Libmonster ID: IN-1378
Author(s) of the publication: A. O. ZAKHAROV

The history of the Kushan Empire has long attracted the attention of researchers, but due to the lack of its own written tradition, many of its questions still remain unresolved. One of the most controversial issues concerning not only the Kushans, but also the entire history of the Central Asian and Indian regions, is the absolute chronology of the Kushan dynasty. It is important to note that several international conferences were devoted to it: in London (1913 and 1960), in Dushanbe (1968), and in Vienna (1996) [JRAS, 1913; PDK; CAC; CAC]. A review by the Russian numismatist E. V. Zeimal covers the discussion before 1968 [Zeimal, 1968; see also: Ghirshman, 1957, pp. 689-722.]. In this paper, we would like to show the current state of disputes that have arisen over the recently discovered inscription from Rabatak.

A third of a century has passed since the Kushan conference in Dushanbe, during which a huge amount of material has been accumulated. But the questions of Kushan chronology were not specifically considered, although they were returned to in connection with certain categories of sources. In Russian historiography, this problem was especially popular, since E. V. Zeymal, based on the hypothesis of D. Bhandarkar, put forward his chronological scheme, according to which the initial date of Kanishka (hereinafter - NDK) is 278 AD [Zeymal, 1974, pp. 292-301]. Domestic researchers constantly criticized this point of view, which did not receive serious support at the conference in Dushanbe [TSAKE, vol. 1, p. 308-312; see also: Gafurov, 1972, p. 42-49; Pugachenkova, 1987, p. 99; Pugachenkova, 1989, p. 99]. In the mid-70s of the XX century, J. Fussman supported one of the most common concepts identifying the Schak era (78 AD) and NDK (Fussman, 1974, pp. 38-50). This approach is very popular in Indian national historiography [Banerjea, 1957, p. 234f.; Mukherjee, 1988, p. 70f.]. Rapson and J. E. Van Lohuizen de Leeuw are also proponents of this hypothesis [Rapson, 1922, p. 583; Van Lohuizen de Leeuw, 1949, p .65]. The Austrian numismatist Robert Goble suggested a different date - 230, and later 232 AD [Gobi, 1967, p. 269 f.; Gobi, 1984, p. 61-64]. Such a wide range of opinions shows the complexity of the problem. But there are other concepts, among which we should note the opinions of A. K. Narain (103 AD), J. Rosenfield (110 AD), R. Hirshman (144 AD) [Narain, 1968, p. 215-243; Rosenfield, 1967, p. 257-258; Ghirshman, 1946, p. 99-108, particulierement 106 sqq.].

The current stage of discussion was opened by the publication of the Rabatak inscription by N. Sims-Williams and Joe Cribb [Sims-Williams and Cribb, 1995/1996, p. 75-142; Sims-Williams, 1997, p. 3-10]. Sims-Williams is responsible for reading and translating the new epigraphic source, while Cribb is responsible for his historical commentary. Thanks to this inscription, Kushan studies received the name of a previously unknown Kushan king-Vima Tak[to] and a clear sequence of Kushan lords: Kujula Kadfiz, Vima Tak[to], Vima Kadfiz, Kanishka. Thus, the aftereffects were dispersed-

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There are doubts about the fallacy of the hypothesis about the existence of two Kushan dynasties - Kadfiz and Kanishki, which was proposed by R. Hirshman and supported by B. Ya. Stavisky [Ghirshman, 1946, p. 141 sqq.; Stavisky, 1977, p. 23] .1 In the light of the Rabatak inscription, Kanishka's religious policy became somewhat clearer. The leading positions in the pantheon are occupied by Nana and Iranian deities, although Indian deities also play a significant role (especially Shiva) [Fussman, 1998, pp. 582-594; Rosenfield, 1967].

But if the above points are rarely questioned, the same cannot be said for the chronological scheme proposed by Joe Cribb. First of all, we will briefly describe his system of argumentation set out in the publication. Numismatic data indicate the following sequence of Kushan issues: Kujula Kadfiz, Soter Megas, Vima II Kadfiz and Kanishka [Sims-Williams, Cribb, 1995/1996, p. 99; Cribb, 1999, p. 181-182] 2 . The Geraya coins were minted by Kujula, a contemporary and heir of the Indo-Parthian kings Gondofar and Zeionis, with whose minting the issues of Kujula himself show a close connection [Cribb, 1993, pp. 107-134] .3 Soter Megas coins were issued in the Tak[to] 4 Format . The coinage of Soter Megas is replaced by issues of Vima II Kadfiz, which Kanishka inherits [Cribb, 1999, p. 99] 5 . Kanishka coins are directly related to Huvishka minting [Cribb, 1999, p. 99; Gobi, 1984, Tafel 9, No 80 (Kanishka coin I) und Tafel 23, No 314 (Huvishka issue)].

