2012 | 16 | 201-211
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Mithra on Kanishka and Huvishka coins

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Mithra is one of the ancient deities represented on coins of the Great Kushans. The initial Kanishka issue features the Greek version of the solar deity Helios accompanied by the legend in Greek. The next issues feature the identical figure but the legends are in Bactrian and read Mithra in a few varieties of spelling. On the Huvishka coins more diverse types of Mithra in varied positions are observed, as well as together with another deity Mao. The coins are similar to the Roman and Alexandrian coinage as the moneyers probably copied some Roman coin designs and drew the examples from pattern-books. This suggests that Kanishka and Huvishka were inclined to the Greco-Iranian traditions of Bactria, whereas their predecessors and successors gave the priority to the Iranian gods in their coinages. Scholars still dispute the moment when Mithra begun to be represented as himself, not just as a solar deity of a syncretic character.
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