The Ancient World Collection
Indo-Scythia after c. 58 BC





Coin Details

Origin/Country: ANCIENT - GREEK EMPIRES (6th CENT BC - 5th CENT AD) INDO-SCYTHIANS Azes I/II, after c.58 BC
Design Description: Indo-Scythian Tetradrachm
Item Description: AR Tetradrachm Indo-scythians rv Zeus w/scepter obv king on horse
Full Grade: NGC MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5
Owner: Kohaku

Set Details

Custom Sets: The Ancient World Collection
Competitive Sets: This coin is not competing in any sets.
Research: NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

Indo-Scythians is the appellation given to the group of Scythians (Sakas) who, starting sometime around mid-2nd century BC, settled lands in south central Asia around the Indus river and along the Ratnakara coast (today called the Indian Ocean).

Records of the first important Saka king, Maues, date back to early through mid 1st century BC. Maues conquered various Indo-Greek territories, gradually assimilating much of north-western modern-day India. Maues also started minting coins, typically based on the Indian square standard, and also incorporating Grecian and Buddhist elements.

This coin was produced several decades later, probably under King Azes I (c. 57 BC – c. 35 BC), who founded a calendar scheme known as the Azes era. The coin is a distinctive one produced by Azes. On the obverse is the King himself, with standard and spear, a fitting representation for the ruler of former nomads. The epithet here is in Kharoshthi and roughly translates: “King of Kings Azes the Great.” The words on the verso convey the same exact meaning, except now the text is in Greek, reflecting the influence of Grecian culture. It is interesting to note that both the King and Zues are using a hand gesture, probably an imitation of the Protection Buddha (raised right hand).

Azes was successful in ruling and protecting his kingdom, at least for a while. From around the time this coin was minted until the turn of the millennium, the Indo-Scythian Empire was at its height, covering an area of about 1.5 million square kilometers. Like other ancient civilizations that preceded it in the fertile Indus valley, the Indo-Scythians would eventually fade. Over a few centuries, Saka influence declined, and Indo-Scythian rule in northwestern India was completely broken in late 3rd century BC when the last Western Satrap, Rudrasimha III, was defeated by Chandragupta II of the Gupta Empire.

Coin Details: INDO-SCYTHIANS, Azes I/II, after c. 58 BC, AR Tetradrachm (9.52 g), NGC Grade: MS, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 4/5, Obverse: King on horse, Reverse: Zeus with scepter. Reference: Similar to ACW 2272.

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