The epigraphic data referred to by Joe Cribb are the Kharoshti inscriptions, dated 122 and 136 AD. The first one, which comes from Gandhara - the so-called Panjtar inscription-was made during the reign of maharayasa Gusanasa ("the great king of Kushan") [Konow, 1929, p. 67-70; cit. according to: Cribb, 1993, p. 131]; the second-an inscription on a silver scroll from Taxila (silver scroll inscription) -informs about the donation of donations for the health of maharajasa rajatirajasa devaputrasa Khusanasa, that is, "the great king, the king of kings, the son of the gods of Kushan" [Konow, 1929, p. 70-77; cit. by: Cribb, 1993, p. 131]. Cribb also uses the inscription of Vima in the Brahmi alphabet from Mat in India, where the first two lines are read as maharajo rajadirdjo devaputro Kshatsaritro sahi Vema Taksumasya [Liiders, 1961, p. 135]; the inscription of Vima Kadfiz from Khalats and the inscription in Bactrian from Dashte Navur, where N. Sims-Williams considers it possible to read the name "Vima Takto" after Davari and Humbach [Sims-Williams, Cribb, 1995/1996, p. 95]. The last two monuments are dated to 284/287 and 279 AD, respectively (Sims-Williams and Cribb, 1995/1996, p. 100) .6

1 Roman Ghirshman also suggested the existence of a third Kushan dynasty [Ghirshman, 1946, p. 162 sqq.].

2 The position of issues of Soter Megas after Kujula Kadfiz was proved by M. E. Masson, later developed by D. McDowell, although there were disagreements between researchers about the historical interpretation: Massa believed that the coins of Soter Megas were issued by Kujula Kadfiz himself, while the English numismatist considered this coinage as issues of an unknown Kushan king who ruled between Kujula and Kadfiz. In The Case Of Kadfizami [Massey, 1950, p. 11-49; MacDowall, 1974, p. 246-264].

3 In this paper, it is not possible to dwell on a detailed analysis of the "Gerai" problem, but Joe Cribb's main arguments are: iconographic similarity with the issues of Gondofar and Zeyonis; bronze issues that typologically reproduce the appearance of the "Gerai" coinage and contain the legend with the name of Kujula Kadfiz; connection with the coinage of Soter Megas.

4 In his first publication, Cribb did not so strongly link the coinage of Soter Megas with Vima Tak, but later came to the conclusion that this parallel was justified.

5 Unfortunately, Cribb does not indicate that a clear sequence of Vima Kadfiz>Kanishka was established by R. Goble (1957, p. 186).

6 It should be noted that the dating of the Khalats inscription to 284/287 is an innovation of Joe Cribb, previously it was assumed that this monument was dated to 184/187 AD. Unfortunately, Cribb's article justifying his reading of the date in the inscription [Cribb, 1997, pp. 215-230] was not available to us. But Rapson (1930, p.191) doubted reading the ruler's name suggested by Konov.

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Joe Cribb also uses some other data to build his chronological chart. First of all, these are Chinese chronicles that tell about the emergence of the Kushan kingdom. This event is associated with the head of the Kueishuang Ch'iu-chiu - ch'ueh domain [Zurcher, 1968, p. 367], identified by A. Cunningham [Cunningham, 1890, p. 41] with Kujula Kadfiz. Vima Tak [to], according to the Rabatak inscription, the son of Kujula, according to Cribb [Sims-Williams, Cribb, 1995/1996, p. 102], turns out to be the son of Ch'iu-chiu-ch'ueh named Yen-kao-chen, to whom the Chinese chronicles attribute the conquest of T'ien-chu (India) [Zurcher, 1968, p. 367]. The above-mentioned inscription of Vima from the village of Mat, located 8 miles north of Mathura, suggests that the area of the latter was conquered by Vima So[to], especially since it mentions a temple and tomb built under him (de-wakula) and there is no reason to believe that the power of Kujula extended to this territory. According to Joe Cribb, the Chinese received information about the Kushan kingdom through their general Ban Chao and his son Ban Yong (Sims-Williams, Cribb, 1995/1996, p. 103). Ban Chao was active in East Turkestan from 73 to 107. Since the Chinese chronicles mention the first two Kushan kings, Vima Tak's reign must have preceded 90 AD (Cribb, 1999, p. 184).

Another synchronism that plays an important role in Cribb's constructions is the connection between the mints of the first Kushan kings and the issues of the rulers of East Turkestan. Since the Chinese campaign led by Ban Chao in this region was successful, Joe Cribb believes that the copying of Kushan coin types by Turkestan kings must have taken place before the campaigns of the famous Chinese commander [Cribb, 1999, p. 184-185; Sims-Williams, Cribb, 1995/1996, p. 103].

Of particular importance are the relationships of the Kushan kings with the Indo-Parthians, especially with Gondofar and his heirs. The main source for Gondofar's reign is an inscription from Takht - i Baha, dated to the 26th year of the latter's reign and the 103rd year of an unknown era. Recently, it is believed that the unknown era in this inscription should be identified with the era of Aza-Vikram, which began in 58/57 BC [Fussman, 1980, pp. 1-43]. Thus, the reign of Gondofar dates back to 19/20-45/46 AD (Cribb, 1999, p. 185). Other testimonies about this ruler are found in the Acts of the Apostle Thomas, which mentions Thomas ' visit to India to its king Gondofar, as well as in the Biographies of Apollonius of Tyana by Philostratus (Cribb, 1999, p. 185-186; Koshelenko and Gaibov, 2001, p. 24-38).

Joe Cribb's articles draw attention to the parallels between the coinage of the Roman emperors and the Kushan lords. We can agree with the statement that the only established Kushan copy of the Roman prototype is the Kujula Kadfiz type "August head" [Sims-Williams, Cribb, 1995/1996, p. 104 (with reference to the work: Gobi, 1993, No 36-40; this publication was unavailable to us); see also: Mac-Dowall, 1968, p. 144-145]. But for chronology, this parallel is not so important: the close connection of the Kujula coins is found with the Augustan coins issued from 29-27 BC, so the Kadfiz I coins could have been issued after 29 BC, which means that any version of the NDK from 78 to 278 AD is acceptable [Zeymal, 1968, pp. 116-117].

