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The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries CE) originally formed in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus River or Amu Daryamarker in what is now northern Afghanistanmarker, and southern Tajikistanmarker and Uzbekistanmarker.

During the 1st and early 2nd centuries CE the Kushans expanded rapidly across the northern part of the Indian subcontinent at least as far as Saketamarker and Sarnathmarker near Varanasimarker (Benares) where inscriptions have been found dated to the first few years of era of the most famous Kushan ruler, Kanishka which apparently began about 127 CE.

The Chinese history, the Hou Hanshu, gives an account of the formation of the Kushan empire based on a report made by the Chinese general Ban Yong to the Chinese Emperor c. 125 CE:

"More than a hundred years later [than the conquest of Bactria by the Da Yuezhi], the prince [xihou] of Guishuang established himself as king, and his dynasty was called that of the Guishuang [Kushan] King.

He invaded Anxi [Indo-Parthia], and took the Gaofu (Kabulmarker) region.

He also defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puda (Paktiya) and Jibin (Kapisha and Gandhara).

Qiujiuque (Kujula Kadphises) was more than eighty years old when he died.

His son, Yangaozhen [probably Vema Tahk(tu) or, possibly, his brother Sadaṣkaṇa], became king in his place.

He defeated Tianzhu [North-western India] and installed Generals to supervise and lead it.

The Yuezhi then became extremely rich.

All the kingdoms call [their king] the Guishuang [Kushan] king, but the Han call them by their original name, Da Yuezhi."

The kings of Kushan branch of the Yuezhi confederation, are generally considered to have been an Indo-European people from the eastern Tarim Basin, Chinamarker, possibly related to the Tocharians. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and Han China, and for several centuries were at the center of exchanges between the East and the West.


Chinese sources describe the Guishuang (Ch: 貴霜), i.e. the "Kushans", as one of the five aristocratic tribes of the Yuezhi, also spelled Yueh-chi, (Ch: 月氏), a loose confederation of supposedly Indo-European peoples. The Yuezhi are also generally considered as the easternmost speakers of Indo-European languages, who had been living in the arid grasslands of eastern Central Asia, in modern-day Xinjiang and Gansumarker, possibly speaking versions of the Tocharian language, until they were driven west by the Xiongnu in 176160 BCE. The five tribes constituting the Yuezhi are known in Chinese history as Xiūmì (Ch: 休密), Guishuang (Ch: 貴霜), Shuangmi (Ch: 雙靡), Xidun (Ch: 肸頓), and Dūmì (Ch: 都密).

Historian John Keay contextualizes the movements of the Kushan within a larger setting of mass migrations taking place in the region:

The Yuezhi reached the Hellenic kingdom of Greco-Bactria, in the Bactrian territory (northernmost Afghanistan and Uzbekistan) around 135 BCE. The displaced Greek dynasties resettled to the southeast in areas of the Hindu Kushmarker and the Indusmarker basin (in present day Pakistan), occupying the western part of the Indo-Greek Kingdom.

Early Kushans

Some traces remain of the presence of the Kushan in the area of Bactria and Sogdiana. Archaeological structures are known in Takht-I-Sangin, Surkh Kotalmarker (a monumental temple), and in the palace of Khalchayanmarker. Various sculptures and friezes are known, representing horse-riding archers, and significantly men with artificially deformed skulls, such as the Kushan prince of Khalchayan (a practice well attested in nomadic Central Asia). On the ruins of ancient Hellenistic cities such as Ai-Khanoum, the Kushans are known to have built fortresses. The earliest documented ruler, and the first one to proclaim himself as a Kushan ruler was Heraios. He calls himself a "Tyrant" on his coins, and also exhibits skull deformation. He may have been an ally of the Greeks, and he shared the same style of coinage. Heraios may have been the father of the first Kushan emperor Kujula Kadphises.

A multi-cultural Empire

In the following century, the Guishuang (Ch: 貴霜) gained prominence over the other Yuezhi tribes, and welded them into a tight confederation under yabgu (Commander) Kujula Kadphises. The name Guishuang was adopted in the West and modified into Kushan to designate the confederation, although the Chinese continued to call them Yuezhi.

