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Baktrian Kingdom

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Monetary History of
Baktrian Kingdom

Baktria (Bactria), was the easternmost region of all the Greek realms. Located in Central Asia, one of Baktria was one of the Hellenistic states founded by the successors of Alexander the Great. It was situated between the Hindu Kush Mountains and the Oxus River (currently known as Amu Darya) in what is now part of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

The Baktrian Kingdom was originally created from the Seleukid province of Baktro-Sogdiana during the reign of Antiochus II when Diodotus I (circa 256-235 BC) rebelled and declared himself independent in 256 BC. While Antiochus III attempted to regain the territory, he was unsuccessful.

The capital city of the Baktrian Kingdom was Baktra, known today as Wazirabad (previously Balkh), located in northern Afghanistan. Before the conquest of Alexander the Great, Baktria had been a province of the Persian Empire under the control of Babylon when first taken in the 6th century BC by Cyrus the Great. It then fell into the hands of the Greeks in 328 BC during the conquest of Alexander the Great. It was not until the death of Alexander when Baktria became a part of the Seleukid Empire.

With the successful rebellion in 256 BC of the Seleucid satrap Diodotus I (reigned circa 256-235 BC), the Baktrian Kingdom was given birth. During the early years of the 2nd century BC, King Demetrios expanded the kingdom southwards taking the Mauryan Empire. We find that this event had significant influence within it monetary system since the first bilingual coins were struck at this time with Greek and Karosthi making them the first “Indo-Greek” coinage.

Most of the Baktrian Kingdom was finally overrun by the Sakas or Scythian invaders about 130 BC. What little remained, eventually split into eastern and western divisions. By the end of the 1st century BC, all previous traces of Greek culture had vanished. The Kushans had adopted Buddhism in early medieval times and since the 7th century AD, it has become part of the Islamic culture.

 Rulers of Baktrian Kingdom

Diodotos I (256-239 BC)
Diodotos II (256-230 BC)
Euthydemos I (230-190 BC)
Demetrios (205-171 BC)
Euthydemos II (190-171 BC)
Antimachos (171-160 BC)
Agathokles (171-160 BC)
Pantaleon (171-160 BC)
Eukratides (171-155 BC)
Plato (150 BC)
Apollodotos I (160-150 BC)
Memander (160-145 BC)
Zoilos I (150-145 BC)
Lysias (145-135 BC)
Antialkidas (145-135 BC)
Heliokles (135-110 BC)
Polyxenos (135-130 BC)
Epander (135-130 BC)
Strato I (130-110 BC)
Philoxenos (110-80 BC)
Diomedes (110-80 BC)
Apollodotos II (110-80 BC)
Archebios (80-60 BC)
Peukolaus (80-60 BC)
Theophilos (80-60 BC)
Nikias (80-60 BC)
Hippostratos (80-60 BC)
Telephos (80-75 BC)
Dionysios (80-75 BC)
Zoilos II (75-50 BC)
Amyntas (60-40 BC)
Artemidoros (60-40 BC)
Apollophanes (50-40 BC)
Strato II (40-15 BC)
Hermaios (40-1 BC)

The Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong