Royal Imagery on Kushan Coins: Local Tradition and Arsacid Influences

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Abstract

This article deals with the development of Kushan royal imagery as known from coins in the period between the 1st and the 3rd centuries ad, i.e. from the so-called Heraios series to the coins of Vasudeva. The aim is to challenge the traditional interpretative models which ascribed a crucial role to a Roman contribution, and to highlight instead first the role of the local numismatic tradition, which stretched back to the Graeco-Bactrians, and then the influx of patterns of royal imagery of western Iranian—namely Arsacid Parthian—origin, around the time when Vima Kadphises inaugurated a new imperial coinage.

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Journal d'Histoire Economique et Sociale de l'Orient

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Schmitt, Rüdiger. 1998. Parthische Sprach- und Namenüberlieferung aus arsakidischer Zeit. In Das Partherreich und seine Zeugnisse, Beiträge des internationalen Colloquiums. Eutin (27.-30. Juni 1996), Historia-Einzelschriften 122, ed. Josef Wiesehöfer. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner: 163-204.

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Figures

  • Heraios, silver tetradrachm. Classical Numismatic Group (henceforth, cng) e-auction 308 (7-8-2013), lot 214 (28mm, 15.04g).
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  • Heraios, silver obol. www.coinindia.com WFS.019.
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  • Kujula Kadphises, copper coin. cng Mail Bid Sale 79 (17-9-2008), lot 515 (3.03g).
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  • Kujula Kadphises, Indian copper tetradrachm. cng Mail Bid Sale 67 (22-9-2004), lot 1040 (8.50g).
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  • Kujula Kadphises, copper drachm. American Numismatic Society 1973.56.220 (17mm, 3.35g).
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  • Kujula Kadphises, copper coin. www.coinindia.com 131_58.
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  • Kujula Kadphises, silver drachm. Rosenfield 1967: pl. I.10.
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  • Soter Megas, Indian copper tetradrachm. www.zeno.ru #32074.
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  • Soter Megas, Indian copper tetradrachm. cng e-auction 307 (24-7-2013), lot 161 (21mm, 8.56g).
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  • Soter Megas, Indian billon tetradrachm. Meister&Sonntag quick auction 2008 (5-4-2008), lot 60 (21mm, 9.95g).
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  • Soter Megas, copper tetradrachm. cng Triton xii (6-1-2009), lot 417 (12.35g).
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  • Soter Megas, copper drachm. Cribb 1995-96: 139, Type 4.
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  • Vima Kadphises, gold dinar. cng 87 (18-5-2011), lot 762 (19mm, 7.95g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, gold dinar. cng Triton xiv (4-1-2011), lot 446 (19mm, 8.00g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, gold dinar. cng Triton xii (6-1-2009), lot 421 (7.97g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, gold dinar. cng Triton xii (6-1-2009), lot 419 (8.03g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, gold double dinar. cng Triton x (9-1-2007), lot 468 (16.00g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, gold double dinar. cng Triton x (9-1-2007), lot 471 (15.93g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, gold double dinar. cng Triton x (9-1-2007), lot 469 (15.93g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, gold dinar. Göbl 1984 (henceforth smk), no. 3/1.
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  • Vima Kadphises, copper tetradrachm. Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung (henceforth G&M) 152 (10-10-2006), lot 1593 (16.52g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, copper tetradrachm. smk no. 765.1.
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  • Kanishka, gold dinar. cng Triton xiii (5-1-2010), lot 266 (8.00g).
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  • Kanishka, gold dinar. cng 96 (14-5-2014), lot 634 (20mm, 7.99g).
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  • Kanishka, gold quarter dinar. cng Triton xiii (5-1-2010) lot 270 (1.99g).
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  • Kanishka, copper drachm. cng e-auction 207 (25-3-2009), lot 260 (22mm, 3.91g).
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  • Huvishka, gold dinar. cng Triton xvii Sessions 1-2 (7-1-2014), lot 462 (21mm, 8.00g).
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  • Huvishka, gold dinar. cng Triton xvii Sessions 1-2 (7-1-2014), lot 474 (20mm, 8.04g).
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  • Huvishka, gold dinar. Peus 410-411 (31-10-2013), lot 199 (7.81g).
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  • Huvishka, gold dinar. cng 91 (19-9-2012), lot 452 (20mm, 7.90g).
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  • Huvishka, gold dinar. smk no. 269.1.
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  • Huvishka, gold dinar. smk no. 299.1.
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  • Huvishka, gold dinar. cng Triton x (9-1-2007), lot 488 (7.99g).
