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Coin of Kidara (reigned circa 360-380 CE), founder of the Kidarite Kingdom
Obv: King Kidara standing.
Rev: Goddess Ardoksho seated.
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There are two different theories regarding the Kidarite kingdom: either it is created in the second half of the 4th c., or in the twenties of the 5th c. The only link of the Kidarites with the 4th c. are gold coins discovered in Balkh (Tepe Maranjan) and dating from circa 380 where 'Kidara' is supposed to be read in a blundered legend (in Bactrian KIOOOO). Most of the numismatic specialists would favor this idea, but it is ill-grounded in the coins themselves. All the other data we currently have on the Kidarite kingdom are from the middle of the 5th c., in Chinese (Jiduoluo) and Byzantine sources (Kidaritoi). The Kidarites, a nomadic clan, supposed to have arrived in Bactriana with the great migrations of the second half of the 4th c., with, among others, the Hephthalites and the Chionites, may have risen to power during the 420's in Northern Afghanistan before conquering Peshawar and part of NW India, then turning north to conquer Sogdiana in the 440's, before being cut from their Bactrian nomadic roots by the rise of the Hephthalites in the 450's. Many small Kidarite kingdoms seems to have survived in Northwest India up to the conquest by the Hephthalites during the last quarter of the 5th c. They are known through their coinage. The Kidarites are the last dynasty to regard themselves (on the legend of their coins) as the inheritors of the Kushan empire, which had disappeared as an independent entity two centuries earlier.

Bibliography

  • ENOKI, K., « On the Date of the Kidarites (I) », Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, 27, 1969, p. 1-26.
  • GRENET, F. « Regional Interaction in Central Asia and North-West India in the Kidarite and Hephtalite Period », in SIMS-WILLIAMS, N. (ed.), Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples, (Proceedings of the British Academy), London, 2002, p. 203-224.

References

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