Historical Overview Section

The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries) originally formed in Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus River or Syr Darya in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. At its zenith (c. 105–250 AD) it extended from what is now Afghanistan to Pakistan and down into the Ganges river valley in northern India. The empire was created by the Kushan branch of the Yuezhi confederation, an Indo-European people from the eastern Tarim Basin, China, possibly related to the Tocharians. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and China, and for several centuries were at the center of exchange between the East and the West. Several Roman sources describe the visit of ambassadors from the Kings of Bactria and India during the 2nd century, probably referring to the Kushans and excavations at the summer capital of the Kushan in Begram have yielded a considerable amount of goods imported from the Roman Empire.

The origins of the dynasty lie in the Yuezhi, a nomadic people who reached the Hellenic Graeco-Bactrian Kingdom around 135 BCE, displacing the Greek dynasties to the southeast in areas of the Hindu Kush and the Indus basin to form the Indo-Greek Kingdom. As the new rulers sradually wrested control of the area from other Scythian tribes, the Kushans expanded south into the region traditionally known as Gandhara and established twin capitals near present-day Kabul and Peshawar then known as Kapisa and Pushklavati respectively. The Kushan writing system used the Greek alphabet, with the addition of the letter Sho.The Kushans adopted elements of the Hellenistic culture of Bactria. They adapted the Greek alphabet (often corrupted) to suit their own language (with the additional development of the letter Þ "sh", as in "Kushan") and soon began minting coinage on the Greek model. The Kushan Empire came into conflict with the Parthian's, taking territory from them and establishing a peaceful trading environment from Rome to China. The Kushans also enjoyed extensive diplomatic, trading and cultural ties with China, which occasionally spilled over into territorial warfare.

After the death of a prominent ruler in 225, the Kushan empire split into western and eastern halves. The Western Kushans (in Afghanistan) were soon subjugated by the Sassanid Persian Empire and lost Bactria and other territories. In 248 they were defeated again by the Persians, who deposed the Western dynasty and replaced them with Persian vassals known as the Kushanshas (or Indo-Sassanids). The Eastern Kushan kingdom was based in the Punjab. Around 270 their territories on the Gangetic plain became independent under local dynasties such as the Yaudheyas. Then in the mid 4th century they were subjugated by the Gupta Empire under Samudragupta.

In 360 a Kushan vassal named Kidara overthrew the old Kushan dynasty and established the Kidarite Kingdom. The Kushan style of Kidarite coins indicates they considered themselves as Kushans. The Kidarite seem to have been rather prosperous, although on a smaller scale than their Kushan predecessors. These remnants of the Kushan empire were ultimately wiped out in the 5th century by the invasions of the White Huns, and later the expansion of Islam.

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
200 AP Avignon 2019 (Winner)
4 MCv Bow
2 LH Bow
Competent General
1 Mediocre MCv
1 LH Bow
4 Elite Cataphracts
Competent General
1 Ordinary Cataphract
1 Cv Medium w/ Bow
1 LF Bow
2 Elephants (including General Competent)
2 Mixed Units
2 LF Bow
1 Medium Swordsman

107 Kushan (Bolton - Britcon 2019)
Competent Included
3 Cataphract Cataphract Elite 13 39
3 Horse Archers Medium cavalry bow Ordinary 9 27
1 Horse Archers Light cavalry bow Ordinary 6 6
1 Light Cavalry Javelin Light cavalry javelin Ordinary 6 6
1 Indian horsemen Medium cavalry Mediocre 5 5
Ordinary Included
2 Elephants Elephant Ordinary 13 26
3 Indian archers in mixed units ½ Medium swordsmen ½
Bowmen Ordinary 9 27
1 Light Infantry Bow Light infantry bow Ordinary 4 4
4 Horse Archers Medium cavalry bow Ordinary 9 36
3 Horse Archers Light cavalry bow Ordinary 6 18
1 Light Cavalry Light cavalry javelin Ordinary 6 6

200 Points
Clives list from CLWC 2016
3 Indian archer Bowmen ------
2 Elephants Elephant ------
2 Light Infantry Bow Light infantry bow ------
1 Indian horsemen Medium cavalry Mediocre
1 Indian archers in mixed units ½ Medium swordsmen ½ Bowmen ----
Competent Included
4 Horse archers Medium cavalry bow
2 Horse archers Light cavalry bow
4 Cataphract Cataphract Elite
1 Light Cavalry Javelin Light cavalry javelin
2 Horse archers Light cavalry bow ------

List played at Roll Call:
Corps 1: Brilliant

  • 4 Cataphracte Elite
  • 2 Light infantry bow
  • 1 elephant
  • 1 medium cavalry bow

Corps 2: Competent

  • 4 Cataphracte
  • 2 Light infantry bow
  • 1 medium cavalry bow

Corps 3: Ordinary

  • 2 light horse bow
  • 4 medium cavalry bow

400AP Graeco-Indian and Kushan combined list

  • 10 LH Bow


  • 3 Bw
  • 2 LH Bw
  • 1 Med Cav Inferior
  • 1 Mixed Bw//Sw foot


  • 2 Pike
  • 2 Elephants
  • 4 LH Bw


  • 3 Pike
  • 3 Bw


  • 3 Elephants Elite
  • 3 Medium Swordsmen
  • 2 Elite Bw Psiloi
  • 2 Javelin LF


  • 6 Cataphracts (3 elite)