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Vasudeva I (Kushano Bactrian: ΒΑΖΟΔΗΟ "Bazodeo"; Middle Brahmi script: Gupta allahabad v.svgGupta allahabad su.jpgGupta ashoka de.svgGupta ashoka v.svg Va-su-de-va, Chinese: 波調 Bodiao; fl. 200 CE) was a Kushan emperor, last of the "Great Kushans."[1] Named inscriptions dating from year 64 to 98 of Kanishka's era suggest his reign extended from at least 191 to 232 CE. He ruled in northern India, and still minted in coins in Balkh (Bactria) as well, although he probably had to deal with the rise of the Sasanians and the first incursions of the Kushano-Sasanians in the northwest of his territory.[1]

Vasudeva I
Kushan emperor
VASUDEVA I.jpg
Gold coin of Vasudeva I or II.

Obv: Vasudeva in tall helmet, holding a scepter, and making an offering over an altar. Legend in Kushan language and Greek script (with the Kushan letter Ϸ "sh"): ϷΑΟΝΑΝΟϷΑΟ ΒΑΖΟΔΗΟ ΚΟϷΑΝΟ ("Shaonanoshao Bazodeo Koshano"): "King of kings, Vasudeva the Kushan".

Rev: ΟΗϷΟ (oesho), a conflation of Zoroastrian Vayu and Hindu Shiva, holding a trisula scepter, with the bull Nandi. Monogram (tamgha) to the left.
Reign191–232 CE
PredecessorHuvishka
SuccessorKanishka II
DynastyKushan
Vasudeva I is located in South Asia
Mamane Dheri
Mamane Dheri
Location of the inscriptions mentioning Vasudeva I as ruler.

The last named inscription of his predecessor, Huvishka, was in the year 60 = 187 CE, and the Chinese evidence suggests he was still ruling as late as 229 CE.

His name, Vasudeva, is that of the father of Krishna, the popular Hindu God, and he was the first Kushan king to be named after the Indian God. He converted to Hinduism during his reign.[2][3] His name reinforces the notion that his center of power was in Mathura.[1]

Contacts with ChinaEdit

In the Chinese historical chronicle Sanguozhi (三國志), he is recorded to have sent tribute to the Chinese emperor Cao Rui of the Wei in 229 CE (3rd year of Taihe 太和), :

"The king of the Da Yuezhi, Bodiao (波調) (Vāsudeva), sent his envoy to present tribute and His Majesty granted him a title of "King of the Da Yuezhi Intimate with Wei (魏)"." (Sanguozhi)

He is the last Kushan ruler to be mentioned in Chinese sources.[1] His rule corresponds to the retreat of Chinese power from Central Asia, and it is thought that Vasudeva may have filled the power vacuum in that area.[1] The great expansion of the Dharmaguptaka Buddhist group in Central Asia during this period has also been related to this event.

CoinageEdit

The coinage of Vasudeva consisted in gold dinars and quarter dinars, as well as copper coins. Vasudeva almost entirely removed the pantheon of deities displayed in the coinage of Kanishka and Huvishka. Apart from a few coins with the effigies of Mao and Nana, all of Vasudeva's coins feature Oesho on the reverse, who is generally identified as Shiva. On the obverse, Vasudeva restored the royal imagery of Kanishka, with the standing, making a sacrifice over an altar, although he holds a trident rather than Kanishka's spear and he appears nimbate. Another trident is sometimes also added over the small sacrificial altar. At the end of his rule, Vasudeva introduced the nandipada symbol ( ) on his coinage.[4][5]

Sassanid invasion in the northwestEdit

Vusadeva I was the last great Kushan emperor, and the end of his rule coincides with the invasion of the Sassanians as far as northwestern India, and the establishment of the Indo-Sassanians or Kushanshahs from around 240 CE.[1] Vasudeva I may have lost the territory of Bactria with its capital in Balkh to Ardashir I Kushanshah. Thereafter, Kushan rule would be restricted to their eastern territories, in western and central Punjab.

StatuaryEdit

 
Buddha statue pedestal inscription "In the 93rd year" of "Great King, son of God, Vasudeva" (                 Mahārājasya Devaputrasya Vasudeva, from the start of the first line). Mathura Museum. Photograph of the piedestal.

The relatively peaceful reign of Vasudeva is marked by an important artistic production, in particular in the area of statuary.[1] Several Buddhist statues are dated to the reign of Vasudeva, and are important markers for the chronology of Buddhist art.[8]

An inscription with the base of a Buddha statue is also known from the Mathura Museum: "In the 93rd year of Maharaja Devaputra Vasudeva...", probably corresponding to circa 171 CE.[9]

