Kushanas and Kanishka

Exact Match
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Satvahanas | Shakas | Kushanas & Kanishka | Rudradaman | Christianity

The Shakas were destined once more to be driven out by the Yuch-chi. The Chinese historian Ssu-ma-chien records that a Yuch-chi chief, Kujula Khadphises, united the five tribes of the Yuch-chi and led them over the northern mountains into the Indian sub-continent, establishing himself in Kabul and Kashmir by defeating Hermacus. Soon after the middle of the first century A.D. Kujula died at the age of eighty and was sueceeded by his son, Vima Khadphises.


Kanishka was the greatest ruler of the Kushan Empire, which flourished in what is now Pakistan, Afghanistan, and northwest India from about A.D. 50 to the mid-200's. The accession of Kanishka has been dated anywhere between A.D. 78-144. The Kushana kingdom extended southwards as far as Sanchi, and to the east as far as Banaras, with Mathura having the status almost of a second capital. Kushana political power and art reached their peaks under his leadership.

Kanishka created a great council of Buddhist monks, and missionaries spread Buddhism to China during his reign. At his capital, Purushapura, (modern Peshawar) he built a famous towering monument to house relics of Buddha.

Kanishka sponsored the Gandharan school of sculpture, one of the first schools to produce stone images of Buddha. Earlier, sculptors had created things only associated with Buddha, such as his footprints. An era based on A.D. 78 has come to be called the Saka Era supposedly started by the Shakas. Kanishka adopted the Saka Era, a calendar system still used by the Indian government.

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