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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Asian Coins ▸ Afghanistan to IndiaView Options:  |  |  | 

Afghanistan to India

Indo-Greek Kingdom, Menander I Soter, c. 155 - 130 B.C.

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Menander is the most important Greek king who ruled in India and the only Greek king mentioned in Indian literature. Tradition maintains he was a wise and powerful King, who converted to Buddhism. This is further evidenced by his later coin legends which translate, "follower of the Dharma."
WA79645. Silver drachm, SNG ANS 879, Mitchiner IGIS 218c, Bopearachchi Smithsonian 124, Bopearachchi 16I, HGC 12 193, SNG Cop -, gVF, attractive style, toned, reverse off center, light marks, weight 2.451 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Paropamisadai or Gandhara, uncertain mint, c. 155 - 130 B.C.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ MENAN∆POY, draped bust right, wearing diadem and crested helmet ornamented with bull's horn and ear; reverse Kharosthi legend: Maharajasa Tratarasa Menadrasa (of Great King Menander the Savior), Athena Alkidemos standing left, brandishing thunderbolt in right hand, shield on left arm, Kharosthi monogram right; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Indo-Greek Kingdom, Menander, c. 155 - 130 B.C.

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Menander was in charge of the eastern Baktria, including modern Punjab and perhaps other regions deeper into Indian land. He expanded his influence further more into India where he is mentioned in several sources such as Milindanpanha and Mahavamsa, and an inscription on a reliquary. The tradition maintains that he was a wise and powerful King and that he converted to Buddhism. This is further evidenced by his later coin legends which translate to "follower of the Dharma."
Click here to see an Indian sculpture of a possible Greek King.
WA77216. Silver drachm, SNG ANS 808, SNG Cop 290, Bopearachchi Smithsonian 91, Bopearachchi 13O, Mitchiner IGIS 215f, HGC 12 191, gVF, dark toning, marks and scratches, porosity, reverse slightly off center, weight 2.390 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Paropamisadai or Gandhara, uncertain mint, c. 155 - 130 B.C.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ MENAN∆POY, diademed and draped bust right; reverse Kharosthi legend: maharaja tratasa Menadrasa (of Great King Menander the Savior), Athena Alkidemos standing left, brandishing thunderbolt in right hand, shield on left arm, Kharosthi monogram lower right; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Indo-Greek Kingdom, Menander, c. 155 - 130 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Menander ruled eastern Baktria, including modern Punjab. He expanded his influence into India where he is mentioned in several sources such as Milindanpanha and Mahavamsa, and in an inscription on a reliquary. Tradition maintains he was a wise and powerful King and converted to Buddhism. This is evidenced by his later coin legends which translate to "follower of the Dharma".
WA77217. Silver drachm, SNG ANS 876, Mitchiner IGIS 218h, Bopearachchi 16G, HGC 12 193, Bopearachchi Smithsonian -, SNG Cop -, gVF, attractive style, well centered on a tight flan, dark old collection toning, light deposits, weight 2.439 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Paropamisadai or Gandhara, uncertain mint, c. 155 - 130 B.C.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ MENAN∆POY, draped bust right, wearing diadem and crested helmet ornamented with bull's horn and ear; reverse Kharosthi legend: maharaja tratasa Menadrasa (of Great King Menander the Savior), Athena Alkidemos standing left, brandishing thunderbolt in right hand, shield on left arm, Σ lower left, Kharosthi monogram lower right; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Baktrian Kingdom, Euthydemos I Theos Megas, c. 225 - 195 B.C.

