram, 2nd century

Several Roman sources describe the visit of ambassadors from the Kings of Bactria and India during the 2nd century, probably referring to the Kushans.

TrajanCoinAhinposhBuddhistMonasteryAfghanistan
Coin of the Roman Emperor Trajan, found together with coins of Kanishka the Great at the Ahin Posh Monastery

Historia Augusta, speaking of Emperor Hadrian (117–138) tells:

Reges Bactrianorum legatos ad eum, amicitiae petendae causa, supplices miserunt

"The kings of the Bactrians sent supplicant ambassadors to him, to seek his friendship."

Also in 138, according to Aurelius Victor (Epitome‚ XV, 4), and Appian (Praef., 7), Antoninus Pius, successor to Hadrian, received some Indian, Bactrian, and Hyrcanian ambassadors.

Precious things from Da Qin [the Roman Empire] can be found there [in Tianzhu or Northwestern India], as well as fine cotton cloths, fine wool carpets, perfumes of all sorts, sugar candy, pepper, ginger, and black salt.

— Hou Hanshu[62]

The summer capital of the Kushan Empire in Begram has yielded a considerable amount of goods imported from the Roman Empire--in particular, various types of glassware.

Contacts with China

Eurasia in 2nd Century
Map showing the four empires of Eurasia in 2nd Century AD. Kushan shared a border with the Chinese empire of Han.
KanishkaICoinFoundInKhotan
A bronze coin of Kanishka the Great found in Khotan, Tarim Basin

During the 1st and 2nd century, the Kushan Empire expanded militarily to the north and occupied parts of the Tarim Basin, their original grounds, putting them at the center of the profitable Central Asian commerce with the Roman Empire. They are related to have collaborated militarily with the Chinese against nomadic incursion, particularly when they collaborated with the Han dynasty general Ban Chao against the Sogdians in 84, when the latter were trying to support a revolt by the king of Kashgar.[63] Around 85, they also assisted the Chinese general in an attack on Turpan, east of the Tarim Basin.

Lokaksema
The Kushan Buddhist monk Lokaksema, first known translator of Buddhist Mahayana scriptures into Chinese, c. 170

In recognition for their support to the Chinese, the Kushans requested a Han princess, but were denied,[63][64] even after they had sent presents to the Chinese court. In retaliation, they marched on Ban Chao in 86 with a force of 70,000, but were defeated by a smaller Chinese force.[63][64] The Yuezhi retreated and paid tribute to the Chinese Empire during the reign of emperor He of Han (89–106).

Later, around 116, the Kushans under Kanishka established a kingdom centered on Kashgar, also taking control of Khotan and Yarkand, which were Chinese dependencies in the Tarim Basin, modern Xinjiang. They introduced the Brahmi script, the Indian Prakrit language for administration, and expanded the influence of Greco-Buddhist art which developed into Serindian art.

Eastern Han ingot imprints with barbarous Greek inscriptions
Eastern Han inscriptions on lead ingot, using barbarous Greek alphabet in the style of the Kushans, excavated in Shaanxi, 1st-2nd century CE.[65]

The Kushans are again recorded to have sent presents to the Chinese court in 158–159 during the reign of Emperor Huan of Han.

Following these interactions, cultural exchanges further increased, and Kushan Buddhist missionaries, such as Lokaksema, became active in the Chinese capital cities of Loyang and sometimes Nanjing, where they particularly distinguished themselves by their translation work. They were the first recorded promoters of Hinayana and Mahayana scriptures in China, greatly contributing to the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism.

Decline

Hormizd I Kushanshah on the Naqsh-e Rustam Bahram II panel
Hormizd I Kushanshah (277-286 CE), king of the Indo-Sasanians, maintained Sasanian rule in former Kushan territories of the northwest. Naqsh-e Rustam Bahram II panel.