A Buddhist devotee in Kushan dress, Mathura, 2nd century.
The Kushan dress is generally depicted as quite stiff, and it is thought it was often made of leather (Francine Tissot, "Gandhara").
Gradually wresting control of the area from the Scythian tribes, the Kushans expanded south into the region traditionally known as Gandhara (An area lying primarily in Pakistan's Pothowar, and Northwest Frontier Provinces region but going in an arc to include Kabul valley and part of Qandaharmarker in Afghanistan) and established twin capitals near present-day Kabulmarker and Peshawarmarker then known as Kapisa and Pushklavati respectively.

The Kushans adopted elements of the Hellenistic culture of Bactria. They adopted the Greek alphabet (often corrupted) to suit their own language (with the additional development of the letter Þ "sh", as in "Kushan") and soon began minting coinage on the Greek model. On their coins they used Greek language legends combined with Pali legends (in the Kharoshthi script), until the first few years of the reign of Kanishka. After that date, they used Kushan language legends (in an adapted Greek script), combined with legends in Greek (Greek script) and legends in Pali (Kharoshthi script).

The Kushans are believed to have been predominantly Zoroastrian. However, from the time of Wima Takto, many Kushans started adopting aspects of Buddhist culture. Like the Egyptians they absorbed the strong remnants of the Greek Culture of the Hellenistic Kingdoms, becoming at least partly Hellenised. The great Kushan emperor Wima Kadphises may have embraced Saivism, as surmised by coins minted during the period. The following Kushan emperors represented a wide variety of faiths including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and possibly Saivism(a sect of Hinduism).

The rule of the Kushans linked the seagoing trade of the Indian Ocean with the commerce of the Silk Road through the long-civilized Indus Valleymarker. At the height of the dynasty, the Kushans loosely oversaw a territory that extended to the Aral Sea through present-day Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan into northern India.

The loose unity and comparative peace of such a vast expanse encouraged long-distance trade, brought Chinese silks to Romemarker, and created strings of flourishing urban centers.

Territorial expansion

Direct archaeological evidence of a Kushan rule of long duration is basically available in an area stretching from Surkh Kotalmarker, Begrammarker, the summer capital of the Kushans, Peshawarmarker the capital under Kanishka I, Taxilamarker and Mathuramarker, the winter capital of the Kushans.

Other areas of probable rule include Khwarezm (Russian archaeological findings) Kausambimarker (excavations of the Allahabad University), Sanchimarker and Sarnathmarker (inscriptions with names and dates of Kushan kings), Malwa and Maharashtramarker, Orissamarker (imitation of Kushan coins, and large Kushan hoards).

The recently discovered Rabatak inscription confirms the account of the 3rd century Chinese history, the Weilüe, and inscriptions dated early in the Kanishka era (incept probably 127 CE), that large Kushan dominions expanded into in the heartland of northern India in the early 2nd century CE. The lines 4 to 7 of the inscription describe the cities which were under the rule of Kanishka, among which six names are identifiable: Ujjainmarker, Kundina, Saketamarker, Kausambimarker, Pataliputramarker, and Champa (although the text is not clear whether Champa was a possession of Kanishka or just beyond it).
Asia in 200 CE (showing the Kushan Empire and its neighbors.
Northward, in the 2nd century CE, the Kushans under Kanishka made various forays into the Tarim Basin, seemingly the original ground of their ancestors the Yuezhi, where they had various contacts with the Chinese. Both archaeological findings and literary evidence suggest Kushan rule, in Kashgarmarker, Yarkandmarker and Khotanmarker.

As late as the 3rd century CE, decorated coins of Huvishka were dedicated at Bodh Gayamarker together with other gold offerings under the "Enlightenment Throne" of the Buddha, suggesting direct Kushan influence in the area during that period.

Main Kushan rulers

Kujula Kadphises (30–80)

According to the Hou Hanshu: "the prince (xihou) of Guishuang (Badakhshan and the adjoining territories north of the Oxusmarker), named Kujula Kadphises (Ch: 丘就却, "Qiujiuque") attacked and exterminated the four other princes (xihou). He set himself up as king of a kingdom called Guishuang."

He invaded Anxi (Parthia) and took the Gaofu (Kabulmarker) region. He also defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puda, and Jibin (Kapisha-Gandhara). Qiujiuque (Kujula Kadphises) was more than eighty years old when he died."

These conquests probably took place sometime between 45 and 60, and laid the basis for the Kushan Empire which was rapidly expanded by his descendants.

Kujula issued an extensive series of coins and fathered at least two sons, (who is known from only two inscriptions, especially the Rabatak inscription, and apparently never have ruled), and seemingly Vima Taktu.

