SCYTHIAN, Post-Hermaios imitation, tetradrachm


SCYTHIAN, Post-Hermaios imitation, tetradrachm, no date (Mitchiner: c. 20 BC – 20 AD), Demetrias Arachosiae mint, Obverse: diademed bust R, BASILEWS SOTHROS ERMAIOU (Greek), Reverse: Zeus seated L, MAHARAJASA TRATARASA HERAMAYASA (Karosthi), SRO monogram to right, bronze, 22mm, 9.61g, MA2044, 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.

Hermaios had a long reign that ended with the arrival of the Yueh Chi, ancestors of the Kushans, possibly some kind of Scythians. Coins imitating his types were issued by a number of groups after his death. This particular series is assigned by Senior to a branch of the Sycthians.

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 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.