Vasudeva I

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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.

Vasudeva I (Kushano Bactrian: ΒΑΖΟΔΗΟ "Bazodeo", Chinese: 波調 "Bodiao") was a Kushan emperor, last of the "Great Kushans." Named inscriptions dating from year 64 to 98 of Kanishka's era suggest his reign extended from at least 191 to 232 CE.

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. He 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.

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 an Indian god. He converted to Hinduism during his reign.[1][2]

Contacts with China[edit]

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. 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. The great expansion of the Dharmaguptaka Buddhist group in Central Asia during this period has also been related to this event.

Saint Thomas Christian connection[edit]

Vasudeva may have been the Indian king who returned the relics of Thomas the Apostle from Mylapore, India in 232 CE, on which occasion his Syriac Acts of Thomas was written. The relics were transferred triumphally to the town of Edessa, Mesopotamia. The Indian king is named as "Mazdai" in Syriac sources, "Misdeos" and "Misdeus" in Greek and Latin sources respectively, which has been connected to the "Bazdeo" on the Kushan coinage of Vasudeva, the transition between "M" and "B" being a current one in Classical sources for Indian names.[3][better source needed]

Rabban Sliba dedicated a special day to both the Indian king, his family, and St. Thomas:

"Coronatio Thomae apostoli et Misdeus rex Indiae, Johannes eus filius huiusque mater Tertia"
"Coronation of Thomas the Apostole, and Misdeus king of India, together with his son Johannes (thought to be a Latinization of Vizan) and his mother Tertia"[3][better source needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Coins of India Calcutta : Association Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1922
  2. ^ Kumar, Raj. Early history of Jammu region. Gyan Publishing House. p. 477. ISBN 9788178357706. 
  3. ^ a b Mario Bussagli, "L'Art du Gandhara", p255

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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 links[edit]

Preceded by
Huvishka
Kushan Ruler Succeeded by
Kanishka II
Kushan Empire
Emperors, territories and chronology
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
Vijayamitra
(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
Gondophares
Rajuvula
20-30 CE Ubouzanes
Pakores
Vispavarma
(ruled c.0-20 CE)[3]
Sarpedones Bhadayasa Sodasa
30-40 CE KUSHAN EMPIRE
Kujula Kadphises
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 ... ...
100-120 CE Abhiraka Vima Kadphises ... ...
120 CE Bhumaka
Nahapana
PARATARAJAS
Yolamira
Kanishka I 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


Vāsishka (c. 140 – c. 160)
Huvishka (c. 160 – c. 190)
Vasudeva I (c. 190 – to at least 230)

230-280 CE

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

Miratakhma
Kozana
Bhimarjuna
Koziya
Datarvharna
Datarvharna

INDO-SASANIANS
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)

280-300 Bhratadarman Datayola II

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

Vasudeva II (c. 275 – 310)
300-320 CE

Visvasena
Rudrasimha II
Jivadaman

Peroz II, "Kushanshah" (c. 300 – 325)

Vasudeva III
Vasudeva IV
Vasudeva V
Chhu (c. 310? – 325)

320-388 CE

Yasodaman II
Rudradaman II
Rudrasena III
Simhasena
Rudrasena IV

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)

GUPTA EMPIRE
Chandragupta I Samudragupta


388-396 CE Rudrasimha III Chandragupta II
  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 [1]
  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 [2]