Obverse: Bust of Menander Crowned with a Diadem Facing Right
Reverse: Pallas Athena Standing to the Left
Menander is the only Yavana (person of Greek origin in Indian language) king who has become celebrated in ancient Indian literature. He is known as `Milinda' who had his capital at Sakala (modern Sialkot in Pakistan, Euthymedia in Greek). He is one of the main characters in a Pali (ancient language of India) treatise called the Milindpanha (Questions of Milinda). This book describes fundamental principles of Buddhist philosophy, narrated in form of a dialogue between King Milinda and Buddhist scholar Nagasena. Thus Menander, who converted to Buddhism, is well known for Indian historians as a philosopher with superior knowledge in various schools of thought and not as a mighty conqueror. He was born at Charikar, a country between Kabul and Panjshir rivers, a connecting link between Bactria and India. Menander has earned tremendous fame as a great ruler not only in India but also in Greek world.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of long forgotten empires. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. The extraordinary numismatic record of Menander shows greater variety and wider distribution than those of any other Indo-Greek ruler. This is a bilingual coin with interrupted legends. On the obverse, the legends are in Greek, translated as, “King Soter Menander.” On the reverse, the legend is in ancient Indian language Prakrit, written in Kharoshthi script, reads Maharajasa tratasa Menandras, translated as “-of the king, saviour, Menander.” This coin is a memorial an ancient King and his empire passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.