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Sodasa (Middle Brahmi script: Gupta ashoka sho.jpgGupta gujarat daa.jpgGupta ashoka s.svg Śodāsa, also Gupta ashoka shu.jpgGupta gujarat daa.jpgGupta ashoka s.svg Śudāsa) was an Indo-Scythian Northern Satrap and ruler of Mathura during the later part of the 1st century BCE or the early part of 1st century CE.[3] He was the son of Rajuvula, the Great Satrap of the region from Taxila to Mathura.[4] He is mentioned in the Mathura lion capital.[5]

Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps king
Sodasa coin from Mathura.jpg
Coin of Sodasa from Mathura. Obv: Standing female and tree-like symbol. "Mahakatapasa putasa Khatapasa Sodasa" ie "Satrap Sodasa, son of the Great Satrap". Rev: Lakshmi with elephants pouring water over her.[1]
Reignc. 15 CE
MotherKamuia Ayasa
Regnal title of Sodasa in the Mizrapur inscription, vicinity of Mathura. (Middle Brahmi script):
Gupta ashoka svaa.jpgGupta ashoka mi.jpgGupta ashoka sya.svgGupta ashoka m.svgGupta ashoka h.svgGupta ashoka kss.jpgGupta ashoka tr.jpgGupta ashoka p.svgGupta ashoka sya.svg Gupta ashoka shu.jpgGupta gujarat daa.jpgGupta ashoka s.svgGupta ashoka sya.svg
Svāmisya Mahakṣatrapasya Śudasasya
"Of the Lord and Great Satrap Śudāsa"[2]


Sodasa reigned during the 1st century CE, and also took the title of Great Satrap at one point, probably in the area of Mathura as well, but possibly under the suzerainty of the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares. At the same time the Indo-Scythian Bhadayasa ruled in the eastern Punjab.[3] There were numerous cultural and political exchanges between the Indo-Scythians of the northwest and those of Mathura.[3]

Sodasa may have been a contemporary of the Western Kshatrapa Nahapana and the Indo-Parthian Gondophares.[3] The Indo-Parthians may have destabilized Indo-Scythian rule in northern India, but there are no traces of Indo-Parthian presence in Mathura.[3] Sodasa may have been displaced in Mathura by the Kushan ruler Vima Kadphises, who erected a throne in his name in Mathura, but nothing is known of these interactions.[3]

At Mathura, Sodasa is the last of the Indo-Scythians to have left coins.[3] Later, under Kanishka, son of Vima Kadphises, the Great Satrap Kharapallana and the Satrap Vanaspara are said to have ruled in Mathura with Kanishka as suzerain, pointing to continued Indo-Scythian rule under Kushan suzerainty as least until the time of Kanishka.[6][7][8][9]


Numerous inscriptions from Mathura mentioning Sodasa's rule are known. The Mirzapur village inscription (in the vicinity of Mathura) refers to the erection of a water tank by Mulavasu and his consort Kausiki during the reign of Sodasa, assuming the title of "Svami (Lord) Mahakshatrapa (Great Satrap)".[10]

The Mathura lion capital mentions the reign of his father and predecessor Rajuvula as Mahaksatrapa while Sodasa is referred to as Ksatrapa.

A large stone slab, the Kankali Tila tablet of Sodasa, discovered in Kankali in the area of Mathura, bears a three-line epigraph mentioning that in the year 42 or 72 of "Lord Mahaksatrapa Sodasa," a monument for worship was set up by a certain Amohini.[11] A recent date for Sodasa's reign was given as 15 CE, meaning that the regnal date of the inscription would start from the Vikrama era (Bikrami calendar (starting in 57 BCE)+72=15 CE).[12][13] This would put the long reign of his father Rajuvula in the last quarter of the 1st century BCE, which is probable.[13]

Another inscription of Sodasa in Mathura records the gifts of a Brahman named Gajavara of the Segrava-gotra during the time of Saudasa the Great Satrap of the lord (paramount, whose name is lost) of tanks called Kshayawada, as well as a western tank, a well, a garden, and a pillar.[14]


Sodasa ruled in the Mathura portion of the Northern Satraps territory.

