Dionysios Soter

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Dionysios Soter
Indo-Greek king
Dyonisos Indo Greek coin.jpg
Coin of Dionysios Soter
Reign 65–55 BCE
Born c. 86 BCE
Punjab
Died 55 BCE
Kashmir

Dionysios Soter (Greek: Διονύσιος ὁ Σωτήρ; epithet means "the Saviour") was an Indo-Greek king in the area of eastern Punjab.[1]

Reign[edit]

According to Osmund Bopearachchi, he reigned ca circa 65–55 BCE and inherited the eastern parts of the kingdom of the important late ruler Apollodotus II, the kings share the same epithet and use the common reverse of fighting Pallas Athene, and it seems plausible that they were closely related, but relationships between the last Indo-Greek kings remain uncertain since the only sources of information are their remaining coins. R. C. Senior dates him approximately ten years later.

Earlier scholars like Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani have dated Dionysius much earlier, between the years 115 and 100 BCE, making him the ruler of the Swat and Dir Valleys and the weak successor of Polyxenos.

Dionysius was probably pressured by the invasions of the Indo-Scythians, and also had to deal with Hippostratos, a more important king who had inherited the western part of the kingdom of Apollodotus II.

Dionysios' name echoes the Olympic wine-god Dionysos, who according to Greek mythology was also an ancient king of India.

Coins of Dionysios[edit]

Coins of Dionysios.
The "boxy" mint mark characteristic of later Indo-Greek kings was first used by Dionysios Soter.

Dionysios was the first in the line of late kings who issued only silver drachms, but no tetradrachms, which was likely due to his limited resources, on their obverse is a diademed portrait of the king, with Athena Alkidemos on the reverse.

He also issued bronzes with Apollo on the reverse and a tripod on the obverse. Both these types were inherited from Apollodotus II, the quality of the portraits is inferior to most earlier kings. According to Bopearachchi, Dionysios inherited only the inferior celators of Apollodotus II, which he associates with mints in eastern Punjab.

Mint-marks[edit]

One single coin of Dionysios Soter is known to have used the "boxy" mint-mark characteristic of the last Indo-Greek kings, down to Apollophanes, Strato II and Strato III, who used it exclusively of any other.[2] He is also the first king known to have used this mint-mark, which therefore came to be during his reign.[2]

Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings, territories and chronology
Based on Bopearachchi (1991)[3]
Greco-Bactrian kings Indo-Greek kings
Territories/
dates
West Bactria East Bactria Paropamisade
Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab Mathura[4]
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
Emperor Ashoka (268-232)
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 Yavanarajya
inscription
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)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ All that's known about him was that he died in an expedition to Kashmir.The Greeks in Bactria and India by William Woodthorpe Tarn p.318
  2. ^ a b Jakobsson, J (2010). "A Possible New Indo-Greek King Zoilos III, and an Analysis of Realism on Indo-Greek Royal Portraits". Numismatic Chronicle.  JSTOR article
  3. ^ O. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné", Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991, p.453
  4. ^ History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.9 [1]

References[edit]

  • Monnaies Gréco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques, Osmund Bopearachchi, Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
  • The Bactrian and Indus-Greeks, Ahmed Hasan Dani, Lahore Museum.
  • The Indo-Greeks Revisited and Supplemented, A.K. Narain, BR Publishing Corporation.
Preceded by:
Apollodotus II
Indo-Greek Ruler
(Eastern Punjab)
65–55 BCE
Succeeded by:
Zoilos II