He is famous for his military, political, and spiritual achievements. A descendant of Kushan empire founder Kushan art and architecture pdf Kadphises, Kanishka came to rule an empire in Bactria extending from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain. The main capital of his empire was located at Puruṣapura in Gandhara, with another major capital at Kapisa.
His conquests and patronage of Buddhism played an important role in the development of the Silk Road, and the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China. Earlier scholars believed that Kanishka ascended the throne in 78 CE, and that this date was used as the beginning of the Saka calendar era.
However, this date is now not regarded as the historical date of Kanishka’s accession. Statue of Kanishka I, 2nd century, Mathura Museum.
Kanishka was a Kushan of probable Yuezhi ethnicity. His native language is unknown. Eastern Iranian language of the Middle Iranian period.
However, this was likely adopted by the Kushans to facilitate communication with local subjects. It is not certain, what language the Kushan elite spoke among themselves. Whereas Iranian languages such as Bactrian were “satem” languages. Vima Kadphises was Kanishka’s father.
Kanishka was the successor of Vima Kadphises, as demonstrated by an impressive genealogy of the Kushan kings, known as the Rabatak inscription. Kanishka’s empire was certainly vast. Kashmir, where there was a town Kanishkapur, named after him not far from the Baramula Pass and which still contains the base of a large stupa. Bronze coin of Kanishka, found in Khotan, modern China.
Knowledge of his hold over Central Asia is less well established. Though Ban Chao claimed to be victorious, forcing the Kushans to retreat by use of a scorched-earth policy, the region fell to Kushan forces in the early 2nd century.