Coins of the Indo-Greek Kings: Menander

27 Sep 2018  Thu

The History of the Indo-Greek Kingdom covers a period from the 2nd century BCE to the beginning of the 1st century CE in northern and northwestern India. There were over 30 Indo-Greek kings, often in competition with each other on different territories. Many of them are only known through their coins.

These kingdoms, in which there were already some Greek settlers called Yonas, took more and more Indian characteristics, becoming truly unique political entities with a mix of Greek and Indian culture marking them apart from the Greco-Bactrian Kingdoms. Between 190 BCE and circa 165 BCE, Greek possessions in India were divided between several Euthydemid kings who fought among themselves and their Greco-Bactrian neighbours.

These kingdoms extended to Western Punjab and had Indians of Sunga dynasty as neighbors.The last Indo-Greek king Strato II ended his rule circa 10 BCE, vanquished by the Indo-Saka king Rajuvula. The timeline of the entire Indo-Greek rule is disputed.

Coins of the Indo-Greeks were made of gold, silver, copper and nickel. The coins feature portraits of the Ruler on the obverse and Greek deities on the reverse side. Motifs on the reverse side also carried Indian religious symbols. Each coin was made by following the attic weight standard method. Rulers like Menander issued coins in both the attic weight standard as well as the Indian weight standard. Circular and Square was one of their common shapes. They had bilingual inscriptions in Kharoshthi and Greek. Very few have been found with Brahmi inscriptions.

The coin featured along with the news belongs to King Menander. This Helmeted Bust Type Silver Tetradrachm of Menander weighs around 9.68 grams and carries the mint mark of the Panjhir mint. The obverse features the Bust of king looking right wearing a helmet. Greek legend starting at 9 o'clock reading clockwise "Basileos Soteros" Name of the king in Greek starting at 7 o'clock reading counter clockwise "Menandrou".

The reverse depicts Pallas standing with face to left holding a thunderbolt. Karoshti legend starting at 4 o'clock reading counter clockwise"Maharajasa Tratarasa" name of the king in karoshti starting at 5 o'clock reading clockwise "Menadrasa".

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