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Euthydemus was allegedly a native of Magnesia and a son of General Apollodotus. According to Polybius, Euthydemus was a Satrap of Sogdiana who ousted the dynasty of Diodotus from Bactria and made himself king. His kingdom seems to have been substantial, including Sogdiana to the north, and Margiana and Ariana to the south or east of Bactria. When Antiochus III the Great attacked in 208 B.C., Euthydemus lost the Battle of the Arius but then resisted a three-year siege in the fortified city of Bactra. Euthydemus negotiated peace asserting that he toppled the descendants of the rebel Diodotus and provided a barrier to barbarian invasions. Antiochus decided to recognize him as king, and offered one of his daughters to Euthydemus' son Demetrius.
AW73959. Bronze double unit, Kritt Dynastic AK-1, Bopearachchi series 17, SNG ANS 147, Mitchiner IGIS 87, SGCV II 7523, HGC 14 53 (R1), F, thick flan with beveled edge, corrosion, weight 7.245 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 45o, Ai Khanoum mint, c. 225 - 208/6 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Herakles right; reverse horse prancing right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ above, EYΘY∆HMOY below; scarce; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Indo-Greek Kingdom, Menander, c. 155 - 130 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Menander ruled eastern Baktria, including modern Punjab. He expanded his influence into India where he is mentioned in several sources such as Milindanpanha and Mahavamsa, and in an inscription on a reliquary. Tradition maintains he was a wise and powerful King and converted to Buddhism. This is evidenced by his later coin legends which translate to "follower of the Dharma".
WA79754. Silver drachm, SNG ANS 822, Mitchiner IGIS 215o, SNG Cop 293, Bopearachchi 13Q, Bopearachchi Smithsonian 98, HGC 12 191, SGCV II 7600, Choice VF, toned, toned, porous, minor edge cracks, weight 2.383 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Paropamisadai or Gandhara, uncertain mint, c. 155 - 130 B.C.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ MENAN∆POY, diademed and draped bust of King right; reverse Kharosthi legend: maharaja tratasa Menadrasa (of Great King Menander the Savior), Athena standing left, wearing crested helmet, shield on left arm, brandishing thunderbolt in right hand, Kharosthi monogram left; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


Indo-Scythian Kingdom, Azes II, c. 35 B.C. - 5 A.D.

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Azes II may have been the last Indo-Scythian king in the northern Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan). Indo-Scythian rule crumbled under the conquests of the Kushans who expanded into India to create the Kushan Empire. Senior and Hoover now believe Azes II did not exist and attribute all Azes coins to Azes I or as posthumous imitative issues. A type attributed to Azes I has been found overstruck on a coin traditionally attributed to Azes II, supporting their hypothesis.
WA90095. Bronze hexachalkon, Senior 102.193, Mitchiner ACW 2386, Mitchiner IGIS 850f, HGC 12 657, aVF, weight 12.825 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 135o, Taxila Sirsukh B(?) mint, c. 35 B.C. - 5 A.D.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN MEΓAΛOY AZOY (King of Kings, Azes the Great), humped bull standing right, Kharosthi monogram above, Kharosthi letter "jha" before forelegs; reverse Kharosthi legend: Maharajasa rajadirajasa mahatasa Ayasa (great king, king of kings, Azes the Great), mane-less lion standing right, Kharosthi monogram above; ex Ancient Imports; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


Indo-Scythian Kingdom, Azes II, c. 35 B.C. - c. 5 A.D.

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Azes II may have been the last Indo-Scythian king in the northern Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan). Indo-Scythian rule crumbled under the conquests of the Kushans who expanded into India to create the Kushan Empire. Senior and Hoover now believe Azes II did not exist and attribute all Azes coins to Azes I or as posthumous imitative issues. A type attributed to Azes I has been found overstruck on a coin traditionally attributed to Azes II, supporting their hypothesis.
BB75464. Silver drachm, cf. Senior 105.223D, Fröhlich 222, cf. Mitchiner IGIS 859 (various controls), HGC 12 655, gF, toned, tight flan, porous, weight 1.857 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 270o, Mir Zakah(?) mint, obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN MEΓAΛOY AZOY, king on horseback riding right, whip in right hand, Kharosthi monogram (control) right; reverse Kharosthi legend: maharajasa rajatirajasa mahatasa Ayasa, Zeus standing left, Nike extended in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, Kharosthi monogram (control) left, B over Kharosthi letter Vi (control) right; $27.00 (€24.03)
 


Indo-Scythian Kingdom, Azes II, c. 35 B.C. - c. 5 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
Azes II may have been the last Indo-Scythian king in the northern Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan). Indo-Scythian rule crumbled under the conquests of the Kushans who expanded into India to create the Kushan Empire. Senior and Hoover now believe Azes II did not exist and attribute all Azes coins to Azes I or as posthumous imitative issues. A type attributed to Azes I has been found overstruck on a coin traditionally attributed to Azes II, supporting their hypothesis.
WA74998. Silver drachm, Senior 105.230D, Fröhlich 236 var. (annulet over Va-Su), cf. Mitchiner IGIS 859 (various controls), HGC 12 655, aVF, tight flan, porous, weight 2.176 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, Mir Zakah(?) mint, obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN MEΓAΛOY AZOY, king on horseback riding right, whip in right hand, Kharosthi monogram (control) right; reverse Kharosthi legend: maharajasa rajatirajasa mahatasa Ayasa, Zeus standing left, Nike extended in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, Kharosthi monogram (control) left, Kharosthi monogram Va-Su (control) right; $27.00 (€24.03)
 


