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non-Menander coins of the Indo-Greeks


Nerosmyfavorite68
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Everybody has coins of Menander, but what about the other Indo-Greeks?

I'd like to learn more about them.  What rulers are the most common?  I'd like to find the cooler rulers, the ones with the helmets or hats.

Also, what is a good catch-all search phrase if I want to find the maximum Indo-Greek Drachm hits in vcoins?

I fished out a very decrepit and porous reduced standard Indo-Greek Tetradrachm from an HJB junk box. I hope to ID it someday.  I'd have to dig it up, an dmore importantly, improve my photography skills.  I  believe it's a helmeted bust.

It's been many years since I bought the coin; who was the later Indo-Greek ruler who made joint coins with Calliope? I bought an HJB example, way back when.  He had a bag full of them.  At the time, I could only afford the chipped one.

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Hi @Nerosmyfavorite68,

Here is my only Indo-Greek coin. I know nothing of this series so I've taken the references from Acsearch.com from similar coins. If anyone can correct or augment the atribution I would appreciate it.

image.png.a50d57f5d301b01e755c5971689b3e77.png

 

INDO-GREEK BACTRIA - HERMAIOS, TAXILA, BACTRIA (PUNJAB, PAKISTAN), 90-70 BCE
Ar Drachm

Size: 16x17 mm
Weight: 1.5 g
Die Axis: 11:00

Obv: Hermaios diademed and draped bust facing right. Legend (starting 7:00 clockwise): BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHΡOΣ. Legend (starting at 7:00 - counter clockwise): EΡMAIOΥ. Plain border.
Rev: Zeus seated on throne facing left, holding Nike in his right hand and scepter cradled in his left arm. To left, forepart of elephant to right; legend in karoshti around. Kharoshthi Legend: Maharajasa tratarasa Heramayasa (Of the Great King Hermaios the Savior). Plain border.
Refs: Mitchener 420aa; Boperachi 366, 97 pg 57 etc.
Seller: TAMCO (Georges Tambakopoulos) of Sweeden

 

I got the coin because of it's connection to a poem of C.P. Cavafy. If you're not familiar with his poems, they have been translated here. Here frequently references Hellenistic and post-Hellenistic themes. Being Greek and a numismatist, I find his work doubly appealing. I also have a very tenuous connection (a la 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon) in that an uncle of mine knew him in Alexandria. Here's the poem I had in mind (also posted at CT a while ago). That coin is not mine.

 

image.png.00611218e25df18c5cc201f28a905dbb.png

 

 

- Broucheion

Edited by Broucheion
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Here is a drachm of Philoxenus:

37e99aa8-d166-4760-af32-0cb3e4cb1f82-both.jpg.b84aaa39056ca106279fd831c8015ea4.jpg

Philoxenus.  AR Drachm Square (2.45 gms).
Obv: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANIKHTΟΥ ΦIΛOΞENOY (= "Of the Invincible King Philoxenus"); Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust facing right
Rev: Kharoshti legend MAHARAJASA APADIHATASA PHILASINASA "Undefeatable King Philoxenus"; Philoxenus on horse facing right. Monogram below.
Ex-William Spengler Collection

"Bopearachchi dates Philoxenus to c. 100–95 BCE and R. C. Senior to c. 125–110 BCE."  The Wikipedia entry for this king is mostly coins.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philoxenus_Anicetus

The reverse inscription is in Kharosthi.  The meanings of the letters were lost in antiquity.  Three different dudes deciphered Kharosthi, unaware of each other:

  • James Prinsep (in 1835, published in the Journal of the Asiatic society of Bengal, India)
  • Carl Ludwig Grotefend (in 1836, published in Blatter fur Munzkunde, Germany)
  • Christian Lassen (1838)

There is a Unicode standard for Kharosthi.  I spent many hours figuring out how to write out Menander's coin legends in Unicode.  (See my blog http://digitalhn.blogspot.com/2020/05/kharosthi-coin-inscription-unicode.html ).  I have been unsuccessful thus far in spelling out the inscription on this coin.  I'd love to see someone do an HTML or PDF version of the list of inscriptions from one of Bopearachchi's books.

