KUSHAN, Soter Megas, c. 55-105 AD, bronze tetradrachm


KUSHAN, Soter Megas, c. 55-105 AD, tetradrachm, no date, Taxila mint, Obverse: radiant diademed bust R with 7 rays, holding scepter, Reverse: horseman R, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΣΟΤΗΡ ΜΕΓΑΣ, round letter forms, bronze, 21mm, 8.32g, MA2953, corrosion, F

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The main Soter Megas series is defined by the number of rays proceeding from the king’s head. We know that the number means something, but we don’t know what. Mitchiner assigns different styles to different mints.

There is general agreement these days that the Kushan king who issued the SOTER MEGAS (Great Savior) coins was named Vima Takto.

The Kushans started as nomads but became cosmopolitan when they conquered Gandhara in western Pakistan. They controlled their section of the Silk Road trade, and patronized Buddhism.

The earliest ancient Indian coins were the “bent bar” punchmarked silvers of the Achaemenid Persians occupying Gandhara in northwest Pakistan. By the 3rd century BC coins were in general use in most of India and Ceylon, and in subsequent centuries struck round coins in gold, silver, and copper came into use throughout the subcontinent and beyond to Southeast Asia and Pacific islands to Java and beyond.