Menander I Soter or Menander I Saviour is also known as Milinda in Pali. He was an Indo-Greek king of the Indo-Greek Kingdom. Menander was the most successful Indo-Greek king that had conquered the vastest territory. He administrated a large kingdom in the north-western part of Indian Subcontinent from the capital at Sagala. depicts a lot about his vast kingdom and victories. Coinage of Menander I was well struck, in well established Indo-Greek fashion, with fine details. Menander-I issued a large number of coins to maintain good trade and commerce. He was very much influence by Indian Culture, tradition and Social ethics. He had also maintained a good trade relation between India and Europe via West Asia.
Menander-I was a Bactrian king, he established his kingdom in the Indian subcontinent. He established his kingdom in the eastern portion of Bactria and later he reached to a greatest territorial extent. During his reign, Menander-I stretched his kingdom from Kabul River Valley in the west to the Ravi River in the east and from the Swat river valley in the north Arachosia (the Helmand Province). King Menander-I was also known for his writing; he is known amongst one of the Best Western and Indian classical authors. He was one of the two Bactrian kings extended their kingdom farther to India, possibly far as Pataliputra, which at least had been put under siege by the Indo-Greeks according to Indian sources.
Menander I travelled across northern India and visited the Mauryan capital of Patna. Probably Menander-I was the First Bactrian King to strike a coin with both the legend Greek and Sanskrit. Some of the coins issued by Menander I depicts wheel; probably this wheel may associate with Buddhism. The reign of Menander I might have followed Indo-Greek rulers Apollodotus I and Antimachus II, the Coinage of Menander I have the same monogram as that of Antimachus II.
There were over 30 Indo-Greek kings, often in competition with each other in different territories. Today, many Indo-Greek kings are known through their coins. The Indo-Greek rulers issued coins in gold, silver, copper, and nickel. Coins issued by these Indo-Greek kings’ features a bust of the king on its obverse side and the Greek deities on the reverse side. The motif on the reverse side of the coin also depicts Indian religious symbols. All the rulers of Indo- Greek issued their coins in attic weight standards.
Coinage of Menander I is divided into two weight standard they are attic weight standards as well as Indian weight standards. All the coins issued by him are of two shapes circular and square. They had bilingual inscriptions in Kharoshthi and Greek. Very few have been found with Brahmi inscriptions. Below are some examples issued by Menander I during his reign.
1. Copper square unit
This Copper square unit was issued by Menander I during his reign.
Obverse Description: Head of the Elephant wearing a bell facing towards right; Greek legend ‘BASIAEOS SOTHPOS MENANAPOY’around.
Reverse Description: Club of Herakles with Kharoshthi legend ‘Maharajasa Tratarasa Menamdrasa’ around
2. Copper Square Drachm
Obverse Description: Helmeted bust of the King facing towards the right with Greek legend around,
Reverse Description: Standing Winged Nike facing towards the right, holding wreath and palm with Kharoshthi legend ‘Maharajasa Tratarasa Menadrasa’ around.
1. Copper Square Unit-1
Obverse Description: Helmeted bust of the king to right
Reverse Description: Nike standing to right with wreath and palm branch
2. Copper Square Di-Obol
Obverse Description: Bust of the king to right with Greek legend around
Reverse Description: A horse galloping to right in the centre with Kharoshthi legend around
1. Silver Drachm
Obverse Description: Diademed bust of the king facing right; Greek legend ‘BASILEOS SOTEROS MENANDROU’ around.
Reverse Description: Athena Alkidemos hurling thunderbolt to left, monogram in the left-field; Kharoshthi legend ‘Maharajasa Tratarasa Menandrasa’.
2. Menander Silver Drachm-2
Obverse Description: Diademed and helmeted bust of the king facing right; Greek legend ‘BASILEOS SOTEROS MENANDROU’ around.
Reverse Description: Athena Alkidemos holding thunderbolt facing towards left, monogram in the right field; Kharoshthi legend ‘Maharajasa Tratarasa Menandrasa’ around.
Menander-I Soter, or Menander I Saviour is also known as Milinda in Pali. He was an Indo-Greek king of the Indo-Greek Kingdom. Menander was a great Indo-Greek king and also one of the best known Western and Indian classical authors. He was one of the two Bactrian kings extended their kingdom farther to India, possibly far as Pataliputra, which at least had been put under siege by the Indo-Greeks according to Indian sources. Coinage of Menander I is vast and varied but equally interesting.