Gold stater of Hormizd (I) Kushanshah

Sasanian empire, AD 276-300
Minted in Balkh, Afghanistan

Sasanian prince takes Kushan title

By AD 240 the Sasanian empire included the former Kushan territories in Afghanistan. The region was ruled by Sasanian princes, usually the heir apparent to the throne. The ruler kept the Kushan royal title of Kushanshah, and retained Kushan designs on their gold coins. However, the image of the ruler is always shown wearing the distinctive crown of a specific Sasanian king, useful for identifying the Kushanshah portrayed on the coin.

On this large cup-shaped gold stater the Kushanshah is shown wearing a lion-scalp royal headdress and armour. The coin was minted in Balkh, and is inscribed in Bactrian 'Hormizd the Great Kushan king of kings'. The crown and inscription identify the ruler as Hormizd (I) Kushanshah, who appears to have governed the eastern territories for the Sasanian emperor in about AD 276-300. The reverse has the Kushan god Oesho standing in front of a bull and is inscribed, again in Bactrian 'exalted deity'.

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More information


E. Errington and J. Cribb (eds), The Crossroads of Asia: transf (Cambridge, Ancient India and Iran Trust, 1992)


Diameter: 30.000 mm
Weight: 7.900 g

Museum number

CM 1860-12-20-219



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