Kujula Kadphises was the great grandfather of Kanishka.

Vima Taktu (80–105)

Vima Takt[u] (or Tak[to]; Ancient Chinese: 阎膏珍 Yangaozhen) is not mentioned in the Rabatak inscription (Sadashkana is instead. See also the reference to Sims-William’s article below). He was the predecessor of Vima Kadphises, and Kanishka I. He expanded the Kushan Empire into the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. The Hou Hanshu says:

"His [Kujula Kadphises'] son, Yangaozhen (Vima Taktu), became king in his place. He conquered Tianzhu (Northwestern Pakistan) and installed a General to supervise and lead it. The Yuezhi then became extremely rich. All the kingdoms call [their king] the Guishuang (Kushan) king, but the Han call them by their original name, Da Yuezhi."

Vima Kadphises (105–127)

Vima Kadphises (Kushan language: Οοημο Καδφισης) was a Kushan emperor from around 90–100 CE, the son of Sadashkana and the grandson of Kujula Kadphises, and the father of Kanishka I, as detailed by the Rabatak inscription.

Vima Kadphises added to the Kushan territory by his conquests in Afghanistanmarker and north-west Pakistanmarker. He issued an extensive series of coins and inscriptions. He was the first to introduce gold coinage in India, in addition to the existing copper and silver coinage.

Kanishka I (127–147)

The rule of Kanishka, fifth Kushan king, who flourished for at least 28 years from c. 127. Upon his accession, Kanishka ruled a huge territory (virtually all of northern India), south to Ujjainmarker and Kundina and east beyond Pataliputramarker, according to the Rabatak inscription:
"In the year one, it has been proclaimed unto India, unto the whole realm of the governing class, including Koonadeano (Kaundinya Kundina) and the city of Ozeno (Ozene, Ujjainmarker) and the city of Zageda (Saketamarker) and the city of Kozambo (Kausambimarker) and the city of Palabotro (Pataliputramarker) and so long unto (i.e. as far as) the city of Ziri-tambo (Sri-Champa)." Rabatak inscription, Lines 4–6.

His territory was administered from two capitals: Purushapura (now Peshawarmarker in northern Pakistan) and Mathuramarker, in northern India. He is also credited (along with Raja Dab) for building the massive, ancient Fort at Bathinda (Qila Mubarak), in the modern city of Bathindamarker, Indian Punjabmarker.

The Kushans also had a summer capital in Bagrammarker (then known as Kapisa), where the "Begram Treasuremarker", comprising works of art from Greece to China, has been found. According to the Rabatak inscription, Kanishka was the son of Vima Kadphises, the grandson of Sadashkana, and the great-grandson of Kujula Kadphises. Kanishka’s era is now generally accepted to have begun in 127 on the basis of Harry Falk’s ground-breaking research. Kanishka’s era was used as a calendar reference by the Kushans for about a century, until the decline of the Kushan realm.


Vāsishka was a Kushan emperor, who seems to have a short reign following Kanishka. His rule is recorded as far south as Sanchimarker (near Vidisamarker), where several inscriptions in his name have been found, dated to the year 22 (The Sanchi inscription of "Vaksushana" – i. e. Vasishka Kushana) and year 28 (The Sanchi inscription of Vasaska – i. e. Vasishka) of the Kanishka era.

Huvishka (140–183)

Huvishka (Kushan: Οοηϸκι, "Ooishki") was a Kushan emperor from the death of Kanishka (assumed on the best evidence available to be in 140 CE) until the succession of Vasudeva I about forty years later. His rule was a period of retrenchment and consolidation for the Empire. In particular he devoted time and effort early in his reign to the exertion of greater control over the city of Mathuramarker.

Vasudeva I (191–225)

Vasudeva I (Kushan: Βαζοδηο "Bazodeo", Chinese: 波調 "Bodiao") was the 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 225 CE. He was the last great Kushan emperor, and the end of his rule coincides with the invasion of the Sassanids as far as northwestern India, and the establishment of the Indo-Sassanids or Kushanshahs from around 240 CE.

Kushan deities

The Kushan religious pantheon is extremely varied, as revealed by their coins and their seals, on which more than 30 different gods appear, belonging to the Hellenistic, the Iranian, and to a lesser extent the Indian world. Greek deities, with Greek names are represented on early coins. During Kanishka's reign, the language of the coinage changes to Bactrian (though it remained in Greek script for all kings). After Huvishka, only two divinities appear on the coins: Ardoxsho and Oesho (see details below).

