Obv: Hermaios-style diademed bust. Corrupted Greek legend:
ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΤΗΡΟΣΣΥ ΕΡΜΑΙΟΥ ("Basileos Sterossy
Hermaiou"): "King Hermaeus, the Saviour".
Herakles standing with club and lion skin.
Kharoṣṭhī legend: KUJULA KASASA KUSHANA YAVUGASA DHARMATHIDASA
Kujula Kadphises ruler of the Kushans, steadfast in the Law
("Dharma"). British Museum.
30 CE - 80 CE
c. 4 or 3 BCE
Kujula Kadphises (
Kushan language: Κοζουλου Καδφιζου,
also Κοζολα Καδαφες; Kharoṣṭhī: Kujula Kasasa;
Hindi: कुजला कडफिज़्स; 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
Kanishka I. He is considered as
the founder of the
1.1 Chinese accounts
1.2 Genealogy according to the Rabatak inscription
2.1 Greek script
2.2 "Buddha" coins
2.3 Roman-style coins
4 External links
The origins of
Kujula Kadphises are quite obscure, and it is usually
considered he was a descendant of the
Kushan ruler Heraios, or
possibly identical with him. Interestingly however, Kujula shares
his name (Kushan: Κοζουλου on some of his "Hermaeus" coins, or
Κοζολα on his "Augustus" coins) with some of the last
Indo-Scythian rulers, such as
Liaka Kusulaka (Greek: Λιακα
Κοζουλο), or his son Patika Kusulaka, which might suggest some
Coin of Kujula Kadphises. Circa AD 30/50-80.
Julio-Claudian style head right. Greek legend Greek
legend around: ΚΟΖΟΛΑ ΚΑΔΑΦΕϹ XOPANOV ZAOOV.
Kujula Kadphises seated right, raising hand; tripartite symbol to
left. Legend Khushanasa Yauasa Kuyula Kaphasa Sacha Dhramatidasa.
The rise of
Kujula Kadphises is described in the Chinese historical
chronicle, the Hou Hanshu:
More than a hundred years later, the prince [xihou] of Guishuang,
named Qiujiuque [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.
In the process of their expansion eastward,
Kujula Kadphises and his
Vima Takto seem to have displaced the
established in northwestern
India by the Parthian
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.
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.
This invasion of
Kujula Kadphises is thought to have occurred during
the reign of
Abdagases and Sases, the successors of Gondophares, after
Genealogy according to the Rabatak inscription
Kujula Kadphises coin. Obv Helmeted soldier head right. Rev Warrior
standing right, holding shield and spear.
The connection of Kujula with other
Kushan rulers is described in the
Rabatak inscription, discovered in Rbatak, Afghanistan some years ago,
which was written by Kanishka.
Kanishka makes the list of the kings
who ruled up to his time:
Kujula Kadphises as his great-grandfather,
Vima Taktu as his grandfather,
Vima Kadphises as his father, and
And he [Kanishka] gave orders to make images of the same, (namely) of
these gods who are written herein, and he gave orders to make (them)
for these kings: for King
Kujula Kadphises (his) great grandfather,
and for King
Vima Taktu (his) grandfather, and for King Vima Kadphises
(his) father, and for himself, King Kanishka.
Left Silver denarius of
Tiberius (14-37 CE) found in India. Center
Indian copy of the same, 1st century CE. Right Coin of
Kujula Kadphises copying a coin of Augustus.
Most of Kujula's coins were Hellenic or Roman in inspiration. Some
coins used the portrait, name and title of the
Hermaeus on the obverse, indicating Kujula's wish to relate himself to
Indo-Greek king. Since the Kushans and their
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 Kharoṣṭhī, with
representations of the Greek demi-god
Heracles on the back[citation
needed], 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".
The Greek script on the coins of Kujula (and all the Kushans with him)
is barbarized. For example, ΣΤΗΡΟΣΣΥ on his Hermaeus coins is
thought to be a deformation of ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ (Sotiros), the
traditional title of Hermaeus on his coins. The Greek word for "king"
is written ΒΑϹΙΛΕΩΣ, with both a lunate sigma (Ϲ) and a
normal sigma (Σ) in the same word.
The Kushans also added one character to the Greek script: it is the
letter Ϸ, corresponding to the sound "Sh", as in "Kushan".
Coin of Kujula Kadphises.
Obv Kujula seated cross legged facing, Kharoshti legend: Kuyula
Rev Zeus on the reverse, Greek legend: ΚΟΖΟΛΑ
Kujula Kadphises Tetradrachm. Obv
Brahma bull standing right, with
Triratana above. Blundered Greek legend. Rev Camel standing
right. Kharoshthi legend Maharayasa Rayatirayasa Kuyula Kara Kapasa.
Some coins of Kujula also represent a cross-legged seated figure,
formerly said to be one of the first known representations of the
Buddha on a coin (Whitehead). Unfortunately, Whitehead's attribution
of this coin to Kujula, and the claim that the seated figure on the
obverse represents the Buddha, is now known to be incorrect. The
correct attribution of this coin is to the
Kushan king Huvishka, who
was Kujula's great-great-grandson. The obverse shows
Huvishka seated on a couch. The first known coins carrying a
representation of the Buddha were issued by Kujula's Great-grandson
(and Huvishka's father)
Coin of Kujula Kadphises, in the style of the Roman emperor Augustus.
Kushan language, corrupted Greek script: ΚΟΖΟΛΑ
ΚΑΔΑΦΕΣ ΧΟϷΑΝΟΥ ΖΑΟΟΥ ("Kozola Kadaphes Koshanou
Zaoou"): "Kudjula Kadphises, ruler of the Kushans". British Museum.
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.
^ a b Osmund Bopearachchi, 2007, Some observations on the chronology
of the early Kushans
^ Cribb, J. (1993), The Heraus coins: their attribution to the Kushan
king Kujula Kadphises, c. AD 30-80. Essays in Honour of Robert Carson
and Kenneth Jenkins, (edited by M. Price, A. Burnett, and R. Bland),
^ Rapson, "Indian coins of the British Museum", p.cvi
^ Hill (2009), p. 29.
^ Hill (2009), p. 29.
^ Sims-Williams' "provisional translation" quoted in Hill (2009), p.
"Catalogue of coins in the Panjab Museum, Lahore. Vol. I Indo-Greek
coins", Whitehead, Argonaut Inc. Publishers, Chicago.
Chavannes, Édouard (1907). Les pays d'occident d'après le Heou Han
chou. T’oung pao 8. pp. 149-244.
Hill, John E. 2004. The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu.
Draft annotated English translation.
Hill, John E. (2009). Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the
Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, First to Second Centuries
CE. BookSurge. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
Catalogue of coins of Kujula Kadphises
Gandhara and Punjab:)
Emperors, territories and chronology
Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps
25 BCE – 10 CE
Indo-Scythian dynasty of the
(ruled 12 BCE - 15 CE)
(ruled 10 BCE– 10 CE)
Strato II and Strato III
(ruled c.0-20 CE)
Indo-Scythian dynasty of the
Great Satrap Kharapallana
and Satrap Vanaspara
Vāsishka (c. 140 – c. 160)
Huvishka (c. 160 – c. 190)
Vasudeva I (c. 190 – to at least 230)
Ardashir I, Sassanid king and "Kushanshah" (c. 230 – 250)
Peroz I, "Kushanshah" (c. 250 – 265)
Hormizd I, "Kushanshah" (c. 265 – 295)
Kanishka II (c. 230 – 240)
Vashishka (c. 240 – 250)
Kanishka III (c. 250 – 275)
Hormizd II, "Kushanshah" (c. 295 – 300)
Vasudeva II (c. 275 – 310)
Peroz II, "Kushanshah" (c. 300 – 325)
Chhu (c. 310? – 325)
Shapur II Sassanid king and "Kushanshah" (c. 325)
Varhran I, Varhran II,
Varhran III "Kushanshahs" (c. 325 – 350)
Peroz III "Kushanshah" (c. 350 –360)
HEPHTHALITE/ HUNAS invasions
Shaka I (c. 325 – 345)
Kipunada (c. 345 – 375)
Chandragupta I Samudragupta
^ From the dated inscription on the Rukhana reliquary
^ An Inscribed Silver
Buddhist Reliquary of the Time of King Kharaosta
and Prince Indravarman, Richard Salomon, Journal of the American
Oriental Society, Vol. 116, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1996), pp. 442 
^ A Kharosthī Reliquary Inscription of the Time of the Apraca Prince
Visnuvarma, by Richard Salomon, South Asian Studies 11 1995, Pages
27-32, Published online: 09