One of the most important data for solving the problem of Kushan absolute chronology is the relationship with the Sassanids. The exact date of the assassination of Artabanus V, the last of the kings of Parthia, and, accordingly, the accession to the throne of the first king from the Sasanian dynasty, Ardashir I, lies between 224 and 227 AD (Litvinsky, 1994, p. 476). The Tabari chronicle reports on Ardashir I's campaigns to the east and the fact that Tsar Kushan expressed his submission to him [Noldeke, 1879, p. 17; Koshelenko, 2000,

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p. 345; Zeimal, 1968, pp. 92-93; PDK, p. 391]. The inscription of Shapur I on the Kaaba of Zoroaster (SKZ) indicates the extension of his power to the former Kushan territories: "And I own shahrs: ... Kushanshahrom up to Pashkabur (Pataliputra?)" (translated by V. G. Lukonin) [Lukonin, 1969(1), pp. 30-31, editions are indicated in note. 8 on p. 21]. G. A. Koshelenko drew attention to the fact that in this inscription there is another evidence of the extension of Shapur's power to the territory of the Kushans: at its beginning, they are present in the list of countries belonging to the Sasanian ruler [Koshelenko, 2000, p.361, note. 5] 7 . Recently, A. Nikitin published a coin of Varakhran I, the successor of Shapur I (276-293 AD), issued at the Balkh Mint [Nikitin, 1999, p. 260,263 (Fig. 2, 2a)]. In the light of the latter circumstance, the inconsistency of the point of view of those researchers who dated the conquest of the Kushan kingdom to the fourth century AD becomes obvious [Lukonin, 1969; for an account of the problem of the Kushan-Sasanian editions, see Pilipko, 1985, pp. 16-22; Vainberg, 1972, pp. 129-154]. It should also be emphasized that, from our point of view, numismatic finds from Northern Tokharistan indicate that the power of the Kushan kings, including Vasudeva II and Kanishka III, was extended to this territory [Zeymal, 1983, pp. 215-228], 8 therefore, the dating of their reign should precede at least the time of the reign of Varakhran I.

As a result of cross-analysis of the data set, Joe Cribb came to the conclusion that "... the degree of uncertainty about the first year of the Kanishka era decreases to a fourteen-year period: from 107 to 120 AD" [Cribb, 1999, p.202]. He proposed the following sequence of Kushan kings, presenting it in the form of a table:


Kushan kings

Eras in inscriptions

Estimated AD dates

Early version

Pozdnaya street

Kujula Kadfiz

The Aza Era, years 122-136

30-78 years.

Vima I So[then]

Unknown era, year 279

78-90 years.

78-110 years.

Vima II Kadfiz

Unknown era, year 284/287

90-100 years.

110-120 years.

Kanishka I

Kanishka Era, years 1-23

100-126 years.

120-146 years.


Kanishka Era, years 26-64

126-164 years.

146-184 years.

Vasudeva I

Kanishka Era, years 64-98

164-200 years.

184-220 years.

Kanishka II

Kanishka Era, years [1] 05 - [1]17

200-222 years.

220-242 years.


Kanishka era, years [1] 22 - [1]30

222-240 years.

242-260 years.

Kanishka III

Kanishka Era, year [1]41

241-270 years.

261-290 years.

Vasudeva II

Kanishka Era, year 170

270-310 years.

290-330 years.


Contemporary of Samudragupta

310-345 years.

330-365 years.


345-365 years.

365-385 years.


Source: Cribb, 1999, p. 188]

Cribb's chronological scheme has gained supporters among archaeologists and numismatists. It was supported by E. V. Rtveladze, G. A. Koshelenko and V. A. Gaibov, A. A. Vigasin [Rtveladze, 1998, pp. 67-70; Koshelenko, 2000, pp. 344-363; Koshelenko, Gaibov,

7 The Middle Persian text in this part of the inscription is destroyed, but the Greek (KOYΣHNΩN EΘNH) and Parthian (kwsnhstr) are preserved.

8 E. V. Zeymal considered issues with the name of Vasudeva as the coinage of one ruler, which seems to be inconsistent with epigraphic data at present: B. N. Mukherjee published an inscription of 170 AD Kanishki, which reads this name; thus, there were at least two kings named Vasudeva [Mukherjee, 1992, p. 84 - 87].

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2001, pp. 24-38; Vigasin, 2001, p. 12]. Generally agreeing with Cribb's ideas, the editors of the second edition of the History of the Tajik People are more cautious: "It should be borne in mind that this chronology does not follow directly from the content of the inscription, but is based on a comparison and interpretation of different sources. Subsequent studies may make some adjustments" [ ITN, 1998, p. 698]. But many Kushan scholars have remained with their opinion, expressed in the 60s of the XX century. Opponents of the chronological scheme drawn up by Joe Cribb were primarily Robert Geble, Mikhail Alram and Gerard Fussman.

It seems appropriate to begin the discussion of these points of view by stating the position of R. Gobi (1999, p. 151-175), one of the most determined, along with E. V. Zeimal, proponents of a late date for the NDK (232). From the point of view of the Austrian researcher, the data of the Rabatak inscription cannot affect the absolute chronology of the reign R. Geble suggests that the data of the Chinese chronicles are misunderstood by Cribb. The name Yen-kao-chen reflects the name of Vima Kadfiz-Yen-Vima, gao-chen-Kadfiz (Geble uses a slightly different transcription of Chinese characters). From this, it is concluded that the name Qiu-jiu-que cannot reflect the name of Kujula Kadfiz, since the name Kadfiz is transmitted through gao-zhen. Further, it is proposed to consider Qiu-jiu-que as a Soter of Megas-Vima So[that]. In this regard, it is necessary to emphasize at once that the name Wim is missing in this hieroglyph, if Yen is its transcription. But it is not clear on what basis Geble so "trusts" the Chinese tradition, but it is known that Chinese chronicles have some specific features, among which the first is the difficulty of transmitting foreign names and names in Chinese, so it is extremely difficult to coordinate their data with other traditions. Another important circumstance is that the sound of hieroglyphs changes over time, so another problem is to establish the pronunciation of certain names and names in Chinese in ancient times and, accordingly, the degree of justice of their correlation with names and names known from another language tradition [Koshelenko, 1984, p.258-259].

