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595792.

BAKTRIA, Greco-Baktrian Kingdom. Heliokles Dikaios. Circa 145-130 BC. AR Tetradrachm (30mm, 16.84 g, 12h). Diademed and draped bust right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ to right, HΛIOKΛEOYΣ to left, ΔIKAIOY in exergue , Zeus standing facing, holding thunderbolt and scepter; monogram to inner left. Bopearachchi 1U; Bopearachchi & Rahman 292; SNG ANS 642-8; MIG Type 284o; HGC 12, 169. Slight double strike, minor edge lamination. EF.


The longest-reigning son of Eukratides I Megas, Heliokles “the Just” was the last Greek king to rule all of Baktria proper, although later Indo-Greek kings might have reconquered portions of it. Heliokles appears to have fought a long rear-guard action against numerous invaders who poured into Baktria after the death of Eukratides, among them the Parthians, Scythians, and the Yuezhi, Asiatic steppe nomads and expert mounted archers in the same mold as the later Huns and Mongols. Ai Khanoum, the capital city, appears to have fallen suddenly about 145 BC, after which Heliokles moved his capital into the Kabul valley before finally being overwhelmed circa 130-125 BC. His coinage continues in the Greco-Baktrian tradition of exceptional portraiture, in which he appears as a rather stocky and care-worn ruler. His choice of a “thundering Zeus” as a reverse image hearkens back to the very first Greco-Baktrian coinage of Diodotos I and II.