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2 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

I spent many hours figuring out how to write out Menander's coin legends in Unicode. I have been unsuccessful thus far in spelling out the inscription on this coin.  I'd love to see someone do an HTML or PDF version of the list of inscriptions from one of Bopearachchi's books.

Unicode fonts is a bit of a pet project for me as I like all my coins' inscriptions encoded in Unicode, if possible.  I would definitely look at:

https://gandhari.org/

which has all the inscriptions, albeit not in Unicode, of these types of coin. It was designed by the same person who designed the Kharosthi fonts in Windows, Andrew Glass. Also, I use https://aksharamukha.appspot.com/input/Kharoshthi which allows me to type in the legend in regular letters and it converts to Kharoshthi when I press the spacebar (make sure you enable it!). Very easy and allows you to convert from one script to another as they are all related. Just make sure you use lower case letters!

 

 𐨨𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨀𐨤𐨡𐨁𐨱𐨟𐨯 𐨥𐨁𐨫𐨯𐨁𐨣𐨯

 

image.png.af56367502a7a230933cbc1aeb321bce.png

 

 

Edited by quant.geek
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and here are two coins with the legends that I did a while ago. See if you can follow the Unicode Kharosthi letters with the legend on the coin...

Indo-Scythian: Azes I (ca. 58-12 BCE) AR Drachm (Hoover 640; MACW 737a; Senior 76)

Obv: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΜΕΓ ΑΛΟΥ ΑΖΟΥ; Diademed Zeus standing left holding scepter and making benediction gesture
Rev: 𐨨𐨺𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨮 𐨪𐨗𐨪𐨗𐨮 𐨨𐨱𐨺𐨟𐨮 𐨀𐨩𐨮; Nike standing right holding wreath and filleted palm branch. Monogram of Taxila to right

normal_Hoover-640.jpg

 

Indo-Scythian: Azilizes (ca. 85-45/35 BCE) AR Tetradrachm (Senior 50.1T)

Obv: BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN MEΓAΛOY AZIΛIΣOY; King on horseback right, holding spear
Rev: 𐨨𐨺𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨮 𐨪𐨗𐨪𐨗𐨮 𐨨𐨱𐨺𐨟𐨮 𐨀𐨩𐨁𐨬𐨁𐨖𐨮 (Majarajasa rajarajasa mahatasa Ayalishasa); Athena standing left, holding shield with aegis and thunderbolt; monograms in fields

Senior-50_1T.jpg

Edited by quant.geek
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On 8/24/2022 at 1:12 PM, Broucheion said:

Hi @Nerosmyfavorite68,

Here is my only Indo-Greek coin. I know nothing of this series so I've taken the references from Acsearch.com from similar coins. If anyone can correct or augment the atribution I would appreciate it.

image.png.a50d57f5d301b01e755c5971689b3e77.png

 

INDO-GREEK BACTRIA - HERMAIOS, TAXILA, BACTRIA (PUNJAB, PAKISTAN), 90-70 BCE
Ar Drachm

Size: 16x17 mm
Weight: 1.5 g
Die Axis: 11:00

Obv: Hermaios diademed and draped bust facing right. Legend (starting 7:00 clockwise): BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHΡOΣ. Legend (starting at 7:00 - counter clockwise): EΡMAIOΥ. Plain border.
Rev: Zeus seated on throne facing left, holding Nike in his right hand and scepter cradled in his left arm. To left, forepart of elephant to right; legend in karoshti around. Kharoshthi Legend: Maharajasa tratarasa Heramayasa (Of the Great King Hermaios the Savior). Plain border.
Refs: Mitchener 420aa; Boperachi 366, 97 pg 57 etc.
Seller: TAMCO (Georges Tambakopoulos) of Sweeden

 

I got the coin because of it's connection to a poem of C.P. Cavafy. If you're not familiar with his poems, they have been translated here. Here frequently references Hellenistic and post-Hellenistic themes. Being Greek and a numismatist, I find his work doubly appealing. I also have a very tenuous connection (a la 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon) in that an uncle of mine knew him in Alexandria. Here's the poem I had in mind (also posted at CT a while ago). That coin is not mine.