Indo-Scythian Kingdom, Azes II, c. 35 B.C. - c. 5 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
Azes II may have been the last Indo-Scythian king in the northern Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan). Indo-Scythian rule crumbled under the conquests of the Kushans who expanded into India to create the Kushan Empire. Senior and Hoover now believe Azes II did not exist and attribute all Azes coins to Azes I or as posthumous imitative issues. A type attributed to Azes I has been found overstruck on a coin traditionally attributed to Azes II, supporting their hypothesis.
WA74999. Silver drachm, Senior 98.101TD, Fröhlich 258 - 263 var. (obv. letter), Mitchiner IGIS type 847c, HGC 12 653 (S), VF, porous, tight flan, weight 1.453 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 0o, western Gandhara, uncertain mint, c. 35 B.C. - c. 5 A.D.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN MEΓAΛOY AZOY, king riding right on horseback, wearing armor, raising right hand, whip over shoulder in left hand, Karosthi letter La (control) before horse; reverse Kharosthi legend: Maharajasa rajarajasa mahatasa Ayasa (of Great King, King of Kings Azes the Great), Pallas Athena standing right, raising right hand, shield on left arm, transverse spear in left hand, without extra drapery, Karosthi monograms (controls) left and right; $27.00 (€24.03)
 


Indo-Scythians, Kushanas Yuezhi in Hindu Kush and Gandhara, c. 55 - 45 B.C., Imitative of Hermaios

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Hermaios, the last Indo-Greek king, ruled in the Hindu-Kush region, from Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afganistan), c. 105 - 90 B.C. His prosperous rule ended when the Scythian Kushanas Yuezhi invaded from neighboring Bactria. With his defeat, the isolated area of Greek domination in the east, which had lasted three centuries since the invasion of Alexander the Great, came to an end. The new rulers widely copied Hermaios coinage for many decades, in an increasingly debased and barbarized form.
BB75430. Silver drachm, Senior Hermaios 39aD.2/2q, Bopearachchi series 19, Mitchiner IGIS III 420i, HGC 12 307 (R1), aF, toned, tight flan, marks, corrosion, weight 1.647 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 0o, eastern Gandhara, uncertain mint, c. 55 - 45 B.C.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ (clockwise above), EPMAIOY (counterclockwise below), diademed and draped bust of Hermaios right, flowing diadem ties, dotted hair; reverse Kharosthi legend: Maharaajasa tratarasa Heramayasa (of Great King Hermaios the Savior), Zeus enthroned half left, chest bare, himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder, legs apart, right hand raised in benediction, scepter in left hand, Kharosthi monogram left, Greek N(?) over Karosthi letter To(?) right of throne; rare; $21.00 (€18.69)
 







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REFERENCES

Alram, M. Iranisches Personennamenbuch: Nomina Propria Iranica In Nummis. Osterreichischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften. (Wien, 1986).
Bopearachchi, O. Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian and Indo-Parthian Coins in the Smithsonian Institution. (Washington D.C., 1993).
Bopearachchi, O. Monnaies Gréco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques. (Paris, 1991).
Bopearachchi, O & A. ur Rahman. Pre-Kushana Coins in Pakistan. (Karachi, 1995).
Cribb, J. "Numismatic Evidence for Kushano-Sasanian Chronology" in Studia Iranica 19 (1990).
Friedberg, A. & I. Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 8th ed. (2009).
Fröhlich, C. Monnaies indo-scythes et indo-parthes, Catalogue raisonné Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 2008).
Gardner, P. The Coins of the Greek and Scythic Kings of Bactria and India in the British Museum. (London, 1886).
Gupta, P.L. & T.R. Hardaker. Punchmarked Coinage of the Indian Subcontinent - Magadha-Mauryan Series. (Mumbai, 2014).
Lahiri, A.N. Corpus of Indo-Greek Coins. (Calcutta, 1965).
Mitchiner, M. Ancient Trade and Early Coinage. (London, 2004).
Mitchiner, M. Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian Coinage. 9 Vols. (London, 1975-1976).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins and Their Values, Volume Three, Non-Islamic States & Western Colonies. (London, 1979).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins: the Ancient and Classical World. (London, 1978).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Senior, R. Indo-Scythian Coins and History. (London, 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 7: Cyprus to India. (New Jersey, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 9: Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek Coins. (New York, 1998).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
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Afghanistan to India