INDO-PARTHIAN, Gondophares, tetradrachm


INDO-PARTHIAN, Gondophares, c. 20-5 BC (Senior), c. 20-60 AD (Mitchiner), tetradrachm, no date, Ghazni, Obverse: diademed bust R, BASILEWS SOTHIROS UNDOFERROU (Greek), legend starts at 1 o’clock, Reverse: winged Nike standing R, MAHARAJASA GUDAPHARNASA TRATARASA (Karosthi), bronze, 23.5mm, 9.03g, S213.1bT, MA2529, bits of crust, F/VF

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The Indo-Parthian portrait coins were for circulation in the western zone of the kingdom.

Gondophares is, by some, identified as Guduphar, one of the Three Wise Kings of the East of the Jesus Nativity story. During his reign the eastern Scythian kingdom suffered the demise of Azes, and Gondophares took advantage of the situation. According to Senior his governing style was to leave the local rulers in place.

The people we call the Indo-Parthians were a group of Scythians, west of the main line, adopted Parthian characteristics for their coinage, and perhaps were Parthian vassals of some sort.

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.