 

image.png.00611218e25df18c5cc201f28a905dbb.png

 

 

- Broucheion

Your coin is actually an Indo-Scythian issue imitating Hermaios' coinage; later ones such as this have some quite unusual portraits.

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On 8/24/2022 at 6:38 PM, quant.geek said:

and here are two coins with the legends that I did a while ago. See if you can follow the Unicode Kharosthi letters with the legend on the coin...

Indo-Scythian: Azes I (ca. 58-12 BCE) AR Drachm (Hoover 640; MACW 737a; Senior 76)

Obv: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΜΕΓ ΑΛΟΥ ΑΖΟΥ; Diademed Zeus standing left holding scepter and making benediction gesture
Rev: 𐨨𐨺𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨮 𐨪𐨗𐨪𐨗𐨮 𐨨𐨱𐨺𐨟𐨮 𐨀𐨩𐨮; Nike standing right holding wreath and filleted palm branch. Monogram of Taxila to right

normal_Hoover-640.jpg

 

Indo-Scythian: Azilizes (ca. 85-45/35 BCE) AR Tetradrachm (Senior 50.1T)

Obv: BAΣIΛEΩΣ BAΣIΛEΩN MEΓAΛOY AZIΛIΣOY; King on horseback right, holding spear
Rev: 𐨨𐨺𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨮 𐨪𐨗𐨪𐨗𐨮 𐨨𐨱𐨺𐨟𐨮 𐨀𐨩𐨁𐨬𐨁𐨖𐨮 (Majarajasa rajarajasa mahatasa Ayalishasa); Athena standing left, holding shield with aegis and thunderbolt; monograms in fields

Senior-50_1T.jpg

Close; the Kharosthi for the first should be 𐨨𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨪𐨗𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨨𐨱𐨟𐨯 𐨀𐨩𐨯 and for the second should be 𐨨𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨪𐨗𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨨𐨱𐨟𐨯 𐨀𐨩𐨁𐨫𐨁𐨮𐨯

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A couple of my own coins from a rarer king: Archebios.

ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ ΝΙΚΗΦΟΡΟΥ ΑΡΧΕΒΙΟΥ /  (maharajasa dhramikasa jayadharasa arkhebiyasa) 𐨨𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨢𐨿𐨪𐨨𐨁𐨐𐨯 𐨗𐨩𐨢𐨪𐨯 𐨀𐨪𐨿𐨑𐨦𐨁𐨩𐨯

MIG 357b.png

MIG 359a.png

MIG 367a.png

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On 8/24/2022 at 11:17 AM, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Everybody has coins of Menander, but what about the other Indo-Greeks?

I'd like to learn more about them.  What rulers are the most common?  I'd like to find the cooler rulers, the ones with the helmets or hats.

Also, what is a good catch-all search phrase if I want to find the maximum Indo-Greek Drachm hits in vcoins?

I fished out a very decrepit and porous reduced standard Indo-Greek Tetradrachm from an HJB junk box. I hope to ID it someday.  I'd have to dig it up, an dmore importantly, improve my photography skills.  I  believe it's a helmeted bust.

It's been many years since I bought the coin; who was the later Indo-Greek ruler who made joint coins with Calliope? I bought an HJB example, way back when.  He had a bag full of them.  At the time, I could only afford the chipped one.

There were around 30 different Indo-Greek rulers, but all but the most dedicated collectors will be unlikely to own coins from more than a dozen of them or so. You're most likely to run into Antimachos II, Apollodotos I, Menander I, Strato I, Zoilos I, Lysias, Antialkidas, Heliokles II, Philoxenos, Archebios, Hermaios, Apollodotos II, and Zoilos II.

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9 minutes ago, velarfricative said:

A couple of my own coins from a rarer king: Archebios.

ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ ΝΙΚΗΦΟΡΟΥ ΑΡΧΕΒΙΟΥ /  (maharajasa dhramikasa jayadharasa arkhebiyasa) 𐨨𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨢𐨿𐨪𐨨𐨁𐨐𐨯 𐨗𐨩𐨢𐨪𐨯 𐨀𐨪𐨿𐨑𐨦𐨁𐨩𐨯

MIG 357b.png

MIG 359a.png

MIG 367a.png

Aside from the great coins, I absolutely love the kharosthi transliteration. It's a pity that most attributions stick with latin when mentioning kharosthi legends

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Does Soter Megas / Vima Takto count? I'm not terribly well-informed about where to draw the lines between Kushan and Indo-Greek and Baktrian, but I think of this one as falling somewhere on the boundaries of those three.

