Jīvadāman had a short reign that stretched across just three years, S. 119-121 (c. 197-199 CE) and was succeeded by his cousin Rudrasena I, son of
Rudrasimha I, probably as a result of an intra-family internecine struggle. Rudrasena ruled for about 24 years, as coins dated from 121 to 144 are known for him. During his
reign, it appears he faced a rebellion in year 124 from his cousin Satyadāman, son of Dāmazāda and brother of Jīvadāman, and another from
his brother Isvaradeva some time in the 130's. Both rebellions seem to have been short-lived. Coins of the rebels are presented on the next page.
The earliest known coin for Rudrasena as kshatrapa is dated 121 (J&R 366 and Senior 339.10D) and carries the legend
Rājno mahākshatrapasa Rudrasihasaputrasa Rājno kshatrapasa Rudrasenasa.
The presence of the letter sa in the patronymic suggests that this coin was struck at mint A, where Rudradāman's coins also featured this letter in the patronymic. Until
now, all known coins of Rudrasena as kshatrapa carry this legend and include the additional dates 122 and 124, suggesting that Rudrasena perhaps served as kshatrapa in
the area of mint A only for the period 121-124. However, presented below are five types for Rudrasena as kshatrapa which were published for the first time in my
2009 Numismatic Digest paper. One is the first known coin of
Rudrasena dated 123; it is a mint A coin since it has the mint A legend. There are then four coins that feature what is probably the mint B legend:
Rājno mahākshatrapasa Rudrasihaputrasa Rājno kshatrapasa Rudrasenasa.
The letter sa has here been omitted from the patronymic. There is a coin dated 121, another dated 122, and then there are two coins dated 124: one with a
Sanskrit legend to correspond to the known mint A coin of year 124 (Senior 339.14D) and coin 43B with a Prakrit legend, previously unreported for this year. These coins
therefore fill in many gaps and indicate that Rudrasena held the title of kshatrapa in the areas of both mint A and mint B during the period S. 121-124.
Given this history, we would expect to find the first Rudrasena issues naming him as mahakshatrapa to be dated 124, and this is indeed what J&R report. However,
Senior reports a coin with legend A dated 112 (!) and another, with unreported legend, dated 122. And, in my paper and in the table below, I report two new coin types: coins
that are Rudrasena mahakshatrapa coins dated 121 and 123 respectively. Note that, as in the case of the kshatrapa coins, the mints are being distinguished on the basis of
the presence or absence of the letter sa in the patronymic. Thus, mint A coins read:
Rājno mahākshatrapasa Rudrasihasaputrasa Rājno mahākshatrapasa Rudrasenasa,
while mint B coins feature:
Rājno mahākshatrapasa Rudrasihaputrasa Rājno mahākshatrapasa Rudrasenasa.
I will discuss the S. 112 coin later, but the other coins clearly indicate that Rudrasena took the title of mahakshatrapa as early as S. 121. These coins all carry the legend A
(assuming that Senior's coin does also) and that would indicate a localized assumption of full power. Indeed, the fact that Rudrasena was issuing coins both as kshatrapa
and mahakshatrapa during the years 121-123 suggests to me that the two-mint model is insufficiently detailed to analyze WK coinage fully. I suspect that "mint A" coins were
in fact produced in more than one mint and that Rudrasena assumed the title of mahakshatrapa in "mint A1" while continuing as kshatrapa in "mint A2."
After year 123, many coins are known for Rudrasena, covering the period 124-144, but there are many gaps in the listed sequences. In my paper, I published for the first
time coins with the following dates:
mint A: 128, 131, 143, and
mint B: 126, 127, 129, 130, 131, 134, 136, 137, 138, 139, and 140.
These coins are shown below and greatly expand the number of known dates for Rudrasena's coinage. The remaining gaps are indicated in the table.
Now let's turn to the coin dated S. 112. As I mentioned in the discussion of Rudrasimha's possible demotion to kshatrapa in the area of mint A during S. 110-112, the
S. 112 coin of Rudrasena might serve as an important piece of information to solve this conundrum. Assuming this coin is not an error of some sort, it tells us that Rudrasena I
served as mahakshatrapa at mint A in the year S. 112. This is precisely during the time when Rudrasimha's coins from that mint had "demoted" him to kshatrapa. Might
Rudrasena have attempted an early overthrow of his father? That is possible, but I think it is unlikely. If such an overthrow had been successful, why would Rudrasena
permit his father to keep issuing coins as kshatrapa? Surely he would have forced him to cease issuing coins altogether. And if the attempted overthrow were not successful,
surely Rudrasimha would have kept issuing coins as mahakshatrapa. So it seems to me that a hypothesis that Rudrasena attempted to usurp the throne from his father is not
very consistent with the outcome we observe, that Rudrasimha continued to issue coins but as kshatrapa, and that Rudrasena's mahakshatrapa coinage is rarer than his
father's kshatrapa coinage.
I would like to propose an alternative hypothesis, that Rudrasimha voluntarily reduced his status to kshatrapa and advanced his son Rudrasena to mahakshatrapa in an
attempt to either reduce his own responsibilities or to enhance his son's status as a probable successor. We can assume that D?maz?da had been Rudrasimha's older
brother, since he had succeeded their father Rudrad?man. Therefore, Dāmazāda's son Jīvadāman must have had a fairly powerful claim to the
throne occupied after his father's death by his uncle Rudrasimha. Indeed, this presumed claim is what prompted Rapson's speculation that Jīvadāman had in
fact succeeded Dāmazāda, and had continued to wage a power struggle with Rudrasimha. Even if, as I have argued the coin evidence indicates, this power
struggle did not manifest in Jīvadāman actually taking power and striking coins in his name, it may well have lain close below the surface. At a minimum,
Jīvadāman probably had prior claim to the throne over Rudrasena at Rudrasimha's death. In the face of these circumstances, perhaps Rudrasimha attempted to
increase his son's status and chances for succession by his unorthodox withdrawal to kshatrapa status. The fact that Rudrasimha's kshatrapa coins are more common
(although still quite rare) than Rudrasena's coins from this time period might indicate that his coinage was more copious and hence that real power continued to lie in
Of course, the Rudrasena S. 112 coin may simply be a die engraver's error. And, even if it isn't, the hypothesis I have proposed is purely speculative. So for now we must
continue to wonder what in fact transpired in the Western Kshatrapa kingdom during the years S. 110-112. The two mint hypothesis has added richness to this problem but
has not eliminated it.