Antialcidas

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Antialcidas Nikephoros "Victorious"
Indo-Greek king
Antialcidas portrait.jpg
Portrait of Antialcidas.
Reign 130–120 BCE (R. C. Senior)
115–95 BCE (Boppearachchi)
Silver tetradrachm of King Antialcidas.
Obv: Bust of Antialcidas wearing aegis and holding a spear, with Greek legend BASILEOS NIKEPHOROU ANTIALKIDOU "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 legend: MAHARAJASA JAYADHARASA ANTIALIKITASA "Victorious King Antialcidas". Pushkalavati mint.

Antialcidas Nikephoros (Greek: Ἀντιαλκίδας ὁ Νικηφόρος; epithet means "the Victorious") was a Greek king of the Indo-Greek Kingdom, 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 R. C. 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.

Genealogy[edit]

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[edit]

Antialcidas sent an Embassy to Vidisa in central India.
Inscription on the Heliodorus pillar made by Antialcidas' Ambassador Heliodorus in 110 BCE.

Though there are few 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 Shunga king Bhagabhadra at Vidisha, near Sanchi. It states that he was a devotee of Vishnu, the Hindu god.[1]

A part of 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."[1]

Coins[edit]

Silver drachm of King Antialcidas.
Obv: Bust of Antialcidas wearing a helmet, with Greek legend BASILEOS NIKEPHOROU ANTIALKIDOU "Of Victorious King Antialcidas".
Rev: Seated Zeus holding sceptre, with Nike on his extended arm, holding out a wreath to a baby elephant with bell. Kharoshti legend: MAHARAJASA JAYADHARASA ANTIALIKITASA "Victorious King Antialcidas".

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. 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.

"Mule coins" (overstrikes)[edit]

Antialcidas wearing the kausia. Japan Currency Museum.
Lysias was a contemporary of Antialcidas.
Gandhara seal of king on elephant receiving wreath of victory, a motif with some similarity to the coins of Antialcidas.

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.

Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings, territories and chronology
Based on Bopearachchi (1991)[2]
Greco-Bactrian kings Indo-Greek kings
Territories/
dates
West Bactria East Bactria Paropamisade
Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab Mathura[3]
326-325 BCE Campaigns of Alexander the Great in India Nanda Empire
312 BCE Creation of the Seleucid Empire Creation of the Maurya Empire
305 BCE Seleucid Empire after Mauryan war Maurya Empire
280 BCE Foundation of Ai-Khanoum
255–239 BCE Independence of the
Greco-Bactrian kingdom
Diodotus I
239–223 BCE Diodotus II
230–200 BCE Euthydemus I
200–190 BCE Demetrius I Sunga Empire
190-185 BCE Euthydemus II
190–180 BCE Agathocles Pantaleon
185–170 BCE Antimachus I
180–160 BCE Apollodotus I
175–170 BCE Demetrius II
160–155 BCE Antimachus II
170–145 BCE Eucratides I
155–130 BCE Yuezhi occupation,
loss of Ai-Khanoum
Eucratides II
Plato
Heliocles I
Menander I
130–120 BCE Yuezhi occupation Zoilos I Agathokleia
120–110 BCE Lysias Strato I
110–100 BCE Antialcidas Heliokles II
100 BCE Polyxenos Demetrius III
100–95 BCE Philoxenus
95–90 BCE Diomedes Amyntas Epander
90 BCE Theophilos Peukolaos Thraso
90–85 BCE Nicias Menander II Artemidoros
90–70 BCE Hermaeus Archebius
Yuezhi occupation Maues (Indo-Scythian)
75–70 BCE Vonones Telephos Apollodotus II
65–55 BCE Spalirises Hippostratos Dionysios
55–35 BCE Azes I (Indo-Scythians) Zoilos II
55–35 BCE Vijayamitra/ Azilises Apollophanes
25 BCE – 10 CE Gondophares Zeionises Kharahostes Strato II
Strato III
Gondophares (Indo-Parthian) Rajuvula (Indo-Scythian)
Kujula Kadphises (Kushan Empire) Bhadayasa (Indo-Scythian)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Greek Culture in Afghanistan and India: Old Evidence and New Discoveries Shane Wallace, 2016, p.222-223
  2. ^ O. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné", Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991, p.453
  3. ^ History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.9 [1]

Sources[edit]

  • 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, 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

External links[edit]

Preceded by:
Lysias
Indo-Greek Ruler
(Paropamisade, Arachosia, Gandhara)
(115–95 BCE)
Succeeded by:
Polyxenios or Philoxenus