INDO-GREEK, Antialkidas, c. 145-135 BC, hemiobol


INDO-GREEK, United Kingdom, Antialkidas, c. 145-135 BC, hemiobol, Pushkalavati mint, Obverse: bust of Zeus R, BASILEWS NIKHFOROU ANTIALKIDOU, Reverse: caps of Dioskuroi with palms, MAHARAJASA JAYADhARASA AMTIALKIDASA, TK monogram under left cap, S under right cap, squarish, bronze, 19mm, 8.03g, MA1849, bits of crust, VF

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Denominations of the bronze coins are tentative. Some people like to not name the coins and just describe the measurements. I think that the description of the largest bronze as “obol” is reasonable. The convention of calling the smaller bronzes some number of “chalkoi” is perhaps a bit iffier. Most, but not all of the Indo-Greek bronze coins were rectangular, a habit they observed in Pushkalavati and Taxila when they conquered those cities.

About Antialkidas there is controversy about where he reigned. Mitchiner describes him as a successor to Menander in eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan. Others put him more to the west.

The Greeks arrived in Pakistan under the command of Alexander the Great. A line of kings endured for about three centuries. The first of the Indo-Greek states comprised most of Afghanistan and a bit of western Pakistan, and is referred to by some historians as the “Greco-Bactrian Kingdom.” Later kings crossed the Indus river and held parts of northern India for a while. The expanded Greek state was disrupted by an invasion of Scythian nomads. The nomads had been around for a while, but suddenly there were a whole lot of them, and they didn’t go away. The nomads broke the territorial integrity of the Greek state. The two states struggled on until they fell apart in the normal conditions of dynastic squabbles, advancing incompetence, outside pressure, and bad luck. The main reference used for this series is: Oriental Coins and their Values, the Ancient and Classical World, by Michael Mitchiner (MA).

The earliest ancient Indian coins were the “bent bar” punchmarked silvers of the Achaemenid Persians occupying Gandhara in northwest Pakistan. By the 3rd century BC coins were in general use in most of India and Ceylon, and in subsequent centuries struck round coins in gold, silver, and copper came into use throughout the subcontinent and beyond to Southeast Asia and Pacific islands to Java and beyond.