After the death of Vasudeva I in 225, the Kushan empire split into western and eastern halves. The Western Kushans (in Afghanistan) were soon subjugated by the Persian Sasanian Empire and lost Sogdiana, Bactria, and Gandhara to them. The Sasanians deposed the Western dynasty and replaced them with Persian vassals known as the Kushanshas (also called Indo-Sasanians or Kushano-Sasanians).

The Eastern Kushan kingdom was based in the Punjab. Around 270 their territories on the Gangetic plain became independent under local dynasties such as the Yaudheyas. Then in the mid-4th century they were subjugated by the Gupta Empire under Samudragupta.

In 360 a Kidarite Hun named Kidara overthrew the Indo-Sasanians and remnants of the old Kushan dynasty, and established the Kidarite Kingdom. The Kushan style of Kidarite coins indicates they claimed Kushan heritage. The Kidarite seem to have been rather prosperous, although on a smaller scale than their Kushan predecessors.

These remnants of the Kushan empire were ultimately wiped out in the 5th century by the invasions of the Hephthalites, the Alchon Huns and the Nezak Huns in the northwest, and the rise of the Gupta Empire in the east.

Rulers

KushanTamgas
Listing of Kushan royal tamgas

See also

Notes

Kushan devotee Mathura
Kushan devotee, Mathura
  1. ^ "The Rabatak inscription claims that in the year 1 Kanishka I's authority was proclaimed in India, in all the satrapies and in different cities like Koonadeano (Kundina), Ozeno (Ujjain), Kozambo (Kausambi), Zagedo (Saketa), Palabotro (Pataliputra), and Ziri-Tambo (Janjgir-Champa). These cities lay to the east and south of Mathura, up to which locality Wima had already carried his victorious arm. Therefore they must have been captured or subdued by Kanishka I himself." "Ancient Indian Inscriptions", S. R. Goyal, p. 93. See also the analysis of Sims-Williams and J.Cribb, who had a central role in the decipherment: "A new Bactrian inscription of Kanishka the Great", in "Silk Road Art and Archaeology" No4, 1995–1996. Also Mukherjee B.N. "The Great Kushanan Testament", Indian Museum Bulletin.
  2. ^ The Kushans at first retained the Greek language for administrative purposes but soon began to use Bactrian. The Bactrian Rabatak inscription (discovered in 1993 and deciphered in 2000) records that the Kushan king Kanishka the Great (c. 127 AD), discarded Greek (Ionian) as the language of administration and adopted Bactrian ("Arya language"), from Falk (2001): "The yuga of Sphujiddhvaja and the era of the Kuṣâṇas." Harry Falk. Silk Road Art and Archaeology VII, p. 133.
  3. ^ a b The Bactrian Rabatak inscription (discovered in 1993 and deciphered in 2000) records that the Kushan king Kanishka the Great (c. 127 AD), discarded Greek (Ionian) as the language of administration and adopted Bactrian ("Arya language"), from Falk (2001): "The yuga of Sphujiddhvaja and the era of the Kuṣâṇas." Harry Falk. Silk Road Art and Archaeology VII, p. 133.
  4. ^ The Sanskrit word vaṃśa (dynasty) affixed to Gushana (Kushana), i.e. Gushana-vaṃśa (Kushan dynasty) appears on a dedicatory inscription at Manikiala stupa, in The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans, University of California Press, 1967, p.7 & 8
  5. ^ Liu 2010, p. 61.
  6. ^ a b Bopearachchi 2007, p. 45.
  7. ^ Golden 1992, p. 56.
  8. ^ a b "Afghanistan: Central Asian and Sassanian Rule, ca. 150 B.C.-700 A.D." United States: Library of Congress Country Studies. 1997. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  9. ^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of world-systems research. 12 (2): 222. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  10. ^ Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 132. doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959.
