Kushan Empire, Vasudeva I (195-225 AD) Æ Unit (or Tetradrachm) Coin. aVF!
Mint Period: 195-225 AD References: MACW # 3412 var. Denomination: Æ Unit or Tetradrachm Condition: Greenish deposits (verdigris), otherwise about VF! Diameter: 21mm Material: Bronze Weight: 8.96gm
Obverse: Crowned, diademed king standing facing, nimbate, holding trident and sacrificing at altar at left. Standard above altar.
Reverse: Two-armed Shiva standing facing, holding trident and diadem. Bull Nandi left behind. Tamgha to right.
The Kushan Empire (Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία Κοσσανῶν; Bactrian: Κυϸανο, Kushano) was a syncretic empire, formed by the Yuezhi, in the Bactrian territories in the early 1st century. It spread to encompass much of Afghanistan, 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. 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 most probably one of five branches of the Yuezhi confederation, an Indo-European nomadic people of possible Tocharian origin, who migrated from Gansu and settled in ancient Bactria.
The Kushans possibly used the Greek language initially for administrative purposes, but soon began to use Bactrian language. Kanishka sent his armies north of the Karakoram mountains. 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. The Kushan Empire was at the center of trade relations between the Roman Empire and China: according to Alain Daniélou, "for a time, the Kushana Empire was the centerpoint of the major civilizations". 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.
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 Hephthalites.
Vasudeva I (Kushano Bactrian: ΒΑΖΟΔΗΟ "Bazodeo", Chinese: 波調 Bodiao; fl. 200 CE) was a Kushan emperor, 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 232 CE. He ruled in northern India, and still minted in coins in Balkh (Bactria) as well, although he probably had to deal with the rise of the Sasanians and the first incursions of the Kushano-Sasanians in the northwest of his territory.
The last named inscription of his predecessor, Huvishka, was in the year 60 = 187 CE, and the Chinese evidence suggests he was still ruling as late as 229 CE.
His name, Vasudeva, is that of the father of Krishna, the popular Hindu God, and he was the first Kushan king to be named after the Indian God. He converted to Hinduism during his reign. His name reinforces the notion that his center of power was in Mathura.
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