R. Goble's arguments also include Roman-Kushan and Sasanian-Kushan parallels in coinage, and the Roman-Kushan medallions of Constantine are of particular importance. However, almost none of the examples of Geblems mentioned above demonstrates direct borrowing from the West [Gobi, 1999, p. 154, pi. 3] 9 . And is it legitimate to say that the Kushan coinage is completely borrowed from the West? It seems that this approach is not correct, since the issues of the early Kushan kings directly inherit the coin types of the Indo-Scythians and Indo-Parthians 10, while the latter are quite reliably dated thanks to the Gondofar inscription from Takht - i Bahi 103 AD of Aza-Vikram. As for the Roman-Kushan medallions of Constantine, the interpretation of these monuments is very problematic. E. V. Zeymal's remark still remains valid: "The medallion (and analogies to the images and legends on it) does not answer the questions that arise for the researcher: when, where and why

9 If there is a similarity, it is too general. In the investiture scenes, the Sassanids have an altar in the center and two figures on either side of it, while the Kushans usually have a god figure without an altar. Further, the investiture scene occurred long before the Sassanids, for example, Parthian coins from the beginning of their issue are depicted on the reverse of an Arshak with a bow in his hand, which, according to researchers, indicates an investiture scene [Rayevsky, 1976, p. 81-86; Koshelenko, 1977, p. 84; Zeymal, 1982, p. 46-49]. But our doubts do not relate at all to the established fact that the late issues of Vasudeva (II) are connected with the Kushan-Sasanian coins.

10 For example, the "sitting king/Zeus" type of Kujula Kadfiz is a continuation of the Mau-esa-Aza coinage types [Rosenfield, 1967, p. 15], and the "bull/camel" type is a continuation of the "bull/lion" type of Zayonis [Mitchiner, 1976, vol. 8, p. 675-676, 690 - 693 (types 1055-1060); vol. 7, p. 594-596 (type 883 - 886)].

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the artist came up with the idea of combining images of the Roman emperor and the Kushan goddess on one coin circle. Until we can answer these questions, the Roman-Kushan medallion cannot serve as an argument in favor of any Kushan dates" [Zeymal, 1968, p.123]. As for the second (recently published) medallion with the image of the goddess of victory, the questions raised by E. V. Zeymal remain valid. In addition, why not assume that both medallions are modern forgeries, especially relevant in connection with the constant discussions on Kushan chronology. Not being able to investigate them de visu, we do not insist on such a conclusion. But the final answer to the question of the place of these monuments can only be given by finds of their kind in a clear archaeological context.

In the concept of M. Alram [Alram, 1999, p. 19-48], much is borrowed from R. Goble, with some of the provisions of Joe Cribb, Alram agrees. He accepts the date of the NDK according to Geble-278 AD, the idea that only Vima Tak and Vima Kadfiz are reflected in the Chinese chronicles, but at the same time agrees with the dating of the reign of Kujula Kadfiz according to Cribb and Geble 30 - 80 AD [Gobi, 1976, p.21; cit. according to: Alram, 1999, p. 22, p. 14], as well as with the opinion that the Geraya coins belong to the Kujula coinage. However, there is some caution about the latter: "On the other hand, it cannot be excluded that the Geraya coins come from the head of the Yuezhi clan, who ruled north of the Hindu Kush in the Bactrian regions, being a contemporary of Zayonis, Gondofar and Kujula Kadfiz "(Alram, 1999, p.25). But this interpretation is in striking contradiction with the fact that the title "kushan" is present on the issues under consideration, which was already clear to G. Oldenberg and A. Cunningham [Cunningham, 1888, p.49]. Alram also believes that the issues of "Gerai" cannot be attributed to the late stages of the coinage of Kujula. He refers to the fact that they show a sequence of degradation. It seems that in this case it is difficult to solve the question of the place of the "Geraya" minting in the chronological sequence of Kujula issues. Note, however, that the concept of Alram does not at all explain, firstly, the presence of a literate Greek legend on the coins of "Gerai", while there is no such legend on the early issues of the Kujula "Hermeus/Hercules"; secondly, the typological similarity of the elements of titulature in the minting of "Gerai" and the heirs of Gondofar Abdagas and Sasan: TYRANNOYNTOΣ ("ruling") and BAΣIΛEYONTOΣ ("reigning") [Mitchiner, 1976, vol. 8, types 1120, 1122, 1126, 1131 - 1132, 1140, 1141(?) (Abdagases); 1125 (Sasan)].

A special place in the chronological constructions of Alram belongs to the Indo-Parthian synchronisms. Unfortunately, there is a certain omission in the proof: for example, Alram thinks that there were two Abdagas, but this does not justify it in any way. Moreover, the above-mentioned inscription on a silver scroll from Taxila in 136 AD Aza-Vikram, which mentions the king "Kushan", was practically not explained in his hypothesis, which suggests the spread of the power of the Kushan dynasty to Taxila as early as 78 AD, and this same circumstance prevents any of the later versions of the NDK. Without denying the reliability of the Rabatak inscription's data on the succession of Kushan kings, Alram finds himself in a difficult position: having artificially lengthened the number of Indo-Parthian dynasties and accepting R. Goble's hypothesis about the NDK-232, he is forced to admit that " ... then Vima Tak[to] and Vima Kadfiz must rule together for more than 130 years"[Alram, 1999, p. 46]. The following conclusion is quite natural: "In the present, I do not see a solution to the problem" [Alram, 1999, p. 46]. But this is also natural: when making late versions of the NDK, there can be no solutions to such problems, because historical gaps arise that are filled only by direct violence to facts.

