INDO-GREEK, Apollodotos I, c. 160-150 BC, hemiobol


INDO-GREEK, UNITED KINGDOM, Apollodotos I, c. 160-150 BC, hemiobol, Jammu mint, Obverse: Apollo standing holding bow L, BASILEWS APOLLODOTOU SOTHROS, MI monogram before at feet, Reverse: tripod, MAHARAJASA APALADATASA TRATARASA, MI monogram to right, middle, square, bronze, 22mm, 9.7g, MA1759+, SG7594, F

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Apollodotos I was another Indo-Greek king without much of an historical narrative. His domain was located somewhat east of earlier kings, extending into India proper.

Alexander the Great took his army all the way to the Indus River, where he met the Mauryan army, many times larger than his. Alexander wanted to cross and engage, but his generals talked him out of it without having to kill him. Alexander proceeded to plant soldier settlers throughout Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, himself retreating to Babylon, where he was a playboy for a few years before eating some bad food and dying. His generals split up the empire immediately. The East was taken by Seleukos. The farther East broke away around 256 BC when the Satrap (governor) of Bactria seceded. The “Indo-Greek” kings were active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and some of northern India. There is not much written history, for some of the monarchs the coins are the only evidence we have.

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.