  11. ^ The Dynasty Arts of the Kushans, University of California Press, 1967, p. 5
  12. ^ http://www.kushan.org/general/other/part1.htm and Si-Yu-Ki, Buddhist Records of the Western World, (Tr. Samuel Beal: Travels of Fa-Hian, The Mission of Sung-Yun and Hwei-S?ng, Books 1–5), Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd. London. 1906 and Hill (2009), pp. 29, 318–350
  13. ^ which began about 127 CE. "Falk 2001, pp. 121–136", Falk (2001), pp. 121–136, Falk, Harry (2004), pp. 167–176 and Hill (2009), pp. 29, 33, 368–371.
  14. ^ Runion, Meredith L. (2007). The history of Afghanistan. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-313-33798-7. The Yuezhi people conquered Bactria in the second century BCE. and divided the country into five chiefdoms, one of which would become the Kushan Empire. Recognizing the importance of unification, these five tribes combined under the one dominate Kushan tribe, and the primary rulers descended from the Yuezhi.
  15. ^ a b Liu, Xinrui (2001). Adas, Michael (ed.). Agricultural and pastoral societies in ancient and classical history. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-56639-832-9.
  16. ^ Enoki, Koshelenko & Haidary 1994, pp. 171–191
  17. ^ Girshman, Roman. "Ancient Iran: The movement of Iranian peoples". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 29 May 2015. At the end of the 3rd century, there began in Chinese Turkistan a long migration of the Yuezhi, an Iranian people who invaded Bactria about 130 bc, putting an end to the Greco-Bactrian kingdom there. (In the 1st century bc they created the Kushān dynasty, whose rule extended from Afghanistan to the Ganges River and from Russian Turkistan to the estuary of the Indus.)
  18. ^ Pulleyblank 1966, pp. 9–39
  19. ^ Mallory 1989, pp. 59–60
  20. ^ Mallory 1997, pp. 591–593
  21. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 270–297.
  22. ^ a b Loewe & Shaughnessy 1999, pp. 87–88
  23. ^ Benjamin, Craig (October 2003). "The Yuezhi Migration and Sogdia". Transoxiana Webfestschrift. Transoxiana. 1 (Ēran ud Anērān). Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  24. ^ "Zhang Qian". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  25. ^ West 2009, pp. 713–717
  26. ^ "They are, by almost unanimous opinion, Indo-Europeans, probably the most oriental of those who occupied the steppes." Roux, p.90
  27. ^ Hill (2009), p. 36 and notes.
  28. ^ "Kushan Empire (ca. 2nd century B.C.–3rd century A.D.) | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art". metmuseum.org. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  29. ^ Hill (2009), p. 311.
  30. ^ Loewe, Michael A.N. (1979). "Introduction". In Hulsewé, Anthony François Paulus (ed.). China in Central Asia: The Early Stage: 125 BC – AD 23; an Annotated Translation of Chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. Brill. pp. 1–70. ISBN 978-90-04-05884-2. pp. 23–24.
  31. ^ Lebedynsky, p. 62.
  32. ^ Lebedynsky, p. 15.
  33. ^ Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.
  34. ^ a b c Hill (2009), p. 29.
  35. ^ Chavannes (1907), pp. 190–192.
  36. ^ S. Frederick Starr, Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013, p. 53
  37. ^ Starr, p. 53
  38. ^ a b c d e f Rosenfield, p. 41.
  39. ^ For "Malwa and Maharashtra, for which it is speculated that the Kushans had an alliance with the Western Kshatrapas", see: Rosenfield, p. 41.