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It seems that some more arguments are needed to demonstrate the failure of later versions of the NIR. First of all, it is completely impossible to reconcile information about the eastern conquests of the Sassanids with the heyday of the Kushan Empire under Kanishk I and Khuvishk. These two monarchs have been on the throne for at least sixty years, according to inscriptions dated to the Kanishka era [Zeimal, 1968, pp. 29,32-43]. Their copper coins, as well as the copper issues of Vasudeva I, were repeatedly found in the regions of Bactria (Zaimal, 1983, p. 4). 199 - 203, 212 - 213, 219 - 221; tables 22-24]. If the Kanishka era began in 232, then it is necessary to allow simultaneous minting at the Balkh mint of both Sasanian Varahran coins and Kushan Huvishka issues. It seems that this assumption is completely unconvincing.

The following observation is related to the data of the Chinese chronicles. They mention the embassy of the great Yuezhi king Po-t'iao to the court of the Wei Dynasty, which took place in 230 AD [Ziircher, 1968, p. 371]. Even if we assume that Vima Kadfiz somehow managed to survive until the twenties of the third century AD, it is absolutely impossible to reconcile the name Po-t'iao with the name gao-chen-Kadfiz in the framework of the Geble - Alram concept.

Deborah Klimburg-Salter provided further evidence of the impossibility of late versions of the NDK: among the statues of a standing Buddha made of limestone belonging to the Gandhara art, there are two dated to the Schaka era of 196 and 262, the entire group belongs to the second and third centuries AD; images of a sitting Buddha of the Kapardin type from Mathura are early in the In the evolutionary series of Shakyamuni images, two images from the last group have dates of 31 and 32 AD Kanishka; hence, "the beginning of the use of the Kanishka era later than in the middle of the second century makes these images of the Buddha from Mathura later than the standing Gandhara Buddhas, which is impossible for stylistic reasons" (Klimburg-Salter, 1999, p. 13].

Apparently, we can conclude that the Geble-Alram hypothesis is unacceptable. The proponents of the Kanishka era-Schak era equation (78) by Fussman, Mukherjee, and others have a much more serious justification. Let's look at them in more detail.

In his work on the Rabatak inscription, Fussman analyzed all of Joe Cribb's arguments (Fussman, 1998, pp. 571-651). The first observation of the French researcher, with which it is difficult to disagree, is that the inscription does not belong to Kanishka and does not belong to the first year of his reign [Fussman, 1998, p.579-580]. Its purpose is to commemorate the long-standing construction of the royal temple by high-ranking officials Shafar and Nokonzok and its commissioning. Kanishka is spoken of only in the third person. The Nokonzok mentioned in the Rabatak inscription is probably the same person who is present in the 4th inscription from Surkh Kotal, dated 31 AD of Kanishka and related to the reign of Huvishka.

Fussman points out the difficulty of reading the 13th line of the Rabatak inscription: "The first half of the 13th line is almost unreadable. Recovery of the first four words cannot be considered certain. The sequence of UNMO TAKTOO is highly questionable: I only read NM AK O " [Fussman, 1998, p. 604]. But just below, comparing the reading of Sims-Williams, Mukherjee and his own, the researcher writes eto. ak[to] o. It seems that at present it is impossible to offer a different interpretation of the signs of the 13th line than the mention of Vima Tak in it. This does not refute Cribb's ideas.

More important is the analysis of Mata inscriptions, one of which (mentioning Vima) was mentioned above. Luders, publishing the inscription, suggested translating it as follows :" The maharaja rajadiraja devaputra, the scion of the Kusans, sahi Vema (?). By the bakanapati of Taksuma (?), Humaspala(?), a temple was caused to be made, (yet) a garden, a tank, an assembly hall, a gateway". As you can see, if you accept a translation in which

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Taksumasya is not related to Vema in any way, and the question of which Vima is being discussed cannot be resolved. It is precisely on this understanding of the first two lines that Fussman insists, adding also that it is necessary to remember the position of the inscription - at the feet of the statue. Hence, it is concluded that the translation is possible: "[This is] the maharaja rajadirdja devaputra, the scion of the Kusans, [x x Vema] " [Fussman, 1998, p. 609]. It should be emphasized that Cribb's reading does not really take into account the difference in cases: Vemo is in the nominative case, and Taksumasya is in the genitive. Regarding the inscription from Mata, which mentions Huvishka and his grandfather, Fussman rightly notes that this is an incomplete monument and its interpretation is difficult. He thinks that the sanctuary in Mata was created under Kanishka, and this king may have been Huvishka's grandfather. If the idea of erecting a sanctuary during the reign of Kanishka looks quite convincing, then the latter assumption does not follow from the materials known to science.

