The Kushan Empire (c. 1st3rd centuries) was a state that at its height, about 105250, stretched from what is now Tajikistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and down into the Ganges river valley in northern India. The empire was created by the Kushan tribe of the Yuezhi confederation, an Indo-European people from the eastern Tarim Basin and Gansu, China, possibly related to the Tocharians. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and China, and for several centuries were at the center of exchange between the East and the West.
Main Kushan Rulers
Heraios was probably the first of the Kushan kings. He may have been an ally of the Greeks, and he shared the same style of coinage. Heraios was probably the father of Kujula Kadphises.
Kujula Kadphises (30-80)
According to the Hou Hanshu: "the prince (xihou) of Guishuang (Badakhshan and the adjoining territories north of the Oxus), named Kujula Kadphises (Ch:???, "Qiujiuque") attacked and exterminated the four other princes (xihou). He set himself up as king of a kingdom called Guishuang. He invaded Anxi (Parthia) and took the Gaofu (Kabul) region. He also defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puda, and Jibin (Kapisha-Gandhara). Qiujiuque (Kujula Kadphises) was more than eighty years old when he died."
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, Sada?ka?a (who is known from only one inscription, and may never have ruled), and Vima Taktu.
Vima Taktu (80-105)
Vima Takt[u] (or Tak[to]) is mentioned in the Rabatak inscription (see the reference to Sims-william's article below), which states that he was the father of Vima Kadphises, and the grandfather of Kanishka I. He expanded the Kushan Empire into the northwest of the Indian subcontinent.
Vima Kadphises (105-127)
Vima Kadphises was the son of Vima Taktu and the father of Kanishka I. He issued an extensive series of coins and inscriptions.
Kanishka I (127-147)
The rule of Kanishka I, the second great Kushan emperor, fifth Kushan king, who flourished for at least 28 years from c. 127, was administered from two capitals: Purushapura (now Peshawar in northern Pakistan) and Mathura, in northern India. 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 Vima Taktu, 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 (see Reference section below). Kanishka's era was used as a calendar reference by the Kushans for about a century, until the decline of the Kushan realm.
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