Numismatic and History Discussions > Parthian and Other Eastern Coins

Collection around Greek Eastern influence


Hi everyone,

I wanted to pick your brain around a potential collection theme I had in mind to tell a partial yet interesting narrative around the Greek influence in the East (i.e., Middle East/Central Asia...). This influence could be direct or indirect via coinage (e.g., artistic features/portrait style), religion (greco-buddhism), etc...

Here is what I had in mind:
- 336-323 Alexander the Great as starting point
- 323-246 Seleucids: at least Seleucos I, Antiochos I, Antiochos II (at least, and preferably until Antiochos III and maybe beyond?)
- 255-200 Greco-Bactrians: Diodotus, Diodotus II, Euthydemus (at least, and preferably until Eucratides I)
-200-130 Indo Greeks: Demetrios I, Agathocles/Pantaleon, Antimachus I, II, Menander I

Then it is potentially more difficult as what comes next could be more debatable and is less directly of Greek descent:
- 85-10 Indo-Scythians: From Maues to Zeionises/Kharahostes
- 30-230 Kushans: From Kujula Kadphises to Vasuveda I
- 230-365 Kushano-Sasanians: From Ardashir I to Varahran

Then it is more difficult in the 4th/5th century as it is mostly Kidarites/Hephtalites/Alchon Huns/Nezak huns...
Still not sure which ones would make more sense but I believe there could be some coinage from that which could highlight a Greek(Bactrian)/Sasanian influence, or link to Buddhism being maintained/syncretism.

And I planned to end with the Turk Shahis 665-739 (Bahra Tegin, Tegin Shah) as probably the last representatives of Greco-Buddhism.

Other considerations was also to include some Parthian/Sasanian/Roman/Egyptian/Aum coinage along the way to further highlight the East/West influence, but I would not like to have too many segways as it could distract from the intended narrative and/or being too wide as a project.

Happy to have your views on this project: does the above make sense, would you have a different scope, do you see anything missing...?

Many thanks

Virgil H:
I am struggling with similar questions. I think this is a great theme. It is also complicated as it includes many different kingdoms. For me, the danger is getting sucked into areas like Sassanian and many others that would make the scope way too large. So, I am concentrating on specific regions, especially Kabul and Zabul, but this also includes the wider area of Gandhara and I have found I can't ignore Bactria. Then, there are, as you mention, Kushans, Hephtalites, etc.

This is an area where I started at a later time frame (up to around 1200 AD) and have been working back in time. The big question for what you want to do is where do the Greeks actually stop. For me, I am also interested in later influences and, for this particular collection, I may go even into the modern arena, at least early modern. But, for now, I am concentrating on ancient and medieval. So, for me, what is important are where the coins were minted. Seleucid coinage I tend to avoid because I just don't want to get into an area of complexity like that. It is the same reason I stay away from Egypt. That said, I will grab Seleucid coins if minted in a place I am interested in. For me at the moment, I am looking for one coin (Or maybe a couple) from each of the kingdoms that ruled and minted coins in my areas of interest. Even though I don't collect Kushan, Sassanian, Parthian, Seleucid, all have coins I would get and I look at the mints. An example are the Kushan coins minted in Kapisha.

Hope that made some kind of sense. I think we are doing very similar things with these themes.


Thank you Virgil. You are right there are some similarities with your collection as well.

Good point as I tend to overlook the mints while it could be a good way to bring more focus in the theme. It is always a trade off. At least if you focus only on mints from a certain area (e.g., Gandhara) you can also tell an interesting story about the different rulers in that area over time. But partially missing out on the Eastward greek influence narrative. Not easy!


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