Fussman also dwells on the proposed attribution to Vima Tak of Inscription I from Dasht-e Navur [Fussman, 1998, p. 614-619]. He doesn't deny that the third line reads ooeto taktoo. The researcher notes that inscriptions I, III and IV of Dasht-e Navur are trilingua and in the last of them, the third line reads vhamakusasa. Perhaps the name Vhama, easily corrected to Vh[e]ma, corresponds to ooFmo, which occupies the same position in DN I. The term kusasa, corrected to ku (s) a [na]sa, finds a parallel in Bactrian kosano from the 4th line of DN I. In any case, the name Vhama is not replaced by a subsequent word equivalent to taktoo [Fussman, 1998, p. 618]. In addition, the inscriptions DN I and IV are dated to 279, which, according to Fussman, follows the interpretation of Bivar [Bivar, 1963, p. 498-502; Fussman, 1998, p. 618; cf.: Harmatta, 1965, p. 161 ff.; Harmatta, 1994, p. 427], must be compared with the second inscription from Surkh Kotal, dated the same year. Hence, Fussman concludes that the 279th year of the unknown era is the previous year of the first year of Kanishka's reign and one of the last years of the reign of Vima Kadfiz [Fussman, 1998, p.619]. But in this case, it is necessary to explain the dating of the inscription from the Khalats, which mentions Vima Kadfiz, 284/287 of an unknown era.

Fussmann also deals with the problem of interpreting the" nameless king " (Soter Megas). From his point of view, there is no argument that his coins were issued by Vima Tak, who was the son of Kujula Kadfiz and the father of Vima Kadfiz. On the contrary, it is possible that Vima never ruled at all [Fussman, 1998, p. 620]. The researcher cites such arguments as the history of the French and English dynasties, on the one hand, and the example of Sadashkana, the son of Kujula Kadfiz, who, like Vim Tak[to], bore the title "devaputra". Sadashkan [Fussman, 1980, p. 5; Fussman, 1982, p. 1-46] really never ruled, but why should the Kushan king have only one son and certainly an heir? It is quite possible that Kujula had many children during his long life (the Chinese chronicles note that he died at the very respectable age of eighty-odd for that time), and this is more consistent with the idea of a dynasty with a nomadic past. In the parallels with the history of the developed Middle Ages (specifically with Louis XVII and Napoleon II), one can notice a violation of the principle of historicism. Regarding the identity of Soter Megas, Fussman makes a very strange assumption: "C'est desormais une solution plus simple que de considerer Soter Megas comme un usurpateur kouchan, ayant interrompu pour une generation la succession reguliere des descendants de Kujula Kadphises, un peu comme Napoleon venu s'intercaler entre Louis XVI et Louis XVIII" [Fussman, 1998, p. 621]. This interpretation seems impossible to us for many reasons, primarily because of the continuity between the tamgas on the coins of Soter Megas and Vima Kadfiz [Massa, 1950, p. 36-37]. It is not clear why the usurper (if we accept Fussmann's hypothesis) uses a typologically similar generic sign of another dynasty. The similarity of titulature cannot be ignored (in Vima Kadfiz's case, the title " veli-

page 12

ki king, king of kings, great saviour " (name added) [Zeimal, 1983, p. 160, 182]. It is important to emphasize the historical improbability of Fussmann's concept: the power of the usurper turns out to be so significant that he manages to subordinate huge territories to his power (this is proved by the distribution area of his coins); while the Kujula heir in the same region finds the strength to return to the throne. All these perturbations are not reflected in any of the known sources. In general, we can conclude that Fussmann's doubts about the existence of Vima are not so convincing.

It is necessary to point out Fussman's doubts about the validity of using certain groups of sources to solve the problem of Kushan absolute chronology, including the Acts of Thomas the Apostle, the Roman-Kushan medallion, Bactrian inscriptions from Tochi, epigraphic monuments from Khalats, Panjtar, and the silver scroll from Taxila (Fussman, 1998, pp. 624-627). As for the first of these sources, as shown by G. A. Koshelenko and V. A. Gaibov, it contains a historical grain: "... The Gundafar of Acts should be identical to the Gondofar of coins... Thomas actually visited northwestern India during the period when it was under the rule of the Indo-Parthian king Gondofar" (Koshelenko and Gaibov, 2001: 29, 31-32). The date of the latter's reign is precisely established thanks to an inscription from Takht-i Bahi - 19/20-45/46 AD (see above). Fussman is absolutely right about the Roman-Kushan medallion of Constantine, but the same cannot be said about his views on the inscriptions from Tochi. There is no doubt that they are indeed dated to the so-called Kushan-Sasanian era, which began in 232/233 [Sims-Williams, 1999, p. 245-258], although the beginning of its use may well have been far removed from this date. Perhaps it was introduced after the formation of the Kushan-Sasanian viceroyalty, which took place not earlier than the reign of Shapur I (according to Cribb) or Shapur II (according to Nikitin) [Cribb, 1999, p. 186; Nikitin, 1999, p.259-263], taking as the initial date the first success of the Sasanians in the East under Ardashir. The fact that this era was already used under Shapur I is supported by an inscription published by Sims - Williams, dated to its 35th year [Sims-Williams, 1999, p. 254]. Fussmann's doubts about the above-mentioned Kharoshti inscriptions are not always justified: if they are accepted in their entirety, it turns out that researchers do not have any inscriptions of Kushan kings in the languages of India before Kanishka. In any case, the inscription of 136 AD Aza (78 AD) is in satisfactory preservation. It is very difficult to attribute it to Kanishka, since this king introduced a new era. Fussmann's doubts about the validity of the use of the 122 inscription of an unknown era are more significant: it was lost in 1853. and it is known only according to Cunningham, in the era of whose activity the Kharoshti alphabet was deciphered, but its study was in the initial stage. In addition, the label is incomplete. But it should be emphasized that almost all researchers considered this inscription to belong to the Kushan king-Kujula [Van Lohuizen-de Leeuw, 1949, p. 361] or Vima [Kumar, 1973, p. 44] Kadfizam, and the first option, as indicated above, is preferred by Joe Cribb. Many authors, including Stan Konov and E. V. Zeymal, consider part of the inscription of 122 of the unknown era Gusanasa as a transliteration of the name "Kushan" (Konow, 1929, p. 67-70; cit. by: Cribb, 1993, p. 131; Zeimal, 1968, p. 20]. Doubts Zh. Fussman [Fussman, 1998, p. 626] is not very convincing in this reading, since the inscription of Vasishka from Kamra is known, where the spelling Gusanasa is used [Mukherjee, 1973, p. 111 - 117; Dobbins, 1975, p. 105 - 109].

