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    Spectacular Pedigree Tetradrachm of Eucratides

    GRECO-BACTRIAN KINGDOM. Eucratides I the Great (ca. 171-145 BC). AR tetradrachm (32mm, 16.68 gm, 12h). ΒΑΣΙΛΕYΣ ΜΕΓΑΣI EYKPATIΔΗΣ, heroic bust of Eucratides left, seen from back, wearing broad-brimmed and crested Bactrian helmet adorned with bull's horn and ear, brandishing spear in his right hand / HΛΙoΚΛΕΟΥΣ above, ΚΑΙ ΛΑΟΔΙΚΗΕ below, jugate draped busts of Heliocles (bareheaded) and Laodice, (diademed), right; monogram behind. Bopearachchi Série 16A. SNG ANS 528-9. Rare. A fantastic specimen, perfectly struck in sound metal, with a beatiful dark gray "find patina" intact. Perhaps the finest known specimen of this attractive and intriguing type! Choice Mint State.

    Of the immense Greco-Bactrian kingdom's rulers, we have only a handful of written accounts totalling about 500 words, along with the intriguing and often puzzling glimpses provided by the coinage of the realm. From the latter we can deduce that Eucratides, who reigned for about 25 years starting about 171 BC, arose from obscure origins to become the most powerful of all Greco-Bactrian kings, displacing several other claimants over a span of about 10 years. On this remarkable "pedigree" tetradrachm he pairs an obverse portrait of himself in heroic mode and the epithet Megas ("The Great" -- he was apparently the first Greek ruler of any realm to give the title to himself without waiting for posterity to bestow it), with the dual portraits of his his parents, named Heliocles and Laodice, on the reverse. Heliocles is shown as bare-headed -- perhaps he was a powerful magistrate or general -- while Laodice appears to wear a royal diadem. Was she the daughter of a previous Bactrian king, perhaps Euthydemus or Demetrius I? Or, as has also been suggested, a princess of the Seleucid ruling dynasty (the name Laodice being quite common among the women of this house)? Pending the discovery of some parchment of inscription that clarifies his lineage, we cannot but guess. However, this remarkable "pedigree" coinage of Eucratides makes it quite clear that the was proud of his parentage and that they could not have been mere "commoners," as expounded by some.


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2014
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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