Indo Greek Coins

Written by Alok Mohan on May 12, 2023. Posted in Uncategorized

The Indo-Greek coins are fine specimens of art. They provide valuable evidence for piecing together the otherwise little-known history of these times. They can be studied under the following heads

I. Metal, denomination, shape and design.

II. Legend and effigy of the king. The names and titles of the kings, the language, script and the design, including the shape of letters in the legend should be carefully examined. Noteworthy features about a ruler’s portrait are his bust, weapons and other equipment on his person, posture in which he is portrayed, and items of dress such as head-gear, drapery and diadem.

III. Divinity-A common feature on Indo-Greek coins is the portraiture of divinities. These are of two types: City or Nagara-devata and Family or Kula-devata. The first type gives the location of the mint and the second the family affiliations of the king. Sometimes the representation is symbolic. But even the symbol is enough for the identification of the divinity. The deity’s posture or action as portrayed on a coin may reveal to us the intention of the king. Warlike posture, such as hurling a thunderbolt, is indicative of the king’s aggressive ambitions. In a state of rest the deity may suggest peaceful plans. In a few cases the legend contains a description of the divinity.

IV. Monogram.

V. Propaganda War through the medium of currency. A number of early Indo-Greek rulers, of whom at least three are known, issued a number of interesting coin series. These are known as Pedigree or Propaganda Series. Coins of these series bear the ruler’s legend on the reverse. while on the obverse some past king-a real or supposed ancestor-is commemorated. The king thus commemorated is not given any royal title, indicating that he was no longer alive and reigning. These coin-series were issued by rulers of two rival houses, who are known from unambiguous literary evidence to have been at war with each other. This phenomenon reveals a long drawn out dispute over the legal title to the throne

VI. Determination of date from numismatic evidence.

VII. Joint issues.

VIII. Family affiliations and other miscellaneous matters.



The quality of metal, especially of gold and silver, may indicate prosperity or otherwise, of the ruler. The gold coins, in fact, are very rare. The use of nickle by a certain Euthydemus, as also by Pantaleon and Agathocles, led Prof. Macdonald to conclude that this Euthydemus is to be placed chronologically near Pantaleon and Agathocles, and must, therefore, be a second ruler of that name. The metal was not used by Demetrius I and, therefore, was not used by his predecessor, Euthydemus I. This alloy, according to him, is characteristic of a short epoch, and was not used anywhere else in the world for coinage until very recent times.


Coins of lower denominations have come down to us in much larger numbers than those of higher ones. The existence of higher denomination coins, such as gold staters and silver drachms and tetradrachms, may indicate greater prosperity. Some scholars believe that these were struck for use by Greek ruling circles. In this context a twenty stater gold piece of Eukratides, needs special mention, since it is the biggest coin found so far of any Greek prince. No Indo-Greek prince after Eukratides except, perhaps, Menander, is known to have issued gold currency.


It appears that the fashions in shape as also in design changed very gradually. Sudden changes were not common.

We find that on Bactrian and early Indo-Greek coins e.g. on those of Diodoti Euthydemus 1. Demetrius I and the latter’s brothers and sons, a dotted circle lines the border. Eukratides was the first to break from this tradition and adopt the Seleucid “bead-and-reel border on his coinage. Thus associating dotted circle with earlier kings and bead-and-reel’ border with those coming after Eukratides, we can assign approximate dates to kings whose chronology is otherwise unknown.


On the coins of Euthydemus and his predecessors in Bactria the legend is invariably in Greek letters. No Indian script appears on them Bilingual legends appear for the first time presumably on the coins of the former’s son and successor, Demetrius. Kharoshthi legends on the reverse of the latter’s coins are a sure indication of the fact that his dominions now included the Kharoshthi using people, of the north-western Indian provinces of Afghanistan and Sindh. This is corroborated by the testimony of classical writers, who refer to cities established by Demetrius in India. Isidore of Charex refers to an Arachosian city, Demetrias. The Mahabhashya and the Vyakarana of Kramadiśvara mention a city Datta-mitri, in Sauvira I e modern Sindh. The Mahabharata calls Demetrius and Apollodotus, kings of Sauvira.

Alok Mohan

The admin, Alok Mohan, is a graduate mechanical engineer & possess following post graduate specializations:- M Tech Mechanical Engineering Production Engineering Marine engineering Aeronautical Engineering Computer Sciences Software Engineering Specialization He has authored several articles/papers, which are published in various websites & books. Studium Press India Ltd has published one of his latest contributions “Standardization of Education” as a senior author in a book along with many other famous writers of international repute. Alok Mohan has held important positions in both Govt & Private organisations as a Senior professional & as an Engineer & possess close to four decades accomplished experience. As an aeronautical engineer, he ensured accident incident free flying. As leader of indian team during early 1990s, he had successfully ensured smooth induction of Chukar III PTA with Indian navy as well as conduct of operational training. As an aeronautical engineer, he was instrumental in establishing major aircraft maintenance & repair facilities. He is a QMS, EMS & HSE consultant. He provides consultancy to business organisations for implimentation of the requirements of ISO 45001 OH & S, ISO 14001 EMS & ISO 9001 QMS, AS 9100, AS9120 Aero Space Standards. He is a qualified ISO 9001 QMS, ISO 14001 EMS, ISO 45001 OH & S Lead Auditor (CQI/IRCA recognised certification courses) & HSE Consultant. He is a qualified Zed Master Trainer & Zed Assessor. He has thorough knowledge of six sigma quality concepts & has also been awarded industry 4, certificate from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Knowledge Hub Training Platform  He is a Trainer, a Counselor, an Advisor and a Competent professional of cross functional exposures. He has successfully implimented requirements of various international management system standards in several organizations. He is a dedicated technocrat with expertise in Quality Assurance & Quality Control, Facility Management, General Administration, Marketing, Security, Training, Administration etc. He is a graduate mechanical engineer with specialization in aeronautical engineering. He is always eager to be involved in imparting training, implementing new ideas and improving existing processes by utilizing his vast experience.