As for the Chinese chronicles, Fussmann points out that it is impossible to accurately correlate the name Yen-kao-chen with Vima Tak or Vima Kadfiz. He emphasizes that Chinese sources are compilations of documents that are different in nature, for example, the initial part of the description of the state

page 13

The structure of the yuezhi-kushans in Hou-Hanipu is borrowed from Qian-Hanipu (Fussman, 1998, pp. 632-638).

In general, the French researcher shifts the focus from the problem of NDK to the question of the introduction of the Schak era, and from his point of view, it is Kanishka who really introduced the new era, can be the king who is involved in the Schak era [Fussman, 1998, p.640]. This is essentially a logical-order argument. All other dates (such as attributing the reign of Kujula Kadfiz to the first half of the first century AD, and Vima Kadfiz to its third quarter) are reconstructed based on the adoption of the NDK in 78. Nevertheless, Fussman notes the possibility of an NDK in the range from 78 to 125 years [Fussman, 1998, p. 633, 599].

Thus, we can conclude that the range of NDCs has significantly narrowed in comparison with the era of the London and Dushanbe conferences, when R. Hirschman's concept was also fought on equal terms (NDCS-144). Being rigidly linked to the Sasanian conquest of the Kushan state and the idea that according to the Kanishka era, inscriptions are dated only in the period from its beginning. 1 to 98 years, this hypothesis after the discovery of inscriptions of the 108th and, above all, the 170th years of the Kanishki era [ TSAKE, vol.1, p. 309; Mukherjee, 1992] lost one of its main arguments. In addition, an argument has been put forward against it before, which is related to the impossibility of simultaneous flourishing of the Kushans under Kanishka and the rise of the Western Kshatrapas under Rudradaman (Rosenfield, 1967, p.257).

Before concluding review 11, we would like to outline our thoughts on further refinement of the NIR. Without claiming to make a final decision, we note some data that make the early version of the NDK (78) difficult.

First, it is difficult to accept the very denial of Vima Tak's rule, although its duration remains a mystery .12 It is also necessary to explain the use of dates from the Bactrian era in the Bactrian inscriptions from Dasht-e Navura, or rather, to establish its probable beginning. Of the eras recorded historically, one can name Eucratides I (171 BC) (Bernard, 1985, pp. 97-105). Then the year 279 of the Eucratid era turns out to be the 108th year of our era. This automatically pushes the NDK back to 120 AD, since it is necessary to take into account the reign of Vima Kadfiz (if the inscription from Dasht-e Navur belongs to Vima Tak [to]). But the very existence of a special era of Eucratides raises certain doubts: first, we have no other inscriptions in the same chronology system; secondly, the recently discovered parchment (in fact, the only monument that can be compared with the inscription of the 24th year from Ai-Khanum) is dated to the 4th year of the reign of Antimachus I Theos, Eumenes, and Antimachus II Nicephorus (Bernard, Grenet, and Rapin, 1996, p. 458-469). Perhaps in inscriptions from Dasht-e

11 In 2000, a paper by L. A. Borovkova devoted to the analysis of the NIR, based on data from Chinese sources, was published. Closely related to the general concept of the history of yuezhi [Borovkova, 2001, pp. 90-117, 157-180; Borovkova, 1989], created by this researcher (which we cannot accept for various reasons, but there is no way to dwell on them here [for criticism, see: Zadneprovsky, 1991, pp. 155-159])., the article was prepared before the publication of the Rabatak inscription. Therefore, it is only of historiographical interest, although its conclusion that the NDK is 103 years old follows the theory of A. K. Narain and does not contradict Joe Cribb's dating [Borovkova, 2000, p. 96-119].

12 Van Lohuizen de Leeuw's monograph points out an interesting feature of the Puranic list of Tochar kings (it was under this name that the Kushans were known in India): two different versions differ from each other in the number of rulers: in the first case, they were 13/14 (reigned 104.5 or 199 years), in the second 10/11 (103 or 199 years). The Dutch researcher sees the possibility of reflecting here the indirect confrontation of the Kadfiz group (she considers Zeyonis to be the third ruler/Jihoniku) and Kanishki [Van Lohuizen-de Leeuw, 1949, p. 26]. Since the data of the puranas are very contradictory [Vigasin, 1984, p. 293; Bongard-Levin and Ilyin, 1985, p. 45-46], they cannot be considered a decisive argument, but in this case such an interpretation does not contradict the epigraphic materials.

page 14

Navur is a different era, and we are inclined to accept the latter, since the reasons why the Yuezhi could have borrowed the chronology of the rulers they defeated are not clear, and such a date, as will be clear later, does not fit very well with the Kushan - Sasanian parallels. There are several other kings of Greco-Bactria and Greco-India who could have founded their own era, including Demetrius I, who began the conquest of India. The approximate date of his reign is 200-190 BC [Bopearachchi., 1991, p. 49]. Another possibility, overlooked by Cribb , is that Euthydemus I successfully overcame the siege of Antiochus III the Great in 206 BC, which may have led to the introduction of a new chronology. However, these are unproven assumptions. Events in the history of the Kushans (especially the Yuezhi) that could have caused the introduction of a new chronology cannot be found in the second century BC (although E. V. Rtveladze believes that this may be the year of the beginning of the Yuezhi pilgrimage - 180 BC, according to Tsyurkher) [Rtveladze, 1998, p. 69].

