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    BACTRIAN KINGDOM. Agathocles (ca. 185-170 BC). AR tetradrachm. ANACS EF 40, bent. Diademed and draped bust of Agathocles right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ | ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΕOYΣ, Zeus standing facing, head left, figure in right hand of Hecate holding torches in either hand, scepter in left hand; monogram in inner left field. Bopearachchi 1D. HGC 12, 81. Rare.

    Like many Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek rulers, Agathocles is a near complete mystery to us in terms of his origins, rise to power and the extent of his realm. On his rare "pedigree" coinage he claims the previous Bactrian Kings Diodotus, Euthydemus and Demetrius as his ancestors; however these were from rival houses, and Agathocles also claims kinship to Alexander the Great and an "Antiochus Nicator," possibly Antiochus II or III, to whom he almost certainly bore no blood relation. The evidence supports the conclusion that he was a usurper who seized control, or was appointed to rule, a portion of the vast, unwieldy kingdom along with his contemporaries Antimachus Theos, Panteleon and Apollodotus I, whose coins seem to have been struck in the same 20 year span in the early second century BC. Of his character we can deduce little aside from the personality hinted at by his extraordinary coin portraits, which depict a lean man with a head of tight, curly hair, a sharply pointed nose, compressed lips, and a bit of a mad gleam in his eye. Whatever his origins and personal qualities, his reign was cut short by the rise of Eucratides I "The Great," who seems to have suppressed his rivals and assumed full control of all Bactria in about 170 BC; Greek-ruled northern India remained independent, however, under the successors of Apollodotus I. 


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    29th Thursday
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