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HOME : Greek Coins : Indo-Greek Coins : Indo-Greek Silver Drachm of King Apollodotos I
Indo-Greek Silver Drachm of King Apollodotos I - C.2218
Origin: Northwestern India
Circa: 174 BC to 165 BC

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Silver

Location: United States
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Obverse: An Elephant Standing to the Right, Greek Legend Translated as "of Saviour King Apollodotos"

Reverse: A Zebu Bull Standing to the Right, Kharoshti Legend Translated as "Saviour King Apollodotos"

King Apollodotos I was originally a general under the rule of Demetrius until he ascended the throne. Demetrius was the first Indo-Greek ruler who successfully brought most of the Afganistan, Punjab and Sindh under his control. Thus, Apollodotos inherited this large unified territory and, if his coins are any indication, made a concerted effort to appeal to the traditions of the local population. Perhaps the most striking feature of this coin is its unusual square shape. Before arrival of Indo-Greeks, the local populations had been using rectangular/square shaped punch-marked coins for most transactions. The shape might have also been influenced by economic concerns, for such a coin was sure to be readily accepted by all local merchants. However, this coin bears the depiction of two animals, keeping with the tradition of punch-marked coins. Clearly, Apollodotos sought to continue the native numismatic traditions of his inherited empire, further enforced by the bilingual inscriptions.

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. On the reverse of this bilingual coin, the legend in the ancient Indian language Prakrit, written in Kharoshthi script, reads Maharajasa tratasa Apaladatasa and can be translated as “-of the king, savior, Apollodotus.” 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.2218)


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