Kushan History Kushan History

Foundations of the Empire

Kajula Kadphises to Wima Kadphises

Chinese and Greek sources attest to the unification of the Yu-chi under a single leader in the very early part of the first century AD. Kajula Kadphises is the first Yu-chi king who minted coins in large numbers. A number of Yu-chi princes minted coins before this but none in the same numbers as Kajula. It would appear that it was Kajula who overcame the other Yu-Chi monarchs and united the whole horde to his own will. This is said to have occurred more than a hundred years after the conquest of Ta-Hsia by the Yu-chi. It has also been suggested by Tarn that Kajulas Grandfather married a Greek princess (daughter, niece, possibly of the Hermaus who appears on Kajulas coins). It seems likely from all this that he came to power some time in the first quarter of the first century AD and that he had achieved the unification of the Yu-chi by about AD 40 shortly before the end of Gondaphares rule in India.

At this time that the Kushan kings overran northern India. They conquered the Indus valley, which had previously been in the hands of Parthian kings. The last powerful Parthian monarch Gondaphares is still on the throne in AD 45 (attested to by epigraphic evidence). He becomes involved in the apocryphal acts of St.Thomas 1 as the king Gudnapar of India. We know the Persians after Gondaphares were in decline from the decreasing frequency and quality of their coins. This appears to be the result of internal strife and civil war. Unfortunately we do not know when this happens as the dates of our only literary source are in dispute 2

Coins of both Gondaphares and Kajula Kadphises are found at Taxila and in the Kabul valley and it seems likely that Kajula was a contemporary of Gondaphares and that he overran the area of the Kabul valley and Taxila shortly before or after the end of the reign of Gondaphares. Certainly soon enough that no other Parthian king was able to hold the valley.

Kajula's coins are not found south of the Hindu Kush, but the anonymous Soter Megas coins are. Recently an inscription came to light in Afghanistan 3 that added an additional king to the list of the Great Kushan kings, a Vima Takto, to be identified with the Wima statue at Mathura and thanks to a coin in the British museum with the anonymous Soter Megas. Older theories included the possibilities that Soter Megas was a Greek sub-king or possibly a vassal, or series of vassals or perhaps even the leader of a short lived rebellion, but in light of recent evidence the question appears to be settled. Vima Takto followed his father Kajula Kadphises policy of Greek propaganda 4.

On Kajula's coins he was linked to one of the last Greek kings of the region Hermaus. These propoganda issues served to declare him as the legitimate ruler of the region. On the coins of his son two of the Greek titles, Saviour and Great, appear for the same reason.

The Chinese sources are fairly unanimous in declaring that it was the son of the man who united the Yu-chi, under the Kushans, who conquered northern India5. This person is certainly Wima Taktu and probably the 'Gushana great king' mentioned in an inscription at Peshawar in 68 AD.


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