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Indo-Greek King Lysias

03 Oct 2018  Wed

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.

Lysias Anicetus is one such King whose history can be constructed with help of the numismatics evidence. Lysias seems to have been a close successor to Menander I and Zoilos I, and therefore may have ruled around 130–120 BCE. His territory covered the areas of the Paropamisade and Arachosia, but his coins have also been found in the Punjab hence it is possible that Lysias ruled most of the Indo-Greek territory for a period.

Lysias issued a number of bilingual Indian coins. On his silver portrait types he appears either diademed or dressed in various types of head-gear like the elephant scalp, a bull's horns helmet or Corinthian helmet with scales, and the Greek flat hat "kausia". He also appeared throwing a spear. The reverse is always Herakles crowning himself, and holding his club, with the new addition of a palm to signify victory. He also issued a series of Attic tetradrachms, and even smaller denominations (a hemidrachm is known) for circulation in Bactria. His Indian type square bronzes show a bust of Herakles/elephant.

The coin depicted alongside is a Silver Tetradrachm minted in Pushkalavati mint. The obverse has Bust of king in centre looking to right wearing an elephant truck headdress. No legend. The reverse features Hercules standing in centre facing front with club and lion skin in left hand and crowning himself with a wreath by right hand. Greek legend starting at 6 o'clock reading left to right clockwise "Basileos Aniketou Lusiou".

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