Representation of entities from Greek mythology and Hellenistic syncretism are:

The Indic entities represented on coinage include:
  • Βοδδο (boddo, Buddha)
  • Μετραγο Βοδδο (metrago boddo, bodhisattava Maitreya)
  • Mαασηνo (maaseno, Mahasena)
  • Σκανδo koμαρo (skando komaro, Skanda Kumara)
  • Ϸακαμανο Βοδδο (shakamano boddho, Shakyamuni Buddha)

The Iranic entities depicted on coinage include:
  • Αρδοχϸο (ardoxsho, Ashi Vanghuhi)
  • A?αειχ?o (ashaeixsho, Asha Vahishta)
  • Αθϸο (athsho, Atar)
  • Φαρρο (pharro, Khwarenah)
  • Λροοασπο (lrooaspa, Drvaspa)
  • Μαναοβαγο, (manaobago, Vohu Manah)
  • Μαο (mao, Mah)
  • Μιθρο, Μιιρο, Μιορο, Μιυρο (mithro and variants, Mithra)
  • Μοζδοοανο (mozdooano, Mazda *vana "Mazda the victorious?")
  • Νανα, Ναναια, Ναναϸαο (variations of pan-Asiatic nana, Sogdian nny, in a Zoroastrian context Aredvi Sura Anahita)
  • Οαδο (oado Vata)
  • Oαxϸo (oaxsho, "Oxus")
  • Ooρoμoζδο (ooromozdo, Ahura Mazda)
  • Οραλαγνο (orlagno, Verethragna)
  • Τιερο (tiero, Tir)

  • Οηϸο (oesho), long considered to represent Indic Shiva, but more recently identified as Avestan Vayu conflated with Shiva.
  • Two copper coins of Huvishka bear a 'Ganesa' legend, but instead of depicting the typical theriomorphic figure of Ganesha, have a figure of an archer holding a full-length bow with string inwards and an arrow. This is typically a depiction of Rudra, but in the case of these two coins is generally assumed to represent Shiva.

Some deities on Kushan coinage

File:MahasenaHuvishka.jpg|Mahasena on a coin of Huvishka.File:CoinOfHuvishkaWithOisho.JPG|Four-faced Oisho.
File:Manaobago.JPG|Manaobago.File:CoinOfHuvishkaWithPharro.JPG|Pharro.File:CoinOfHuvishkaWithArdochsho.JPG|Ardochsho.File:KanihkaIOishoShiva.jpg|OishoFile:KanihkaIOishoShivaCoin2.jpg|Oisho with bull.File:SkandaAndVisakhaHuvishkaCoin.jpg|Skanda and Visakha.File:KanishkaI.jpg|Gold coin of Kanishka I, with a depiction of the Buddha, with the legend "Boddo" in Greek script. Ahin Poshmarker.File:AdshoCarnelianSeal.jpg|Kushan Carnelian seal representing the "ΑΔϷΟ" (adsho Atar), with triratana symbol left, and Kanishka's dynastic mark right.

The Kushans and Buddhism

Cultural exchanges also flourished, encouraging the development of Greco-Buddhism, a fusion of Hellenistic and Buddhist cultural elements, that was to expand into central and northern Asia as Mahayana Buddhism.

Kanishka is renowned in Buddhist tradition for having convened a great Buddhist council in Kashmirmarker. Kanishka also had the original Gandhari vernacular, or Prakrit, Buddhist texts translated into the language of Sanskrit. Along with the Indian emperors Ashoka and Harsha Vardhana and the Indo-Greek king Menander I (Milinda), Kanishka is considered by Buddhism as one of its greatest benefactors.

Kushan art

The art and culture of Gandhara, at the crossroads of the Kushan hegemony, are the best known expressions of Kushan influences to Westerners. Several direct depictions of Kushans are known from Gandhara, where they are represented with a tunic, belt and trousers and play the role of devotees to the Buddha, as well as the Bodhisattva and future Buddha Maitreya.