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  • Vasudeva, gold dinar. cng Triton xvii Sessions 1-2 (7-1-2014), lot 476 (20mm, 7.94g).
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  • Vasudeva, gold dinar. cng e-auction 294 (16-1-2013), lot 423 (20mm, 8.14g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, bust. cng Triton x (9-1-2007), lot 471 (obverse) (15.93g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, standing king before fire burner. G&M 152 (10-10-2006), lot 1593 (obverse) (16.52g).
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  • Kanishka, standing king before fire burner. cng Triton xiii (5-1-2010), lot 266 (obverse) (8.00g).
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  • Huvishka, bust. cng Triton xvii Sessions 1-2 (7-1-2014), lot 474 (obverse) (20mm, 8.04g).
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  • Vasudeva, standing king before fire burner. cng Triton xvii Sessions 1-2 (7-1-2014), lot 476 (obverse) (20mm, 7.94g).
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  • Vima Kadphises. cng Triton X (9-1-2007), lot 471 (obverse) (15.93g).
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  • Huvishka I issue. cng Triton xvii Sessions 1-2 (7-1-2014), lot 474 (obverse) (20mm, 8.04g).
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  • Huvishka III issue. cng Triton xvi Sessions 1-2 (8-1-2013), lot 664 (obverse) (20mm, 7.91g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, royal bust on rocks. cng Triton xii (6-1-2009), lot 421 (obverse) (7.97g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, full length figure (royal bust and crossed legs) on rocks, with hand in sleeve. cng Triton X (9-1-2007), lot 468 (obverse) (16.00g).
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  • Vima Kadphises, enthroned full length figure (royal bust and sitting legs), with hand in sleeve. cng Triton x (9-1-2007), lot 469 (obverse) (15.93g).
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  • smk pl. 157, Kanishka Type iv, gold quarter dinar. cng Triton xiii (5-1-2010) lot 270 (obverse).
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  • smk pl. 158, Huvishka Type xxiii, gold dinar (obverse).
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  • smk pl. 158, Huvishka Type xi, gold dinar. cng Triton xvi Sessions 1-2 (8-1-2013), lot 664 (obverse).
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  • smk pl. 158, Huvishka Type xxiii, copper tetradrachm. American Numismatic Society 1944.100.66668 (obverse) (26mm, 11.16g).
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  • Maues, king sitting cross-legged, copper coin. cng e-auction 224 (16-12-2009), lot 299 (22mm, 8.97g).
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  • Azes, king sitting cross-legged, copper coin. Alram 1986, pl. 34, no. 1105.
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  • Seal from nw India. Fussman 1972, pl. I.6 (29mm).
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  • Copper tetradrachm of Vima Kadphises. G&M 152 (10-10-2006), lot 1593 (obverse).
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  • Quarter dinar of Vima Kadphises, smk pl. 168, Oešo Type 3. cng 99 (13-5-2015), lot 426 (reverse) (12mm, 1.98g).
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  • Demetrius I, silver tetradrachm. Gemini llc 5 (6-1-2009), lot 664 (16.85g).
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  • Vonones, copper coin. cng e-auction 86 (31-3-2004), lot 52 (21mm, 8.06g).
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  • Huvishka, copper tetradrachm. smk no. 892.2.
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  • Eukratides, silver tetradrachm. Bopearachchi 1993, Eucratide series 1, 5.
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  • Mithradates I, copper coin. Bibliothèque nationale de France AA.GR.6174.
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  • Azilises, silver tetradrachm. Alram 1986, pl. 30, no. 1011.
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  • Copper coin. Bopearachchi 1993, Straton series 29, pl. 37.15.
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  • Copper coin. Bopearachchi 1993, Nicias series 4, pl. 49.E.
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  • Copper coin. Bopearachchi 1993, Archébios series 13, pl. 52.E.
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  • Copper coin. Bopearachchi 1993, Antialcidas series 16, pl. 41.D.
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  • Menander, Indian silver drachm. cng e-auction 291 (21-11-2012), lot 167 (18mm, 2.46g).
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  • Diodotus i, gold stater. Gemini llc, Auction VI (10-1-2010), lot 383 (8.24g).
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  • Azilises, silver tetradrachm. Senior 2001.ii: 8, no. 33.1T (obverse).
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  • Gondophares, billon tetradrachm. Rauch Summer 2008 (15-9-2008), lot 256 (reverse) (8,87g).
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  • Heraios, silver tetradrachm. cng e-auction 308 (7-8-2013), lot 214 (reverse) (28mm, 15.04g).
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  • Soter Megas, obverse bust with spear, copper coin. www.zeno.ru #32074.
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  • Soter Megas, obverse bust with spear, copper coin. cng Triton xii (6-1-2009), lot 417 (12.35g).
