Two Kushano-Sasanian bronzes

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus, Nov 27, 2022.

  1. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Next up in my review of my Baltimore Whitman show haul: two Kushano-Sasanian bronze coins.
    Hormazd Kushanshah.jpg
    Coin 1: Kushano-Sasanians. AE 15. Hormazd Kushanshah (c.270- 300). Obverse: Bust of king right, Pahlavi inscription around. Reverse: "Investiture scene" with Hormazd standing on left, deity (or sub-king) partially seated on right. Jongeward 2221-2224. This coin: Purchased from Tamco Numismatics at Baltimore Whitman Coin Expo (October 2022).

    Peroz Kushanshah.jpg
    Coin 2: Kushano-Sasanians. AE 20. Peroz Kushanshah (c. 245-270). Obverse: Kushan-style king standing, facing left, holding trident in left hand and sacrificing over altar with right hand, Bactrian legend around. Reverse: Shiva standing facing, in front of bull facing left. MACW 1275-7, MK1105. This coin: Purchased from Aristos Ancients at Baltimore Whitman Coin Expo (October 2022).

    The newly formed Sasanian Persian Empire conquered territories in Bactria, Gandhara, and Sogdiana from the Kushans about 225, and shortly afterwards set the area up under a series of governors who took the title of Kushanshah (King of the Kushans). Little is known of their history except from scattered inscriptions and their coins. The Kushanshahs issued coins in their own names, although some shared their names with kings of the main Sasanian line, distinguished only by their title of Kushanshah. The coins contain a mix of Kushan-derived and Sasanian-derived designs. Around 360 the Kidarite Huns conquered most of the region, and what was left was absorbed by the Sasanians into their main territory, ending the line of Kushanshahs.

    Both of these coins were sold attributed, and I have included these attributions above, but I still have questions about each coin. For Coin #1, I believe the attribution to Hormazd Kushanshah is correct. However, different sources gave different explanations of the reverse scene. The taller figure on the left is identified as the Kushanshah (recognizable by this wearing the same headdress as on the obverse), but the identity of the partially-seated figure is less clear. Some say it is a deity conferring authority on the Kushanshah, others say it is a subordinate ruler receiving his authority from the Kushanshah.This seems like it would be a difficult argument to solve definitively. For Coin #2, my uncertainty is with which Kushanshah issued the coin. The seller identifies this as a coin of Peroz Kushanshah (c. 245-270), and all the examples of this type I found on Zeno also attribute it to Peroz. However, Mitchiner's Ancient and Classical World (MACW) assigns this type to Peroz. The inscription on this coin appears reasonably clear, but I had some trouble reading it. The left portion (from about 7 to 10 o'clock) seems to spell out "Kushan" in Bactrian, but I couldn't work out the rest of the inscription. Maybe you can read this and confirm or refute the Peroz ID? Anyway, thanks for reading, and please share your related coins.
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  3. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Something about Kushano-Sasanian I have always loved. I buy them on occasion, having bought a couple of pretty nice group lots over the years and a few gold. There are still many disputes of relationship of them versus the royal line, if a couple of shananshah's had it issued in their own name, (Hormizd I believe they still wonder), or if Hormizd was Kushano-Sasanian leader first, then promoted to shananshah. Anyway, they are fascinating coins melding Kushan and Sasanian iconography and coin fabric, and had long term impacts on later coinage of the area.

    One of those areas I dabble in, find it interesting, but have so many other side collections I do not spend much time in it.
    Ryan McVay and john-charles like this.
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