Author Topic: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm  (Read 1694 times)

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Offline THCoins

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Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« on: January 25, 2014, 05:40:39 PM »
Due to lack of time i have not started many posts lately. Hope to make up for this with some less common subjects.

Diodotus I and his son Diodotus II were the first Greco-Bactrian kings who declared their independence of the Seleucid empire, of which Bactria had been a satrapy before. Euthydemos I was a Greek settler who became satrap of Sogdiana under the Greco-Bactrian king. Around 225 BC he overthrew the Diodotid regime and ruled Bactria and Sogdiana.
This soon led to an attempt to regain power over the territory by Seleukid king Antiochus III. After a long siege, which Euthydemos, never would have won, the Seleukids withdrew and recognized Euthydemos independence and territory.
This was not because the Seleucids were so good-hearted. It was a smart thing to do in the face of the political situation in the region. North of the Bactrian territory the Scythians were already advancing rapidly. The Seleucids judged it wise to have a buffer state between themselves and this serious threat. The alliance was sealed by the marriage of Euthydemos' son with Seleucid princess Laodice.

Euthydemos ruled for quite a long time. His coinage still is typically Greek. On his silver tetradrachms he can be seen with portraits in different age-groups. This tetradrachm shows Euthydemos at the end of his reign. It has the oldest known portrait. The coin is quite worn, but the facial expression of the old ruler still is nicely preserved.

AR 26 mm, 15.96 gr, Bop 12.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 08:38:15 PM by THCoins »

Offline mitresh

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 07:08:07 PM »
Yes Anthony, you are right about the King's facial expression. He has a dour look and eyes that seem to reflect the long struggle and turmoil faced with the Seleucids. The faded look of the coin infact complements that of the rulers portrait at the fag end of his reign and life and to this effect, the coin brings this out in stark contrast.

Wasn't Euthydemos's son Demetrious I "Aniketos" (Invincible), of the famous elephant scalp type coin, who crossed the Hindukush mountains from Baktria, conquered parts of India and became the first Indo-Greek ruler?
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Offline THCoins

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 07:19:22 PM »
You are very correct Mitresh. Demetrios was the first to venture into India and establish a real powerbase there.
He took advantage of the back-support from his in-laws the Seleukids, and the decline of the Mauryan empire.
After this you also see the gradual change in character of the coinage to the typical indo-greek style.

The Euthydemid line in Bactria was later broken by usurper Eukratides, but continued south of the Hindu-Kush.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 03:14:00 AM »
If the son was the first to go into India, why is this an Indo-Greek coin?

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

Offline mitresh

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 07:10:55 AM »
Good question Peter. These coin types are typically divided into two categories: Graeco-Baktrian and Indo-Greek.

Graeco-Baktrian coins relate to the Greek rulers who issued their coins in the Baktria region. They did not venture into India and their coins bear only Greek legends.

Indo-Greeks rulers on the other hand relate to those (earlier) Graeco-Baktrian rulers who did cross the Hindukush mountains and established a base in India and with subsequent rulers following suit. The coinage of Indo-Greeks are known in both types ie Greek legend type for their subjects and populace in Baktria region who were familiar with the Greek coins, and a bilingual Indian prototype, bearing legends in both Greek and Kharoshti script, for the native Indian population unfamiliar with Greek coins/script.

As far as Demetrios I is concerend, his coins are known in Greek legend type only placing him as a Graeco-Baktrian King however since he is shown wearing an elephant scalp, it indicates he did cross over to India and conquer parts of it but could not probably retain it for long for him to issue bilingual coins.

Coins of the usurper Eukratides on the other hand clearly indicate his base in India as his coins are known in plentiful in both the Greek style as well as bilingual type. Ofcourse, once the power base was established within Indian domain, all the subsequent rulers adopted a similiar pattern of issuing coins in two distinct styles and weight - one based on the Greek Attica style of drachms and tetradrachms and one based on the lower Indian weight standard. It seems the intention was to keep these two styles of coinage distinct for two separate regions to suit local needs unique to each region.

Fascinating series of coins, aren't they?
In the quest for Excellence, there's no finish line.

