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Sizing Range: 6-14
Denomination: AR Drachma Date: 165-160 BC
Description: Obverse: ‘ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΠΟΛΛΟΔΟΤΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ’ around an elephant, standing right. Reverse: Kharoshthi script around humped zebu standing right.
Baktria was an ancient empire in Central Asia that was captured by Alexander the Great. The Bactrians became Hellenized and adopted the Greek alphabet.
This unique coin which, is square in shape, was minted by Apollodotus. Before arrival of Indo-Greeks, local population of his newly acquired kingdom had been using rectangular/square shaped punch-marked coins for most transactions. Perhaps this fact influenced him to issue square shaped, bilingual coinage which could be accepted readily by local merchants, as well as keeping the Indian tradition of putting animals like the elephant and bull on punch-marked coins, this coin also bears these two animals. The legends on the reverse are in Prakrit, written in Kharoshthi script which reads Maharajasa tratarasa Apaladatasa (of the king, savior, Apollodotus).
An extension of Greek power from Bactria into India had taken place, in consequence of the conquests of Euthy-demus (circ. B.C. 206) and a new series of coins, which may conveniently be called Graeco-Indian, makes its appearance. This coinage is no longer purely Greek in character, but is influenced in a marked degree by the native Indian form of coinage, oblong or square. The coins are always bilingual and follow the Indian standard. AR ¼ staters, round or square, this very Indic square drachma of Apollodotus' features not only Kharoshthi script, but an Indic elephant and zebu as well.