  40. ^ Hall, D.G.E. (1981). A History of South-East Asia, Fourth Edition. Hong Kong: Macmillan Education Ltd. p. 17. ISBN 0-333-24163-0.
  41. ^ For a translation of the full text of the Rabatak inscription see: Mukherjee, B.N., "The Great Kushana Testament", Indian Museum Bulletin, Calcutta, 1995. This translation is quoted in: Goyal (2005), p.88.
  42. ^ For quotation: "The Rabatak inscription claims that in the year 1 Kanishka I's authority was proclaimed in India, in all the satrapies and in different cities like Koonadeano (Kundina), Ozeno (Ujjain), Kozambo (Kausambi), Zagedo (Saketa), Palabotro (Pataliputra) and Ziri-Tambo (Janjgir-Champa). These cities lay to the east and south of Mathura, up to which locality Wima had already carried his victorious arm. Therefore they must have been captured or subdued by Kanishka I himself." see: Goyal, p. 93.
  43. ^ See also the analysis of Sims-Williams and J. Cribb, specialists of the field, who had a central role in the decipherment: "A new Bactrian inscription of Kanishka the Great", in Silk Road Art and Archaeology No. 4, 1995–1996. pp.75–142.
  44. ^ Sims-Williams, Nicholas. "Bactrian Documents from Ancient Afghanistan". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2007.
  45. ^ British Museum display, Asian Art room.
  46. ^ The Sino-Kharosthi coins of Khotan part 2, Numismatic Chronicle (1984), pp.129-152., by Joe Cribb
  47. ^ Falk (2001), pp. 121–136.
  48. ^ Falk (2004), pp. 167–176.
  49. ^ Xinru Liu, The Silk Road in World History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 47.
  50. ^ Sivaramamurti, p. 56-59.
  51. ^ a b Loeschner, Hans (2012) The Stūpa of the Kushan Emperor Kanishka the Great Sino-Platonic Papers, No. 227 (July 2012); page 11
  52. ^ a b Bopearachchi, O. (2007). Some observations on the chronology of the early Kushans. Res Orientales, 17, 41-53
  53. ^ Sims-Williams, Nicolas. "Bactrian Language". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 3. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  54. ^ H. Humbach, 1975, p.402-408. K.Tanabe, 1997, p.277, M.Carter, 1995, p.152. J.Cribb, 1997, p.40. References cited in "De l'Indus à l'Oxus".
  55. ^ a b c Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition
  56. ^ Perkins, J. (2007). Three-headed Śiva on the Reverse of Vima Kadphises's Copper Coinage. South Asian Studies, 23(1), 31-37
  57. ^ Errington, Elizabeth; Trust, Ancient India and Iran; Museum, Fitzwilliam (1992). The Crossroads of Asia: transformation in image and symbol in the art of ancient Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ancient India and Iran Trust. p. 87. ISBN 9780951839911.
  58. ^ Xinru Liu, The Silk Road in World History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 42.
  59. ^ Xinru Liu, The Silk Road in World History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 58.
  60. ^ Neelis, Jason. Early Buddhist Transmission and Trade Networks. 2010. p. 141
  61. ^ Birmingham Museum of Art (2010). Birmingham Museum of Art: guide to the collection. [Birmingham, Ala]: Birmingham Museum of Art. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-904832-77-5.
  62. ^ Hill (2009), p. 31.
  63. ^ a b c de Crespigny, Rafe. (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 AD). Leiden: Koninklijke Brill. page 5-6. ISBN 90-04-15605-4.
  64. ^ a b Torday, Laszlo. (1997). Mounted Archers: The Beginnings of Central Asian History. Durham: The Durham Academic Press. page 393. ISBN 1-900838-03-6.
  65. ^ Joe Cribb, 1974, "Chinese lead ingots with barbarous Greek inscriptions in Coin Hoards" pp.76-8 [1]
  66. ^ a b c d e f The Glorious History of Kushana Empire, Adesh Katariya, 2012, p.69

