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Heraios coin.jpg
Silver tetradrachm of Kushan king Heraios.
Obv: Bust of Heraios, with Greek royal headband.
Rev: Horse-mounted King, crowned with a wreath by the Greek goddess of victory Nike. Greek legend: ΤΥΡΑΝΝΟΥΟΤΟΣ ΗΛΟΥ - ΣΑΝΑΒ - ΚΟϷϷΑΝΟΥ "The Tyrant Heraios, Sanav (meaning unknown), of the Kushans".
Kushan ruler
Reignc. 1 –30 CE[citation needed]
SuccessorKujula Kadphises

Heraios (sometimes Heraus, Heraos, Miaos) was apparently a king or clan chief of the Kushans (reign: c. 1 –30 CE[citation needed]), one of the five constituent tribes of the Yuezhi, in Bactria, in the early 1st century CE.[1]

Several scholars question his existence as a separate historical figure and suggest that "Heraios" may have been another name for his nominal successor Kujula Kadphises.[2] For example, numismatist Joe Cribb points out the similarity of coins minted by Kujula to those of a Greco-Bactrian predecessor named Hermaios Soter (or Hermaeus Soter). Moreover, some portraits of Kujula resemble Hermaios, suggesting that Kujula may have initially reused the design of coins issued during the reign of Hermaios Soter.[3]

The coins bearing the name Heraios were silver and made in the Hellenistic style, using the Greek script. The reverse shows the winged Greek god of victory Nike holding out a wreath, over Heraios mounted on a horse. He wears a tunic and has a large bow on the side. Some portraits show Heraios with a marked artificial skull deformation, a characteristic of several Kushan portraits and sculptures of the 1st century CE. On some of the Heraios coins, his name has sometimes been read as ΗΛΟΥ or ΗΙΛΟΥ, which has been transliterated as "Ilou". However other readings of the same texts include "Maou" and "Miaou".


  1. ^ Ancient Coin Collecting VI: Non-Classical Cultures p.92 Wayne G. Sayles F+W Media, Inc, 1999
  2. ^ Rezakhani 2017, p. 54.
  3. ^ Cribb, Joe (1993). The Heraus Coins: Their Attribution to the Kushan King Kujula Kadphises, c. AD 30-80 (PDF). Essays in Honour of Robert Carson and Kenneth Jenkins. London: Spink. pp. 116–140. Retrieved 2018-03-08.


Preceded by
(as ruler in Bactria, Yuezhi)
Kushan Ruler
1 – 30 CE
Succeeded by
Kujula Kadphises