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  • Farn-Sasan, the king with spear, Indian copper tetradrachm. American Numismatic Society 1944.100.63404 (24mm, 8.34g).
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  • Kushan tiaras, smk pl. iv.132
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  • Artabanus ii, bronze chalkous. Bibliothèque nationale de France AA.GR.6885.
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  • Vologases ii, bronze chalkous. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Nr. 18212869 (11.1mm).
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  • Stone relief, Dura Europos. Mathiesen 1992, fig. 50.
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  • Drawing on a pythos, Assur. Andrae and Lenzen 1933, fig. 46 (detail).
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  • Stone relief, Palmyra. Widengren 1960, fig. 17.
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  • Stone relief, Palmyra. Widengren 1960, fig. 15.
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  • Clay sealing, Gobekly Depe. Gaibov 2007: 292, Fig. 14a.
    View in gallery
  • Arsacid king making sacrifice, stone relief, Bisutun. von Gall 1996, pl. 13:1 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • King making sacrifice, stone relief, Hatra. Safar and Mustafa 1974, fig. 139 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Arsacid-Elymaean king making sacrifice, stone relief, Bard-e Neshandeh. Kawami 1987, pl. 26 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Arsacid-Elymaean king making sacrifice, stone relief, Bard-e Neshandeh. Kawami 1987, pl. 26 (detail).
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  • Vima Kadphises making sacrifice, copper coin. smk no. 765a (obverse).
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  • Vima Kadphises making sacrifice, copper tetradrachm. G&M 152 (10-10-2006), lot 1593 (obverse).
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  • Royal figure making sacrifice, clay sealing, Kula Dheri. Callieri 1997, Cat S 18.
    View in gallery
  • Royal figure making sacrifice, stone seal, Begram (British Museum). Cribb 1997, Fig. 17c (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Clay and stucco head, Dalverzin Tepe. Pugachenkova 1978, fig. 25.
    View in gallery
  • Stone head, Mat. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 4.
    View in gallery
  • Stone head, Mathura. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 14.
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  • Stone head, Mathura. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 15-16.
    View in gallery
  • Kushan royal figure with tiara, stone pillar, Mathura. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 22 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Kushan royal figure with tiara, stone relief, Mathura. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 38 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Kushan royal donor with tiara, stone relief, Lahore Museum. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 77 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Kushan king with tiara, stone head, Surkh Kotal. Schlumberger 1954, pl. iii; Rosenfield 1967, fig. 122.
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  • Kushan royal donor with tiara, stone relief, Ranighat. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 86 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Kushan royal donor, stone relief, Ranighat. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 86 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Unfinished investiture scene, stone relief, Surkh Kotal. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 123.
    View in gallery
  • Kanishka, stone statue, Mat. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 2 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Vima Kadphises, copper tetradrachm. G&M 152 (10-10-2006), lot 1593 (obverse detail).
    View in gallery
  • Kushan king, “Kanishka” reliquiary. Errington 2002, fig. 5 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Enthroned Vima Kadphises, gold double dinar. cng Triton x (9-1-2007), lot 469 (obverse).
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  • Enthroned (royal?) figure, stone battlement, Surkh Kotal. Schlumberger et al. 1983, pl. 57, 172-173 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Enthroned Kushan king, terracotta medallion, Khalchayan. Pugachenkova 1971, fig. 54.
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  • Kushan royal portrait, stone head, Mat. Rosenfield 1967, figs. 15-16a; Rosenfield 1967, fig. 16b.
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  • Stone statue of a king, Hatra. Safar and Mustafa 1974, fig. 197 (detail).
    View in gallery
  • Copper drachm of Cheiroukes. cng 87 (18-5-2011), lot 751 (18mm, 3.27g).
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  • Royal figure, wall painting, Kuh-e Khwaja. Ghirshman 1962, fig. 56 (detail).
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  • Bronze coin of Abgar X, Edessa. Sincona ag 6 (23-5-2012), lot 209.
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  • Stone statue of a king, Hatra. Safar and Mustafa 1974, fig. 72 (detail).
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  • Kushan royal portrait, stone head, Mathura. Rosenfield 1967, fig. 14.
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