References

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  • Bopearachchi, Osmund (2007). "Some Observations on the Chronology of the Early Kushans". In Gyselen, Rika (ed.). Des Indo-Grecs aux Sassanides: données pour l'histoire et la géographie historique. Vol. XVII. Group pour l'Etude de la Civilisation du Moyen-Orient.
  • Chavannes, Édouard (1906). Trois Généraux Chinois de la dynastie des Han Orientaux. Pan Tch'ao (32–102 p.C.); – son fils Pan Yong; – Leang K'in (112 p.C.). Chapitre LXXVII du Heou Han chou. T'oung pao 7.
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  • Enoki, K.; Koshelenko, G. A.; Haidary, Z. (1 January 1994). "The Yu'eh-chih and their migrations". In Harmatta, János (ed.). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The Development of Sedentary and Nomadic Civilizations, 700 B. C. to A. D. 250. UNESCO. pp. 171–191. ISBN 9231028464. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  • Falk, Harry. 1995–1996. Silk Road Art and Archaeology IV.
  • Falk, Harry. 2001. "The yuga of Sphujiddhvaja and the era of the Kuṣāṇas." Silk Road Art and Archaeology VII, pp. 121–136.
  • Falk, Harry. 2004. "The Kaniṣka era in Gupta records." Harry Falk. Silk Road Art and Archaeology X, pp. 167–176.
  • Golden, Peter B. (1992). An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples. Harrassowitz Verlag.
  • Goyal, S. R. "Ancient Indian Inscriptions" Kusumanjali Book World, Jodhpur (India), 2005.
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  • Lebedynsky, Iaroslav (2006). Les Saces. Paris: Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-337-2.
  • Liu, Xinru (2010). The Silk Road in World History. Oxford University Press.
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  • Mallory, J. P. (1989). In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology, and Myth. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 050005052X. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  • Mallory, J. P. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 1884964982. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  • Mallory, J. P.; Mair, Victor H. (2000). "The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West". London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05101-1..
  • Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (1966). Chinese and Indo-Europeans. University of British Columbia, Department of Asian Studies. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  • Rosenfield, John M. (1993). The Dynastic Art of the Kushans. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. ISBN 81-215-0579-8.
  • Sivaramamurti, C. (1976). Śatarudrīya: Vibhūti of Śiva's Iconography. Delhi: Abhinav Publications.
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  • Hoey, W. "The Word Kozola as Used of Kadphises on Ku͟s͟hān Coins." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1902, pp. 428–429. www.jstor.org/stable/25208419.
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Further reading

  • Benjamin, Craig (2007). The Yuezhi: Origin, Migration and the Conquest of Northern Bactria. ISD. ISBN 250352429X. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  • Dorn'eich, Chris M. (2008). Chinese sources on the History of the Niusi-Wusi-Asi (oi)-Rishi (ka)-Arsi-Arshi-Ruzhi and their Kueishuang-Kushan Dynasty. Shiji 110/Hanshu 94A: The Xiongnu: Synopsis of Chinese original Text and several Western Translations with Extant Annotations. Berlin. To read or download go to: [3]
  • Foucher, M. A. 1901. "Notes sur la geographie ancienne du Gandhâra (commentaire à un chaptaire de Hiuen-Tsang)." BEFEO No. 4, Oct. 1901, pp. 322–369.
  • Hargreaves, H. (1910–11): "Excavations at Shāh-jī-kī Dhērī"; Archaeological Survey of India, 1910–11, pp. 25–32.
  • Iloliev, A. "King of Men: ῾Ali ibn Abi Talib in Pamiri Folktales." Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies, vol. 8 no. 3, 2015, pp. 307–323. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/isl.2015.0036.
  • Harmatta, János, ed., 1994. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
  • Kennedy, J. "The Later Kushans." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1913, pp. 1054–1064. www.jstor.org/stable/25189078.
  • Konow, Sten. Editor. 1929. Kharoshthī Inscriptions with Exception of those of Asoka. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. II, Part I. Reprint: Indological Book House, Varanasi, 1969.
  • Lerner, Martin (1984). The flame and the lotus: Indian and Southeast Asian art from the Kronos collections. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 0-87099-374-7.
  • Litvinsky, B. A., ed., 1996. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
  • Liu, Xinru 2001 "Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan: Interaction and Interdependence of Nomadic and Sedentary Societies." Journal of World History, Volume 12, No. 2, Fall 2001. University of Hawaii Press, pp. 261–292. [4].
  • Rife, J. L. "The Making of Roman India by Grant Parker (review)." American Journal of Philology, vol. 135 no. 4, 2014, pp. 672–675. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/ajp.2014.0046.
  • Sarianidi, Viktor. 1985. The Golden Hoard of Bactria: From the Tillya-tepe Excavations in Northern Afghanistan. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York.
  • Sims-Williams, Nicholas. 1998. "Further notes on the Bactrian inscription of Rabatak, with an Appendix on the names of Kujula Kadphises and Vima Taktu in Chinese." Proceedings of the Third European Conference of Iranian Studies Part 1: Old and Middle Iranian Studies. Edited by Nicholas Sims-Williams. Wiesbaden. 1998, pp. 79–93.
  • Spooner, D. B. 1908–9. "Excavations at Shāh-jī-kī Dhērī."; Archaeological Survey of India, 1908–9, pp. 38–59.
  • Watson, Burton. Trans. 1993. Records of the Grand Historian of China: Han Dynasty II. Translated from the Shiji of Sima Qian. Chapter 123: "The Account of Dayuan", Columbia University Press. Revised Edition. ISBN 0-231-08166-9; ISBN 0-231-08167-7 (pbk.)
  • Zürcher, E. (1968). "The Yüeh-chih and Kaniṣka in the Chinese sources." Papers on the Date of Kaniṣka. Basham, A. L., ed., 1968. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 346–393.

