Heliocles I

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Silver tetradrachm of Heliocles (145–130 BCE)
Obv: Bust of Heliocles
Rev: Zeus standing, with thunderbolt and sceptre. Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ ΗΛΙΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ (BASILEOS DIKAIOU HELIOKLEOUS) "Of King Heliocles the Just".
Silver tetradrachm of Heliocles (145–130 BCE)
Obv: Bust of Heliocles helmetted and in uniform.
Rev: Zeus standing, with thunderbolt and sceptre. Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ ΗΛΙΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ (BASILEOS DIKAIOU HELIOKLEOUS) "Of King Heliocles the Just".
Yuezhi copy of a coin of king Heliocles. The Yuezhi are thought to have invaded his territory and taken over his coinage as a consequence.

Heliocles (Greek: Ἡλιοκλῆς; reigned 145–130 BCE) was a Greco-Bactrian king, relative (son or brother) and successor of Eucratides the Great, and probably the last Greek king to reign over the Bactrian country. His reign was a troubled one; according to Roman historian Justin, Eucratides was murdered by his son and co-ruler, though Justin fails to name the perpetrator. The patricide might have led to instability, even civil war, which caused the Indian parts of the empire to be lost to Indo-Greek king Menander I and southern Bactria to be lost to the Yuezhi.

Yuezhi invasion[edit]

From 130 BCE a nomadic people, the Yuezhi, started to invade Bactria from the north and we could assume that Heliocles was killed in battle during this invasion. Details from Chinese sources seem to indicate that the nomad invasion did not end civilisation in Bactria entirely. Hellenised cities continued to exist for some time, and the well-organised agricultural systems were not demolished.

The Yuezhi would copy and adapt the coin types of Heliokles for a long time.

Continuation of the Indo-Greek kingdom[edit]

Even if this was the end of the original Greco-Bactrian kingdom, the Greeks continued to rule in northwestern India to the end of the 1st century BCE, under the Indo-Greek Kingdom, it is unclear whether the dynasty of Eucratides was extinguished with the death of Heliocles I or if members of the family emigrated eastwards. Several later Indo-Greek kings, including Heliocles II, struck coins which could be associated with the dynasty.

References[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 Pub, January 1, 2000) ISBN 81-208-0372-8
  • The Greeks in Bactria and India, W. W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press.

External links[edit]

Preceded by:
Eucratides
Greco-Bactrian Ruler
(Eastern Bactria)
145–130 BCE
Succeeded by:
Zoilos I
Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kings, territories and chronology
Based on Bopearachchi (1991)[1]
Greco-Bactrian kings Indo-Greek kings
Territories/
dates
West Bactria East Bactria Paropamisade
Arachosia Gandhara Western Punjab Eastern Punjab Mathura[2]
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)
Sodasa
(Indo-Scythian)
  1. ^ O. Bopearachchi, "Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné", Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991, p.453
  2. ^ History of Early Stone Sculpture at Mathura: Ca. 150 BCE - 100 CE, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, BRILL, 2007, p.9 [1]