Offline THCoins

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 10:55:01 AM »
Agree with your explanation Mitresh !
@Peter: Though technically you could make a distinction between Graeco-Bactrians and Indo-Greeks, this distinction is artificial as any. Simply because borders shifted over time. The territory over which Euthydemos ruled also comprized more areas than Bactria. Demetrios was also not the first to go into India. He was the first to set up a longer lasting power base there.
De categories in the index try to make a compromize by taking the areas over which rulers governed into account but without an attempt at any strict divisions.

Offline THCoins

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2015, 04:50:02 PM »
Adding to this thread to also show one of the most characteristic bronze coin types of this ruler.

The early Graeco-Bactrian bronzes are characterized by thick flans with beveled edges. On the coin below one can also see that
on the obverse there is a protuberance of the flan at around 2-o'clock. There is a corresponding, but less visible, irregularity in the flan shape opposite this at 8-o'clock. in this Zeno specimen its is much more clearly visible. These remnants suggest that these coins were made on cast flans. The shape makes these coins very vulnarable to wear. In later years of the rule of Euthydemos this probably is replaced by flatter, purely struck, bronze coinage.

Obv: Head of Herakles facing right. Rev: Prancing horse right, BASILEOS above, EUTHYDEMOY below.
Dichalkon; AE 22 mm, 7.66 grams,

Offline coinlover

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2016, 06:11:08 PM »
Kharosthi script was first used in the copper coin of Pantaleon.Starting from Licias, the rulers issued all coins in bilingual (Greek & Kharosthi) scripts.

Anjan

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2018, 10:52:35 AM »
Here is another dichalkon of Euthydemos I, that I recently acquired. It has a thick conical flan. I can see the irregularity THcoins mentions at 3 and 9 o'clock. At the right side, it might have been cut off more or less.

Bactria. AE dichalkon Euthydemos I, Baktra or Alexandria on the Oxus (Aï Khanoum) (225-206 BC). Obv. Bare head of Hercules right. Rev. Horse prancing right, possibly monogramme (Greek letter psi? or anchor?) before its muzzle. BACILEOC / EYTHYDEMOC. 20 mm, 7.53 gr. Hoover 53. Mitchiner 87. Bop. Séries 17.
The details about the mint I found in the book of Hoover. I couldn't get the monogramme on the photo.

-- Paul


Offline THCoins

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2018, 03:23:49 PM »
Nice characteristic specimen of the type. Thanks for adding to the thread !
The flans of these indeed stand out among the later indo-greek coinage. And luckily these early copper types are not yet plagued as much by forgeries.
Don't know about the monogram. Could also be an altered appearance by artefacts introduced by cleaning possibly ?

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2018, 01:21:20 PM »
And there's this one. The reverse is damaged and it was really hard for me to make pictures of the two sides, that so much differ in surface and light reflection. I thought it interesting that the denomination, or I should say the weight, doesn't appear in the standard works. I hope somebody will comment on that. The unit, or chalkous, weighs 4 grams or a bit more, the double about 8 gr., but a triple unit is not mentioned.

AE trichalkon Euthydemos I, Baktra or Alexandria on the Oxus (Aï Khanoum) (225-206 BC). Beveled edge. Obv. Bare head of Hercules right, in a stipple circle. Rev. Horse prancing right. 24mm, 12.35 gr. Cf. Hoover 53, Mitchiner 87, Bop. Séries 17.

-- Paul




Offline THCoins

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2018, 05:02:25 PM »
Not much sensible i can contribute i am afraid. I do not know of a Euthydemous I trichalkon either.
However, the well known elephant bronze issued under Euthydemos' successor Demetrios I is of the trichalkon denomination. So it seems quite possible that the mints may have produced these larger types already somewhat earlier.

With recent fakes surfacing from Pakistan, also in strange weights, i tend to look at possible novel finds now with much doubts.

Anthony

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Indo-Greek: Euthydemos I (ca 225-200 BC) Tetradrachm
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2018, 11:49:24 PM »
Thanks for your insight. One has one's natural doubts, of course, but a forger wouldn't have made a coin of which the reverse looks so poorly. Form is what a forger can make with ease. He wouldn't botch that.

What I find interesting is that the coin probably was cast in a mould with the Heracles portrait on the obverse, the round side, and then struck with a slightly smaller die, like you see: a square with rounded edges. We discussed this technique before with you and Figleaf opening my eyes about the method.

Curious is the stipple form around the head, not a circle at all.
 
-- Paul