External links

Template:Kushan Empire

Chhu

Chhu seems to have been a late Kushan Empire ruler, who ruled from 310 to 325 CE. His coinage is very similar to that of his near-contemporary Vasudeva. His rule corresponds to the last days of the Kushan Empire, before the conquest by Kidara.

Huvishka

Huvishka (Kushan: Οοηϸκι, "Ooishki") was the emperor of the Kushan Empire from the death of Kanishka (assumed on the best evidence available to be in 140 CE) until the succession of Vasudeva I about forty years later. His rule was a period of retrenchment and consolidation for the Empire.

Kanishka

Kanishka I (Sanskrit: कनिष्क), or Kanishka the Great, an emperor of the Kushan dynasty in the second century (c. 127–150 CE), is famous for his military, political, and spiritual achievements. A descendant of Kujula Kadphises - founder of the Kushan empire - Kanishka came to rule an empire in Bactria extending from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain. The main capital of his empire was located at Puruṣapura in Gandhara, with another major capital at Kapisa.

His conquests and patronage of Buddhism played an important role in the development of the Silk Road, and in the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China.

Earlier scholars believed that Kanishka ascended the Kushan throne in 78 CE, and that this date was used as the beginning of the Saka calendar era. However, historians no longer regard this date as that of Kanishka's accession. Falk estimates that Kanishka came to the throne in 127 CE.

Kanishka II

Kanishka II was one of the emperors of the Kushan Empire from around 225–245 CE. He succeeded Vasudeva I who is considered to be the last great Kushan emperor. It is likely he lost part of his empire to the Kushano-Sassanians.

Kanishka III

Kanishka III was a Kushan emperor who reigned for a short period around the year 268 CE. He is believed to have succeeded Vasishka and was succeeded by Vasudeva II.

In an inscription dated to the "Year 41" (probably of the 2nd century of the Kanishka era) and discovered on the borders of the river Ara in Punjab, he qualifies himself as a Kaisara ("Caesar"), suggesting some awareness of the Roman Empire, and names himself as the son of Vashishka.

Khalchayan

Khalchayan (also Khaltchaïan) is an archaeological site, thought to be a small palace or a reception hall, located near the modern town of Denov in Surxondaryo Region of southern Uzbekistan. It is located in the valley of the Surkhan Darya, a northern tributary of the Oxus (modern Amu Darya).

The site is usually attributed to the early Kushans, or their ancestors the Yuezhi/Tocharians. It was excavated by Galina Pugachenkova between 1959 and 1963. The interior walls are decorated with clay sculptures and paintings dated to the mid-1st century BCE. Various panels depict scenes of Kushan life: battles, feasts, portraits of rulers.

