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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Hellenistic Monarchies ▸ Bactrian KingdomView Options:  |  |  | 

Bactrian Kingdom

Bactria, Afghanistan today, was part of the Persian Empire when Alexander the Great defeated King Darius III. Although Iran fell quickly, in Bactria Alexander faced strong resistance. The land was inherited by the Seleukids, but the satrap Diodotos declared himself an independent king, c. 255 B.C. The Greek kings of Bactria expanded their influence to India but later as their territory shrank until they became an isolated island of Greek rule. This isolated Greek area in India, which lasted three centuries, ended when the last Greek king was defeated by the Kushans.


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 12 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)


Baktria, Diodotus I as Satrap for Antiochus II Theos, c. 255 - 250 B.C.

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Diodotus I was the Seleukid governor of Baktro-Sogdiana early in Antiochos II's reign. His first coinage was issued with the Seleukid monarch's portrait. He then issued coins, like this one, with his own portrait, yet retaining the name of Antiochos as king. Diodotus' territory was so remote that he was king in all but title. About 250 B.C., he took the title too and issued coins as king in his own name (BAΣIΛEΩΣ ∆IO∆OTOY).

Recent scholarship shows that Ai Khanoum (Greek name uncertain) was the principal mint of the region, located on the frontier between Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union.
SH21940. Gold stater, Houghton-Lorber 629.1, Newell ESM 713, SGCV II 7497, EF, weight 8.375 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Ai Khanoum mint, c. 255 - 250 B.C.; obverse diademed head of middle-aged Diodotus I right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, naked Zeus striding left, aegis over extended left arm, about to hurl fulmen with raised right arm, eagle and N in field; fantastic specimen, with mint luster, struck from the finest early Hellenistic style dies, and not marred by the usual test cut!; rare; SOLD


Baktria, Diodotus I as Satrap for Antiochus II Theos, c. 255 - 250 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Diodotus I was the Seleukid governor of Baktro-Sogdiana early in Antiochos II's reign. His first coinage was issued with the Seleukid monarch's portrait. He then issued coins, like this one, with his own portrait, yet retaining the name of Antiochos as king. Diodotus' territory was so remote that he was king in all but title. About 250 B.C., he took the title too and issued coins as king in his own name (BAΣIΛEΩΣ ∆IO∆OTOY).

Recent scholarship shows that Ai Khanoum (Greek name uncertain) was the principal mint of the region, located on the frontier between Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union.
SH18896. Gold stater, Houghton-Lorber 629.1, Newell ESM 713, SGCV II 7497, EF, test cut to head, weight 8.292 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Ai Khanoum mint, obverse diademed head of middle-aged Diodotus I right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, Zeus striding left, naked, aegis over extended left arm, hurling fulmen with raised right, N over eagle inner left; rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Bopearachchi, O. Monnaies Grco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques. (Paris, 1991).
Bopearachchi, O & A. ur Rahman. Pre-Kushana Coins in Pakistan. (Karachi, 1995).
Bopearachchi. O. "Sophytes, the Enigmatic Ruler" in Nomismatika Khronika 15 (1996).
Cunningham, A. Coins of Alexander's Successors in the East. (1873; reprint Chicago, 1969).
Gardner, P. The Coins of the Greek and Scythic Kings of Bactria and India in the British Museum. (London, 1886).
Houghton, A., C. Lorber & O. Hoover. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalog. (Lancaster, 2002 - 2008).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of Baktria and Ancient India, 5th Century BC to First Century AD. HGC 12. (Lancaster, PA, 2013)
Kritt, B. Dynastic Transitions in the Coinage of Bactria: Antiochus-Diodotus-Euthydemus. CNS 4. (Lancaster, PA, 2001).
Kritt, B. New Discoveries in Bactrian Numismatics. CNS 8 (Lancaster, PA, 2015).
Kritt, B. Seleucid Coins of Bactria. CNS 1. (Lancaster, PA, 1996).
Mitchiner, M. Ancient Trade and Early Coinage. (London, 2004).
Mitchiner, M. Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian Coinage. (London, 1975-1976).
Mitchiner, M. Oriental Coins: the Ancient and Classical World. (London, 1978).
Newell, E. The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid Mints. From Seleucus I to Antiochus III. (New York, 1938).
Rapson, E. Indian Coins in Bhler's Grundriss der Indo-arischen Philologie. (1898).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Senior, R. Indo-Scythian Coins and History. (London, 2001; supplement: London, 2006).
Senior, R. The Coinage of Hermaios and its imitations struck by the Scythians. CNS 3. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Smith, V. Catalogue of Coins in the Indian Museum. (1906).
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).
Von Sallet, A. "Die Nachfolger Alexanders d. Gr. in Bactrien u. Indien" in Z. f. N. 1879-83.

Catalog current as of Sunday, April 30, 2017.
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Bactrian Kingdom