In the iconography, they are never associated however with the very Hellenistic "Standing Buddha" statues (See image), which might therefore correspond to an earlier historical period. The style of these friezes incorporating Kushan devotees is already strongly Indianized, quite remote from earlier Hellenistic depictions of the Buddha:

File:KushanCostume.JPG|Kushan costume.File:KushanFaces.JPG|Detail of the face of a Kushan devotee.File:FlamingBuddhaWithKushanDevotees.jpg|Flaming Buddha with Kushan devotees around Maitreya.File:MaitreyaSeated.JPG|Maitreya, with Kushan devotee couple. 2nd century Gandhara.File:DetailKushanDevotee.jpg|Detail of Kushan devotee.File:Kushans&Maitreya.JPG|Maitreya, with Kushan devotees, left and right. 2nd century Gandhara.File:KushansAndMaitreya2.JPG|Maitreya, with Indian (left) and Kushan (right) devotees.File:Kushans&WorshippingOfTheBowl.JPG|Kushans worshipping the Buddha's bowl. 2nd century Gandhara.File:KanishkaCasket.JPG|The "Kanishka casket", with the Buddha surrounded by Brahma and Indra, and Kanishka on the lower part, 127.File:BuddhaTriadAndKushanCouple.JPG|Buddha triad and kneeling Kushan devotee couple. 3rd century.File:KushanMathuraDevotee.jpg|Kushan devotee (Mathura).File:KushanHead.JPG|Stucco head of a Kushan man. Gandhara.File:KushanMan.JPG|Kushan devotee in the traditional costume with tunic and boots, 2nd century, Gandhara.File:KushanStupa.jpg|Butkara stupa under the Kushans.

Contacts with Rome

See also: Roman trade with India
Several Roman sources describe the visit of ambassadors from the Kings of Bactria and India during the 2nd century, probably referring to the Kushans.

Historia Augusta, speaking of Emperor Hadrian (117138) tells:

"Reges Bactrianorum legatos ad eum, amicitiae petendae causa, supplices miserunt"
"The kings of the Bactrians sent supplicant ambassadors to him, to seek his friendship."

Also in 138, according to Aurelius Victor (Epitome‚ XV, 4), and Appian (Praef., 7), Antoninus Pius, successor to Hadrian, received some Indian, Bactrian (Kushan) and Hyrcanian ambassadors.

The Chinese Historical Chronicle of the Hou Hanshu also describes the exchange of goods between northwestern India and the Roman Empire at that time: "To the west Tianzhu (northwestern India) communicates with Da Qin (the Roman Empire). Precious things from Da Qin can be found there, as well as fine cotton cloths, excellent wool carpets, perfumes of all sorts, sugar loaves, pepper, ginger, and black salt."

The summer capital of the Kushan in Begrammarker has yielded a considerable amount of goods imported from the Roman Empire, in particular various types of glassware.

Contacts with China

During the 1st and 2nd century, the Kushan Empire expanded militarily to the north and occupied parts of the Tarim Basin, their original grounds, putting them at the center of the profitable Central Asian commerce with the Roman Empire. They are related to have collaborated militarily with the Chinese against nomadic incursion, particularly when they collaborated with the Han-dynasty general Ban Chao against the Sogdians in 84, when the latter were trying to support a revolt by the king of Kashgarmarker. Around 85, they also assisted the Chinese general in an attack on Turpanmarker, east of the Tarim Basin.

In recognition for their support to the Chinese, the Kushans requested, but were denied, a Han princess, even after they had sent presents to the Chinese court. In retaliation, they marched on Ban Chao in 86 with a force of 70,000, but, exhausted by the expedition, were finally defeated by the smaller Chinese force. The Yuezhi retreated and paid tribute to the Chinese Empire during the reign of the Chinese emperor Han He (89106).

Later, around 116, the Kushans under Kanishka established a kingdom centered on Kashgarmarker, also taking control of Khotanmarker and Yarkandmarker, which were Chinese dependencies in the Tarim Basin, modern Xinjiang. They introduced the Brahmi script, the Indian Prakrit language for administration, and expanded the influence of Greco-Buddhist art which developed into Serindian art.

The Kushans are again recorded to have sent presents to the Chinese court in 158159 during the reign of the Chinese emperor Han Huan.

Following these interactions, cultural exhanges further increased, and Kushan Buddhist missionaries, such as Lokaksema, became active in the Chinese capital cities of Loyangmarker and sometimes Nanjingmarker, where they particularly distinguished themselves by their translation work. They were the first recorded promoters of Hinayana and Mahayana scriptures in China, greatly contributing to the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism.


After the death of Vasudeva I in 225, the Kushan empire split into western and eastern halves. The Western Kushans (in Afghanistan) were soon subjugated by the Persian Sassanid Empire and lost Bactria and other territories. In 248 they were defeated again by the Persians, who deposed the Western dynasty and replaced them with Persian vassals known as the Kushanshas (or Indo-Sassanids).

