THE COLLECTION
RESOURCES
KIDARITES

Anonymous
Late 4th century


                AR Drachm (3.20 g, 26mm, 4).

      Mint: Mint B in Gandhara(?).
      Obv: Diademed bust right, wearing mural crown with korymbos
                and inner ribbon (in the style of Sasanian king Šābuhr II);
                pseudo-legend around.
      Rev: Fire altar with bust right in flames; flanked by two
                attendants, each wearing mural crown with korymbos;
                illegible inscription on altar shaft.
      Ref: Cribb p. 110 (fig. 71-2); Göbl, Dokumente 28A; KM 1355/1
                and 4 (Šābuhr II, Mint XI); SNS pl. 18, 260-261 (same).



Late 4th century

                AR Drachm (3.45 g, 27mm, 3).

      Mint: Mint XI of Šābuhr II (= Kidarite Mint B in Gandhara?).
      Obv: Diademed bust right, wearing mural crown with korymbos
                and inner ribbon (in the style of Sasanian king Šābuhr II);
                crescent to right; DYSN BGY ŠHPH MLAN MLKA AYRA (in
                crude Pahlavi = "The Mazda-worshipper, Lord Šābuhr, King
                of Kings of Iran") around.
      Rev: Fire altar with bust right in flames; flanked by two
                attendants, each wearing mural crown with korymbos;
                pseudo-legends at sides.
      Ref: SNS Type Ib1/3a (pl. 17, 258-9); MK 1354; Göbl type III/6a
                (pl. 7, 114); Sunrise 858 (this coin) (all as Šābuhr II).
      Pedig: Ex Sunrise Collection (The New York Sale XXXVII, 5 January
                2016), lot 517.

Notes: This issue has traditionally been attributed as an official issue of Šābuhr II, but the combination of various characteristics suggests to me that this may actually be an early issue of the Kidarites. The legends on these are nearly correct for that king's issues, but certain letters are invariably missing within most words, and many of the letters are crude. This alone, though, is not unusual for official eastern issues of Šābuhr II. What is more determinative is the overall style, which is not far off from Sasanian eastern issues, but on these coins is nearly identical to that found on early Kidarite issues. Moreover, the manufacture of the coin itself, with a significant ghosting of the obverse image on the reverse is also typical of not only the Kidarites, but Hunnic coinage in general. The final element is the crescent in front of the bust of the king, which is a significant feature of the issues of the Kidarite king Peroz. That king's coinage is not the earliest of the Kidarites, so while the use of the crescent there may be unconnected to the present issue, if it is, it suggests that this issue is probably after the death of Šābuhr II, and more likely an issue immediately preceding those of Peroz, whose reign is thought to begin circa AD 395.


Peroz
Circa 395-425


                AR Drachm (3.86 g, 29mm, 3).

      Mint: Mint B in Gandhara.
      Struck: Uncertain.
      Obv: Diademed bust right, wearing ram-horn crown with korymbos
                and inner ribbons; crescent to right; uncertain legend around.
      Rev: Fire altar with bust right in flames; flanked by two attendants,
                each wearing mural crown; Nandaya in Brahmi below altar
                shaft.
      Ref: Cribb B1a; Tandon, Important 7; Göbl, Dokumente 1 var.
                (no legends); Göbl, SO I, 1A var. (no legend under altar).
      Pedig: Ex Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 274 (22
                February 2012), lot 260; Classical Numismatic Group 88
                (14 September 2011), lot 657.


Anonymous
Late 4th - early 5th centuries


                AR Drachm (3.57 g, 26mm, 2).

      Mint: Taxila (or its vicinity).
      Obv: Diademed bust right, wearing winged mural crown with
                korymbos (in the style of Sasanian king Vahrām IV);
                pseudo-legend around.
      Rev: Fire altar; flanked by two attendants, each wearing
                mural crown with korymbos; pseudo-legend at sides.
      Ref: SNS-PBW Vahrām (Bahram) IV type Ib1/3 (cf. pl. 33, A1);
                Göbl, Dokumente pl. 6, VII, 4; FPP fig. 82, 5 (on right).
      Pedig: Ex Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 272
                (25 January 2012), lot 185.

Notes: This type, imitating Vahrām (Bahram) IV, is well known from hoards found in the vicinity of Taxila. At the beginning of Vahrām's reign in 388, Taxila was separated from the Sasanian domain by the Kidarites, who soon took control of the important trading center circa 390. As such, this issue is not a Sasanian issue, but one struck while the city was under the control of the Kidarites. The Kidarites were known to have imitated coinage of other cultures as well as striking their own types, and some of those imitations are certainly of Sasanian types. From the time of the great Athenian owls of the classical Greek world in the fifth century BC, many coinage types were imitated for the purposes of conducting trade in a well-recognized coinage type. As Taxila was an important trading center along the southern Silk Road that extended from India to Byzantium, it is not surprising that some trade would be conducted in Sasanian types, and this coinage would facilitate that trade.