Kujula Kadphises

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Tetradrachm of Kujula Kadphises (30-80 CE) in the style of Hermaeus.
Obv: Hermaios-style diademed bust. Greek legend: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣTHPOΣΣV EPMAIOV "King Hermaeus, the Saviour".
Rev: Herakles standing with club and lion skin. Kharoshti legend: KUJULA KASASA KUSHANA YAVUGASA DHARMATHIDASA "Kujula Kadphises the Pious ("of the Dharma"), Ruler of the Kushans".
Missing image
Roman-style coin of Kujula Kadphises.
Obv: Royal bust, diademend, with Greek legend: KOZOΛA KAΔAΦEC XOPANOV ZAOOV "Kudjula Kadphises, ruler of the Kushans".
Rev: King seated right in a curule chair. Kharoshti legend: KHUSHANA YAUASA KAPHASA SACHA DHARMATIDASA "Kujula Kadphises, Ruler of the Khushans, and Pious (of the "Dharma").

According to the Rabatak inscription, Kujula Kadphises was a Kushan ruler and the grandfather of the great Kushan king Kanishka I.

Kujula was probably the first of the Kushan emperors. His rise is described in the Chinese historical chronicle Hou Hanshu:

"More than a hundred years later (after their invasion of Bactria), the xihou (Ch:翖侯, "Allied Prince") of Guishuang (Badakhshan and the adjoining territories north of the Oxus), named Qiujiu Que (Ch: 丘就卻 "Ch’iu-chiu-ch’üeh", Kujula Kadphises) attacked and exterminated the four other xihou ("Allied Princes"). He set himself up as king of a kingdom called Guishang (Kushan). He invaded Anxi (Parthia) and took the Gaofu (Ch:高附 "Kao-fu", Kabul) region. He also defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puta (Parthuaia, 55 CE) and Kipin (Ch: 罽賓 "Chi-pin", Kapisa-Peshawar). Qiujiu Que (Kujula Kadphises) was more than eighty years old when he died.

His son, Yan Gaozhen (Ch:閻高珍) (Vima Takto), became king in his place. He returned and defeated Tianzhu (Northwestern India) and installed a General 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, trans. John Hill).

It seems that Kujula's empire was later invaded by the Indo-Parthian ruler Gondophares and that much of his territory had to be abandoned.

Most of Kujula's coins were Hellenic in inspiration. These coins used the portrait, name and title of the Indo-Greek king Hermaeus on the obverse, indicating Kujula's wish to relate himself to the Indo-Greek king. Since the Kushans and their predecessors the Yuezhi were conversant with the Greek language and Greek coinage, the adoption of Hermaeus cannot have been accidental: it either expressed a filiation of Kujula Kadphises to Hermaeus by alliance (possibly through Sapadbizes or Heraios), or simply a wish to show himself as heir to the Indo-Greek tradition and prestige, possibly to accommodate Greek populations. These coins bear the name of Kujula Kadphises in Kharoshti, with representations of the Greek demi-god Heracles on the back, and titles ("Yavugasa") presenting Kujula as a "ruler" (not actual king), and a probable Buddhist ("Dharmathidasa", follower of the Dharma). Later coins, possibly posthumous, did describe Kujula as "Maharajasa", or "Great King".

Some fewer coins of Kujula Kadphises also adopted a Roman style, with effigies closely resembling Caesar Augustus, although all the legends were then associated with Kujula himself. Such influences are linked to exchanges with the Roman Empire around that date.

Preceded by:
Kushan Ruler
(30-80 CE)
Succeeded by:

Vima Takto

(In Gandhara and Punjab:)
Indo-Parthian king

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