Antialcidas


Antialcidas

[
thumb|200px|Silver_tetradrachm_of_King_Antialcidas (r.c. 115-100 BCE).
Obv: Bust of Antialcidas wearing aegis and holding a spear, with Greek legend BASILEOS NIKEPHOROU ANTIALKIDOU "(Coin) of victorious King Antialcidas".
Rev: Zeus with lotus-tipped sceptre, in front of an elephant with a bell (symbol of Taxila), surmouted by Nike holding a wreath, crowning the elephant. Kharoshti
Pushkalavati mint.]

of King Antialcidas.
Obv: Bust of Antialcidas wearing a helmet, with Greek legend BASILEOS NIKEPHOROU ANTIALKIDOU "(Coin) of victorious King Antialcidas".
Rev: Seated Zeus with lotus-tipped sceptre, with Nike on his extended arm, holding out a wreath to a baby elephant with bell. Kharoshti

Antialcidas Nikephoros "the Victorious" was a Western Indo-Greek king of the Eucratid Dynasty, who reigned from his capital at Taxila. Bopearachchi has suggested that he ruled from ca 115 to 95 BCE in the western parts of the Indo-Greek realms, whereas RC Senior places him around 130 to 120 BCE and also in eastern Punjab (which seems better supported by coin findings). Senior does however believe that he ruled in tandem with King Lysias.

Antialcidas may have been a relative of the Bactrian king Heliocles I, but ruled after the fall of the Bactrian kingdom. Several later kings may have been related to Antialcidas: Heliokles II, Amyntas, Diomedes and Hermaeus all struck coins with similar features.

The Heliodorus inscription

Though there are no sources for the late Indo-Greek history, Antialcidas is known from an inscription left on a pillar (the Heliodorus pillar), which was erected by his ambassador Heliodorus at the court of the Sunga king Bhagabhadra at Vidisha, near Sanchi.

The inscriptions says: :"This Garuda-standard was made by order of the Bhagavata ... Heliodoros, the son of Dion, a man of Taxila, a Greek ambassador from King Antialkidas, to King Bhagabhadra, the son of the Princess from Benares, the saviour, while prospering in the fourteenth year of his reign."

Coins

Otherwise, Antialcidas is also known through his plentiful coins. He issued a number of bilingual Indian silver types: diademed, wearing a helmet with bull's horns or a flat kausia. He also appears throwing a spear.

His reverses a sitting Zeus, usually accompanied by Nike, who offers a wreath of victory to a rejoicing baby elephant wearing a bell around the neck. According to some interpretations (Grousset), the baby elephant may symbolize the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, who took the shape of a small elephant to enter the womb of his mother Queen Maya, a scene often depicted in Greco-Buddhist art. In that case the coin scene would represent a victory of Buddhism. According to other interpretations the elephant was the symbol of the city of Taxila.

On some issues Nike is missing, and on his Indian tetradrachms Zeus is walking along the elephant, holding Nike. The reverse became popular and was copied by several later Indo-Greek and Saka kings.

Antialcidas' bronzes feature Zeus/hats of the Dioscuri.

Antialcidas also minted some series of Attic tetradrachms and drachms (with legend in Greek only), used for circulation in Bactria.

"Mule coins" (overstrikes)

There is a bronze which features the obverse of Lysias and the reverse of Antialcidas. This was interpreted by Tarn and other earlier scholars as though the two kings might have forged some kind of alliance, but later, a bronze with the opposite arrangement was found.

Modern scholarship has however largely accepted that what was originally supposed to be a "joint issue" was in fact a mule; in other words, a mistake occurred in the process of overstriking the original coin, and it was accidentally issued with both king's standards.


External links

* [http://www.coinarchives.com/a/results.php?results=100&search=Antialkidas&Thumb=1 Coins of Antialcidas]
* [http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/baktria/kings/antialkidas/t.html More coins of Antialcidas]

References

* "The Shape of Ancient Thought. Comparative studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies" by Thomas McEvilley (Allworth Press and the School of Visual Arts, 2002) ISBN 1-58115-203-5
* "Buddhism in Central Asia" by B.N. Puri (Motilal Banarsidass Pub, January 1, 2000) ISBN 81-208-0372-8
* "The Greeks in Bactria and India", W.W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press.
* "The Indo-Greeks", A.K. Narain, B.R Publications
* "The Decline of the Indo-Greeks", R.C. Senior & D. MacDonald, the Hellenistic Numismatic Society


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