Bactrian Kingdom

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Rich history of cultural and political changes

Bactria, an ancient region in Central Asia, was renowned for its coinage, which reflects a rich history of cultural and political changes. Bactria’s coinage provides valuable insights into its economy, artistic influences, and interactions with neighboring regions.

Bactrian coins frequently feature realistic portraits of kings, which can be identified through inscriptions. Greek was commonly used on these coins.
Some examples of these coins are Drachms and Tetradrachms, gold Staters and bronze coins.

Historical Context
Achaemenid Empire (c. 6th–4th century BC)

Bactria was part of the Achaemenid Empire. Coinage from this period often features images of the Persian kings and their symbols, such as the archer or the winged bull.

Hellenistic Period (c. 4th–2nd century BC)
Alexander the Great conquered Bactria in 329 BC, and his successors, the Seleucids, continued to mint coins in the region. These coins often depicted Greek rulers, and inscriptions in Greek.

Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (c. 3rd–2nd century BC)
The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom emerged after the region gained independence from the Seleucid Empire. Coins from this period are notable for their high artistic quality and typically feature portraits of Greco-Bactrian kings on the obverse and various Greek deities or symbols on the reverse.

Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd century AD)
The Kushans, who succeeded the Greco-Bactrians, produced coins that reflect a blend of Greek, Indian, and Central Asian influences. Kushan coins often depict rulers and deities from different cultures, showcasing the empire’s cosmopolitan nature.

Bactrian coins are highly prized by collectors and historians for their historical significance and artistic quality. They are a testament to the region’s historical significance and its role as a cultural and economic crossroads in ancient times. They offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, revealing the complexity and richness of Bactrian society.

Tetradrachm 185-180 BC Bactria Euthydemos II, NGC EF(40-45)

9,125.00 US$

Weight: 16.95 g – Diameter: 33.50 mm
Certification number: 6639697-008
Reason for ‘Details’ Rating: die shift
Notation: rv Heracles stg.
Year: Euthydemus II,c185-180 BC
Diademed bust of Euthydemos II to right., Heracles standing facing, crowned with leaves, holding wreath in right hand and carrying club and lion skin with left. Monogram to inner left., Stunning specimen, perfectly centered, revealing the entirety of the dotted border. The reliefs are high and the details are apparent, especially, one is amazed by the strength of expressiveness of this portrait. We notice some minor die shifts, at the level of the nose and the mouth of Euthydemos II as well as the legends on the reverse. The whole is covered with a delicate golden patina with grey tones. From the Oxus Collection. BAΣIΛEΩΣ EYΘYΔHMOY

Ancient Greek c. 170-145 BC Bactria, Eucratides Tetradrachm

8,660.00 US$

Material: Silver
Weight: 16.53 g
Obv: Bust of Eukratides r., wearing helmet adorned with bull’s horn and ear; all within bead-and-reel border.
Rev: HΛIOKΛEOYΣ above, KAI ΛAOΔIKHΣ  in exergue; jugate draped busts of Heliokles and Laodike r., monogram behind; all within bead-and-reel border. Very scarce dynastic issue. Ex Triton XXVI, 10-11 January 2023, lot 484. Ex CNG 75, 23 May 2007, lot 645. Ex CNG 73, 13 September 2006, lot 536.This is one of the very rare examples that occur only in this series of Greek coins, showing the parents of the king in profile portraits. Utterly magnificent, with some toning. EF

AR Tetradrachm 174-165 BC Bactria – Antimachos I, ca 174-165 BC XF-

3,210.00 US$

Catalog: BMC India 12, 1-2 | SNG.ANS.276 | Mitchiner 124b | Sear 7542 | BN Bact. (Bopearachchi) 1 D
weight 16,76gr. | silver Ø 31mm.
Obv: Diademed and draped bust of Antimachos right, wearing kausia
Rev: Poseidon standing facing, holding trident and palm-branch, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΘEOY on right,
ANTIMAXOY on left, N in circle in lower right field

When Demetrios and Euthydemos II were overthrown by the rebel Eukratides, the dynastic cause was taken up by Antimachos. He was probably a brother of Demetrios. Antimachos promoted his nephews, Agathokles and Pantalon, to the rank of co-rulers, and the three kings jointly opposed Eukratides. However the usurpator was more than a match for his adversaries and by 160 BC the entire kingdom was under his control.
Antimachos I issued numerous silver coins on the Attic standard, with his own image in a flat Macedonian kausia hat, and on the reverse Poseidon with his trident. The depiction of the See-god Poseidon on this cointype is remarkable Bactria is surrounded by land. Poseidon was the god of the ocean and great rivers – some scholars have here seen a reference to the provinces around the Indus River, where Antimachos I may have been a governor – but also the protector of horses, which was perhaps a more important function in the hinterland of Bactria. On his coinage, Antimachos called himself Theos, “The God”.
The ancient city of Balkh was known to the Ancient Greeks as Bactra, giving its name to Bactria. It was mostly known as the centre and capital of Bactria or Tokharistan. Marco Polo described Balkh as a ?noble and great city?. Balkh is now for the most part a mass of ruins, situated some 12 km. from the right bank of the seasonally flowing Balkh River, at an elevation of about 365 m.
Very attractive specimen with appealing toning. Rare. xf-

Bactria Tetradrachm Greek Kings Heliokles I, 145-130 BC EF

2,610.00 US$

Weight: 16.27 g. – Diameter: 31.4 mm.
Catalog: Bopearachchi 223, Série 1U HGC 169
Obv: Bust with diadem – Rev: Zeus with lightning and scepter, monogram in the field. 12h. 30.6mm
Excellent portrait Extremely fine

Greek AR Tetradrachm. ca. 145-140 BC Eucratides II Soter. EF

2,610.00 US$

Catalog: MIG 164b var
Weight: 16.90 g – Diameter: 33.00 mm
Diademed and draped bust to right; all within bead-and-reel border / Apollo standing facing, head to left, holding arrow in right hand and grounded bow with left; BAΣIΛEΩΣ to right, EYKPATIΔOY and monogram to left.

Tetradrachm ca. 65-55 BC Bactria Hippostratos Megas Soter, ca. 65 EF

2,175.00 US$

Catalog: Mitchiner, Type 445a. SNG ANS 1629. HGC 12, 451. Bopearachchi, Sophytes 7G.
Diameter: 28mm – Weight: 9.43 g.
Diademed and draped bust to right / ‘Maharajasa tratarasa mahatasa jayamtasa Hipustratasa’ in Kharosthi, King, in military attire, on horseback standing to the right; monogram to right, Kharosthi letters to left and below. RR!

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