The Eastern Kushan kingdom was based in the Punjab. Around 270 their territories on the Gangetic plain became independent under local dynasties such as the Yaudheyas. Then in the mid 4th century they were subjugated by the Gupta Empire under Samudragupta.

In 360 a Kushan vassal named Kidara overthrew the old Kushan dynasty and established the Kidarite Kingdom. The Kushan style of Kidarite coins indicates they considered themselves as Kushans. The Kidarite seem to have been rather prosperous, although on a smaller scale than their Kushan predecessors.

These remnants of the Kushan empire were ultimately wiped out in the 5th century by the invasions of the White Huns, and later the expansion of Islam.

In fiction

  • The Kushan Empire was used to represent a dystopian demonic empire within the hugely popular Berserk manga. Its culture is based on that of ancient and medieval Indiamarker, which was the cultural centre of the real Kushan Empire, including Indian weapons such as chakrams, Katara (कटार) and urumis, and martial arts similar to Kalarippayattu, but adapted for the nihilistic setting. In this fictional setting it is ruled by the Emperor Ganishka, a name based upon the real Kushan Emperor Kanishka.

  • In Sierra's strategy game Homeworld, the original Hiigaran refugees were called Kushan throughout the game.

Main Kushan rulers

See also



  • Faccenna, Domenico (1980). Butkara I (Swāt, Pakistan) 1956-1962, Volume III 1 (in English). Rome: IsMEO (Istituto Italiano Per Il Medio Ed Estremo Oriente).
  • Falk, Harry. 1995-1996. Silk Road Art and Archaeology IV.
  • Falk, Harry. 2001. "The yuga of Sphujiddhvaja and the era of the ." Silk Road Art and Archaeology VII, pp. 121–136.
  • Falk, Harry. 2004. "The era in Gupta records." Harry Falk. Silk Road Art and Archaeology X , pp. 167–176.
  • Goyal, S. R. "Ancient Indian Inscriptions" Kusumanjali Book World, Jodhpur (India), 2005.
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilüe 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. [43651]

Further reading

  • Dorn'eich, Chris M. (2008). Chinese sources on the History of the Niusi-Wusi-Asi(oi)-Rishi(ka)-Arsi-Arshi-Ruzhi and their Kueishuang-Kushan Dynasty. Shiji 110/Hanshu 94A: The Xiongnu: Synopsis of Chinese original Text and several Western Translations with Extant Annotations. Berlin. To read or download go to: [43652]
  • Foucher, M. A. 1901. "Notes sur la geographie ancienne du Gandhâra (commentaire à un chaptaire de Hiuen-Tsang)." BEFEO No. 4, Oct. 1901, pp. 322–369.
  • Hargreaves, H. (1910–11): "Excavations at Shāh-jī-kī Dhērī"; Archaeological Survey of India, 1910–11, pp. 25–32.
  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. John E. Hill. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  • Harmatta, János, ed., 1994. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
  • Konow, Sten. Editor. 1929. Kharoshthī Inscriptions with Exception of those of Asoka. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. II, Part I. Reprint: Indological Book House, Varanasi, 1969.
  • Litvinsky, B. A., ed., 1996. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
  • Liu, Xinru 2001 "Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan: Interaction and Interdependence of Nomadic and Sedentary Societies." Journal of World History, Volume 12, No. 2, Fall 2001. University of Hawaii Press, pp. 261–292. [43653].
  • Sarianidi, Viktor. 1985. The Golden Hoard of Bactria: From the Tillya-tepe Excavations in Northern Afghanistan. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York.
  • 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. 1998, pp. 79-93.
  • Spooner, D. B. 1908–9. "Excavations at Shāh-jī-kī Dhērī."; Archaeological Survey of India, 1908–9, pp. 38–59.
  • Watson, Burton. Trans. 1993. Records of the Grand Historian of China: Han Dynasty II. Translated from the Shiji of Sima Qian. Chapter 123: "The Account of Dayuan," Columbia University Press. Revised Edition. ISBN 0-231-08166-9; ISBN 0-231-08167-7 (pbk.)
  • Zürcher, E. (1968). "The Yüeh-chih and Kaniṣka in the Chinese sources." Papers on the Date of Kaniṣka. Basham, A. L., ed., 1968. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 346-393.

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