Unfortunately this kind only has a Greek legend -- I love the bilingual coins.

Like Ed's "Undefeatable King" Philoxenus above, "Soter Megas" carried on the royal tradition of tremendous humility and modesty, naming himself "King of Kings, Great Savior" on the coin. As I understand it, his name, Vima Takto, was rediscovered only after the Rabatak inscription [wiki] was found in Afghanistan in 1993, a sort of Rosetta Stone for the Kushan world and Baktrian language.

image.jpeg.d6e9f34cc9a4c9507a401a0c9d2579f9.jpeg

Baktria, Kushan. Soter Megas (Vima Takto), AE Didrachm? (20mm, 8.55g), Begram, c. 90-113 CE.
Obv: Twelve-rayed radiate, diademed, and draped bust of Miiro (Mithra) right, holding scepter; tamgha to left.
Rev: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΩΝ ΣΩΤΗΡ ΜΕΓΑΣ. King right on horseback, holding pickax; tamgha to lower right.
Ref: ANS Kushan 174-177 [ANS-MANTIS cites Mitchiner 2975-2981].
Prov: Ex Clain-Stefanelli Collection, Naville 68 (2 Oct 2021), 115.

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1 hour ago, velarfricative said:

Your coin is actually an Indo-Scythian issue imitating Hermaios' coinage; later ones such as this have some quite unusual portraits.

Hi @velarfricative,

 

Thank you for the correction, it is very much appreciated. Two more follow-ups: Is the issue date correct? Is there a quick read to orient myself on this series (I know of  "Coinage of Hermaios & Imitations by Scythians" by R.C. Senior, but that's overkill for me).

- Broucheion

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13 hours ago, Broucheion said:

Hi @velarfricative,

 

Thank you for the correction, it is very much appreciated. Two more follow-ups: Is the issue date correct? Is there a quick read to orient myself on this series (I know of  "Coinage of Hermaios & Imitations by Scythians" by R.C. Senior, but that's overkill for me).

- Broucheion

With coins like these, the date ranges aren't particularly meaningful, though it's probably somewhere in the ballpark of what you have listed. Coins in the name of Hermaios were issued from around 100 BC to the mid 1st century AD or later during the reign of Kujula Kadphises, though this one certainly falls on the earlier part of that range. The Senior book is probably the only place you'll get a detailed treatment of this, outside of that is Mitchiner's book from the 70s which is very out-of-date and Bopearachchi's book which is in French. Coinindia has a bunch listed, which is probably close to what you're looking for.

Edited by velarfricative
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I can't help but add to the impressive coins shared in this thread! Thanks to @velarfricative for his help in giving my indo-greek's a worthy attribution in kharosthi.

 

2001578116_HarlanJBerkLTDMenanderISoter.jpg.49a080c874f42fde80355b1673c1a2af.jpg

Indo-Greek Kingdom. Menander I (155-130 BC) AR Drachm. Diademed head of Menander right, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗPΟΣ ΜΕΝΑΝΔΡΟΥ / Athena advanding left, thunderbolt in hand, 𐨨𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨟𐨿𐨪𐨟𐨪𐨯 𐨨𐨅𐨣𐨡𐨿𐨪𐨯.
19 mm, 2.46 g. Bopearachchi-Series 13, 85Q.

 

image.png.19dc4e55876af58eef99b2aba167cfea.png

Indo-Greek Kingdom. Philoxenos Aniketos (125-110 BC) AR Tetradrachm. Diademed bust of Philoxenos right, ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANIKHTΟΥ ΦIΛOΞENOY / King advancing right on horseback; monogram below, 𐨨𐨱𐨪𐨗𐨯 𐨀𐨤𐨫𐨁𐨱𐨟𐨯 𐨥𐨁𐨫𐨯𐨁𐨣𐨯.                                        

27 mm, 9.75 g. Bopearachchi 3E

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