Kipunada

Kipunada was one of the last rulers of the Kushan Empire around 345-375. He is known for his gold coinage. He succeeded Shaka I. He may have been a subject of Samudragupta.

Koi Krylgan Kala

Koi Krylgan Kala (Uzbek: Qoʻyqirilgan qalʼa; Russian: Кой-Крылган-Кала) is an archaeological site located outside the village of Taza-Kel'timinar in the Ellikqal'a District (Uzbek: Ellikqalʼa tumani; Russian: Элликкалинского район) in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic of Uzbekistan. In ancient times, it was sited along a canal in the Oxus delta region.

There is some relationship between and Koi Krylgan Kala and Toprak Kala, 30 km to the northwest. It is a temple complex of the Chorasmian Dynasty, an Iranian people who ruled the area of Khwarezm. It was built c. 400 BCE. The Apa-Saka tribe destroyed it c. 200 BCE, but later it was rebuilt into a settlement, which lasted until c. 400 CE. It was discovered in 1938 by Sergey Pavlovitch Tolstov, leader of the Chorasmian Archaeological-Ethnological Expedition. It contained a Mazdian fire temple and was decorated with frescos of wine consumption.

Kujula Kadphises

Kujula Kadphises (Kushan language: Κοζουλου Καδφιζου, also Κοζολα Καδαφες; Kharoṣṭhī: Kujula Kasasa; Ancient Chinese: 丘就卻, Qiujiuque; reigned 30–80 CE, or 40-90 CE according to Bopearachchi) was a Kushan prince who united the Yuezhi confederation during the 1st century CE, and became the first Kushan emperor. According to the Rabatak inscription, he was the great grandfather of the great Kushan king Kanishka I. He is considered the founder of the Kushan Empire.

Qila Mubarak

Qila Mubarak (Punjabi: ਕ਼ਿਲਾ ਮੁਬਾਰਕ, Hindi: क़िला मुबारक, Urdu: قلعہ مبارک‎), is a historical monument in the heart of the city of Bathinda in Punjab, India. It is recognized as monument of national importance and maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. It has been in existence from 1100-1200 AD in its current place and is the oldest surviving fort in India. It was here that Razia Sultan, the first woman to take charge of the Delhi throne was incarcerated on her defeat and dethroned. The bricks of the fort date back to the Kushana period when emperor Kanishka ruled over Northern India/Bactria. Raja Dab, along with emperor Kanishka, is believed to have built the fort.

Rang Mahal, Sri Ganganagar

Rang Mahal is a village and an ancient Kushan era archaeological site on Suratgarh-Hanumangarh road in Suratgarh tehsil of Sri Ganganagar district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It can be reached from Hanumangarh, Pilibangan, Suratgarh. Suratgarh is the nearest major railway station to Rang mahal village.

Shaka I

Shaka I was one of the last rulers of the Kushan Empire around 325-345.

Vashishka

Vashishka was a Kushan emperor around 232-246 AD.

Vasudeva II

Vasudeva II was a Kushan emperor who ruled c. 275–300 AD. He was probably the successor of Kanishka III and may have been succeeded by a king named Shaka Kushan.

Vasudeva III

Vasudeva III was possibly the son of Vasudeva II and a ruler of the Kushan Empire.

Vasudeva IV

Vasudeva IV was reportedly a Kushan King ruling in Kandahar. He was the possible father of Vasudeva of Kabul.

Vasudeva V

Vasudeva V, or Vasudeva of Kabul was a Kushan ruler circa 300 CE. He was the possible child of Vasudeva IV, ruling in Kabul. His existence is uncertain.

Vima Kadphises

Vima Kadphises (Kushan language: Οοημο Καδφισης, Early Middle Chinese: 阎膏珍 pron. jiam-kaw-trin) was a Kushan emperor from approximately 90–100 CE. According to the Rabatak inscription, he was the son of Vima Takto and the father of Kanishka.

