Author Topic: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm  (Read 2411 times)

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Offline THCoins

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Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« on: August 30, 2013, 06:26:56 PM »
Antimachos II was one of the earlier Indo-Greek kings who controled a large territory from Bactria to the Punjab. He was a predecessor of Menander. He was a contemporary and enemy of Eucratides who had taken over control of the largest part of Bactria.

Antimachos II struck relatively few types of coins. This is the most common silver drachm type in Indian weight standard.
There is some discussion on what the obverse and reverse should be on these coins. Normally the side with Greek letters is considered the obverse in the Indo-Greek coins. This is also the side on which the ruler usually is displayed. In this case however the Greek side displays Nike with the text: "Basileus Nikephoros ('victorious') Antimachos"
The other side shows the ruler on horseback with the same inscription in Kharoshti.
The Horse side has a somewhat rough surface. This is generally so in this cointype of this ruler.

AR 16 mm, 2.35 gr.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 12:26:05 PM by THCoins »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2013, 09:54:28 PM »
There is some discussion on what the obverse and reverse should be on these coins.

To quote a member of this site: I generally call them "one side" and "the other side". An excellent way to sidestep a large number of useless controversies.

I am full of awe and admiration for the people who decided that this is a coin of Antimachus II, not Antimachus I, but I can't say the reason jumps out at you... Not that I mind much. I am tickled by seeing a 2000+ year old object and being able to read the legend. Well, at least the Greek legend. Glad you caught such a nice specimen.

To quote another member (me): if Martians started collecting coins, they would quickly conclude that horses, like people, walked in their hind legs. I guess sitting on a horse is even better if the horse tries to throw you off...

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline ChrisHagen

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Re: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 09:40:49 AM »
The thought struck me that a man standing on his own legs is just a man. A man on a horse standing square on its legs is just a man on a horse. But a man controlling a wild rearing horse must be made of something special!

I really enjoyed looking at this coin and deciphering what of the legend that I could. Beautiful!

Offline THCoins

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Re: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 10:56:21 AM »
The ruler on horseback comes back so many times over the centuries that i believe you are perfectly right that it is almost a universal symbol of power.
How do we know that Antimachos II issued these coins and not Antimachos I ? There are various clues to this conclusion:
- Antimachos I issued coins which also carry the title "Theou" (godly) after his name.
- Antimachos I lost the war over power in Bactria from Eucratides. It is unlikely that Antimachos I would have used the title "victorious" after his defeat.
- There is a known manuscript from this time which names Antimachos Theos as supreme ruler, but also includes another Antimachos as viceroy.
- From coin finds and other data it is likely that Antimachos Nikephoros ruled the Afghanistan/Punjab area, but not Bactria.
- It is known that Antimachos Nikephoros was the predecessor of Menander I. Mintmarks on Menander coins are partly similar to those on Antimachos II coins.

This is just from memory, but i think that attribution in this case is fairly solid.

Regarding the obverse-reverse side: I agree, i couldn't care less how we call one or the other. Historically it may be interesting to know if the Indo-Greeks considered one side more important than the other. If this is so, it is interesting that this coin is the first one where the local Kharoshti is considered more important than the traditional Greek. This also coincides with the loss of northern Bactria and a shift of the power base towards Northern India. In this manner this coin might be a witness of the ongoing process of assimilation of the Indo-Greek ruler class into local society.


Offline Figleaf

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Re: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2013, 12:28:24 PM »
Historically it may be interesting to know if the Indo-Greeks considered one side more important than the other. If this is so, it is interesting that this coin is the first one where the local Kharoshti is considered more important than the traditional Greek. This also coincides with the loss of northern Bactria and a shift of the power base towards Northern India. In this manner this coin might be a witness of the ongoing process of assimilation of the Indo-Greek ruler class into local society.

Yes, that is a good thought! Indeed, you see the "homeland" of the Greco-Bactrian shift to the East in the long run and them becoming Indo-Bactrians. This is a very interesting process. I would say intuitively that common people probably didn't care who the ruler was as long as they were protected from outside raiders and invaders and taxes weren't unbearable. They probably didn't care what the coins looked like either as long as they contained a stable amount of metal. However, the shift may well have been a message from the ruler on the importance of Kharoshti. We'd have to see more coins and if possible do a statistical analysis to verify the thesis, but I find the proposition highly interesting.

Now, it's an even more interesting coin.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline THCoins

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Re: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2013, 04:23:48 PM »
Disclaimer: the idea is not mine.
It already has been suggested in literature several decades before. Researching the validity of the hypothesis is hampered by the lack of written documents. Also coinfinds are only limited helpfull as often the location and circumstances of new finds are not fully disclosed.

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2013, 04:45:06 PM »
Excellent coin!  I really like these horse + rider type coins.  The prancing horse is just wonderful. 

TFS,

Ram
A gallery of my coins can been seen at FORVM Ancient Coins

Offline RG

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Re: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2018, 06:31:07 PM »
Comments solicited. Picture courtesy to auction catalogue.

Offline THCoins

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Re: Indo-Greek: Antimachos II (ca 174-165 BC), silver drachm
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 08:21:44 AM »
Same monogram as mine in the opening post. Your specimen seems to have a little better silver and surfaces though. Looks like a nice specimen of the type.