Secondly, numismatic data show that the earliest coins of Kujula were minted no earlier than the middle of the first century AD: this is the last (ninth) group of imitations of the coins of Hermea, on the reverse of which the name of Kadfiz I is written, while the seventh group is dated to the 40s AD, since one copy of the sixth group It is marked with the nadchekan of Gondofar [Bopearachchi, 1991, p. 123-124; cf.: Bopearachchi and Aman ur Rahman, 1995, p. 39-40, 44]. If we consider the presence of other types of Kujula, as well as the need for a time interval for the very numerous issues of Soter Megas and the monetary reform of Vima Kadfiz, then the 78th year seems less likely than the beginning of the second century.

Numismatics can also be involved in retrospect, from the side of Sasanian relations. Joe Cribb has shown that Vasishka and Kanishka III were contemporaries of the Sasanian conquest of the western territories of the Kushan kingdom under Ardashir I-Shapur I [Cribb, 1990, p. 151-193], but this is not the end of the Kushan-Sasanian numismatics. The fact is that later coins with the name of Vasudeva are directly replaced by the coinage of the Kushanshah of Hormizd, the future king of the Sasanians, Hormizd II (303-309) [Lukonin, 1969(2), p. 144; Koshelenko, 2000, p. 360, note 3]. He was probably a Kushanshah at the end of the third century [Koshelenko, 2000, pp. 346-347, 354-358]. On this basis, it can be assumed that the coinage of Vasudeva II should end in the last decades of the third century. Bearing in mind the minting of Varakhran I in Balkh and the presence of late Vasudeva issues (and imitations of them) in Bactria, it should be considered necessary to refuse to place the NDK in the area of 120 AD (if we take into account the inscription of Vasudeva 170 AD Kanishka 13 ).

As you can easily see, the basis of chronological calculations are numismatic data. However, other sources do not provide sufficient information. E. V. Zeymal pointed out the impossibility of the existence of the Kushan kingdom before 25 AD [Zeymal, 1983, p. 148], since "Qian-Hanshu" knows nothing about it. This argument does not contradict the numismatic data mentioned above. As for epigraphic materials, the situation is more complicated. An inscription of 136 on a silver scroll from Taxila, dated to the Aza era, indicates that Kanishka did not rule then (for the Kushan period, we do not have documents with this chronology). But can we conclude, as Cribb did, that it belongs to the reign of Kujula Kadfiz? It seems that Fussmann is also right here, and this does not follow from the inscription, where there is no name of the king. In addition, I would like to draw your attention to-

13 B. N. Mukherjee (1992) considers this inscription as proof of the early date of Kanishka, but there is no reason to claim that the Kushans were completely subordinated to the Sasanids under Shapur I, since, for example, in the Allahabad inscription of Samudragupta, the Kushan king is probably mentioned [Zeymal, 1968, pp. 74-76; cf.: Bongard-Levin and Ilyin, 1985, pp. 409-410].

page 15

M. E. Massey [1950, p. 11-49] attributed to him the issues of Soter Megas, which turned out to be inconsistent with the facts, and Joe Cribb - the "Geraya" coinage [Cribb, 1993, p. 107 - 134]. However, if the latter assumption is true in the numismatic context, 14 it does not make it possible to claim that Kujula ruled for a very long time. Coin data rather indicate that he made his conquests at an advanced age, which explains the small number of his registered coins. Therefore, it is quite acceptable to date its campaigns to the middle and third quarter of the first century A.D. The Taxil inscription can refer to any of the two Vimsas, and not only to Kujula. The city of Taxila was taken over by the Kushans shortly after Gondofar, who ruled exactly in 46 AD. Probably, this act can be attributed to the first of the Kadfiz [Cribb, 1993, p.124-125], since Sirkap gave 2522 of his coins [Fussman, 1998, p. 627, p. 126]. Another argument is that Taxila was the seat of the satrapy of Zayonis, in relation to whose coins the Kujula issues show continuity (see above).

We should also recall the embassy from the Kushan sovereign to the court of the Chinese Wei dynasty in 230 AD. Since there is still a lack of sufficient accuracy in the field of Chinese phonetics, it is risky to say that Po-t'iao is an accurate transcription of the name "Vasudeva" (Pelliot, 1934, p. 23; Rosenfield, 1967). p. 105; TSAKE, vol. 1, pp. 309-310]. G. A. Koshelenko suggested that Vasishka could also be hiding under this name [Koshelenko, 2000, p. 361, ed. 4], whose reign falls on 220-240 years. according to the early Cribb scheme. It is hardly possible to prove this, but at least the other Kushan names (Kanishka and Huvishka) even less consistent with the Chinese transmission.

J. Fussmann raised the question of who introduced the Schak era and why. It is impossible to leave it unanswered, although the decision of the French numismatist is very tempting. However, another approach is also acceptable. It is known that the inscriptions of the Western Kshatrapas are dated to the Shchaka era (Zeymal, 1968, p. 71). Doesn't this mean that 78 A.D. was the beginning of their dynasty? As far as can be judged from the available materials, this does not contradict the known facts.

Summing up, we can draw some conclusions. First, the Kushan chronology after the discovery of the Rabatak inscription became significantly more accurate than before. Many hypotheses should be discarded, for example, R. Goble and R. Hirschmann. Secondly, Joe Cribb's concept looks quite convincing, but it can be clarified in the direction of an early date. Third, there are some doubts about the traditional concept that links the NDK with the Schak era. In general, it seems to us that the first decade of the second century AD will be the closest to the truth.

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