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Tokharistan and Gandhara under Western Türk rule (650 - 750) 2


Coinage

The coinage not only differed considerably from region to region, but was different in each of the provinces of Tokharistan. In what is now southern Tajikistan three variations of cast copper coins with central holes circulated: (i) coins of Tokharistan with legends in late cursive Bactrian (Hephthalite) script; (ii) coins with Sogdian legends; and (iii) coins without legends. Particularly noteworthy are the local imitations of Peroz drachms, some countermarked with Sogdian legends, which remained current as late as the mid-eighth century.37

In the part of northern Tokharistan that is now the Surkhan Darya region of Uzbekistan, different varieties of coins circulated. In Chaganiyan, silver coins of the Sasanian shabanshah Khusrau I (531–579) were common because Khusrau's conquests had extended to this region. Subsequently, imitations began to be struck. Interestingly, both genuine coins and imitations were countermarked, some with a cursive Bactrian legend of the ruler's name, others a miniature portrait and others again with a symbol (tamgha). Sometimes the same coin was countermarked several times, with one impression on top of ther. Later, copper coins of the local Chaghan khudat dynasty began to be issued. On the obverse was a portrait copying Khusrau I, in the margin three portraits of the Chaghan khudat and on the reverse a fire altar. On some coins the obverse bore a Bactrian legend; sometimes it merely carried the title khidev (ruler) or 'Khnar (or Enar) the khidev'. There were also copper coins bearing the likeness of the ruler and his consort. These are the characteristic coins of the Sogdian and Turkic states. Unlike similar coins from Chach (modern Tashkent) and Sogdiana, they bore a non-Sogdian inscription and another symbol.

In Termez, copper coins were struck bearing a portrait of the ruler on the obverse, and a symbol of a different shape from that used in Chaganiyan on reverse. This coinage was probably issued by the local dynasty of Termez-shahs.38

Although the coinage of Afghanistan and Pakistan has not been studied in such detail, issues of Vrahitigin (or Vahitigina) should be noted. These were silver coins (probably struck in the late seventh century) bearing the bust of ruler and inscriptions in Bactrian and proto-Sarada, the meaning of which was 'Caused to be made by Sri Hitivira Kharalava, the Supreme Lord Sri Vahitigina the God'. On the reverse is a divinity crowned with a flame and a Pahlavi inscription. The ruler's crown comprises a wolf's head, indicating Turkic affiliations, while the divinity replicates the images on coinage of Khusrau Il (590–628). Coins of this kind are found in the Indus valley, in northern Pakistan and in Afghanistan, including Kabul. Humbach39 has suggested that Vahitigina is the same as Barhatakin, the founder of the Kabul Türk dynasty, of which al-Biruni reports, 'The Hindus had kings residing in Kabul, Türks who were said to be of Tibetan origin.' Sachau40 suggested that this name derived from the Hindu Brhatkina or Brhatketu (for linguistics, see pages 375–6 above).



37. Davidovich and Zeimal, 1980, p. 74.
38. Rtveladze, 1987, pp.120–9.
39. Humbach, 1966.
40. Sachau, 1888.

Maryam Zebardast

Library:

Maryam Zebardast

Author:

B.A. Litvinsky











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