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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Hellenistic Monarchies| ▸ |Bactrian Kingdom||View 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.


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.
SH42566. Gold stater, Houghton-Lorber I 630, Newell ESM 723, SGCV II 7497, VF, test cut on obverse, weight 8.380 g, maximum diameter 17.8 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, wreath over eagle inner left; 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.
SH33186. Gold stater, Houghton-Lorber 630, Newell ESM 723, SGCV II 7497, gVF, obverse test cut, weight 8.310 g, maximum diameter 19.0 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, wreath over eagle inner left; rare; SOLD


Baktrian Kingdom, Eukratides I, c. 171 - 145 B.C.

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Eucratides I Megas replaced the Euthydemid dynasty with his own. He fought the Indo-Greek kings, the easternmost Hellenistic rulers in northwestern India, temporarily holding territory as far as the Indus, until he was defeated and pushed back to Bactria. His vast coinage suggests a rule of considerable importance.
SH48876. Silver tetradrachm, Bopearachchi 6DD; SNG ANS 474; Mitchiner IGIS I 177cc & 177 ff var. (slightly different monogram); Bopearachchi & Rahman -, Choice gVF, weight 16.863 g, maximum diameter 34.4 mm, die axis 0o, obverse diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing crested helmet adorned with bull's horn and ear; all within bead-and-reel border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY EYKPATI∆OY, the Dioskouroi on rearing horses right, each holds a spear in his right, and palm fronds in left; monogram below horses; perfectly centered on a broad medallic flan, a very pleasing specimen; SOLD


Bactrian Kingdom, Eukratides I, c. 171 - 135 B.C.

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Struck on the Attic weight tetradrachm standard. This example shares the same design, style and monogram as the huge gold twenty-stater (c. 169.6 grams) of Eukratides I.
SH21632. Silver tetradrachm, Mitchiner IGIS I, p. 92, type 177(cc); SNG ANS 474, Choice gVF, weight 16.778 g, maximum diameter 32.6 mm, die axis 0o, chief workshop, Pushkala mint, c. 160 - 135 B.C.; obverse helmeted, draped and diademed bust right, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY EYKPATI∆OY, the Dioskouroi on horseback right, each holding a palm branch and spear, monogram below right; scarce; SOLD


Bactrian Kingdom, Demetrius I Soter, c. 200 - 185 B.C.

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Alexander's successors in India became increasingly isolated and eventually became an island of Hellenic people, completely cut off from their western kinsman. Surrounded on all sides, they succumbed to the superior numbers of local people and disappeared from history.
SH17286. Silver tetradrachm, SNG ANS 188 - 189, SGCV II 7526, gF, porous, grainy, weight 15.235 g, maximum diameter 32.9 mm, die axis 0o, c. 200 - 185 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right wearing elephant-skin headdress; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ∆IMHTPIOY, young naked Herakles standing facing, crowning himself, in right holding club and lion-skin, monogram lower left; scratches; scarce; SOLD


Bactrian Kingdom, Antimachos I Theos, c. 185 - 170 B.C.

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Antimachos I was king of parts of Bactria and probably also Arachosia in southern Afghanistan. He was either defeated by the usurper Eucratides, or his main territory was absorbed by the latter upon his death. On his coinage, Antimachus called himself Theos, "The God," a first in the Hellenistic world.
SH68872. Silver tetradrachm, Bopearachchi 1D, Mitchiner IGIS 124b, SNG ANS 276 - 277, gVF/F, deeply toned, surface flaws, edge defect, weight 16.191 g, maximum diameter 31.1 mm, die axis 0o, Balkh(?) mint, c. 185 - 170 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right, wearing Macedonian kausia, dotted border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΘEOY ANTIMAXOY, Poseidon standing facing, grounded trident vertical in right, filleted palm frond in left, N within circle inner right; fantastic high-relief and subtly smiling portrait; SOLD


Bactrian Kingdom, Eukratides I, c. 171 - 145 B.C.

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Eucratides I Megas replaced the Euthydemid dynasty with his own. He fought the Indo-Greek kings, the easternmost Hellenistic rulers in northwestern India, temporarily holding territory as far as the Indus, until he was defeated and pushed back to Bactria. His vast coinage suggests a rule of considerable importance.
SH16820. Silver tetradrachm, Bopearachchi Srie 6Z; SNG ANS 473; Mitchiner IGIS Type 177l, Choice VF, weight 16.521 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 0o, obverse helmeted, draped and diademed bust right, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY EYKPATI∆OY, Dioskouroi on horseback rearing right, each holding palm frond and spear, monogram lower right; ex CNG; SOLD


Baktrian Kingdom, Demetrios I, c. 200 - 185 B.C.

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Demetrius I conquered extensive areas in what now is eastern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, creating an Indo-Greek kingdom far from Hellenistic Greece. He was never defeated in battle, posthumously earning him the title Aniketos, or "the Invincible."
SH57455. Bronze trichalkon, Bopearachchi Srie 5E, Mitchiner IGIS 108b, SNG ANS 209 ff., SNG Cop -, aEF, weight 9.820 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Baktria, Merv mint, 200 - 185 B.C.; obverse head of elephant right, bell around neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ∆HMHTPIOY, caduceus in center, monogram in inner left field; SOLD


Baktrian Kingdom, Eukratides I Megas, c. 171 - 145 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Eucratides I Megas replaced the Euthydemid dynasty with his own. He fought the Indo-Greek kings, the easternmost Hellenistic rulers in northwestern India, temporarily holding territory as far as the Indus, until he was defeated and pushed back to Bactria. His vast coinage suggests a rule of considerable importance.
SH58903. Silver tetradrachm, Bopearachchi-Rahman 245 corr., Bopearachchi 6W var. (monogram right), SNG ANS 469 ff. var. (same), Mitchiner IGIS 177f var. (same), VF, rough, weight 15.631 g, maximum diameter 30.0 mm, die axis 0o, Balkh mint, 160 - 135 B.C.; obverse diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing crested helmet adorned with bull's horn and ear; all within bead-and-reel border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛOY EYKPATI∆OY, the Dioskouroi on rearing horses right, each holds a spear in his right, and palm fronds in left; monogram lower left; ex Ancient Numismatic Enterprise; rare variety; SOLD


Baktrian Kingdom, Eukratides I Megas, c. 171 - 145 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Eucratides I Megas replaced the Euthydemid dynasty with his own. He fought the Indo-Greek kings, the easternmost Hellenistic rulers in northwestern India, temporarily holding territory as far as the Indus, until he was defeated and pushed back to Bactria. His vast coinage suggests a rule of considerable importance.
SH58908. Silver tetradrachm, Bopearachchi 1B; SNG ANS 431, Mitchiner IGIS I 168f, VF, rough, porous, weight 16.292 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 0o, Panjir mint, c. 165 - 160 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYKPATI∆OY, the Dioskouroi on horses rearing right, holding palm fronds and spears, monogram lower right; ex Ancient Numismatic Enterprise; 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 Wednesday, October 23, 2019.
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Bactrian Kingdom