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HOME : Greek Coins : Bactrian Silver Coins : Bactrian Silver Tetradrachm of King Antimachos I
Bactrian Silver Tetradrachm of King Antimachos I - C.2253
Origin: Afghanistan
Circa: 185 BC to 170 BC

Collection: Numismatics
Style: Bactrian
Medium: Silver

Location: United States
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Obverse: Diademed Bust of the King Wearing a Kausia

Reverse: The God Poseidon Holding a Trident and a Palm Branch

Antimachos I ruled Bactria from around 185 to 170 B.C. The historical record offers conflicting suggestions that he either a member of the familial dynasty founded by Euthydemos I or that he was independent of Euthydemid authority. Though little is known about his reign, we do know that he was likely overthrown by Eucratides, who lead a successful revolt against the Eythydemids and usurped the Bactrian throne. In the history of numismatics, Antimachos is distinguished as the first Hellenic ruler to declare himself “Basileos Teou” or “God- King.” Also notable, some of his coins feature the image of an elephant on the obverse, a position normally reserved for royal portraits. As elephants are traditionally one of the symbols for Buddhism, this feature has been interpreted as symbolizing the victory of the Bactrians against the Hindu Sunga Empire, which effectively freed the Buddhists in northern India.

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. 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.
- (C.2253)


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