Superb Stater of Eurkratides I
Baktria, Greco-Baktrian Kingdom, Eukratides I AV Stater. Circa 170-145 BC. Diademed and draped bust right, wearing crested helmet adorned with bull’s horn and ear; all within pelleted border / BAΣIΛEΩΣ MEΓAΛΟΥ above, EYKPATIΔOY below, the Dioskouroi on rearing horses right, holding palm fronds and spears; monogram in lower right field. Al. N. Oikonomedes, ‘The Gold Coinage of the Indo-Greek King Eukratides I (171-155 B.C.),’ North American Journal of Numismatics 7.6 (1968), Group B; F.L. Holt, ‘Eukratides of Baktria,’ Coins, Cults, History and Inscriptions III: Studies in Honor of Al. N. Oikonomedes, pp. 72-76; Bopearachchi 5 var. (unlisted monogram); cf. Bopearachchi 7A (drachm); Bopearachchi & Rahman -; cf. SNG ANS 163 (monogram); MIG Type 176 var. (unlisted monogram); MACW -; Triton I , 618 (same dies); Tkalec (29 February 2000), 199; Triton VIII, 645 (same obv. die). 8.52g, 19mm, 11h. Good Extremely Fine, struck from a superbly sharp reverse die and with wonderful lustre in the fields.
The close die links (only one obverse die and two reverse dies) suggest that this issue was very limited and struck for a special occasion, no doubt at the same time as the fabulous 20 stater medallion weighing 169.2g now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in France, which is the largest gold coin to have been struck in antiquity. The occasion that merited such grand celebration was undoubtedly the victory over Demetrios of India and the conquest of the western parts of the Indo-Greek kingdom: ‘Eukratides led many wars with great courage, and, while weakened by them, was put under siege by Demetrios, king of the Indians. He made numerous sorties, and managed to vanquish 60,000 enemies with 300 soldiers, and thus liberated after four months, he put India under his rule’ (Justin XLI, 6). Eukratides The Great was one of the last but most important Greco-Baktrian kings, responsible for the overthrow of the Euthydemid dynasty and for waging numerous campaigns against the Indo-Greek kings, temporarily holding territory as far east as the Indus. By the range, quantity and quality of his coinage, which included the above mentioned medallion, we can surmise that his was a reign of considerable significance and prestige. Eukratides was murdered on his way home from India, apparently by his son, who hated his father so much that he ‘ran with his chariot over the blood of his father, and ordered the corpse to be left without a sepulture’ (Justin XLI,6). The subsequent civil war between rival members of the dynasty, combined with external pressures from the Indo-Greeks, Sogdians and Parthians led to the ultimate collapse of the Greko-Baktrian Kingdom a mere fifteen years later, when it was conquered by the Parthians under Mithradates.
Roma Numismatics Auction IX