Vima Takto

Vima Takto or Vima Taktu was a Kushan emperor who reigned c. 80–90 CE.

Archaeology and prehistory
Historical peoples and clans
States
Mythology and literature
Timeline and
cultural period
Northwestern India
(Punjab-Sapta Sindhu)
Indo-Gangetic Plain Central India Southern India
Upper Gangetic Plain
(Ganga-Yamuna doab)
Middle Gangetic Plain Lower Gangetic Plain
IRON AGE
Culture Late Vedic Period Late Vedic Period
(Srauta culture)[a]
Painted Grey Ware culture
Late Vedic Period
(Shramanic culture)[b]
Northern Black Polished Ware
Pre-history
 6th century BC Gandhara Kuru-Panchala Magadha Adivasi (tribes)
Culture Persian-Greek influences "Second Urbanisation"
Rise of Shramana movements
Jainism - Buddhism - Ājīvika - Yoga
Pre-history
 5th century BC (Persian conquests) Shaishunaga dynasty Adivasi (tribes)
 4th century BC (Greek conquests) Nanda empire
HISTORICAL AGE
Culture Spread of Buddhism Pre-history Sangam period
(300 BC – 200 AD)
 3rd century BC Maurya Empire Early Cholas
Early Pandyan Kingdom
Satavahana dynasty
Cheras
46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam
Culture Preclassical Hinduism[c] - "Hindu Synthesis"[d] (ca. 200 BC - 300 AD)[e][f]
Epics - Puranas - Ramayana - Mahabharata - Bhagavad Gita - Brahma Sutras - Smarta Tradition
Mahayana Buddhism
Sangam period
(continued)
(300 BC – 200 AD)
 2nd century BC Indo-Greek Kingdom Shunga Empire
Maha-Meghavahana Dynasty
Early Cholas
Early Pandyan Kingdom
Satavahana dynasty
Cheras
46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam
 1st century BC
 1st century AD

Indo-Scythians
Indo-Parthians

Kuninda Kingdom
 2nd century Kushan Empire
 3rd century Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom Kushan Empire Western Satraps Kamarupa kingdom Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Culture "Golden Age of Hinduism"(ca. AD 320-650)[g]
Puranas
Co-existence of Hinduism and Buddhism
 4th century Kidarites Gupta Empire
Varman dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Kadamba Dynasty
Western Ganga Dynasty
 5th century Hephthalite Empire Alchon Huns Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Vishnukundina
 6th century Nezak Huns
Kabul Shahi
Maitraka Adivasi (tribes) Badami Chalukyas
Kalabhra dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Culture Late-Classical Hinduism (ca. AD 650-1100)[h]
Advaita Vedanta - Tantra
Decline of Buddhism in India
 7th century Indo-Sassanids Vakataka dynasty
Empire of Harsha
Mlechchha dynasty Adivasi (tribes) Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)
Pandyan Kingdom(Revival)
Pallava
 8th century Kabul Shahi Pala Empire Pandyan Kingdom
Kalachuri
 9th century Gurjara-Pratihara Rashtrakuta dynasty
Pandyan Kingdom
Medieval Cholas
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas)
Chera Perumals of Makkotai
10th century Ghaznavids Pala dynasty
Kamboja-Pala dynasty
Kalyani Chalukyas
Medieval Cholas
Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas)
Chera Perumals of Makkotai
Rashtrakuta
References and sources for table

References

  1. ^ Samuel
  2. ^ Samuel
  3. ^ Michaels (2004) p.39
  4. ^ Hiltebeitel (2002)
  5. ^ Michaels (2004) p.39
  6. ^ Hiltebeitel (2002)
  7. ^ Micheals (2004) p.40
  8. ^ Michaels (2004) p.41

Sources

Ancient
(Colonies)
Post-classical
Modern
Lists

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