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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 125. Estimate CHF8500. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF550. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BAKTRIA, Indo-Greek Kingdom. Agathokleia & Strato I. Circa 135-125 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 9.73 g 12). ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΣΤΡΑΤΩΝΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΕΙΑΣ Cojoined diademed and draped busts of Strato I and his mother Agathokleia to right Rev. Kharosthi legend Maharajasa tratarasa dhramikasa Stratasa Athena striding left, holding shield with gorgoneion over her left arm and hurling thunderbolt with her right hand; below left, monogram. Bopearachchi Series 6, A. SNG ANS 987. Very rare. Nearly extremely fine.

Baktrian and Indo-Greek coins are particularly fascinating today because, among other things, they record the names of rulers who are otherwise unknown to history. They are also mementos of the incredible reach of Greek civilization, which established itself in the wake of Alexander’s conquests far to the east. One of the few Greek kings to be mentioned in contemporary literature was Menander (c. 165/155-130) who converted to Buddhism. According to one reconstruction, after his death his widow Agathokleia ruled as Queen-regent for their young son Strato, but only in the Punjab and Gandhara; with other areas taken over by Zoilos I, perhaps in reaction to rule by a queen (given the times, having a warrior ruler was a vital necessity). It is, however, also possible that Agathokleia and Strato I were descendents of Menander who only came to power c. 110 (in that case she would have been the widow of either Nikias or Theophilos).