Sodasa's coins have been found in Mathura only, suggesting that he only ruled over the Mathura region.[18] They do not follow traditional Indo-Scythian coinage patterns, but rather the designs of local rulers of Mathura, and are only made of lead and copper alloy.[18] The legends only use the Indian Brahmi script, whether Saodasa's father Rajuvula had used coins derived from the Indo-Greeks, with legends in Greek and Kharoshthi.[18] This suggests that Sodasa had significantly integrated into the local Indian culture.[18]

Sodasa's coins ususally show on the obverse a standing female and tree-like symbol, with the legend "Mahakatapasa putasa Khatapasa Sodasa", i.e., "Satrap Sodasa, son of the Great Satrap". On the reverse appears a Lakshmi with elephants pouring water over her.[1][18]

Three typer of legends are known, with one coin type of Sodasa bearing the legend "son of Rajuvula":

  • "Satrap Sodasa, son of the Great Satrap" (Mahakhatapasa putasa khatapasa śodasasa followed by a svastika)[18]
  • "Satrap Sodasa, son of Rajuvula" (Svastika followed by Rajuvula putasa khatapasa śodasasa)[18][3]
  • "Great Satrap Sodasa" (Mahakhatapasa śodasasa)[18]

Sculptural stylesEdit

Jain narrative relief panel showing Jain monks of the ardhaphalaka sect, near a water pool. Early 1st century CE, reign of Sodasa, Mathura. Brooklyn Museum 87.188.5.[19]

The abundance of dedicatory inscriptions in the name of Sodasa (eight of them are known, often on sculpural works), and the fact that Sodasa is known through his coinage as well as through his relations with other Indo-Scythian rulers whose dates are known, means that Sodasa functions as a historic marker to ascertain the sculptural styles at Mathura during his rule, in the first half of the 1st century CE.[20] The next historial marker corresponds to the reign of Kanishka under the Kushans, whose reign began circa 127 CE.[20]

The Kankali Tila tablet of Sodasa is one of those sculptural works directly inscribed in the name of Sodasa.[20] Another one is the Katra torana fragment.[20][21] The sculptural styles at Mathura during the reign of Sodasa are quite distinctive, and significantly different from the style of the previous period circa 50 BCE, or the styles of the later period of the Kushan Empire in the 2nd century CE.[20] Stylistically similar works can then be dated to the same period of the reign of Sodasa.[20]


  1. ^ a b Catalogue Of The Coins In The Indian Museum Calcutta. Vol.1 by Smith, Vincent A. p.196
  2. ^ Buddhist art of Mathurā , Ramesh Chandra Sharma, Agam, 1984 Page 26
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h The Dynastic art of the Kushans, Rosenfield, University of California Press, 1967 p.136
  4. ^ Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 170. ISBN 9789004155374.
  5. ^ Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 168–169. ISBN 9789004155374.
  6. ^ Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India, Ram Sharan Sharma, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1991 p.295 [1]
  7. ^ Ancient Indian History and Civilization, Sailendra Nath Sen New Age International, 1999, p.198 [2]
  8. ^ Foreign Influence on Ancient India, Krishna Chandra Sagar, Northern Book Centre, 1992 p.167 [3]
  9. ^ Source: "A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc..." Rapson, p ciii
  10. ^ a b Buddhist art of Mathurā , Ramesh Chandra Sharma, Agam, 1984 Page 26
  11. ^ a b The Jain stûpa and other antiquities of Mathurâ by Smith, Vincent Arthur Plate XIV
  12. ^ Image Problems: The Origin and Development of the Buddha's Image in Early South Asia Robert Daniel DeCaroli, University of Washington Press, 2015 p.205
  13. ^ a b Indian Studies, Volume 7, Ramakrishna Maitra, 1966 p.67
  14. ^ a b Report For The Year 1871-72 Volume III, Alexander Cunningham
  15. ^ History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE by Sonya Rhie Quintanilla p.260
  16. ^ Epigraphia Indica, Vol 40
  17. ^ Chandra, Ramaprasad (1919). Memoirs of the archaeological survey of India no.1-5. p. 22.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. p. 169. ISBN 9789004155374.
  19. ^ Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 174–176. ISBN 9789004155374.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Quintanilla, Sonya Rhie (2007). History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE. BRILL. pp. 168–179. ISBN 9789004155374.
  21. ^ Photograph visible p.396 in Zin, Monika (2015). „In her right hand she held a silver knife with small bells...“ (PDF). Studies in Indian Culture and Literature, Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 396.

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