Roma Numismatics Ltd > Auction XXVAuction date: 22 September 2022
Lot number: 599

Price realized: 15,000 GBP   (Approx. 16,898 USD / 17,214 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Greco-Baktrian Kingdom, Eukratides I Megas AR Tetradrachm. Circa 170-145 BC. Dynastic pedigree issue. Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust to right, wearing crested helmet adorned with bull's horn and ear; BAΣIΛEYΣ MEΓAΣ above, EYKPATIΔHΣ below / Jugate, draped busts of Heliokles and Laodike, wearing tainia, to right; HΛIOKΛEOYΣ above, KAI ΛAOΔIKHΣ in exergue, monogram to left. Bopearachchi 15A; Bopearachchi & Rahman 263; SNG ANS 526-7; Mitchiner 182a; HGC 12, 133. 16.97g, 33mm, 12h.

Mint State. Rare; a superb example of the type, comparable to the example of Roma XVII, lot 608 (sold for £22,000).

From the Oxus Collection.

Eukratides The Great was one of the last but most important Greco-Baktrian kings, responsible for the overthrow of the Euthydemid dynasty. While the position held by Eukratides prior to his revolt is unclear, it has been suggested he held the position of satrap in Baktria during the campaigning of Demetrios, successor of Euthydemos II, in India around 192 BC (A. Cunningham, 'Coins of Alexander's Successors in the East (Continued)' in The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society 9 (1869): pp. 121-53). There is limited record of the revolt, although Justin (XLI, 6) describes an event in which the usurper survived a siege lasting five months by a force of sixty thousand loyal to Demetrios, successor of Euthydemos II, with only three hundred men.

Whilst Justin reports that the conflict originated between Eukratides and Demetrios, numismatic evidence suggests Demetrios ceased to rule and succession passed down the legitimate line to Antimachos, Agathokles and Pantaleon before the revolt was over. This is supported by Mitchiner, who argues the coinage of Demetrios ceased and was replaced by that of his heirs, who controlled the main mints in Baktria and from which they issued 'pedigree coins' affirming their legitimacy (The early Indo-Greeks and their antecedants, vol. 1, (1975), p. 66).

Eukratides gained control over all of Baktria around 168 BC, reducing Antimachos, Agathokles and Pantaleon to Indo-Greek territories south of the Hindu Kush, and struck 'pedigree coins' of his own bearing the adopted and immodest title MEΓAΣ ('the Great') - the tetradrachm presented here is an outstanding example of such an issue. The reverse depicts two busts, named by the legend as Heliokles and Laodike, whose identities are uncertain. It has been suggested that the coin cites Eukratides' parents, and Laodike, who wears a diadem, may have been a member of the Seleukid imperial house (see Astin, A.E. The Cambridge Ancient History (1990), p. 401, see also Mitchiner). If the identification is correct, we might see this issue within the context of and in direct response to the Euthydemid commemoration issues struck during the period of Eukratides' revolt.

Estimate: 15000 GBP