Statuary dated to the reign of Vasudeva I

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rezakhani, Khodadad (2017). From the Kushans to the Western Turks. p. 202.
  2. ^ Coins of India Calcutta : Association Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1922
  3. ^ Kumar, Raj (1900). Early history of Jammu region. Gyan Publishing House. p. 477. ISBN 9788178357706.
  4. ^ Rosenfield, John M. (1967). The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans. University of California Press. p. 111.
  5. ^ Shrava, Satya (1985). The Kushāṇa Numismatics. Praṇava Prakāshan. p. 11.
  6. ^ CNG Coins [1]
  7. ^ Cribb, Joe (2010). "The Kidarites, the numismatic evidence" (PDF). Coins, art and chronology II: The first millennium C.E. in the Indo-Iranian borderlands, edited by M. Alram et al.: 98.
  8. ^ a b c d Rhi, Juhyung (2017). Problems of Chronology in Gandharan. Positionning Gandharan Buddhas in Chronology (PDF). Oxford: Archaeopress Archaeology. pp. 35–51. 
  9. ^ Sharma, R.C. (1994). The Splendour of Mathura Art and Museum. D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd. p. 140.
  10. ^ Problems of Chronology in Gandharan Art p.37

BibliographyEdit

  • Falk, Harry (2001). "The yuga of Sphujiddhvaja and the era of the Kuṣâṇas." Silk Road Art and Archaeology VII, pp. 121–136.
  • Falk, Harry (2004). "The Kaniṣka era in Gupta records." Harry Falk. Silk Road Art and Archaeology X, pp. 167–176.
  • Sims-Williams, Nicholas (1998). "Further notes on the Bactrian inscription of Rabatak, with an Appendix on the names of Kujula Kadphises and Vima Taktu in Chinese." Proceedings of the Third European Conference of Iranian Studies Part 1: Old and Middle Iranian Studies. Edited by Nicholas Sims-Williams. Wiesbaden. Pp, 79-93.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Huvishka
Kushan Ruler Succeeded by
Kanishka II
Kushan Empire
Emperors, territories and chronology
(in pink)
Territories/
dates
Western India Western Pakistan
Balochistan
Paropamisadae
Arachosia
Bajaur Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab Mathura Pataliputra
INDO-SCYTHIAN KINGDOM INDO-GREEK KINGDOM Indo-Scythian Northern Satraps
25 BCE – 10 CE Indo-Scythian dynasty of the
APRACHARAJAS
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(ruled 12 BCE - 15 CE)[1]
Liaka Kusulaka
Patika Kusulaka
Zeionises
Kharahostes
(ruled 10 BCE– 10 CE)[2]
Mujatria
Strato II and Strato III Hagana
10-20CE INDO-PARTHIAN KINGDOM
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Indravasu INDO-PARTHIAN KINGDOM
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20-30 CE Ubouzanes
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(ruled c.0-20 CE)[3]
Sarpedones Bhadayasa Sodasa
30-40 CE KUSHAN EMPIRE
Kujula Kadphises (c.50-90)[4]
Indravarma Abdagases ... ...
40-45 CE Aspavarma Gadana ... ...
45-50 CE Sasan Sases ... ...
50-75 CE ... ...
75-100 CE Indo-Scythian dynasty of the
WESTERN SATRAPS
Chastana
Vima Takto (c.90-113)[4] ... ...
100-120 CE Abhiraka Vima Kadphises (c. 113-127)[4]
120 CE Bhumaka
Nahapana
PARATARAJAS
Yolamira
Kanishka I (c. 127-151)[4] Great Satrap Kharapallana
and Satrap Vanaspara
for
Kanishka I
130-230 CE

Jayadaman
Rudradaman I
Damajadasri I
Jivadaman
Rudrasimha I
Isvaradatta
Rudrasimha I
Jivadaman
Rudrasena I


Bagamira
Arjuna
Hvaramira
Mirahvara


Huvishka (c. 151 – c. 190)[4]
Vasudeva I (c. 190 – 230)[4]

230-250 CE

Samghadaman
Damasena
Damajadasri II
Viradaman
Yasodaman I
Vijayasena
Damajadasri III
Rudrasena II
Visvasimha

Miratakhma
Kozana
Bhimarjuna
Koziya
Datarvharna
Datarvharna

KUSHANO-SASANIANS
Ardashir I (c. 230 – 250)
Ardashir II (?-245)


Kanishka II (c. 230 – 247)[4]

250-280

Peroz I, "Kushanshah" (c. 250 – 265)
Hormizd I, "Kushanshah" (c. 265 – 295)

Vāsishka (c. 247 – 267)[4]
Kanishka III (c. 267 – 270)[4]


280-300 Bhratadarman Datayola II

Hormizd II, "Kushanshah" (c. 295 – 300)

Vasudeva II (c. 267 – 300)[4]

GUPTA EMPIRE
Chandragupta I
Samudragupta
Chandragupta II

300-320 CE

Visvasena
Rudrasimha II
Jivadaman

Peroz II, "Kushanshah" (c. 300 – 325)

Mahi (c. 300-305)[4]
Shaka (c. 305 – 335)[4]

320-388 CE

Yasodaman II
Rudradaman II
Rudrasena III
Simhasena
Rudrasena IV

Varahran I (325-350)
Shapur II Sassanid king and "Kushanshah" (c. 350)

Kipunada (c. 335 – 350)[4]


388-396 CE Rudrasimha III KIDARITES invasion
  1. ^ From the dated inscription on the Rukhana reliquary
  2. ^ 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 [2]
  3. ^ 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 Aug 2010 [3]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Cribb, Joe; Donovan, Peter (2014). Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and Kidarite Coins A Catalogue of Coins From the American Numismatic Society by David Jongeward and Joe Cribb with Peter Donovan. p. 4.