SCYTHIAN, Post-Hermaios imitation, bronze, tetradrachm


SCYTHIAN, Post-Hermaios imitation, tetradrachm, c. 20 BC – 20 AD, Obverse: bust R, Reverse: Zeus seated L, bronze, 24.5mm, 8.81g, MA2044, nice F+

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Senior opines that the most Hermaios coins are posthumous issues of various groups of Scythians. Mitchiner places this bronze type in Arachosia, modern Helmand province in southwestern Afghanistan.

The Scythians were horse nomads famous for their cruelty and for riding around naked in the winter. They were active for about 500 years from Eastern Europe to India.

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.